How To Get The Most Out Of Your Wedding Photos

Wedding Guide

Tips on how to get the best wedding photos.

As your photographer I want your day to go as smoothly as possible That is why I have organized this guide on how to get the most out of your wedding photos. This guide will help you know what to expect photography wise on your day and tips on how to make sure you get the best photos possible.

Getting ready on your wedding day.

getting ready on your wedding day in northern michigan

Getting ready can be such a beautiful time to get those genuine pre-wedding shots. But sometimes the energy is ruined by the aesthetic. A cluttered, messy, dark room takes away from the genuine moments happening and the beauty of the morning. .

Here are some things to keep in mind:

Keep Cutter to a minimum! 
I know its hard to keep a room clean with everything going on during wedding prep but you will be so happy when you see clean, beautiful photos instead of a cluttered mess. When I arrive I typically do a quick clean up around the room as well but it is best that most everything is clean by the time I arrive so I can start taking photos.

It is no secret that natural light is the best light so try and be mindful of that when you are picking your getting ready space. Whether it be a hotel room or Airbnb, make sure you have great window light, your photographer and makeup artist will love you for it!

Speaking of airbnbs, I highly recommend booking one if you can for your getting ready space. Not only does it give you your own private space to get ready, it also gives you more space. This is especially important if you have a large wedding party getting ready with you.

Should you do a first look or not?

A first look is when the couple sees each other for the first time in a more private setting before they walk down the aisle. It doesn’t have to be a big staged moment. It can be simple, genuine and intimate.

A lot of photographers push this for several reasons:

Nerves: It is a great way to have one on one time with each other before the craziness of the wedding day begins. It honestly takes a lot of pressure off for the rest of the day.

Tight Timeline: One of the main reasons I recommend doing a first look is if we are on a very tight timeline. This may be due to it getting dark directly after your ceremony or due to the fact we have a lot of ground to cover as far as locations. Logistics of the day can affect whether you need to do a first look or not.

Vows: Some of my clients choose to do a first look so they can do private vows during this time.

Ultimately, I leave it up to my clients whether they feel comfortable doing a first look or not. There is no pressure to do one or not.

Wedding party + Family Portraits

The best time to do immediate family portraits is prior to the ceremony when everyone is freshly dressed and ready to go. This way everyone can go enjoy cocktail hour directly after the ceremony.
It’s possible to do them after the ceremony, but gathering everyone once they’ve gone to cocktail hour is always a difficult and time-consuming task. You can tell people to stay after the ceremony but there is always a few people who will try and sneak off, then we are scrambling to find them for pictures, which takes up time. To avoid this I will have you assign someone from each side of your family to organize family members who are supposed to stay for photos. It is also good to send an email or text out to everyone to remind them they need to stay for photos directly after the ceremony.

I suggest keeping the family portraits to strictly immediate family only (parents, siblings, grandparents). We can get extended family group shots throughout the night at the reception. Believe me, you don’t want to be sitting there for an hour posed and smiling for the camera. I will help you create a shot list for these photos so that everything moves quickly and we have every person covered that you want photographed.

Again, we can get most of the wedding party photos prior to the ceremony whether you do a first look or not. If you have a large wedding party I suggest we get as many done prior to the ceremony as possible so you have time to enjoy at least a small part of cocktail hour. Also, make sure your entire wedding party gets a copy of the photo timeline. That way they know where they are supposed to be and what time.



Ceremony timing and setup can me SO important. Your venue may only give you a certain time span that you can have your ceremony which is totally fine. If you have flexibility in choosing your ceremony time try and pick a time closer to sunset and not in the middle of the day when the sun is high in the sky.

Consult with your photographer and planner on what time might work best for the flow of the day as well. I’m always happy to help with the logistics of this and guide my clients to the right timing for their ceremony.


Having your ceremony set up in the right place and direction can make your photos! Whether you are getting married on a beach, in the woods or indoors it can make a difference for lighting. For example, if you are having a beach ceremony you do not want the sun to be directly behind you. This will cause you to have photos that are shot directly in the sun and will be very blown out and overexposed. In this case you would angle your ceremony arch so you have sunlight coming in from the side. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your ceremony setup!


There are so many ways you can layout your ceremony. One of my favorites is in a circle. This allows all of your guests to have an amazing view of your ceremony. With traditional layouts like a straight down aisle, remember to give yourself enough room in the front and down the aisle, especially if you have a large wedding party. You don’t want your guests to be sitting super close to the wedding party or the couple. This also allows your photo and video teams room to move around without distracting guests.


When walking down the aisle remember to take your time, soak in the moment. Once up front don’t forget to get close to each other, hold hands and enjoy the moment. SO many couples get to the front and totally stand so far away from each other without realizing it. Also, remember to look at each other and not the officiant the entire time. I see this especially when a friend/family member marries couples and the couple ends up looking at them instead of each other the entire time.

Speaking of a friend/family member marrying you. Make sure this person knows to ask people to stand during the processional, asks everyone to turn cell phones off and enjoy the ceremony and most importantly asks you guys to come together and hold hands. The last thing is something that not everyone will agree with me on but it is something I feel is important to note. DON’T ask your officiant to get out of the way for the kiss. I know, I know, everyone tells you the opposite. Well guess what happens when you do that, all of your kiss photos are your officiant walking out of the frame. It is distracting and it is much better for your officiant to stand in place.