When you’re in the thick of planning a wedding, it’s easy to get flustered with all the details. So we asked some of Toronto’s top wedding photographers – Danijela Pruginic, Lisa Mark, Niv Shimshon & Shlomi Amiga – how to get the best possible pics of your big day. Here, they share their insider tips:

The Do’s

The best photos are made when people are comfortable and able to enjoy the moments. Leave enough time for portraits in order for this comfort to develop, so that you can be yourself. ~Danijela

Get the portraits done before the ceremony; that way you can enjoy every single moment of your day with all your guests. ~Danijela

Take the time to meet with your future photographer. That way you can talk about your expectations, ask questions and, most importantly, see if you feel that there is a good connection between the three of you. ~Niv

Niv Shimshon

Niv Shimshon

Professional hair and makeup is a MUST! You NEED a trial beforehand with a skilled hair and makeup artist. This makes a huge difference! And wedding attire that fits properly (not too tight, etc.). ~Lisa

Be present in the moment. Being present means letting the rest go, including worrying about looking good for the camera. Your wedding day is a day in which you and your partner need to focus on one thing only: each other. ~Niv

If you are torn between two photographers, choose the one you think you would like to hang out with regardless! The connection between you and your photographer is everything. The more you give them, the more you’ll get back. ~Shlomi

People look their best when they’re feeling comfortable. Sometimes people can get nervous so I will point out few things in their body language that people tend not to notice (like fidgety hands or awkward posture). It’s the job of the photographer to see stuff like an unflattering shadow on a bride’s face that can easily be fixed with tilting the head to the point where the light will flatter her. ~Niv

Take the time to do the portraits ahead of the ceremony. It saves on a lot of rushing, plus the make up and hair will still look great at that point. ~Danijela

Try to take some of your portraits during golden hour. The golden hour is a period shortly before sunset (and shortly after sunrise which is less relevant for weddings) during which daylight is redder and softer than when the sun is higher in the sky. Often it is dinner time, but you can always take a fifteen minute break to get some air and capture beautiful portraits. ~Niv

Listen to your photographer. If you hired a wedding photographer to document your day, trust them, and take their advice whenever possible. Wedding photographers are always expected to be creative, often times under less than ideal conditions. This is where problem solving comes into play. Trust your photographer to tackle light/location/timeline issues and everything will work itself out. ~Shlomi

Only book the photographer whose style matches your vision and expectations. ~Danijela


Shlomi Amiga

The Don’t’s

Recreating shots from Pinterest or even other photographers. You’ll only get second rate photos and the photographer won’t be able to truly be creative and really document your day. ~Danijela

Don’t send your photographer Pinterest lists or shot lists. It completely kills our creativity and sets off red flags for us. We worry that if we don’t match the example photos the client won’t be happy. ~Lisa

Because of the popularity of the wedding blogs, there seems to be a huge importance placed on wedding day details, which is something you won’t care about in ten years’ time. It’s important not to sacrifice the moments and photos of your guests, in favour of so many details. ~Danijela

Don’t worry about double chins and flabby arms. We’ve all got them. Be yourself. Just be together like you are used to, and that connection will come through in the photographs. Hold each other in ways that are natural and true to who you are, as partners for life. ~Shlomi

Don’t skimp on your photography budget. Photography is the only thing you have left after the flowers die and the dress goes in your closet. It’s the memories with those who won’t be around forever that matter most. More often than not, you get what you pay for. ~Lisa

When checking out photographers, don’t just look at the portfolio. Go to the blog section and see a complete wedding day. Make sure that you love the photos that you see on the photographer’s website. Your wedding photos are the one thing from your wedding that you can go back to and relive that day. ~Niv

What we call ‘Uncle Bobs’ – well-meaning friends and family taking their own photos by stepping out into the aisle during the ceremony and blocking the photographer’s/groom’s views of the bride. ~Lisa

Stay away from “mixed bag” photographers. If looking through a portfolio feels like eight different photographers took the shots, move on to the next option. ~Shlomi

Don’t bring an iPad to take photos at a wedding. It’s a huge eyesore! ~Lisa

Don’t try for “pretty” photographs as opposed to moment-based captures that really emphasize the connection between the subjects in the frame; those candid moments that can either make you cry or laugh out loud (or both). ~Shlomi


Danijela Weddings

Finally: What makes a great wedding photograph?

A great wedding photo is one that shows the emotion of the day, as well as any moments that are happening. Documenting the day in the way that it’s unfolding will bring the greatest joy down the years, as those are the photos that will take you right back to the day, just like hearing a song you haven’t heard in a long time. ~Danijela

Anything that the couple will treasure forever. It may be a simple moment between the bride and her grandmother at the reception, or a romantic and stunning portrait of the newlyweds in front of a dramatic background. It’s completely personal to the couple and the photographer, which is why it’s important for everyone to be on the same page about what’s important in wedding photography. ~Lisa

A great wedding photograph has a combination of great composition, light and most importantly – it evokes a feeling. The legendary photographer Robert Frank described it beautifully: “When people look at my picturesm I want them to feel the way they do when they want to read a line of a poem twice. ~Niv

A great wedding photograph is one that makes you feel what the wedding day was like. A father shedding a tear while walking his daughter down the aisle, or a lovely portrait of an elderly family member that is no longer with us. A moment that tells you just enough for you to want to know more. I believe this is the key to any great photograph in general. One that makes you feel something deep inside. ~Shlomi

Follow them: 

Danijela Weddings: Instagram & Facebook

Lisa Mark Photograpy: Instagram & Facebook

Niv Shimshon: Instagram & Facebook

Shlomi Amiga: Instagram & Facebook