You will be so happy on your special day. Make sure a camera catches the joy with these tips from Alison Events' Alison Hotchkiss Rinderknecht, a wedding planner who has seen it all.
Photo by Jesse Leake

Prioritize Your Must-Have Shots

There is no exact formula for the best wedding photographs, as each and every couple has different priorities and parts of the day that are special to them. That said, the most important shots are often of the couple, both alone and together, as well as of their immediate family members. I always love shots of fathers giving advice, mothers holding back tears, grooms shaving, brides laughing, and the couple looking ravishingly in love and encapsulated within one of the most incredible days of their lives.

Plan a "First Look"

Most photographers will have suggestions and preferences based on how they work, the location, the time of day, and the light. As a planner, I always suggest to do what we call a "first look." This is when the bride and groom reveal themselves to each other before the actual ceremony. This allows photos to take place prior to the ceremony, for both the couple and the close family, and enables the couple and the family to enjoy the cocktail reception immediately following it.

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Wear Your Heart on Your Face

It's important to be mindful that you are being photographed at each of these "must-have" moments, says San Francisco-based wedding photographer Jesse Leake. "When the ceremony is over and you are walking up the aisle, let your joy show, smile from ear to ear," he explains. "It's such a great opportunity to photograph a very iconic moment. However, if the bride and groom are looking down, looking away from the camera, or aren't smiling, the photo doesn't work." The same goes for other big moments: the first dance, cake cutting, and so on. "Remember, you are being photographed all day," he adds. "Let your joy shine."

Refrain From Eating During Toasts

Toasts are another opportunity for a photographer to capture candid moments of the bride and groom reacting to the speeches. "I recommend you do not eat during the toasts," Leake says. "It can be super unflattering to be photographed with a mouth full of food! If toasts are taking place during dinner service, I ask my couple not to eat during that time." Dig into your delicious meal at another opportune moment, and it will be worth the wait, especially when you get back amazing pictures that will last a lifetime.

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