My Approach to Your Wedding Day
It’s not easy choosing your perfect photographer. That one person who'll capture your wedding in the way you want to remember it.
Every experienced photographer will document the big moments, but is that really your unique story? For me, that's just a tiny part of it. It's all the little moments, that sideways glance, the interactions between you and your guests. I want you to look at your photographs and remember the raw emotion of how you felt, not just how it all looked.
The photograher you choose will also in themselves be an important memory of your day. How they mingled with your guests, how they made you feel. I want you to just be you so I can capture real memories of genuine, unposed moments. That can only happen if you feel comfortable and relaxed with a photographer you trust.
It's just as important to me that we're a great fit for each other. I take on around 20 weddings each year and am completely invested in your day. I’m a people watcher with a passion for telling stories of human connection. Endless posing and directing? Not so much.
To help you decide whether I could be the right photographer for you, I’ve put together this little 12 point summary of how I would go about telling your own authentic story, as it unfolds on your wedding day.
To start, here's a little video of me in action, captured at an beautiful intimate wedding in 2020 at Two Woods Estate:
1. The pre-wedding shoot
If you've booked me for the whole day, we’ll get to know each other beforehand with a pre-wedding shoot. It’s a fun, super-chilled session, and especially helpful for couples who might feel a little nervous about being photographed.
Couples always tell me that this time we spent together really helped them feel more relaxed and confident about being photographed on their wedding day. And I love it that wedding guests often assume I'm a long-term friend of the couple.
2. The Preparations
Today's the day! Every emotion will be heightened on the morning of your wedding. It'll go by in a flash and it's such an important part of your story to remember. You'll hardly notice me as I observe and document it all from my fly-on-the-wall perspective. It's not just the nervous excitement of getting into your dress, but all those seemingly normal, insignificant moments that will later remind you how you were feeling.
Whether you’re quietly getting ready with your best friend, or in a house packed to the rafters with family, there's usually plenty of humourous stories to tell too! We’ll discuss beforehand where you want me to be (I always allow extra time for two brides!) and if you’d like a second photographer for your significant other getting ready elsewhere.
3. Before the Ceremony
Photographing guests arriving at the ceremony is a great part of your story! If you're a bride, you won't get to see first hand the expressions on your friends' faces as they arrive in the rain, or family members seeing each other for the first time in years.
You'll love viewing these often emotional moments through my photographs. So whilst I’ll never direct your day, I may gently suggest it’s time to put your dress on, so I can be sure to get to the church on time!
4. During the Ceremony
This is the heart of your story. The two of you getting married. It's so easy to lose sight of what the day is ultimately all about as the wedding planning takes hold. But if your wedding day consisted of the ceremony and nothing else, you would still have a wonderful, unique story told through the most poignant, raw and emotive photographs.
If ever proof were needed of this, it came via the wonderful weddings I was priviledged to document in Covid-impacted 2020. Those ceremonies with just 6-15 people were up there with the most emotional, raw and real wedding stories I've ever told. I didn't expect it, and neither did my couples.
Feel free to take a peek into their stories via my recent blog post: Considering a small UK Wedding? 50 Documentary wedding photos to inspire you!
5. The Cocktail Hour
Technically it’s called the Cocktail Hour, but it’s really all about the post-ceremony hugs and interactions! It’s one of the best parts of the day to candidly capture the true personalities of you and your guests. Everyone’s relaxed and laughing after the reverence of the ceremony and I love just to be in amongst it all, hiding in plain sight.
When you look at your photographs, you'll be transported right back to the the joy and elelation of those special moments. You'll see things you didn't know were happening at the time (this even happened with my 6-person weddings in 2020!) and each time you view your images, you'll find little details within the frame you missed the first time around.
My approach is definitely more akin to street photography at this point, and far removed from traditional wedding photography. I'm constantly moving around looking for creative and often humourous ways to tell your unique story through the people and surroundings.
Whist the wedding itself may follow a set formula, people are unpredictable, and documenting human behavoir is what drives me and how I'll tell your story. There’ll be plenty of time for a few family photos afterwards, but for now, just enjoy the moment and ignore the camera.
6. Group Photos
Yes, I do take them! It’s important for most couples to have a few posed photos of key family members and the bridal party. It might well be the only time you'll have family members from different generations or even from different countries all together in one place. This is part of your story too, but it doesn't have to dominate proceedings. I’ll usually enlist the help of an usher to ensure things go as efficiently as possible.
It's important to be honest with yourselves on this point. If you want every combination and permutation of your extended family and friends in group format, I’m not your photographer! There are plenty out there who will be happy to line people up for hours – for me that would mean compromising on the fun stuff (see point 5 above).
7. Couple Photos
I love this time of day! My couple photos aren't heavily posed wedding portraits in the traditional sense. I want you to look at these photos of the two of you and remember the fun we had creating them, and feeling relaxed and happy in each other's company. I certainly don't want you worrying about how long you've been away from your guests, what to do with your hands, or whether your significant other is getting bored.
