13 Tips for Brides to get the BEST WEDDING PHOTOS

Your wedding photos are one of the few things that you are going to have to remember one of the most important days of your life. Here are some tips and tricks to make sure that your wedding photos are the best they possibly can be! As a Wedding Photographer for over 15 years, these are some of my top suggestions for how to get the BEST WEDDING PHOTOS!

I have listed my top 13 tips for Brides to get the best wedding photos.

In no particular order, here goes!

Tips for Brides to get the best wedding photos


Photography by Gary Derbridge

1. Allow enough time

I know, I just said they are in no particular order. However, this is probably one of, if not the most important points on this list.

Allow enough time for your wedding photos!!!

So often, the hair & make up are still taking place right up until just before the ceremony.

Just as the veil is being clipped in, the Registrars walk into your bridal suite for your interrogation (I’m joking, they are all lovely really). They ask politely for everyone to leave, there’s no time for photos!

This is such a shame!

Your hair and make up artists have had you awake since 6am and have just spent hours making you look a million dollars. Not one hair is out of place, the make up is looking incredible, these could be some of the best photos of you from the day.

It’s so important that you allow some spare time to make sure your photographer has 5-10 minutes to capture some beautiful portraits of you! These will be the ones you’re showing your grandkids one day saying “look how nanny used to look!’

You don’t want to be rushed on your day, and you will enjoy it so much more at a relaxed pace, so do consider planning some spare time (and communicate this to your hair and make-up artists), especially if you know you and the girls are always late!

Tips for Brides to get the best wedding photos


These portraits took just minutes to set up, but will be special to you for years to come!

2. Think about your free space

Often when I arrive in the morning for the preparation photographs, I am sorry to say it ladies but it looks like you have been wrestling a raging bull in there! There are bags, shoes, tit tape, boxes, and prams! There’s not much I haven’t seen.

Do you have a spare room?

If you are getting ready at home, at your venue or in a hotel room, could you keep a room clear and free?

This will leave us a beautiful clean space for your photographs, as I bet you would love that gorgeous full-length shot of your dress!

It’s also worth considering this for later in your day.

Especially for those of you that are having a winter wedding, making a plan B, should the British weather not supply us with glorious sun, could be a great idea. It can sometimes be worth keeping a small amount of space free to make sure if your photographs need to be taken inside, that there is some free space to do so.

Tips for Brides to get the BEST WEDDING PHOTOS


It rained on Nicola and Andy’s Wedding day. So this small doorway with perfect side light becomes a fantastic spot!

2a. Hire an Airbnb

This is a bonus tip, and I can’t take credit for it! It was actually one of my brides Samantha who did it and I thought it was great! She hired a luxury house for the morning from Air bnb!

I understand this is an additional cost, but if you are already worried about your bridal party of 10 fitting into your little two-bed maisonette, this could be worth considering. It also means those DIY projects you have been meaning to do for the last three years can be put on the back burner!

It left her and the girls plenty of space, with a few spare rooms for their portraits!

Tips for Brides to get the best wedding photos


Genius idea Sam!

3. Have a meeting with your photographer

Any professional photographer should encourage a meeting ahead of your big day. This can be done face-to-face or via a video chat system, such as Skype.

Quickly building a rapport with your photographer is vital to help you feel relaxed in front of the camera. A good photographer will be able to make you feel comfortable around them within minutes of meeting them. It’s a skill they should develop naturally from having to do this on a daily basis.

If you feel nervous and anxious about your photos it will show in the final product! Therefore I would definitely recommend a meeting to avoid this. You will find that it helps.

Tips for Brides to get the BEST WEDDING PHOTOS


Tips for Brides to get the best wedding photos

3a. Speak to your photographer

Although this point ties in perfectly with meeting your photographer, I thought it deserved its own separate heading as a bonus tip.

The reason for this is that it’s important to speak to your photographer throughout the process and not just during the pre-wedding consultation about your needs and requirements.

