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Wedding photography tips

Weddings need to be planned if you want to get the event you want; this also applies to your wedding photography. It is inevitable that not everything will go perfectly right on the day even with the best planning in the world but planning can help avoid most problems.

Regarding the photography it is possible to use a wholly reportage style coverage of the day and just have candid images taken but this may mean that some images you would really like are not possible / taken. With this in mind it is necessary to provide time in the schedule for the photographs you really want. It is also important to indicate which images are most important to you, so if it is not possible to get all the images you would like, the time available can be focused on your key photographs.

Taking formal family portraits in various combinations takes time, organisation and crowd control. You need to ensure that someone (or a couple of people for bigger groups) is/are available to ensure that the required people are available at the right time for the photographs. To get good group shots it is best to avoid unnecessary distractions caused by too many people milling around. Group shots are difficult enough without people looking the wrong way because of distractions.

The information and list below is intended to be a guide to help you in the planning process. It is important to remember that each wedding is different and the photography needs to be planned to meet your personal requirements.

While there are different styles of wedding photography including formal, reportage, candid and informal we normally do a combination of formal, reportage and candid.

The candid shots are intended to capture more of the fun side of the day / individuals, the reportage the events of the day and the formal the important moments and group images.

The formal shots need to be staged and should be done in a suitable location. As the weather is always an unknown we suggest that you ensure that you have a suitable inside location reserved.

We like to attend the rehearsal so that we can discuss what photographs can be taken at the Church and some of the logistics.

In addition to visiting the wedding venue we like to visit:

1) Where you will be getting ready if some of the photographs required will be taken at this venue. Typically including some reportage, candid and formal photographs of you and your party getting ready / leaving for the Church.

2) The location(s) where the formal shots will be taken.

3) The reception.

Looking at the logistics is very important that time needs to be included in the schedule for the various activities that are required and inevitably there are compromises that will need to be made in some cases.

In general the sequence includes.

1) Getting ready. This can include the Bride, Maid of Honour, Bridesmaids, Flower girls, Page boy etc. If the Groom, Best man and Ushers are going to be getting ready at the same venue it may be possible to also include some images of the Grooms party getting ready.

2) Formal images after getting ready. These typically include the Bride and her party. Bride and her parents.

3) Getting into the car / carriage and setting off for the Church. If these are to be taken, additional time needs to be scheduled for us to get to the Church to take images of guests arriving or images of the guests in the Church before you arrive.

4) Bride and party arriving at the Church.

5) Bride waiting at the door and walking down the aisle.

6) The wedding ceremony.

7) Signing the register. If not allowed this can normally be staged afterwards.

8) Walking back down the aisle.

9) Outside the Church. While there is a issue with throwing confetti at some ceremony sites, you can normally still do the walk through the receiving line. Generally a number of formal images will be taken outside Church if time, weather and location are available / suitable. If this is not the case this can be done at another location.

10) Posed images of the Bride & Groom, immediate family and bridal party. These should be taken at a suitable venue preferably away from all the other guests. Many formal photographs are ruined by people being distracted by the crowds and looking the wrong way. For this reason it is best to do the posed images at a separate location (i.e. Not the Church or reception).

As the weather is always an unknown, plan for both an inside and outside venue just in case. Rain and harsh sun light (especially with patchy clouds) both make for difficult wedding photography. Harsh sun light makes hard shadows which is not as attractive as the soft lighting of overcast days. In some cases outside locations may provide good opportunities even on bright sunny days or lighting techniques can be used to overcome the some problems. An additional problem with harsh sunlight is the contrast range from black to the often reflective white of a shiny wedding dresses which acts like a mirror and can easily be burnt out in the picture.

The photographs of the Bride and Groom with family members and members of the party will be done first so they can go onto the reception and be with the other guests. The private images of the bride and groom should be taken after everyone else has left for the reception so there is a focus on getting some quality images of the two of you together.

It is important to allow enough time for this activity as it takes time mobilise people. Obviously the time required depends on the number of people, number of images to be taken and the lighting setup(s) to be used. If well organised 30 minutes should be sufficient time for the group shots and 30-45 minutes for the private Bride and Groom shots. If the studio lighting is used an additional 30-45 minutes should be allowed to setting up and packing up the lighting. With this in mind allow 60 to 120 minutes. Add to this the transport time from the Church to the venue and the venue to the reception. In some cases this can be arranged for a separate day but this is often more difficult as everyone needs to get dressed up and made up again.

11) The reception. The images to be taken at the reception may include photographs of all the guests if this has not been previously covered and the reception is suitable for taking everyone. In general the photographs taken will include the speakers, the cake, table shots, cutting of the cake, band, first dance etc. In addition to additional candid images we will try to take some room shots if requested of the entire room including the guests.

The majority of images will be taken using a camera with a combination of natural lighting, flash fill lighting, flash lighting and room lighting however we have a number of high powered studio lights that can be used where pre-arranged. The high powered studio lights take some time to setup and pack up so are normally only used for the private images and reception where arranged. We will talk to you about using these lights when we review the locations with you.

List of images.

As every wedding is different, the following list of images is only a guide. If you would like some images taken that are not on the list below please let us know. The reason we ask you to indicate which images you really want, is that it is often not practical to take them all as this may require a team of photographers to cover different locations simultaneously.

