Planning a wedding can at times feel overwhelming, so here at Dennis Tan Creative we want to help you get a head start with all things photography for your special day. Together, we’ll cover all the bases so that when it comes to the photos you want, you’ll know exactly what you need to do and most importantly, to remember to have fun!
6 to 12 months before your wedding day
- Deciding the best time of year to get married and securing a wedding date is, of course, one of the first things you do as a newly engaged couple. One of the most important questions to consider though is what season best suits the weather you’re wanting? If you’ve always wanted to have wedding photos in a field of wildflowers, or on a calm, low-tide beach, then the time of year will certainly have an impact on your day.
- Take into consideration a timeline for your wedding photos. This includes a little bit of research, but as your wedding photographer I too will have suggestions to make the most out of taking amazing images.
- What time do you want your ceremony?
- If your wedding is in summer, then late nuptials (for example, at 4pm) still provide enough time to take bridal party, bride and groom, and reception photos afterwards.
- If your wedding is in winter, then an earlier nuptial ceremony is best (for example, 2pm) as the sun sets much earlier and there is a general rush to get from location to location for photos before darkness falls.
- Did you know that some parks around the Perth metropolitan area require a permit to photograph a wedding? Though it’s easy and simple to obtain a permit – just contact the shire, city or location owner to book and pay a fee.
- If you are considering an outdoor ceremony, I highly recommend finding a spot where you and your guests will be in full shade. There is a great amount of direct sunlight in the summer months which can severely affect everyone attending – anything from loved ones’ health conditions you may not be aware of, to men’s suits requiring a few layers. Your guests will enjoy the shade, and you won’t risk grandma passing out (yes, it’s happened before!).
- You can absolutely visit the venue around the time of your ceremony to get a better idea of where the sun will be and take note of where all the shady trees are.
- Engagement photography sessions are a great way to help you feel comfortable in front of the camera. They are also a fantastic way of getting to know your photographer and seeing how you all work together to get those shots you want.
- When looking into hiring a videographer, consider a professional who compliments my style of wedding photography. It won’t end well if the two of us have opposing ways in which we work; I am more than happy to provide any recommendations if you are yet to research who you would like to hire.
- It’s completely normal to not hear anything from your vendors and suppliers up until one month before the big day. Some of my couples book me up to 18 months in advance, however it’s not unusual that I don’t get in touch until there is just one month left to their wedding day.
1 month before your wedding day
- One month before the big day, I will send you a questionnaire so we can create your timeline and work out all the logistics. Your answers should include absolutely everything – from what time and place the bridal party starts to get ready, to the last special event you want captured at your reception.
- This might not necessarily be a ‘photography’ tip, but many bridal couples want colourful confetti thrown by the guests as they walk down the aisle at the end of the ceremony. It’s important to consider choosing confetti that is biodegradable so it decomposes into the earth without having an effect on the environment.
- Once we have set the wheels in motion for your timeline, I’ll communicate with you about what time I’ll arrive and ensure the schedule allows enough time for all the wedding pictures you want. The first two things to consider include (for both the bride and groom):
- Where will you be getting ready?
- What time will you arrive there?
- Generally it can take a bride and groom, and their separate parties anywhere between 2 to 3 hours to get ready (there is another tip below regarding this); it’s all dependant on how many people are getting ready. The more time you give yourself, the more time you have to enjoy the moment and take it all in.
- As the photographer, I require a minimum of 1.5 hours to take pre-wedding photos. This includes classic shots of you and the bridal party getting hair and make-up done, getting dressed, enjoying some champagne, photos of the bride on her own, and having a bit of fun with children and family pets, if any.
- I also require a minimum of 20 minutes for formal group photos, which are pictures with family and the bridal party before heading off to the ceremony.
- Find out from your hair stylist and make-up artist exactly how long it will take for them to get everyone ready. This will certainly assist in me knowing what time to come knocking on the door – everyone should be ready by the time I arrive.
- Location shoots are lots of fun. This is where we can all start to loosen up a bit before the big celebrations, but I often get asked about how long it will take to do. Whilst the time varies, I normally don’t get much of a choice as the ceremony and reception times are already set, however that would never stop us from ensuring your bridal photos are exactly what you want.
- Having said that though, if you haven’t got those times locked in just yet, I would recommend a minimum of 1.5 hours for the location photos. The best time of day is in the two hours just before sunset, so we need to factor in travel time if we are heading from one spot to the next.
1 day before your wedding day
- The day before your wedding, ensure your dress doesn’t require an ironing or a steaming; there’s nothing worse than seeing creases on your gown the morning of your big day.
- Prepare all the accessories you want featured in your wedding photographs, including your shoes and any, and all, jewellery items.
- The groom should, if he doesn’t already know how, have a quick lesson in tying his neck tie, bow tie, cravat or ascot.
- Ensure the groom and his groomsmen are aware they are to arrive at the ceremony venue earlier than the guests so they can check everything is in its place, welcome all arrivals, and be ready at the altar.
- Ensure a spare pair of flat shoes to help you walk between events, especially if you are walking a fair bit in a forest, for example, or on soft terrain to get to our location shoot.
