As a photographer, I have the opportunity to see many different couples on their wedding day. Most have spent a lot of effort for a perfect day to celebrate their love for one another and you’d hate to have the photos diminished by a few common mistakes. Unfortunately, I see these happen time and time again and each time, I wish there was a way I could push the rewind button and warn my couples beforehand. Here is a helpful list of things to avoid for your summer wedding to make your pictures the best they can be.

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Wedding Photo Mistake 1. Tan Lines

If you want to have the glow of a tan, I won’t judge you but even the faintest tan line will show up ten-fold in the pictures. If you are going strapless for your wedding day, remember to either completely cover up (I love the rash guards from J. Crew), go strapless with your suit, or find yourself some bulletproof 50 SPF. And I don’t mean in the week before the wedding, I mean in the months before the wedding.

My couple had a beautiful summer Hamptons wedding at the Peconic Bay Yacht Club in Southold, NY. This smart couple hired the incredible Amanda Barbara Events for wedding planning, wore a an exquisite Carolina Herrera gown and remembered to wear their sunscreen leading up to the big day.


No sunburns or tan lines here! Just Married! Summer wedding at Lowndes Grove in Charleston, SC #ricetoss #justmarried #candid #blackandwhite #taraguerard #verawang

Wedding Photo Mistake 2. Sunburn

Sunburns are one of the biggest problems I encounter. Here’s why: the guys go out on the day before the wedding and have a great time with their men, fishing or golfing, and always (honestly, always!) forget to put on sunscreen. Posed next to others, the difference in skin-tone can be jarring. Though you can correct color for one person, it will throw off the other. Save yourself this hard lesson and remind the guys to wear sunscreen during those fun pre-wedding events.

No sunburns here! Tara Guérard planned this event perfectly down to the rice toss photo above. Photographer Gayle Brooker married her best friend Neilson in an outdoor wedding at Lowndes Grove in Charleston, SC. Instead of noticing a sunburn, all the guests could see was that gorgeous Vera Wang.


A beautiful setting for a wedding ceremony on the Ashley River in Charleston, SC. Planning by Tara Guérard #lowndesgrove #riverside #taraguerard #outdoorwedding #informalwedding

Wedding Photo Mistake 2. a ceremony spot in the direct sun

I realize that you might not have a lot of options for your ceremony and you want to pick the perfect spot to exchange your vows, consult your photographer on the best angle and location. The bride in the above photo was also a photographer, so she knew getting married under this lovely shade tree would offer beautiful lighting as well as a vista. In addition, it helped keep their guests cool from the summer sun.


A cute short dress for the sparkler exit! End of the night joy at Lowndes Grove in Charleston, SC. Planning by Tara Guérard. #funweddings #sparklers #blacktie #lowndesgrove #taraguerard

Wedding Photo Mistake 4: Wearing a full length, heavy gown all evening

Trying to wear a full length wedding gown all night in the summer is a mistake in my opinion — and fatigue is not photogenic! A wardrobe change (and makeup/hair refresh) at the reception can be especially practical after a long, hot day. At a minimum, the groom should have a fresh shirt and undershirt ready to go. And I have seen many brides SO happy to change out of their long gown into a lighter, shorter dress for dancing.

I loved this cute short sequined dress for the sparkler exit! Such end of a the night joy at Lowndes Grove in Charleston, SC with planning by Tara Guérard.


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Wedding Photo Mistake 5: Transition Sunglasses

This is a face palm every time — transition eyeglasses! Taking pictures in daylight will certainly turn these combination eyeglasses dark. Check with your parents and grandparents to make sure they have a regular pair along for pictures (many adults feel that they don’t look like themselves without glasses on). These photogenic parents have standard, clear glasses on, thank goodness! We wouldn’t want anything taking away our attention from their beautiful smiles and the bride’s gorgeous Selia Yang gown.

My bride, Charlotte, is a photographer herself and knew to check on this important detail before it was time for family pictures. She was married at the storybook Millbrook School with their brunch reception at Pavilion at Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum. The wedding was featured in Brides magazine.


What other top tips would you include for couples planning a summer wedding? Leave a comment below!


Summer Weddings: Photo Mistakes to Avoid

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