This may be more than a ‘little’ info but could be the difference between great and oh so emotionally driven incredible images so go on, pour yourselves a glass of vino (yes the boys should be listening to this too!) and read right on…
First and Foremost, do whatever you want.
It’s your day. Don’t listen to too many opinions on what you should do (even if that includes me). I’ll be handing out some tips and tricks along the way on what from my experience makes for amazing images but it’s all just guidance for you to alter. Find out what makes you guys you and you-do-you.
You don’t have to cut the cake. You don’t even have to have a cake. You don’t have to wear white shoes, you don’t have to get ready at a hotel, or take 50 million family photos. You don’t have to have a garter or something blue. You don’t have to wear matching robes for getting ready, you don’t have to even have matching bridesmaid dresses but by all means, if they mean something to you – then go for it and make them suit you!
Just do your thing and don’t worry about the fact that you’re having your photo taken – it might sound easier than it is but you’ll get used to it – especially if you’ve done an Engagement Session together – hint-hint nudge-nudge, it’s not too late!
Leave out all your details the night before if you want me to photograph them… or don’t if you really don’t care for a dress hanging up photo – just let me know on the day. Your wedding stationery suite and invite are great to include if you love my flat lays . Include any personalised handwritten / calligraphy vows for something super sweet.
Let your bridal party and family know they can just relax and they don’t have to look at and smile for the camera. There’s always that one bridesmaid who’s been to another wedding where they posed sticking heads around trees and jumped off things and wanting to share all their secrets – tell them to keep those grand ideas for the next wedding they attend and to just enjoy the day!
Setup your makeup station near some natural window light and turn off all the ugly orange downlights (but don’t stress because I most probably will). If you need to get dressed in a dark corner room – come out into the natural light once decent for pics. I will take photos whenever you feel comfortable while getting dressed so just holla.
Clean open minimal spaces look great, but so do your treasured family homes with a hundred memories gracing the walls.
Try set aside one room with the best natural light for photos and declutter it as much as possible
Try hiding things that stand out, like the dreaded plastic water bottle, but don’t stress, I will most likely rearrange the furniture if required!
Put music on. It helps set the mood and help you relax!
Have some champagne ready to help calm the nerves and have a shot cheering in your cute PJ’s or robes.
If you are wearing a veil over your pretty face as well as false eyelashes make sure you practice walking in both before the day as veils can pull them right off your face. If you’re wearing a backless or strappy dress make sure to remove your bra an hour before photos to avoid lines. Same goes for the boys and their sunnies.
Ask bridesmaids and family members to save their millions of iPhone photos until after I leave – I need to leave at least half an hour before you do so they will have time then to capture all the goodness.
If we are running behind please leave all final touches until after I leave so I can get to the venue with enough time for pre-ceremony shots.
You are probably not so phased about the whole photo thing so I try keep it quite simple. Feel free to be chilling in whatever and be sinking tins when I arrive but try be showered if possible. Then about 10 minutes in if you can pop on your pants, belt, and shirt and come out into the nice window light to add the finishing touches like bowties and jackets. If it’s too early to be getting dressed for real then feel free to just give it a trial run and go for a swim/ out for lunch after and do the real deal later on.
You might have wondered what ‘pre-ceremony’ time is for.
Not only is it to make sure I am there and set up ready for the brides arrival but it’s a great time to set the scene and provided fottage of moments the bride will have missed.
These are supposed to be fun and memorable, not boring! I understand but always get a little sad when hearing ‘we just want to get that part over with’. They are only boring if you let them be and are the part where you get to tell each other what marriage means to you and how you can’t wait to put up with all of their weirdness until the rest of your days. Find a celebrant/ priest/ pastor that you connect with and that compliments your personalities. Your celebrant can get people to cheer, light sparklers, throw confetti – ps confetti cannons are always a good idea. During the ceremony face each other and hold hands – don’t awkwardly stand 5 feet apart with hands by your side like strangers at an arranged marriage – unless that’s your jam, no judgment here. Feel free to give each other a hug after kissing your dad (or someone special) thanks – you are allowed to touch, or kiss (gasp!) if you want to. You make the rules!
Take as much time as you need to compose yourself and soak it in before saying your vows.
WRITE PERSONALISED VOWS! They are the best.
Unplugged ceremonies rock. You will want to see your guest’s faces not their phones. People on the aisle won’t have their bright red iPad’s in all my shots, and Uncle Larry doesn’t need to be sneaking around with his prized DSLR that’s more equipped to shoot exotic birds a million miles away.
