After months of planning, brides are often left with an “it’s over already?” feeling at ceremony’s end—hence the wild popularity of wedding albums. Since you’ll want to save yours for life, it’s crucial to make every shot count.
By Brittany Jasnoff
Turns out those seemingly effortless wedding shots require a lot of planning—and plenty of finesse to pull off. Wedding shutterbugs Jill Person and Laurén Killian of Boston-based Person + Killian Photography discuss why ring close-ups don’t work, ways to deal with divorced parents, and how to take the tedium out of group shots.
Are engagement photos necessary—or cheesy? JP: More than anything, they provide a chance for the photographer to get to know the couple, and a chance for the couple to see how the photographer works. When we show up on the wedding day after we’ve shot the engagement, there’s just a sense of ease—we don’t necessarily meet the groom before the wedding otherwise.
Does it really take two to capture every moment? LK: It’s really key to capture the moments the couple aren’t able to witness. When the bride is walking down the aisle, one photographer is snapping her, while the other is getting the groom’s reaction. Another thing that’s nice is that one photographer can line up everyone and make sure ties are straight and bouquets are in the right place, while the other is prepping for the picture.
How can a couple make group photos as fast and easy as possible? JP: Do formals before the ceremony, when the bridal party and families aren’t running away trying to get to the cocktail hour. LK: If there’s one thing I could tell all brides—and they probably don’t want to hear this—it would be, don’t have a ginormous wedding party. When there are 11 people on each side, a big portrait is obviously going to take forever. It can get out of control.
Are there certain shots that every bride should request? LK: The big moments: the parent dances, the first dance, cutting the cake. But it’s the little moments before those things and the expressions of the people watching that really tell a story. JP: It’s always great to have some “getting ready” shots. Also, you want to get the bride before she walks down the aisle.
And which pictures just wind up being a waste of time? LK: Table shots. They’re always done during salad, and people want to eat! Another shot that makes me cringe: When couples put their hands together and want to get their rings. It never looks attractive. Fingers tend to look like sausage links.
Is snapping every conceivable permutation of the family photo really worth stressing over? LK: No. Later, when couples try to pick the pictures for the album, they get overwhelmed when they see a million shots with only a one-person difference.
Speaking of families…how can a couple keep divorced parents from making formal photos awkward? LK: I had a situation like this recently. I told [the bride], “Let it be on my shoulders. I will be directing the groups, and your parents who are divorced and don’t speak to each other are not going to look at me and say, ‘I’m not getting in the picture.’ They’re going to be polite because they’re on the spot.” You can look to your photographer to coordinate, but you have to be open. If I didn’t know the situation, I might have put them in more combinations.
Person + Killian Photography, 251 Newbury St., Boston, 617-236-1662, personkillian.com.
Person and Killian’s tips for creating a page-turning wedding album.
USE CONVENTIONAL WISDOM Your wedding décor may have been modern, but it’s better to go with something tried-and-true when it comes to the book that will hold your cherished memories. “We’re really honest with our clients and encourage them to go with the more traditionally matted album,” says Killian. “It’s classic, and it never goes out of date.”
KEEP IT CHRONOLOGICAL “Doing the album in the flow of your day always works the best,” says Killian. Kick off with pictures of you getting ready and finish with an outdoor shot taken at evening’s end.
SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF It’s not just the big moments you’ll want to remember—make sure you ask your photog to snap all the particulars, too. “The album almost feels incomplete if you don’t have pictures of the dress or the shoes or the bouquet, or even the invitations,” says Killian. “Just adding four or five details really makes a difference.”
SOMETIMES LESS REALLY IS MORE You can do multiple photos per page—and you should, especially for close-ups and pre-ceremony shots. But each image that prominently features your surroundings—e.g., cityscapes and seascapes—should get a full page of real estate in the album. “They tend to look more artistic that way,” says Person.