How to Get Wedding Photos that Will Actually Stand the Test of Time

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Sure, your wedding photos may look great now, but will you cringe when you look at them in 5, 10 or 25 years? As you research photographers for your big day and start to think through what you want in your photo album, it's important to figure out how to find a balance between what's on point right now and what's truly timeless. 
Fashions may come and go, but your wedding photos are forever!
 "If you follow the idea of keeping things simple and elegant, you are on your way to having timeless wedding photography," says Melinda Golden of Chris and Melinda Golden Photography
She believes that the couple’s love should be the main focus of the photos, "that is what will make it truly timeless." You want images that won't seem stale or passé over time. That may mean avoiding photographers whose work includes images that are over-styled or have too many post-production finishes.
Ben Sowry of Ben Sowry Photo "If you want a trendy pose for a picture, that's not a problem. But if all of your formal photos fall into that category, what are you left with?" asks Casey Fatchett, a photographer in New York City. She advises couples to consider how they'll feel about their photos years after the wedding. "Do you want 'clean' timeless images or photos that leave you saying, 'Oh, that picture is so [insert year you were married,]'?" he asks.
 So how do you ensure your wedding photos will stand the test of time? We asked professional photographers to share their tips for how to get classic photos that won't fade like a passing fad.
 Tip 1: Review the Photographer’s Portfolio. Before you hire a photographer, look through his portfolio and get a feel for his style. Are the images very of-the-moment? Do they rely on Instagram-like filters and finishes to get that polished look? If so, know that your album could have a similar feel to what you're seeing online and may end up feeling like a virtual timestamp of exactly when you tied the knot.
Jeff Chang of Jeff and Cat of The Apartment Photography "A photo that is timeless should be free of anything that ties it to a particular time period," says Golden, noting a simple dress will be fashionable for decades. "You can definitely spot a wedding dress from the 80’s."
Ask the photographer you're considering hiring how he or she shoots weddings. One question Fatchett recommends asking is, "Are [the photographers] predominately taking candid photos or are they arranging and staging pictures throughout the day to create photos that are trendy?" The way the photographer answers will reveal a great deal about their end result. 
Tip 2: Your Photographer Doesn't Rely on Postproduction to Create a Look. These days, wedding photography is often synonymous with postproduction, where everything passes through some form of edits, including a coloring and shading, and overall style is finessed until it's just perfect. But that kind of styling can lead to images looking quite dated.
 "As long as the photographer isn't heavy handed with the post-production filters and processes, the couple isn't going to get many images that could be considered 'dated,'" says Tom Clarke of Thomas Robert Clarke Photography in Philadelphia, who notes "simple elegance never goes out of style." 
Tip 3: Avoid Gimmicks. Classic photos don't rely on gimmicks to tell the wedding story. "Timeless images are those of the bridal couple doing things they would have done yesterday or 50 years ago: walking, talking, kissing, looking at one another," says Corey Ann of Corey Ann Photography.
Go gimmick-free and steer clear of what Corey calls 'Pinterest inspiration.' That means "no random objects in the hands and no bridal party running away from a dinosaur" in her book. Instead, she recommends sticking to natural moments that aren't forced. 
Tip 4: Avoid a Super Specific Shot List. 
Sure, you have specific photos you want for your album (or grandma's mantle), but you might end up hampering your photographer's creativity with a must shoot list. "Once you start telling a photographer that these are the 100 'must have' photos during the ceremony, you're taking all of the spontaneity out of the process," says Fatchett. Besides, many of the photos on shot sheets are often trendy and will create dated photos. 
Do you really want that shot with everyone in your wedding party jumping for joy? Or one with you and your spouse forming your hands into a heart a la Justin Bieber? You should still definitely let your photographer know the specific people or backgrounds you want in your images, such as a family portrait with your grandparents or pics of the ceremony site pre-vows. "Discuss the portraits with your photographer beforehand and come up with what best suits you," says Fatchett, noting professional photographers know to shoot standard photos like the first kiss, the cake, the cake cutting, and the first dance. 
Tip 5: Say No to Trends. Being trendy will make your pics look very dated sooner rather than later. Remember the selective coloring of the 80’s and 90’s with a black and white image but a colored rose? Yeah...we can't forget that either. "The 'vintage' look has been very popular for the last several years, but if you can look at a photo and have no idea when it was taken, then you have a timeless photo," says Fatchett, noting when you look back at photos, you want to be "immediately transported back to that day emotionally and not be stopped by thinking 'Oh, why did we do that trendy thing?'" 
Tip 6: Hire a the Right Photographer. Make sure you click with your photographer and love his or her style. Your relationship as a couple will be evident in your connection with the photographer.
"The truly great photographers will have a photographic 'style' that is their signature," says Steve Thornton of Steve Thornton Professional Imagery Lifestyle Photography. "Do not hire a photographer and ask them to shoot as another photographer would." 
Asking your photographer to be like someone else will likely backfire, so don’t do it.
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