Sometimes easier said than done, but plan YOUR perfect day. I've always believed that a wedding should be an extension of a couples personalities, so go mad and have the day you want and don't cut corners or leave things out to please others. That's the day I'd like to photograph for you!
BEFORE THE DAY
About two months before the day, it's pre-wedding shoot time (we can do this whenever though, but around two months before tends to work best for most couples). We can chat about your day, get to know one another a little better and grab some snaps to make you feel more relaxed in front of the camera. This is a good time to send over your wedding questions found in the downloads section of my site, next to the booking form etc. This gives me all the info I need. I understand that your venue etc may need more detail, but this is enough for me. It will ensure I know where I need to be without blowing my mind with timings I don't need to concern myself with. Your final balance is due two months before as well, so I will be sending the invoice for that at this point.
Take a look at my website and Instagram and make a note of the images you like and bring them along to the engagement shoot! It's always nice for me to see the images that encouraged you to put your trust in me to capture your big day. I'll always approach your wedding with eyes and mind open, to ensure you are receiving imagery that reflects the true story of your day, but to get a feel for the images you loved when you booked me would be great!
Unless planned otherwise, I will arrange travel to your day. Travel costs are included in all packages unless previously arranged at the booking stage, so if you are getting hitched near or far, don't worry, I've got you covered!
My arrival time in the morning is dictated by the package that you have chosen. If, for whatever reason, you are unsure of this, then please ask!!! Classically, I will arrive at the brides location and stay through until we leave for the church, registry office etc. Naturally this differs from wedding to wedding though. We can chat about this before the day so you are 100% confident in my movements prior - I want to make sure you are clued up on what I'm up to so you aren't worrying!
My mindset in the morning is to document. I like to photograph you and your friends and family without intruding. It may feel a little weird to begin with because it's it's not everyday there is somebody there photographing you! Trust me though, you will get used to it really quickly and forget about me for the rest of the day!
It ain't a deal breaker, but nice light is certainly important when you are talking all things photography. It's certainly something to consider on the morning of your wedding. A room with nice big windows is always a winner. I'm a fan of soft, natural light so window light is perfect for this. Try to consider where you are placed in a room when having you make-up etc applied. If I am there, I will naturally help with this, but it may be that the make up artist or hair stylist arrives before I do, so perhaps just scout out a location near a window first!
I'll level with you, I'm not a big details man. But that doesn't mean I won't photograph them for you! I'd be happy to! I recommend having them all in one place for when I arrive, that way I can get them papped quickly and set about capturing the fun and emotional moments of your morning!
Ladies, make sure you have somebody with you who knows how to fasten the back of your dress. Obviously these vary wildly but it's worth making sure at least somebody has a clue as to what they are doing when it comes to buttons, lace etc! It can add time to your morning that can be better used drinking champagne!
Guys, find somebody who can tie a cravat, tie, bow tie etc with some degree of knowledge! It's easy to forget and then fumble around on your phone for fifteen minutes checking out YouTube help videos. Oh, and the same goes for your buttonhole flower...!
ALL THE STUFF YOU'D EXPECT, AND MORE!
Much like 90% of the rest of the day, during the ceremony I will photograph entirely in a documentary fashion. I’m certainly not going to step in halfway through to ask you to do something! It’s about capturing all the key moments like the brides entrance, exchange of rings etc, but also the real essence of the ceremony too. For me, it’s moments in between the more formal bits that are the real winning shots! I’ll capture an image of the signing of the register and one with your witnesses if that’s what you’d like, and round it all off with photographs of you walking back up the aisle as husband and wife surrounded your applauding friends and family!
Ask whoever is taking care of your ceremony, whether registrar or vicar/priest etc if they have any rules regarding my movements as your photographer. Occasionally I have some to follow, so it would be nice for you and I to be aware of these before the day.
