Wedding Pro Tips & Advice
A little guide to help you get the most from your wedding photography!
YOU'RE GETTING MARRIED - AWESOME!
First of all, thank you so much for your enquiry and interest in booking me to capture your day, it really does mean the world to me! I put my heart and soul into this career of mine, and it honestly blows my mind when people want to pay me to do something I really love doing, so you’re already legends in my eyes simply for enquiring (please book me though, let’s not make it awkward… haha!)
I have, as you can imagine, seen a lot and learnt alot about weddings over the past decade, so with that in mind I have put together this advice guide for all my potential couples to get a good idea of what I think makes a wedding day run perfectly, and how with a little bit of planning and some great tips, we really can get the best results from every single moment of your day…
So, the big day is finally here and your emotions and excitement are all over the place, and maybe even some nerves are kicking in because this is REALLY HAPPENING! How do you cope?
Truth is, bridal prep is honestly going to be so much fun for you, having all your loved ones around, popping a few bottles of fizz, getting your game face on, enjoying some calm before the epic day you have planned!
I see it as my job to capture these preparations as they happen, looking for brilliant candid moments to photograph, but also making sure I get the important detail shots that make your wedding YOURS!
Here are a few tips for the morning:
- Good light is a photographers best friend, and it’s yours as well when you see how good you look in it, so having your make-up applied in front of a good window will help your photos look stunning! Also a tidy uncluttered room will help as well!
- If details like your shoes, dress and jewellery are important to you, they are important to your photographer, so let them know!
- Leave enough time to get your dress on, and that includes making sure anyone helping you into it is also ready before you, it can make for a truly beautiful scene as that is when it gets real!
- Don’t overthink the presence of a photographer during the morning, they will be wanting to help you relax and enjoy it, they are there just to make sure all the good stuff get captured and remembered!
- Offering your photographer a cup of tea is always a winner, and in my experience at least, results in better photographs of you.
IT’S TIME FOR THE MIGHTY DEED – THE I DO’S!
The all important ceremony, the actual legal point when you become a married couple, and honestly it’s the most nerve wracking moment for your photographer of the whole day!
The capture of your ceremony, be it at a church or wedding venue, will often involve a number of variables that your photographer will need to navigate, and it’s always this part of the day I personally like to prepare for most to make sure I capture all the emotion, love and happiness in the best way!
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Making sure you check in with your registrar/vicar/celebrant ahead of your day about any rules they might have around photography is a good idea, you will be surprised how often we are restricted in what we do, so getting prepared for this will help massively!
- I personally love capturing the faces and reactions of your family and guests as you exit your ceremony and they congratulate you, it’s the first time they will get to great you as a married couple, so make sure you allow for a enough time for them all to do this.
- Confetti! It makes for brilliant photographs, everyone will love having the opportunity to batter you with it, and you can never have enough of it so buy loads!
- Umbrellas are a really good idea to have on hand in case the weather turns, so keep a few by the exit so you at least don’t get soaked, plus they look ace in photo as well!
IT’S A WEDDING, NOT A PHOTOSHOOT! You need to be spending as much time celebrating and partying with your guests & family as you can because the day will go so quickly, so my personal approach to your couples sessions is to keep it short, fun, creative and relaxed, which is not only perfect for anyone a little nervous about having their photos taken, but it also means you can crack on with the partying!
The most important thing for me is to make sure you’re relaxed and having fun, so feel free to bring your drinks with you, and I’m up for any idea you have because capturing your personalities will always be better than a rubbish pose in my opinion.
I have a few tips for you that might help us smash it:
- If you’re not keen on having your photo taken please don’t worry, you will be buzzing after doing the mighty deed, and I’m pretty good at making you look cooler than you actually are!
- I can totally appreciate you not wanting to get your shoes dirty, so if that’s a worry just make sure you have some spare pumps or wellies on hand, always handy for a quick swap out!
- If there are locations in or around the venue you really love in particular make it know so it doesn’t get missed on the walk around!
- Relax, you’re in the hands of a professional, and it’s one of the days in your life that you will look and feel totally amazing, so have some fun.
- I love props, be it smoke bombs, hats, cool jackets etc, so don’t forget to bring them on the session if you want them in your gallery!
GROUP PHOTOS SUCK BALLS! Now that I have your attention, actually they don’t, but the temptation to have loads and loads of posed photographs of your guests and family is REAL but it can end up being a super stressful part of your day! In my experience, it’s best to limit this part of the day to a maximum of 10-15 combinations of the really important people you have invited, not only so it doesn’t take up anymore time than it needs, but also because you need to remember you will be in all of them as well!
I make this part of the day as fun and quick as I can, no one wants’ to be stood around for ages posing, and I usually break the groups into two parts – family first followed by wedding party & friends – and I will of course be capturing loads of informal candid images of your guests all day as well.
A few tips for groups are:
- Fun & informal group photographs are my style, but don’t worry, I am happy to grab more traditional groups photographs as well.
- I find the best way to get the most out of the groups session is to let the key members of your wedding party know that I’m all about the fun, energy and smiles, so that way we are fully prepared.
- Assigning someone from your wedding party to help me who knows the important family members will mean we can smash through the groups as quickly as possible!
- A good backdrop can make or break a group photograph, so trusting me to pick the best option under the lighting circumstances is key, but I’m a huge fan of showing off your venue as much as I can.
