A wedding is one of those rare occasions when you already have everything you need to create incredible, heartfelt pictures. You have the romance, the people, the killer outfits, the amazing backdrop — you just need the perfect person to capture it all. With so many wedding photographers to choose from, it’s important to pick someone who gets who you are as a couple and your wedding style. Lucky for you, we’ve got an inside source that is ready to tell you everything your wedding pro wishes they could. As a professional wedding photographer, New York-based Raquel Reis (her work has been featured in Martha Stewart Weddings, the New York Times and New York magazine!) is here to give future brides a few tips and tricks to getting the best wedding photos AND enjoying your big day.

1. Be yourself, have fun, and pick a photographer you like as a person. So “have fun” might sound like a given, but a lot of the time, brides feel pressure to feel or look a certain way on their wedding day. Believe us when we say that you will always look your best when you are relaxed and happy — especially when you’re being photographed. “Make sure you feel comfortable with your photographer, and you have a good rapport. They will be there the whole day with you, and in some intimate moments,” Reis says. “It’s as important you like the person behind the camera as much as you like their work. That way you can have more fun and take it all in!”

2. Give them all the deets. Make sure your photographer knows everything that’s important to you. This means your schedule, details, group photos, all of it. Knowing all of the details in advance means there’s nothing more to figure out, and lets them capture all the spontaneous memories that happen as they go. With a solid plan in place, your photographer will be there to capture it all so that you can enjoy your day.

3. Smile more than you think is cool. “I sometimes see brides who hold back on smiling because they don’t want to look fake in their wedding portraits,” Reis explains. “Ironically, you can look even more awkward when you’re holding back rather than showing your genuine emotion and happiness.”

4. Awkward is charming. Real feelings and moments are timeless. Your big day will be filled with so much emotion — allow for things to be natural and imperfect instead of trying to constantly control how you look. Reis says, “A good photographer will figure out the most flattering lenses and angles for you. It’s their job to worry about it, not yours!”

5. Allow for a little extra time. The last thing you want is to be stressed on your wedding day. “When planning out the details of your day, plan for a little wiggle room,” Reis suggests. “The little extra time will just make things flow a little bit easier.” And if you are running late (despite how hard you tried), don’t stress. You’re the bride. Nothing will start without you!

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(Photos via Raquel Reis)