In our experience, there are definitely a few nightmare scenarios that keep couples awake in the lead-up to the big day. After months of planning and dreaming—and writing checks—you want everything to go perfectly.

And you want your photos to perfectly capture the day, and the spark of who you are as a couple, to share your joy and revisit your memories for generations to come.

Is fear of hating your wedding photos causing you to lose sleep? Is your heart skipping a beat at thoughts of arriving at your much-anticipated first-look appointment to find your images are poor quality, major moments were missed, or they just don’t capture that je ne sais quois that makes your relationship tick?

Tongue in cheek, here are eight ways to make sure you hate your wedding photos, and what to do instead, to get images you LOVE.

happy wedding guests on the dance floor

How to hate your wedding photos:

Eight mistakes to avoid

1. Make cost your number one criteria.

We know how important it is to stick to your wedding budget. But try not to let strict numbers be your final decision maker. After all, these images are the one thing you’ll have after the day ends (besides your love, of course!), to come back to over and over again.

If you choose a photographer solely based on being the cheapest, you’re missing out on so many other elements that factor into the investment, such as experience and skill, personality and authenticity, organization, equipment, as well as the quality of the final product you’ll be hanging on your wall and seeing every day.

Look at a number of photographers within your budget range, and consider trimming a budget item elsewhere to expand your photography investment if you can’t find a photographer you love in your starting range.

2. Hire your cousin’s friend’s roommate.

“If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.” The old adage definitely applies to your photographer. Friends and family who have a nice camera, or dabble in photography, can surely snap a few nice photos along the way. But a pro brings the experience and wisdom of literally dozens to hundreds of weddings.

Invest in someone who knows how to plan the day, how to make you comfortable, how to capture spectacular posed and candid shots (in tricky lighting) and how to handle all the little details so everything goes smooth like butter.

classic newport rosewcliff wedding portraits

3. Skip the research.

If you haven't done some homework, you won’t have all the information you need to find the right fit. A little bit of background research goes a long way toward starting with a solid foundation, bringing your hopes and expectations into line with reality.

Start with a solid foundation by

  • reading reviews

  • getting recommendations from friends and from your venue

  • creating a list of questions to ask prospective photographers

  • being clear about what you want

  • making sure you understand what you will receive for the package price

[Don’t miss these five questions to ask when interviewing wedding photographers.]

4. Hire a photographer you don’t click with.

Your florist and caterer? They’ll make a pre-wedding drop off, or hang behind the scenes. Your photographer will be by your side all day, tasked with bringing out the best in you (sometimes in intimate moments). If they rub you the wrong way, or even if your relationship with them is merely transactional, it will show in the final images. This is particularly a danger with “wedding photography mills” who hire slick salespeople to book the weddings, then send whoever is free that day.

Take the time to chat with your prospective photographers and choose someone you make a great connection with. If you have the chance to shoot engagement photos with your wedding photographer, you can build an even deeper connection that gives them a sense of how to best direct and capture your relationship before the wedding day.

5. Don’t communicate your style.

As photographers, we bring our own style to the table, but we don’t come to your big day trying to stick you in a preconceived box. We want to hear and see what feels right to you! If you don’t communicate a few styles you like, we’re flying blind—and you may wind up with photos that are technically “good” but just don’t feel right.

Talk to your photographer well in advance about styles you like, and show them a few examples. This will help them bring their signature artistry to your unique relationship and create images that match your hopes and dreams.

unique style bride and groom outdoor wedding

6. Have a bad hair day.

Testing out your hair and makeup on your wedding day doesn’t leave room—or time—for error. If the look they give you doesn’t feel natural to you, your discomfort will show in your photos.

Have a trial with your hair and makeup artist. That gives you time to find the look that is gorgeous—and truly you.

black and white photo of a bride getting her hair done on wedding day

7. Just wing it.

If you don’t plan time for great photos, you won’t get them. It’s common for the day to get started late, for other elements (like hair and makeup) to take longer than planned, or for couples to feel pulled into “urgent” interruptions. Without a game day plan, it’s much easier to get derailed and take time away from creating the images you want.

Work with your photographer to create a realistic photo timeline that allows some wiggle room for the “expected surprises.” Consider the pros and cons of first-look images to help you meet your goals for the day. This will calm your nerves, knowing you’ve budgeted time to get all the images you want while still having a blast at your wedding and preserving time with treasured friends and family.

8. Print your own photos.

We understand the temptation to save money by printing photos yourself. But trusting your fine art images to a cheap print shop, like VistaPrint or your local drugstore, is like playing Yo-Yo Ma through Dollar Store earbuds. They print the files using generic settings, with no attention to color shifting or subtleties of exposure. The same gorgeous, perfectly edited images that are calibrated to your photographer’s lab can come out underwhelming and disappointing when sent to a mass-market printer that uses generic color settings and papers with cheap finishes.

And one more way to hate your photos when you don’t get prints from your photographer? To wake up years later with the files still unprinted in your dresser drawer. We can’t tell you how many of our friends and family had the best of intentions to print albums and collages, but never found the time.

Invest in a photographer who provides full service, guarantees their print products, and walks beside you until you’re thrilled with the result. We’ll even come help you hang them on your wall!

sample wedding albums from ri wedding photographer

Every couple should love their

wedding photos

So much time, planning (and money!) goes into your wedding day. Your photos are the one tangible thing you’ll have to hold onto and bring those moments to mind. Hating your wedding photos doesn’t just hurt at your first look—it needles at you every time you see them.

We believe all couples deserve fantastic wedding photos and we hope these tips help you capture gorgeous memories that spark joy for a lifetime.

Want to love your wedding photos?

Hire us!