Why Do Formal Photos?

Do you ever have those moments where you're scrolling on social media or on someones website and you see one photo that particularly catches your eye. A photo of couple that makes you have goosebumps? Those are called formal photos. Formal photos are some of, if not, my most favorite photos to capture on your wedding day. Most couples during their elopement or intimate wedding will opt to have formal photos, but there are some who may choose not to. However, it's important to understand what formal photos are and whether or not you should opt to have formal photos on your wedding day!


Formal photos are photos taken at a designated time and/or day with just you and your partner. When you choose to take formal photos, you can either choose to have it on the actual day of your wedding or even before the day of your wedding (days or even months before). You and your fiancé get to dress up, glam up and we get to take some formal photos at an epic location (desert, forest, mountain, etc). You can take formal photos just about anywhere and they are the perfect excuse to get some of those more epic, life changing type images that you will fawn over forever.

Tip: Formal photos are also the perfect opportunity for you to test out your hair & makeup before the big day! Rather than letting those hair and makeup trials go to waste, book them the same day as your formals!


Before deciding if formal photos feel like the perfect fit for you, it's also best to understand the many benefits that come along with doing formal photos.


Formal photos are not just for couples who are looking to elope. In fact, formal photos are for any and all couples. If you are someone who maybe loves the look of elopement portraits, then formal photos may be right what you need. Maybe you're someone who wants the beautiful epic desert location or to hike to the top of a mountain, but you also want a traditional large wedding too. That's fine! Formal photos give you the best of both worlds and give you those elopement type photos without having to elope.


I think a common misconception about formal photos is that it will ruin the moment of your wedding day. You don't get that "pure and genuine" reaction from your partner and the moment is essentially "ruined"... WRONG. During formal photos you can still do a first look and get those authentic reactions without sacrificing the beauty of the moment on your actual wedding day.

formal photos won't be rushed

Since we would be carving out special time for these formal photos, you won't have to feel rushed! Feeling rushed has got to be one of my biggest pet peeves (and probably many of yours as well). The last thing you want is to feel rushed on the day of your wedding, especially for photos that are so meaningful and important. That's why either dedicating a day/week/month prior to the wedding or just carving out time on the wedding day for formals will be a huge lifesaver. You get the photos of your dreams and you get to celebrate and enjoy the day. It's a win-win!

read each other your personal vows

For any of you who are shy to speak in front of a crowd, your formal photos are the perfect opportunity for you and your partner to read each other your personal vows. The fear of having to say something so intimate and private can be nerve-wracking for some couples. Trust me when I say this is totally normal. Dedicating some time with your partner for formal photos will give you both the opportunity to share those personally written vows and have a bit more intimacy and privacy with your partner.

formal photos make great wedding day decor

One of the most special and memorable reasons on why do to formal portraits prior to the wedding day is that it can make great wedding day decor! If done with enough time in advance, you are able to print your formal portraits and can scatter them around your ceremony and reception. They make for beautiful centerpieces and you hang them throughout the venue to show your wedding guests how much you two love each other.

Removes stress from your wedding day

Oftentimes, your photographer will have a pre-prepped wedding timeline before your wedding day. This is to ensure that everything runs smoothly and you stay on top of all of the fun wedding festivities. If you choose to do your wedding formal portraits prior to your wedding day, this leaves a lot of wiggle room for other portraits on your wedding day. If things run behind, you are secure in the portrait department since those would already be taken care of before the wedding day. You don't have to worry about getting enough portraits on the day of your wedding, because your formal portraits have already got you covered!


Depending on where you would like to go, I can help you by connecting you with vendors in the area. Whether it be dress rentals, florists, hair and makeup, you name it! Trying to find reputable and trustworthy vendors can be tricky, but I will be there along the way to help make that decision a little bit easier! Name the place and I'm there.

So no matter what you choose, whether you decide to do formal portraits prior to the wedding day or not, just remember that this moment is all about you!

Photos By Gayle does more than just take photos of people. Rather, it is capturing moments of LOVE and HAPPINESS. Singing to the skies, dancing in a field, smiles that hurt because they’re so big. There is nothing else I would rather be doing than photographing these unique details that make you and your significant other a couple. If these photos from this session puts a spark in you, you know where to click <——— right there!