Any bride will tell you: The most important thing about your wedding day (besides your groom and, like, every other tiny little detail) is the photo album. So we asked wedding photographer Alisha Siegel for advice on how to snag the best photos that you’ll pore over for years to come.
1. Choose a Photographer You Really Like and TrustPosing for pictures all day can feel forced and strange. But having a photographer you feel relaxed around helps open you up to the camera, which means more authentic moments and less of that fake smile that makes you cringe.
2. Plan a Pre-Wedding Photo Session with Your Photographer Yes, engagement photos serve a purpose beyond making the world jealous of your perfect relationship: They help you get to know your photographer and vice versa. If your pre-wedding photo session feels relaxed, you can probably expect the same vibes on your wedding day.
3. Do a Trial Run with Your Hair And Makeup TeamEven if you booked a pro, his or her aesthetic might be totally different from what you’re going for. A trial will get you both on the same page—and help you avoid being stuck with a 1940s pinup-girl look (that you didn’t want).
4. Scout Photo Locations Prior to the WeddingOn one of your pre-wedding venue visits, snap some phone pics of spots you like. Your photographer can help figure out which locations will yield the best photos and which you can probably skip. (Ivy wall: yes; overtly phallic fountain: no)
5. Create a Playlist That You Can Rock Out ToOr have your MOH do it. Good tunes will keep you relaxed while you’re getting ready. While you’re jamming, you won’t be thinking about whether you forgot to order the one vegetarian dinner. Trust: Anxiety will show in photos.
6. Play Around with Natural LightYou may have a list of 50 shots you need to get. But if your photographer notices something magical happening with the light, be OK with spontaneity. (Hello, romantic “magic hour” shots.)
7. Be Comfortable in Your DressEvery bride will tell you: Sit in your dress before you buy it. If you’re uncomfortable in what you’re wearing, you might miss out on fun non-portrait poses.
8. Carefully Select the People Around YouAka your bridal party. These folks will be spending all day with you getting ready and being candidly snapped. So definitely pick the friends and family who make you feel (and look) happy.
9. Stay Far, Far Away from Anyone Who Brings You StressAnd on the contrary, some people just drain your energy. So pick one calm friend to help keep some distance between you and whoever’s bringing that frown to your face.