By Christina VanGinkel
Great engagement and wedding photos go far beyond the lighting and the scenery. The two main subjects, and how they interact with each other, will have just as much if not more bearing on how well the photographs turn out than any other factor. If you are one of the subjects being photographed, keep these thoughts in mind when the big day arrives, and even before, when having your engagement photographs taken.
Engagement photos can be professionally done, but this is not required. Oftentimes, couples will use a favorite snapshot, or ask a family member or friend to take one. This is very acceptable in today's world of high-end digital cameras. On the wedding day itself, if you do hire a professional, be sure to put in place several rules, discussed below, that will make your photographer's life a whole lot easier.
On the big day, tensions can run high. This is normal, yet does not make for great photos. Try to stay focused on each other. Of all the days in your life to remind yourself to have a good time, this is the day to do it. Make sure that your photographer remembers who the focal point of the photographs is, and be sure they snap some of the two of you gazing into each other's eyes, and even walking away from the camera. You will be pleasantly surprised at how well photographs such as these turn out. With all the wedding regalia of the dress and tuxedo, (or for that matter, any outfits you have deemed appropriate for the event), shots that do not focus on your faces will allow these items to shine.
If photos are being snapped of the rest of the wedding party, what should you do if one of the younger members is having a meltdown? Make sure the photographer knows ahead of time that taking a shot or two with everyone is fine, but then politely ask the offending party and whoever is responsible for them to remove them from the area the photographs are being taken. If you are upfront with all the adults ahead of time that this request might be made, no one will be able to argue the point. Remember that this is your big day, and if you do not want a sixteen-year-old bridesmaid making a scene because the fifteen-year-old bridesmaid did or said something to her, this is your right. If they cannot behave, they apparently do not want to be involved in the pictures. The same rule should definitely apply to the young flower girl and ring bearer. If naptime arrives suddenly, have the photographer snap a couple of quick shots, then remove the cranky tot before everyone is so on edge from his ensuing tantrum that all your shots are ruined, not just the ones he will be missing from.
Lastly, if you have a photographer that you trust, and why else would you have hired them in the first place, take their lead. Listen to their direction, and be sure the rest of the wedding party does also. You can then sit back and relax, knowing that you will have a fantastic wedding album like none other to look forward too.