Hidden Secrets To Making Your Wedding Magazine-Worthy

For brides who want their wedding photos to look like wedding blogs + magazines (and possibly have them published!), here are tips to getting photographs for just that.

Getting ready:

  • Have the home/hotel room made up and cleaned before the photographer arrives. It makes a monumental difference when the bed is made and there are no loose items laying around. One time I even saw a housekeeper ironing the comforter. Polished.
  • Choose a getting-ready location with LOTS of natural light and space. It looks better when there is room to move and breath vs. everyone squished into a corner.

  • Prepare details together in a box so the photographer + videographer can make sure to get photos of everything, i.e. shoes, jewelry, rings, garter, invitations, vows. Anything you want photographed. These detail shots take time, so the quicker the photographer can get everything, the better.

  • Bring nice looking hangers, not the one the dry cleaner gave you. 🙂

Ceremony:

  • Plan your ceremony ~two hours before sunset. If the ceremony is outdoor, lighting will be soft enough to photograph beautifully. This also allows for “golden hour” portraits after, as well as soft natural light at cocktail + reception (should they be outside).
  • Choose a ceremony site that has even lighting. If outside, this means either everyone is in the sun, or everyone is in the shade. Half sun/half shade, or speckled lighting caused by shadows from a tree, do not look good in photographs. If you aren’t sure about where the sun will be on the day of your wedding, the safest thing is to choose a location that you absolutely know will be shaded. Or, have your ceremony indoors in an airy space with LOTS of windows (or have the space professionally lit with crisp white lights – no colored gels). Blogger Chriselle Lim had a day time wedding (luncheon) at a specific outdoor location she knew was shaded, because she knew that was how she would get soft natural photos that she wanted throughout her entire wedding. She also knew this is what the blogs + magazines like to publish (her wedding was published in C Magazine).

  • Ask guests to politely put cell-phone + cameras away before the ceremony starts. They can be distracting, take away from guest presence, and look horrible in photographs. Mom also looks better when there isn’t a bulky gadget in front of her face.

Reception:

  • If your reception is at night, have the space professionally lit. I tell everyone that if photos are important to you, it makes a world of difference if the restaurant, ballroom, or outdoor space is professionally lit with crisp WHITE lights. No colored gels, unless you don’t mind everyone’s skin looking a tinted color. Oompa…Loompa…Doopity…Doo…
  • Clump formal events together, i.e. Grand entrance straight into first dance + parent dances, straight into speeches as appetizers are getting served, then after dinner do cake cutting, bouquet, and garter toss. This way you get everything out of the way so you can enjoy the party without having to constantly get pulled away. You will also have thorough photo/video coverage of everything with guests paying attention. If you spread things apart too much, guests won’t pay as much attention and you’ll have people socializing and doing other things in the background of your photos.

One can have the most talented photographer, but doing these things can make the difference between good photos and phenomenal photos that look like they could be in a magazine.

If you have tips and tricks of your own, feel free to share them in the comments below!

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Christine Chang
Christine Chang is a Destination Wedding & Lifestyle Photographer based in Los Angeles.
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