Getting ready

  • Wedding dress hanging up / lying over a chair / bed etc.
  • Zipping up or buttoning the wedding dress
  • Mother of the bride fastening the bride's necklace
  • The bride's garter and shoes
  • The bride's veil
  • A close up of the bride's shoes peeking out from under the dress
  • Bride looking into a mirror
  • Bride looking out window
  • Bride and bridesmaids putting on makeup
  • Bride pinning corsage/boutonniere on mother/father
  • Bride hugging parents
  • Bride touching up make up
  • Bride and parents leaving for ceremony

Outside of ceremony site

  • Guests walking into ceremony site
  • Bride and father entering ceremony site
  • Parents being seated
  • Grandparents being seated
  • Maid of honour walking down the aisle
  • Bridesmaids walking down the aisle
  • Flower girl and ring bearer walking down aisle
  • Groom waiting for bride
  • Ceremony musicians
  • Altar or canopy during ceremony
  • Close up of bride, just before she makes her entrance
  • Bride and father walking down aisle
  • Groom seeing bride for first time
  • The back of bride and father walking down the aisle ñ with the groom waiting in the distance
  • Bride's father and Bride hugging at end of aisle
  • Shot of the audience from the bride and groom's point of view
  • The unity ceremony
  • Close up of bride and groom saying the vows
  • Wide shot of bride and groom saying the vows
  • Exchanging the rings
  • Close up of hands
  • The kiss
  • Signing the marriage register
  • Bride & Groom walking up the aisle
  • Receiving line
  • Bride & Groom outside on steps
  • Guests throwing confetti/rose petals/birdseed
  • Bride & Groom hugging guests, laughing, getting congratulations
  • Bride & Groom getting in car
  • Bride & Groom in back seat
  • Ceremony site

Posed Wedding Photography taken before the Reception

  • Bride alone (full length)
  • Bride with Maid of Honour
  • Bride with bridesmaids
  • Groom with bridesmaids
  • Bride with parents
  • Bride & Groom with parents
  • Bride & Groom with families
  • Bride & Groom with entire wedding party
  • Bride & Groom with flower girl and ring bearer
  • Groom with parents
  • Groom with best man
  • Groom with groomsmen
  • Bride with groomsmen
  • Bride and Groom photo shoot. This can range from a couple of images to images in different settings.

During the Reception

  • Outside of reception site
  • Bride & Groom arriving
  • Bride & Groom greeting guests
  • Table centrepieces
  • Table setting
  • Bride & Groom's table (head table)
  • Musicians or DJ
  • Guest book
  • Closeup of bride and groom's place card
  • Wedding cake
  • Gift table
  • Decorations
  • A shot of bride & groom with guests at each table
  • The buffet or, if having table service, a dinner serving
  • Bride & Groom's first dance
  • Bride & Father dancing
  • Groom & Mother dancing

Guests dancing

  • Bride & Groom cutting the cake
  • Bride & Groom feeding each other cake
  • Toasts
  • Bride & Groom drinking champagne
  • Bride throwing bouquet
  • Groom retrieving garter
  • Groom tossing garter
  • Garter/Bouquet dance

The getaway car

  • Bride & Groom leaving party
  • Bride & Groom driving away
  • Money dance

Additional sessions

While traditional wedding photographs include just the wedding day there is a growing trend to include photographs taken before and/or after the wedding day.

These sessions include:

1) Romantic shots of the couple typically in casual gear. These would be taken either in the studio or at another suitable location. It could also include an activity that you both enjoy doing or something new (possibly where you need to work together).

2) Boudoir shots (of him or her) typically taken in the studio well before the wedding day and presented in a booklet to your partner on the wedding night as a surprise gift.

3) Trash the dress, well maybe not literally destroy it. The objective being to take some great shots, often in dramatic or beautiful settings. While it started over the pond there is a growing trend over here by brides to have some stunning shots taken in their wedding dresses.

If you would like any additional sessions please contact us to discuss the details.

Summing up

We will work through the logistics of taking the photographs you would like with you, to ensure that we can capture as many of the photographs that you would like. As mentioned some options are exclusive which is why it is important to indicate the images that are most important to you so we can focus on them. While we will make every reasonable effort to capture the images you would like we cannot make any guarantee that we will capture every option requested successfully we will however do our best under the prevailing conditions. We typically take a large number of images including candid shots and multiple formal shots. Not all images taken will be suitable because of people who blink or look the wrong way, or lighting issues etc. No photographer gets 100% right which is why we try to take a number of each formal shot so that hopefully we get one good one in the set. There are some situations where photography is more tricky including taking shots on the move and where the lighting is behind the subject or in very high contrast situations such as in bright light or doorways or in dark conditions where flash is not allowed or not practical etc. It is a condition of accepting us to do your photography that you understand that not all images taken may be suitable. Having said this some images can often be edited to produce an acceptable image from one or more images.

Presentation. We can provide you with a wide range of presentation options from just prints for a do it yourself wedding package where you buy and insert the images or we can create the wedding album for you.

Meeting your requirements

While we hope that the information we have provided above has been of help to you, we appreciate that everyone's requirements are different and invite you to contact us about your specific needs, or call on 01494 721739 for more information.

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