Have a preferred side, or don’t like a certain feature about yourself?

Speak to your photographer!

I would certainly prefer my couples to tell me any fears or anxieties so I can help relax them on the day, and I can try to photograph their images in a way that compliments their concern.

Tips for Brides to get the BEST WEDDING PHOTOS

4. Limit the number of group shots, you will thank me later

The group shots are important images of you and your nearest and dearest, but don’t go mad with the number of setups!

I have seen before every combination of a group shot, which with a little planning could have been done within one shot and saved lots of time (and boredom) for you and your guests.

Just think, every group photo takes around two minutes to set up properly. Laying out your dress correctly, and positioning everyone so that it’s more than just a snap. So if you require 10 group photos you have at least 20 minutes of group photos there. That’s without even considering the time for the congratulations, the bride and groom portraits, confetti, additional requested shots that your Nan wants or just time for you to relax and enjoy your wedding day!

Now bear in mind that most venues allow around 1-1.5 hours between the end of the ceremony and the start of the wedding breakfast. You can see how fast that time can go!

How to get great wedding photos

5. Pick a photographer that suits your style

Browsing through different photographers’ websites before eventually choosing one will show you a range of different styles. From very natural documentary-style images, to some very creative with ‘over the top’ posing. With arms over heads, in every which way. Now don’t get me wrong, although not to my taste, some of these photographers are the best in the world and have developed a style that certain couples would die for.

My point is, find someone whose style compliments you.

If you can’t think of anything worse than posing in these different shapes and angles, then a photographer who shows only this on their website is probably not the best pick for you! Obviously, the opposite of this is if you have always dreamed of that vogue-style photoshoot with your future partner, then they could be the ideal candidate.

How to get the best wedding photos


Tips for Brides to get the best wedding photos

6. Trust your photographer

Us photographers have spent thousands of hours training and developing the style that you loved when you first discovered our website.

Now it’s time for you to put your trust in them, and allow them to guide you to capture the photos that you fell in love with from their portfolio.

There may be certain things they say or strange lights and dark corners they put you in that you might think, what the hell are they doing?!

Metha and Den (pictured below) were stood in front of a pitch-black barn at 8 pm in December. They could not see the external lights that I had set up and probably didn’t dream of a shot like the one we captured below.

However, they both placed their trust in me and let me get creative. I think we can all agree the final outcome was pretty epic.

Get better wedding photos

7. Tell your photographer about any family difficulties

It’s important to make your photographer aware of any family difficulties and separations that could cause upset on the day.

The last thing you want is your photographer arranging a photo of your Mum and Dad together as a surprise for you, only to find out that they haven’t spoken for 20 years and can’t stand each other.

It sounds basic, but this vital information helps us, especially when it comes to arranging your group photos. We will know who to put where and this will help to keep the peace!

Guide to getting great wedding photos

8. Consider having an engagement shoot

This one is not essential, but it could be an idea for you.

An engagement shoot (also known as a pre-wedding shoot) is a chance for you to get in front of the camera and feel comfortable ahead of your big day.

It’s best for couples that are nervous and anxious about the process of the photographs and do not know quite what to expect. We can create a dummy run with no pressure, and no one watching.

I guarantee you will leave your engagement shoot with me feeling a lot calmer about the photos. Your mind will be relaxed knowing what I am going to be asking you to do, and so many couples end up really excited about the photos on their wedding day.

They know that we had a lot of fun and giggles during their pre shoot, and now they want the same thing on their wedding day.

Plan to get good wedding pictures

9. Think about light/time

This one is a little more in-depth and probably would need to be thought about at the earlier stages of planning your day.

If you have always dreamt of the sunset image, then you need to arrange that you are not just tucking into your roasted potatoes as the perfect sunset is out in full force. A quick Google search for sunset times on the date of your wedding will quickly make you aware of the ideal time.

On the other hand, are you getting married in the winter? Well if you have a 3.30 pm ceremony it’s going to be basically pitch black by the time your ceremony is over.

