I thought I would put down some hints and tips I have picked up from the hundreds of Devon & Cornwall weddings I have shot over the last few years. Wedding photography is a huge subject, especially when you have never been married before, so hopefully someone might find these useful.
Types of wedding photography:
A lot of photogs stick to "reportage", because it sounds posh, but it really means wandering around taking shots at the right moment. The shot above is an example of that - I was in the right place at the right time.
Here's some reportage wedding photography examples...
The opposite of reportage would be to create your own shot - these can be fun, playful ones or the more usual bride and groom lovely dovey shots, with a bit of posing. Once again most photos use natural light - daylight, standard room lights etc.
The next type is “traditional” - it stems from the old days of film where you couldn’t be so flexible. Shots like family line-ups, the shot signing the register, etc are traditional. There’s no need for them to be dull though, especially if a bit if lighting is used to spice things up! Here’s one I took yesterday.
If you have the patience and fancy some glam, a decent photog can create shots using flash that really make photos pop. I normally use the best man to be my "voice activated light stand" to hold a flash on a stick!
If you took this shot with no flash, the bride and groom would be completely dark in the trees.
With flash, the camera is set to make the background look good, and the flash pops to "fill in" the missing light on the bride and groom. It looks posed, but it took 2 minutes!
Sometimes this is called “bespoke” photography, and someone who shoots with flash well can do all the previous types too, mixing it up through the day.
In the morning your watch will run at its normal speed...right up until someone says "you need to get into your dress!". Then, your watch will speed up and won't slow back to normal time until the dress comes off again. The day becomes a blur and feet don't touch the ground.
Strangely, everything will take longer than you planned too - from a photogs point of view, that means group photos will expand and Uncle Bob will wander off...
The moral of this story is to allow more time than you think you need. Your photog may not want to nudge you too many times so he/she can take you off on your own for some pics but he might have to pull you away from your guests who will all want to congratulate you.
When you stop having fun at your wedding, take a 5 minute breather together then go back to the party. If I see a bride has had enough shooting, we stop. Simples.
Walking down the aisle:
When walking down aisles or during confetti runs, you'll be tempted to look at your feet, especially in heels and a long dress. Don't! Trust your footing and look at your guests to either side. It will make you smile and stop the photos looking like you are on the way to be sentenced for a crime! Here's Alana, walking down the aisle at her Bovey Castle Devon wedding.
Showing the love during the ceremony:
During the ceremony, a lot of couples face each other but turn their heads to whoever is officiating the ceremony. They end up looking at the vicar/registrar rather than their significant other, especially when repeating the vows.
The best thing to do is to look at each other and ignore the official, even when they talk to you. Stare into your significant others eyes and enjoy the one moment of the day that really means something. Talk to each other, not at the official!
When putting on the ring, try to be delicate and hold it with one finger and thumb. This means your photog will have a better chance of getting that lovely shot of you "sealing the deal"!
Cameras & Lenses:
The camera is a LOT less important than the photographer. A great photog can take a decent photo with anything.
Having said that, there's ways to ensure you have the best chance for getting great pics...
The dark - a photogs enemy is the dark. Photographs are literally about capturing light. A dark church where you can't have a flash gun going off is hard to photograph. The way round it is to have a camera that is good in low light, and more importantly a lens that can grab the little light there is, quickly. These are called fast lenses and it's the f number that counts. The smaller the f number the larger the hole the light comes through. f2.8 is a good place to start, and my minimum for a dark church. In a dark reception, it is less of a problem because you can use flash, which is a skill in itself!
A good photog will have at least 2 camera bodies in case one fails - I've had one fail on me.
There are big camera with massive lenses (I use those). There are also tiny cameras with small prime lenses (I will use those too). Size is not important! F number and reliability is, but is nothing compared to the photogs knowledge and talent.
When most people think editing, they think Photoshop. It's a great app, but it's not the wedding photog app of choice. It's used when you focus on one image and want to really mess about with it. The contemporary/artistic shooters taking a few key shots for a magazine would use it.
Most use Lightroom, which is great for editing a LOT of photos efficiently. You can do a lot of things Photoshop can but it's not for adding in a T-Rex for example.
Brides ask me about "touching up" - usually "can you make my arms thinner" or similar...
Generally I will edit out anything that catches the eye in a bad way, normally spots or shaving cuts, or marks in clothes, or Fire Exit signs and light switches!
I usually leave anything that is a normal part of you, so moles, scars etc, unless I'm asked to remove them specifically.
They are part of you, and I'm a firm believer in embracing your individuality 🙂
Most photogs can't make you thinner, or work a magic wand - I usually provide 500 photos and it would be a Herculean effort to modify anyone so many times!
Love yourself on your big day because the people that matter love you too
Choosing the best Devon wedding photographer:
1. Find someone who's style you like. You'll see all their best "hero" pics on their websites, blogs and FB pages, so always:
2. Have a squint at some of their full weddings. What you'd get if you book them...
3. Make sure they are in your budget! You can't eat photos so make sure you have some money left for a venue, cake etc
3. Meet them and make sure you get on. You spend more time with your photog than with your bride/groom, so you'd better like them! Weddings are 100% about people and photogs need to be able to get the best out of you on the day - the best way to test this is to have a practice "engagement" shoot and see the results
I quite like food, especially wedding food, and sweet carts & hog roasts will probably be the death of me.
Photogs can work for up to 12 hours almost non stop, trying to make your day look amazing. The minimum requirement would be somewhere cold to put a sandwich. We appreciate weddings cost money and i for one don't expect to be fed, but it's nice if we are! I've been sat with guests too to eat which is lovely, but generally I like to edit a handful of pics while you eat so you can show them off on Facebook before the horde out their blurry iPad photos up. I try find a quiet corner and spread out cameras...
When is one photog not enough? Usually when you'd like shots of the groom getting ready when he's not in the same area as the bride. They also catch a different perspective on the day.
Essential? No. Nice to have? Definitely!
I love them! They are for your guests to let rip!
My favourite type is the "magic
mirror". The booths hide everyone away while they pull funny faces so I don't get to photograph them! Mirrors are out in the open so everyone can join in! They are also less intrusive than a big booth.
My local one is called Westcountry Photobooths so check them if you don't know what a magic mirror looks like.
My general advice is not to worry about albums until you've got your photos back. Weddings are expensive enough without having to pay for a fancy book too and your pics will wait a bit until you are ready to home them.
When you are ready, open a bottle of your preferred fizz and have a nice romantic evening reliving the day. Choose 50 or so faves then go find an album. From £30-£1000+, find something that fits your budget. You could make a really cheap online photo book as a test run for an expensive album too, and gift it to a deserving person.
Fold flat pages are the best choice as then you can fit nice wide panorama shots right across two pages with no horrible bend bits in the middle.