//2014 // CREATIVE WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY
INSIDE: TIPS ON HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY // CREATIVE IDEAS // STRESS FREE GROUP SHOTS
ABOUT THIS GUIDE// Congratulations; you can tick somthing pretty big off your wedding to do list, and give yourself a pat on the back. You have a photographer. I want this to be one of the best experiences you’ll have throughout your wedding planning. No two weddings are alike, and the last thing I would ever want to do is generalise, or suggest what your day might look like but I have pulled this guide together to give you a bit of an overview for what it might be like from a Photographic point of view, and some things to consider to make things run a bit more smoothly, and to get the photos you want. Feel free to disregard anything that’s not relevant to you and I do hope this answers more questions than it raises, but should it be the other way round then don’t hesitate to get in touch. About 4-6 weeks before the big day I will also send you a brief questionnaire about the runnings and timings of the day, and this will provide the basis for a chat to cover everything so that I’m fully prepped to be awesome on your wedding day.
CONTENTS ENGAGEMENT SHOOT
THE FIRST DANCE &
PARTY TIME AFTER THE WEDDING
ENGAGEMENT SHOOT This is one of the areas that I get most questions about, so I thought it would be good to include a handy guide and some hints and tips in here.
stead - check out ‘picking a location’ for some ideas’.
Lots of people often feel they don’t need or want a pre-wedding shoot, and that’s fine but if your budget does allow for it then I love doing them. I see it as a way for us all to get to know each other a little better, you get to have some fun together, some extra images and the chance to use a location that might not be available to you on your wedding day. If you’re a confirmed city dweller but getting married in a rural setting, it could be about incorporating a location you love.
If it’s the summer, or forecast to be sunny, you really want to avoid the midday sun as it’s no-one’s friend. A few hours before sunset always works well, but if you’re an early riser, the morning can be good too. If it’s overcast, the sky is like a giant softbox making the natural light soft and flattering and any time of the day works. The shoot on the opposite page happened about 90 minutes before sunset in July and the gorgeous light was a real stroke of luck but if you are lucky enough to get that, then exploit it!
WHAT TIME OF DAY
Lots of people arrive nervous but (hopefully) go WHAT IF WE’RE CAMERA SHY away feeling like they’ve had lots of fun, and maybe even learnt a few tips for the wedding day and it does I can help guide you and give you some natural dihelp me to find out what makes the two of you tick. rection that will help you relax and enjoy the shoot but if you’re naturally not very touchy feely, and are I do pre-wedding and engagement shoots Monday- worried you might be self conscious then why not Thursday and can gladly fit this into a day off you plan to be ‘doing something’ or bring something might already have for wedding planning. along to incorporate snd think of it as an ice breaker. We could go cycling, bake a cake, go wine tasting PICKING A LOCATION anything you like. Start by considering things and places you love - it could be somewhere like the pub you had your first date, woods you love to explore, a museum you like to while your weekends away in. Some of my favourite locations have been the least expected ones; a shabby but charming den of iniquity in Brixton and multi story car park in Peckham. What about incorporating your personal space into the day and having it at home? or bringing your beloved dog along?
WHAT SHOULD I WEAR?
I like to leave this one up to you ultimately but I think it gives you a good opportunity to dress up - wear your favourite clothes and great shoes and you’ll feel more confident in front of the camera. Colourful outfits work better on camera than head to toe black and heels can be leg lengthening. If you’re going to bring a bag ensure it’s small or you don’t mind popping it on the ground so you can be hands free for WHAT IF THE WEATHER’S BAD? the shoot. For girls, it’s great to combo it with your hair and makeup trial - you can see what it will look If there’s time, the weather’s terrible and you have like on camera and you’ll look gorgeous. Make sure you heart set on an outside location then we can look you’re still you though - if you live in your jeans then at rescheduling, but especially in a city like London it makes sense to wear them. there’s lots of opportunity to take the shoot inside in-
GETTING READY This is the part of the day some people are often not sure if they want covered but it’s one of my favourites and helps to tell the whole story of the day. The time you spend with your family and friends before saying ‘I do’ is, without wanting to sound too twee, really precious and it will fly past. I normally recommend you have me arrive 1-2 hours before the ceremony starts depending on travel time. If you’re getting ready at the venue, early arrival is a good chance for me to spend some time photographing the details at the venue, leaving more time for other photos later.
