By Crystal Neilson-Hall

1. Seriously consider an engagement or bridal portrait session. This will give everyone a chance to get comfortable with each other and help you feel more at ease in front of the camera on your actual wedding day.

2. Choose a getting ready area that is attractive. Too often, brides opt to get ready in one of the church’s classrooms or at the ceremony venue’s multi-purpose room. These rooms tend to be cluttered, and this clutter will take away from the photographs. If your venue doesn’t include a nice dressing room, consider getting a room at a local bed and breakfast or hotel.

3. Have less people around during your getting ready time. This will allow for a calmer environment and more intimate moments.

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4. If you’re planning an outdoor ceremony, do it during the best hours for lighting. The Golden Hour for photography is an hour or so after sunrise and the hour or so before sunset. These are the times are going to allow for the most flattering photographs. While a professional photographer can deal with nearly any lighting situation, it’s always good to start with the best lighting possible. It’s a great idea to consult with your photographer before finalizing your wedding timeline and sending out invitations.

5. Make a list of family shots. While it’s not necessary to give your photographer a list of every photo you want captured, it IS a good idea to give them a shot list for the family formals. It’s like that the photographers knows very little about your family dynamics, so it’s hard for them to anticipate which family photos you’ll want to do. Giving the photographer a list beforehand allows them to plan so they can get through the family shots as efficiently as possible.

6. Let family members who will be in the family formals know when where they’re supposed to be. A lot of time can be wasted trying to find a particular family member to be in the formals! Send out a list to your family members the week of the wedding letting them know where they need to be at what time.

Most importantly, have fun with it.  Being photographed professionally doesn’t happen many times in your life, so be prepared and enjoy it!

Crystal Neilson-Hall of Neilson-Hall Photography is an experienced wedding and portrait photographer. For more information, please visit