NO REGRETS: Planning Your Wedding Photography


A Little Forethought Goes a Long Way


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Planning Your Photography: Think About What You Want. And Then Think Again.

Whenever the subject of my profession comes up, people naturally talk about their own wedding photos. I often hear the phrase, “We loved our pictures, but we wish we had more [family shots/candids/portraits/fun/intimate moments/etc].”

Over the years, I’ve noticed a trend: it’s not that people are dissatisfied with the pictures they have. They’re dissatisfied with the pictures they don’t have.

When it comes to wedding photography, some brides (and grooms) already know what they want. And that’s a great thing. Taking a moment to envision what you’d like your photos to encompass goes a long way. It’s pretty simple, but perhaps that’s why it’s overlooked or checked-off too summarily.

Imagine yourself, years from your wedding, sitting on your sofa and looking through your wedding album. What do you want to see? Here are some things to consider:

Portraits and Editorial

If you’ve eschewed a portrait session, yet would like to see beautifully-set pictures of yourself and your spouse, it’s worth reconsidering. It’s difficult to have an editorially-styled shot without doing so purposefully. Natural moments throughout the day may not grab that one sweeping romantic picture you’ll treasure down the road.

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Candid Photography

That’s not to say candid photography can’t express romance – not by a long shot. Aside from being a wonderful way to relive the day, candids have the capacity to capture the all nuance and emotion behind your celebration. Personally, I think candids reveal the true “you” of your wedding – the story your grandchildren will want to know. There’s nothing like a tender, shared look between a bride and groom. But in order for that to happen, they have to spend at least part of the reception together.  

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In other words, a wedding is a dynamic event. If you ask for candids only, your photographer will want to please you and shoot the day as it unfolds. To get the kind of candids you want, you’ll have to at least set the stage so it can happen naturally. It sounds like a juxtaposition but consider this: if you want dancing, people have to dance!  Lively music should be a priority. If you want laughter and celebration, let go and enjoy yourself! Your guests will follow your lead. If you want affectionate moments between you and your groom, make sure you enjoy the reception together – not separately.

Sacred Ground

Some venues have rules about photography. Churches and temples can be particularly strict. It’s hard to get an intimate shot of the vow exchange if your photographer is only allowed on the balcony.

Luckily, everything is (usually) negotiable. It’s best to find out the rules of your venue up front and see what you can do about bending them. This way, you won’t be disappointed on the day itself when your photographer is not allowed up front, or even in the venue at all.

So the takeaway is this: even if you think you know what you want, take a moment to contemplate the benefits of the alternatives. Consider the canvas you need to allow the shots you want, and the photos will follow naturally. And that’s a beautiful thing.

dave robbins

Dave Robbins Photography, 120 Mercer Street, New York, NY, 10012