You’ll cherish your bridal party photos for years to come—so you probably don’t want to look back at them and remember how stressed you were rounding up your AWOL friends or reprimanding your BFF for being too drunk during the session (true story). That’s why we tapped wedding photographer Vanessa Joy to give us the top tricks to getting your bridal party photos done as efficiently and painlessly as possible. Find her tips below—and get ready to have the best, heart-shaped-frame-worthy photos possible.
Don’t drink too much before the photos
Partying too much before the photos (whether it’s too many cocktails in the limo to the reception or copious amounts of bubbly in the getting-ready room) is a big no-no. According to Joy, if you’re inebriated during the photo session, it will (no surprise here) come across in the photos. Not only that, but it’s guaranteed to prolong the photos since everyone will be significantly less responsive. To compromise, Joy suggests “one glass of champagne” if anyone’s feeling nervous before the photo session. Moral of the story: Just don’t overdo it.
Help your photographer prioritize
Your photographer will likely try to squeeze in as many photo combinations as possible—but let them know which ones aren’t as important to you so you can focus on the ones that really matter. For example, if you don’t care to get individual shots with each of your bridesmaids, then tell your photographer you’re happy to skip that part.
Communicate with your bridesmaids
Having a first look? You’ll want to do your bridal party photos before the ceremony. Or, if your reception is at another venue, maybe you’ll want to get them done afterward. Either way, clearly communicate with your bridal party where and when the photos are happening so there aren’t any confused bridesmaids or groomsmen lingering at cocktail hour when they should be posing with the group instead.
Don’t overwhelm your photographer with your Pinterest board
Your photographer’s a pro—they know how to do their job (and efficiently, at that). You’re only inhibiting them if you show them a Pinterest board of 30-plus photos you want. Instead, research your photographer in advance so you already know they’re on the same page as you and capable of capturing the vibe you want—and, if need be, send five “inspiration” photos (but no more than 10).
Your photographer can only do their job to the best of their ability if you and your bridal party are receptive to their instructions. After all, you hired them for a reason—they’re qualified for the task at hand. Trust them to do their job right, pay attention and don’t let your bridesmaids get distracted by any goofy groomsmen (that’s key to getting them to concentrate, according to Joy).
Don’t get in your head too much. Your wedding party photos shouldn’t feel like a chore—instead, realize it’s a special moment that’s part of your wedding day experience. Just be yourself, let your personality shine through and have fun—otherwise, your photos will drag along (and won’t turn out as amazing as you want them to).