Tips for your wedding
Hi again! Thank you for getting in touch with me. I have put together short tips and tricks for my Brides and Grooms from my experience. You do not have to go by them at all; however, I would like to show you how you can make the most out of your Wedding Day, minimise time spent on taking photos and maximise time spent with your guests. If you use some of my tips, Great! If none, that’s OK! I will still do my best to capture your day in the most beautiful way.
Relax and Enjoy.
As I capture reality, I cannot add or remove things that did not happen during Your Day. What I mean by that is if you relax during your Wedding day, this is how you are going to be captured in photographs. Yes, I know, this is the most important day in your lives and nerves are expected. Surround yourself with only the closest of people in the morning. People that you enjoy being with and that put you at ease. Have a clear time plan for the morning, and add an extra 45 minutes for any delays. Don’t forget to eat breakfast. That will keep you going for a bit longer. Work with reasonable people, that will keep you relaxed and excited about your day. Communicate with vendors beforehand to see how much time they need for makeup/hair/flowers/car etc. Have a good sleep the night before (I know, it’s impossible ;)).
I worked in various places. I’ve seen it all. I suggest keeping your preparations room in good shape. When the room is tidy, I’m able to capture much more interesting photographs, as I focus on you and not on avoiding the mess.
The very first thing I do when I come to my Bride, I say Hello 🙂 The second thing is, I start to shoot details. Dress, shoes, flowers, invitations, jewellery and other bits that I find interesting. Maybe there are some things close to your heart that you wish me to photograph. Just have it all ready for me.
This is more of an advice on how not to get late. Make sure, that your maid of honour/mom knows how to zip/tie up the dress. I’ve seen many times, where a bride would take up to 45 minutes to put up a dress, running late for the ceremony. If you have a zip dress, 10-20 minutes is likely enough. If you have a tie-up, that may take 20-40 minutes if untrained hands take care of you. Do not forget about the shoes, jewellery and other bits, which also take time.
I love to take 5 minutes out of your morning to photograph you with your closest of family before you head down for the Ceremony. Please allocate 5 minutes just for that. Oh, and let’s not forget about the epic portrait of just you, if possible 😉
If you plan on having a first look at your Wedding Day, Awesome! I always suggest to perform a first look around 90 minutes before the ceremony. That way, you are unlikely to be spotted by early guests (if it all takes place in the same venue), and we have enough time for any lateness. The actual first look will take around 20 minutes, as we can get some quick portraits done as well.
The place is super important. I suggest picking a quiet spot, indoors or outdoors, where nobody will disturb us. I find the first look to be a very magical moment. I feel privileged to be witnessing it. A quiet environment will help you to live the moment to the fullest.
Don’t plan a First look with photos in mind. Plan it because you really want to do it! And no matter what happens, wether you are late or not, just enjoy the moment! It will be a highlight of the day for You!
This part of the day is quite challenging for me as I have no control over anything. The priest is the person running the show, and I have to go by whatever he says. In the past, I’ve been asked to stop taking photos, do not go up the altar at any time, do not get close to the bride and groom. And no, I wasn’t in the face of everyone. During each ceremony, I always respect the place we are in. I try to make slow moves to not bring attention to myself. I keep myself low. I wait for moments. I always talk to the priests before the ceremony. I try to eliminate any possibility of being pointed at during the mass. But priests are all different. While most of them are lovely and really open, there are exceptions. Just be mindful of all that when it comes to choosing your church and a priest.
Do consider doing an unplugged ceremony. What that means, you let your guests know, in a polite way, to keep their phones in their pockets during the ceremony. I have seen so many people stepping into the aisle with their iPads, or a row of phone screens while the bride walks down the aisle. Let people enjoy the ceremony with their hearts and not their cameras, my images will look better, and I will have a greater chance to create more intimate moments of your guests during the ceremony. The best way to do it, is to talk to a priest/celebrant so they can mention it at the very start of the ceremony.
You can also leave a photo frame with a print-out where you ask your guests to be with You with your hearts and not their phones.
You may want to consider organising a ‘Confetti Shot’ on the exit from the ceremony. Clear it first with the venue/church that you can actually do it;) Give that task to your bridesmaids and groomsmen where they will be handing out confetti’s. That is usually done at the greeting line. Once you finish greeting all of your guests, I can take offer and organise people to stand in a desired way. Another great Photo Opportunity!
