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We're Autumn & Jay and we've spent the last decade developing and perfecting our unique signature style of Wedding Photography and we love working with couples who love to laugh as much as we do! For more information on what we do and about Cleveland Weddings in general, click here!

The Secret to Great Wedding Pictures: A Step by Step Guide

8 Easy Steps to Making Sure You Get the Great Wedding Pictures on Your Big Day

STEP 1: Discover Your Vision

Maybe you’ve envisioned what your wedding pictures would look like for years or maybe you’ve never thought about it before. Either way, every couple has their own unique vision and it’s up to you to figure out what you love for great wedding pictures. Pinterest can be a fantastic tool to help you narrow down your unique style – just search for wedding pictures and look at what it is that draws you in to a great image. Is it a certain location (do you love a downtown city feel over a park setting for example) or is it a style of photography that draws you in more. Think about what your dream wedding pictures would look like and keep your vision in mind as you plan for your big day!

STEP 2: Find the Right Photographer

The right photographer is the most important piece to getting great wedding pictures. This step can be pretty involved, in fact, for more in-depth information on finding the RIGHT photographer for you, click here. Here’s a quick look at the basics to finding the right photographer for great wedding pictures:
1. LOOK EARLY: most photographers book out a year+ in advance and photography is usually the next booked service after a wedding venue. In order to avoid your dream photographer being booked for your day, start your search as soon as possible and book as soon as you know you’re ready!
2. RESEARCH: Make sure the photographer fits your style/vision and make sure that what you see of their work is truly what they do. There can be a lot of “styled” images out there that don’t give you an actual representation of what a real wedding would like. Take your time and read reviews from past couples, this can really give you a good idea of what to expect.
3. TRUST THEM: Once you find the right photographer, it’s really important to trust them with your vision. Make sure you communicate what it is that you want out of your wedding pictures and then put it in their hands and trust them to work their magic.

STEP 3: Plan Enough Time

The more time you allot to getting those great wedding pictures in your timeline, the better. It is very common for weddings to run behind or late for various reasons and the best way to make sure your picture time doesn’t get cut to to make sure you have accounted for extra time in your timeline. This will also help reduce stress for anything that causes your wedding day veer a bit off track. Your photographer should be able to help you put together your timeline to account for everything!

STEP 4: Understand Light and Maximize It

Each hour of the day provides a different light. Make sure when thinking about your vision for your great wedding pictures (remember those images you loved most?) that you plan your timing to match the lighting that you love. Obviously weather can play a huge role in what lighting is available on your wedding day, but make sure you choose a photographer who can make the most of bad weather and still allow you to utilize light in the way you want. Click here for more information on why you should get wedding pictures during golden hour.

STEP 5: Consider a First Look

We understand that a First Look might not be for everyone, but if this is something that might be right for you, it can allow you so much more time, variation, and freedom for pictures. Seeing each other earlier in the day means you have more options to work around weather if the weather ends up presenting an issue, it allows you to enjoy being with each other for more of the day, and it gives you more time for pictures without your guests having to wait as long for you in between the ceremony and reception. This can help get great wedding pictures in a way that wouldn’t be as easy without it.

STEP 6: Practice via Engagement Session

The best way to make sure you are comfortable in front of the camera is to have a practice round and an engagement session makes the best practice round. Let’s face it, it’s super awkward having your picture taken as an adult, it just is, so you need to get in front of the camera so that you know what it will feel like on the big day. It’s really not that bad (it’s mostly in your head) and once you’ve had some practice, you’ll feel like a pro on your wedding day! An engagement session can also be a great way to look back at the pictures and find out what you do and don’t like about the way you’re photographed before the wedding day. This will allow you to make changes (either by yourself or by sharing your thoughts with your photographer) so that you will be happy with the outcome of your wedding photos.

STEP 7: Choose Your Location(s) Carefully

Research and understand what locations will serve you best to provide your dream wedding picture backdrops. After you’ve discovered what location(s) would fit best in your overall vision, you will want to think about other factors that will come into play (for example the lighting depending on the time of day you’ll be there or how busy the location will be). Your photographer will be a great resource to consult with on this one and should be able to help you navigate all of the details that come along with choosing locations. And make sure you always have back up plans just in case! Click here for our list of the Best Picture Locations in Cleveland.

STEP 8: Relax

Finally, when your big day comes and you’ve finished all of your planning, sit back and relax! Enjoy your day to the fullest. Stress doesn’t look good on anybody, so let your photographer take the reins (this is why you must trust your photographer) and you just laugh with your bridal party and cry tears of joy with your family. The best pictures will be the ones of you fully present in the moment of the best day of your life!

Planning a wedding and looking for your own great wedding pictures? Click here for more information about Cleveland wedding photography!