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Over the course of shooting what feels like a million weddings we’ve come to learn some tips and tricks the hard way – these are the 7 biggest things we always tell our brides.

1. Do an Engagement Shoot
An engagement shoot is such a great way to get used to being photographed. Having a big camera in front of your face while being told to kiss could be a little uncomfortable if you’re not accustomed to it. An engagement shoot before the wedding allows you to ease into it and get used to us and our style. You can be relaxed for a couple of hours while the three of us get to know each other and when your big day rolls around you’ll be a pro.

2. Schedule, schedule, schedule
Use your photographer to help you plan your day. Since we’ve been involved in a ton of weddings, we know how much time to allot for each aspect of your day. Scheduling for the day also plays a major role in what your photos will look like. Our recommendation is to schedule portraits with the bride and groom about 2 hours or so before sunset. When the sun is high in the sky around noon hour it creates unflattering shadows on your face from your own eyebrows; when the sun is lower and the light is diffused it creates beautiful even light that will make your images dreamy and soft.

Make sure you schedule enough time for shots with just the two of you, you need at least 10 – 20 minutes to get rid of your jitters before we can start creating some really peaceful, relaxed, & fun images that you’ll have forever.

3. The room you’re getting ready in is important, too
Try to get ready in a room with a lot of light, and one that is large enough to fit all of your bridesmaids. You’ll be able to see your makeup, dress, and hair in natural light and you won’t feel crammed. The photos will benefit immensely too!

4.  Don’t underestimate fun details!
Little DIY details might not seem that important but they add a ton of personality to your photos and your day. Don’t forget to bring a nice hanger to get a lovely dress shot and definitely remember to bring a copy of your “save-the-date” card and invitation.

5. Who do you want family + friend portraits with?
About a week or two before the wedding, determine who you want family and friend portraits with. A simple way to determine who to get a portrait with, is to ask yourself whether or not you’d frame a photo with them. If not, you can get a quick snapshot later in the night.

One of the best photography scheduling tips is to try and get family portraits done while you’re at the ceremony venue – right after the ceremony takes place. This way you won’t have to make sure everyone has transportation to the portrait site or worry about them getting lost (and wasting more time!) on the way there. Since family shots are about the beautiful people in them and less about the location, any spot with trees or a nice brick exterior will be just fine.

6. Relax & have fun!
This is less about photography, and more about enjoying your day and the company of your loved ones around you. But, bonus, relaxing and rolling with the punches will make your photos much less forced and more natural. Your dress gets the tiniest bit of dirt on it? Try to shrug it off. If the ceremony runs a little long – you’ll still have a wonderful day. Let your photographer and day-of coordinator keep you on time – your job is to open your eyes and take it all in!

7. Do your own thing
While there have been many traditions ingrained into weddings, don’t forget that you can literally do whatever you want. From wearing a coloured dress to even having a wedding brunch instead of a dinner. If you can imagine it, you can do it.