One of the biggest concerns which I first hear from my couples before working with them is their overall dislike of being in-front of the camera. I find it difficult to be in-front of the camera too!
Very often I receive notes from my couples starting with:
“We are not models! We will look strange in these photos, won’t we?”
It’s not surprising that fears such as the above cross the minds of couples who associate a wedding photo shoot sessions with classic stiff poses, fake smiles and final images which somehow lack energy, personality and the visible love which joined the couple in the first place.
My goal is to always create a comfortable, casual and fun atmosphere because I understand that a great image is much more than a technically well constructed perfect picture.
However, to create these natural looking images I need to work together with my couples to be 100% prepared and ready to capture the spirit of the people and not a perfectly executed posse.
Below are 10 tips for couples to help me create organic images, both before and during your day, which you will cherish forever.
COMPLETE PHOTOGRAPHY SCHEDULE.
About a month before the wedding I meet with my couples to fully discuss their big day and to create a wedding photography schedule. It’s important that the schedule is complete and that any new or seemingly unimportant events of the day are communicated with me during this meeting or as they are added to your agenda. If a pickup-truck will whisk you away to the reception after a country ceremony on a farm, please let me know! This helps as plan ahead and be fully ready for your day so that I can focus on all the great moments and not on timelines. You can check out are entire workflow HERE.
ORGANIZED FAMILY PHOTO LIST.
A family photo session is much easier if all of the individual groups are thought about in advance. Working with couples I always create such a detailed list and ask for the help of two “wranglers”, usually one from each side of the family, who can help me find the family members during the photo session. Being well organized during such a session means that I can allocate more time to your bride and groom or bridal party images. This additional time means less stress for all and will no doubt translate into great photos. You can find out more about how to create a great family photo list HERE.
LIGHT DURING DANCING.
Knowing how much or how little light you plan to have at your venue during the dancing / party portion of your reception will help me better prepare my approach and equipment. Darkness together with a green strobe or laser light as an only light source will not produce flattering results for you and your guests. Similarly too much light may wash out the dance floor making it difficult to translate the party atmosphere into great images. Having a conversation with me about this lighting is a great idea which can help capture amazing dancing images.
ANY SPECIAL EFFECTS DURING THE FIRST DANCE?
Knowing in advance of any special effects and lighting setup used during your first dance is also beneficial. I have recently seen some couples use smoke machines during their first dance. The smoke changes my approach, lighting and camera settings considerably. Please let me know in advance if you are thinking of using any such special effects during your first dance.
CLEAN THE GETTING READY AREA.
Le’ts face it. The time immediately before your ceremony is always a busy one. General mess and clutter is quickly created when you and your bridal party are getting ready. Some of this is simply inevitable and a part of the day. However, having too much clutter and a messy getting ready area, means that too many items such as bags, coats, alcohol bottles, hair dryers, makeup cases will detract from you in the images I create. Please do your best to tidy the getting areas by placing much of the clutter in one space or in one room.
UNBLOCK YOUR FACE.
Often during the reception that beautiful head table centre piece right in front of the bride and groom blocks my sightlines. I simply can’t see your face and therefore can’t capture all of those great moments and emotion during your day. Please be mindful of this possible issue when working with your florist. If in doubt give me a shout! I’m happy to discuss.
WEDDING SUNSET SESSION.
The golden time right before the full sunset is one of the most magical backdrops for a quick bride and groom sunset session. Such “Sunset Sessions” usually last about 10 minutes. Although these days I can easily predict the sunset time the actual best light / timing will very slightly based on the location of your venue and any tree, mountain, cityscape or cloud cover. I ask couples to be open to such a quick impromptu session during their reception. The images you will receive from such a wedding sunset session will be stunning and much different in the mood from anything I shoot before during your photo sessions when the light was different.
BE PRESENT ON THE DAY.
It’s not how perfectly you pose that I will capture through my lenses but the relationship and emotions which shine through when you are truly present in the moment with your partner.
So how can you be more present on your big day?
Do your best to leave any daily stress and issues behind. Write down any to-dos before your day so that they are out of your mind. This is your time to be and celebrate with the one you love.
The camera is a remarkable mirror which records your reflected presence, focus and the connection between people. If your focus is on things outside of the people around you, issues or problems which you may need to deal with later, the camera will pick this up. The final images won’t have the vibrancy or depth which your relationship is based on.
Finally being present allows you to trust the entire process.
TRUST YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER.
During your photos sessions I may ask you to do things which at first seem a little odd. Examples include; standing in the middle of tall grass, kissing with your teeth or turning towards each other and on the count of three together saying the place where you first met. Although these prompts may seem strange at first their purpose is to either help create a natural connection between you. I ask you to trust me and go with the flow of these prompts as the images created will not be strange at all. I promise! They will look much more natural than you may have first envisioned. As the session progresses these prompts will become more familiar and in a way more comforting as you get used to my way of working. All of the images you see on this site were created using this workflow. If you like these images, I ask for your trust.
Instead of posing you and your bridal party I will provide direction. If you let go, are present and simply follow this direction, I have no doubt that as so many couples before you, you will not only have a great experience together but also receive great natural, candid images to cherish for a lifetime.
During the hassle and bustle of the wedding day remember that this is your day to spend with your chosen partner and your loved ones. Enjoy it! In all the years I have photographed, no wedding was a true “disaster”. It all manages to fall into place in the end. Any small mishaps are instantly forgiven by your loving family and friends. Remember that your loved ones are there to support you. They really don’t care if the DJ starts your first dance song 5 seconds late. It’s your special day which flies by so quickly. Have fun and enjoy it fully!
I hope that the above 10 tips help you see that together we can not only plan ahead but create an atmosphere which will help me capture all of those great feelings and emotions which you will cherish forever.
I certainly can’t wait to spend those everlasting moments with you. It’s what makes my photography work such a pleasure!