Updated: Dec 28, 2019
So you've spent months planning, thousands of pounds, had soo many wedding chats and after all the excitement, nerves and late nights making centrepieces, the day has finally arrived. When the day is done, the cake is eaten, the dress goes in the wardrobe and the Pinterest inspo boards are no longer needed, you will have one thing left to remember the day, your photos and videos.
Having attended and photographed a lot of weddings now, I have some basic top tips which can really help you achieve the most out of your big day photos.
1 - Where are you getting married? Church or venue? Whichever location you fall in love with, make sure that your photographer meets, views, and discusses where they can take photos. I mention this particularly for church weddings as a lot of the time the photographer will be told where they can stand and this not always where they would like to stand. It's beneficial to ensure you speak to the person marrying you prior to the day and your expectations are met. As the couple being wed you will have some leverage over this, so its best to discuss with your photographer and the person marrying you together if possible.
2 - When deciding where to get ready, think about the LIGHT. A dark small room will be very different from a large light and airy space. Of course, budget is something which has to be considered, but it really can make the world of difference to your photos. Your photographer should be skilled enough to work in any lighting scenario and make the most of any space. However, the extra bit of light and room will also help your makeup artist, hairstylist and your bride tribe get ready.
3 - Hanging your dresses up on the morning of your wedding? Avoid using black plastic hangers from the shop they came from. It's less than £5 in Primark to buy white wooden hangers and trust me it will make a huge difference to your wedding photos. A lot of brides like to customise their hangers which is also a really lovely idea.
4 - Schedule in at least 30 minutes before you leave you're getting ready venue to take a moment with your girls, have a glass of bubbly and get a few photos before you hit the aisle. The day will go so fast and when you look back at your getting ready photos you will relive all of those precious little moments. Not to mention, who wants to be rushing on their wedding day? I've been with brides that have delayed their ceremony due to running over in the morning, you don't want to leave your guests and Groom waiting for ages as this can also push back your timeline for the day- discuss timings with your suppliers for the morning to ensure you all have plenty of time and feel relaxed when getting ready.
5 - Politely notify your guests to not take photos during the ceremony until AFTER you are officially married. Want to capture photos of you walking down the aisle in full view? Well, then you definitely don't want Uncle Bob with his camera covering the photographer's view. The registrar or vicar will be happy to inform the guests before the ceremony starts.
6 - Walk down the aisle slowly! Not too slow that it feels uncomfortable but definitely don't rush it. Ask your bridesmaids to do the same as well. If everyone hurries down in front of each other it makes it much more difficult to capture a good full view of you and your bridesmaids. All eyes should be on you on your big day so own that aisle.
7 - Group photos - Who do you really want them with? Instead of having a long list of 20+ photos that will probably never end up being printed and spending an hour posing, think about what photos are really important to you and allocate at least 5 minutes per photo (it never usually takes this long) but you don't want to rush the most important photos because you have a long list to get through and time constraints. You will also get a lot of people trying to jump in and have professional photos with you which is lovely but also means you're taking up precious time away from your guests.
8 - If you are having a documentary wedding photographer like myself, they should be able to blend into the day and snap away discretely. If you do see me, please just ignore me and don't feel the need to smile pose. Having said that, I'm there to photograph your day for you, so if you want a photo with someone else, an old friend or that cousin that's travelled ages, just ask.
9 - Stick to the timeline or if not, ensure your photographer is present before important moments happen! I attended a wedding the other day where the speeches started over 30 minutes early, it was only by chance I walked past the reception room to go to the toilet and saw the groom getting out his bits of paper. I managed to capture it all purely because I always check up to see what's going on, but had I have not, the majority if not all of the speeches would have been missed. Allocate your best man or maid of honour to be on hand for your photographer if they need it.
10 - Don't be afraid to send your photographer your photo ideas and requests! I'll be totally honest if it's not achievable or realistic. However, my portfolio is based on all my couples being very different and therefore not every couple will have the same set of images. For example, I wouldn't ordinarily get the groomsmen to pick up the bride, so if that's what you want, then you will need to let me know.
Bonus tip - If your nervous to have your photos taken then an engagement shoot is the perfect way to get to know me better and feel more comfortable in front of the camera. A lot of grooms tend to hate having their photos taken, but just remember, it is one day, probably only one hour and the photos are yours to keep, not anybody else's. If you don't like a photo of yourself, then you don't have to share it, but in 30 years time when you show your children and grandchildren your wedding photos, I guarantee you will want a few in of you and your lovely Bride/Husband.
If you're reading all of these tips and thinking 'sh*t I will never remember all that' then don't worry, because it's my job to ensure the photo side of things run smoothly and whatever the weather, we will get brilliant photos!