Finding the right professional photographer for your big day is the first step to getting the beautiful wedding photos you desire. Choosing an experienced photographer that inspires you is essential, as you'll be able to trust that they'll perfectly capture your special moments, and set you at ease in front of the camera. Aside from expecting the classic shots, like your walk down the aisle, newlywed portraits, and your first dance as husband and wife, the second step to curating your photo collection is deciding on which additional images you would love to have. To help you narrow down your wish list, here’s a rundown of what we consider to be the top 10 must have photos for your wedding, including photo examples of real weddings we've hosted here at the St. Marys Golf & Country Club!
1. The First Look
The bride and groom seeing each other privately before the wedding has become a growing trend. Reveals are a way to really appreciate the moment together without all the nerves, and they provide the photographer a chance to capture intimate, authentic and emotional moments between the bride and groom. Once these photos are captured prior to the ceremony, there are fewer shots that will need to be taken during cocktail period, freeing up time for the couple to celebrate with their guests during the reception!
Capturing the bridal party getting a first look of the bride is also a beautiful, heartfelt moment to get on camera. Traditionally, there are photos of the bride getting ready, or her bridesmaids and the Mother of the Bride helping her into her dress. However, this type of celebratory photo has a fun, candid feel, in that it reflects the excitement and support of those closest to her - her girl squad!
(Above): First looks between the bride and groom, and bride and her bridesmaids, are growing in popularity. See more from Ashton & Matt's wedding.
2. They Do!
At the end of the ceremony, right after the couple is announced as husband and wife for the very first time, there is undeniable love and excitement in the air. This makes the bride and groom’s exit down the aisle one of the best photos of the happy couple, and shows the encouragement on the faces of their guests. The ceremony recessional photo of the newlyweds reflects so many things, aside from the love between the couple and from their guests - it represents an official union between two people in love, that their celebration is about to begin, and that there are so many amazing adventures ahead for the duo.
3. Ceremony Perspectives
Since the bride and groom have only one perspective during their ceremony (each other at the altar), it's important for their photographer to get different views on camera, so that the couple can later experience all angles of their day. Telling the story of the ceremony, with images of guests arriving and eagerly anticipating the bride’s arrival, brings those emotions to life. The groom’s expression at the first sight of his bride is another priceless image. Sweeping shots of the entire ceremony captures the guests’ viewpoint, and provides the couple with a beautiful memory of the entire setting where they exchanged their vows. Alternatively, a wide shot of the audience from the bride and groom’s perspective is a unique angle that will capture the reactions of family and friends during their commitment to each other.
4. Wedding Details
Although most wedding photos will include the couple and their guests, the wedding details are also an important part of the wedding day story. Simple, editorial images of the bride’s bouquet, headpiece and shoes, the couple’s rings, and their invitation suite can be highlighted against a contrasting background or natural environment. Placing the rings in the bride’s bouquet, taking advantage of natural light by hanging the bridal gown in a window, or having the bride sit on an antique chair while tying up her shoes all highlight the beauty of each wedding detail. Pieces such as the place settings, centerpieces, seating chart, and guest favours are often items that the bride has put many hours of planning and effort into, so it’s rewarding to have these details documented.
(Above): Pretty wedding details like the bride's dress and shoes are special to have documented in the photo album. See more from Ashton & Matt's wedding.
5. Stolen Moments
Some of the best photos of the bride and groom are the unscripted ones. Giving your photographer an idea of the newlywed photos you'd like to have is important, but the intimacy captured in candid moments between the two of you will often be the most picture perfect. An image of the bride and groom walking hand-in-hand, or the bride twirling in her dress at sunset are classic photos that don't look too staged. Laughing together in a sweet moment while your witnesses sign your marriage license, or stealing a kiss during the dance party are the stolen moments that will let your true love and personalities shine through.
6. Kissing Beneath the Veil
Using the bride’s veil as an accessory in wedding photos can create a dramatic, romantic and editorial image, especially when black and white photography is used. Photographers will use the veil to soften lighting and play with various artistic angles, in order to get a sensual shot of the couple. Having this photo taken during golden hour adds even more romance, and is sure to be the favourite photo in your wedding album.
7. Bridal Party Fun
Some of the best wedding day moments will be with your bridal party, in the hours before you walk down the aisle. These girls will make you laugh, calm your nerves, and help you get ready. Even though there are normally several posed photos of you and your bridesmaids, there are also ways to make the authentic emotions come through in each image. Timeless girl squad photos include getting hair and makeup done in matching robes, popping a bottle of champagne for a celebratory toast, jumping on a bed, or laughing with linked arms while walking towards the camera.
8. WEDDING PARTY Antics
With all of the romantic and emotional photos of the day, shots of the wedding party can add a touch of humour to the photo album. Capturing candid images of the groom joking with his groomsmen, smoking cigars, or sipping whiskey shows their excitement and friendship in an authentic way - and gives the groom special memories to later look back on. Have your photographer group together your wedding party in fun ways, such as playfully mocking the two of you kissing, or having the bridesmaids wear the groomsmen jackets while lifting up the groom.
9. Speech Reactions
Sometimes images of the reactions to wedding speeches are even better than the photos of the speakers themselves! Speeches from the Maid of Honor, Best Man and parents of the bride and groom can bring on tears and laughter from wedding guests, which are amazing emotions to catch on camera. Closeup candid photos or wide shots get the reactions of your audience sharing in the presentation of short stories, embarrassing moments, video footage, and emotional well wishes from speech givers - reactions that you likely won't catch from the Head Table. These are the images that just can’t be recreated, and they will often stir up the same emotions as is reflected in the photo when you and your loved ones look back on them years down the road!
10. Night Shots
There is no photo more romantic for your wedding album than that of a sunset or night shot. The hour before sunset, also known as 'golden hour', is considered to have the best, most flattering lighting of the entire day, which is why many photographers opt to get portraits of the bride and groom during this time frame. Sneak out for a few minutes during dinner to take advantage of this magic light, and also to spend a few private moments together. As well, photos taken in the dark with sparkling chandeliers or accent spotlights will be some of the most jaw-dropping photos taken on your wedding day. If night shots are something that you wish to include in your collection, ensure you ask your photographer to bring along a tripod for still photography - which is essential to getting clear imagery during the dark hours.
What wedding photos are on your must-have list?