A Day to Remember with me as your wedding photographer!
To all those couples in crazy stupid love on the verge of making one of their greatest commitments of their lives.
As a wedding photographer, I capture all the affection and pure emotion of your celebration with images you can treasure for all your days together. When you look at your photographs you are transported back to those moments where you feel totally loved, cared for and very beautiful both inside and out. Over the past 10 years, I’ve shot over 450 hundred weddings and have learned a thing or two which I’d like to share with you. My advice is freely given and valuable for couples planning a wedding and for those who’ve booked with me. After you have read this advice page, make sure you head over to my Frequently Ask Questions page as well for more information.
Congratulations you’re now engaged and are planning an awesome wedding. Before anything, I would highly recommend that we have an engagement shoot for a number of reasons. The engagement shoot really is an important part of my job. I consider it a “Get to Know You” session because I get to spend time with you both and capture great images as well. We leave not only having made some beautiful images but also knowing that we have become friends. This creates a higher level of comfort during the wedding day, as I am now a familiar and friendly face along for the ride on your wedding day. This type of session can be as relaxed or as formal as you wish. I prefer to take both approaches by going to select natural locations e.g. gorgeous beaches, magical forests, dramatic mountain, parks, then essentially getting glamour shots of you guys. I recommend you wear clothing that is fun, reflects your personal style and suits the surroundings. Most of all I want to have fun!
Choosing a wedding dress is a very individual experience and is an opportunity for brides to express their fashion personality, after all, your wedding day is the biggest fashion moment of your life! Choose a gown that reflects your style and taste rather than opting for something you or someone else thinks you should wear.
The best advice I can give you is to be prepared to move around and walk a lot in your wedding dress. For me to photograph the both of you in amazing locations, that means we need to get there somehow. This means walking, yes I said walking. The reason most of you brides book me to photography your wedding is because you love how raw, fun and natural my images look. For me to achieve those fun moments I’ll need lots of movement with you guys! Running, walking, holding hands, hugs, lifts, swinging around and even sitting down. I love stunning wedding dresses however I get more excited when my brides can move in them and still look amazing! Be sure to let your dress designer know that you would love a comfortable, show piece and light weight dress is the key.
Bride and Groom prep
Now let’s talk about those special preparation photos for bride and groom in the morning. However before I do this, I need to touch on a massive topic which is your dress choice. In a nutshell try and choose your wedding dress that allows you to move freely and easy to walk in. The reason for this is because I love to capture the both of you moving, walking in fields or forests or on beaches. Your dress is going to get a it dirty.
In real estate, it is all about location, location, and location. This same could be said for capturing stunning wedding preparation photographs. Gorgeous backgrounds are a key element in making your images amazing!
Before deciding on the best location consider the following, check in advance that your chosen location/venue has a beautiful bridal suite to do so in. Look at current photos of the space. Lighting is all important, big windows, well-lit reception areas enhance your images with a natural look.
There are a lot of things you can do to make the day a splendid one regardless of your budget and style. It is important that the dress you choose as a bride should flatter you and your body type above all else. We are who we are and all of us are beautiful in our own way.
Among some easy things that you can do to improve your images is to make sure that you are not showing distinct tan lines in your images. Consider having your teeth whitened beforehand for those close-ups with sparkling pearly whites! Like Mum said, always brush your teeth especially before I start shooting. These are not things I can Photoshop out. Actually, I don’t use Photoshop because my images are 100% natural and show exactly how it was on your day.
I have shot some out of this world wedding photographs in locations that are breathtaking right down to the preparation areas. However, if you are doing your preparations in a domestic setting you may need to take this information onboard. These types of settings may not be the best place for you to get ready for what is a once only event unless there is spectacular light coming into the rooms from outside and the backdrop is pristine!
With all that said, all you need to remember is to have beautiful big windows so the light from outside shines on you. Trust me on this!
I am the proverbial fly on the wall and I let your ceremony flow without being in sight. Enjoy yourselves on your wonderful day, I’ll be sure to photograph all of your family, friends, and guests capturing all the grand moments with excellent timing along with those fleeting precious instants that often go unnoticed like a momentary caress, the look on a child’s face. Speaking of timing, having a schedule that leaves enough time for you not to be rushed in the morning is a must for the rest of the day to run smooth. But please don’t worry, I will give you all the advice and timing needed for suppliers as hair and make up to be finished. You’re in safe hands with me! My advice for family photos is very simple. Make sure you feel in the family list I provide with with first names and send this list to the people who are going to be in the photos. I’ve been to many weddings where the important people walk of after your congratulations only to then hold up the family photos because you are then waiting for them to come back. And trust me, this is when you will get most stressed during your wedding. So before your wedding, tell the important loved ones to stay around for the photos.
Location – Have you ever heard the saying that location is key? Well no statement is truer than that when considering the options you can have during your bridal shoot on your wedding day. There is no rule that says your bridal portrait needs to be at the same venue as your wedding. It doesn’t even have to fit within the same theme. You’ll get hundreds of pictures at your wedding venue on the wedding day so why not take the opportunity to explore a different location, style or season?
Every time I say this I know it sounds stupid, but try to pretend like I’m not there for most of the day! I know this is hard when I am bouncing about in front of you with my cameras. But really, I want to capture the interaction between the two of you. Your natural personalities, the love, the laughter, the romance and all the silliness in between. I’d much rather capture moments that looks real, than one which is posed and fake. You can move about, chat, laugh, hold each other, spin round, whisper sweet nothings, kiss, whatever you feel like. I’ll always make sure you are always looking your best with beautiful light and backgrounds behind you. Sometimes I’ll ask you to look at the camera, but you can still just keep it relaxed and natural. The more interaction between our stars (you the couple) the more amazing the photography will be. All you need to do is look into your lover’s eyes and enjoy the touch of each other! I will take photographs of the bridal party and any other group shots at the start of the session then concentrate on you the couple during the best light which is 40 minutes before sunset and 30 minutes after sunset. So please make sure you enter your reception at least 40 minutes to 1 hour after sunset if you want the best images possible from me. Allow for 1.5 hours to 2 hours for location photos.
Lighting and styling are key for gorgeous looking receptions. You want to be able to dim the lights for eating and mingling with family and friends then be able to turn up the lights just enough for people speaking and your first dance. If you can manage it, always have a real DJ or live band/musician, never just whack a digital music player into the house system for your music. A true DJ knows how to work the crowd, timing is everything when people are involved and the same goes for a live performance. Consider staging a fake exit while folks still have the energy! Some of your older guests might not be up as late as you. Working in some sparklers is an epic way to exit. Perhaps after the cake, first dance or bouquet and garter toss then let the party begin. I can leave sooner as you do not need me until 2:00 am taking a lot of repetitive dancing photos. Another tip I have for you is that for me to photograph your guests during reception, its best that I photograph then when they are not eating dinner or meals. So, to avoid this, may I ask to be feed a meal just after your bridal party is feed. Reason for this is that we mostly get feed a meal last and what happens is that I can not photograph anything for 30mins because everyone is eating a meal. ( waste of time that you are paying for ). So If I eat with your guests at the same time, I can then photograph more of your wedding because I will finish my meal at the same time as them. I can explain more about this on the phone and before your day.
And finally, when all is said and done you will have your memories and the images I capture. These images will come from a magical spectator’s point of view. My photography will reveal untold moments that will both surprise and enthrall you with emotion, authenticity in a completely uncontrived way.
Regards, Luke Middlemiss