What do your dream wedding photos look like? Plan your wedding album before the wedding.

According to an article on Arkansasbride.com, the average price for wedding photos in Arkansas is $1,509. In most cases, that doesn’t include the prints or the digital files. It doesn’t include the bridal photos or the engagement photos and don’t forget the videographer, which can also run you an average of $971. Wedding budget guides indicate that you will spend 10-15% of your wedding budget on a photographer and the average Arkansas wedding cost is $21,164. If you are going to spend $2,000-$3,000 (or more for many people) for a once-in-a-lifetime event, you need to take every step possible to make sure you get exactly what you want out of your photographs. Invest time and planning into them.

Most couples don’t think about wedding photos as an investment. In many cases, wedding photos are not just something for the bride and groom to pull out every year on their anniversary and reminisce about (although that is worth the price). They are typically something so treasured, that many are passed down from generation to generation. Each wedding photo is a story that the viewer is interpreting and it can tell a person a lot about a couple, their lives and the people that surround them. This is one of the many reasons why wedding couples should take time and really invest in deciding what photographer to use, what photo style they prefer and what elements they want  to capture in wedding photos. Remember, you are building a dream wedding album, not just for you, but for your future generations. :)

To help with this, here are a few areas where couples can learn and focus their dream album planning.

Define your Wedding Photo Style

When you set down with your wedding photographer to plan your wedding photos, it’s great to have a few helpful terms of the business to express your style in words they understand. I love the Wedding Photography Glossary Terms by Here comes THE GUIDE. They provide you a loose definition of each photo style and give great examples of each. Go through these and decide:

  • Do you like the Classic style versus the very bold Dramatic colors and contrasts?
  • Should your photos tell your wedding story like the Documentary or do you want to show you and your better half in an everyday action like the Lifestyle shots?
  • Maybe you too eclectic to choose and you need one of each?

Whatever option you pick, any choice is the right choice for you. It all just depends on your style and preference.What is wrong is not being up-front with your photographer about what style wedding photos you are looking for and not taking time to talk through how you need to work together to bring this style to life through your wedding events.

Speaking of bringing your photos to life, let’s dig into some key areas to think about when planning for the most amazing wedding album ever.

Gather Ideas and Start a Board…Pintrest, That is.

Pinterest.com can help you communicate your wedding photo needs.

Pinterest.com can help you communicate your wedding photo needs.

I believe one of the greatest gifts that social media has given to photographers is Pinterest. I know that is a bold statement but, I truely believe that this platform allows photographers to see exactly what their brides want their pictures to look like and, it takes so much of the guesswork out of the job.

Taking wedding pictures is a lot of pressure. If your photographer packed one less battery bag or forgot to put film or an SD card in the camera, they will have reduced a long lasting event to only a memory. No wedding photographer wants that but, they also don’t want to take thousands of shots, only for the bride and groom to be unhappy what they receive.

Pinterest allows the Bride and Groom to create wedding boards and pin picture ideas and picture “must haves” that other people have shared. They can then share those boards with their photographer so, as they walk through the photo line up before the wedding, the picture ideas don’t get lost in interpretation.

Put your Environment to Work for You!

I hope that each one of you reading this found the wedding venue of your dreams – that matches your style, has a magical view and was below your budget (I also hope that place you picked is Simple Pleasures.) I know for some couples, they may have sacrifice great style or magical view and chose a venue because of how many people it holds, it’s location or because it was priced to their budget. Whatever the venue, there are bound to be features available for you to incorporate in your wedding photos of your dream.

wedding photo in a field

Use the green in the grass and wide open spaces to your advantage

During one of your wedding venue visits, put your “photographer hat” on, which means that you should walk around  and think like a photographer. Look for creative and/or simple places at your venue that you can use to make photos come to life. Take a picture of these locations  and write out which shot or shots you want for each. Your photographer will thank you for the list to make sure they get all the shots you want in that location before moving everyone to the next spot.

081116 field with B&G

Use the open field around your venue and have fun. Picture from Simple Pleasures

Something as simple as an open field, standing in tall grass and a bright blue sky can provide a wide lens a great shot of you and your bridal party. Have your wedding party walk towards the camera, jump in the air or pose at different distances from the camera to add an interesting dimension to your photos.

Does your venue have textured walls, great art or a fixture (like a classic car), that you must be photographed with? What about beautiful landscaping, like Falling Waters here at Simple Pleasures, makes a great backdrop for photos. Maybe it’s something like a beautiful bathroom mirror that would be the perfect place to put your final coat of lipstick on before heading down the aisle. Whatever those locations are, make sure you take note of them, write them down and let your photographer know what you are thinking about for each (a great photographer can make great suggestions as well).

Use you wedding venue's "built in" props

Use you wedding venue’s “built in” props

Wedding Photo Props

After you have decided where you want your shots taken, you also need to consider what props you want to include in them to add a little fun to your photos.

Pro tip: Start pulling all of your props together and place them in a big Rubbermaid tub so as you are picking out your pictures, you can keep track of what you do and don’t have. Plus, they are easier to tote at the wedding site. Here are a few ideas for popular props.

Frame it all in


Wedding pictures using frames. Courtesy of Melenbackerphotography.com

Using picture frames or expression boars is one of the major wedding trends

Using picture frames or expression boars is one of the major wedding trends

The current trend for wedding photos now is including a large picture frame or two, a large mirror or a blank sheet of paper that can then be altered in the editing phase to add a message to the viewer. There are many ways to use these props and you can you can give them to your wedding party and let them be creative.

