Wedding Advice From A Professional Photographer | Destination Wedding Photographers in Vancouver

As an industry professional I often get questions from clients about how to make the most of their wedding pictures. I always give my clients the same three pieces of advice, but since it really isn’t highly confidential information I thought I would share my three tips here on our blog for all to see!


Tip #1 – Leave the pictures & video to the professionals!

There is a reason you hired a professional wedding photographer or videographer. Because you absolutely love their work, and you trust them to capture the moments from your once-in-a-lifetime celebration. So tell your guests to turn their cellphones off, close up the iPads, and put away their cameras.

* Guests can make or break a great shot for a photographer. Guests who are interacting, laughing, smiling, dancing up a storm and really enjoying the wedding can make a great picture.
* Guests who block a shot of the bride crying as she walks down the aisle with her dad because they “NEED” to get a shot on their iPad are the bane of my existence.

* Guests who help a photographer locate missing family members for portraits – helpful!
* Guests who stand over the photographer’s shoulder shouting “look over here at my camera” – anything but helpful.

* Guests smiling as they watch the bride and groom take the floor for their first dance is extremely endearing.
* Guests who stand directly behind the  couple and have flashes firing on their camera cause the photographer’s images to be overexposed – something that cannot be fixed in Photoshop. The shot is simply ruined and lost forever. Flashes can fire as quickly as 1/800 of a second. We simply cannot predict when a guest’s camera flash is going to go off.

Bottom line? Leave the important shots to the professionals! Ask guests to unplug during the ceremony, portraits and important moments at the reception such as entrance, speeches, cake cutting and the first dance. Everything else is a free for all and we can work around them.

This over-exposed image was ruined by a guest flash and could not be saved.
Another image taken less than 15 seconds later with ONLY the photographer’s lighting.

Tip #2 – Plan ahead so you can relax and enjoy your day!

We never look our best when we are stressed to the max. Our smiles look forced when our minds are elsewhere, so hire trusted professionals who you’ve either gotten a referral for, or seen the reviews of, or better yet speak with a past client of. The last thing you want to be worrying about is where the liquor license is or why the caterer is late.

Plan weather appropriate attire & locations. In a city like Vancouver we’re often faced with the challenge of wet weather. Spend some time before you wedding looking for nearby locations of cover that you can share with your photographer. Even if they aren’t “traditionally pretty” your photographer may be able to throw them out of focus all together, or light them in an interesting way.

Pack umbrellas that match your wedding colours if the weatherman is calling for rain. Choose appropriate footwear for the bridesmaids (high heels in soggy grass or even sand, SUCK, trust me on this one not as a photographer, but as a shoe addict.)

On the contrary, if it is very hot outside be sure to pack cold bottled water (not just beer!) snacks, and some towels & blotting cloths for the wedding party. It’s hard enough to spend an hour or two taking portraits when you’re not used to it, but to be a man in a suit on a blistering hot day on top of that is sure to create a few grouchy groomsmen. Your wedding party is a lot more likely to participate happily if they are not uncomfortable in their attire and they are dressed weather appropriate.


Making plans to shoot indoors on a rainy day not only keeps everyone dry and happy, but can also create a dynamic background.

Tip #3 – Don’t assume Photoshop can fix it! Pay attention to details!

I’ve received some crazy Photoshop requests over the years – everything from adding missing people, to fixing blunders, to virtually carving new body types. Not all of them are feasible, but for the most part they are situations that could be avoided prior to the shutter’s click.

Most common photoshop requests include:

Simple fix? WEAR SUNSCREEN and you won’t burn on your wedding day

Spray tans
Simple fix? Spend time outdoors, and if you can’t hit the tanning salon in small bursts over a longer period of time. Avoid creams and sprays, especially if you are wearing white.

Sweat stains – especially on satin bridesmaid dresses
Simple fix? A little baby powder under the arms and between the thighs does wonders! Seriously keep a little in your purse in case you need it and you’ll stay dry all day.

Oily Sheen
Simple fix? Ask your makeup artist for a little extra translucent powder that you can use throughout the day. Consider bringing a package of oil blotting sheets in your purse with you. They work for both men and women to take down excess shiny forehead oil.

Adding/Removing People
Simple fix? Create a list of everyone who is important and who you would like a portrait with well before the wedding. Be sure to inform those guests so they do not wander off after the wedding. Make sure your photographer has a copy of this list. If you have a wedding planner they should also have a copy so they can assist with locating missing guests. It’s a great idea to make sure a cousin, or close family friend who will not be in the portraits (or many portraits) also has the list to help track people down, as they will recognize them.

Alternatively sometimes a date or plus one sneaks into a shot and it’s hard to ask them to leave without hurting feelings. Let your photographer know privately and they can arrange to take a shot with and without the extra guest so feelings are not hurt, and you have an option without the extra guest after the wedding, but if you do not let your photographer know, you cannot expect them to remove the unwanted guest from the image after the wedding.

Correcting sunburns in Photoshop takes a lot of time and often costs extra.


Love your tips, especially the photoshop-can’t-fix-anything one. I’ve got so many clients’ parents and friends saying to me:”well, I guess you could just photoshop it out.”

Therese Kay Photography

Excellent advice to the bride and groom about what a photographer can and cannot do and how to avoid typical problems! Well-written!



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