Creating Your Story

From 10 years of shooting weddings I could claim that I've seen it all...but I won't as I still get surprised every week by something new! Regardless I have a few things which I have found make the day proceed smoothly, not to mention help with the quality of imagery I deliver.

Preparation shots

A great consideration for having the preparation shots covered is where you are actually getting ready and the background that will be in the photos. That might be your personal home, parents home or a hotel/ AirBnB. All of which are totally fine, I just urge you to look at the space:

  • Will it be natural light inside or coloured lightbulbs? Natural is always preferred because lightbulbs generally create unwanted shadows and colour casting, hence why the makeup artist will generally sit you in front of a big window for natural colours
  • What are the walls? Seems funny right - but red brick homes might not match your colour scheme and venue choice and hence skew the album from the outset
  • Is the area tidy? Clutter in the background is never easy to shoot around, so my best advice is to choose a tidy room not hindered by pool tables or sports memorabilia that you might not want in your bride portraits
  • Detail shots: always very helpful to have the bride and grooms items in one spot at both locations, that might include: rings, shoes, dress, veil, flowers, garters, perfume, jewellery, head pieces to name and few.
  • Best coverage for the groom is for the boys to showered with shirts and pants on ready for my arrival, then I can do flat lays of shoes, cufflinks, tie, watch, phone etc etc
  • Is the location of the bride and groom getting spots close enough for your photographer/ videographer to manage? Hotels with nearby rooms are best here, but depending on your timeline I do have options for up to 30 mins apart.

Ceremony Location

By now you've probably already booked your ceremony and reception venues, but another thing to consider if you are having an outdoors wedding is the actual ceremony location and if it is shaded or not? Ceremonies that see the bride half in shade and half in sun do not make for flattering photos, so I do try to persuade couples to push for either full sun or full shade with the latter preferred, and this obviously changes as the sun sets throughout the year at different times and angles.

Ceremony Start Time

Too early with lots of bridesmaids and you'll be getting ready at 3am...too late and it'll be too dark for nice natural lit photographs. The normal sweet spot is 3pm year round, with preference to a bit later for summer weddings. I've been caught out at places like Darlington Estate where the sun sets behind the valley by about 4:30 in winter and can become dark very quickly...and that big long list of family photos that I advised to minimise really cut into our shoot time. If we are to shoot in the dark I will use flash but would prefer not to for the actual shoot portion of the day.

Family Photos

As you will see in my wedding summary sheet there is a section for family photos. Basically if they are listed there and they don't run away before the photos start I will ensure with an entrusted guest, that we will capture that portrait. Some tips:

  • Keep the list short and to the point to keep parents and grand parents happy - nothing worse than a brides mum emailing asking why I didn't take a particular family photo; a) I might not know who is in the family, and b) I take every shot on the list, so if it's not there I put it on the bride!!
  • Look at your timeline and if it allows for a big long list (see above)
  • 99% of my grooms will snarl at family photos, so keep the list short to avoid wasting smiles for our shoot time!
  • Try get the grandparents and young children photos at the top of the list - they are normally the ones to run first!