I am super excited to be photographing your wedding! I know you guys are going to have the best time of your lives and I am going to capture the memories that allow you to relive each moment, remember each guest and enjoy the day over and over again. Planning a wedding is no mean feat and you are probably not only going to have a lot of things to decide and arrange, but also potentially various people to keep happy on the way! Well, it turns out that I’ve been to the odd wedding or two in the past few years. So I’ve put together this guide to not only make sure you’ve got all the information and advice you need regarding the photography, (before during and after), but also to give you some general advice on planning, things to consider and recommend some suppliers etc.
Top Tip - It's YOUR day!
Plan the best day of 'your' lives! Not the day your parents want you to have. Or the wedding you think Pinterest or Instagram would like to see. Plan the day 'you' want to have: if you think a certain wedding tradition seems odd - then don't do it! Want to do something completely unconventional? Fill your boots! You'll only be getting one shot at it - so make it entirely your own.
But then - regardless of all the planning beforehand be prepared to let go of everything on the day and just enjoy each and every moment! The right people, the right day, in a place you love. Having the best time ever celebrating you two with all that matters to you is what it is all about. Be yourselves!
Before the big day!
Around a month or so before your wedding day I will send you an online form with more detailed questions about your wedding (the final balance will also be due at this time). Not only will it include schedules and locations, it will also give you the opportunity to list what shots are important to you and allow you to highlight anything out of the ordinary I might need to know. There’s no need to worry about sending over Pinterest boards or things like that, but if you have specific examples of types of shots you love from my website then please feel free to let us know. Other than that, I totally appreciate that you trust us to approach your day with an open mind, that way we will create photographs that are truly and uniquely yours!
I don't usually visit venues in advance of the wedding as we genuinely feel there isn't a need. Although I might arrive the night before or check out the venue early in the morning. For me the best photographs are made by going with the flow on the day. But I am happy, of course for you to mention in the questionnaire specific locations that you really want to use to make pictures.
YOUR WEDDING DAY!
I always like to arrive as early as possible - not so much from a photography point of view, but because it’s a great chance to meet everyone and get to know who’s who. I'll also start to see all the relationships and characters that we can then look into documenting during the day. Plus it gives everyone more time to get over the- ‘Look! there’s a photographer in the room’ syndrome! - It might initially feel a bit odd that some weirdo with cameras (*hello*) is crashing your wedding but just ignore us and get on with enjoying your day - you’ll soon be used to it!
As a photographer I love to capture the things that matter and the moments as they happen - so we want you guys to do what you need to do and just let me document them. I really want capture your wedding as it was - so you can remember it that way - so, if things are chaotic then don’t worry too much about tidying up or hiding the chaos for ‘us’ - but if you do want to look neat and minimal then just be mindful of that.
Top Tip - Light
One thing you might consider is the light in the place you are getting ready. I love soft natural window light - it’s always super flattering and great to shoot in - so a nice room with big windows is always a good choice
In the morning if there are certain detail shots, or items you want photographs of, then try make sure these items are out and on display (I don't want to miss real, awesome moments because I'm unboxing shoes!) - This includes things like the rings, the shoes and hanging up your dress in a good position. If you are not bothered about that, then no worries. Personally I think the dress will look better on you than a hanger!
If you are getting married in a Church, it will be worth checking with the Priest’s/Vicar’s rules and any photography restrictions in advance of the wedding day. If there are restrictions on photography then perhaps see if they would at least be happy with someone being at the front, just to photograph the entrance and when you see each other for the first time - that is such a great moment to capture for you both - then I can move out of the way when the ceremony starts. However, some churches don’t allow the photographer to be anywhere except at the back - the important thing is for you to be aware of that in advance to avoid any upsets on the day. If the Vicar has concerns, I would be happy to call them and have a discussion in advance!
I am totally happy for your guests to take as many photos during your day as they like - but for your parents, encourage them to put down the camera for the important moments, they need to see you as you really are, they need to live in the moment.
Group and family photo’s!
I am a firm believer that it’s important to get some nice photos of those who are genuinely close to you. Depending on your schedule and the weather, a good time to do this is usually between the end of the ceremony and before you sit down to eat.
Top Tip - the less standing around the better!
With that in mind. I would advise doing as few group shots as possible as the less time stood round wondering why you can’t find Uncle Bob and the more time celebrating the better. Also I will be at your wedding until late in the evening, so there will be plenty of time to grab more informal shots of you with friends/family when everyone is relaxed and having fun later on, or any of your guests can just tap me on the shoulder and ask for a picture! All images from the day will be available for all the guests to download or buy prints after the day.
I will be working all day and night - and hungry a photographer is a sad photographer :( So if you can sort out a meal that would be fantastic. No worries if not, just let me know in advance so I can bring food. The best time for me to eat is when you guys do - it’s really the only time I stop taking pictures all day - guests with mouthfuls of food don’t always make for the best photos! It also means that if I am fed and watered then I will be ready to capture the speeches or the next part of the celebrations.
With portrait photos I prefer to sneak a few quick and short sessions in through the day, rather than a long single shoot where you you are away from the guests. I usually like to play this by ear on the day - especially as weather, timings changing etc can all play havoc with any plans. As a rule, later in the day is better when you are relaxed and have socialised with guests - plus crucially the light around sunset always makes for wonderful pictures. Most couples love this part of the day as it's time away with just you two, taking time out as a married couple and having 5 minutes to yourselves during that wonderful golden hour. As I mentioned, working *around* your day is very important to me. However, if taking more time out for portraits, or leaving the venue and travelling a short distance to make some epic pictures is important to you and something you are interested in then let me know - I am more than happy to do this. Just get in touch and we can arrange the plans.
Top tip - ignore us!
The key to me style of photography (documentary) is knowing I am there but learning to ignore me! If you find yourself looking at me, look away! It may feel strange at first, but as the hours pass you’ll forget the clicks. I take a different approach during portrait sessions and will direct you a little more. But even then its really about you being yourselves and capturing your personalities. The shots have to reflect who you are, that way they will be meaningful to you and those close to you!
The advice here is simple - have an amazing party and go crazy! I will be on the dance floor - and at the bar - where ever the action is! Capturing you and your awesome guests having an amazing time together!
AFTER YOUR WEDDING!
I always aim to get a sneak preview image on our FB page or Instagram - or to you via email - around a week or so after your wedding. This means you'll have a professional image to share on your social media if you should choose. If we've not managed to do it already, please tag yourselves. If you share, we are also glad of a tag. If you prefer to keep your photographs from the wedding private, that is no problem, just let me know. You can find us on Facebook and here on Instagram
Around 4/6 weeks after your wedding I'll aim to have your highlight slideshow ready!
Your full online gallery should be ready 8 weeks after your wedding. I prefer not to rush the process as we want to make sure we spend the right amount of time editing your photos so they are the best they can be. During the summer period, it occasionally takes longer, but I can promise you that the images will be worth the wait!
If you bought an album in your collection, once you have your online gallery you can start to choose the images you want to be showcased by selecting them when you log in. I'll send you an email that explains the design process and once you are happy with the final layout, I'll order the album that you will love, and moments you can live again and again.
If you don't initially choose an album package - no worries! you can add an album anytime after your wedding. Ideally we would love all our couples to have this perfect memento of their day in an album that is made to be passed around and loved.
All photographs by David Sterratt Photography