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Wedding Photos: Should You Hire a Pro or DIY? (page 3 of 4)

Thinking about going the DIY route for wedding photography? These tips can increase the odds of success.

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Lighting and Background

"I have probably said a thousand times, 'Background is at least 50 percent of any good photo,'" Tanya says. "Choose it wisely." Watch for bloopers like trees that appear to come out of people's heads, and think about what will be happening in the background of key shots, such as the first dance or the cake cutting.

The choice of background "really depends on the look you're going for," Megan says. "When photographing on location, bright colorful areas can make the image pop. Subdued colors and textures can be nice as well. Busy backgrounds could draw attention away from the bride and groom."

Also, "Be ready for the many different lighting scenarios that are present throughout the wedding day," Megan says. To avoid harsh lighting, especially for portraits, the photographer can add a flash, diffuse the light or move somewhere with softer lighting.

Tanya cautions that using a flash can be tricky for novices. "Flash basically works at one distance," she says. "When I see guests shooting from 20 feet away with a tiny pocket camera and flash, I usually tell them to get between five and eight feet (away) for the optimum picture."

Courtesy of Megan Marascalco

Posed-Shot Pointers

"This is one area where people tend to underestimate the time needed," Megan says. She recommends that the photographer have a list to work from, and emphasizes that having everyone lined up and ready speeds the process. "It's a great idea to have a family member or friend who knows everyone help with the list and with making sure everyone is there that is needed," she says.

Tanya’s tips: Look for a spot with consistent lighting and a simple background away from guests, the band or other busy settings. "Get everyone to put their drinks and purses down," she says. "Most people don't think about what is in their hands and regret it later." Encourage people to crowd in close, and make them laugh (though not talk) to loosen up the shot.

She also suggests browsing magazines or sites such as Pinterest for group shots you like. "Print those out, and copy the groupings for your portraits," she says. "You will be amazed how much faster people get into position when you give them a visual clue."