Best Wedding Day Photography Tips from Austin Wedding Photographers

{Updated for 2020}

If you are just visiting and found us on Google, read on to enjoy all the Top 10 wedding day photography tips I’ve compiled after years of shooting wedding photography! And if you are a Cory Ryan Photography couple, congrats on snagging us for your big day! We are thrilled to be a part of such a special day, and I want you to get the most from your photography on your wedding day. By using the tips below, we can deliver photos more outstanding than you ever imagined – even in the most unique circumstances!

Tip #1: See each other before the wedding!

On first thought, many couples immediately think to themselves “No way!”… And I absolutely respect whatever decision my couples reach! But by setting up a “first look”, we’ll truly be able to capture that special moment of seeing each other privately (or with loved ones) for the first time.  Plus, being together for a few moments before the wedding helps ease any nerves either of you may have.

After getting ready separately – while your hair and make-up are still fresh – we set up an opportunity for the bride and groom to see each other for the first time.  The moment you turn around and see each other, you’ll completely forget we’re there snapping away some very special and intimate moments!

TIP: If you’re having a winter or sunset wedding, there’s a good chance there won’t be any daylight remaining after the ceremony for photos. By doing a first look, we’ll be able to do your “formal” photos and couple session BEFORE your ceremony in the gorgeous natural light! You will get MORE photos and BETTER photos when you give us the time to go above and beyond. You may be on a tight reception timeline after the ceremony, so taking them before can often be so much more relaxing as well. And I’ve never met a couple who wasn’t in a hurry to get to their party! :) You’ll also be giving yourselves some extra time right after the ceremony to join your guests at cocktail hour or spend a few alone minutes together to take in the special moment you just shared!

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Tip #2: Make sure everyone is ready that needs to help the bride get dressed!

If your mom, sister or friends are helping you put your dress on, make sure those favorite ladies are dressed and ready to shine in photos, too. That way, everyone can concentrate on finishing touches and getting your dress on! It’s usually a good idea to tell everyone to be “photo ready” 15 minutes prior to when we really need them, just to ensure everything stays on time (ha!)

TIP: Have the flowers delivered to your “getting ready” location with plenty of time to spare, and each bridesmaid knows which bouquet is hers. All the boutonnieres should be pinned on the groomsmen as well! The florist or wedding coordinator can help with this, and let’s aim to get this all done before any official photos begin.

HOT TIP #2: While you are all putting on the finishing touches and getting into place, a photographer will also be shooting those sweet detail shots. Have the invitations, jewelry, shoes, rings, etc. organized and ready to go. Also have a designated place for personal belongings so they remain out of the way for photos.

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10 Wedding Day Photography Tips from Austin Wedding Photographers

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Tip #3: Hire Professionals 

If there were ever a time to hire a professional hair and makeup artists, it’s now….on your wedding day! Ask your photographer if you need recommendations – we’ve worked with many of them and can refer you to the best! Inexperienced hair and make-up people can cause your whole wedding day schedule to be off, delaying your wedding coverage by valuable hours. Professionals know how to allot their time correctly, work efficiently, and rarely go over on time while still making you look like a million bucks! If you would like, you can always schedule a hair and make-up trail prior to the wedding day as well.

TIP: Hire a professional wedding planner (or day-of coordinator) to alleviate wedding day stress for you, family members, and the wedding party. After all, you should be able to relax and enjoy it together! (Plus, wedding planners are great at finding creative ways and utilizing connections to stay on — or even under — budget!)

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Tip #4: A Room with a View

Pick a “getting ready” location that has plenty of natural light! If you are provided a room without adequate room to move around, or without adequate window light by your venue, consider renting a room at a hotel with large windows. Or we can start at your home, salon, or honeymoon suite! (Make sure to keep the area around the windows clear for photos.)

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Tip #5: Scout your ceremony location to see what the light looks like at that particular time of day!

If you wish for an outdoor ceremony location, do your research and scope out the area.  Choose a location (and ceremony time) with sufficient shade to cover all the bridal party, and so your guests aren’t squinting directly into the sun. If your wedding is scheduled for 2 hours before sunset, go look 2 hours before sunset and make sure everything is fully shaded. Direct light during your wedding ceremony can make for extremely harsh shadows, and lots of squinting facial expressions that are not flattering. You can check the sunset time here and work your timeline backwards. If you’re not sure, ask your photographer what time is best!

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Tip #6: Brainstorm some fun photo ideas ahead of time!

If you have ideas of your own about specific photos you want, tell your photographer ahead of time! Bring props and get creative for one-of-a-kind wall art that none of your friends will have! We will go anywhere you want – you don’t have to just limit it to your wedding venue. You’ve hired me, so take advantage of it. Let’s do something truly unique on your wedding day.

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Tip #7: Let them eat!

If you are unable to do photos before the ceremony for whatever reason, and we have plenty of natural light afterwards, it’s OK to let your guests go ahead and eat. And I mean the full meal – not just appetizers. Trust me – they will love it, you won’t feel as pressured on time for your photos, and the party can get started earlier in the evening.

NOTE: And while we’re talking about dinner, don’t forget the photographers have to eat as well (preferably at the same time as the couple so we don’t miss any photo ops)! No one on our staff has dietary restrictions or food allergies, but it’s a good thing to ask about for your vendors.

Tip #8: Let there be light!

And this time, I’m not talking about natural light! If your reception venue is lacking in the light department, consider bringing in a lighting package. Coordinators know that this is the cheapest way to bring a major *WOW* factor to your reception. Splashes of color, gobos in cool shapes with your wedding logo, and even your names on the dance floor can really bring a room from zero to fabulous is no time… and make the HUGEST difference in how good your photos look! Don’t be afraid to hire a company to light your reception professionally!

TIP: If you are having an outdoor reception, placing your dance floor under a tent will make a world of difference. That allows us to bounce the flash up into the tent roof, and provide more beautiful balanced photos. A tent also gives you a structure to hang the small lights in the roof which create a warm romantic background. Photographers also love those twinkle string lights too!

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Tip #9: Videographers

Little known fact: before I was a wedding photographer, I was a wedding videographer! I worked some very high-profile weddings, with some very high-profile photographers and know how it should be done. Make sure you are hiring experienced videographer with long telephoto lenses that will not interfere with your photos. Communication is key. Talk to them ahead of time and request that they shoot from 20 feet back to keep the altar clear. To make it easier, simply ask your photographer to recommend a videographer he/she has worked with in the past and trusts!

Tip #10: Breathe, soak it all in, and HAVE FUN!

Your awesome photographer will do the rest to ensure you have photos you’ll cherish FOREVER! Hire someone you trust, click with, and know that person will elevate your day!

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