I can only guess that many of you got engaged over the holidays (congratulations!). One of the biggest and first commitments that you’ll make will likely be your photographer. Often, photographers are booking brides 2 years in advance, so if you have someone in mind, it’s best that you contact them as soon as you know your wedding date. Today Mango Studios, an award-winning photography studio in Toronto, gives us insight into what photographers wish couples would know before their wedding day. The advice is so spot-on and I wish I had known these details before my own wedding many years ago. If you have any questions, feel free to leave comments.

Lighting is everything (and timing is critical):

Lighting can make all the difference when it comes to having an album full of spectacular wedding photos. Try to avoid mid-day photo shoots if possible; the light tends to be less flattering and casts harsh shadows that can create a lot of contrast. This can make it more challenging for your photographer to capture beautiful, flattering images.

The ideal time to shoot your wedding day photographs is around two hours before sunset or just after sunrise, also known as “the golden hour.” This is when the light is the softest and most flattering, providing the ideal conditions for your photographer. Keep this in mind when scheduling for your wedding day - you’ll love the results!

Do your research:

As you’re preparing for the big day, you should keep a scrapbook of your favourite images and try to understand why you love these photos. Think about what attracted you to the photo. Are they candid, beautiful moments of people laughing? Or was it the styling, hair, and makeup?

Put yourself into the image; try to evoke the same feelings and emotions in order to recreate the same look, feel and styling. When your wedding day comes around, reference these images for inspiration. Be confident - the kind of imagery you want is the kind of imagery that you have to give!

Practice (by shooting an engagement session):

This will allow you to get to know your photographer and familiarize yourself with the person that is in charge of capturing your special day. It’s important that both you and your partner feel comfortable around your photographer.

An engagement shoot will also give you the opportunity to get to know how you shoot. See what your best angles are, practice your smile, and rehearse different poses in front of the camera so you can look your best when it comes time for the real thing.

Be Mindful about Scheduling:

(consider shooting a first look; read more here)

Keep in mind that the photographer will need some uninterrupted time with the couple to shoot the creative session; typically, you want to allocate between one to two hours for the session. You can’t expect award-winning photography if the photographer doesn’t have the window of opportunity to deliver. Photographers have to deal with the elements and things can run behind, so allocate more time than needed for your photo session. If all goes well, you can take a nice break to freshen up after the session!

When scheduling your day, try to be mindful of travel time; it makes your day run more smoothly & efficiently (not to mention less stressful!) when you don’t constantly have to be worried about being on time. If you want to shoot in a particular location, set aside ample time for travelling and shooting so you’re not rushing through your photos.

Be Yourself:

The best advice that we can offer is to just be yourself and try forget the photographer is there. This may sound cheesy, but it will make your photos feel less contrived. Some couples are not used to having a camera constantly following them around and tend to become self-conscious. Don’t let the camera intimidate you! Just be natural and your pictures will turn out looking beautiful and candid.

Shooting an engagement session beforehand might help you get the camera jitters out before the real thing. For the intimate photo shoots, incorporating props will give you and your partner something to do and also make the end results more fun and personal.

Remember: you have to give the image you want to get in your wedding photos - be natural and have fun!

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Categories: Guest Post5 Comments


I’m sorry, but this is a blatant sales pitch by a great photo studio saying the same thing that every other blog is saying. This simply puts too much pressure on us. Why do we need to practice our smiles or get props? To look like every other couple out there? Whatever happened to simply having the wedding, and allowing for things to happen on their own? Is it a wedding, or a photo shoot that we are orchestrating?
These “tips” are not relevant to many of us who have all day weddings, with very little time in between events. Two hours to do a photo shoot? Why? Why would we want to invest that much time during a day when our guests are there to see..us?

Sorry, but this information is a bit on the cheesy side.

Not buying it. on January 04, 2013

I’m totally bookmarking this! Thanks

sarah on January 04, 2013

I agree that consideration to light and scheduling are important but the rest of the advice is not very helpful to most newly engaged couples in my opinion. I have a few regrets about my wedding photos and thought I’d share to hopefully avoid disappointment for others.
I wish I had spent more time talking with my photographer about the people I wanted photographed at our wedding. I was specific about wanting mostly candid shots but didn’t specify of who. Obviously there are going to be tons of the bride and groom and wedding party. I didn’t think to specify that I wanted more shots of the families than of the wedding guests. I ended up with lots of hilarious pictures of the dance party part of the wedding, but not as many as I would have liked of our family and closer friends who were not out on the dance floor as much. My only regret is not requesting that there be close to at least one photo of everyone there (we only had around 90 people) and concentration on family members and close friends and pointing these people out to the photographers beforehand to increase the odds of getting great shots. Bottom line, communicate what you want with your photographer, I felt like I would be a pain in the ass for being so detailed but really regret not having the discussion now!

communicateyourexpectations on January 04, 2013

@communicateyourexpectations - You add a great point. A photographer will never know who you think is important unless you tell them.

Melissa on January 04, 2013

The title of the article IS… Things Photographers Wish Couples Would Know Before Their Wedding Day not visa versa so the comments made are somewhat irrelevant

Sylvia on January 05, 2013

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