Make sure to do congrats after the ceremony. And don’t do what we did and go around the corner into the shade and make people think they’re not allowed to follow. All the laughs and tears make for heartfelt moment photos. And who doesn’t want a bottle of foundation on that brand new suit – sorry but it’s bound to happen so don’t sweat it.
Wearing a veil? For congratulations I always say ‘You hug them’ meaning pop your arms out to grab onto theirs first – that way they won’t grab all around you and hug on your veil pulling your head down – this also makes for a nicer photo then your face being covered by their arms.
If you remember, hand your bouquet off too so it doesn’t cover your faces.
THROW ALL THE CONFETTI
You can never have enough (biodegradable) confetti.
HUG IT OUT
Don’t run away from your guests after the ceremony – they are dying to congratulate you!
I personally don’t ask for a full group shot and don’t see the point when everyone’s heads are the size of a pin and all hidden behind each other but if you want one, try find a spot somewhere that has an elevated platform I can shoot from. I much prefer people in their natural habitat like above.
Okay, so one of the only painful parts of photos can sometimes be the family shots. You might want a bunch, you might not want any, but make sure you at least do your immediate family and breakdowns like parents, siblings, grandparents and all together. I suggest adding only married partners but if you want to let your little sister’s punk new bf in, make sure to put him on the end so we can crop him out the next week if needed.
Please don’t send me a list as I’m going to know no one so will be no help. Give a list of family groups to a person on each side of the family that knows everyone in those groups to help coordinate – it helps if they have a loud bossy voice.
Each combo only needs 30 seconds – plus time for your brother to be told twice to take off his sunnies and put the beer down. On that note, I always recommend only opening up the bar after congrats are over but for times (like at our wedding) sometimes you just have to roll with whatever happens!
Allow around half an hour for congrats and family shots. Add some extra time if you would like to chill and have a drink with your mates before trekking off for some epic shots.
BRIDAL PARTY PORTRAITS
Bridal party photos are where the fun begins now that everyone is together and more relaxed now that (most of) the formalities are over. Try stay on the premise if possible to avoid having to hire large transport vehicles and then just the 3 of us can take off later for some more intimate portraits without your mates watching you awkwardly.
Ideas for epic bridal party pics:
Spray champagne – Even if it means bringing along a cheap bottle just for that.
Confetti is fantastic and makes for great photos so throw that shizz everywhere.
I sometimes play games or tell you to do stupid things – yes, you might think this is lame, i think this is lame too, and feel free to roast me for it, but any awkwardness/ hilarious comments/actions during them make for great photos. I love action shots so feel free to do your own thing and improvise. There is no wrong here. I’m not here to tell you what to do, the best photos come when you guys are just chilling together and I’m in the background.
TWO THREE OF US
My favourite part of the day.
I try take you guys away from the noise, not just because it makes for way better photos but it allows you guys to have a few minutes to actually talk to each other and let it sink in that you are flipping married!
I like 30 minutes for this part and if possible around sunset is ideal!
Yes, it feels awkward – especially when I get all up in your grill and practically stroke your noses with my camera lens but this sucks the emotion out into those frames and always some of my favourite shots of the day.
Don’t feel like you have to smile the whole time, you don’t even have to look at the camera at all. Awkwardness is awesome! It makes for some super special shots. Sometimes I will tell you what to do, other times I’ll stay silent and wait for you to see what comes naturally. I want the images to scream YOU!
I love awkwardness as much as I love imperfections. I don’t photoshop images. My documentary-style helps you relax and gives you more time to have fun. I love shooting wide to capture more of what the eye sees and not just perfectly composed cropped portraits. Sometimes I love slightly out of focus images more than the next frame that is all in focus – there can be something about an image showing motion that brings out emotion.
Tips to relaxing and getting your personalities to show through in the images:
- Hug and squeeze each other in as many ways you can think possible. Get up in each other’s grill. Whisper sweet nothings into each other’s ears. The closer the better.
There’s nothing you can do wrong if you’re relaxed and just being you.
- Make sure to always stay connected. Hold hands!
- Guys pop your outside hand either in your pocket or around your lover.
- Get your dress dirty! There is always a better spot over the fence. I prefer long wheat fields to mowed green grass lawns and vineyards any day. You are going to have to dry clean that baby anyway so why not get your money’s worth – and wayyy better photos for it.
