Piper Watson Photography | Tips for Great Wedding Photography


Lissa and Ryan's pink and black beach-side Navy wedding in Baltimore, Maryland.

Decide how you would like to start your wedding day - would you like to get ready alone, with just a couple of your closest friends, or have a room full of people around? Each scenario has a totally different vibe and it’s important to consider ahead of time how your own personality and needs are supported by or contrast with each situation.  Start the day off right!



Ask your hair/makeup artist for an estimated time on how long this process will take, and then add at least 30 minutes as a buffer.  Do not be surprised if that is around the 2 hour mark!  If you are naturally stunning and it takes 20 minutes, I'm jealous, but these are important considerations to your wedding day schedule, and I tend to not photograph the bride until make up is nearly finished, unless you don't mind!


Crafty yet traditional Baltimore wedding with reception at Museum of Industry.

Sometimes there are photography restrictions at churches. Before you book, please be sure to ask if there are any restrictions and how that may effect the photography you desire. I am happy to work with anything, but it’s important for your own peace of mind to have realistic expectations in advance.


Josh and Elisha's Jewish ceremony under a beach-side chupa!

Timing an outdoor wedding?  Make the most of it!  The most magical sunlight is generally 2-3 hours before sunset - Google what time that is for your wedding date!  At this time of day, light falls evenly on the skin - no harsh shadows, under eye circles, or one side of the wedding party in bright light and the other in darkness.


Untraditional nuptials in DC should always include a vintage Rolls and a dog!

If possible, have me ride with you to the ceremony and reception - some of the best moments are captured at these times! 



These days, no one wants the cookie cutter posed portrait.  In order for me to create something unique to your personalities and the sense of place, please, please, please carve out 30 minutes to an hour for creative portraits of the two of you. I will guide you through everything, but it’s important to remember these images require a little patience, a sense of humor, and the willingness to have some fun!


Brittany and Connor's wedding at Stanford University in Stanford, CA.

No one wants to spend an hour doing family photos.  If you can designate a family member prior to wrangle a typed up list of people from each side, I accomplish this in 15 minutes max!  I recommend doing extended then immediate family photos right after the ceremony if time at the venue permits.  Extended family or bigger groups may also be done at the reception right after the cake cutting. Just have the DJ or band make an announcement.


Caitlin and Aaron's wedding at the Old City Jail in Charleston, South Carolina

This does three important things for you: 1) Send us an invitation like everyone else; so we have time to photograph it for you in advance and you don't have remember to bring an extra on the wedding day. 2) If your photographers are on the guest list, they will be seated with the guests, which ensures they are always with you and will never miss a moment of your reception. 3) This also ensures we are fed in a timely manner (instead of a cold sandwich in a back office far away from you when speeches are happening). Food is energy, and energetic, happy photographers are exactly what you want when you have four hours of dancing ahead of you.


Uyen and Ray's wedding at Calistoga Ranch in Calistoga, California

Lighting, lighting, lighting!  Orange, red, purple and pink uplighting look the best, candles, chandeliers, twinkle lights, they all add drama and a sense of place to the background of your reception images!



LOVE tent receptions - the white canvas works really well with the way I use flashes. Pinterest is a great resource on how make it even prettier - adding sparkly chandeliers or lanterns, lots of candles on the tables, or globe lights!



Open-air receptions under the stars can be amazing!  However, I recommend adding as much extra lighting as possible; strands of twinkle lights, candles in hurricane vases, decorative lights on posts. Not only does this help create warmer, more intimate photos, but it adds depth and dimension in lieu of a totally black background (if at night.)



Que sera sera - whatever will be, will be.  Nearly all weddings run off schedule, mother nature can ignore your plea's, and sometimes the groom forgets his tux in California.  Whatever happens on your wedding day that is unexpected, be open to the humor of the situation and let this element of surprise contribute to the joy in your unique wedding story.  In the end, you are marrying your most favorite person in the world, the rest is semantics!