When I arrive, rather than starting to point my camera at everyone straight away, I’ll start by photographing details like the dress, shoes, invitations, flowers or whatever you’ve chosen for your day so if someone could show me to where these are I can snap away merrily until people feel a bit more normal about being photographed. After that I’ll work at capturing the natural moments as they unfold.
From a photographers point of view, the ideal space would be spacious, light and tidy (although I know with lots of people getting ready in a small space it often isn’t, and that’s fine by me as long as you don’t mind a little bit of mess in the pictures – I think it helps tell the true story). In an ideal world, the makeup artist would place you with light coming from the window onto your face, this is what works best, especially in a dark hotel room.
With regards putting on the dress, some people are shyer than others and I’ll only appear when you want me to. Remember though I’m a girl too and I won’t take photos of any wobbly bits. If the two of you are getting ready nearby, I can factor in some time to visit both of you*, or if not, and you’d still like this covered then I can commission a second photographer for you. >> *factor this into the total amount of hours on the day
I like to travel with the wedding party so I don’t miss a thing, so do let me know if there’s room for me to come with you. Some of my favourite shots have been in the car (bus/camper van/walking crocodile) on the way. if this isn’t possible then please let me know and I will drive - I’ll need to leave at least 15 minutes before the bridal party, or whoever I’m with, so that I can be in place and parked before you arrive. Please let me know if there is suitable parking at the ceremony venue and remember I’ll have lots of gear.
GET READY WITH YOUR NEAREST FOR DIY WEDDINGS, IT CAN BE AND DEAREST - BAN ANYONE AT- GREAT TO ALSO SHOOT FRIENDS TENTION SEEKING OR DIFFICULT. AND FAMILY SETTING UP THE DAY. THIS IS YOUR DAY. HAVE YOUR INVITES ETC AVAILABLE IF YOU WANT TO INCLUDE HAVE YOUR BRIDESMAIDS GET THEM IN YOUR PHOTOS. INTO THEIR DRESSES WELL AHEAD OF YOU - THAT WAY THEY CAN HELP YOU AND THEY WILL LOOK THINK ABOUT WHERE YOU WANT GOOD IN THE PHOTOS TOO. TO GET READY - IF IT’S AT HOME I LOVE TO BE ABLE TO INCLUDE ELEMENTS OF YOUR PERSONAL BE IN YOUR DRESS AT LEAST 15 SPACE. IF IT’S A HOTEL ASK FOR MINUTES BEFORE YOU NEED TO THE LIGHTEST ROOM AND MAKE LEAVE, WHICH ALLOWS TIME FOR SURE THE CURTAINS ARE OPEN. SOME PORTRAITS BEFOREHAND. RELAX AND ENJOY YOURSELF TAKE TIME TO MAKE YOURSELF ASSIGN SOMEONE TO SHOW ME FEEL (AS WELL AS LOOK) GORYOUR DRESS AND SHOES AND GEOUS. THIS IS YOUR DAY, DON’T PANIC IF I MOVE IT TO A ENJOY IT! PRETTIER LOCATION.
