TIPS & TRICKS & STYLING
I've put together this handy guide to give you an idea of what to expect at your wedding photography session. It's also a scrapbook of ideas and tips! Whether you're looking for venue, food or colour inspiration, or whether you just need to make a mental list of things to do, hopefully you'll find some useful titbits here.
I'll be adding to this over time, so don't forget to bookmark this page and come back to see what's new!
Planning a wedding is both exciting, and stressful. Here's some tips to help you stay calm(er):
Start planning as early as you can
It's easy just to relax and think "no worries, it's not for months", but it will creep up on you before you know it. One problem is finding everything is already booked, or worse, all the guests are booked!
In some countries, a Wedding Planner is relied upon to arrange everything and keep you on track. They are amazing, but if you aren't using one, come up with a master document of things to be done. I myself find writing down all the tasks with dates helps keep things on track and not forgotten.
Keep your partner involved
It's easy to get carried away on the internet late at night looking at venues, flowers, photographers and so on. Don't forget to get your partner involved, and maybe even share out the tasks or have mini work-in-progress date nights!
The Great Outdoors
If you're considering and outdoor ceremony, or just an outdoor element to your day, consider the weather and potential bugs. You could include umbrellas and bug spray as a gift, or even just a simple folding fan. How about torches for guests to find their way in the dark?
It's a great idea to introduce all your suppliers in an email. This shares the contact details for everyone, and allows us to coordinate timings and ask questions without bothering you!
1. Detail Shots
Detail shots are the first thing I usually photograph, and before things get too busy. If possible, During the Prep is best as there's times when you don't want me taking photos of you getting ready. I recommend getting everything in a box or one place so it's easily accessible. Also, if you have a nice hanger for the dresses and suits, these add a nice touch to the photos rather than plastic or mis-matched colours. Some other ideas of things to being for the details are here:
Rings: Engagement and Wedding bands (his & hers). If you have a nice box for these, bring that also
Jewellery: Earrings, necklaces, watch, tie-pins and so on make a nice element to the photo
Clothing & Shoes: Everything from suits to veils, socks to the dress.
Smells: Perfumes and colognes make a good addition and a 'smell memory' for the day
Stationary: If I haven't requested this in advance (as it stays neater) a full set of the wedding stationary looks great.
Flora (not the spreadable kind!): Flowers, bouquets, boutonnière and any other greenery
Other: You could also bring personal items that are unique to you both or the family, or material samples you used for the theme and style of your wedding
I will usually arrive early to a venue to have a look around, find some good locations and capture anything that's still going on (hair, makeup and so-on.
If you've opted for prep photography, the room can make a big difference. Sometimes hotel rooms can be quite cookie-cutter with a bed right in the middle of the floor. If you ask, sometimes the hotel might put you in a larger room or one with better natural light. It's always worth a try!
There's often a number of people coming and going from the room, and typically a bit of food and drink too. If you can, it's good to keep the room as tidy as possible, not least for accidents, but because it doesn't make the best backdrop to photos. I try to move things if I can, but my priority is capturing the prep.
Natural light is so much better than the lights or my flash, so if you get to pick a room, try to pick one with great windows and not facing a wall.
3. First Look
The 'First Look' photo is trending at the moment. I used to find it was more popular in the USA or Asia, but it's definitely something to consider as it gives you more photos!
It's the first moment you and your partner get to see each other, and the emotion and excitement that comes with it. Of course, you might prefer the traditional approach when the first look is at the ceremony too!
When: Before you both get very busy. It can be a nice moment of quiet before things start too
Where: I'll find somewhere which would work. Somewhere with good light and scenery works well.
Who: Just the two of you, though it never hurts to bring your besties to help hold things and hand you tissues.
4. The Ceremony
Indoors / Outdoors: 24% of couples had their wedding outdoors in 2021, and 46% had their reception outdoors. If you plan to be outdoors, I'd advise to have the ceremony around 2 hours before sunset to give us more time in natural light for Couple Portraits. For indoors, it's not as essential, but still good to catch that Golden Hour of sun.
Kisses: This might be a hard one to remember, but try to lean in about half way between you, and try to hold it (rather than a quick peck). It gives you more photos of that moment. You can also have more than one, and sometimes an extra one before you leave never goes amiss!
Confetti: A classic shot of the exit is the confetti throwing. You can also looks at other options like biodegradable, lavender seeds or even glow sticks for night.
Guest Photos: I'm never keen on everyone having their phone out at the wedding. Of course, they want to capture your day too, but consider a sign or have your celebrant request guests put their phones away. All my packages include an online gallery you are welcome to share with your family and guests!
5. Formal Portraits
The time when you get the group shots done can be discussed, but ideally it would happen right after the ceremony, and whilst everyone is still gathered. It makes it easier to find Uncle Bob and Auntie Joan if they are still there.
How long this takes really depends on how many groups you want or how big the party is. Ideally allow around 6 minutes per group as a rough guide.
Click the link below for a template with some of the groups detailed. Before the day, I'll ask you to fill in the names to help get people arranged as quickly as possible. The list isn't fixed in stone, but group shots can eat into the time the longer they are.
I also request help wrangling the groups. Quite often people want to chat and take their own photos and I try not to interrupt them. One of your groom or bridal party is better suited to grabbing people.
6. Couple Portraits
Unfortunately, when your guests head off to the Reception to grab a refreshing cocktail, this is the best time to get your couple portraits done. If you've done a First Look, this can be shortened as we'd have some shots already.
It should only take around 30-45 minutes, but allow for more if we've discussed heading to a different location. Sometimes this is better if the ceremony venue is busy or unflattering. The best time is just before sunset; during the "Golden Hour" of light.
There's also opportunity to take more photos in the evening and can sometimes add a whole new look and feel to your photos. These can also include your guests.
I'll be there to guide you and get the best photos. I only need you with me for about 30 minutes and you can then go mix with your guests.
You can at last relax a bit and go into the slightly easier part of your day! This is also the easiest part of my day as I get a lot of candid photos and people being themselves and celebrating your day.
I try to photograph the room before guests enter, so you have a photo of how it looked all neat and tidy. If you have a menu, it's sometimes a nice touch to have it printed and included in the Detail Shots (mentioned earlier).
Once everyone is sat down and eating is the same time I take a break. People never look good in a photo eating and drinking, but I'll be ready if something happens, don't worry!
Similarly, once the speeches start, I'll be ready to capture laughter and tears around the room.
Once the dancing starts, I'll also be moving around capturing those moments as best I can. Not least catching the first dance!
For guests who don't like to dance, I'll also offer them a photo at the table. These can sometimes look good too and keeps the non-dancers happy.
At the end of the night, there's a chance to take couple shots before you leave. This could be done in and around your guests and keeps them included in your whole day. As these are semi formal, I'll help guide you to get the best shots possible, but sometimes getting party-people to cooperate can be a little trickier...
Exit shots are trending too, where you get your guests to 'see you off'. This could be them coming to the car, or lighting spraklers, throwing glow sticks, lightsabers and just about anything else. I'll have setup a flash, so it is slightly staged, but can have the same trickiness I mentioned about to party-fuelled guests.
Fashion colour trends for Spring/Summer 2023 from Pantone®