Expert advice about photography

Here is a selection of Q&As from Your Devon and Cornwall Wedding magazine whether it be about flowers, hair and makeup, fashion, wedding themes, health & beauty, cakes, stationery, legal advice. If you would like your question answered by our experts, please email it to


Let there be light

Let there be light

Q. We have postponed our wedding until late autumn following the recent restrictions, and want an afternoon ceremony. How can we fit in our couple and guest photographs before it gets dark?

A. Julie Louise Sum says: Julie says: One of the most important things needed for wedding photography is light. With more couples postponing their ceremony dates until later on this year, I'm reminding them to consider the light outside and how it can alter the flow of the day when choosing a new time. During the winter months, the light can drop from as early as 3.30pm and a change can be noticed within ten minutes. If a couple gets married at 2pm, I have to think about how quickly we can realistically take the photographs after the ceremony, taking into consideration that guests will want to enjoy a welcome drink and couples won't want to feel rushed. I must manage people's expectations with their requests in terms of what can be achieved.

There are some things that couples should do when choosing their new date and time:

- Consider the ceremony time with the sun going down (your photographer will be able to guide you on this).
- Think about how much relaxation time is required following the ceremony.
- Consider having indoor photographs and where these might be suitable within the venue. Wedding coordinators usually have good advice about this.

There are always ways to work with weddings where the light will be limited, even if it means getting a night shot for some extra magic. Some of the things I consider are:

- Prioritising couple portraits first and then taking any group images indoors.
- Allowing for travelling distances between changes of venue, for example from a church to a reception venue.
- Measuring the light outside one week before the big day to see exactly what time I have to work with.
- Opportunities to add additional light sources so that I can take creative images outside or look at innovative ways to capture romantic images indoors, for example in a candlelit barn.

The logistics of the day may have to shift slightly and open communication between the couple and photographer is key but either way, the day should be happy and fun no matter what the light and weather are like.

Julie Louise Sum,Julie Louise Photography


Making memories

Making memories

Q. Please can you advise us what to look out for when booking our wedding photographer?

A. Mike Lister Photography says: Meet the expert: Mike Lister is a Plymouth-based wedding photographer specialising in capturing those little details and precious moments.

Mike says: Here are some of my tips on what to watch out for:
• How active is your chosen photographer on social media, for example, on Facebook, Instagram and blog posts? Most love to share their most recent work with others so this will give you an insight into their style of work. Look for complete real weddings, not just a few selects.
• Check out online reviews from previous customers. Your experience may differ but it's a good start to find out what others are willing to say about them.
• Do they have any professional training or accreditation? Photography is a craft and someone with this shows that they have a passion for it and that it isn't just a job to them.
• Do you get on well with your photographer? They're going to be with you all day so you need to make sure that they bond well with you both.
• Pick a photographer whose style you admire. If you love black and white images, then find someone that specialises in that. Here are some other questions to ask:
• Do they have a plan B? This is vital incase there's an issue with the equipment or the weather is bad.
• What's their favourite part of any wedding? It's really good to get to know your photographer because it's such a personal day.
• Do they have any recommendations for other local suppliers that you may still be looking for? Wedding photographers meet plenty so they may know or be able to recommend good ones for you.

Mike Lister Photography


Snappy snaps

Snappy snaps

Q. How do I choose my wedding photographer?

A. Martyn Norsworthy says: I've been photographing weddings now for 28 years and my advice to couples looking to select their big-day snapper has always been the same. Firstly, rapport is everything because the images might look amazing but make sure you meet your photographer before the day and that you like each other! You'll be spending plenty of time together on the day so consider how comfortable you both feel around them and how relaxed they will make your guests feel.

Secondly, look at complete weddings that they have photographed. This might sound a bit silly but when you're viewing albums and portfolios, it's always wise to see full real weddings rather than styled shoots because the time constraints are different. Look for continuity of quality of the images and good editing skills.

