There is so much to think about when planning a wedding. So many different elements which need to come together to make your day the best that it can be.
Choosing a photographer/ photographers to capture your day really is no mean feat.
You begin by asking friends for recommendations, searching local photographers, attending wedding fairs, chatting to photographers, meeting with photographers, looking through examples of wedding photography, wondering if you will find 'the one' or 'the ones'
So, once you have booked your photographer and paid your deposit, you can actually heave a sigh of relief, for you have found someone who you entrust to capture your day just as you envisage.
But, rather than leave it all to the photographer at this point, it is certainly well worth considering how you will best use your investment on the day. How can you make the most effective use of your photographer's time in order to achieve the images that you desire? How much time will you have for creating photographs? There is usually a chunk of afternoon between the end of the ceremony and the start of the wedding breakfast- but if you have to travel between venues, this will erode that time.
Many couples express a preference for a candid style of photography; we have also heard it referred to as 'unposed', 'relaxed', 'fun'. This can certainly be achieved, as the photographer is allowed the freedom to mingle in amongst the wedding party, and capture those moments of fleeting emotion- where people do not realise that there is a camera pointing in their direction, and are free to behave naturally.
This style is great for those who don't like posing in front of the camera. However, in order to get the very best results from your photographer, it is worth setting some time aside to create some beautiful shots
You may have 90minutes for the drinks reception- how do you want to
spend that time? Think about where your photographer's time will be best spent.
Which kind of images would you like them to create? What time will they need in
order to create the photographs you desire? Sunset photographs are truly
stunning- can you budget some time after the wedding breakfast for the two of
you to have some additional images to treasure?
Images like this one may initially look to be candid. But if we go by the dictionary definition: taken informally, especially without the subject’s knowledge, this photograph does not correlate.
This was actually taken with the full knowledge of the subjects- during a portion of the day allocated to 'couple shots'- a time when the couple will go with the photographer and explore the grounds/ the interesting features and nooks of the building, and have some lifelong memories captured.
Steve refers to this style as 'relaxed posed'. The couples you see are genuinely happy, genuinely 'in the moment', and totally relaxed and enjoying their day. It just so happens that they have stepped away from the hustle and bustle of the day to take a few moments together, and the man/lady with the camera is on hand to encourage the best from that moment.
There are many, many examples of great wedding photography- on sites such as Pinterest there are whole sections devoted to weddings. Take a closer look at some of the photographs that you like- and consider how the photograph was taken- how much time was needed, was the photograph staged with props/ at a particular time of day or night? This will help you to reflect upon how time will be best spent on the day itself.
There is also the question of group shots. Group shots take time to arrange, so it is certainly worth considering beforehand which group shots will be essential to your wedding 'album'. Group shots are the opposite of candid photographs, and require arrangement and planning (even for the 'fun' looking shots).
We usually advise couples to budget a minimum of approximately 4 minutes of time per group shot (with an additional 10-15minutes for the large group of everyone together, and if you want a special shape or arrangement, up to 30minutes), so it is easy to see how time mounts up and how a long group list can be quite consuming of the day.
If do you have a sizeable list of groups (more than 5-8) it may be worth editing your list to exclude bride and groom from some of those shots and then allocate the remainder of the list to one of your photographers whilst the other photographer takes over the couple shots. This will mean that you will have a record of those people present, and also time for the two of you to have photographs together.
Remember, group shots do require posing (even the fun ones) so if you really don't like posing, and don't wish to devote a lot of time to arranging photographs on the day, then keep your groups list short (or even be radical and do away with it altogether). This will then free up your photographer/s to take those candid, relaxed and fleeting shots that you would love to see in your wedding album.
Ultimately, it is your day and it must be documented in the way that you wish it to be, so be guided by your own vision. But also be aware that time on a wedding day has a habit of passing very quickly, so you want to be able to enjoy your day as well...... and on that note, we always recommend that a couple brings a bottle of bubbly, or something chilled with them for the couple shots, as you should enjoy every moment of your day- especially the photographs.
Antonia & Steve live in Somerset and have over 20 years' photography experience between them.