Hints and Tips for working with your photographer on your wedding day to get the best wedding photographs

You spend so much time planning your wedding day, but when it actually arrives, you can sometimes feel a bit lost. Every wedding is different, but here are a few tips for helping you prepare for what to expect when working with your wedding photographer and how to get the best wedding photographs.

Getting Ready

Give yourself space! You, your mum, your bridesmaids, clothes, make-up, make-up artist, hairdresser and photographer - that's a lot of people in one room. Try to have a large, well lit, room to get ready in so you can all move around. This will help you feel calmer and this will give the professionals space to work around you.

If there are going to be lots of people with you while you get ready, make sure they are those you know will be supportive and helpful. Surround yourself with your nearest and dearest, but also don’t be afraid to say if you just want a peaceful start to your wedding day. It's okay to ask for a bit of peace if you are feeling overwhelmed; it's a big day!

Leave plenty of time to get into your wedding attire. At least 20 minutes longer then you think as those last few minutes will sneak up on you.

If you have any last minute jobs that need doing, delegate! Hand any stressful jobs off to others so you can fully enjoy and experience the day as it unfolds.

If you would like any pictures of you getting into your dress or pictures with your parents or bridesmaids, make sure to leave plenty of time for your photographer to get to the ceremony. I personally like to get to the ceremony at least 45 minutes before it’s scheduled.

Make sure to have plenty of snacks and water to hand and to look after yourself.

Breathe….

During the Ceremony

Registers, vicars , and priests may vary in their attitudes towards what is acceptable to photograph during the ceremony. I'll try to check with them before the start of your ceremony, to see where they are happy for me to stand and what I can photograph, but it may be best to discuss with them beforehand what you would like so there are no surprises on the day with what can and can't be photographed.

You may feel shy in front of lots of people, but it’s nicer to see you gazing at each other rather than the backs of your heads in the photographs if your photographer has to stand at the back. Look into each other's eyes like there is no one else there.

Guests Taking Photos

I know that everyone will want to get a fantastic picture of you, and that’s part of the day, but so many people actually miss the moment by being behind their camera (or phone) rather than enjoying the moment. This can be particularly true during the ceremony. 

It is only a suggestion, but it may be worth printing a note in your order of service or letting your guests know that they are there to create memories of the day with you and you want to see their smiles as you walk down the aisle, not their phones. Your photographer is being paid to capture these memories for you, and these are the images you will treasure.

If you choose to slip away from your guests for some couples pictures, it's best if it's just you and the photographer. Guests may want to follow to take photos at this point, but working alone with your photographer will get the best photos of you and your partner. Your photographer will also be better able to direct you and put you at ease.

This is also a good opportunity for you to have a little bit of peace away from the crowd. I often head back to the party just after your portraits, giving you a few moments in just each other’s company so you can take in being a newly married couple together. 

The Reception

Most venues leave around an hour and a half from the beginning of the drinks reception to when you sit down for your wedding breakfast. This is a good amount of time to ensure that the group pictures, couple pictures, and a bit of time for socialising can happen. Your photographer may need your help with giving them the time to capture what you have asked for, though. Working together means you can make the most out of this time and make sure to get the pictures of everyone you want to as well as all those extra candid moments.

Group Shoots / Formal Photographs

When you discuss the group pictures you’d like, it is up to you how many you have, but I personally recommend no more than 10. Some couples will have only a few, others more. Some couples will wish to spend a bit more time creating more interesting images and having a bit of fun with the group pictures, others may just want to get them done quickly and then return back to chatting with guests.

You will have chosen a photographer based on their style, so check with them how they like to work. Communicating clearly with your photographer which images you'd like and which group pictures you would like will ensure that you know how they will approach photographing your wedding and will lead to a smoother approach to any formal or group photographs.

If you allow around 5 minutes for each shot, as a frame of reference, you can then work out how many group shots you’d like and the time that they will all take. I try to keep group pictures as relaxed as possible, and the quicker we can do them, the more time you have to be with your guests and the more time I have to capture all the candid moments. 

A lot of time can be lost trying to find a missing guest who is suppose to be in the photo, if you can delegate to a few friends to round up the people in each group picture, this can speed up the process giving you more time with your guests. Nobody likes standing around waiting for a picture to be taken, you want to get on with the party!

The weather may change when and where the group shots are taken. We can discuss this in the consultation via Skype or in person before your wedding. It's always good to have a plan B!

Other Things to Thing About

Be yourself; this is your day, and make sure you do it your way. The day is about the love between the two of you and so that’s what the wedding day should reflect.

Don’t stress too much over all the little details, the most important thing is you are there with your loved ones and affirming your relationship and love for each other.

Confetti can make for some amazing images. The best pictures of confetti are a little staged, but I always try to make it work with the flow with your wedding.

If you are organising your own confetti, the larger and brighter the better I think. Small petals do not show up as well as larger petals or the paper types.

Also, more is more! So go wild!

If it’s raining, grab an umbrella. There are even hire companies that you can get matching ones for the day. Or go for lots of different colours.

Wellies are always fun too and mean you don’t have to worry about getting your shoes dirty. You could also have a spare pair of shoes or heel stoppers (handy for ladies in high heeled shoes so they don't sink into the grass).

If it’s a bit of a journey from the ceremony to the reception, you could always hire a bus, or other mode of transport, to whisk all your guests from one place to the next - and carry on the party while on the move!

Most importantly, make sure you get to spend time with the people that matter most to you. Your wedding day will go by so quickly.