Sunday, May 8, 2016

5 must-have photographs on your wedding day

Posted By on Sun, May 8, 2016 at 1:00 AM

Right now, I’m working with my clients on their wedding-day schedules.

Creating a “shot list” of photographs for their photographer can be difficult for couples. There are enough forms and guides online and in wedding magazines today to make your head spin. These fill-in-the-blank questionnaires are often exhaustive lists of must-have shots.

Giving one of these forms to your photographer before your wedding day can stifle the creativity of your pictures and make for a long and very un-fun wedding. Don’t do this to your photographer or to yourself!

Instead, allow your photographer the freedom to “create” pictures that truly represent your wedding day.

Here are five photographs I think every wedding couple deserves. Stick to this list before your wedding, and your photographer will do more than just thank you, providing you with those unexpected, one-of-a-kind pictures that surprise and delight you every time you open your wedding album.

Shot #1: The Bridal Portrait
click to enlarge Gretchen's bridal portrait in her suite at The Broadmoor before her wedding. I made a series of portraits in this space. To my mind, a bridal portrait is a must-have picture. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Gretchen's bridal portrait in her suite at The Broadmoor before her wedding. I made a series of portraits in this space. To my mind, a bridal portrait is a must-have picture.

It can take days, sometimes months to decide on a wedding dress. It’s perhaps the single most important decision a bride makes before her wedding. Be sure to make time for a full-length bridal portrait. Before my bride leaves her dressing room, I will often pose her for a full-length portrait, a 3/4-length portrait and a close-up headshot, all within the span of 5 to 10 minutes. If you’re watching your time carefully, you may want to schedule time for this portrait outside, with a dramatic backdrop.

Shot #2: The Exit Shot
click to enlarge Morgan and Justin exit their wedding at The Broadmoor's Cheyenne Lodge. This by far is one of the best photographs to be made on a wedding day. Everyone is on top of the world as the couple exits the wedding ceremony. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Morgan and Justin exit their wedding at The Broadmoor's Cheyenne Lodge. This by far is one of the best photographs to be made on a wedding day. Everyone is on top of the world as the couple exits the wedding ceremony.
 
One of the pictures I love to take is the exit photograph down the aisle. After months of planning, walking hand-in-hand down the aisle is the culmination of all of your hard work. The joy is palpable, and love is in the air. Pro tip: If your walk is short, take your time to soak it in. And if you remember, plant another kiss on your bridegroom at the end of the aisle, where the photographer is. It’s a great shot with your guests watching in the background.

Shot #3: Family and Wedding Party
click to enlarge Julie and Jared with their wedding party on the West Lawn at The Broadmoor. Julie and Jared decided to see each other before their wedding, which allowed us to take most of the wedding party and family photographs in a relaxed setting. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Julie and Jared with their wedding party on the West Lawn at The Broadmoor. Julie and Jared decided to see each other before their wedding, which allowed us to take most of the wedding party and family photographs in a relaxed setting.
 
Making a group of people look great all at the same time is really hard to do. The more time your photographer has to make these very important pictures, the better. I like it best when a couple isn’t averse to seeing each other before the wedding, when everyone looks their absolute best and the vibe is a lot more relaxed. Rushing through photographs afterward in order to make the reception and keep your guests from waiting is difficult on everyone. By taking time for family and wedding party pictures before the ceremony, you don’t have to worry about getting to the party on time.

Shot #4: The Romantic Portrait
click to enlarge Lisa and Aaron in a romantic kiss at the Air Force Academy after their wedding. This photograph was made in the span of a few minutes. I like to break up times for a romantic portrait throughout the day so that couples have a number of choices. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Lisa and Aaron in a romantic kiss at the Air Force Academy after their wedding. This photograph was made in the span of a few minutes. I like to break up times for a romantic portrait throughout the day so that couples have a number of choices.

The romantic portrait is a must-have for every couple. Finding the time for it can be challenging. I like to split this part of the wedding into small, five-minute shoots throughout the day. With several different times, I have many choices for my couple. Small breaks in the action are a great time for this. For instance, choose to do one set just before the wedding, another quick set at the church right after your wedding ceremony, and perhaps one final set at sunset in between dinner and dancing. If I only have one chance to do this kind of picture, I choose sunset. The light is as good as it’s going to get.

Shot #5: The Group Picture
click to enlarge Beth and Jake with their wedding guests at Colorado College's Stewart House. We gathered everyone together on the lawn before the start of dinner. A group shot is a visual guest list of your wedding day. Be sure to plan for it. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Beth and Jake with their wedding guests at Colorado College's Stewart House. We gathered everyone together on the lawn before the start of dinner. A group shot is a visual guest list of your wedding day. Be sure to plan for it.

I love taking this picture. It’s a visual guest list of your friends and family, and everyone is smiling. Ask your photographer to take this photograph at the end of cocktail hour, right before the call to dinner. It takes about five minutes, and everyone’s having a great time. It’s also one of the only times you can corral everyone together at once. 

Colorado Springs-based wedding photographer Sean Cayton loves remarkable photographs and the stories behind them. See his wedding work at caytonphotography.com, his personal work at seancayton.com and his editorial work in the pages of the Independent. Submit your photo and the story behind the image — no more than two a week, please — to sean@caytonphotography.com for consideration in upcoming blogs.

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