Tips from a Charleston Wedding Photographer

Venue and catering choices usually top the wedding planning to-do list. As such, our team has an opportunity to discuss vendor options (for flowers, lighting, sound, photography and more) with couples early in the decision making process. We thoroughly enjoy the open dialogue... It helps us to better understand bride and groom preferences, and we can offer recommendations that make wedding planning (and the day-of details) easier. 
Photography is often a topic of conversation. There are plenty of talented Charleston photographers to choose from, but Richard Bell Photography is one of our all-time favorites. The company has a long history, lots of happy clients and a staff of “preposterously creative photographers.” 
We recently interviewed Owner and Photographer Nathan Bell because we want to ensure that our brides and grooms are expertly prepared for their wedding day photo shoot! Nathan had lots of great information for us, and here is some of what he had to share... 

Question: Should brides do a ton of research and provide their photographer with examples? 

Answer: I think it’s best for couples to find an artist who’s work they sincerely love, and then set that that artist free to create. A long list of required shots and poses is usually counterproductive to capturing the spontaneity of the day. Establish trust by doing an engagement session or bridal session before the wedding day -- this helps photographers and couples get to know each other better. 

Question: How do you come up with a game plan? 

Answer: We have multiple conversations with the bride and groom to go over timeline and locations. We also want to find out who are the important people in the lives of the couple -- parents, grandparents, godparents, siblings, nieces / nephews. 

Question: Are there important qualities that are often overlooked when choosing a photographer? 

Answer: Flexibility is important. Our photographers build timelines with lots of wiggle room, so that even if one part of the day runs late, we'll have plenty of time to make it up. We attempt to keep to the itinerary as closely as possible whenever we can control it, but timelines do, and should flex a bit throughout the day. Last weekend the reception had dancing scheduled with the band from 8:00 to 9:00 -- but sunset was just so beautiful that the bride and groom got all their friends and family together to go out to lounge and play lawn games during that last 30 minutes of daylight. That unscheduled little bit of the reception ended up being the bride and groom's favorite part of the entire day.

Question: Do certain times of day photograph better than others? Should couples consider this when selecting a ceremony time? 

Answer: A talented photographer can make any time of day look good in pictures. Bright daytime takes a different feel of picture than sunset or dusk, which feels different from evening and night shots. The characteristics of a venue play a big part in this as well. If it's a woodsy venue with tall trees -- sunset isn't going to be a particularly important moment. But on the beach or the marsh, sunset and dusk are significant. Plan the event according to how you want your day to flow, and work with your photographer to see how pictures best fit in that timeline. Working in the south, heat is often a bigger consideration than light. We can do nice pictures at noon in June... but it’s uncomfortable. 

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We’ve had a pleasure working with Nathan and his wife, Mell, on several occasions, and we look forward to working with them again soon! To learn more about Richard Bell Photography, visit, or schedule a complementary consultation to learn more about our catering services, favorite venues and other preferred vendors.