At some point during your wedding day schedule, you should allow some time for the portrait session with your photographer.
The Wedding Day Portrait Session is when you, your partner (and sometimes the bridal party too) escape for a little while to get some nice photos alone with your photographer.
Here are a few tips to make sure you get the best photos possible.
It is up to you if you want to do the portrait session before or after your ceremony. Some couples wish to get the photos out of the way before all the formalities, combining them with a ‘first look’ sometime earlier on in the day.
Most common though is to have the wedding portrait session some time after the ceremony. As for the actual time, I would strongly advise you to consider having the photos as late as possible during daylight, preferably an hour or so before sunset.
During the summer months especially, between 12-4pm the sun is still very strong and high in the sky. Not only will it be uncomfortable for you with the heat, but also the light is less flattering at this time of day.
I always do my best to conduct the portrait sessions in the shade, but sometimes this isn’t possible.
The hour before sunset is known as golden hour due to the beautiful light. If you can schedule the portrait session around this time, your photos will look amazing!
I’ve been to a few weddings as a guest where the wedding photographer took the bridal party off to some far away place, making us all wait for hours for their return. As a guest I found it quite unpleasant to have to wait so long, so I vowed never to do that when I’m the wedding photographer!
The shortest time I’ve had to take the portrait photographs was 10 minutes. The longest was 3 hours (at my couple’s request,) which is, in my opinion, way too long unless we need to travel further away.
On average, couples should allow for around 1 hour for the portrait session. This will obviously change depending on the locations/travel time, but in general, much less time is needed than you probably think.
On your wedding day, I don’t need to take you too far away from your guests. This ties in with the ‘How Long’ point from above, as I’m conscious of your guests having to wait too long for your return.
Usually we’ll find somewhere close to the ceremony for the photos which we can agree upon before your wedding.
Obviously if you’d like to go somewhere further away for more time, I’m totally happy to do this for you, but this is where doing it later in the day would be advantageous too – at least if the drinks at the bar are already flowing when we are away, your guests will no doubt be much more comfortable waiting for your return. Maybe a bit too comfortable…!
Usually we’ll start off with you guys and the bridal party for a few shots of everyone together.
After that it’s up to you if the bridal party hang around whilst you and I continue, or whether they return to the reception and leave us alone.
If the reception is nearby I usually advise that they return. This means they don’t get bored waiting, and also and perhaps more importantly, it gives you as the newly weds a bit of a breather!
You’ll also feel more comfortable relaxing for your photos if all your friends aren’t watching too!
It’s natural for people to be nervous or uncomfortable in front of the camera. I am too when I’m on the other side of the lens!
Don’t worry too much about this – nerves and awkwardness bring out true emotion and nervous energy which can really make a photo.
Whilst my wedding work is 99% candid and hands-off (documentary style photography), the 1% of the time is during the portrait session where I may pose you slightly.
When I say pose, I don’t mean I’ll be placing you in stiff or unnatural positions, but rather just directing a little to make you look as awesome as possible! I’ll also make sure you’re in the best light.
Usually I’ll just get you to hang out in an interesting spot, and just see what happens. I’ll leave you alone for a minute or so which will hopefully help you forget about the camera, then do my thing from a distance.
Most couples comment after their wedding that they enjoyed the portrait session because it gave them a chance to spend a few minutes alone, away from the madness of the wedding day. I hope you feel the same way too 🙂
The goal is to slow everything down during the portrait session. It’ll give you a chance to catch your breath and be alone with your partner, so you can savour your first few minutes as a married couple.
It’s during this time after all that we’ll be capturing photos that you’ll treasure for the rest of your lives 🙂