Your time with me from start to finish
Before the Day
Firstly, I’d like to commend you for seriously considering hiring a professional to create your wedding photography. I’ve heard one of the biggest regrets married couples have looking back on their wedding day is if they didn’t hire a skilled wedding photographer to photograph their day. A member of the family who’s an enthusiastic amateur can get lucky, but really only an accomplished professional can be counted on to beautifully capture memories you’ll want to look back on and share over a lifetime.
After deciding that I am one of those photographers you’ve chosen to shortlist, the next stage is the initial consultation, which is free of charge and lasts for up to an hour. Here is where you get a chance to meet me in person and see if you feel comfortable with me and see if we have a rapport. This meeting is also where you can see examples of my work in sample wedding books, where we can discuss your plans for the day, if there are plans for a colour scheme, for example, and other details that might affect the photography. One of the fun things for me about this initial meeting is getting to hear couples’ stories of how they met and how and where the proposal was made. I would then invite you to spend some time to think about whom amongst your shortlist you’d like to hire. It’s important that you choose the right photographer for you.
Assuming that you decide to go with me, the next stage might be an engagement shoot. This is a good opportunity for us to get to know each other a little more, for me to see how you interact with each other, and with me, in a photographic session and for you to get to know and feel comfortable with the photographic process. I fully appreciate that engaged couples are not (usually) professional models and don’t understand how to “be” in front of a professional’s camera. So it’s my job to put you at ease and to provide a framework through suggestions within which you can express yourselves and reveal your true personalities. The engagement shoot might be at the place where the proposal was made or it might be a favourite place that the two of you like to escape to. Or anywhere of your choosing.
After this point, I will check in with you a couple of weeks before the wedding via phone or skype to see that everything is on course, get details about the timeline of the wedding day and give you a chance to ask me any questions you may still have. With regards to payment, once you have decided to go with me as your photographer, I will have asked you to sign a contract and will have taken a £150 non-refundable deposit. You have up until two weeks out from the wedding to pay the remaining amount (though if needs must you can pay me in cash on the day).
One week out I will to do a recce of the wedding venue. The reason for this time frame is I want the light to be as close to how it will be on the day as I can get it. The recce gives me a chance to plan shots and gives me a more detailed idea of how the day will unfold and to anticipate moments. I can also plan in detail how I will do the more formal portrait and group shots.
On the Day
The start of photographing the day itself may be the bride-to-be getting ready, whether at the venue or her home, and obviously in a state of undress that she’s comfortable with. Depending on whether a second photographer has been hired or not will depend on whether the groom’s getting ready is photographed. From this point on, the bride is the north star that I follow throughout the day. I may take diversions here and there as necessary, but I always come back to her. I will be photographing constantly, though judiciously (not machine-gunning!), a discreet presence capturing the ebb and flow of the day with all its highlights. From experience I know where best to position myself for all the key moments, particularly during the ceremony. Post ceremony, the bride and groom mingle and chat with guests at the drinks reception and after 20 minutes or so I’ll draw you aside for some more formal portrait shots at pre-planned spots around the venue and then it’s on to the group shots. For these, I will have asked you to nominate a member of the wedding party, usually the best man, to organise the groups for me with the help of a group list that you will have prepared before hand. Having a known family member as “go between” between me and the guests has worked very well in the past.
The cutting of the cake usually happens before the Wedding Breakfast and is one of those moments that can’t be done again if there is mistake in the photography. Well, it can, but it will look rather obviously staged. Then come the speeches, which actually never fail to impress me, with the depth of emotion that is frequently expressed and with also the humour. It’s a great time to capture family dynamics and get great reaction shots from the bride and groom and main family members. The next main event is the first dance, a fun and romantic moment, and from a photography perspective, one I would imagine that would pose a lot of problems to an amateur photographer not familiar with how to shoot in such a way as to capture the feel and atmosphere of dance. Frequently the dance happens under subdued lighting or disco lights and I can imagine an amateur could easily ruin it all with direct flash.
Shortly after this is where I’ll take my leave. Alcohol can exert more of an influence over proceedings from here on and I appreciate you’ll most likely not want this documented…
After the Day
Post-production of the photography typically lasts about a week. The work done on each individual picture really depends a lot on the image. A shot taken at the drinks reception will probably not receive as much attention as one done during the portrait shoot, though all pictures are tweaked somewhat to bring them to their optimum. I try to get shots as good as possible in camera, but the processing I apply afterwards will certainly contribute to giving my pictures their own look and style. The pictures are then uploaded to your own password protected on line picture gallery and you will be supplied with your own iOS or Android app that will allow you to view galleries, download images, share images and order prints with ease 24/7. Your images will be supplied to you on a USB stick in two formats – high resolution for printing and low resolution for sharing on social media. You may have chosen to have a wedding album as part of your package – though just to emphasise, an album can be ordered at any time – and this will be designed by me. I’ll share PDF drafts with you for approval via email until we arrive at a design you’re happy with. Then the designs go off to Graphistudio in Italy for printing and typically the design, printing and delivery of an album takes about 2 months. However you choose to have your photographs displayed, after wrapping up your time with me it is my intention that you’ll have fantastic images of your wedding day that you will always treasure.