Everyone wants beautiful photographs of their wedding to document one of the most special days of their lives, but there are so many hidden pitfalls when it comes to working with your wedding photographer – just ask Sanda von Riekhoff from Divine Day Photography.
SEE: Best photos from Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank's royal wedding
The award-winning photographer was the mastermind behind some of the most breathtaking snaps of Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank's nuptials in 2018. With over ten years of experience, not to mention a high-profile royal wedding under her belt, it's safe to say that Sandra knows exactly what works and what doesn't when it comes to creating a picture-perfect wedding album.
WATCH: Princess Eugenie's sweet wedding anniversary post
Luckily for all the brides and grooms out there planning a wedding, she chatted to HELLO! about the biggest mistakes people make with their wedding photos. Take a look (and take note!)...
1. Not printing your photos
In the digital age, this can sound like an unusual tip since many newlyweds share a selection of their favourite snaps on social media. And you can always come back to them another day, right? Well, Sandra insists that this is one of the biggest mistakes you can make.
She suggested getting both online and printed photographs of your big day is really important.
"I see so many of my brides who I've worked with in the past who haven't printed anything. And it's something that just goes to the wayside – you have kids, and then that album that you really do want, because you spent a lot of money on a wedding and the photos, isn't there," she said.
"I think printing is really key. I hired someone specifically just to do that, because a lot of photographers are so busy that they won't help you do it, they just don't have the time."
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2. Not introducing your photographer to key people
Pre-wedding photoshoots can help couples relax in front of the camera
Aside from the obvious wedding guests such as the bridesmaids, groomsmen and flower girls, it's important to remember that the photographer is essentially a stranger and has no idea which people are really important to the couple. To make sure you get photos with all of your closest friends and long-distance relatives, point them out! Sandra explained: "I think a lot of people have this misconception that they're going to get pictures of themselves with their mum and their best friend. But actually, the average wedding is like 100 people, and you've got to 20 or so people that are really, really close to you. You don't actually spend that much time with the people that you know, you end up walking around and socialising with the people that you don't know as well.
"So when your photographer is out there shooting lots of pictures of you, they're not getting you and your favourite people.
"Photographers will take pictures of pretty people wearing nice clothing. So if you don't want the random girlfriends and boyfriends you don't know to be photographed, you can assign a friend or family member to show the photographer who the key people are."
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If you're worried about these photos being too staged, Sandra revealed she has a clever hack to get lovely candid photos of the guests. "I'll walk around and chat to people that you really want candid pictures with. So I'll just go and say hi because a lot of people just like natural photos."
3. Not investing in a pre-wedding photoshoot
Some couples simply want their wedding day to be captured on camera, while others love engagement or pre-wedding photos too. According to Sandra, it can really help couples become more natural and comfortable in front of the camera if they have already had experience working with a photographer in advance.
"It just makes the whole process of having your picture taken way easier – it's not a new thing to you, and you feel free. I have had a couple that came to me and had already had their pre-shoot with an American photographer, and I could tell they had already been through it because they were way more comfortable in front of the camera.
Sandra took this stunning candid shot of Princess Eugenie
"The second reason why you might choose to do a shoot with your actual photographer is because they will have a certain style that you like, and they'll be able to teach you how to go about getting pictures in that style.
"So for example, if it's a natural style, you and your partner can talk about different subjects to create a kind of mood – so something happy, thoughtful, pensive, romantic."
4. Not planning big occasions
Whether you're cutting the cake or laughing at the best man's speech, the photographer should always know when and where key moments are going to take place so they can be prepared. After all, they're one of the few people who need to have an unobstructed view!
"Think about speeches and make sure if you want nice shots of you reacting to them you seat yourself where you can be captured easily. An experienced photographer will remove wine bottles etc. from around your area so that shots of you aren’t obscured with candlesticks up your nose in the shots." Nobody wants that!
She encouraged newlyweds to plan key moments with their photographer
"Think about where you will get ready and make sure you have decent light. Again, a good photographer will clear up clutter for you so bridal prep shots are their best.
"We only learn this through doing hundreds of weddings," she added. This leads us to why choosing an experienced photographer is a must...
5. Choosing someone with less experience
Obviously, every couple has their own budget. But as Sandra joked to HELLO!: "Pay cheap pay twice!"
If your photographer is new to the industry, then they may not have made their own mistakes yet – which means your wedding could be more likely to fall victim to grainy images and download mishaps.
So how much experience should your wedding photographer have? "Five years or five full wedding seasons is the minimum, I would say."
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Speaking of some of the key mistakes a photographer might make, Sandra added: "If they're accidentally not shooting raw and then the images are just not that good quality, some photographers don't really have good equipment and so they're dealing with lots of grain the end of the night when it's darker. If you're a pro, and you've been doing this long enough, at some point you probably have messed up a download, and some of the images are lost – and then once that's happened to you, it never happens again!"
Experienced photographers are crucial
So what can they do to prevent these things from occurring? Sandra said it's important they use the highest quality memory cards that are replaced every four years to prevent corruption, back things up twice and double-check no images are missing, and have backup equipment. "I've got four cameras. You need to have backup everything – backup lights, backup cameras, backup batteries," Sandra said.
6. Walking too quickly
Finally, Sandra encourages couples to enjoy their wedding and don't rush entrances or exits – it makes it much more difficult to get the perfect shot.
"Walk slowly down the aisle!" she said. "This helps us get the shot and it's always great if you can grab a smooch halfway down the aisle after getting married. Your photographer should already know settings to snap that first moment you exit the ceremony space, but be aware they may want an extra second to change settings, so walk even slower before you exit."
MORE: 12 hilarious royal wedding moments caught on camera
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