15 Tips from a Wedding Photographer

Wedding photographer Stephanie Fay of Tunnel Photography shares her secrets to get amazing wedding photographs.

Choosing a Photographer

Your wedding photographer is one of the most important vendors at your wedding. We enlisted photographer Stephanie Fay of Tunnel Photography to share with us her advice to get the wedding photography of your dreams. Check out her tips and tricks along with her beautiful photography.

Get the 411

When you have your first meeting with your photographer, don't be afraid to ask questions! Here are three key areas I cover with my clients:

1. The Contract: Ask your photographer to explain the contract in detail to make sure there aren't any surprises. Be sure to read it thoroughly and fully understand it before you sign it and return it to the photographer.

2. Edit Time: Ask how long it will take for your photographer to finish editing the photographs and get them to you. Know that your photographer is editing to perfect your photographs and it may take some time.

3. Photography Assistant: Ask if the photographer will have any assistants to help shoot your big day.

Take Engagement Photos

I encourage my clients to have an engagement session. It's a great way to see how your photographer interacts with you. Your engagement pictures give you a chance to work with your photographer in person before your big day. Getting to know your photographer beforehand will ease your stress levels leading up to your wedding.

Check the Forecast

Before choosing a wedding date, it's always good to know what the weather is usually like. If it's a rainy time of year and you want to have an outdoor wedding, make sure you have a backup plan. If you are worried about taking your photos indoors, ask your photographer to do a walk-through of your location to get photo ideas and ease your nerves.

Find Out How You'll View Your Photos

I use Pictage which is a Web site that many photographers use to share their photos with couples. It's a very helpful online tool that makes it easy to view and print your photographs. Pictage isn't the only way to view images; just remember to ask your photographer what she'll use to show you your photos.

Getting All Your Images

Ask your photographer about her policy regarding giving you a disc of your images. Some photographers will charge for it while others will give it to you after a certain amount of time.

Don't Forget About Extra Expenses

If your photographer is traveling to the destination for the wedding, keep in mind her hotel accommodations, transportation, and extra charges for the travel time. Remember to cover all the expenses before the big day.

About This Wedding: For Jordan and AJ's wedding I traveled to Paris, Texas. Both families were extremely generous and courteous about my needs as a photographer.

Stick to a Schedule

It's really important to keep a detailed schedule and stick to it! It'll be very helpful for your photographer to know exactly how the day will go so she can make sure there's plenty of time for your photos. Try to get your timeline to your photographer at least a week in advance so she can look it over. Don't be afraid to ask your photographer for timeline tips when you're planning your itinerary. We've been to tons of weddings and can offer helpful advice.

Buddy Up with Your Photographer

Getting to know your photographer will help your big day go more smoothly. You'll feel more comfortable about sharing your opinion and trusting how your photographer works.

About This Wedding: After shooting Sharon and Kenny's engagement photos, they trusted my opinions at the wedding and felt assured they will like the outcome.

Don't Be Afraid to Speak Up

Tell your photographer exactly what you want. Don't be hesitant to share your creativity with your photographer. Sometimes these photos can be the best of the bunch.

About This Wedding: Before their ceremony began, Jordan, the bride, pulled me aside and asked if we could do this photo. It turned out beautifully.

Communication Is Key

Communicate with your photographer which shots are the most important to you. In the craziness of your big day the simplest shots can be overlooked. It's very helpful to type out a shot list of all the photographs you want, so the photographer knows exactly what you are looking for.

About This Wedding: Sharon mentioned she wanted some of her bridal portraits to be out-of-the-ordinary. I took advantage of this pretty stained glass for an interesting pose.

Trust Your Photographer

Trust that your photographer is doing her best to capture your day. Your photographer may take some photos from different angles, but trust that she knows what she's doing.

About This Wedding: I unexpectedly asked Shannon to jump into a tiny window for a shot and it turned out beautifully. Trust us -- we know what looks great!

Remember the Details

So often we over look the tiny details which you have spent so much time planning. Make sure to point out all the detail shots you want to your photographer. Detail photos can be great additions in photo albums and slide shows. Plus you might miss some of the details in the midst of your wedding day and the photos will be a pretty reminder of all the special touches you added to your event.

Plan Your Wedding Around the Lighting

Lighting is very important for your photographer to capture the perfect picture. If you are having an evening wedding, make sure you save plenty of time for pictures while there is still some light. As long as you stick with your detailed schedule, lighting shouldn't be a problem!

About This Wedding: AJ and Jordan stuck with a timely schedule with plenty of time for a comfortable photo session.

Photos Last a Lifetime

Other than your memories, the photos from the wedding will be what you have left. When looking for a photographer, ask what each package includes. Photo albums, thank-you cards, and online slide shows are a few examples of tokens photographers can offer for you to savor the memories of your wedding day. If what you want is not included, ask if you can work out a customized package to suit your needs.

Relax and Enjoy Your Day

Most important: Remember, this is YOUR day. Relax and take it all in!

More from Stephanie

To see more of Stephanie's beautiful photography, check out her Web site.


Also check out this Real Wedding shot by Stephanie.

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