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7 steps for sensational shots

A photographer thinks outside the wedding for these seaside shots.

A minute of preparation is worth a lifetime of regrets when it comes to organizing the wedding photographs. To help stave of the stress of the typical wedding picture chaos, the editors asked several professional photographers what they wish they could tell all their brides before the ceremony begins.

1. Consider taking ‘first look’ photos

Weddings are hectic. Many couples spend their first hour or so after they’re married gathering the family and wedding party for group photos. The stress of rounding everyone up can take away from enjoying the moment and the people there to share it. Although it breaks the tradition of the groom not seeing the bride in her dress until she comes down the aisle, “first look” photos can be a calming alternative to the post-wedding/pre-reception chaos.

2. Hair and makeup preparation

Don’t wait until the day of the ceremony to try a new style! Schedule a consultation and test run with the hairstylist and make-up artist before the wedding to provide time for any changes.

3. Timeline

The more people involved in the wedding who know the timeline of events, the better. Don’t leave it to the bride to direct the day. Prepare a timeline, and make sure the photographer, videographer, wedding coordinator, bridal party and family all have the same information. This is especially important for photos so everyone is ready and in the right place at the right time.

4. Take your time

Within that timeline, make sure to block off enough time to get the storybook photos you’ll want in the wedding album. Don’t think of the time it takes to get great photos as a negative. Don’t rush it, and the process and end product will pay off with calm nerves and great pictures.

5. Prep tidiness

Many brides want their photographer to snap candid photos of them getting ready before the ceremony. These photos can capture beautiful moments with the bride and her wedding party, unless the backdrop is tainted by trash in a corner or clothes thrown around the room and on the floor. Pick one part of the dressing room as the “crap corner,” where outerwear, purses, shopping bags, drinks and other detritus are stashed. Reducing clutter also reduces stress.

6. It’s your day, do what you want

Not to advocate bridezilla behavior, but the bride might have to stomp her perfectly matched footwear on the trash-free floor of the dressing room to get the pictures she wants. Cut down on the number of suggestions that will be thrown around by having a pre-established plan with the photographer for how to deflect unwanted suggestions.

7. Smile

Of course, everyone’s going to be all smiles all day, right? Well it’s not always as easy as it sounds when you consider the stress and planning involved. When the tension begins to build, take a deep breath, relax and smile, smile, smile!

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