April 2020

Top Tips for Flawless Photos on Your Wedding Day

Author: Celia Carroll | Photographer: Celia G Photographie

Wedding photography gets a bad rap for being costly, but I’m here to assure you it can be worth every penny. Why? Photos are the only truly lasting items that can be enjoyed well beyond your special day and are guaranteed to bring you smiles, laughs, and (good!) tears each time you go through your album.

I’ve spent the last decade photographing grand soirees to intimate elopements, and I’ve learned the perfect capture comes with thoughtful planning—and a whole lot of wedding-day magic. A good photographer will work alongside your wedding planner or coordinator to make sure photos are a seamless part of your day, but here are a few tips and tricks to enhance the photos and the experience.

1. Clear the clutter. “Getting ready” photos set the tone of the day, and nothing ruins a good shot like a half-eaten sandwich or empty water bottles or your bridesmaids’ “unmentionables.” Fun solution? Gift your wedding party personalized, large neutral bags to collect their stuff and easily move away when the photographer arrives.

2. Prepare special items. Have all the little details you want photographed—jewelry, cufflinks, invitation suites, heirlooms, etc.—in one spot. Pro tip: Find an antique box or beautiful bag that’s unique and easily identifiable.

3. Pick your posse. Having the right people by your side makes all the difference. Neat freak best friend? Put them on clean-up duty. Time stickler? They’re the go-to with your planner and know the timeline. Yes! You can assign roles to members of your wedding party so you can enjoy the day.

4. Create the scene. I’ve taken my fair share of outdated art off hotel walls and moved furniture so I can get better light, among other things. Distracting elements and poor lighting can cheapen the look of photos, so get creative with the space!

5. Ditch the spray tan. Even the most “pro” fake “glows” will make you look like an Oompa-Loompa; the camera, no matter how good, just can’t register the color as a real skin tone, and editing is a nightmare. Limit sun exposure, too. Sunburnt skin is equally terrible (I put in my contract that I have no duty to edit poorly prepped skin, because it’s that bad).

6. Hydrate. I cannot stress this enough. And start days before. Having naturally glowing, hydrated skin and minimizing hangovers are just two of the amazing benefits of drinking tons of water!

7. Give yourself buffers. Time moves fast on “the big day” and only seems to speed up as it moves on; giving yourself way more time than you think you need for getting ready, travel, photos, etc. will make the day feel more relaxed and less rushed.

8. Keep hydrating. I’m serious. If you have to ask yourself when you last drank water, it’s been too long.

9. Keep self-care simple. Now is not the time to experiment with any “wellness” fads or try a dramatic skin treatment that could backfire. You know what works for you to feel like your best self, so keep doing that while getting plenty of sleep, drinking lots of water, and being around people who make you feel excited and supported!

10. Enjoy the ride! There is not a single wedding I’ve shot where everything went exactly to plan: travel delays, weather, wardrobe snafus … they’re just part of the day! Planning and preparedness get you back on track, but embracing the chaos can have unexpectedly wonderful results.

As I wind down my portrait and event photography business this spring in lieu of a new creative adventure, I can honestly say I’ve had the best couples and am grateful to so many of the local event vendors. To work as hard as we did while also still feeling part of the “party” is exactly why a Lowcountry wedding is like no other. So, plan ahead, ask for help, and most important: GET EXCITED. It will definitely show in your photos! 

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