How I Photograph Your Wedding Portraits
And all my top tips for amazing photos
It’s always nice to have at least one photo of you and your beau on the day that you get married – and yes, this applies to you who hates having their photo taken. It’s perfectly natural to not enjoy having a camera thrust in your face, and I totally empathise! However, this doesn’t mean you can’t get a photo of you two in love that you both adore – and here’s how.
Relaxed and Informal Wedding Photography
I’m a super informal and relaxed wedding photographer, so my couple portraits tend to be exactly that: informal and relaxed wedding photographs! When it comes to your wedding portrait photos, I am completely led by what you both want as a couple. We’ll chat together before the wedding and talk about how comfortable you feel and what you want from your photos. I can guarantee that you won’t be forced in to doing any cheesey or awkward poses!
Generally speaking I capture the couple portrait by taking you away from your guests for 15 to 20 minutes, getting you to stand in some beautiful light, in a pretty location and asking you to focus on each other. I absolutely encourage – in fact, it’s almost compulsory – chatting and laughing during this time. Most often it’s pretty much the only time you will spend alone together on your wedding day, and it can be nice to take a step away from all the action and just be together, so enjoy it.
Don’t worry if think you’re going to be really aware of the camera; if this is the case then I have lots of techniques that I can use to help you feel relaxed. I’m very used to working with couples that don’t enjoy having their photo taken, and I can give you as much direction as you feel that you need.
The Best Time For Your Wedding Portrait Photos
When you’re factoring photos into your timings, the season that you get married in is crucial to your decision. Like all photos, a great portrait photograph absolutely relies on beautiful light. In the summer the best light for portrait photos is late afternoon all the way through to sunset. During this period, the sun is low in the sky and beaming out lovely diffused golden light. As well as being gorgeous, this light is SUPER FLATTERING. The very worst time to do portraits in the summer is at midday, when the sun is directly overhead and giving out very harsh bright light (the kind that makes you squint). This kind of light will bring out eye bags and harsh lines, not to mention induce some serious midday sun-sweating.
For summer weddings, if it’s possible when planning your wedding day timeline, it’s best to allocate 15-20 minutes for your portraits anytime after 3pm. You may also want to think about allocating another 10 minutes after your meal so that you can take advantage of a beautiful sunset – this is the “golden hour” that you hear photographers wang on about so much. (You’ll understand why when you see photos of it!)
For winter weddings, I advise the opposite! The sun is low in the sky all day due to the time of year, and even at midday the light is minimal – so all the portrait photos and group pictures should be taken as close to midday as possible – the further away from midday your photos are taken, the less light there will be available.
Having said all this as your friendly neighbourhood wedding photographer, my style is that of documentary wedding photography, so I’m very used to dealing with all kinds of light conditions; the good, the bad and the ugly. I’m also totally confident using flash to add in additional light where it’s required.
The Best Location For Your Wedding Portraits
When it comes to choosing locations for your portrait session, I am very much led by how the day flows, as well as what the weather decides to do on the day of your wedding. For this reason, a visit to your venue before your wedding day is unnecessary: the weather and available light, which will have the biggest impact on the choice of location for your portraits, generally isn’t something that can be accurately predicted weeks in advance.
Also, don’t worry about collecting a Pinterest board of ideas for me to replicate. I’ll already be brimming with ideas and inspiration from just being at your wedding and seeing how you interact with each other. Your wedding photos are primarily about you as a couple and how you two vibe together, which can’t be faked or squished into a pre-made box. To copy another photographer’s posing created for an entirely different couple won’t do your couple portrait justice.
Top Tips for your Wedding Portrait Photos
- Ask your wedding helpers to keep your guests enjoying the wedding while you sneak away for your photos – if you are already not keen on having your photo taken then having your couple portraits taken in front of an audience is going to make you feel like you’re in front of a firing squad.
- Allocate at least 15 minutes for couple photos- even if you hate the idea. These will be the photos that you will want to print out. The more relaxed you are for them, the better they will be.
- In the summer try to make some time in your wedding day to have your couple photos taken in the afternoon (ideally after 3pm).
- In the winter try to take advantage of the daylight and arrange some time for your couple photos to be taken as close to midday as possible.