March 14, 2016
Today quite frankly was a working off the couch kinda day. Over 700 brides and groom attended yesterday’s Waddesdon Manor’s ‘Inspiration day’ and between being the official photographer for the event, giving a talk and speaking to all the lovely people that stopped by our stand, I am enjoying a slightly more laid back day today. I thought it’d be a great idea to recap what I went through in the talk yesterday as their were some corresponding questions that came up time and again from B&G’s whilst speaking to them on the stand.
Planning And Styling
1) Choosing your venue to compliment your photography.
Want light and airy photos all day? Choose a venue to compliment this. Look for venues with more neutral colour palettes and lots of natural light. Please remember to plan your timeline accordingly too, consider where the sun rises and sets within each room you are choosing and schedule your couple photos for the best light (usually around 90 minutes before sunsets). As a side note, remember to budget enough time for make up and hair/nerves/group shots. You will want to budget 5 minutes per group shot. So 5 groups= 25 minutes.
When having a winter ceremony you will want to consider the time it goes dark. If you are having an afternoon ceremony it may be too dark for images (without flash) by the time you get out.
2) Please don’t give us a huge list
Pick a photographer who’s work you love and then trust them to do their job. Give them a list only of specific family shots or details for example, an heirloom brooch hidden in the bouquet etc. Use pinterest to get a general feel but not specifics. Allowing your photographer the creative freedom on the day will result in better more unique images, not to mention genuine and heartfelt moments won’t be missed as they won’t have their nose buried in a piece of paper trying to make sure they have every single shot you have requested.
3) Pinterest Preferences
I often get brides to be requesting non posed images and then they send me a Pinterest board full of images that have been carefully ‘posed’ in a carefree way. The term posed has really bad connotations of strict and awkward formations but it doesn’t have to be that way. Unless you are a model or have absolute confidence! (which if you do, rock it girl!! Seriously!!) you most likely will need to be loosely ‘posed’ otherwise you won’t know what to do with your hands etc. Most photographers call this light directing but in essence you are posing, naturally! Choose a photographer who’s portfolio you love and then trust them (and work with them to get those images! See point 8 below)
Often celebrants and priests don’t allow photographers to take photos. There is nothing we can do about this and it kills us that we can’t take photos of you during, you know the bit why you are doing it all in the first place. Sometimes we are allowed to only take photos from one spot, one side or the back (no moving) and so it is worth speaking to your celebrant/priest/ minister to find out what their rules are surrounding professional photographers. If your priest/celebrant doesn’t allow the photographer to move around you may want to book a second shooter through your photographer to capture the ceremony from a different angle so that you have both the bride and groom.
Chairs Chairs Chairs. I can not stress enough how much a good chair can transform your reception or ceremony venue. Please… I beg you if you have the budget, don’t pick the white stretchy chair covers! They look messy in photos and if you have no choice but to go for the stretchy chair covers, decorate the backs with flowers, pretty signs and stay away from the organza sash bows! If you are on a budget, forgo favours, the chairs will make a much bigger impact I promise!!
On The Day
6) Tidy Bridal Room
Having a tidy bridal room makes suchhhh a difference to your bridal portraits and getting ready shots, so ensure your bridesmaids tidy the room before your photographer arrives. Having a clean background will ensure your images look timeless and elegant so banish suitcases and anything unsightly to another room!
7) Unplugged Ceremonies
Iphones, Ipads, Camera’s. Every man and his dog has some kind of photography device and they most often all get in the way of your professional photographer (not to mention are unsightly in the background of photos). As photographers we truly understand why guests want to take photos and many of us offer them opportunities to come up to take photos throughout the day once we have our shot (the ones you have paid for us to take). So often nowadays we are all so focused on the screen we aren’t present in the moment so why not have an unplugged ceremony and ask your guests to put away the Ipads, phones etc, focus on having fun and let the photographer and videographer to do the work!
Choosing the right photographer is of course so important. You want to pick someone whose work you love and who you get on well with but you do need to meet them half way! Being nervous, being shy or self conscious, these are all totally normal feelings to have if you have never had your photographs taken before and your photographer should make you feel more relaxed and confident during your shoot. You do need to trust them though, you need to be willing to be photographed. Go in knowing you may feel like that but be ready to try! I say this with grooms in mind, in particular. Some boys worry too much what the lads will think. Don’t be ‘too cool’ for photos! it’s not uncool to be in love with someone and certainly not to be documenting a once in a lifetime celebration in your life.
9 ) Feed your photographer at the right time
Please give instructions to the caterers to feed the photographers at the same time as the wedding party, NOT after the last guest. Why do couples lose out when this doesn’t happen? Usually by the time we get our food the bridal party has finished and these are the moments where really beautiful images can be captured. Impromptu speeches, catching up with loved ones, perhaps dancing. When the couple are eating this is the only time for the photographer and videographer to eat.
After The Wedding
10) Why you can’t have all the rejects
Who has seen the Beyonce Superbowl photo? This is why we don’t give you ever single photo we shoot during the wedding, guests walking in front of you mid shot, bridesmaid sneezing, bride turning in an unflattering angle, guest looking utterly miserable and scornful in the background, your photographer will remove all of these images and leave you with the best.
11) Understanding ‘editing’
Editing and retouching are very often confused or at least they are misunderstood. Photoshop is famous for digital manipulation and there are just sooo many things that can be done with PS. Architects can use it, medics, photographers, videographers, the list truly goes on and on however when a wedding photographer speaks of editing they mean colour correcting, cropping and generally adding overall umph to the entire image ie. if your reception room has bright red walls we adjust the colour balance so that your skin tone looks as natural as possible in that given situation. Colour correcting is not changing your nail varnish colour, removing and object from the image or slimming down- that’s retouching. Speak to your wedding photographer though, they may offer bespoke retouching on images for an additional charge (retouching is very time consuming). Better yet, discuss with your photographer any areas you might feel particularly self conscious about and he/she will ensure that they pose you in ways to best flatter or hide those chosen areas. Some photographers like myself may send out a questionnaire before the engagement session or wedding so they can plan ahead for any potential issues like that.
12) Print your photos & professionally
Some of my favourite family memories are of sitting around with family late at night looking through old albums or boxes of photos of days gone by, of family members no longer with us. Printing your photos is like a legacy and images on screen are never as heartwarming as those that are tangible. For your future generations, please print your photos. For accurate colour (you have paid your photographer to painstakingly edit them after all) and non fade prints that will last generations, print your images professionally. (Click here to see what went wrong when I printed my photos on the high street) Whether you do this independently or through your photographer (it is often cheaper to go through your photographer), printing your photographs are sure to bring the family together for many years to come.