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Wedding day bride and groom best photos session: Photographers advices to capture great portraits before ceremony

The bride and groom photo session can take place before or after the ceremony. It consists on a variety of portraits and it is usually followed by many formal group pictures, including your parents, siblings and bridal party.
So let’s see what the best time of the day to schedule your session is, what to expect, and how to improve it.

Should you do your photos before the ceremony or during the reception?

First, ask yourself if you agree on seeing each other before you walk down the aisle or not. If not, then the session would take place after the ceremony.
If you agree to see each other, then you can plan for a first look followed by the bride and groom session.
That’s the more convenient option, to save time and enjoy your cocktail hour. To this end, you might also take your formal bridal party and individual pictures with your groomsmen and bridesmaids before.

Doing pictures after the ceremony and before or during the reception means, you have less time to enjoy your guests. We believe that wedding photography is important, and so are your guests.

Best Hour for Photos

If you ask your photographer what’s the best time of the day to take pictures outside, he will probably answer: it depends on the season. Indeed, the great advantage of having weddings during winter, is that the sun is pretty low in the sky all day long, which means a very good light therefore a broad choice of options.
During the summer (around June 21st), the sun goes pretty high in the sky all day long, which is a terrible light for photographers to compose with. Indeed, it creates a distressful shadow on your eyes, and under your nose.
That’s probably one of the rare disadvantages of having a summer wedding! Unless you agree on taking your pictures at sunrise (5 a.m.) or at sunset (9 p.m.), you must resign that you won’t have a perfect natural light.
As a consequence, don’t focus your choice only on the sun position because it won’t make a big difference. Instead, focus on creating the more convenient wedding day timeline.

Sunset photos

I love sunset light and if we are lucky with the weather we might get away for a quick 10 min romantic photo session.
If your venue has a rooftop, let’s use it!

Evening and Last artistic photos

During the party I like to stage more artistic images, using off-camera flashes and taking advantage of your venue. It’s a way for best photographers to make the difference!

Indoor session

If you have a nice venue, we can also take pictures inside, before the reception. Sometimes, when the sunlight is too strong, using an indoor place could actually be better for portraits.  Then, we would probably use large windows that provide a soft natural light.

How Long a Photo Session Lasts

I recommend a minimum of 1 hour for a photo session. Indeed, with your experience acquired during the pre-wedding photo shooting, you should relax faster. One hour is a good amount of time for you to forget all your stress and for me to catch natural images. Of course, I can make it faster by shooting a lot of images in 20 min. But 1 hour is optimum, and can cover up to two locations.
If you are planning on going to several places, you should add the transportation time required for each to your timeline.
Finally, during your wedding day, you may realize that you won’t have a minute to exchange together. This session is an exception and can be considered as a short period just for both of you to enjoy your day.

What Do You Do During Your Photo Session

If you have done a photo session prior to your wedding, you already have an idea of what will happen. The main difference is that this time we will go faster, and you will be dressed in unusual clothes.
If you want to find and hire a talented professional photographer in the Twin Cities, it’s probably because you want great memories and stunning portraits. That’s why I include the engagement session in my packages, it really helps you improving the quality of your wedding images.

Having a First Look

By definition it takes place before you get married. The groom discovers the bride for the first time in the white dress, with her bouquet and kisses her. The groom’s reaction might be crying or just laughing. First look is always a beautiful moment full of emotions to capture.
Your parents and family members can assist to this, but should leave after. Indeed, the worst scenario (already experienced) is having parents or friends commenting, or posting pictures on Facebook and updating the couple in real time. They probably were driven by good intentions, but that just blocked the couple from being natural and relaxed.

Portrait your love

The goal is to showcase your true love and your complicity and not putting check marks on your wedding pose list.

Do You Need to Pose or Not

Most of my couples fear the awkward moment they would have to pose. Don’t worry, I know posing it’s terribly difficult! You are not a professional model and we are not shooting Vogue pictures.
My intention is you to have fun, so I can catch raw interaction. For this purpose, I would ask you to perform simple actions from everyday life.  The reason is that when we are in action, we look natural. In a way, I will ask you to play like an actor. For instance, I ask the groom to hug or kiss the bride, hold her hand, to tell her some jokes, to share some sweet words. The secret for the greatest wedding photography is the couple who does not pose, but has real fun! Only then, the photographer can capture the best images.
Don’t worry for the cheesy pictures. Except one or two formal pictures for your grandmother to be happy, most of them would be natural and not posed.

Where does it take place, how to choose your location(s)

Obviously, a great location would improve your photo sessions. Check the park available near your venue. Ask you venue’s advice, they are usually pretty aware of all the right spots.

