Before Your Wedding

You've booked! Hurrah! This is so. flipping. exciting. 

During the planning process it's really important to me to get to know my couples. I often find that guests on the day assume that I'm a friend of the couple and I always take it as a wonderful compliment. Meeting isn't always possible, but if you're able to come to me on a weekday then I'd love to see you face to face, and I can even bring my camera along - contact me for pricing for an engagement shoot. If we can't meet in person don't worry - we can chat on the phone or Skype to put you at ease. 

I'd love to know what you're excited about for your day and how the plans are coming together. If you have photos of bits and pieces coming together, your favourite thing about your venue, details you love then send them over to me! Some couples send over spare invites for me to see which I absolutely love - I have quite a collection now.

Two weeks before your wedding your balance is due, which can be paid by bank transfer. Just pop me an email if you need a reminder about how much that is or how to pay. Around this time I will also send you a final detail form, which includes a run down of timings on the day, locations, a list of suppliers, your list of group shots and a few other bits and pieces. So, don't worry if any of the details on your booking form change over time. 



Pre-Ceremony Photos


I absolutely LOVE photographing the getting ready stage! It's so charged with emotion. You can never quite anticipate how that part will feel when you're in the moment... nerves, excitement, an eerie sense of calm... It's when your wedding day properly starts so surround yourself with awesome people, soak it up, remember to eat something, crack open a bottle and make an awesome playlist.

So how do I approach capturing it all?

Well first off, unless you've booked photography/video highlights which includes a second photographer or you're getting ready in the same location it's not possible for me to cover prep for both of you.  So you'll either need to decide if you'd like to add a second photographer (£250) or pick one place for me to shoot at that point.

Timing is key at this point in the day... having shot over 150 weddings I've learnt that if you're not careful, even with the most lovingly crafted timeline in the world... getting ready can run over and easily run late. Usually I suggest that I arrive two hours before you plan to leave for the ceremony to give plenty of time to capture things happening without you suddenly feeling like the paparazzi have descended.

 I recommend being dressed and ready at least half an hour before you plan to leave for the ceremony. You'd be surprised how little things like having to pack a bag for the day, waiting for others to get dressed, a quick touch up, lacing a dress, attaching buttonholes or tying a bowtie can snowball. Not only does this mean that you have plenty of time for those last minute things, but it means that I have time to get to the ceremony ahead of you to capture the action there that you otherwise wouldn't get to see. Then, should something crop up that puts timings askew we have that extra time. 

If you're getting ready in a hotel, try to make sure that there's enough space for everyone in your room. I have been known to have to do a ninja roll over a bed when there's no space to move round the room otherwise. I'd also recommend looking for somewhere with plenty of natural light because window light is just dreamy and one of my favourite kinds of light to shoot. It's also the best light to apply make up in, if that's something you're going to be doing so: win/win. 

If you're getting ready at home: awesome. I love photographing people in their own space, surrounded by their things, favourite photos hanging on the walls. Don't stress about it being perfect... in years to come you'll love to remember what your home looked like at such an exciting time in your life. 

If you want me to shoot specific details such as rings, outfits, accessories please get these ready to show me when I arrive. These kinds of shots can be great for setting the scene but detail shots are never my priority because my focus is on documenting the action. So, I'm not going to spend a long time meticulously arranging dresses or shoes because I could end up missing some brilliant moments.

I don't tend to do much posing during this point of the day, partly because timings can prevent it and also because with so many nerves flying around it's much easier to get relaxed posed group shots later on in the day. I tend to keep any direction during getting ready to a minimum, sometimes suggesting a good spot in gorgeous light to stand in to get dressed, or grabbing a quick portrait. 

The Ceremony


Most of the time my preference during the ceremony is to shoot from the front, if I can do so without being a distraction. I may move around a little but again, I will always try to make sure that your ceremony isn't interrupted. 

Some officiants have very strict rules about photography and I have, in the past, been told that I cannot photograph at all during the ceremony. It's best to ask ahead of time if there's a policy that we should be aware of to avoid disappointment. In some cases it's not possible to know ahead of time who your registrar/celebrant/vicar is going to be before the day, and each one may have their own particular rules. I will always endeavour to capture the ceremony as best I can but there's not much I can do if I'm given strict rules to follow. 

These days every guest has a camera in their pocket. For the most part, guests taking photos isn't an issue but occasionally I have experienced obstructive behaviour such as guests standing in the aisle, shooting over my shoulder... even a selfie stick blocking key moments.