CEREMONY The ceremony, be it a civil, humanist or a religious service, is pure documentation. I want to catch the looks on your faces when you first see each other, happy smiles in the crowd, tears and the first kiss. Check with whoever is conducting your ceremony that they are happy to have me present, reassure them that I never use flash during the ceremony (with one or two exceptions in very dark rooms like cinemas!) or get in their way. Nevertheless, some will banish me to the back of the room and some put a ban on photos altogether and it’s definitely best to be aware of any restrictions before the day so that you’re not disappointed afterwards. If this does happen there is usually nothing that can be done about it. Most London registrars are the most relaxed and friendly people I have ever come across but the further you get away from the capital, the more restrictions there may be.
take great pride in setting up a posed ‘signing of the register’ shot with a stunt pen and the such. Unless you fancy hamming it up, I prefer to snap secretly whilst you’re signing for real – it’s so much more authentic. After the ceremony there’s lots of happy hugs and kisses – enjoy it. Do let me know if you’re planning confetti, I can get everyone to throw it at the same time and some beautiful photos. Some couples choose to have an unplugged ceremony – in short one where you ask your guests to put down their cameras and smart phones and to watch the wedding with their eyes and feel it with their hearts. If you’re considering an unplugged wedding you could use some wording like this (below) Reassure them that they’ll have full access to the photos later and can download as they choose.
During the signing of the register, lots of registrars will
“We want you to be able to relax and have fun with us today! This in mind, we invite you to put down all your favourite devices and just be present in the moment with us. Please leave your camera in your bag (we’ve got photography covered!), and put your mobile on mute (we promise they’ll call back!). We’re happy to share our professional wedding photos later, but the greatest gift you can give us today is just being fully here with us in this special moment. “
GROUP SHOTS GUEST CANDIDS I’ll discuss with you a suitable point to do the group shots - sometimes it can work well to get these done at the ceremony venue if the space works better than the reception venue which can be true of urban weddings. Sometimes the day flows better if these are done at the reception venue after a drink. Location is also weather dependent. I also recommend keeping it to no more than 8 as the more time group shots take, the less time there is for beautiful candid images and other, more natural shots. As a rule of thumb, each group can take up to 10 minutes to orchestrate. So that could be over an hour out of your day, This is where I have to put my cheesy cheery photographer hat on; I like to work quickly and keep the shots quite informal and relaxed – no one crouching with their hand under their chin or arrangements based on height (unless it’s some kind of injoke of course!) Group shots don’t need to be boring - they should include all of your favourite people, so feel free to share hugs and big smiles. if doing the shot of everyone, it’s worth having a friend with a loud voice who can help move your guests into the right location & it tends to work better with less than 70 or so guests.
We can have lots of fun with the photos of the wedding party, so feel free to be creative with location or including props etc. Light is also a key factor for these – direct sun overhead will result in everyone squinting and dark shadows under the eyes. So, in this case I would tend to move everyone to shade, or even head inside. This might seem mad to people who say ‘it’s a perfect day for photography’ but trust me, you’ll all look much better with even light on your faces. Whilst I’m not shooting these I’ll be unobtrusively moving through your guests, taking shots of laughter, hugs, smiles and kisses and capturing photos of the bits of your day you won’t get to see. Whilst I’d love to - it’s not possible to guarantee a photo of every guest. On the next page I’ve included a list of suggested group shots, this doesn’t factor in any difficult family dynamics such as divorced parents etc (and believe me, I well understand that scenario) so in that case feel free to tailor it to your needs.
