Your wedding day is just that: 24 hours that seem to be over in a flash.
Thankfully, a skilled photographer can capture the best moments from that whirlwind day, providing a lasting way to relive the magic for years to come.
Entrusting the picture-taking to a professional is the first step, but there are other things you can do to ensure the most breathtaking wedding album possible.
“Finding the photographer that fits your taste is essential,” said Gustavo Rattia of Oceano Blue, who has been a wedding photographer since 2007 and a Lowcountry resident since 2015.
Experts advise couples to hire the photographer and the videographer from the same company. Pros who have worked together will have similar styles and a shared vision — and there might be a discount on a photo-video package.
“At the very least, you should ask your photographer if they have ever worked with the videographer you are considering,” said Rob Kaufman of Kaufman Photography, who has been shooting weddings in the Hilton Head Island area since 1995. “This is a small island, and chances are most of us have worked together before and know how to ‘dance’ with each other.”
Make a Connection
Making a personal connection is important when choosing a photographer.
“Many of my most powerful images are made during private, deeply emotional scenes where I have been welcomed to document the moment,” said Tim Zielenbach, who was nominated twice for a Pulitzer Prize in feature photography. “I would not be there without having built up a sense of trust with the bride.”
Know Your Style Goals
Well before the wedding, communicate your style preference to the photographer. “There are so many styles and photography tendencies nowadays,” Rattia said. “Do you want classic? Light and airy? Dark and moody? Research different styles before hiring your photographer; some photographers are traditional, and some are more adventurous when composing a shot.”
Create a mood board with images you love for your photographer. A good photographer will know if his or her style doesn’t match yours, and should recommend an alternative.
“Pinterest and Instagram are great places for inspiration,” Kaufman said. “Find photos you like and pass them along to your photographer. It gives us a good idea of the style that you prefer.”
Be a Good Scout
If your photographer is local and available to visit the wedding site in advance, that will save you time when the big day arrives. But you should do your homework, too. “Have different options and get to know where the best spots are to get the best light, according to the time of the day you’re planning your event,” Rattia said. “A sun ray can make a big difference in a picture.”
That goes double for water.
“Don’t forget to check the tides if your wedding is on or near the beach,” Kaufman said. “Nothing can make photography more difficult than having only a few feet of beach to work with.”
Plan for Weather
If by some fluke the perfect sunset portrait you envisioned isn’t going to happen, you’ll be less stressed if you’ve got a backup plan.
“It is important to always have a Plan B,” Rattia said. “Find out if your venue can offer an indoor option in case of rain; that way, you can plan with your photographer to have alternatives and find pretty locations for photos.”
You can also consider a nearby church, barn or museum for stunning portraits that’ll keep you dry.
Don’t Skimp on Makeup
Hilton Head Island-based photographer Amia Marcell said finding the right makeup artist is essential.
“Hire the best makeup artist you can afford,” she said. “(The) right makeup will make you enhance your natural beauty, and you will look fantastic and happy on your wedding day.
Have a Helper
Your photographer will probably bring an assistant, but you’d be wise to designate one of your own. “It’s important for you to have someone you trust to be close to you, helping to make sure your makeup, your dress and your hair are perfect,” Rattia said. It might behoove you to choose someone who wants you to look your best and who won’t also need to be in pictures with you.