You want your wedding photos to be awesome, right? Well, if you’ve hired one of the talented wedding photographers in Pittsburgh you’re in luck. Relax; they are professionals. They’ve been to more weddings than there are notes in a Bach cantata. Here are a few secrets to make sure your wedding day photography not only goes smoothly, but that it provides you with the pictures you really want.

Those crisp, colorful, candid, and mesmerizing moments will take you back in time, faster than the scent of sparkling bubbly and fresh cut roses!

Visualize the photos you want

Think about how you visualize your wedding album. You’ve been planning and thinking about this day for months, so don’t be shy about any ideas for particular shots that have popped into your head. If, in those bridal magazines, I know you or your spouse-to-be have splayed all over the kitchen counter, you’ve seen a picture you love, rip it out and show it to your photographer! If your mother has relatives coming in from Osaka and you’d absolutely die for a shot of them by the koi pond, by all means, share! Planning in advance is really important –  because on your wedding day, you won’t be able to think straight! Communication is the cornerstone of successful wedding photography, ranking second in importance only to cameras! And, you know, light and physics and all that stuff! Let’s move on!

Select a happy location with lots of light for candids

Weddings in Pittsburgh have beautiful brides

A lovely bride awaits her wedding ceremony.

Brides, I know the candid shots taken of you getting primped and prepped are going to be among those you look back on most fondly. Photographers are happy to show up wherever you’re going to be preparing – taking travel time into consideration, of course, about two hours before you walk down the aisle! The important thing to remember is that the location they shoot these photos in will determine how well they come out. Lots of natural light is the key – think childhood bedroom or quaint little hotel rather than the dark basement of the church (unless the “Bride of Frankenstein” look is your intention)!

Allow plenty of time for photos

Give yourself plenty of time for these pictures, so they can have fun with them, and not make you feel rushed. The idea is to avoid having them hold the camera strap with their teeth, while frantically trying to help you with a stuck zipper, because the music is playing! It’s great if they can snap you putting on your dress, or at least your lipstick or veil, so wait to do these things until they arrive. They also love to get photos of your parents, siblings, and bridesmaids, if they are able to be there too. Flowers, while not absolutely necessary, really give these candid shots that picturesque touch!

Grooms get to the church on time!

Grooms, you’re not off the hook! They will want some shots of you looking spiffy in your tux – these are usually taken at the church or ceremony location about an hour before things get rolling. Make sure your parents, siblings, groomsmen, and florist (with boutonnieres) know to be there on time. Now, you will need to appoint someone who knows everyone, to pin on all the boutonnieres, and make sure you have flowers stuck to anyone you’d like included in the pictures. Among the sea of preening finery, flowers are how wedding photographers separate the Yorks from the Lancasters, so when they see someone’s been pinned, that’s a clue they’re someone who is worth following around! You may also want some pictures of any readers, soloists, or other special guests who are taking part in the ceremony. It’s a swell idea – they just need to know who they are beforehand. The soloist might be your best friend from kindergarten, but they won’t know her from the church lady, so be sure and point these folks out to them. While you’re at it, if you’ve made any last-minute changes, go ahead and point out anything that might be different during the ceremony so they can be ready.

It’s very important to let everyone who will be in the post-ceremony formal pictures know to be ready immediately after the ceremony. By this time, you’ll be ready to get right down to the partying aspects of the evening, so the faster the pictures get done, the quicker you can get to the reception! You want to avoid having Uncle Johnny waylaid by your chatty Aunt Beatrice, while all the little nieces and nephews queue up for the restroom! Try that delegation thing again (diplomacy, like communication, is another essential skill for planning a wedding – but I’m sure you realized this while organizing the seating charts)! Appointing someone in your family or bridal party to help gather everyone, and keep a list of those to be included in the pictures can be invaluable! Incidentally, this “contact person”– you can make them a clever name tag if it’ll help convince them to take the job – can help the photographer during the reception by pointing out important guests who weren’t in the formals, but who you’d like photographed. Just for your reference, the three standard group shots are as follows: Immediate families (including spouses and children) of the bride and groom; parents with the bride and groom; and the bridal party.

Get some outdoor photos

If weather permits, it’s a wonderful idea to pause at a pretty little place between the ceremony and reception venue for a few more snaps. Nothing fancy is required; a simple bunch of trees can be the perfect spot. Try to think of somewhere that is convenient and easy to park and walk to; it could even be right outside of the church or reception location. Usually only the bride, groom and bridal party are needed for these shots, but if you prefer, you can do all the family formals outside, instead of at the altar.

Enjoy yourselves doing the little things

Now, this is very important, possibly the most pivotal secret I’ll reveal to you, for making the day go just as you planned. When it comes time to cut the cake, make the toast, and do your first dance, at all costs, don’t forget this: Enjoy yourselves and savor every moment!

You might have some enthusiastic guests who can’t wait to blow bubbles at you and your blushing new partner, or throw birdseed or flower petals (or perhaps silly string and cheetohs, if you happy lovebirds met at a frat party), as you walk out of the church. By all means, indulge them. They make great, fun pictures! When things start to wind down, your photographer might ask you to pretend like you’re leaving so they can get a quick parting shot! This makes a great final bookend to your album!

You know, I think you and your photographer will work pretty well together! No matter how many couples they see riding off into the sunset, (somehow, love like that never gets old). They are happy to help! They just want you to love your photos!

Contributed by Anita Buzzy-Prentiss

photo by Diane Adrian Photography of Pittsburgh