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DOs & DONTs of Wedding Day Photography: We Asked an Expert, Krista Lee!


I wanted to do this post today because when it came to MY wedding, I made big mistakes for the photography. I didn't do enough research or planning. I had put so much time into the actual wedding and not enough time in communicating with my photographer. I never stopped to think about how important the wedding photos would be. After all, they are what you will have to remember your wedding for years to come.

My photographer truly was great, it was MY fault for not communicating better. In the end, I did get some good photos but there were a lot of missed moments that could have easily been avoided with some simple direction. So, this is my message to all of you brides out there... if you're going to have a wedding, find a great photographer and communicate with them! Don't stress yourself out, that's not what this is about! BUT-- don't put all of your attention on everything else for the wedding and slack on photography.

To assist me with this post, I wanted to get REAL advice from a professional! Professional wedding photographers have seen it all, so who better to ask? I want all brides to feel super happy with their wedding photos and not have the "sick" feelings I experienced when I received mine.

Krista Lee Photography Logo

I came across a seriously talented photographer in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Krista Lee, owner of Krista Lee Photography working in Nashville and the surrounding Middle Tennessee areas, Chicagoland areas. When I saw her work, I knew she had a passion for this and a lot of happy brides. I reached out and asked if I could I please interview her on the do's and don'ts of wedding photography. She was happy to do it! I mean, look at these stunning photos! (By the way, she is very kind and easy to talk to, which is something you need in a photographer.)

Bridesmaids Holding Pink and White Balloons
Bride and Groom Kissing in the Rain Under Umbrella

I will be including more of her photos throughout this post, just click on one and it will direct you to her website to see more!

Let the Interview Begin!

Krista, do you think it's better to do a "first look" and why or why not?

So this is a question I get A LOT! I think it really depends on the timeline of the day and how many people are involved. The main reason my clients do a first look is if they're concerned about keeping their guests waiting too long after the ceremony. If you do ALL photos after the ceremony and there are a lot of people in those photos (think bridal party, immediate families, extended families, then bride and groom photos) there is a chance you could keep your guests waiting at the reception for quite a while, which is not ideal. In this case we do a first look so the bride and groom can join their guests at the reception or cocktail hour

much more quickly. Another reason to definitely do a first look is if it will be dark outside after your ceremony. If you've rented a beautiful venue and want lots of photos around the grounds, you'll definitely want to do a first look if sunset is immediately after your ceremony. 

Bride In Field

What are some of the most important things a bride/groom should communicate to their photographer before the wedding?

Gosh this is a great question! Communication is everything for planning your wedding. We always have 2 meetings with our couples before their big day. We want to thoroughly understand family dynamics and what the bride is envisioning for her photos. Top things to communicate: Wedding day timelines, family dynamics (are mom and dad divorced and families don't get along? We need to know that- otherwise some very uncomfortable situations can happen when we put everyone in the same photo, lol) and locations that you love around the venue. Another great thing to communicate are poses you love (or hate!)

Do you like for the bride to provide sample shots she likes and dislikes?

Yes! There are literally millions of different poses and backgrounds and setups so sending us some inspiration definitely helps us. When a bride sends over a pinterest inspiration board it helps me get inside their head a bit.... I can see what she really loves and then use that as a starting point for the rest of the photos I do that day. I will say though, overkill can be really dangerous. Because of the nature of a wedding day, things happen many times very spontaneously in front of us. We capture those awesome moments as they're happening! If you send us 20 pages of photos you MUST have, we're so busy trying to keep up with every photo on your shot list, that many times we miss important candid moments. So send us 20-30 photos that you love, but don't overload us because it will cause us to miss really beautiful candid moments on your day! :) 

Bride Looking out Large Window

Is it important to get photos of all the guests or is this something most photographers skip out on?

