Wedding Photography Planning & Tips


By Lisa Carpenter

Top hat and tails, vintage, or drag, here's 10 steps to help you prepare to get the best shots to remember your big day forever
7. Consider a First Look
Now you're talking! I'm based in England and tradition here dictates that the first time you lay eyes on each other all dressed up in your flamboyant finery, should be at the end of the aisle. In the States, however, brides and grooms are bucking that tradition in order to get some damn fine photography out of the way before the ceremony. This time will still be magical. 
Your photographer will have one of you standing facing them and bring your partner into shot behind you. If they have a second shooter, they'll be photographing from the opposite angle to get the best of both of your expressions which, "on the count of three, turn around!" will range from shock, awe, love and tears.
To capture this emotion on film is such stuff as dreams are made of. Yes, you'll get the same expressions at the aisle but the photographer may be limited as to their positioning. With a first look, the light will be perfect, the composition dynamic and the moment, unforgettable.
Now that you've seen each other and dried your tears, the photographer will get some photos of the two of you away from the hustle and bustle of the wedding and maybe some shots with your bridal party, leaving you more time after the ceremony to start guzzling the champers.
8. Decorate: Details, Details, Details.

A wedding without decorations is a day without sunshine. Not only do these items make your images appear yet more stunning, they show your personality off to guests and make your day completely unforgettable. Whether this be mason jars, bunting and rustic signs or diamonds, candles and imported swans from the Cotswolds, put your stamp on your day and let the world know that the two of you, together are one whole hell of a couple. 
As a photographer, walking into a room where the betrothed have obviously spent time perfecting the vision of their day, is super exciting. 
9. Plan in Advance for Post-Wedding Paraphenalia 
This may not be your thing but if it is, planning ahead is worth giving up a night of TV for. It only takes five minutes for your photographer to capture these extra shots and they'll add so much pizzazz to your albums story-line.
Hold up the L.O.V.E. letters with pride, hide behind the whirly lollipops and pout in your moustaches and heart shaped sunnies. If it's you and it's fun, do it. 
A Thank-You photo is a great added extra that your photographer can shoot on the day. 
Whether this be words written on a blackboard, the palms of your hands (best not to go for permanent ink) or with vintage metal letters scored from a rundown cinema (nice!) this photo for your thank you cards, again, shows off your personality and will make all those receiving one jealous that they didn't think of it first! Which is, of course, vitally important.
10. Smile! Relax! Enjoy Your Day!
Most importantly: smile and relax. This is your day. Your moment. Anything that doesn't go to plan, just makes for a great photo. Honestly! Some of my all-time favorite shots (and my couples always agree) are those where the ring wouldn't go on, the heavens opened, the bride had a fit of giggles and the best man got it on with the maid of honor. OK, OK, the last part never happened, but it might at your wedding and it'll just make it all the more memorable. Especially for their wives and husbands!
This will be the greatest day of your life. It's cheesy as all hell but it's true. Make the most of it, grin like a Cheshire Cat, smoulder (and smize) like Tyra, throw your new husband/wife into the air and dance like no one's watching. But most of all choose your photographer wisely. (Or just choose me!)
All views expressed are my own and will most likely be haughtily dismissed by the high and mighty wedding photographers of the world. They're the wedding photographers you might want to avoid!
Lisa Carpenter is an English-based photographer. You can see a slideshow of her wedding photos for Dan Knott & Mark Brigham here. For more information visit her website,