This means no photos outside (within reason)!

Now, if you had already taken this into consideration and are not fussed about images outdoors then that’s great, but further to point number two, have you made space inside the venue for the photographs to take place?

It’s definitely happened to me in the past where photos need to be done inside but keeping space was an oversight. Instead, sweet carts, photo booths, dj set ups and candy floss machines take up all of the spare room!

How do I get great wedding photos


Tips for Brides to get the best wedding photos

10. Create a mood board

Creating a visual mood board can be helpful for your photographer. Now, as per point number five, your photographer will have their own style and will not just copy a mood board especially if it doesn’t fit their style. So getting one from you is not essential.

However, it’s especially helpful if you have a board of your favourite images at your chosen venue. If we have limited time for the photos it can be helpful to know your all-time favourite shots that you definitely wish to create on your wedding day (of course with our own unique twist).

The most modern way that a lot of brides send me their mood board is Pinterest. It’s easy to use via an app on your phone and your chosen mood board can easily be shared with your photographer.

Get natural looking wedding photos


Tips for Brides to get the best wedding photos

11. Keep your pockets empty

This one is mostly for you to tell the guys; let’s face it girls there are not many pockets in your dream wedding gown.

Boys, keep your pockets empty!

Trust me, I am jealous of your wad of money bulging out of your wallet and your latest iPhone 11. However, it really shows in your pockets, and makes it look like you’re excited to see me!

I am sure there is someone that will be more than happy to keep them in their handbag for you and can return them to you later in the night when you require them.

How do I get the best wedding photos?


tips to get great wedding photos

12. Consider an unplugged wedding

This is something I have slowly started seeing more of over the past few years.

You will spend potentially years creating your perfect day, not to mention thousands of pounds. Surely you want your guests to be present & not watch it through the back of a phone?

This can also help your photos. How? I imagine you ask!

There are moments that happen in a blink of an eye, a prime example being the first kiss or you walking down the aisle with your new partner.

Imagine your photographer all set up and ready at the bottom of the aisle, about to capture this beautiful moment for you to cherish forever.

As you start walking, your guests in the second row step out to capture the better angle as they are being blocked by the guest in front of them.

You can see where the problem develops.

As each row goes back, each has to poke out slightly more, and by the time you get to the photographer, we have a great shot of the back of your guests! Probably not the photo you want for the album!

It’s common now for bride and grooms to request guests to just enjoy their day, and leave photographs (especially during the ceremony) to their chosen photographer. It also saves anyone from accidentally sharing that image of your dress on Facebook before your evening guests arrive.

Get the best photos at your wedding


How to get the best wedding photos

13. Hire a professional

Now finally, hire a professional photographer.

Let’s face it, you clearly care about your photos as you just searched ‘Tips for Brides to get the best wedding photos’ on Google! I am sure you wouldn’t dream of hiring an amateur; they may take great photos of cars, and make their holiday snaps look pretty special, but as you can imagine, wedding photos are on a whole new level… Special moments happen in the blink of an eye.

I am sure that you already know that none of your guests that have a big expensive camera will have the training, knowledge and people skills to create the images that will last generations!

If you invest in the right wedding photographer you will have photographs to cherish forever! Professional photographers will see photographs in situations where others see a public car park or a miserable drizzly pitch black garden (see below).

How to get awesome wedding photos


How do I make sure I get great wedding photos?

I hope you enjoyed reading this post and learnt a few tips on how to get great wedding photos! Some of it was written tongue in cheek. Please don’t feel that if you don’t follow every one of these tips your wedding photos will be a disaster! Hire the right photographer and I am sure they will be fantastic. If you have any questions, please do contact me.

Also, if you have liked some of the images and you are still looking for a wedding photographer, please do get in touch. I will be more than happy to help.

Recent Weddings

Below, you can find a few of the recent weddings I have photographed. Browse through a full wedding day and see a little more of my photography style.