How to Get Amazing Wedding Photos




olympic peninsula wedding boho bride and groom

I used to think that there was some combination of magic and chance that made a particular wedding better to photograph than another. But after almost ten years of wedding photography with some amazing clients and incredible venues, there are a few consistent elements that I know will contribute to making amazing photos!

Location, Location, Location—

It’s so important it should be said more than three times! The venue you choose will be the backdrop in almost every photo. As a photographer, the environment is either my best friend or worst enemy during the wedding day. I’m either working to showcase a beautiful location, or hide the drawbacks of a place that isn’t so pretty. Now, even nice places often have a few flaws, but it’s easier to work around a couple obstacles than spend the day struggling to get uncluttered backgrounds and good light in a dark, cramped, or downright unattractive venue. That being said, I consider myself pretty darn lucky to be a Pacific Northwest wedding photographer, where beautiful venues are literally everywhere to be found!

Make a timeline, and designate someone to orchestrate wedding day events—

This is a major starting point for my involvement in a wedding day. When it’s in my power, I never start a wedding day without a detailed timeline of events. In order to capture the images you expect and hope for, and be able to create something special from the day, I need to know how much time I have for each aspect of the day. And it’s so helpful for bridesmaids, groomsmen, family, and guests to know what’s happening and when. For instance, if you want everyone to stick around for a sparkler send-off, they need to know when it will be happening!

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Plan for portraits—

Allowing time during your wedding day for some romantic portraits of you and your sweetie is a must. It might seem like a no-brainer, but I still feel it needs to be said. Sometimes the pressures of getting ready, family portraits, and getting to the ceremony on time can be overwhelming, limiting time to sneak away and have dedicated time for photos of just the bride and groom. Not only is it so, so important to have images of the two of you together on your wedding day, but it may even be your only quiet moments to yourselves amidst the hustle and bustle of the rest of the day!

Use color to your advantage—

The flowers and bridesmaid dresses are probably the most obvious place to start, but there are a few other places to use color that shouldn’t be overlooked! Your stationary sets the tone for the day, and linens and decor like tablecloths and chair covers can be a great place to make a statement with color. The season and colors in the environment will also play a part in the color scheme, so keep that in mind when picking which colors to feature in your wedding.

Pro hair and makeup—

I can’t, can’t over-emphasize this one! Professional hair and makeup does so much to improve the quality of your photos. Even if—maybe especially if!—you don’t wear a lot of makeup in real life, turning this part of your wedding day over to professional hands is so worth it. A great MUA (that’s “makeup artist” in industry-speak) can tailor your makeup to a level you’re comfortable with, and help you look flawless all day long. And don’t forget your hair! I heard once that hair is the first thing we notice about someone. And it certainly holds true from a photographic perspective.

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Rest and Relax!

A frantic and stressed-out bride is no fun for anyone. And that’s definitely not how you want to experience and remember your wedding day! Figure out what you need to go into the day calm, relaxed, and happy, and then make that a priority. Extra sleep? Delegating some last-minute tasks? Foregoing a complicated project that’s turned into more of a production than you expected? It’s more important that you’re happy and relaxed than that there are 200 favors with perfectly tied bows on each one. Let the small stuff go, and focus on the big picture—getting married to your sweetie!

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If you’re happy and you know it…

Then your face will surely show it, right? Actually, not necessarily. It’s easy to let pressure, stress, and frustration rule your expression. The happiest brides seem to be the ones who are willing to let the small stuff slide, delegate the to-do’s, and focus on being present to fully soak in the bliss of the moment. And if you’re happy, and it shows on your face, your photos will be reflect that! Light and composition are crucial to my images, but expression and emotion is arguably the most important element of a wedding photo.



This is one you should probably practice a bit in the months and weeks leading to your wedding, especially with the dress and shoes you’ll be wearing on your wedding day. I can’t tell you how many otherwise great photos I’ve had to cut because someone’s poor posture made for an unflattering image. A dress that doesn’t fit well, shoes that hurt your feet, and even being too hot or too cold can contribute to feeling and looking uncomfortable. Good posture can do so much more than photoshop to make you look your best!

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After dark, add light—

If your wedding lasts into evening, light is the best way to decorate! String lights, candles, lanterns, sparklers, or even glow sticks—when the daylight fades, having some other lighting to work with can make the photos so much more dynamic.

Olympic-peninsula-wedding rings fern

Choose a great photographer—

I’ll freely admit some bias here ;). An experienced photographer with reliable equipment and artistic vision can do more to make your wedding photos look amazing than anything else. A good photographer can take a pretty photo under the right conditions. A great photographer can make a beautiful image even if she’s stuck broom closet.

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Hey there! Welcome to my blog—Make yourself comfy and look around! As an Olympic Peninsula, Olympic National Park, San Juan Islands, Seattle, Whidbey Island, and destination wedding photographer, I want to be a resource for you as you put together your own wedding day. Browse around, have a look, and let me know your questions!  I'm so happy you're here, and I hope you want to get in touch so we can chat about your wedding day.