A few weeks ago, you may recall, I launched the first of a series of blog posts that focus on the questions I am often asked relating to wedding photography and the services I offer. The series is basically an extension of my frequently asked questions section of my website, elaborating on some of the questions and answers, and hopefully helping you during your search for a photographer who will fit your wedding needs.
My first post looked into the cost of wedding photography and the investment you make. My second post in the series asks how do I know what photographs to take?
As a couple choosing your photographer, you want to be reassured that you will get all the key moments captured. You don’t want to be worried that the photographer is missing those all important shots of loved ones, the photos that will take their place on the mantle piece for years to come. On the flip side, you also probably don’t want to spend your day lining up for awkward, group shots that take hours to complete.
Balancing the candids and the group shots
So how do I get the balance of the candid, natural moments alongside the traditional family groups too?
The majority of photographs that I take are very natural and in a candid style. I document your day as it unfolds. I give very little direction.
From preparation, throughout the ceremony to speeches and first dance, I will be there but (hopefully) not getting in your way, or dictating the running of the day. The only real time I provide a little direction is for your group photos and couple portraits.
Let me say this, I do not encourage a large list of group combinations. Your venue may have given you a two hour window for your group photos, however it has never been in my style for all this time to be taken up with 60+ staged groups. Trust me, your cheeks will start to hurt very quickly, plus you and your guests will soon resent me!
What I suggest to you is, immediately after your ceremony, celebrate with your guests, have a drink, have a canapé. You’ve just got married, woohoo!
After a little while, I normally round all your guests up for a big photo of everyone, I then ask the people you’d like in the individual group photos of to stick around a little while to get these. Of course where you want to do this is your choice. If you would like some taken at the church (if that’s where you’re getting married) at the reception venue, or a combination of both, that is up to you.
Then, I think it’s a lovely opportunity for us to take a walk, explore the grounds for an informal couples portrait shoot. One thing I remember about my own wedding day was how quickly it goes and everyone wants a piece of you! Having an intimate photo session, even if it’s only for ten minutes, just lets you take it all in, in the relative calm, before returning to your guests for your wedding breakfast and reception.
How do you know when to turn up? How do you know who we will want in our group shots?
My style is very relaxed and natural, however I do ask for a few details from you in advance. I think this ensures things run smoothly on the day and I keep my non-intrusive promise.
I like to arrange a pre-wedding consultation with you a few weeks ahead of your wedding date. This may be over the phone or, if time permitting, over at your venue itself.
Everyone’s wedding day will be different, so we go through things such as timings on the day, where you will be getting ready, what time do you want me to arrive, reception start time, night do start time etc etc. We also go through a small list of group photo combinations. I also suggest to you let the guests you’re planning to be included in the group shots know they’re on your list – then it’s not too much of a surprise on the day. I normally get an usher or bridesmaid on board to help me round guests up – it makes everything run a little smoother.
During the pre-wedding consultation, we can also discuss locations for groups and your couples portrait shoot. If we meet at your venue, then it’s an ideal time to have a walk through, and source these out. Sometimes a particular spot may have a fabulous backdrop, but if it’s bright sunshine, the photos just aren’t going to look great. I may suggest a shadier spot, or suggest doing a few later on in the evening when the light is better. We photographers love a bit of evening light – it really is the best! In fact, if your timetable allows it, evenings can be fabulous for some couple portraits too.
If it happens to be pouring with rain on the day (I always order sunshine in advance, but very occasionally my order form gets lost), we may need to relocate inside. Again, we can go through options during the meeting.
If we do not manage to meet in person in advance at your venue, and I haven’t shot a wedding there before do not worry. I like to make a trip to your venue ahead of your day to familiarise myself with the set up. We can go through any last minute questions over the phone. I appreciate how busy things get in the last few weeks before your wedding day.
So essentially my natural style is achieved by a little forward thinking and having an idea of plans in advance of your day. However, because I am flexible and generally go with the flow to get the best from your day, I easily adapt if timings change a little here and there on the day. I basically work around you to get you a fab set of photos that will last a lifetime.
More frequently asked questions
I hope that this quick guide has been of some help. Head over to my frequently asked questions page to have all your other questions about wedding photography answered. Plus keep an eye out for more blogs in the FAQs series!
I am now taking bookings for 2018 and 2019. I still have dates available for this year, but they are filling up. Please contact me to check if I am free for your date.
Happy wedding planning, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.