I have many friends that are also wedding photographers. There is definitely a split on this subject in our community. Many people focus just on the bride and groom. I think for me this is an emotional answer because many of my older relatives that were at my wedding are no longer with us. Within a few years of our wedding, 5 family members passed away. I truly cherish the photos I have of them at my wedding as it was one of the last times we were all together. So I usually ask the bride and groom on this subject. Some people have family dynamics that are very stressed (or their parents invite 200 people that they don't even know to the wedding, lol) and they would rather I just focus on them and their bridal party / immediate family. But others want us to capture as many photos of guests as we can. I personally lean towards getting as many as I can of guests. 

Does there need to be a 2nd photographer on the wedding day, or will 1 work just as well?

This totally depends on how many guests will be at the wedding and how simple or complex the wedding day is! Sometimes, I have brides who get ready at one hotel, while the groom gets ready across town at an AirBNB. Then they go to separate locations to do pre-wedding photos, and then they get married in a large church with 500 guests. In situations like this, there must be at least 2 photographers, otherwise a lot will be missed. This is a huge contrast to a small elopement wedding, though! If you're having an intimate gathering of maybe 30-40 people, and you're both getting ready at the wedding venue (and having both the ceremony and reception there) I don't see a huge need for 2 photographers. 

Groom and Groomsmen

What is your best piece of advice to a couple who want to get great wedding photos?

First, hire an experienced wedding photographer that fits your vision. I think 70% of the time people do not like their photos is because they didn't hire the right person. Instead of getting an experienced wedding photographer, they hired their friend who dabbles in photography and then were disappointed when the photos didn't turn out well. Hire someone who has a lot of experience with weddings, and then make sure their style matches your vision. Do you love bright, happy, timeless photos? Don't hire someone who has dark, dramatic photos on their website as their style won't naturally line up with your vision. Lastly, be sure to plan thoroughly so nothing is missed! Many times people are dissatisfied because either the photographer or the couple failed to plan out and communicate what they wanted and the timeline they were going to do it in.

What are some of the mistakes you have seen couples make over the years when it comes to wedding photography?

Hiring a friend who isn't necessarily experienced, make sure you have a timeline for your day-of wedding photography, and make sure you communicate to your photographer the shots you would like to have.

Couples Walking Down Aisle of Wedding

Are there any pet peeves photographers can have that can actually interfere with the smoothness of the wedding day? 

Yes a few things, first the bride getting really stressed when people blow up her phone and overload her with questions. She should be able to relax and enjoy her important day, but many times I see this backfire when 1,000 well meaning people call and text and blow up her phone with questions. Secondly, when we are trying to do family photos, usually a lot of family members will stand behind us and take the same photo we are taking. Really it's not that we mind that they're standing there, but what happens is everyone in the photo starts looking at different people, and then no one gets a shot of everyone looking the same direction! Lastly, cell phones (and ipads surprisingly!) are a big issue during the ceremony. We realize that people have good intentions by trying to film things, but so many times they will step right in front of us and block our shot. One of the only bad reviews I've ever gotten was when the bride was walking down the aisle in a church and a guest with an ipad stepped in front of me and the videographer and blocked my shot of the groom's face as she walked down the aisle. We aren't going to shove family members down in order to get your photos and/or videos, so please make sure guests understand that they don't have to record the ceremony for you as you've hired professionals to do that! :) 

Photo Collage of Krista

Meet Krista Lee!

For more information on Krista Lee Photography, visit her website.

Krista, a Tennessee wedding photographer specializes in wedding and lifestyle photography. She is drawn to natural, airy, light filled images but also enjoys adding some high end studio lit portraits into the mix that feature night time and strobe lighting. She has been featured in numerous magazines and high end publications, including People Magazine, Southwest Airlines SPIRIT Magazine, US Weekly, Life and Style Magazine and more.

She does this all while making sure your wedding day experience is amazing, organized, and stress free. 

She offers Wedding Day Photography, Engagement Sessions, After the Wedding Location Shoots and more.

Krista is available in Nashville and the surrounding Middle Tennessee areas, Chicagoland areas.

Krista is highly rated, check out reviews here.

Contact Krista Lee Photography


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