Top Tips for Great LGBT Wedding Photos
Let’s face it: Wedding photography is an investment of both time and money – one that most couples feel is absolutely worth every penny. Capturing the memories of your day for posterity is no small matter, especially when you may have been forced to wait for the marriage equality tide to turn just to formalize your commitment. You know you want the best, most stunning images to reflect this monumental moment in your lives.
Choosing an excellent photographer is just the first step. There is more you can do to give you and your pro every advantage, and have a great wedding day photography experience at the same time.
Consider a First Look
It defies the tradition of not seeing one another before the wedding, but same-sex weddings skirt tradition all the time. For couples who are comfortable with the idea, it can be a true time saver. If joining your cocktail hour, or limiting the time between the reception and ceremony are your priorities, consider arranging a “First Look” earlier in the day. Most photographers are able to arrange or stage a moment where you first see each other, and capture that genuine interaction. Some first looks are epic and would even far surpass the average arrival at the aisle shot. There are other ways to save valuable photo time, but a first look can be one of your most effective options.
Create a (Minimal) Must-Have List
Many photographers include a suggested list of posed photos with their contracts, or at least recommend creating something on your own. These should be just the shots you cannot live without, and should include both the name of the people in each group, and the relationship. In the case of a gay or lesbian wedding with men and women playing different bridal party roles, it can be particularly important to list their title: “bridesman,” “man of honor,” or simply “attendant,” for example. Designate someone, either a trusted friend or your day-of-coordinator, to assist with pulling groups together and keeping the next ones “on deck” so photos go seamlessly and quickly. Don’t make the mistake of requesting every possible combination of your family and friends – those photos rarely make it into albums anyway. Also, unless you have chosen a novice photographer, resist the compulsion to list every single common wedding photo (“brides kissing”) – if you’ve chosen a pro, you can be absolutely certain he or she will get a photo of you smooching or walking down the aisle! Restrict your must-have list to only those photos that mean the most (the ones you’re most likely to share in an album or seek out frequently over the years).
Do the Families Have “Issues”?
Do indicate if you have any complicated or potentially sensitive relationships including divorces, other same-sex couples who should be recognized as such, feuding family and the like. Awkward photos are no fun for you or your photography team, so prepare them in advance if your family is experiencing “issues.”
Choose a Photographer Whose Style You Love
The process is simple: choose the best photographer to suit your tastes, then, let her do her job. Don’t spend endless hours assembling an inspiration board of the shots that you want to recreate, essentially providing a script for her to follow. If you chose well, your pro is likely to not only incorporate some or all of the shots you’ve seen online, but come up with new and creative approaches to dazzle you. Put the time in up front, then, relax on your wedding day.
Know this About Sunset Photos
If you decide that you must have sunset photos, plan your evening accordingly. Guests at some venues have a tendency to follow the couple out to watch the sunset too, which can dramatically impact food service. Let your caterer and your photographer know what you have planned so they can coordinate the best times to take you out for the photos without drawing everyone away from table service. This gives your caterer the opportunity to serve the freshest, most appealing food, and your photographer the ability to capture the shots you sincerely want. Also, be aware that you don’t shoot sunset photos at the “exact” sunset time you find online. There is a prime period before sunset that is perfect for such photos, so consult with your photographer and incorporate it into your timeline.
Relax and Enjoy!
The worst wedding photos are of couples that remain self-conscious and tense throughout their day. You might not be a natural in front of a camera, but you want to see the very best you when you look back and remember your favorite moments. Choose a photographer with whom you both feel very comfortable. Build a rapport in advance through an engagement session and consultations. Charge a close personal friend to take extreme measures to perk you up or calm you down, and remember exactly why you are there. If only for this one day, let the most beautiful you shine. You won’t regret the effort. We promise.
S. Walker is a freelance writer for GayWeddings.com.