- A couple items to include in your emergency kit bag are band aids, paracetamol and/or ibuprofen, wet wipes, and a small spray bottle of water to keep your bouquets fresh all day.
The day of your wedding
- For you and the bridesmaids, you’ve got a big morning ahead! When hair and make-up is almost done, you can expect my arrival – so don’t put the dress on until my camera and I are there. One of the most iconic photos you may want is that of your dress hanging in a special place.
- Once that is done, I’ll take photos of the accessories you have chosen, including your shoes, and then we’ll start capturing you and the bridesmaids getting ready with the gowns, and last minute touch ups to hair and make-up.
- Whoever is most important to you and who is with you on this morning, whether it be your mum, your sister or your best friend, it’s encouraged that they have the honour of putting your veil on top of your head. It also makes for stunning photos if they assist with putting your jewellery and garter on.
- Once the bride is dressed, I like to do what is called a ‘first look’ series of shots. It’s when the bride’s parents see their daughter in her gown for the first time – trust me, it makes for a truly emotional set of images you will cherish forever.
- For the groom, it’s ideal that we have photographs of you and the groomsmen getting ready – putting on the last minute touches, adjusting cuff links, fitting your shoes on, and perhaps having a drink or two to calm the nerves. Hanging out by the groom’s ride of choice, i.e. limousine, etc. also makes for great photos.
- This doesn’t happen at every wedding, but a trend occurring at modern day nuptials is the bride and groom’s ‘first look’. As with the bride’s parents taking a first look at their daughter in her gown, this first look allows the couple to see each other for the first time after getting ready and have a quiet moment together, away from the party and away from guests, before the ceremony.
- Your first look could be at a quiet park or historical building just a couple hundred metres from the ceremony venue, or at a location along the way that has meaning for you both. A first look makes for beautiful storytelling in your wedding photos.
- Whilst the both of you are happily engaged in your nuptials and saying your vows, I’ll be capturing all the moments for you.
- One idea to consider is asking your guests to participate in an ‘unplugged’ wedding. This means they are all asked to keep their phones in their bags and their pockets, and to not take any photos or videos of your ceremony.
- Many people get excited and want to take pictures on their phones to share on the socials, however I like to take a few professional pictures of your guests smiling and watching the both of you. It’s not quite the same effect if they have their phones in front of them, and when you look back at them all during a fleeting moment of laughter, you won’t see any of their faces – just phones.
- If you ask for an ‘unplugged’ wedding and look back at your wedding photos, you’ll notice not a single phone in sight. How beautiful is that? Everyone is looking at you!
- You also won’t have anyone jumping out in front of me during poignant moments and capturing a blurry iPhone or android photograph.
- The kiss! We need to talk about the kiss. Plan for your first kiss as husband and wife to last between 3 and 5 seconds. This allows me to get a variety of composition shots; consider even snuggling in closer for that moment – but no tongue! Let’s not make anybody feel awkward.
- An important thing to remember when walking down the aisle together past your guests is to look married! Look happy! Hold your new husband’s or wife’s hand, smile at one another or laugh with people you spot in the crowd.
- As soon as the ceremony is done, usually a large line of congratulations starts from your guests, and whilst I like to get pictures of these, it’s also a great idea to get everyone together for one massive group shot. It might not sound extremely exciting, but I guarantee you someone in your family will be putting up these photos up on the shelf to treasure.
- I recommend a large photo of everyone at the start of this, then just immediate family. Extended family and friends can be saved for the reception.
- By now, we would have discussed and organised in your schedule where and when your bridal location photos will be taken. So now is the time to sit back with some champagne in the limousine as you get chauffeured around, and relax.
- Your bridal shots don’t need to be serious and romanticised all of the time. If you’re feeling silly, like to tell jokes, or pull faces, then do it! The more true you are to yourselves during this time, the more fun you’ll have while I’m snapping away.
- Be adventurous! Don’t stress about getting dirt on your shoes or on your gown, or if a bug flies into your mouth. Life is more fun when you’re not worrying about those sorts of things.
- But don’t worry, I do give some direction during this shoot, so if you’re feeling a bit uncomfortable I’ll guide you along the way. Soon you’ll both even forget I’m there, and the natural posing will just take over. Even walking hand-in-hand along a path or through the forests can be a stunning photo opportunity.
- I’ll be at the venue before you get there, to capture the moment you walk into the reception for the first time as husband and wife.
- Here is where I’ll capture all those moments of the both of you talking with guests, the speeches, and hitting it out on the dance floor.
- Ensure you’ve informed me of any special moments, surprises or announcements you 100% want captured at the reception so that we can schedule it at the beginning of the party.
- I will aim to have all your photos edited and uploaded to your private online gallery between 4 and 8 week post-wedding. Once they are ready, I’ll get in touch with you and provide you with a link to your stunning photos!
- Once you receive your link, it’s strongly advised you back up all the images whether it be directly to your computer, to your Dropbox, Google Drive, or other device/app.
- There are lots of options out there when it comes to printing your wedding photos. I am happy to provide some recommendations on where you can find good quality and reliable printers.
- If you are interested in a wedding album, please talk to me about putting one together for you. The options are endless, and for a beautiful heirloom you would want to cherish for the rest of your lives together, a hardcopy wedding album is the way to go.