Another trend now is incorporating pictures of favorite phrases or expressions, bible verses or a defining statement for the couple. These can be bought at places like Hobby Lobby or DIY by the couple. The best part is after your wedding, you can display them in your home as a constant reminder of your wedding day.

Fun props

Arkansas Razorback noses. Picture by Two Carters Photography

Arkansas Razorback noses. Picture by Two Carters Photography

If you like a more lighthearted approach to your wedding photos, adding in large floppy hats, Groucho Marx glasses, or maybe you have the jerseys from each of your favorite sports teams? Speaking of your favorite teams, you know you can’t call the hogs at your wedding without your pig snouts like in this photo from Two Carters Photography.

Pose with something from your childhood, sitting at the “kids table” or just find a random object and have a little fun with it. Anything goes and sometimes these can make the best pictures.









Mix modern and vintage to make a great wedding photo.

Mix modern and vintage to make a great wedding photo.

A little piece of history

Merging your modern wedding with elements of old can create a great a great picture. Do you have pictures of your parents at their wedding? Are you wearing a family heirloom in your something old or something borrowed and have a picture where the original owner had it on too?

Do you have a great vintage car that has been in your family for generations? Would you like to take photos like this one, maybe it’s a car like your grandparents took on their first date?

Adding a piece of history and conecting your major event to one in your family’s history can be very touching for your family members and can connect these meaningful moments to the present day.

Beautiful bride with a Vintage car at Simple Pleasures

Beautiful bride with a Vintage car at Simple Pleasures

Wedding details

Your photographer will want to capture all the little details from your wedding – from your beautifully decorated tables to your bridesmaids’ matching high heels (or sneakers). All of these little things can make for great, creative pictures to add to your dream wedding album.

Include wedding detail photos like bridesmaid's shoes or groomsman's wacky socks.

Include wedding detail photos like bridesmaid’s shoes or groomsman’s wacky socks.

Don’t forget to capture the cake and great food. Did you have fun appetizers or bring out the Razorback fan in your wedding like these little strawberry hogs? Put your food on a fun plate or with a subtle color background to make the colors pop.

Pro tip: You can reuse your props in a guest photo booth and get double the use out of them. Your wedding planner can transfer your bucket of items to the photo booth when you are finished with them.

A few of our favorite things

Lastly, on your props, don’t forget the fun things that make you a couple, your similar interests. Try to incorporate objects that represent both of you into your pictures.

  • Do you both enjoy reading spy novels? Take pictures of your heads in books or with one playing a spy and the other, a detective.
  • Do you snorkel or scuba dive together? Bring your goggles, snorkel and tank, and take a picture in your wedding wear (post wedding so you don’t get the sandy reef on your dress).
  • Maybe you love to just eat late night Chinese food from the carton? Grab some cartons and chopsticks, kick off your shoes and take a picture in the reception hall when everyone is gone and it’s just you, your spouse and your photographer.

There are so many ways to show what makes you such an interesting couple, what activities bring you both together and hopefully, what keeps you together till the end.

Capture Your Favorite People

You have taken this moment to gather as many people as you can, that you love and now you need to decide if there are particular ways you want to capture them in pictures on your special day. While it’s important to capture the bride with her family, the groom with his family, and all the wedding party in a row, it’s also important to capture these people in a way that shows who they are, what their character is like and how important they are in your lives .

wedding photo of family members

Picture by Anne Edgar photography

This great photo from Anne Edgar and her photos of ring bearers are really great examples of capturing the character and situation of the people you love most, especially those super cute little ones in the wedding. Showing the “boy” and the “man” provides a great contrast and almost foreshadows what may come with the young boy (in 20 plus years).

Put the ring bearer with all the groomsmen or show him as “Mr. Handsome” with all the blushing bridesmaids to make for a fun photo. You can do the same thing with the flower girls or show them covering their eyes as the couple kiss.

Groomsman doing what they love to do

Groomsman doing what they love to do

Show your groomsmen in an activity you love to do together or let them just “be who they are” and let the camera capture their varying personalities.

Whatever shots you select, make sure to represent all of the important family and friends and if needed, prioritize your shot list in levels of importance and complexity.



Recap: How do you get what you want?

I know, that was a lot to cover in one blog so, let’s recap.

  1. Decide what photo style or styles you want your album to be in. Remember when choosing more than one, make sure your photographer can be versatile
  2. Gather ideas and start a board. Make sure to review and clean your boards prior to meeting with your photographer. You don’t want them looking at pictures you changed your mind on. Start using this board as a shot list for your photographer and cover this shot list when you go on a venue tour.
  3. Scope out your picture locations. Your photographer can help with this. Make sure they are familiar with your wedding location and can incorporate a visit before the wedding day.
  4. Collect your props. Whether you are using cowboy hats and water guns or the family bible, pull together the items you want to use in your photos and label each with the photo(s) it’s to be used in.
  5. Show the people you love. Capture the moments with the people you love. Stage a few photos but also don’t be afraid to just capture them laughing, crying, dancing or just being themselves, every day (but in nicer clothes).

I hope you enjoyed this blog on wedding photos. If you haven’t already, make sure you read last week’s blog on  the Top 10 ways to keep your guests comfortable at your outdoor wedding. It will help you plan for the unexpected and keep your guests happy (even in the Arkansas heat).

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