Today’s brides are pinning, liking, sharing, posting – and, yes, flipping through pages of glossy magazines while on the hunt for inspiration as they plan for the big day. And not only are they gathering ideas from photos on Pinterest, Facebook and other social media sites, they’re eager to share their own.

According to a social media survey, more than a quarter (28 percent) of brides update their relationship status on Facebook within hours of their engagement, and another quarter (24 percent) do so the next day. And an online spread of engagement photos usually follows.

People’s style has improved and their expectations have heightened because of Pinterest, blogs and Facebook. Couples may even feel pressure to match or outdo photos their engaged or married friends have published online.

So what does (and doesn’t) make for great engagement and wedding photos brides will want to pin, post, print and share right away?

Style means real, authentic, genuine moments. The ability to look at a photograph and remember what it felt like to be there, to feel a connection with the moment and the memory.

Many of today’s brides are turning to themes and creative story lines in their engagement and wedding photography to create memorable, standout images.

If it relates to the couple, then it’s a really great thing. But unless it does, it’s kind of unnecessary. And, in twenty years people would look at it and be like, "What’s that?"

The theme should have a purpose and connection to the couple. If the theme or story connects with the couple, it brings out their personalities and unique relationship.

For photos on the big day, brides should “get ready somewhere awesome.” If brides want to capture the preparation before walking down the aisle, a messy hotel room or bathroom won’t provide the best setting. The difference between pretty reception photos and breathtaking photos is lighting: candles, chandeliers, dance floor lighting, etc.

The most important element for great photos, however, may be to enjoy the day and let your photographer and others think about the details.

It doesn’t have to be a stressful time. You’re married and in love and you can just take pictures about you guys. You don’t need to have all these props. It’s just about you.

©CTW Features