Possibly not the most popular of advice, but try not to be late to the service! If you're arriving second that is! Well, if you're arriving first too I suppose! If your ceremony is delayed, there is a chance that the rest of the day won't run to time. That's not an issue, but importantly it will potentially give you less time to enjoy your drinks reception after the ceremony. It'll also then give me less time to photograph you and those natural images of your friends and family.
During the drinks reception, your friends and family are showering me with awesome moments! I'll be documenting these for you, along with snapping the details of the wedding breakfast room, family photographs that you would like, and a shoot with you as husband and wife. It sounds like a lot, and it is I suppose, but it's perfectly easy to capture it all. I'll be organised so I can ensure that you are getting the best of both worlds - lots of amazing relaxed photographs and also time enjoying a drink with your besties. I think that this is my fave part of the day!
I truly believe that the formal family images have a place at weddings. However, the number of these you have can mean less time for drinking and socialising! Think about the shots you are likely to print out, those that mean most you. If you're not going to print it and its going to sit on a USB for the rest of its days, maybe you don't need to have it! Around ten close family groups usually works well....
While you are enjoying your wedding breakfast, I will put my camera down and relax. As long as you are eating, I won't photograph you and your guests. I'm sure you'd like to enjoy your meal in peace so I'll stay away until the next time I am needed or when you are finished.
No matter when the speeches are, before, during or after your meal I will be there!!!
DO WE FEED YOU?
This is a very common question and the answer is simple - only if you'd like to! It's entirely up to you! Just let me know before the day and I can make arrangements if needs be.
After grabbing some images of you two during the drinks reception, I find it works really well to go for some more after your food and speeches are over. With the potentially nervous bits behind you, I find this can be when we achieve the most relaxed images - all you have to look forward to is the party! The light at this time of night is much softer and more flattering too. As is the way with anything I do, I will ask you if you would like to come with me for another shoot and the choice is yours. It's your day after all, so I'm happy to be guided by whatever you'd like to do!
Depending on which package you have chosen, your coverage could be coming to an end soon after the first dance, an hour after the first dance or through to 12am. If you've selected the two latter options, I'll be capturing all the fun and shapes on the dance floor! A busy dance floor is the best dance floor to photograph, so get your friends and family up there with you!
Dance really, that's it!
VIEWING YOUR IMAGES
After the big day I will get to work on editing the photographs I take. This will comprise of selecting the best photographs, editing in colour and then editing in black and white. This process generally takes 3-4 weeks. On occasion it can be more depending on the time of year. There is only one of me and I want to make sure your images are perfect for you! When they are ready, I will send you an email asking if you'd like a viewing at the office or online. At the office I will play a slideshow for you with music etc and if you have booked an album, I'll talk you through the design I have created for you. If you choose the online option, you will be able to view your images using the online slideshow and gallery (you will still receive this if you come for an office viewing). Your album can also be viewed online too. Which of these you choose is entirely up to you - there is no pressure either way!
The way you receive your images will be determined by the package option you have opted for. If you have selected the "download + me" option, these will be sent to you using WeTransfer. It's super simple and easy to do. If you have selected the "USB + Me" or "USB + Me Plus" packages, you will receive your images in a nicely presented USB box. Like the one in the pic behind this text, but with more stuff in it! The USB's will be posted to you using Royal Mail.
As you will know, albums are totally optional. They are there for you if you want them, but I'm not going to hard sell you into them!!! Personally, I love it when a couple invest in an album. If I am totally honest, you aren't going to look at it everyday for the rest of your life. It might even end up in a box under your bed. But when you do look at it on your anniversary once a year, accompanied by a nice bottle of something, it's completely worth it. My wife Steph and I have been married 7 years now and our album becomes more special every year. Ironically, my parents don't have a wedding album. In fact, they only have one photograph of their day! If they did, I'd enjoy looking at it, as would our little girl Elsie. She's only three but she loves seeing our album already! Anyway, no matter what your journey as a couple, I feel an album always adds value to your memories. So if you haven't already, maybe have a think about it!
ELLIOT W PATCHING PHOTOGRAPHY