Today’s Blog post was written by the Venue Director at one of my all-time favorite venues, Madera Estates. I’m super excited to share his tips for some must-have shots alongside some gorgeous images from one of the weddings I shot there last Fall.
Top Shots to Get on the Wedding Day
Wedding planning is no joke! It’s as simple as that! From touring beautiful venues to sampling delicious food from catering companies and even nailing down a design for the invitations, there’s plenty of work to get done in the months leading up to your big day. While it can seem daunting from the onset, there is one underlying principle capable of simplifying things and that is a vision! Knowing exactly how you envision your dream day going will make it much easier to turn those ideas into a cohesive theme and in return, communicate to each of your vendors!
While we could likely write an entire book to cover all of the vendors involved in a wedding, the one we’ll focus on today is photography. Before getting into it, to provide a brief introduction of myself, my name is Ian Ramirez and I serve as the venue director at Madera Estates in Conroe, TX. We are a Spanish and European-inspired luxury wedding venue. Having been in the wedding industry for a handful of years and seen thousands of wedding photos, I feel there’s a nearly endless number of perfect photo ops on a wedding day. With this said, there is also a few must-have shots that everyone will definitely want captured on their big day! Some of these might seem obvious, while others might just serve as a reminder! Throughout this blog post, I’ll take an inside look at each of these from a venue’s perspective and determine just why they’re so memorable!
Getting Ready + Glam Squad
Before the day gets started, make sure to get plenty of candid and casual shots getting ready. You’ll want to capture moments where you’re having fun with the bridal party in matching robes or pajamas! As the bride and her bridesmaids are getting their hair and makeup done, that’s yet another must-have. Additionally, we always love seeing those emotional moments where the bride or groom is spending some alone time before the wedding gets underway!
The groom may not be as eager to take a ton of photos, but you’ll still want a candid shot of him and the guys! Whether that be something unique to him personally or simply one of him and his groomsmen getting ready is up to you, but it should definitely find a place in the final album! If you’re struggling to come up with ideas, feel free to browse some Pinterest boards for inspiration or ask your photographer. If they’ve done a few weddings before, I’m sure they’ll have plenty of suggestions!
While most couples will keep a few extra copies of their invitations, it’s still a perfect item to add to the photography checklist. Think of the invitation as something that tells the story behind your big day!
First Look Shots
A debate that’s been going around the wedding world for awhile has been in regards to doing a first look before the wedding versus the traditional approach of a first look at the aisle. Personally speaking, I don’t think you can go wrong with either and have seen both produce magical moments every single time!
Nonetheless, if you are interested in capturing a first look before the wedding, you’ll need to decide whether you want to be alone for it or have the bridal party included! In any case, it should fill a spot in your wedding album!
If you’re able to have parents and/or grandparents join you on your wedding day, this is a can’t miss opportunity! No matter what part of the day this moment is captured, it’ll definitely be something you’ll hold close to your heart for a long time!
All The Decor!
Remember when I opened this article by discussing how wedding planning can seem a little bit intimidating from the forefront? Well, you’ve made it through all of those decisions and arrived at your wedding day! Now don’t let all of that time spent planning specific details go to waste! From the bouquet to the centerpieces and even the entertainment, you’ll want to remember every last minute of it!
The Bling, Shoes and Dress!
Even though you’ll have the rest of your life to stare at that ring on your finger, don’t forget to also capture its beauty on your big day. Going right along with this, you’ll want to include a pic of the dress hanging up, as well as a close up of all of it’s beautiful details.
With the dress and jewelry taken care of, remember to also get a zoomed-in picture of those stunning shoes before you dance the night away!
I’m sure you’ve seen countless different types of grand exits at weddings. Here at Madera Estates, one of our personal favorites is a sparkler sendoff for receptions that end after dark! Just from being in attendance at these types of moments, you can’t help but smile and enjoy all of the fun! As a bonus, they make for the perfect photo opportunity, trust me!
While on the topic of sparklers, another possibility is to incorporate fireworks. On a few occasions, we’ve even had family members surprise the couple with fireworks going off in the background! As I’m sure most photographers would agree, if you choose to do this as a surprise, it might be wise to give the photographer a heads up! Otherwise, it could be difficult to capture the complete setting!
While I tried to write this article without including too many obvious shots, there’s just no way you could title something “Must-Have Shots” and not include the first kiss! The first kiss as a married couple and the moment directly after will be the focal piece of your entire album and likely the one you share on social media as well!
Communicate With Your Photographer
Having seen all of these specific moments, the one thing you can’t forget to do is communicate these ideas with your photographer. While a talented photographer will certainly already know specific wedding day shots that must be captured, she or he is not necessarily a mind-reader! Fast forward a few months, you don’t want to be thinking, “I wish I had a picture with Aunt Mary or my college pal Joe.” If you do have particular moments that you want included, create a checklist and always keep open communication with your photographer!
Your wedding day will go by in a blink of an eye, there’s no denying that! However, your wedding photographs will last forever. I hope you found some value in this list of must-have shots. I would like to give a huge thanks to Megan for allowing me to hop on her blog for a guest post! We’ve worked with Megan here at Madera Estates and can vouch for her on being incredibly gifted when it comes to photography!
About the Author
Ian Ramirez serves as the Venue Director of Madera Estates, a Spanish and European inspired luxury wedding and event venue located in Conroe, TX. The architecturally-stunning and beauty that is Madera Estates, takes inspiration and visions from the historic town of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, an artist’s haven and UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In his spare time, Mr. Ramirez operates a private voice studio, sings as tenor soloist in The Woodlands United Methodist Church choir, and serves on the boards of Interfaith Young Professionals and the International Live Events Association Houston Chapter.