It's by no means compulsory but lots of my couples recently have chosen to opt for an unplugged wedding ceremony, asking for guests to be in the moment during that part of the day and save taking photos for later. It means I'm able to shoot without the dreaded selfie-stick situation. Here's some text that one of my couples chose to include in their order of service! 

Our ceremony will be short and sweet, and we have a photographer who will be capturing it. We love you all very much and we cannot wait for the moment we turn around, as husband and wife, to see all your smiling faces for the first time! So please, no photos during the ceremony!

It works really well and means that I'm more likely to be able to get better reaction shots of your guests, present and in the moment. 



I cannot emphasise this enough - you cannot have too much confetti

If you'd like some fun confetti shots make sure you have lots ready to give to your guests. You can even get some really awesome confetti cannons for extra POW. I've seen everything from pom-poms to popcorn, petals to rainbow tissue paper.

Get plenty, get some people to help give it out, enjoy the madness.

Group Photos

Let's talk about group photos!  I always try to make this process as stress-free as possible but with the best will in the world... it can be a bit like herding cats. It's really important to keep your list of photos short and sweet because the more time we spend doing group shots, the less time you have to spend with your guests and the fewer natural shots I will be able to take. I'm guessing you're looking forward to actually getting to enjoy your wedding, taste the canapés, hug those people... so how do we make more of that happen?

My top tips for group photos:

  • Make a list of up to 8 group shots. This is usually enough to allow for a few different family combinations, a shot of everyone, friends and wedding party, without it becoming too much.
  • Trust me to find a space that works for the shots. If we're outdoors on a bright sunny day I will try to find an open, shady spot. Don't worry if the weather seems a little disheartening... so much of wedding photography is problem solving and I love a challenge.
  • Have at least two people on hand as your designated photo helpers. Pick people who know names and faces, arm them with the list and then while we get one group shot they can be gathering the next.
  • Relax! This bit doesn't have to be all fixed grins and eyes front... I'll also shoot the moments before and after the photo, when people are chatting and giggling... sometimes that can lead to some really natural moments in amongst the posed bits.

Couple Portraits


I absolutely love shooting couple portraits... but I don't want to whisk you away from your wedding for ages. I want to get some relaxed, creative shots but I also don't want you to feel like you've not had the chance to chat to your guests. So, I will try my best to find the right time in your day's schedule when we can take a little break, you guys can just focus on each other and we can make some beautiful portraits in the process.

Lots of my couples prefer to take a couple of breaks for portraits... Sometimes the right opportunity or some beautiful light is just too good to miss so I may grab you both to get some extra shots at a couple of different points in the day. Trust me and be spontaneous!

If there's a special place that you'd like to go for photos close to your venue then I'm more than happy for us to go on a mini adventure to find some awesome backdrops, but you'll want to allow some extra time for this. We can even do this before your ceremony if you'd like to have a first look earlier in the day. 

The Most Important Photos


Just in case you haven't got the memo so far: I am all about natural storytelling shots. It's great to make sure you have some portraits and groups but there's just something awesome about shots of the people you love in the moment.

Most of the photos I take are unposed. I love to get in amongst the action, capturing the big moments, little looks, hands, belly laughs, speeches, tears and everything in-between.

There's not much I can give you in terms of advice for these photos. Just trust me to do my thing and find those moments. Hug your friends. Forget about your hang-ups. Have the very best of times.  

Food, Drink and Breaks

Wedding photography is a very physical job, as well as taking a great deal of focus and concentration, so it's really important to have a chance to take a break. In my experience the best time to take a break is during the meal as that's when you're least likely to want to have your photo taken. 

As I'm already loaded up with heavy bags and have often been on the go for several hours by the time this opportunity for a break comes along, it's simply not always possible for me to bring food to a wedding (some venues have policies against it too) so I ask that you provide me with at least one meal during a full day booking. It might be what you're eating, could be something from the bar, sandwich and chips... just something to help me refuel and be at my best for the rest of your day. If a meal cannot be provided I may need to go off-site to find an alternative. 

Some couples choose to seat me with guests, which has the advantage that I will be in the room and on hand to photograph in-between courses or during dinner if anything happens. If you'd prefer me to eat separately that's no problem at all and I'll happily use the break to review images... but check with your caterer or venue that they can provide a meal while guests are eating so you don't miss out on shots once people are back to chatting and mingling.