- I’m also happy to shoot other informal groups during the day of course, just grab me, especially good for friends and !
SPEECHES & RECEPTION
The speeches are often the time of the day you see the whole emotional rollercoaster of a wedding visually in the best way – laughs, tears, giggling fits, shocked faces, cringe moments…and it can make for some of the most brilliant images from your day because of it.
I personally shoot this part of the day in a totally documentary style, I will be floating around like a ninja, photographing all the real moments as they happen, and that includes guests, speakers and of course you guys reacting to everything.
Here are a few tips for making the most of the speeches:
- It’s always good to make sure I have a clear line of sight of your top table, so if your flowers or table decorations are too high blocking faces etc, just pop them under until they are over.
- Speeches can be a really nerve-racking part of the day for those speaking, so consider having them before the meal, it might help your speakers relax and enjoy their meals knowing they have done it already!
- If you’re passing out gifts to certain guests, I find it’s always helpful having them sat near to you, it’s often tight in wedding breakfast rooms and people can struggle to get around when everyone is sat.
- Cutting the cake at the end of the speeches or the wedding breakfast is a good way of signalling the end of the formalities of the day, plus you will already have everyone in the room, so no one will miss it.
The evening can provide some of the most spectacular and romantic light for awesome photographs of you both, especially if we get a stunning sunset or some beautiful low summer light (although this can sometimes be true in the winter as well), so if the weather and time permits I will pop you out for a short session to make sure we capture some of the magical golden hour!
If it’s a winter wedding, or it’s a darker day, I can also shoot some creative ‘hero’ shots using flash guns, but I set these up without you so you only need to be out for the time it takes to capture the photograph, meaning you get back to the party asap!
Top tips for smashing the evening shots:
- Trust your photographer, I will keep an eye on the light, and if we get he perfect window to shoot something epic I will let you know.
- I find the best time to grab these style portraits is sometime between your main meal finishing and your evening party beginning, meaning you can greet your evening guests.
- If I am going to use flash to create a ‘hero’ shot, I will let you know and tell you exactly what I have planned creatively, and I’m always up for your ideas being used as well.
- Just before we head out for this, it might be a great opportunity to touch up your make-up if needed, meaning your ready for the evening party.
IT’S PARTY, IT’S PARTY TIME! Now it’s time to get your boogie on, party like it’s 1999, and get that dance floor packed with everyone you love throwing some shapes, reaching for the lasers and busting out some killer moves!
I literally love photographing dancefloors, I will get proper involved by chucking up a few lights so I can capture the fun from all angles, and this will start with your first dance as a couple, before you invite everyone to join you, meaning loads of fun, energetic and often embarrassingly brilliant photographs of everyone getting their groove on!
A few tips for the first dance:
- A full on party dance mix from your DJ will always encourage a packed dance floor, but the most important thing is knowing your guests, you know what will get them partying so make your song requests with your DJ with that in mind.
- Your guests will see your first dance as the point the evening party really begins, so don’t leave it too late in the night to get it started, they will be dying to let their hair down and party with you.
- If you’re a little nervous about being the centre of attention during the first dance that’s fine, have a word with your DJ and ask him to invite your guests on to join you halfway through your song, that way you still get the photos but you can get it done quickly!
Questions & Answers
Here are a few FAQ with answers for you!
How long are you with us on the day?
I tend to start around 2 hours before ceremony, this gives me plenty of time to get the best bridal prep moments, and I will normally stay all day until around 30 minutes after your first dance (or approx 9pm), so I can catch some of the party action in the evening as well!
This is all dependent on your individual timings, and hours of coverage booked of course, but as a general rule that's my full day schedule.
Do we need to feed you on the day?
I don't contract a meal but I never turn one down either, so I would really appreciate it if you are able to provide me with a meal on the day, but I'm very happy to bring my own as long as I know ahead of time!
When will we see our photos?
My normal turnaround time for full gallery edit & delivery is approx 6-8 weeks, but I will provide you with a mini edit of highlights usually within 48 hours of your wedding so you have something awesome to share with your friends and family early doors!
This will come in a very easy to access password protected online gallery that you can send out to your loved ones and also download from to post to your socials etc.
Can we request specific images from you?
I am very happy to take some specific images for you that you have in mind, just make sure I am aware before your wedding day so they aren't missed, and I will certainly do my best to capture them for you in my own style.
The weather is awful! What happens?
I have spent my whole career in England, battling against the weather at multiple weddings, so please don't worry as there is always a way to getting around it!
It's very unlikely to be poor all day, meaning we may just need to pick our moments, but I will find a way of making it work regardless, and it's always good to have a spare pair of shoes on hand just in case we need to brave some rain!
Group photos - how do they work?
In the run up to your wedding I ask you to fill out a Shot List, this will be your selection of important group and family images you want me to capture on the day, and I will aim to get these all wrapped up as early and quickly as I can after your ceremony has finished so you and your guests can relax!
Lucy & James // Gaynes Park
''Omg omg omg I don’t know what to say! I’ve cried, laughed and then cried again!! These are f**king brilliant!! I honestly don’t have the words to express how thankful we are! You captured all the love and happiness from the day! Honestly you are a f**king Jedi!!! Thank you so so much Danny!! Xx''