SOME COMBO IDEAS
1. EVERYONE 2. COUPLE AND BRIDE OR 6 . COUPLE WITH WITNESSCLOSE FRIENDSHIP PERSON A’S CLOSE FAMILY ES/ GROUPS 3. COUPLE AND BRIDE OR PERSON A’S EXTENDED FAMILY E.G. GRANDPAR- 7. BRIDE AND BRIDESMAIDS ENTS AND AUNTS/UNCLES OR PARTNERS OF SIBLINGS 8. GROOM AND BESTMAN/ USHERS 4. COUPLE AND GROOM OR PERSON B’S CLOSE FAMILY 9. ENTIRE WEDDING PARTY 5. COUPLE AND GROOM OR PERSON B’S EXTENDED FAMILY E.G. GRANDPARENTS AND AUNTS/UNCLES
PORTRAITS This is my absolute favourite time of the day, but one that can sometimes be difficult to fit in with everything that’s going on, and not wanting to be away from the party for too long but a lot of what you see in my portfolio is shots taken during this time. I try and keep it short, 20 minutes is enough to get some amazing photos, but if you can spare 30 minutes over the course of the day then that works perfectly. Almost all of my couples have said how much they enjoyed spending a few moments together. I like to find somewhere away from prying eyes and ask that it’s just us so that you can really relax. We will talk about the best time to nip out and do this, but if it’s bright then the evening light will be much more flattering, or if there’s a passing shower It could be better to wait until later. If the light is absolutely beautiful later on or I spot an amazing sunset I might ask to borrow you again, maybe between dinner and dessert to do something creative. Light, and the opportunity to relax, are probably the most important factors. If you’d like to bring along and incorporate some props then please do. Natural light is my absolute favourite, be it indoor or outdoor but I can work with a little bit of trickery too and we can work together to decide on the best time and location for these photos. I quite like doing one or two after dark portraits too – kinda ‘one for the road’ If you’re getting married late or if you have a really busy schedule you might want to consider the concept of a first look – very popular in the states – they can really help if it will be dark by the time your ceremony finishes. Basically, it’s a chance to see each other in all your finery before the ceremony. It’s not for everyone, but I will say, when I got married myself and my husband got ready together and it hasn’t been bad luck in any way, shape or form.
IF I SUGGEST A LOCATION OR BACKDROP THEN JUST GO FOR IT – I MIGHT HAVE A REALLY SPECIFIC IDEA OF WHAT I WANT TO ACHIEVE AND I’M NORMALLY LOOKING FOR THAT SHOT THAT’S A TEENY BIT DIFFERENT FROM THOSE THAT HAVE BEEN TAKEN AT THE VENUE TIME AND TIME AGAIN
YOUR PHOTOS ARE A BIT OF A COLLABORATION, SO IF YOU HAVE A GREAT IDEA FOR A LOCATION THEN DO LET ME KNOW KIRI AND MATT SUGGESTED THIS OLD GATE AND I LOVE THE SHOT
FIRST LOOKS CAN BE AMAZINGLY INTIMATE
IF IT RAINS ALL DAY - TWO CHOICES - HEAD INSIDE OR ROCK THOSE RAIN DROPS (THE BELOW SHOT SHOWS YOU WHAT’S POSSIBLE AFTER DARK)
RECEPTION The reception is a brilliant time to shoot lots of candid images of your guests – I prefer natural shots with people looking animated and having lots of fun. I’ll also photograph all the carefully curated details of the day so that it builds into a complete story. Objects, and not just the expected ones can also tell very powerful stories. I’ll photograph the speeches – venues often have an area that they always recommend putting the top table but consider the backdrop and try not to have the speeches in front of fire extinguishers or similar. You could even consider decorating this area to make a colourful backdrop. If it’s dark I might use either on camera flash, or set up a light stand near where they’ll be taking place. No-one wants to be photographed while they’re eating, so when the food comes out, that’s my cue to take a breather and have something to eat myself. Speaking of which, weddings are long and physically demanding. I’ll be carrying my equipment which means that I can’t normally bring food with me so for a full day booking I ask that you provide some food for me. If you could ask the venue to feed me at the same time as they do you; that way I’ll be done and ready to capture everything that happens afterwards.
SOME OF MY FAVOURITE MOMENTS... Aren’t necessarily the ones that I blog, but they ’re the ones that really (really, really) tell the story of the day. They don’t really need any explanation, they just happen, and it’s magic... There’s far more than I could ever show you here.