When these happen will largely be determined by the time of year and the weather, but at some point you'll get to take a breather from the busy proceedings. We’ll head out into the grounds of your venue or a nearby beach or field and I'll simply tag along, offering just a little low-key direction for some natural looking photos. It'll be just like we did on your pre-wedding shoot, minus the jeans, and you won't be away from your guests for hours.
Pack umbrellas and wellies just in case, and if we’re blessed with sunshine, I definitely recommend making the most of Golden Hour – that last hour before sunset when the light is soft and flattering. We’ll talk through your timings beforehand to see when could be a good moment to slip out.
8. The Food and Speeches
I really appreciate you including me in your catering – I’m always famished by the time I sit down and it’s good to recharge my creative batteries before your evening shenanigans. Photos of guests eating aren’t generally the most attractive, but I like to stay close by, and if there’s fun things going on, I’ll be hovering with my camera.
Photographing the speeches is a wonderful opportunity to capture real emotion in its rawest form. Your reactions to the words of your nearest and dearest, whether heartfelt, humourous, poignant or cheesy (and often all of these) will say it all. Seeing the image of you dabbing at your eyes with a napkin will take you straight back to that moment and what was said. You don't need video to remember how you felt in that moment.
9. The Evening Celebrations
After the Wedding Breakfast is another great time of day for casual people-watching, camera poised. I’ll just be happily mingling with your guests and on the look out for those unmissable moments.
You might be challenging your new husband to a game of Super Mario Wii or going for a paddle with your mates on a balmy Summer evening! As day goes into night, and even more so indoors or in the Winter months, the ambient light becomes trickier to work with. I make subtle use of flash to balance the scene and make sure that people's expressions are properly lit, always retaining the atmosphere and mood of how it felt to be there.
10. The Dancefloor
If you’re having a first dance, I’ll be sure to capture it, and afterwards I’ll be joining your guests on the dancefloor! I’ll set up some off-camera flashes to add to the atmosphere and come in extra close with a wide angle lens for some great action moments.
Those fun photos of your gran strutting her stuff or your rubgy mates nailing the Macarena will trigger amazing memories of your special day, and aren't to be missed. And don’t worry if your schedule overruns – they often do, but I’m there to capture the story of your day and am always flexible on timings.
11. After the Wedding
I take time to process each individual image in my signature style. How an image is edited can dramatically alter the mood of the final photograph and is a vital part of the storytelling. Consistency of style at all times of day and in all lighting is important to ensure the story of your wedding flows well and will look great in an album.
From the images on my home page to my portfolio and wedding stories blog, you'll get a good feel for my editing style. It goes without saying that you need to choose a photographer whose style you'd love to have for your own wedding photographs.
If you choose me for your special memories, about 6 weeks after the wedding you’ll receive a gorgeous online gallery beautifully showcasing your images. You'll be able to download your digial images at high resolution and watermark free, with a licence for unlimited personal use. From the gallery you can share images with family and friends, download to social media should you wish, and order professional albums or wall art from the gallery store.
You'll also receive a wonderful and emotive slideshow, telling the story of your day to music, and perfect for viewing again (and again!) over drinks and nibbles with family and friends. My couples love their slideshow so much that I now include it even with shorter part-day wedding coverage.
To give you an idea, here’s a short-story version of one of my couple’s slideshows that you can view in just 2 minutes by clicking below:
12. Your Wedding Album
If you’ve pre-ordered an album, now's the time to make any final decisions on album syle and fabrics. And one of the most difficult tasks - which images to include! I usually suggest sending me a list of your top 20 and leaving me to choose the rest. It's way quicker, I'll make sure your album perfectly tells the story of your day and you'll be able to make any changes you'd like via a quick and easy online proofing service.
And if you haven't already ordered an album, it's not too late! You can ask me anytime for a quote. Whatever you do, don't leave your USB languishing in a drawer. Digital files are convenient and great for sharing online, but there's no comparison to seeing your gorgeous wedding photos professionally printed.
You can read a little more about ordering your wedding album by clicking here and most couples ask me to bring samples along to their pre-wedding shoot. Photos just can't do justice to the matt fine art paper or tactile covers in wood or silk.
Could I be Your Photographer?
My aim in compiling this article has been to give you a really good feel for how I work and the style of photography you can expect to receive if you choose me for your special day. Being transparent is vital to ensure the right couples find me and have the confidence to trust me with one of their most important wedding investments.
Feedback from my previous couples is also really important to me, and their testimonials are a great way for you to get a feel for me as a person and whether I'd fit into your day. In addition to the excerpts included above, there are plenty more to be found on my Client Reviews page.
I hope you now feel armed with plenty of information to help you choose, but of course, you’ll need to know if I still have your date available and whether we’re also a good fit in terms of budget. Simply click here, fill in a few quick details, and I'll check my availability and email you my current Brochure. I very much look forward to hearing from you!