Read the testimonials because this is a great way to see other customer's reactions to how their experience was with the photographer, good or bad!

Enquire if they're full-time professionals or semi-professional because you might find it's difficult if they can't devote their full attention to your special day if they have other commitments.

Finally, ask about insurance. This is a question that many don't ask but they should have full indemnity and liability insurance that's very important for you and your guests.

Martyn Norsworthy


Bird's eye view

Bird's eye view

Q. Why is it important to consider drone filming in a wedding photography package? What can it achieve that traditional filming can't?

A. Jamie Haigh says: Many of the venues where weddings are held are naturally stunning but often not fully visible from ground level. Drones are now used as standard by those in film and television production because the technology they carry offers the ability to capture clear footage with high definition quality utilising all angles of the venue that simply cannot be captured from the ground.

Can most venues cater for drone photography?
Most wedding venues are suitable for aerial filming and photography but we never take that for granted. During the consultation phase, the venue will be contacted and strict pre-flight checks will take place to ensure the safety and legality of any flight. In the few cases where a flight is impossible, we use a very tall sky pole to which a camera is attached to still get the feel of the aerial shot.

How do I ensure the operator is both qualified to use the drone safely and deliver quality pictures?
If you're thinking of hiring any videographer or photographer, my advice would be to do your homework. Have a look at their website, ask to see comments from previous clients, check their portfolio and most importantly meet or talk with them. This is your special day and cannot be repeated so a good working relationship where you feel comfortable will make for a far better end product. We pride ourselves on the fact that we have become genuine friends with many of our clients. If your photographer or videographer is offering aerial footage or stills, check that they have their PFCO (Permission for Commercial Operations) licence to operate a drone professionally. As with standard videography and photography though, the PFCO is not a guarantee of artistic ability or experience, speak to the pilot and ask to view previous work. Some pilots work largely in the commercial and inspection field, doing things like roof inspections and as such may have little or no artistic skills or experience.

Is the quality of the pictures the same as a normal camera?
As with any job, the right equipment is imperative. I've seen many operators at wedding fairs with drones that are not much more than toys or hobby-level models. We use video cameras, DSLR's, 360-degree and time-lapse cameras alongside our drones to create a production quality end product. All of our professional equipment produces imagery of the very highest quality and our drones are no exception.

What reaction do you get from guests? Is there anything they need to be made aware of?
Guests are usually very impressed and often have questions about the equipment. We always enjoy taking the time to chat with anyone about what we do. There is nothing that guests need to be aware of from a safety perspective, all precautions are taken and there is always a safety operative to monitor the situation whilst flying and help should anything arise.

Is it expensive compared to a standard film package?
No, not at all. We offer aerial filming as standard with all our videography packages and are competitively priced, with all packages including a shorter length film for use on social media and a feature length film. In addition to this, we also capture stills for use in our films, so whether your photography is done by us or by an outside supplier, you'll also get extra photographs free of charge.

Does the weather affect when the drone can be used?
Yes and no, obviously there are limits but we have drones for every occasion. If you're brave enough to be out in the open, we have a drone that can cope with those conditions.

Are there any additional benefits?
One of the things that we like to offer are interviews with guests. During the evening, we set up an interview area and invite people to join us individually, in couples or groups to have a chat and leave messages for the bride and groom. We also invite the bride and groom separately, to leave a message for their new husband or wife. This all makes for some relaxed, funny, emotional and completely natural footage, which integrates brilliantly with the films and gives it a really personal feel.

Jamie Haigh

When it's time for you look for local businesses to help you with your wedding, take a look at our advertisements below. Most will have links to their own websites. These advertisements are updated regularly so please revisit often and mention Your Devon and Cornwall Wedding when making any enquiries.

Pengersick Castle
Subscribe to Your Devon & Cornwall Wedding
Outdoor 365 Group
Sarah Chapman - Independent Celebrant