THE FIRST DANCE & PARTY TIME THIS IS A REALLY KEY MOMENT BUT OFTEN OVER IN A BLINK OF AN EYE. JUST RELAX, ENJOY IT AND FORGET ABOUT ME. BEFOREHAND I MIGHT SET UP SOME LIGHTING TO GIVE IT A BIT OF AN EXTRA POP AND IF YOUR DJ USES THE LAZER LIGHTS WITH THE LITTLE PINDOTS I’LL GET THEM TO TURN THEM OFF JUST FOR THE FIRST DANCE. AFTER EVERYONE ELSE HITS THE DANCEFLOOR I’LL CAPTURE THE ACTION FOR ABOUT 15 MINUTES MORE; THERE’S ONLY SO MANY DANCING SHOTS YOU WANT BEFORE EVERYTHING DESCENDS INTO DRUNKEN CHAOS; AND HEAD HOME TO BACK UP AND EDIT YOUR IMAGES. DO LET ME KNOW IF YOU’VE GOT ANYTHING SPECIAL PLANNED
HOW TO COMPLETE YOUR ‘PHOTOGRAPHY PLAN’ FORM
About a month before the day, I’ll send you a form to help you to help me get all the information I need to cover your day without any hiccups. Liase with your venue or planner and let me know all of the relevant times, lists of group shots and anything unexpected you might have planned - fireworks, sparklers, a flash mob, additional locations or anything else I might need to know. As mentioned back in the section on the ceremony, it is absolutely essential that you speak to the registrar , humanist or religious officiant who’s conducting the ceremony with regards their stance on photography. They may have a policy in place which bans any images of the ceremony at all and unfortunately in their place, it’s their rules and I can’t be held responsible if I’m not allowed to photograph. At this stage you can also add additional hours, confirm a request for a second photographer or add an album.
MAKE SURE YOU HAVE ENOUGH TIME FOR YOUR PORTRAITS. IT CAN BE AS MUCH, OR AS LITTLE TIME AS YOU LIKE BUT YOU DON’T WANT TO FEEL RUSHED AS YOU WON’T RELAX.
YOU’RE GOING TO NEED AT LEAST AN HOUR, PREFERABLY TWO BETWEEN ARRIVING AT THE RECEPTION AND SITTING DOWN TO EAT TO ALLOW ENOUGH TIME FOR CANDID SHOTS, GROUP SHOTS AND SOME PORTRAITS AND TO HAVE SOME TIME WTH YOUR GUESTS AND CHANCE TO ENJOY YOUR DAY.
ALLOW YOURSELF TIME AFTER THE CEREMONY TO SPEAK TO YOUR GUESTS AND JUST ENJOY TAKING THINGS IN. EVERYONE WILL WANT TO CONGRATULATE YOU.
BREATHE, TAKE TIME TO ENJOY THE DAY AS IT WILL FLY BY. AND REMEMBER TO SPEND SOME TIME WITH EACH OTHER.
1 - 2 HOURS COVERAGE OF GETTING READY IS USUALLY PLENTY. FACTOR IN TRAVEL TIME TO THE VENUE IF YOU’RE NOT GETTING READY THERE.
AFTER THE WEDDING You can expect to receive your edited images within 4-6 weeks of the big day, if, for any reason, it might take a little longer I’ll let you know as soon as possible. I’ll normally send you a few sneak peeks the Monday after your wedding, and with your permission, I’ll share them on my Facebook page too so you can tag yourselves and share your beautiful photos with the world. I’ll create your website (or add to it if you’ve already had an engagement shoot) and online proofing gallery and can even create a sign up list on the wedding day leaving you with one less thing to do when it comes to sharing the images. You will receive your images on a USB stick or by digital download, depending on your preference – you will receive both high res images for printing and low res images which are a much more manageable size if you want to share them online. Make sure you back up your images – I can’t stress this enough. The popularity of the ‘images on a disc’ format makes sense on the one hand, we consume so much more digitally these days but the speed with which new formats are coming out and others are becoming obsolete is ever quickening, the use of tablet computers is on the rise and the latest breed of Macs don’t have CD readers. Put them on your computer’s hardrive, store them in the cloud or better yet, get them printed and look at them regularly. For cloud backup options check out Dropbox or Backblaze and I’ll keep your finished images for a year.
