Getting your wedding photos back after the big day has come and gone feels like a national holiday. While the majority of wedding photographers are downright magicians behind the lens, there are a few things that make their jobs harder—and make it more likely that your photos won't turn out the way you had envisioned. So we asked photographers Christian Oth and Stephanie Scapellati to call out the biggest photo-ruining culprits so you can be sure to avoid them all.
"More than anything else, the timeline of the day is what sets the tone for the perfect wedding," says Scapellati. This is a sentiment echoed by Oth, who regularly works with clients to create realistic timelines for photographs that will leave everyone feeling at ease. "A couple needs time to feel relaxed and settle in to being in front of the camera, so start hair and makeup way earlier than you think you'll need to, especially if you have a lot of bridesmaids," he says.
Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen
It might seem odd to think that your videographer could ruin your photos or vice-versa, but unfortunately it's more common than you might imagine. A photographer is a bit like a ninja trying to be everywhere without being noticed. With all the work it takes to get into position, the last thing you want is a videographer who unknowingly blocks the shot or plants themselves in the background. To avoid any discord, Oth recommends asking your photographer for videographer recommendations, and prioritizing vendors from this list. "Planning photography and videography in tandem with each other makes sure both teams work well together, and helps make sure that you and your guests have the best experience on your wedding day," he explains.
Phones and Electronic Devices
Device-free ceremonies have become more popular as of late, and Oth believes it's for good reason. "People are not fully present, or present at all, in moments, and they're experiencing life as a third-party through their screen," he says. Plus, as these phone screens get bigger and better, their odds of getting in the way of your photographer or ending up in a shot increases as well. To combat this issue, Oth recommends writing about your device-free wishes on your wedding website, on signage at the venue, and even having the officiant making an announcement at the start of the ceremony.
Dark-Colored Wedding Cakes or Cocktails
That black wedding cake you chose may look incredible, but the icing is sure to stain your teeth. The same goes for dark-hued signature drinks (or a few glasses of red wine). If you can, the pros say to avoid indulging in these treats until after are photos are over. If you can't, a quick trip to the bathroom to brush your teeth or at least rinse your mouth is advisable.
If you're caught up worrying about where the band is setting up or the fact that your dad's tie is off-center, it will show in your photos. That's why Scapellati encourages her couples to be present in the moment and truly enjoy the experience. "Couples spend months, even years planning one day," she explains. "I always tell my couples to make sure the two of them take a step back and watch their vision come to life." Acknowledging the support and love surrounding you on the big day is sure to make you smile from the inside out—resulting in a frame-worthy photo for years to come.