5 Things Your Wedding Photographer Wished You Knew

Jun 24, 2021 | Planning

When it comes to wedding planning, we're here to make it easier for you and so are our Fine Art Curation members. So we have Courtney Bowlden Photography (who is based in Charleston, SC but has Paris as her second home) here today to give our brides advice on What Your Photographer Wished You Knew. Grab your coffee and bookmark this article to revisit as often as you need to...

"12 years of being a wedding photographer will open your eyes to what works and what doesn’t when it comes to a wedding day. I've come to find out that through discussions with other wedding photographers, some of the same misunderstandings arise when it comes to the day of union. Here are a few tidbits that may help you along your way in planning your wedding day."

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1. Your photographer doesn’t need to have previously photographed at your wedding venue.

I usually prefer working at venues that I have never been to or seen before because it gives me a fresh canvas to work with. I feel more inspired when I have never been to a venue before, or even a new location. We may know the area better if we have shot at the venue before, but it doesn’t need to be a final decision maker. If you are hiring a seasoned and experienced wedding photographer, they should be able to be inspired and flexible with different lighting situations. If you are having a backyard wedding under a tent, ask your photographer for a gallery of some photos they have taken at a similar venue or setting. That is a better indicator of how well they will do at your venue rather than basing it off of the fact that they have worked at that same venue before. I personally like to arrive at least an hour before my official start time on the wedding day to scout out the area for any new locations for photographs. It also allows me time to look at the lighting situation for the day since light changes throughout the year.

5 Things Your Wedding Photographer Wished You Knew Pin it
5 Things Your Wedding Photographer Wished You Knew Pin it
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2. Cloudy days are just as good as sunny days.

While I prefer sunny days to cloudy ones (I am a Californian after all), both kinds of weather photograph well. There is no better or worse lighting situation, they just make me choose what equipment I decide to use. For example, on bright sunny days, I love using film because it's softer on the skin whereas on overcast days, I will choose my digital camera because it works better in darker situations. I know every photographer has their own system, but this is a universal rule that every kind of weather is photographable. Even in the rain, an experienced photographer will have ideas for what to do and how to approach photos outdoors.

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3. Sunless tanners are no bueno.

While most people love being tan (including myself), self tanners aren’t your answer for more color. Not only does it not photograph well, but there are almost always streaks on the back and neck, splotchy orange hands and knuckles, and in the worst cases I have seen it rub off on wedding dresses. I know, horrible, right? My suggestion is embrace your beautiful self, put a little extra bronzer on your face and shoulders for a little extra color. This is also a great time to talk to your makeup artist about a trial. They are usually very knowledgeable and can help you out with this.

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4. Work with your photographer for your timeline

Wedding timelines are great, but your DJ shouldn’t be making them for you. When planning your wedding timelines, include your coordinator and your photographer. Every photographer works differently and some might need more time for some events than others. For example, family photos should only take 10-15 minutes if your family is smaller. However, if your photographer doesn’t know how many people there are in your family, they may schedule 30 minutes instead. Your photographer should know how much time they need for everything to make sure that your timeline for the day runs smoothly. The more information you give your photographer and coordinator, the better your timeline will be.

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5. Trust us.

I am a very easy going photographer, and am very good at going with the flow and I'm flexible with changes (I think anyone who works in the wedding industry kind of has to be). After photographing over 300 weddings in the last 12 years, I know the shots I need to take to tell the perfect wedding story. I care a lot about getting my couples the very best images of their wedding say. However, when I have brides or guests question my knowledge or system on things, they are basically telling me “I don’t trust you” and it can mess up my routine for getting you the very best shots. I promise, when a client puts their full trust in me and lets me create photographs, I perform better and strive to do the absolute best I can. It also helps my creativity a ton! I welcome my couple's photo suggestions before the wedding to get shots that are important and special. I will also almost always ask if they have preferences for certain locations and spots, but in the end, good lighting always rules out some things. Photography is what we do best, the greatest choice you can make is giving us trust and just enjoying your wedding day. We are here for you and want you to ultimately be happy with everything we present to you.

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Photography & advice: Courtney Bowlden Photography

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