Wedding photography tips

How to plan for great photography for your destination wedding in Thailand, Vietnam, The Philippines or elsewhere in Southeast Asia.

A great wedding photographer can make pictures under any conditions, but why not make their life a little easier? Here are the top 10 easy things a bride and groom can do to best prepare for their wedding day photography.

ENJOY YOURSELF + BE IN THE MOMENT

THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING

Planning a wedding can be stressful, but a wedding day should be joyous! So make sure you get all that planning done and stress worked off before the big day.

Trust your wedding planner to handle any last minute hiccups. Deputize your maid-of-honor to handle any family dramas. Does it start raining? Have a glass of champagne and enjoy the downpour.

If you are stressed and distracted, it will show in your photos. If you are calm, happy and enjoying your big day, you will look your absolute very best. 

Koh Samui wedding vows

PLAN YOUR DAY AROUND THE LIGHT

THE SECOND MOST IMPORTANT THING

The sun is kindest for photos in the early morning and late afternoon – the color and shape of the light is much more flattering than midday. Instead of a harsh fireball blasting white light, you get gentle, orange sunkissed rays with dramatic long shadows. 

As much as possible, stay out of the sun from 10am-3pm. So if you have any morning activities planned, try to do them early. Ceremonies should start between 4-5pm. Your guests will thank you, and so will your photographer.

Check the sunrise and sunset times for your wedding date – a half hour here and there can make a big difference! 

HAIR + MAKEUP

Most beach weddings have a ceremony between 4-5pm. So if you have 3-6 bridesmaids doing hair and makeup, you’ll probably want to start by 11 am. It sounds like a lot of time, but at most weddings, there’s still a mad rush getting hair and makeup done on time. Negate the stress and start early! It creates a great atmosphere for photos when the bride and all her friends are getting ready in the same room, playing their favorite music and having some champagne!

Grooms puts on bow tie before his wedding

GROOM'S SHOWER + SHAVE

Coverage of the bride getting ready can go for a few hours, whereas the groom usually gets ready in about 20 minutes. The best opportunity for a fun, creative image of the groom prep is when he showers and shaves. Plan for me to be around for a few shots while you shave, and even in the shower – keep a pair of swimmers on if you’re more comfortable!

TRANSPORTATION

If at any point in the day you have vehicles shuttling the bridal party around, make sure there’s space reserved for me with the bride and groom. If you’re at a resort, there’s always a great picture made with the bride getting to the ceremony in a golf cart, or with the couple together driving off after the reception.

CEREMONY

If you’re having an outdoor ceremony its best to plan for between 4-5pm, when the sun is low in the sky resulting in more flattering and dramatic light. It will be cooler than midday, which your guests will appreciate! Talk with your event planner to ensure that the sun won’t be directly in the bride or groom’s eyes during the ceremony, so that no one is squinting. And its always a nice touch to provide parasols to your guests to help with the sun (or rain) – these look really great in pictures!

RECEPTION LIGHTING

Whether you’ll be in a ballroom or under the stars, plan to set up as much romantic lighting as possible – it really makes a world of difference for photographs. Strings of fairy lights, candles, chandeliers, paper lanterns, whatever you like, but just remember – you can never have too much. Go big!

Beautiful wedding reception chandelier

PORTRAITS

On the wedding day, try to plan for 30-60 minutes of portrait time just for the bride and groom after the ceremony. I keep the portraits as fun and casual as possible, and we’ll look for a nearby location that has beautiful light and interesting backgrounds.

If portraits are particularly important to you, I highly recommend booking a separate portrait session the day before or after the wedding day, when we won’t be as rushed, and can explore different locations. You’ll feel much more relaxed and we’ll have more time to get really creative!

PARTY PROPS

It may seem silly, but I’ve seen it at so many weddings. Once the wine is flowing and the music is thumping, people love to put on masks, silly glasses, glow sticks and whatever else they can get their hands on. Bring a few party props for the dancefloor, and you won’t regret it!

AND FINALLY.... FEED YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER!

A well-fed photographer is a happy, productive and creative photographer! I don’t require a seat with guests, but I do like to sit down and eat at the same time as the wedding party. This way I’m around in case I need to photograph an unplanned moment. Once I’m fed, I’m ready to go for all the dancing for the rest of the evening.

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