- Try sneak out for sunset if you can’t stay that late during your photo session. Even for 5 minutes – by now your more relaxed after a few (more) champa’s.
- Take a minute away from the crowd by yourselves as husband and wife to take a deep breath and look at what all those months of hard work have created. The day will go so quickly so just relax. Don’t rush if you can help it.
Depending on your timeline and usually time of the year you may or may not get to join in on cocktail hour but either way get your guests mingling and keep them entertained with lawn games and activities like a photo booth!
Depending on how much you like them you might even throw in a cute caravan bar with your own personalised signature cocktails!
Your time to shine and bust out those killer dance moves.
Cocktail receptions provide excellent candid moments.
If you are having a sit-down reception make sure to have a killer cocktail hour with lawn games which help guests mingle before they sit down.
If I’m staying during the main meal time, a meal of any form is greatly appreciated – after a long day I will eat anything (well anything gluten free)! I don’t usually photograph during food service times to avoid embarrassing images and usually need a sit-down/ drink by then! This is usually the time your Uncle Bob likes to tell me about his fancy DSLR camera and I get to have a yarn with your Grandma whilst also snapping a sneaky shot of the flower girl having a tantrum over losing at Giant Jenga. It is a HUGE HELP if you are having a sit-down dinner to please ask the venue to serve vendor meals with the bridal party table – this way I can be most efficient and have my downtime whilst you are eating and not get served whilst everyone’s finished and the speeches are supposed to start!
Get creative – get some giant sparklers and have guests light them on your entrance or during your dance if you don’t want all the attention on your pathetic (I mean AWESOME) dance moves. If you’re planning on partying till the wee hours you ain’t gonna be wanting to orchestrate a sparkler exit at 1am and I most likely won’t be there to shoot it.
The more light the better – yes dark and moody might be great for not letting guests see those dance moves but as good as technology is my camera still needs to be able to see you in order to focus and I prefer not to use flash until the crazy dancing so really need some light where possible. Festooning looks way better in photos than floodlights. Put them all on a dimmer switch and have more flexibility.
Speeches. Try get speeches out in one or two hits and as early as possible to let everyone relax. Make sure to sit/stand together in some good light so I can capture all those belly laughs and ugly tears.
First dance. Make sure the DJ knows to give me the heads up before you guys start and to not have his laser pointer or rainbow coloured lights shining all over you – unless your first dance is to Daft Punk then go for gold. These are great for straight after – feel free to crank every party light known to man for the crazy dancing!
If you’re like me and can’t dance or hate the attention, maybe do a little back-n-forth for a few seconds before the DJ drops in some bangers to get the crowd on the D-floor straight away. Even if this means physically dragging people. This brings us to the next point – play some bangers! A good DJ is a key to the dance floor being packed! Let them know what your crowd will want to hear.
Know how long I am booked for so that you don’t miss out of any events you might want to be covered. You can pre-pay for an extra hour in case everything runs behind or on the night ask to extend the coverage which you can pay for within 30 days.
I can’t take those epic dance floor crazy shots if I’m only booked until 8pm or if the DJ only plays golden oldies until after I’m gone.
If you are wanting an album I always suggest capturing a bit of everything even if it means opening the dance-floor at 8pm instead of 930.
You can always do a little dance on entry if you’d prefer me not to stay too long.
Make sure your DJ knows your crowd to play songs that will get them dancing or make them write down a request on their rsvp for a personalised touch.
Crazy dancing makes for epic photos and the best photos are when everyone is on the dance floor which is most likely the first 3 songs after your first dance so make them count!
Have confetti fall from the sky, shower your guests in champagne, smash Pinata’s instead of cutting a stupid cake – action makes for the best photos.
Trust your photographer – you booked them for a reason!
Ask me any questions or advice – I’d rather that than you asking Google or Pinterest and them telling you the cheesiest old school crap.
If you’re wanting a videographer please check with me before booking as they ruin everything (not really) but the key to getting the most out of your photos is not having a videographer or at least choosing the right one, not the massive old-school companies who set up 5 tripods and hire 3 school kids to pay $20/hr to learn while on the job while charging you thousands for a boring movie-length school grade quality film that you will never end up watching.
Make sure to check that all the times and locations in your Wedding Timeline are up to date and have allowed for the right amount of travel time (inc parking if in the city). Then sit back and relax – go get a massage or try a ‘Float’ – weird as heck but oh so relaxing! Go have cocktails pool-side at the Crown and take some time out to relax!
See your pretty faces real soon!