PRINTS AND ALBUMS If you want to have your images printed you have a number of options, one is, of course, to invest in an album but if you don’t want to, or would rather make something more informal and handmade, then invest in the prints themselves. If you order the prints from a professional lab they will be printed on archival paper, with a guaranteed life expectancy and will be printed as you see them on screen, not with auto colour correction software as with high street labs. If you’ve paid this much for your wedding photography it’s worth paying a little extra for beautiful prints which let it shine. Please don’t have them printed at the auto booth at Asda! I offer a range of albums, the jewels in the crown are the Folio fine art albums with their gorgeous leather covers and beautiful papers. Please contact me for more information about these.
COPYRIGHT I always retain copyright of my work, this is both to protect my images and to protect you. As per my contract, you get personal use rights for your photos…this means you can upload them online, make copies for friends and family, get them printed, make an album… most uses are absolutely fine. If there are other wedding suppliers such as florists or make up artists who would like to use the images they must contact me first as this is not covered under personal use. I’m more than happy to share the photos free of charge most of the time, but I do like to make separate agreements with business owners myself so it’s best to send them in my direction if they ask you for photos. This also prohibits anyone from making a deriative copy of the work or editing it in any way, or unauthorised commercial uses.
BLOGS & MAGS I often get asked by bloggers and magazine editors whether they can feature certain weddings and it’s one of the chief ways I book other awesome couples like you. If a blog would like to feature your wedding, and you’d like to be featured it would be the best compliment you could pay me to complete the questionnaire and get it back to me promptly. I’ll handle formatting and sending over the images and you can sit back and see it go live on your favourite blog.
AND FINALLY... I hope you’ve found this guide useful and helped you to understand a little bit more about the thought process behind your wedding photography, got a few tips and hopefully got you feeling that excited, wobbly feeling all over again. All weddings are different and I love to photograph the unique ones, so if you want to chat through your individual timeline, or any aspect of my approach just let me know. Not all sections are going to be relevant for all people and that’s cool; if you’re not having a traditional reception, don’t want coverage of you getting ready or aren’t having a first dance (we didn’t) then it’s your day, do it the way you want. I can’t wait to photograph your wedding; if you have any questions at all don’t hesitate to get in touch...
EMAIL | firstname.lastname@example.org WEB | www.elliegillard.co.uk MOBILE | 07740359844 FACEBOOK | www.facebook.com/elliegillardphotography TWITTER | @elliegphotophy INSTAGRAM | ellieaness
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RESOURCES WEDDING PLANNERS/CO-ORDINATORS CHARLEY BEARD (LONDON BRIDE) http://london-bride.com LOUISE PERRY WEDDINGS http://www.louiseperryweddings.com FILMMAKERS MARK W BROWN http://www.markwbrown.com REEL LOVE FILMS http://www.reellovefilms.co.uk AURORA WEDDING FILMS http://www.auroravideo.co.uk PROP HIRE AND STYLING CHERYL AT SOMETHING VINTAGE email@example.com FLOWERS REBEL REBEL E8 http://rebelrebel.co.uk WILD WILLOW http://www.wild-willow.co.uk LILY & MAY http://lilyandmay.co.uk THE WILDFLOWER CAFE http://www.wildflowercafe.moonfruit.com MAKEUP KYLIE MCMICHEAL http://kyliemcmichael.co.uk ELBIE VAN EEDEN http://www.elbievaneeden.com/#home CAKES OLOFSON DESIGN http://olofsondesign.com EMILY HARMSTON http://www.emilyharmstoncakes.co.uk DJS THE WEDDING SMASHERS http://www.weddingsmashers.com DISCO WED http://www.discowed.com STICK IT ON DJS http://www.stickiton.org.uk/sioweddings/ BANDS FUNK CITY http://www.funkcitypartyband.co.uk THE RETROSETTES http://www.theretrosettes.com STATIONERY LUCY SAYS I DO http://lucysaysido.com BETTY ETTIQUETTE http://www.bettyetiquette.co.uk VERONICA DEARLY http://www.veronicadearly.com FAIRS MOST CURIOUS WEDDING FAIR http://www.amostcuriousweddingfair.co.uk MISS VINTAGE WEDDING AFFAIR http://www.missvintageaffair.co.uk