In this blog post I am going to run through the key photography points of a ‘typical’ wedding day. Not all weddings will include every section, my photography is always tailored to your plans and not necessarily the traditional expectations.
Prior to your wedding day, you will receive a pre wedding questionnaire from me. Often this is left until a few months / 6 weeks beforehand or when all details have been formalised. By details I mean, group shot lists, your timings and supplier details which are all useful to your photographer for many reasons. I am always happy to meet up and go through in person too. This handover is essential so that on the day you can relax and know that I am aware of the full schedule and that you have given me a heads up on anything you feel passionate about recording, over and above the typical course of the day.
I like to be as discreet as possible, I want you to be present in the moment and not think about the photography. Don’t get hung up on images you have seen, by just having the best time and being fully submerged in your celebrations, your photography will show that and be unique, honest and perfect.
This is the first time you will see me on your day, MUA’s and hairdressers are the early birds, I arrive in the later stages of prep, to capture the feel of the morning, details like the dress, shoes, flowers, finishing touches of hair and make-up, putting on your dress etc. I tend to just let it unfold and capture naturally, I won’t be demanding a tidy room for shots or insisting on particular set up photos.
You will be surprised how quickly you get used to me being there and with the excitement of the day ahead to enjoy, the initial nerves you may have felt will disappear.
Photography during your ceremony is dictated by the celebrant / registrar, most of the time it is no problem but there are occasions and certain churches that do not allow any photography past a particular point or sometimes at all during the ceremony (this in my experience, is rare) I always make a point of greeting the person holding your service before hand, establishing where I am allowed to be and when – some good manners and respect goes a long way and I am usually given the green light to get the walking down the aisle shots and a discreet position for the actual ceremony at the front. If photography is only permitted from the back of the room during the ceremony, there are still some beautiful shots to be had.
After your ceremony you will be left to be greeted, congratulated, hugged and kissed by your families and guests! I do not jump straight into group shots until you have had that time together.
Confetti / Smoke bombs
Some couples do opt to have their confetti thrown as they walk back down the aisle, which is also a nice option to consider (I am always happy to organise a confetti tunnel before or after your group shots)
Either way, they don’t take long to organise and always make great pictures. Always check with your venue that you are allowed to throw confetti and where, if so, there are many types of biodegradable confetti and I am quite fond of a confetti cannon or two in the mix.
Smoke bombs are another option but always check with your venue and give me a heads up if you are wishing to incorporate them – these also make very cool images.
Once you have enjoyed a drink and had some love from your guests, if you are having some groups shots now is the time to get them done! By this time I have usually found a member of the wedding party to help me round people up (nominations always welcome!)
It is a consideration to try and keep your group shot list down to a minimum, under 10 variants would be ideal as you don’t want to spend the whole of your drinks reception on the group shots, this also gives us more time to concentrate on the natural pictures of your guests, a few of just the two of you and most importantly, you spending time with everyone! (this is also when I nip off and get all of your detail shots before guests fill your venue to be seated)
I try and keep group shots quick and fun and steer away from the traditional fake smiles and stiff poses… if I need to advise guests on where to stand and make people laugh, I will, don’t worry you won’t be left wondering what to do with yourselves.
Ps. Some couples like to nip outside later on for more photos with their guests, occasionally known as the ‘fun’ pictures. Anything goes for these, I find I get a lot of creative input from guests and really enjoy just having a bit of a laugh and capturing some extra memories for you (often coupled with a large intake of alcohol prior)
Most couples find these their favourite images from their day! Always remember to put some time aside for this if you would like to incorporate it, as it is all dependant on the time of year, sunset times and cake cut/first dance timings and which of those you want to prioritise.
Do not be nervous about this, it is literally 15 mins that consists of a little walk and a lot of laughing and a bit of time out for you both. By this time I promise you will have realised that I am not a scary or annoying photographer. I’ll give you a bit of direction, if you need it, and quickly get some pictures of you both while I have you alone for a short while! These portraits are not taken in front of your guests so you don’t have an audience and can totally relax.
You would be surprised what can be captured in these 15 minutes, here is an idea, and I promise you, you will not regret having these photos taken and will head back to your guests refreshed and ready for your wedding breakfast…
Portraits with golden light are taken at golden hour, this is a great opportunity to nip out again and get some really magical images, I always know when golden hour is and will happily give you a heads up if this is something you are interested in doing and of course if the weather is right!
When it comes to photographing the speeches, I like to move around the room discreetly, capturing a few different angles, the speech givers and of course guest reactions. There are sometimes surprises during the speeches and it is always a good idea to give your photographer a heads up so they are prepared and ready to capture anything. We are very good at keeping secrets for you!
Cake and details!
Please remember when photographing weddings this doesn’t just include people (although they are my favourite thing to photograph!) your details will all be documented too, those little touches that you have spent so long organising or making. The tables laid out ready for your guests along with the room looking perfect before your day has begun. Your bouquet, shoes, rings, the list goes on, if there is something extra special please feel free to mention it in your questionnaire.
Traditionally straight after the cake cut, the first dance is the event that kicks off the evening. Whether you are going for it or just having a shuffle around, make sure you have some good tracks lined up to keep your guests on the dance floor! I usually stay long enough to capture a few songs worth of dancing to complete the documentation of your day – so if there are lots of guests throwing shapes, that is the perfect ending for your photography!
A variety of techniques can be used to capture the evening dancing shots, from off camera flash to light dragging to create some motion in your images.
Please check out my blog section for an idea of the highlights from individual weddings and to read a useful blog on your guests