Once the “I dos” are said, the toasts are made, and the gifts are opened; the next best part of your wedding day are your photos.  You only have one happiest day of your life and one chance to capture all of it. To make sure there is no disappointment on delivery, here are some tips to make sure you get the most out of your wedding day photography.

Do the engagement shoot
This is actually a great starting point for you and your photographer – it allows you and your fiancé the chance to get comfortable in front of the camera, and gives the photographer the chance to see your best angles and how best to get you at ease. You’ll also be able to review the prints together, and further discuss your preferences by way of angles, sides, or styles.

Do your research
You’ve already done your research and booked a venue and photographer you love; now make sure you get the most out of them.  Visit your venue specifically with your pictures in mind – take note of any particular spots you like for photos, or source out photos of other weddings at your venue for inspiration.

Make a shot list
When looking at wedding photography, chances are you’ve noticed some similarities – photos of a hanging dress, a stylized shot of the rings, the mother of the bride buttoning up the bride.  Then there are also the “family portraits” – the bride with her bridesmaids and parents, the same for the groom, then the same with the happy couple and so on, so forth.

Prepare yourself and the photographer with a list of must-haves and needed portraits; for example perhaps you have a blended family, or family from across the globe that you only get to see every few years.  Make sure you make time and don’t forget to get pictures with them!  Put it on paper for your photographer and have your Maid of Honour hold onto a copy on the day, to make sure nothing important gets missed.

Have help
Assign one of your bridal party to play wrangler – making sure the next bunch for family portraits are ready to go so you’re not wasting valuable time looking or waiting.  Also task them with spreading the word for other group photo ops – like during the bouquet toss, your final exit, or for a photo booth if you have one.

Communicate with your photographer
Photographers are talented, but they’re not psychic – if you have any ideas, hopes, or desires for your pictures you need to let them know.  If you’re able, have your photographer scout your venue with you and talk about spots you like.  Show them any examples you may have seen of pictures you like and tell them what you like about them, also give them a copy of your lists and let them know who your helpers are to keep everyone on the same page.

Practise
It’s not out of the ordinary to be critical when looking at photos of yourself, so why not prepare as much as possible to avoid the proverbial cringe?  Especially if you’re a little camera shy, you don’t want the extra nerves to throw you off on your wedding day.  Practising your smile will help you feel more comfortable and will actually make you appear more natural and less “posed.” Similarly, practising with your hubby-to-be will allow you to take note if there are any poses you find make you look awkward (and keep you mindful of slouching!).  A mirror or digital camera is pretty helpful in this process, too.

As always, being prepared is your best tool for success, and will help to ensure a smooth-running day and an easy smile.  By managing your expectations, knowing what you want and communicating it, you’ll be sure to get the pictures to match the man and day of your dreams.  Ask and you shall receive!

Written by the team at Four Weddings Canada.