You're getting married and I couldn't be happier for you! And, as your photographer, I want to gift you the BEST possible photos. I do want you to know that my best photos are not accidents - they usually are born when several elements align - and I want to share with you what they are. Ultimately so that you are as comfortable as possible, and also so that you love your photos.
Ask your photographer about their recommendations on timing for your specific location. If you will be outside in the mountains, sunrise or sunset will serve you well. Your photos will likely be more beautiful when the light is soft. Here in southwest Colorado, we rarely have a cloudy day, so the light is really harsh and the mountains are over exposed most of the day. But, it's important to consult your photographer because sunrise and sunset are not always the best option. If you are indoors with windows facing a certain direction, or if you're in a canyon, or heavily wooded forest, you'll want to choose a time of day with more ample light. If you have a full day of photos booked, consult with your photographer on your timeline - likely they will have an opinion that will ultimately result in you getting more beautiful images.
Consult with your photographer on locations that will give you the best results. Some time spent in nature can really level up your photos. Your photographer should have some tried and true locations that they know well. If you are setting up an arbor or altar for your ceremony, ask your photographer which direction it should be facing so that the light will hit both you and your partner evenly. Your photographer may even ask to have a site visit before the big day, so that y'all can work together as a team to collaborate on a location that meets your needs + has beautiful light.
There is something magical that real flowers can bring to your photos. Since you're already saving money on skipping the big wedding, I definitely recommend investing in a flower crown, bouquet and boutonnière. You can preserve your flowers or press them as a keepsake afterwards!
#4 Dramatic veil
When you have a long flowy veil, there are so many more possibilities for epic photos. The way the camera catches the movement of the fabric can really enhance your photos. You can find a $15 veil on Amazon and the longer the better! I can't emphasize this one enough. I wish every bride brought a veil for at least a few photos. The nice thing is that as soon as it gets cumbersome, we can take it off.
#5 A dress that you can move in + an attitude of flexibility
If you're really excited to get the candid shots, it can help if you don't feel stiff in your attire. I know most wedding dresses aren't designed for comfort, but it can really help us get those raw candids if you're able to trot around, dance, and be held. That being said, I've also had brides with incredibly precarious dresses that were able to laugh and find ways to move, even in the tight dress. So sometimes, just an attitude that you can move around holds more weight than the actual style of your dress.
#6 High stoke level to co-create art with your photographer
When you come into your shoot worried about your dress getting dirty or your hair getting tossed in the wind - that worry will be visible in your photos. On the flip side, when you come into your shoot excited to create art - magical things happen and that also shines through in the pictures. Trust your photographer, be open minded, try silly poses, take off your shoes, put your feet in the water, climb up a rock, lay in the wildflowers. The best photos come when clients feel good with their photographer and work together as a team to get the best photos possible.
#6 A headspace that is clear, present, and not stressed
I'm ending with this one, but honestly, it's the most important one. On your wedding day, your photographer is likely trying to capture emotions of love, connection, intimacy, joy, bliss, authenticity, closeness, affection, and happiness. If your photographer values authenticity and honest story telling, they should be your biggest advocate in helping your day to go smoothly + stress free. Why? Because when you are happy, the photos are happy. When you are stressed, that comes through in your photos as well. I don't write this to add stress to your already inherently stressful day. The last thing I want is for you to now be stressed that you'll look or feel stressed. I do, however, write this to bring awareness to the fact that it will be a big day, with complex emotions and a lot of moving parts. I do write this to bring awareness to the fact that having some kind of self care routine or plan on your wedding day could be a really good idea. I do write this as a reminder that as your wedding gets closer, you can be proactive about focusing on those emotions that you want to feel on your wedding day. Visualize what you want to remember from your wedding and how you want to feel. Of course, there may be waves of chaos on your day, but we are all here to support you. Let your photographer help, delegate tasks to your friends or ask other vendors to help in a pinch. We all want to see you held, supported, loved and happy on your wedding day.