Make sure to have one or two people for delegation. Usually, your siblings/bridal party are the perfect choice. They can round up people for us very quickly. We will agree beforehand, where about and when we could do the family portraits. We are weather dependent on the day so it’s good to have two options. I work very efficiently during that part, and you would be surprised how quickly I get these photos done. The longest part of shooting family portraits is waiting for all of the people involved to turn up. Once we plan that ahead, we will minimise the time to complete that part.
I never work with a shot-list during the day. That said, I would love to get a shot-list of family photos that you wish me to complete. I normally complete Bride and Groom with:
- One side of parents
- Second side of parents
- Parents together
- One side of siblings
- One side of siblings + partners & kids
- Other side of siblings
- Other side of siblings + partners & kids
If you plan anything extra, please think about sending me on a shot-list so we can tick it as we go along, and we don’t miss that important set. I also suggest to photograph you with your friends during the drink reception or after dinner.
I discourage even thinking about a group photo. I find these photographs to be pretty much useless from technical perspective. Tiny faces and a shallow depth of field which prevents to get everyone in focus. Apart from the technicalities, organising a group photo breaks the natural flow of the day. I prefer to go around and photograph people being happy!
Light is the most important element in a photograph. I always look for interesting light to create something different. Sun is not always our best friend as it creates harsh lighting conditions that make people squint. But it’s not an issue for me as I will work around it to turn this difficulty into a beautiful opportunity.
Time & Timing
Think about how much time you would like to spend with me taking photographs. Some couples prefer to be with me for 10 minutes, while some allocate around 1 hour. It all depends on what YOU want from your Wedding Day. I want to make sure you enjoy this part!
When to do your portraits? It all depends on the layout of the day. I usually suggest doing them shortly after the ceremony. Starting with bridal party, then couple portraits and when we return to the reception, family photos are done. But sometimes, it’s better to leave them off until just before the guests sit down for dinner. We can discuss that before the Wedding day.
While we do the portraits, it’s important for us to stay away from your guests. I love to create intimacy in the photographs and we need complete privacy to do so. Other people hanging around us will destroy the moment that we would need to create something beautiful.
It could be cold, could be super hot, could be windy (beaches and cliffs!) could be wet. We have to be ready for everything in Ireland. That’s why some plans may change because of that. Have a think if you would mind going out in the rain, would you like to use an umbrella etc. brave couples, better pictures.
Sunset occurs at different times every day. That might be a wonderful photo opportunity to go out and snap something beautiful. If I spot that sunset is going to be awesome, I will run into you and say ‘let’s go out! we will get something WOW’. Now, I do not want to disturb you during the meal, but quite often, that happens. I just want to let you know that light is king, and there might be another photo opportunity. Have a think if you would be up for it.
Ok, I get it. Everyone is not so comfortable in front of the camera. But please have a look at my portraits. None of my couples are! Try not to overthink this part, relax and trust in my process of making you feel great! Only this way I can provide you with natural, happy and sometimes intimate portraits from your Wedding Day.
Other important bits
If you plan anything unusual during the day, please let me know. I promise to keep it a secret. If a groom plans to sing or play a guitar during the ceremony, I would love to know that so I can get ready for it.
I always speak with my couples around a week before a Wedding. We will agree on the schedule of the day beforehand, which includes when we will complete some of the must-shots. I love to have a good plan for the day because it eliminates time wasting and wondering what happens next. That also helps you to go back to your family and friends for a celebration without spending too long on photos. But be mindful of last-minute changes (location for family photos due to better light, or a weather condition). I will try to communicate them in an efficient manner.
I encourage every couple to plan Sparklers Send off. This is a great fun for You and your guests. It usually happens after the meal. We involve all the guests, and everyone really have some fun. Once your venue knows that, they will help us bring people outside. We will create something epic!
One good tip about organising this part of the day: Get the longest sparklers possible. We want them to burn for as long as possible so we maximise the chances of getting some amazing photographs.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read the article above. I hope that will give you a better idea on how to plan the time frame of your day, and what can you expect from me. At the end of the day, IT’S YOUR DAY and you should live it the way YOU WANT. I’m here to help you out to get an even better experience!
Thank you and speak soon!