In real estate, it is all about location, location and location. This same dictum could be said for capturing uber-gorgeous wedding photographs. Yes, you can have a beautiful dress, ring, flowers, killer car and all the chic and style you want but if we are taking your preparation photographs in a location that does not connect with all your efforts then the effect is flattened putting it mildly.
Unfortunately, I am not in control of the location of your preparations that is entirely up to you. I have experienced this disconnect on more than a few occasions with poorly lit, cramped rooms, cluttered areas too many people in the room and sometimes windows that could have used some major TLC prior to shooting and all of this can lead to unappealing photographs. Some brides have occasionally expressed regret for not considering this aspect; the background is an important player in truly natural looking wedding images. Space is especially important in this regard for preparations for both the gals and the guys. Large rooms with freshly painted walls, beautiful LARGE windows and minimal “stuff” allows the images to be crisp and the viewer focuses on the action. Plastic water bottles, trays of half eaten nibbles, clothes inadvertently left out or any kind of mess seriously detracts visually from what is going on. I am after a raw, fun and authentic look but I need your help to do so.
For a moment, think Hollywood! And do not think for a second that anything that appears in front of a camera in a film or that every detail is not carefully considered. 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 on board. Maybe Grandmother’s house may not be the best place for you to get ready for what is a once only event.
Wedding Guidelines for Photography
I want your wedding to be a success both in real life and especially in your images. With this in mind, I’ve put together a few but very specific guidelines, tips, and some dos and don’ts that will ensure your final photographs are everything that you expected. You are going to look gorgeous no matter what, however, I need to have the rest of the picture just as pretty. I also do not use photoshop to fix up people’s faces as I will always put you in the best lighting to make you all look even more beautiful. Just anothor couple of things, make sure your dress is easy to walk in. To many brides love big dresses but forget they need to walk and sit down. Also the flowers, Keep in mind that if you want a big bouquet they can be very heavey which means you will be holding them all day.
When you make your final preparations consider the physical distance between where you are both getting prepared. The closer you are to each other the less time it takes for me to travel between these locations. When you do get ready near each other I can start later and then you have more time to be together throughout the day.
Where you, “the bride” prepares (especially your hair and makeup) is of special importance to tell the story of your day.
Be near a generous clean window where I can take advantage of natural light which makes for dreamy skin tones. The more natural light I can use the better your final photographs will look.
Prepare yourself in an elegant room if you can, one with all the trimming, think drapes, furniture etc. it’s the little details that make an image sing!
Consider the layout and size of your preparation area and note that closed, cramped spaces are not recommended.
Climate control for the bride, I want, no, I need you to be cool, calm and collected.
Ask me for advice and consider sending me photos of your preparation area as I may have some suggestions and ideas to share for achieving a certain look.
Do not under any circumstances get ready in a bathroom, hallway, or room without windows. The images I capture only look as good as the location. Instead, flatter yourself with an appropriate space.
Please avoid all types of clutter in the background, anything food related (unless it looks great and is untouched), plastic chairs, tables, pedestal fans, etc. All of this will detract from the look I want to achieve for you.
Getting ready under fluorescent lights, or incandescent lighting makes skin tones look awful and it is not something I can fix later.
Timing is everything!
For a great photo shoot, I require at least 40mins of portrait time before the couple leaves for their ceremony. I highly recommend getting ready two hours before leaving for the ceremonies’ location. Delays caused by hair and makeup artists (they happen) can disrupt the smooth timing and add unnecessary stress to brides. By leaving enough time and then some the day can proceed with relaxation, and calm with plenty of room to breathe. If you have any questions about this please email me at [email protected]
The Wedding Party
Let me get a little personal for a moment. The wedding day ultimately is all about the Bride and Groom ( you guys!! ). Great attitudes by those gathered around her (especially your intimate bridal party) will help the day become a beautiful and memorable event. Choose carefully! I can’t stress this enough. I’ve had countless weddings where the maid of honour thinks its her day and so on… This is your day; make sure others leave their dramas at the door (should they have any). Disruptions, delays, or personal upsets have no place at a wedding. Their duty is to get you ready, fluff the dress, bring cooling drinks and provide a positive and joyful support group.
Groom and Groomsmen
Gentlemen, I kindly request that you have your area and rooms tidy and clean. Your suits, cufflinks, shoes etc ready to get put on after I arrive at your place. A slick looking location is an absolute must for great images with beautiful natural light coming into the room. There is naturally a direct link between the qualities of the location and the quality of images. I truly need your help to create images that are keepsakes to treasure.
If I had just one wish…
I know it may sound really crazy, but please consider for a moment an “unplugged” wedding. Ask, no tell all of your guests to turn off their phones, put away their cameras and iPads and then let me “the paid professional” that you hired for the day take all the photographs. I really MUST stress that all mobile phones should be switched to silent or turned off, or they will interrupt not only the ceremony but my work as well.
Unfortunately for me, sometimes guests believe they are designated photographers for the day. The result, they will be in all the wrong places at all the wrong time repeatedly keeping me from doing my job. Having your guests darting around to take photos, videos, popping up into my frame for constant phone snaps inhibits me and prevents them from enjoying the moment as well. Trust me, the professional you chose, hired and paid for. Let me do the job and capture all the important moments.
After the “I dos”…
Afterwards, head straight down look into each other’s eyes and take in the moments as you are now married! Once outside I will take a few moments to take photos of the couple by themselves with a beautiful kiss and really capture the moment as they emerge as husband and wife. You can then greet and hug all the other guests as they too emerge from the church. Once the congratulations are done, I take a group photo of everyone at the ceremony. Following this, I will ask the immediate family to stay behind for additional photos.
Location Photo Session
Keeping it real!
I am not here to make your day look unnatural which means I do not use photoshop. My mission is to capture the joy of an event you will cherish for years to come in a way that is completely natural, authentic and raw. The best advice I can give is to be you and forget about me.
Revel in your spectacular day with each other, whisper sweet nothings and let the smiles flow, kiss and hug, have fun – this is the day you’ve dreamed of. Your joy will come through in your faces and your demeanor the results of which are the beautiful images that I will capture.
The more interaction between our stars (you the couple) the more amazing the photography will be. Smile broadly as this is among the best days of your life. I will occasionally ask you to look at my camera or a portrait image, however, for the most part, ignore me, if I want you to look at the camera, I will cordially ask. If the session is flowing naturally and beautifully I’ll just keep shooting.
For the most natural looking photographs do not look to me for direction and generally avoid looking at the camera at all. It’s fun and simple. All you need to do is look into eachothers eyes, touch your partner all over! I will take shots 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 30 mins before sunset and 30mins after sunset. So please make sure you enter your reception at least 4-50 mins after sunset if you want the best images possible from me.
I know this is a lot to take on, but after shooting hundreds of weddings I have learned a thing or two. I want you to be absolutely thrilled when you get your final images and my fond hope is that this guide will greatly aid the both of us in getting truly outstanding results.
If you have any more questions please contact me.
Cheers, Luke Middlemiss