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7 Tips for Capturing Perfect Wedding Day Photos

capturing the perfect wedding day photos

LET MET TELL YOU ABOUT THE BEST WEDDING I'VE EVER BEEN A PART OF. Sorry for yelling. I was just going through the photos of this day and it brings me so much joy. Maddie and Tyler's wedding was the best day of my entire career and maybe my entire life (until my own wedding this summer). I wanted to share the nitty gritty of this wedding day because their day (much like their proposal story) is a perfect example of what to do (and not do) to ensure you get the best photos on your wedding day.

Plan, Plan, Plan.

This should be a no-brainer, and most couples definitely do plan their day. But Maddie + Tyler's didn't have a planner and still their planning was something different across the board. Every vendor was selected based on personality and skill. Every section of the day (getting ready, first look, ceremony, etc) they knew exactly where they wanted photos taken and provided addresses to each location prior to the day. The depth of their planning meant everyone could focus on the moment instead of logistics. They also cushioned every "to-do" with downtime for resting and being present with their friends.

Select the Photography Package with the Most Time

Maddie and Tyler did select my package with the most time and then kept me for an additional 2.5 hours. This particular wedding was out of state, so I had nowhere I'd rather be anyway! But selecting the largest package meant that we were never rushed. They were never asking, "wait what time do you leave"? They knew I'd be there for every moment. The additional time let me get some fun candids of the groomsmen prepping the reception area, it allowed for travel time between locations and it let me be there for their entire reception and sendoff. If you're planning a sendoff moment, a "last dance", multiple locations for getting ready / reception / ceremony / cocktail hour / etc, ask your photographer their rate for full day coverage.

Invest in the Second Photographer

Okay so this is actually one thing that Maddie + Tyler didn't do but if they had the biggest difference here is always more ceremony photos and angles and allows for more candids and moments captured of your guests while you're off doing group photos, bridal portraits or something else.

Multiple Locations

My favorite thing that Maddie + Tyler did for their day was pick multiple unique locations that they loved to add lots of variety and memories. A rough breakdown: (1) I started my day meeting Tyler at the ceremony and reception site while they were getting the space set up. (2) Then followed them with the videographer to Tyler's parents house where we did groomsman "game day" photos, getting ready photos and some solo portraits of Tyler. (3) After about 45 minutes at this location, the videographer and I headed to the AirBnB Maddie + the bridesmaids were getting ready at for flat lay photos, dress photos, a first look with her bridesmaids and more. (4) We hopped in cars and headed to Duncan Garden, a botanical garden in Spokane that Maddie and Tyler picked as their first look location and where the bridal party photos would be taken. (5) Finally we headed to the Historic Flight Foundation in Spokane where the ceremony was held outside near the airport runway (this is also where we ended up doing bridal portraits and watching the sunset) and (6) the reception was held inside the hangar.

Obviously, the first, fifth and sixth locations were in the same walking distance, but everything else offered new backdrops, energies and time between to breathe, laugh, chat and talk about the day.

This might sound like a lot but circle back to the first note. Maddie + Tyler planned the shit out of this. Everyone knew where to go, where to be, what the game plan was so when it came time to actually execute the day there wasn't any need to fart around and ask "what do we do now? who's coming with us? where are we meeting?".

Table Photo Trend

I know it's a trend, but it's my favorite because it's the most efficient way to get photos with everyone on your day. The trend is to have your DJ play one song and announce for everyone to be ready as the goal is to get a photo with every table before the song ends. We usually get it done with half of the song to go. The photography runs with the newlyweds to each table and poses quickly for one or two snaps. The photos are always lively and everyone is ready knowing it could be their only shot for a photo with the newlyweds.

table photo trend for group photos during wedding reception

Ask for Everything without Guilt

While most of the day we knew what shots we wanted to get and how we wanted to play with different locations, when it came to reception Tyler and Maddie asked for everything without any hesitation or apology. A lot of my weddings my clients will say, "I'm sorry Jess can I get you to take a photo of me with my aunt?" Maddie and Tyler would simply grab me and say "let's get this shot really quick!" They broke out of the "plan" to make sure the moment was captured. That's what it's all about!

Plan, Plan, Plan... Surrender.

At the end of the day, Maddie + Tyler planned like crazy. They knew exactly what they wanted and they did everything leading up to the day to make sure everyone was on the same page. But if things were a little off the timeline, if people were pressuring them to do things a different way, they'd laugh and improvise and make the absolute most of it. They didn't show even the smallest smidge of stress the entire day. They were all smiles and gratitude and bliss to just be doing the damn thing.

Your day won't go exactly as planned. It'll go better. Things won't work. They'll surprise you and delight you. Shots might get missed. But other shots that mean more will show up in their place.

Pick your team of vendors the see you and surrender.


Don't let yourselves or your bridal party get wasted the night before your wedding. This is a tough one. Everyone's so happy to be together and ready to rock, but I've walked into getting ready suites to see zombies and lack of energy and awkwardness thanks to everyone going way too hard. Don't make that mistake! It's hard to look happy and excited in photos when you're hurting!


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