By S2 Images Ltd – Warwickshire wedding photographers. Catering nationally and beyond.
As this was one of our most popular blog posts, we decided to revamp it. These tips give you advice on how to get the most out of the wedding photography for your special day!
1) Bridal preparation
We highly recommend as a bride, getting ready in a pretty room. It creates a nice atmosphere to the start of your big day. Some venues need to work on this, but many have got it just right. It is a very important time for a bride and having a lovely setting will make the experience more relaxing. Ideally, if this room can be light and airy, this adds that bit extra!
2) Lighting, lighting, lighting!
This is one of the most important tips! The more natural light the better for wedding photography! Many halls have dimmed lighting and no windows, which is fine for a short amount of time to get some atmosphere shots, but it can really limit detail when it comes to portraits. We can use flash, but it can never replicate the real beauty of natural light. Many storytelling wedding photographers prefer to work with as little flash as possible, to blend in more, and to have more of a natural image.
3) Personal touch
Always add your own personal touch to your wedding. This makes the overall day less generic and more meaningful to you and your spouse to be. Be it a bouquet with images attached of your grandparents who are unable to be at you wedding, or sending each other touching letters before seeing each other down the aisle. These finer details shine through and it means so much more when revisiting your images years down the line.
4) Time out
As you would schedule important moments during your day, like the first dance or cake cutting, organise time to yourselves as a couple after the ceremony. Time for you to let it sink in that you are now husband and wife. You can have fun and relax whilst having your pictures taken away from guests, getting a breather from the hussle and bussle of your day. These images are usually the most treasured, and also from experience we find couples enjoy these moments the most. Without any pressures of the day, or trying to please others, you get to be yourselves. These images often can make the cover shot of your photo album.
5) Get those ‘wow’ shots
We highly recommend not only putting the time aside for the couple photo shoot, but also it is a good idea to have some mutual ideas for it. We would love to discuss some ideas with you prior to your big day and come up with something unique. Often props can make these shots more interesting, even for the group shots! Props like colourful balloons, or even sparklers for the evening. Ultimately it can make it more fun. Location is key, ideally with a beautiful backdrop. We recommend using a location over a studio setup, as it can really add in the ‘wow’ factor.
If the weather is good, it’s a nice idea to go out of the wedding venue, and add a different dynamic to the images. Leaving your guests for an hour or two, often in between the ceremony and the reception, allows you to have a second entrance. This refreshes the energy of the occasion.
6) Attention to detail
If you have a tradition where you sit on a stage in a large hall, stress to the organisers that all tables and staging must be perfectly aligned. Straight lines and lining up everything, especially if there is a pattern on the floor, makes a huge impact on the images. This is something that cannot be altered in Photoshop. When a stage or seating arrangements are not in line with a pattern on the floor, it looks messy for the wide angle shots, which is something organisers should be paying attention to. Symmetry is key to powerful composition in wedding photography.
An important point to make whilst on this subjects is: Do not have really large sofas if you have the option – or if you want larger sofas, make sure to have a very wide stage. Whatever seating you have, make sure there is a good amount of backdrop beyond the seating. When we photograph the group shots on the stage, when the sofas are large, the backdrop doesn’t cover behind all of the people in the image.
And the final two points to make whilst on this topic are; when it comes to stage design, try to avoid mirrors as many people do not take into consideration reflections – often whilst taking shots of the stage, we end up in the images!
Also, try not to have curtains in front of the stage, with you being sat behind, as there will be harsh shadows from the lighting. Unless you were to have lighting within the curtained area, although we are unsure as to whether or not that would be a health and safety hazard.
7) Lose the coke bottles!
The most off putting object in an image of a beautiful banquet hall, or a breathtaking venue, are bottles on the tables. Maybe consider having some pretty jugs or waiters serving on request / offer. It makes a huge difference to the images of a sit down meal, even if it’s more of a casual event.
