Planning a wedding is the best way to avoid unwanted stress at a wedding. It's absolutely key to getting better photographs, and keeping a relaxed vibe to the day. I've photographed over a 80 weddings as a lead photographer and I want to put that knowledge to good use. Here are my top tips to creating a stress-free wedding and getting the best wedding photographs.

#6 If it sounds fun, make it happen.

Honestly, my favorite moments come from things that were "a really cool thing we saw online." Take for example the photo above. The boys there all wanted to jump in the pool all day, as did everyone since it was Florida in August. They waited until the end of the reception and asked if I could get a photo of it. I am so glad they did because this was not only fun for them, but I had fun too and it was totally them. If theres ever anything you wanted to add to your wedding, add it.The guy all the way on the right with the GIANT smile, thats the groom. Be you, be that happy, it's your day!

P.s. Still not totally sure what the suit rental place thought of this, but I just take the photos not the dry cleaning. Haha!

#5 One Location is Usually Better.

Listen, I know the temptation to get more than one spot in your day is there but the best wedding venues have everything in one place. The thing about moving your wedding or wedding party around is that it takes time, money, and coordinating to get everyone to the right place. Obviously if you get married in your family church, that may be something you can't get around but its a definite consideration. If you really want to make one other location part of your day, do it with just your spouse. The best possible advice I can give you is to keep the reception and ceremony in the same spot if you can. Venues that do this best are centrally located hotels (high end makes it easier to be honest, its usually decorated to the nines as it is), country clubs, or just larger venues with multiple areas like apple orchards. I am in no way saying multiple places can't be done and be done well, it's just a little harder to plan for.

#4 Let it go!

Let it go, let it go! It doesn't matter anymore! No for real, it doesn't. That tiny little thing that went off schedule, whose late, a chair short for the ceremony... All these things seem like Mount Everest when they happen but guess what: They're ant hills. Something will go slightly off on your wedding day, but its only as powerful as you decide to make it. Focus on the celebration and the fun and you'll absolutely have the best day ever. You can quote me on it! Think about it, has a chair ever had that much power on your life any other time? No, so don't let it.

#3 More hours = More Memories + More Relaxation

I'm going to say this knowing full well I have a six hour package, but six hours for photos is rarely not stressful. Listen some weddings this will be okay, but there will still be pressure in the timeline to make sure you can go from first look to reception. All the things that happen in a wedding day should be spread out a little because honestly it is a lot. Elopements are a whole different thing but a traditional wedding with all the family, friends, and the bridal party... There are so many moments that can be lost because the timeline was rushed to make sure there were photos of the reception and the getting ready section of the day. Eight to ten hours will not only result in more photos/memories, but it will also help to make your wedding day feel a little more relaxed and fun because there will be room in the timeline for a late bus, or extra time in the first look.

#2 Lighting is SO important to the day.

Lighting is the key to the incredible photography. Literally, photography actual means the "the drawing of light"

Natural lighting is hands down the best light. Yes, I have an increasingly uncomfortably expensive amount of flashes and lighting gear dedicated to making artificial light but nothing will ever be as good as the sun i.e.: Natural Light. It's extremely pleasing to the eye, it can create a soft glow when its done through glass... it's kind of magic. On your wedding day you want to incorporate as much natural light as you possibly can in the schedule. The wedding party, family photos, and portraits all look significantly better with natural light because it looks natural. Hanging out inside? Cool, we're by the windows then as much as possible. Does that mean you can't have a romantic reception with candle lights? No of course you can. That is when the big ol bag of flashes and halogen lights come out. It's just important that we try to get as much natural light in the day as we can.

Now you're probably thinking what if the sun doesn't come out on my wedding day? NO. Don't ever think that, just sing that song from Annie. Just kidding, clouds are actually not a bad thing. For one thing they make the light very even which is similar to what the big umbrella thing on flashes do. For another, I still have all the lighting equipment and I'll make sure those photos you get are in fact magic.

#1 Wedding days are about you and your fiancé.

This is going to sound a whole lot like #6 but dang it, it bears repeating. This is your day, it should be filled with the people, activities, and things you like most. Weddings are the celebration of you and one other human out of like 6 billion other humans (I assume thats just the number of people driving in a traffic jam when I need to be somewhere) choosing each other and becoming a family. If that means you want to have traditions in your wedding have them, if it means you want to do your own thing do it. If that means you just go ahead and elope and send the family back photos because you are seriously not interested in being emotional in front of crowds, do it. This is a once in your lifetime opportunity to celebrate you becoming family and it literally only happens once, so you need to make sure you are celebrating you in the way that you want to do it.

So now you're ready to have me as your photographer right? Request more detailed info below!