8 secrets of perfect wedding pictures

The most dramatic wedding photo -- ever
The most dramatic wedding photo -- ever

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Story highlights

  • You can hire an excellent photographer, but a few little tricks are totally in your control
  • Details matter, from the shape of a clipboard to the shape of your drinking vessel
  • Speaking of drinking -- a glass of wine might help make you a little calmer in front of the camera
  • Time is on your side when it comes to great lighting, so aim for early morning or two hours before sunset

Every bride wants gorgeous wedding photos, but for many it will be her first time in front of a professional camera. While it's the photographer's responsibility to capture you in your most flattering light, there are little tips and tricks that you and your groom can employ to get the best photos.

We turned to some of the most sought-after photographers in the industry to get their advice on everything — from how to wear your hair to where to get ready (and even when to have a drink!) — to ensure that every aspect of your big day is captured flawlessly.

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1. "Before posing for portraits, roll your shoulders a few times to release tension. It will make you look at lot more relaxed in the pictures." — Annabel Braithwaite, Belathée Photography

2. "Don't ignore the mundane little details that could have a big impact on your photos. For instance: If you're drinking water while you're getting ready, a plastic bottle will be in all of your photographs. Instead, be sure to have a nice drinking glass, so it adds to the image rather than providing a distraction.

Wedding party takes a big plunge
Wedding party takes a big plunge

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Another example: Consider the ceremony. There are beautiful flowers, a gorgeous venue, a lovely wedding party — and then your officiant approaches the podium and pulls out his notes on an office clipboard! As a bride, something like this would be difficult to anticipate. Give your officiant something more aesthetically pleasing to read notes off, it will make a huge difference in all of your ceremony photos." — Christian Oth

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3. "Get closer than what feels natural when posing with your groom. Gaps that might not feel awkward during the shoot can be amplified in photos and look like there's a lack of intimacy. Don't be afraid to snuggle up to one another!" — Kate Murphy

4. "There are two times during the day when the lighting is incredible: I love starting shoots at 7 a.m., when the city is still asleep and you practically have it to yourselves. But if you're not a morning person, start your photos about two hours before sunset for a romantic dusky shoot." — Roey Yohai

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5. "Although wearing your hair down can be beautiful, it does pose a problem for candid photos. If you're not directly facing the camera, it can obscure your face. I always advise brides and bridal party members to make sure that their hair is pulled back a bit on the sides." — Julie Skarratt

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6. "Smile so there are no awkward lip puckers while kissing, and do something with your arms. Put them on your partner's waist or cheeks, or even keep your hands in your pocket — just don't let them hang." — Courtney de Jauregui, Erin Hearts Court

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7. "Don't give your photographer a long shot list for group portraits. The key to getting great photos is to have a lot of time. With a shorter list, I can try different set-ups and allow each person to comfortably lean, sit, or turn at different angles that are most flattering to them. It takes time to place each person into the space and work with each individual — you can't rush through that." — Ira Lippke

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8. "If all else fails, split a cocktail or glass of wine beforehand with your groom. It can help to take the edge off of the anxiety of being in front of the camera." — Brian Dorsey

Did you get the wedding photos you wanted? Share the tricks that made the difference in the comments below.