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Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, as photographed by Robert Evans, on their wedding day. Photo: People Magazine
Robert Evans is the man behind what’s probably the most iconic celebrity wedding photo ever taken: Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston. The sweet black and white image, in which Pitt looks lovingly at his new bride, covered People magazine and inspired Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer to hire Evans for her own wedding in 2008. Also on his client list? Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton, and Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.
So no, not everyone can hire Evans for their big day. But he did offer to share some tips on how to talk to your own photographer to make sure you walk away with the best possible images.
1. Try to have a personal relationship with your photographer.
Find someone whose work you gravitate toward, someone with whom you feel really comfortable and would invite to your wedding even if they weren’t your photographer. Then share as much as you can with him or her about your relationship, including the story of how you met and how he proposed.
2. Be yourself on the big day.
Really experience the moments and emotions you feel. Don’t even think about the camera. If you want to laugh, laugh. If you want to cry, cry. If you want to be silly, then be silly. A good photographer recognizes true emotion and that realness is hard to direct.
3. Trust the professional you hire.
Part of trusting is doing your homework, and once you’ve done your due diligence, trust them to do their job. If you let go and let them be the professional, you’re going to have a better experience.
4. See each other before the ceremony.
I think it’s better for everyone to take their portraits before the ceremony. After you kiss and walk down the aisle, all the stress and anxiety go right out the window and your attitude is ‘let’s go party and be with our friends.’ When couples are forced to take portraits during the cocktail hour and reception I see a lot of frustration and impatience. They want to be a part of their party and they should.
5. Spend some time together.
I always suggest to my couples that after they walk up the aisle they keep going and take a walk together. I’ll follow with a long lens so I don’t bother or interrupt them, but I can still capture that real moment they’re having together.
6. Schedule an engagement shoot with your wedding photographer.
An engagement shoot allows you and the photographer to get a sense of each other before the wedding. He or she can watch how you interact and then incorporate your style into the wedding day. Plus, you can see yourself in the images and determine what you like and don’t like and talk to the photographer about it. It’s also a great opportunity to do a hair and makeup test.
7. Create a realistic wedding-day timeline.
Tell your hair stylist and makeup artist you need to be ready an hour earlier then you do, because hair and makeup often runs late and then you have less time to take photos before the ceremony. By giving yourself the extra time you won’t be as rushed and can have a less stressful day.
8. Make sure to shoot some photos in natural light.
Even if you’re getting married after sunset you should plan to take some photos in the last few hours of daylight. The prettiest light is in the last hour before the sunsets, that’s the magic hour. You can take photos with artificial light, but they’re not going to be as flattering.
9. Make the logistics of the day as simple as possible.
Try to keep where you’re getting ready, the ceremony, and the reception venues close to each other—or even in the same place—to avoid unwanted stress from unforeseen traffic delays.
10. Hire a wedding planner.
Nothing’s worse than a bride without a planner. If on the day-of we can’t take photos because she’s still making the favors and trying to do everything, it’s a disaster. On your wedding day you need to let go and enjoy the moment and not worry about anything but your significant other.
11. Don’t skimp on photography.
It’s common sense because it’s the only thing that you have left. The photos on the coffee table, on the wall and in frames; they’re timeless and that’s what people always go back to.
12. Check cellphones at the door.
When guests try to capture the couple walking up or down the aisle it can be annoying, but you also lose the emotion on the guests’ faces because they’re no longer visible. Ask guests to put their phones away so they can be in the moment with you.