Indoor or Outdoor

Depending on your season, how beautiful your venue style is, and the light, you will favor inside or outside. We can also combine both and going to several photo spots. The more locations you have, the more variety pictures you receive.

Nice view

A location offering a nice view on the landscape, such as a rooftop or the top of the hills, works very well.

Make sure there is no event scheduled

You have probably noticed that as soon as the winter is over and the warm weather is back, several festivals take place everywhere. So, be sure that there is nothing programmed on the date you are interested in!

Take in Consideration the Sun

As mentioned previously, take the sun’s position in consideration. There are several applications for your smart phone which can help you check the sun position at a specific date of the year!

Shaded Location

During summer we will search for shades. They usually offer a better light and it’s cooler!

Including Vegetation helps me create Depth in your image

As you may notice, I love to include trees in my photos to create a sensation of depth. For instance, I use leaves, flowers, fountains. So, avoid empty space such as vast and empty lawn.
What’s more, majestic old trees are very beautiful and would be a great background.

What to include to improve the bride and groom photo shoot

So, except the bride’s flowers, what else we can use. To be honest, we don’t need many things. But if you have these things, then we should take advantage of them:

  • Cars: old ones, or modern and sportive ones
  • Motorcycle
  • Boats: small wooden boats or big steam boats work great
  • Helicopter or plane: OK that is very rare. Even parked, it would still work!
  • Animal: if you have a dog, a horse, a duck, let’s include it.
  • Kids: if you already have kids, let’s try to include them!
  • Helium balloons
  • Accessories: feel free to bring any props for fun shots. You can use the same from the bridal party, such as sun glasses for the groomsmen.
  • You have absolutely no idea? Pinterest may help you find some inspiration!

Should Your Personal Intendant Assist You

Photographer always loves having an extra hand to help. You and your personal intendant must share the same ideas, thus the same expectations. She can make sure your lips and your hair are in good shape and fix it if need. Of course, if you can have the hair and makeup vendors staying during the shot, that’s a must (but it’s barely a real necessity).
She could also help with the dress for some singular poses.
The only restriction is that she should not start taking the control of the shooting and turning it into a style you won’t like.

Tips for a successful photo session

Let me share a short list of recommendations. These tips are not magical, but can help a bit to create beautiful images.

  • Have a plan B in case of rain
    If there is one thing you can’t control is the weather.
  • Bring a white umbrella
    A neutral color or transparent umbrella is better and can help us taking shots under a light rain.
  • Don’t forget your bouquet
    The groom can forget his boutonniere, but the bridal flowers are required.
  • Avoid tan lines
    Especialy if you have an open back! Yes, the groom doesn’t have this problem.
  • Avoid looking at the camera all the time
    Let your photographer tell you when to look at the camera, and the rest of the time, just look at the landscape in front of you.
  • Bring comfy shoes
    Brides love fancy shoes, but they might hurt your feet. I want you to be at ease in your shoes. So bring some flat shoes or wedge of the same size as your high heel. In this way, you may preserve your feet for your first dance.
  • Keep a fresh breath anytime
    The bride and the groom will kiss all the time, so it’s always better with a fresh breath.
  • Bring a lip stick or the bride’s safety kit in case of emergency
    It’s not rare that a dress button falls and needs to be fixed.
  • Ask for someone to drive us
    You don’t want to struggle parking and wasting time
  • Avoid the list of couple’s poses found on Pinterest
    Ideas are great, but don’t bring a huge list of wedding posed photos. The risk is that it might not look natural.
  • Review Your Pre-Wedding Photos
    Check at your previous photos, and see what worked and what you didn’t like. That can help have better shots.
  • A Playlist and Portable Speakers
    It’s always better with music!
  • Go to the restroom before
    You don’t want to lose time during the photo session.
  • Last tip: if you are not sure about your location, take some pics with your phone when visiting the park (try to go when the sun is at the same position in the sky), and ask for your photographer advice!

Black and White Portrait of Alexandre Mayeur, photographer at French-Touch-Photography

Born and raised in Paris, I am now a proud Wedding Photographer in Rochester, MN, serving MPLS.

I don’t only capture emotions in candid pictures, I also create timeless images and artful photographs.
Recognized as one of the best photographers in the Twin Cities.

I serve Duluth and also far beyond the 10,000 Lakes State (Wisconsin, Iowa, and destination). I am more than happy to discover beautiful landscapes and new horizons.

Have a look at my previous publications to learn more. As an experienced professional photographer, I don’t limit my field to lifestyle, family, or event photography! I invite you to visit my portfolio and discover my photography and work out of the studio.