How we might shoot YOUR wedding !
Our style of wedding photography is probably best described as relaxed and contemporary but what does that mean in real terms ?
The following is a broad guide as to how we might shoot a typical wedding day but before reading further, let us establish two rather large caveats.
Firstly, there is no such thing as a “typical wedding day” as every wedding is unique so it really is a very broad style guide. Secondly, this guide does not supercede any specific plans we may have agreed together when discussing your day.
Our aim is to briefly capture some elements of the “morning before” the big event. It is often less about people and more about objects such as flowers, clothing, cards and anything that is uniquely on show for your wedding day.
Of course We’ll try to grab some shots of people and if you have your dress on and it is being “tweaked” then those are classic preparation shots as are shots of make-up or hair preparations but, more often than not, those events will not be happening when we are with you ….. albeit if we are in a hotel setting then we may well return to capture these ! If you have your bridesmaids with you then a shot of the group of you relaxed on a sofa in your “scruffs” is a lovely fun contrast shot for what is to come later in the day.
Whatever the case, the bridal preparations shoot will be brief, informal and relaxed and will not be something to fear and avoid !
Before The Service
With the main show looming large and getting closer by the minute, people tend to be apprehensive, nervous and very self conscious so it is a particularly bad time to impose formal photo shoots on them ….. so we don’t do that !
Our priority is to capture precisely what is happening without greatly impacting on it. That will include guests arriving and, of course, it will major on “the boys” who will generally be milling around looking very nervous so its a case of stand back and capture them interacting with each other as well as with close family members and taking on the ultimate pre-service challenge of how to fix their button-holes !
We will also be investing time in capturing details around the venue and convincing the church officials / registrars that allowing us to shoot during the service does not mean we’ll be running down the aisle shouting “cheese” at the most intimate of moments !
Arrival of The Bride
Whether the arrival is by car or via a staircase or corridor, we will ensure we’re on the spot to capture the moment and those all important shots with father or whoever is the bridal escort. There may be a formally posed shot during this stage but, once again, it will be mostly capturing what you would naturally be doing at this point irrespective of whether a photographer is present.
Shooting the bridal entrance to the service will vary with numerous factors, primarily the layout of the service venue and the preferences of the church officials / registrars who may have dictated what can and can not be done. In the vast majority of weddings, photographers are not allowed to shoot from the front of the venue but that is not a problem as shooting from the back often results in better images and is generally our preference anyway.
Shooting the Service
What can be achieved during the service is massively dictated by church officials / registrars. We shoot venues where we are given freedom to shoot however we wish on the basis that we are professionals and can be trusted but we also shoot venues where we are hugely restricted and have even had venues who have completely banned all photography during the service.
Our style is such that we would never adversely impact on the service itself. We are exceptionally discrete and shoot with long lenses and no flash so, for the most part, nobody would even know we were there ….. but that can count for nothing at some venues !
Our advice is always that couples should smooth the way for photography at the service and not leave it to the photographer to secure permissions on the day. It is your wedding day and you should be able to dictate what you want on your day no matter what venue you are getting married at. There are no laws or guidance offered by churches or registrars that prohibit photography during the service so if you encounter negativity, it is an individual preference only and, as the wedding couple, your preferences should be treated as just as important if not more important !
If all goes to plan, we will capture some shots of the service itself, majoring on exchange of rings and that moment when you are pronounced husband and wife. On top of that, we will do some posed shots at the register signing along with your exit from the venue.
Immediately after the Service
Wherever possible, we will try to set up an opportunity for your guests to greet you as they exit the church / service room. This informal “receiving line” offers a very relaxed and very genuine interaction with your family and friends within moments of becoming husband and wife. The emotions are very natural and genuine and the interaction provides some lovely photographs that involve the vast majority of those who attended your wedding thus making a very significant contribution to your photographic portfolio.
Formal / Informal Shots
Somewhere between the service and the wedding breakfast we will shoot some traditional formal shots as defined by yourselves before the event. We will always urge you to produce a list before the big day and make that list available to a “helper” so that, in tandem with ourselves, we can complete this traditional part of your day in a manner that keeps you smiling and keeps the day flowing nicely.
We have shot weddings with anything between half a dozen formal group shots and in excess of ninety and we can not stress enough that it is your big day and we will follow your requirements at all times but …… while we are shooting formal groups, we can not be shooting anything else so it is a trade-off and you need to keep that in mind if your preferences are for the more relaxed, informal style of photos.
We are often asked “how many” works best and there really is no scientific answer but we find around a dozen formal group shots to work well as an optimal number. You may even consider holding some “less important” formal group shots back until after the meal in order to get the best of both worlds.
That aside, our advice for getting the most out of the period between the service and the wedding breakfast is to find light and space. Ideally that means enticing / getting your wedding party outside for drinks and mingling and relaxation but if the weather isn’t great then negotiate access to a big and well lit room where possible.
The worst thing that can happen photographically is that the wedding party remains indoors in a dimly lit and cramped environment because that renders informal photographs nigh on impossible so when doing your planning ….. think light and space for this key part of the day !
The Wedding Breakfast
Rest assured we do not shoot people eating and will politely try to dissuade you from requesting “table shots” as they tend to make awful images and are generally very irritating to guests who are probably enjoying a break from photographic attention !
We will have extensively shot the room itself earlier in the day along with all the decoration and we’ll watch out for the glasses being charged after the meal, at which point we’ll be back in action to cover the speeches …… assuming they are post-meal. We will also cover the cake cutting whether post-meal or before the first dance. We don’t tend to shoot dummy cake-cuts as we prefer the chaos of the real thing as its more genuine and relaxed !
There is generally very little that we can’t do with the first dance although the low light lends itself to less energetic performances when it comes to the best photographs. That’s not to say you shouldn’t go for it if you plan to do something other than a slow rotation but you’d be wise to let us know so that we can try to plan for how best to shoot it !
We will also try to persuade your DJ not to assault your entire first dance with vibrant laser-lights as they will appear in all of your images ….. softer lighting is not an issue !