8) Keep the kids entertained.
There’s nothing worse than grumpy children at a wedding. Give them something fun to do. Colouring books, board games etc. We’ve even been to a wedding where they hired a clown and had them in a different room to the main event. This keeps the noise away during the precious moments and everyone’s happy, especially the kids.
9) Camera wars
If you wish to hire a videographer, we highly recommend hiring someone that the wedding photographer has worked with before. Having a videographer there can sometimes mean they get in the way of shots and it can cause conflict on the day as we are all trying to get our jobs done to the best of our ability.
It is important that we are all on the same page regarding shooting style. Some videographers insist on blasting strong lights right in a bride and grooms face, which not only changes the colour of our images, but also can make the couple more tense, not allowing you to enjoy the moment.
It is especially a challenge to work alongside other photographic companies. We are husband and wife, so work well together. Add in more photographers into the mix, and they will either miss important shots or we will. There is no need to hire an additional photographer as ‘too many cooks spoil the broth.’ Below is an amusing video illustrating our point.
10) Personality is key
We recommend hiring your wedding photographer / videographer for their personality. If you get on well with them, and of course find their work impressive, hire them. Many people go for cheap pricing by inexperienced photographers and regret it later. Out of all vendors of a wedding, you spend the most time with the wedding photographer, so you need to get on well with them!
They need to make you feel comfortable, calm and relaxed. Ultimately they need to have healthy interaction with you and genuine interest in your ideas and plans, rather than a know it all that will just go through the motions and their heart isn’t in the job.
We have often befriended couples far beyond their big day, as we were alongside them during such an important time in their lives, through the excitement, tears and of course celebrations! We genuinely get excited for every couple we work with and love how unique every story is.
The other thing to remember is, see lots of their work – a variety of wedding styles. As you need to have confidence in them. This is a very special day and needs to be captured by a team that you like, in the style that you are confident with. These images are what you look back on for a lifetime. Often companies that are cheap, are not experienced. Do you wish to trust such valuable images to inexperienced hands?
11) Go ‘unplugged’
An ‘unplugged wedding’ is where the bride and groom bans anyone taking photographs, other than the photographer. An interesting idea. Having people with mobile phones, filming or taking photographs at a wedding is fine, when it is not a crucial moment! When it is a crucial moment, where photographers need to capture facial expressions (for example during the ceremony) these special moments can be missed if a phone or even a selfie stick is in the way.
Many people are partaking in ‘unplugged weddings,’ asking their guests to just enjoy the day and not take pictures. It allows the photographer to do the job they are being paid to do, but it also allows guests to just enjoy the moment, rather than fighting to take a photo of it..
12) Limit group shots
We highly recommend only having the most important group shots photographed. One of the biggest mistakes families make at weddings is underestimating how long it takes to get the group shots done. This often ends up sacrificing the time we need to get the most important ‘wow’ couple shots. It also sacrifices the enjoyment of the day.
We often have couples, usually at traditional Asian weddings on the back-end of around 30 group shots later, looking very tired and fed-up – struggling to pay attention to having the next image taken. We would recommend having a list of the most essential group shots and giving this to a friend / family member, who can then call out the names and make sure that these images are taken in the most efficient fashion.
We also would say it would be best to get these images taken earlier on in the day, as it can be tedious for everyone if left to the end.
13) Take the pressure off
We recommend appointing someone trustworthy and organised to be a point of contact during the day. Someone who can be asked to arrange things, make announcements and ultimately someone that any guest / vendor can be turned to. It eases pressure off yourselves and also keeps things flowing well. This is quite often the best man or a family member.
S2 Images Ltd are husband and wife wedding photographers based near Warwick. We photograph weddings nationally, having covered areas such as Leicester, Warwickshire, the Cotswolds, Dorset, Leeds and London. We can even venture worldwide should you wish. We would love to know your wedding photography plans. Please get in touch via our contact page if you are interested in our services.