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Wedding Guide

Hey!

I'm super excited to be photographing your wedding. I know you guys are going to have the best time of your lives and I'm going to capture these memories that allow you to relive each moment, remember and enjoy the day over and over again. Planning a wedding is no mean feat and you're probably not only going to have to decide and arrange lots of things, but also potentially have various people to keep happy along the way! Well, as it turns out, I've been to one or two weddings over the last 15 years so I've put together this guide to make sure you've not only got all the information and advice you need regarding photogaphy (before and after the event) but also to give some general advice on planning and things to consider.

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 Pinterest or Instagram would like to see. Plan the day YOU want to have, if a wedding tradition seems a bit odd to you, then don't do it! Want something completely uncoventional, fill your boots! You'll only get one shot, so make it completely your own.

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 guests, on the right day, in a place you love. Having the best time with all those that matter to you is what it's all about. Be Yourselves!

You having fun and loving each moment = awesome pictures - much more than everything being 'perfect'

Around a month before your wedding day I'll 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 highlight anything out of the ordinary you think I might need to know. There's no need to send over Pinterest boards but if you have particular favs on my site please let me know. Other than that, I totally appreciate that you trust me to just do my thing and approach the day with an open mind, that way the photos I create will be uniquely yours.

The Morning

For most of my weddings I work alone and if I'm able to cover both bride and groom prep due to location all the better. If not, I'm always with the bride at this stage unless otherwise requested. If logistics and location are too difficult to cover alone and you'd like both covered, I would recommend a second shooter. They will generally cover the boys preparations and we will meet up at the ceremony. If you didn't initially book a second photographer and now think you'd like one, just let me know and I'll sort it.

I always like to arrive a good couple of hours before the ceremony, not so much from photography point of view, but its a great chance to meet everyone and get to know who's who and start seeing all the relationships and characters that I'll be photographing throughout 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 guy (Hello, Mike here) with cameras is crashing your wedding but just ignore me and get on with enjoying your day, you'll soon get used to me.

As a photographer I love to capture the things that matter and the moments as they happen. So I want you guys to do what you do and just let me document. I really want to capture your wedding as it was, so you can remember it that way, so, if things are a bit chaotic, don't worry too much about tidying up, or hiding the chaos from me, but if you'd like things 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 where you are getting ready. I love soft natural window light, it's very flattering and always great to shoot in, so a nice room with big windows is always a good choice

In the morning, if there are particular detail shots or items you'd like photographed, then try to make sure these items are out and on display ( I don't want to miss moments because I'm unboxing shoes! ) this could include things like the rings, a family heirloom, and try to hang your dress in a good position with good light. If you are not too bothered, no worries, personally I think the dress always looks better with you in it!

The Ceremony

If you are getting married in church, it will be worth checking the Priest/Vicars rules and restrictions, if any, regarding photography in advance of the wedding day. If there are restrcitions on photography then perhaps ask if they would at least be happy with me being at the front just to photograph your entrance and when you see each other for the first time, that is such a great moment for you both, then I can move out of the way when the ceremony starts. However, some churches don't allow photographers to be anywhere except the back, the important thing is for you to be aware of this, to avoid any upsets on the day. If the Vicar has concerns, I'm happy to contact them and have a discussion in advance.

TOP TIP - Knowing when to live the moments.

I'm totally happy for your guests to take as many photos as they like, but for your parents, encourage them to put down cameras for the important moments, they need to watch and chersih these moment and be present, not watching through a lens.

Group and Family Photos

I firmly believe it's important to get some nice photos of of you those who are genuinely close to you. Depending on your schedule and the weather, the best time to do these is between ceremony and the wedding breakfast.

We can finalise the groups you'd like in the questionaire I'll send out, but be aware that larger groups can take 4-5 minutes or more to organise. So if you have 10 large groups you'll need to factor in around 45 minutes.

TOP TIP - the less standing around the better

With that in mind, I'd advise doing as few large group shots as possible as the less time stood round wondering why you can't find Grandad and the more time celebrating the better. Also, I'll be at your wedding for several more hours so there's plenty of time to grab some more informal shots of you with friends and family when everyone is relaxed and enjoying themselves later on. You, or any of your guests can tap me on the shoulder and ask for a picture. All images from the day will be available for all guests to download or buy prints.

The Reception

I'll be working all day and well into the evening, and a hungry photographer is a sad photographer, so if you could arrange a meal for me that would be fantastic. No worries if not, just let me know in advance and I'll bring food. The best time for me to eat is when you guys do, its really the only time I stop taking pictures all day, guests with mouthfulls of food don't always make for the best photos! It also means if I'm fed and watered I'm ready and raring to go for the next part of your celebration.

Your Portraits - My Style

When it comes to your portraits I like to do 2-3 mini sessions with you throughout the day rather than one long shoot taking you away from your guests. I usually like to play this by ear, especially as weather, timings changing etc can all play havoc with plans. As a rule, I try to do some shots before you sit down whilst the rest of your guests are taking their seats for the breakfast. Then later in the day when you are totally relaxed and have socialised with your guests I'll grab you again - crucially the light is better later in the day, especially around sunset. Most couples love these parts of the day, as it's time away with just the two of you, taking time out as a newly married couple and having five minutes to yourself.

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 for some epic portraits looking across the valley or on the beach and dunes, is important to you and something you're interested in then let me know, I'm more than happy to do this. Just get in touch and we can arrange the plans.

TOP TIP - IGNORE ME!

The key to documentary photography is knowing that I'm there but learning to ignore me. If you feel yourself looking at me, look away! It'll feel weird at first but as the hours pass you'll get used to it. During portraits I take a slightly different approach and direct you a little. But even then it's about you being yourselves and capturing your personalities. The shots have to reflect who you are and that way they will be meaningful to you and those close to you.

The Party

The advice here is simple, have an amazing party and go crazy! I'll be on the dancefloor and at the bar, wherever the action is! Capturing you and your guests having a great time together.

After the Wedding

I'll always aim to get a sneakpeek on Instagram/FB or via email within a few days. This means you'll have a professional image to share on your social media if you should choose. If I've not managed to do it, please tag yourselves and if you share it, I'm always glad of a tag. If you prefer to keep your wedding photos private, no problem, just let me know.

You can find me here on Instagram and Facebook.

Around 6 weeks after your wedding I'll aim to have your wedding photos ready with your full online gallery. I prefer not to rush as I want to spend the right amount of time editing your photos so they are the best they can be. During the summer months this may be slightly longer but it'll be worth the wait.

Albums

If you bought an album in your package once you have your gallery you can start choosing the images you want to be showcased by selecting them when you log in. I'll send you an email with instructions about picking and the design process. Once you are happy with the final layout I'll order an album that you will love and you can relive those moments again and again.

If you didn't initially add an album, no problem. You can add one anytime before or after your wedding. Ideally I would love all of my couples to have this momento of their day in an album that is made to be passed around and cherished. If you add an album to your package prior to your wedding there is £100 discount.

Our Albums are printed and bound in Portugal by a small family run company who pride themselves on attention to detail. I've searched for years to find this blend of quality and style, check them out here.

I look forward to working with you on your wedding day! Mike

Credits:

Michael Wells Photography