How NOT to have your wedding photos taken

I recently went on a 4 day Photography Workshop ( you can read all about it here ).I learnt many things on those few days - and it got me to thinking about you. So you're engaged!


And now it all begins. All the planning for one of the best days of your life!

One of the things you'll be thinking about - I hope - is your photos. It occurred to me, while I was away, that actually, you have probably never had your photo professionally taken before! It's simple enough to realise, but I think because I'm so immersed in my work, and constantly photographing my life and family, it doesn't always register that you might not have someone with a camera (and I'm not talking phone cameras) in your face all the time.

So of course  - this could be a really daunting thing for you. Duh!

Just as I get nervous every time I start with a brand new couple or family, YOU'RE going to be just as nervous being on the other side of the camera and probably don't really know what to expect or how to go about it.

Well I'm here to tell you... THAT'S OK!

And now I'm going to help you. (no strings attached - promise!) Here's a few pointers on how NOT to have your Wedding Photos taken.

** Don't Rush ** I wish I had put a lot more time into choosing my wedding photographer.  Granted it was all bit of a rush anyway (3 months to organise - no seedy story, just the way it was!), but if I had my time again, I really would have had a good look around.  The first thing I would look at is style - whether they're documentary style (or what I like to call Ninja style - catching the moments as they happen) or 'styled' style (where it feels just a little bit staged).   I would say I'm mostly ninja style with just the right amount of 'direction' to get those kick-arse portraits to make you look the best you possibly can.

The next thing I would do is speak with a few different photographers.  We're going to be with you for the WHOLE day (generally) and if your photographer ends up being bit of a knob, that is surely going to put a dampner on your day.  It's definitely worth having some email banter and possibly go 'old skool' and have an actual telephone conversation (or skype or facetime!) - to get a real feel for your potential photographer and whether you think there's a connection or not.  The thing I've loved about all the weddings I've shot so far, is that I've become part of the family for the day - either that or guests have thought I was a family friend.  There is no greater compliment than that.

** Don't be afraid of how much you spend on your Wedding Photography ** If you've never commissioned a professional photographer before, when you start looking at prices, you may get a surprise.  Good Wedding Photography is not cheap.  And it would be fair if you instantly cynically believed it was just another 'wedding' related bumped up price - but actually it's really not.  Let me explain. What you see is..... - a photographer turns up on the day for about 8-10 hours - you get your images 4-8 weeks later

What you don't see is .... - the $10,000 - $20,000 worth of invoices paid for the photography equipment used that day - the endless hours spent editing each image for you so that it's not just a photo, but a little piece of historical art that you can put on your wall - the extra time spent at the venue - turning up early to make sure no one is panicking and the extra time at the end of the evening to get that last group shot with Uncle Ted and his 4 brothers that he hasn't seen in the last 5 years - the actual time spent getting to and leaving the venue - the $$'s spent on courses to invest in our skills and our business so that we can provide you with the best service possible - another load of $$'s spent on storage and backing up so that your memories are properly protected.

You get the picture! (no pun intended! ;) )

Any photographer who values their work, will price accordingly.  They have invested in themselves and their business (not hobby!)  - so that you get the best images possible from the best day of your life.

** Don't be afraid of your guests ** By this stage, you have now chosen an awesome photographer, who you were drawn to because of their passion for their work and the beauty in their images.  So now it's time to deal with your guests and to manage their expectations! Wait?  What?? It's not too scary - but here it is... You're going to be paying a fair wad of cash on your photography, so why would you want a whole lot of images of all your guests trying to beat each other to posting the first pics of you walking down the aisle together?? Solution -> UNPLUGGED WEDDING Ask your guests to put their phones/pocket cameras/amateur slr's AWAY. At least for the ceremony! Ask them to be REALLY present - so you can see their emotions and their joy in sharing your big day with you, not just their devices in front of their faces. a) that's why you're paying your photographer the big bucks - to be the photographer - you're not paying your guests! b) I have seen way too many ceremony photos cursed by the phone brigade (ie photos where basically you might get a glimpse of the couple through a sea of phones and cameras)

** Don't get hung up on what you think you HAVE to do ** One of the most important things to a photographer - other than the people - is the light!  So don't be afraid to take advice from your photographer in terms of timings.  They will have done this (the whole wedding thing) a LOT - and will be able to advise on the best timings to make the most of the light - which ultimately means you will get the best photos you possibly can. Here's a thought ... ... there is NO CERTAIN way you have to get married. Obviously there are a few legalities - but other than that, you can chose the how, the where &  the when.  And if your photos are that important to you, it's worth putting some thought into these things to make sure you get the most out them.

** Don't be afraid to feel a bit uncomfortable ** I hate having my photo taken too.  You are not alone - if the idea of someone hanging around with a camera all day is slightly terrifying.  Just go with it.  You will be caught up in everything else that is happening on that day, and for the most part you won't even notice me there.  There may be certain points where you're looking particularly gorgeous in some particularly 'to die for' light and I'll shout 'ooh - stop'  - it will be for a split second and once I'm done, you won't even remember it.  But it will be worth it. 'Outside of the comfort zone, is where the magic happens'

This all may sound a bit self indulgent, but ultimately I just really want you to have some creative and beautiful photographs of one of the most important days in your life. Because, let's face it - the cake will be eaten, the confetti will be swept away, the booze will be consumed and the dress will hang on a hanger - possibly never worn again. But your photos.....  your photos will last forever - and in doing so making your wedding day itself immortal.

And just to show that I practice what I preach - I made myself set up the tripod, set the timer and make a fool of myself for you all to see it's ok to be a bit uncomfortable! (and please is there someone out there who can teach me to pout without looking like a cat's arse??!)