We’re excited to have a guest blog written by the amazing Warwickshire photographer Jennifer Peel. She is giving us all the details on what a wedding photographer wants from you and what big moments to look out for, so you can get the most out of your photographer.
Find a photographer whose work you love – not just like! Browse portfolios and ask to see full galleries. Us photographers are humans too, not just service providers and it’s easy to get to know us by checking out our websites and stalking us on social media. Chat through your plans for the day over a coffee and find out if they’re a good fit for you. You’ll spend a lot of time with them on the day so it’s super important you get on with them. There’s nothing worse than a loud, overbearing photographer clashing with the laid-back wedding atmosphere you’ve planned!
Think about the space you will be getting ready in – preparations are often busy and before you know it there’s clothes everywhere and half eaten croissants cluttering the space. Choose somewhere spacious filled with natural light – some of the best rooms I’ve photographed have been in gorgeous Air BnB homes that cost a fraction of a hotel.
Get ready near a big window and delegate a bridesmaid to clear the room before you put on your dress – unless discarded underwear and breakfast plates in the background are your thing! The night before, unwrap your dress and hang it ready with the tags removed. Make sure any other items you’d like photographed are gathered together to save your photographer hunting around for them.
As your photographer hears the words “I now declare you husband and wife”, they will be poised and ready, as they know the kiss is coming! Give them half a chance and have a lingering smooch rather a quick peck, as you won’t get another first kiss moment as a married couple!
I love confetti – the more the better! These days guests can’t be trusted to bring it along so if you want a cracking confetti shot, it’s best to supply it yourselves. Look after the planet and choose something biodegradable – big colourful dried petals look great! Enjoy the moment and don’t just stand there – have a kiss, punch the air with your bouquet and take it all in as your guests pelt you…just try not to swallow any!
The drinks reception is my favourite part of the day. As you sip fizz and mingle with your guests, there’s always lots to capture, so I recommend allowing as much time as possible – at least 1.5 hrs but preferably two. This may sound like a lot but it will allow you to get the family photos, couple portraits, details of your cake and table setups, as well as natural candid shots of your guests when they are relaxed. The time will fly and provided you keep your guests fed and watered, they’ll be happy!
I could write so much on how to make these easy but in a nutshell, have a list prepared in advance and delegate someone (who knows the family) to round everyone up. Think about the groups you actually want and try to avoid endless combinations to appease other people. Make your photographer aware of any family issues to prevent any embarrassment on the day (there’s no judgement here – we’ve seen and heard it all!)
I often see articles encouraging brides to give their photographer a shot list with items such as ‘bride hugging father’, ‘flower girl trying on bride’s shoes’ or ‘mother of bride wiping away a happy tear’, but please, don’t give your photographer a list other than your group photos. Trust me – you don’t want them looking down at a list all day and missing the honest and natural moments of your wedding because they are focused on recreating someone else’s Pinterest wedding. You hired them for a reason and have seen their previous work, so trust in them to deliver.
Spare a thought for those giving speeches and consider doing them before dinner. Everyone can enjoy their meal without the pressure of an impending speech and the other advantage is that your beautifully dressed tables will still look picture perfect – win win!
The dress is an important part of wedding planning and you may have spent months hunting down ‘the one’. It’s probably set you back a small fortune too but here’s the thing – you’ll only wear it once and the likelihood is that it’s probably going to get a little dirty. If you can accept this and be realistic about the end result you’ll be rewarded with stunning photos. Don’t skip the best locations because of a little dirt (don’t worry we’re not going to be dragging you through muddy puddles!)
Sometimes the best photo locations are off the beaten path. If you’re not fazed by hopping a fence or running through grassy fields in the name of getting some cracking shots, you’ll probably want to consider bringing a few things to make it easier. You don’t want those fancy wedding heels sinking in the mud – a spare pair of flats, wellies or even some heel stoppers will prevent them getting ruined. A jacket or throw that you can wrap around yourself between photos is also useful in the winter. None of these are glamorous but who will ever know?
One of the biggest things that will impact your photography is natural light. If you’re passionate about having great photos, plan your day to give your photographer as much daylight as possible. Consider your ceremony time – particularly if you are having a winter wedding – and want to have photos outside. Ask your photographer for advice if you’re unsure. I love it when couples get in touch to discuss locations and timings for the best light, as it shows they are really invested in getting the most out of hiring me.
For outdoor ceremonies, avoid the high midday sun as it will cast harsh, unflattering shadows. Instead choose an afternoon ceremony. I will always suggest stealing the couple away at sunset for some portraits – us photographers go nuts for that beautiful, golden light and you will too when you see the results it produces!
Keep us in the loop about any special details. If you have your late dad’s wedding ring tied in your dress or you’re wearing your grandma’s pearl necklace, we want to know about it. Same goes for any surprises you’re planning – we want to be ready and in position for when it happens!
Talk about stating the obvious! The day goes so fast (how many times have you heard that already?!) so try not to stress if something doesn’t go as planned. This is the culmination of months of planning, so take it all in and be as carefree as possible.
Enjoy it, because your photos depend on it! Nothing makes me happier than capturing beaming smiles that give you face ache, belly laughs that make your sides hurt and hugs so tight you can barely breathe. Once the vows have been said, the cake has been scoffed and the dancing is done, all you’ll be left with is your wedding album – sure you’ll have your rings and your dress boxed up in the loft but neither of those can recreate your wedding over and over for generations to come.
This blog post was written by Jennifer Peel, a photographer based in Leamington Spa who specialises in wedding photography that is carefree, colourful and fun. The beautiful photos are property of Jennifer Peel Photography. You can see more of her work and find out about the way she works on her website here.