To view more expert advice on a different topic, please select one from the list below.
Q. What are the benefits of having a pre-wedding shoot?
A. Hannah Timm says: The vast majority of my clients say they feel nervous in front of the camera. Honestly, I think most of us rarely feel comfortable when a camera is pointed at us - myself included! After more than 15 years working as a wedding and family photographer, I have learnt some tips and tricks to help people relax. The key to good photographs is trusting your chosen photographer and feeling relaxed enough to be yourself.
I always recommend pre-wedding shoots, especially if a couple is feeling nervous about the photography. Firstly, it provides a great chance for me to hang out with them so that we can all get to know each other and have a trial run before the big day. They get to see how I work and I get to see how they naturally interact with each other which helps a lot.
Most often, we go for a walk and explore somewhere together. This can be a beach at sunset, a walk with the dogs or a special place like where they became engaged. I'm happy to recommend locations that I love, or discover a new place that is meaningful to them. This provides a relaxed time where we get to try out different things and see what suits everybody best.
I don't believe in stiff, awkward posing, but I do know the best angles and slight adjustments that will help clients look their best. Most of my couples, despite feeling initially nervous, end up enjoying this session as it's just a chance to focus on each other and have some fun.
Pre-wedding sessions are some of my favourite jobs because there aren't the time constraints of a wedding day, and I can get more creative. Some of my favourite shots have come from these sessions as I get to try out new techniques or ideas. It's great for wedding couples too because they get beautiful images to use on the wedding day or in the invites and they get to see what kind of shots I might take on the wedding day which builds their confidence
Hannah Timm, Hannah Timm Photography
Q. We're both interested in photography so how can we ensure amazing wedding photos?
A. Jennifer Jane says: Many elements go into planning a wedding, from deciding on the dress and flowers to the cake and entertainment. But top of this list, after booking the venue, should be the photographer. Your wedding day will go by in the blink of an eye and the photos will be the one permanent and lasting reminder so you'll want them to look amazing and reflect the love, joy and happiness from the day. Your chosen photographer will capture these elements but there are a few things that you can do yourselves that will help your photographer deliver those incredible images.
- If you're having getting ready photographs taken, pick a spacious room that offers plenty of natural light, turning off any overhead lights and lamps and opening any curtains or blinds. When your make-up artist and hair stylist are at work, sit facing towards the window so that your face will be lit by soft light.
- It can be easy for the room where the bridal party are getting ready to look cluttered so keep an eye on the background and every so often, have a quick tidy. You don't want empty glasses, plates or carrier bags and rubbish making an appearance in the background.
- The details are just as integral to the wedding as everything else. Many couples love to see these images weaved together as part of the story of the day in their finished album. If you'd like your dress, shoes and flowers photographed, put these together with any other details you might like captured such as perfume and jewellery. If your dress comes on a plastic hanger, replace it with an ivory padded one which will look much nicer in the shots.
- If you're planning on having confetti thrown at your wedding then let your photographer know in advance. They can arrange your guests quickly and efficiently after the ceremony and if you supply the confetti yourself, opting for natural petals looks so pretty.
- It's good to have a few formal family photographs. To get the most out of these, keep them to a minimum of between six to eight without too many people in them. Formal pictures can take between three to five minutes per photo, so the more you have, the longer they'll take. If you give your photographer a list of the groups you'd like, they'll be able to whizz through them.
- One of the best things that you can give your photographer that helps them to achieve the most amazing wedding images is time, especially the period between the ceremony and the wedding breakfast. During this time, you'll be having your confetti shot, formal photographs (perhaps including an entire guest picture) plus those of you both as a couple and greeting and socialising with your guests. It's also the time when your photographer will capture your table set-up and cake, whilst the light is still optimal and nothing has been disturbed. If you give yourself a minimum of two hours, that'll be enough time to achieve all of these aspects without feeling rushed.
- When it comes to the speeches, there's been a recent trend for having them at the beginning of the meal (to get them out of the way) or to split them between courses. I still believe that the best time for speeches is at the end of the meal. By this time, the empty plates and glasses have been cleared so your photos won't include these, and your guests are more receptive to giving your speeches the attention and laughter they deserve, resulting in beautiful pictures of happy guests.
Jennifer Jane, Jennifer Jane Photography
All in the detail
Q. We're having a small, intimate wedding this summer and want a photographer who can capture the finer details and precious moments as they unfold – can you help?
A. Suzanne McFadzean says: It's important that a couple and their chosen wedding photographer get along well and have a good rapport because this is what helps create wonderful wedding photos!
Your photographer is going to be there right from the start of your day and often until the evening so choose with care! With years of experience under my belt, I can help each couple through their special day capturing those intimate, often unseen moments that keep the memories alive forever. It's important to have the portrait pictures and family images along with those of the finer details that so much work goes into preparing.
Because each wedding is very different and requirements vary, it's important to settle on a plan for the wedding photography that best suits your needs.
I offer three wedding photography packages, Bronze, Silver and Gold, plus a bespoke service should couples want a multi-day celebration or even a destination wedding.
My Bronze package allows for a short day of photography between three to five hours which is ideal for a mid-week winter wedding.
My Silver package includes a full day of photography from the bridal preparation to the first dance, a pre-wedding shoot (which is a great way of meeting and building that initial relationship with your photographer) and a ten-page luxury album, plus more.
Finally, my Gold package offers (but is not limited to) a 10-hour day of photography, a luxury 20-page album, two smaller parent albums plus 10 mounted and boxed prints (in addition to the online gallery and USB stick containing all of the high resolution edited images). Even with these packages, nothing is set in stone.
It's best to start with a chat about what you're planning and what you both want and to be sure that we get on well.
Suzanne McFadzean, Suzanne McFadzean Portrait and Weddings