Having photographed numerous weddings over the past 13 years, we frequently get asked ‘What do other couples do?’. The truth is, apart from the legal bit (assuming you are having a legal ceremony) then the rest is all up to you, so don’t feel you have to do what anyone has done before, this is your wedding after all.
Whatever you decide, we have listed some considerations in this post to help you get the most out of your wedding photography.
1. Choose the right photographer(s)
The first step in ensuring you get the photographs you really want is choosing a photographer (or photographers) whose style and approach align with your vision for the day. Research their portfolio, read online reviews, and set up a meeting with them to get a feel for their personality and how they work. A good photographer will listen to your ideas and offer suggestions, but never force ideas upon you, ensuring that you feel comfortable and confident in their ability to capture your special day.
2. Decide what is important to you
Before the wedding, sit down with your partner and discuss what, and who, is important to you. An experienced documentary or reportage photographer will, by default, capture everything and anything that is related to your wedding in a way that doesn’t interfere with your day. Photographers who focus on more stylistic photographs may require more time with you, as a couple, to achieve the look they are after.
Whatever their style, a responsible photographer will listen and do their utmost to focus on the things, or people, you have communicated are important to you. The more you share with your photographer the greater the chances your expectations will be exceeded.
3. Schedule enough time for formal photographs
Group or formal photographs can, by nature, eat up a lot of time and can be a common reason weddings don’t run to schedule. If you’re planning on having them, we would suggest allocating 30 minutes for every 10 formal photographs. Although it takes just a few seconds to take each picture, it will take far longer to organise your guests.
You may also want to schedule in 30 minutes for photographs of the both of you together. Photographers who focus more on contemporary-staged photographs will no doubt need longer than this.
4. Consider the time of day
Depending on what time of year you’re getting married, lighting will play a crucial role in the type and variety of your wedding photographs. If you’re having a winter wedding then the natural light will disappear from mid-afternoon. If you are then having an afternoon ceremony you won’t have much time at all for outside photographs. Whilst a photographer can do the formal photographs inside, they will be limited compared to using any natural light available. The best light is the ‘golden hour’ (the hour before sunset). It may be that you can utilise this time for some additional photographs of the two of you before the evening party starts.
5. Consider a first look
A ‘first look’ is growing in popularity in the UK but is commonplace in the US. This is when a couple see each other for the first time on their wedding day prior to when they traditionally would at the ceremony. This moment is typically captured on camera as it makes for some sentimental and intimate photographs. It also has the added benefit of freeing up more time after the ceremony, allowing you to enjoy your reception with your guests.
6. Trust Your Photographer
You’ve chosen your photographer for a reason, so trust their expertise and vision. While it’s important to communicate your desires and preferences, avoid trying to influence every shot and resist the temptation to constantly look at the camera. Instead, relax and focus on enjoying your day and let your photographer do what they do best, which is capturing the beauty and emotion of your wedding.
The best wedding photographs are those that capture the genuine emotions of the couple and their guests. So don’t worry about striking the perfect pose or looking flawless in every shot. Your photographer will be able to capture the most authentic and beautiful moments when you’re simply yourself.
Getting the best out of your wedding photography requires a combination of careful planning, open communication and trust with your photographer. This will allow you to relax and enjoy your special day whilst giving you the best chance of receiving the wonderful photographs you have always imagined.
Meachen & Shorey Photography are Cambridgeshire wedding photographers who offer natural and documentary-style wedding photography. Please feel free to get in contact if you would like to learn more about what we offer.