Over the last couple of months, some of my favourite and most trusted wedding planners have guided you through the ins and outs of planning your wedding.

(You can see all their posts in our Step By Step Wedding Planning Guide.)

Now, our Wedding Experts Tips series continues with the talented (and lovely) wedding photographer, Katherine Ashdown, who will be sharing her top tips with us from a photographer’s perspective. If you missed her first post about Preparing For Your Engagement Shoot be sure to check it out!

Over the next few weeks, Katherine will be guiding us through all the different photo ops at a wedding starting from the ‘getting ready shots’, all the way through to the first dance. There’s a few things that you can do beforehand and on the day to make your photographer’s jobs a little easier and help you get the best possible wedding photos.

Getting Ready

– The first, most important tip, is to talk to your photographer so that you and they know what to expect. Every photographer has a different way of working – these tips and suggestions are just a rough guide. 

– If you want pictures of both of you getting ready with your respective bridesmaids/groomsmen, your photographer will need to plan their time accordingly. If you’ve booked a photography duo decide who’s going where. Also take into consideration any cultural issues. For example, a male photographer may be better off waiting until the bride and her bridesmaids are fully dressed before taking ‘getting ready shots’. All these things will need to be discussed before the big day.

– Think about ‘where’ you are planning to get ready. It is often lovely to get ready at home and your photographer will be able to get beautiful images anywhere but for wow factor and gorgeous backdrops have a think about using a room at your venue, the bridal suite or perhaps hiring or borrowing a cottage or somewhere super special for amazing getting ready shots.

– Get ready in the lightest possible room at your ‘getting ready venue’ for lovely natural light in your images.

– Wherever you get ready, make sure it’s tidy and uncluttered. No laundry hanging from radiators or last night’s pizza boxes lying around! Things are inevitably going to get a little messy on the morning of your wedding but start out with a nice clean space.

– Think about what you will be wearing on the morning. Many brides, and especially bridesmaids, don’t realise that they will be in the photos on the morning and it all adds to the excitement and anticipation of the day. What about treating them to matching robes with a special one for you? Or perhaps PJ’s in your wedding colour as this will be wonderful in your album to tie in the colour theme through the day.

– For brides, arrange a ‘moment’ with your Dad or whoever is giving you away once you are ready. It is so lovely to get into your dress and have your Dad see you for the first time all ready to go and such a special moment to capture often with a couple of tears! (This special moment can of course be captured with the groom’s parents too.)

– Have all your details ready for your photographer to shoot on arrival; your dress, shoes, perfume, flowers and anything special you would like shot such as a family heirloom or groom’s gift, that way the photographer can let you get on with the day and start to shoot without disturbing your hair and makeup. For groom’s you’ll want your cufflinks, shoes and tie / bow tie to hand.

– Leave enough time. Your photographer will be able to advise you on this but for my weddings I leave around 30 minutes before the bride to get to the venue and shoot guests arriving, find out the venue rules and shoot the groom and best man. That means for brides, your wedding dress needs to go on at least an hour before you need to leave so that we can get shots of you having it done up and ideally some shots of you ready as well as with your dad, family and bridesmaids.

Bonus Tips From Elizabeth:

Remember to talk to your photographer about any concerns or special requests you have before the day – for example, I wasn’t too keen on having lots of shots of me in my rollers with no make up on. Those of you without peachy perfect skin (unlike this lovely bride) will understand.

Also, one of my biggest regrets is not having a photo of my mum and I before the ceremony. I had lots with my dad because he was ‘giving me away’ but my mum is the person who raised me so I wish I’d remembered to ask my photographer to take a photo of just the two of us.

Your photographer isn’t a mind reader, so make sure they are aware of the ‘must have’ shots with the people who mean the most to you.

But whatever you do, don’t try to micro manage every shot. You should be enjoying your day, not worrying about your photography!

It’s essential that you trust your photographer to do what they do best and remember why you hired them. That is, presumably, because you love their style and the way they captured other couple’s weddings. Let them do the same for you.

(All photos by Katherine Ashdown Photography)

Thanks to Katherine Ashdown for sharing these tips, next time she’ll be sharing her tips on making sure the ceremony photography goes smoothly.

Click for lots more expert Wedding Planning Tips