3 reasons I should be your Wedding Photographer
‘I just love having my photographs taken for 8 hours’…..said no wedding couple EVER! Don’t worry, I completely get it and I’m the same. I moan at my husband that I am never in photographs (because I am always taking them) but then when he takes one, I’m like ‘Urgghh what did you take that for? Delete it quick’. Poor guy!
Seriously though, the thought of having a photographer at your wedding can actually be unsettling for some people and it’s easy to understand why. That’s why it is so important to have the right photographer for you. The right one can be the difference between feeling awkward and looking stiff in your pictures or looking back at great pictures that capture happy, fun memories having not even given the photographer a second thought!
Being a good wedding photographer is so much more than taking great pictures. It’s about understanding what your couples want, what they are worried about and making their worries go away. We get the best seat in the house, all day! We’re there as you get ready with your best friends that you’ve known since primary school, we’re close enough to hear your whispers to each other during the ceremony and we get to sneak you off away from everyone else in the first moments of your life together as a married couple! That’s huge. Imagine sharing those moments with someone that you feel uncomfortable with and feeling that you want to rush past those bits to get them over with? That would be horrible!
I want to ‘get’ you and it’s so important to me that I am your sort of person and you ‘get’ me too. So here are three reasons that I MAY be the right photographer for you.
I hate having my picture taken too
Being photographed is not a natural thing for most and that doesn’t miraculously change just because it’s your wedding day. With the wrong photographer, you could be standing there, shoulders stiff, putting on your best fake smile because actually inside you are squirming, thinking ‘these are going to look awful’. And if you feel awful then your photo’s will be too, it’s that simple. So how do we change this?
I’m going to get all scientific on you now and tell you a little about a smile. When something makes us happy, we smile, our smiling muscles contract, a signal is sent to our brain, stimulating our reward system and lets us have a bit more happy hormone (endorphins), which makes us even happier. So when our brain feels happy, we smile; when we smile, our brain feels happier. Everyone, even the most self conscious, looks amazing with a genuine, natural smile on their face. So, all you need to do is smile, right?
To help you be as smiley as possible on your wedding day, I try and make you feel as relaxed as I can so that you can ignore me and the fact that I have a camera pointed at you for hours. This process starts from the first interactions we have. I get to know you before the day, about your plans, who is important, your first dance song and why; all those little details which tell me who you are. I truly believe in the value of a pre-wedding or engagement shoot, which is why I include them in my all day wedding packages. We meet, we hang out, I take pictures, you realise that having your photograph taken isn’t as bad as you thought it was going to be and in fact you have a cracking time and then fill with excitement for the wedding photography. And I’m a familiar face then too; a mate at the wedding with a good camera.
That is how those wedding day smiles become natural. The worry and self consciousness goes; you get to laugh as your long lost relative’s fascinator blows off her head, smirk a little as the older guests raise their eyebrows at the cheeky table names you used, you can giggle with the girls as you try and get the best selfie angles. You won’t think at all about having your picture taken, just about enjoying marrying your best friend.
I don’t want loads of posed shots
I’ve yet to shoot a wedding where someone doesn’t want any couple or group shots. I would probably double, triple check if someone asked me not to to be honest. The group shots will be a visual record of everyone you wanted to share your day with. And no doubt you will have family members already asking for copies of them for their mantel piece! As for the couple shots, well… you have just got married! That’s a big and wonderful thing that may have taken you months to plan so it seems only right to me that there should be a gorgeous portrait of you both, just you two, on that day. That opportunity will never be repeated.
But…..they don’t have to look like our parents’ wedding photographs, standing square on having been shouted at to stand in a particular spot. I am not a bossy person so I won’t be barking orders but I understand that you are most likely not trained models either. I will take you to the right spot and I know just the right tasks to give you to be able to watch and capture beautiful, genuine interactions between you and get those ‘whole face’ smiles we talked about earlier. I suppose, when I describe myself as a documentary photographer, that is not strictly true because there is a small element of direction involved. But if I know how to make the best use of the light and what backgrounds will look great, I’d not be doing the best job for you if I didn’t use that knowledge to guide you to right spot or ask you to do a simple thing that I know will create a lovely portrait.
Group shots can also be what you want them to be, as relaxed and fun as the rest of your photography. I can tell you now, there will be people on your guest list that will roll their eyes in dread at the thought of having to be in the group shots, imagining being stood around for ages whilst a million pictures are being taken. Who wants their guests to feel that way? My solution is to keep this time brief and to get them out of the way as soon as possible after the ceremony. Otherwise guests disappear off to the bar, jackets and ties come off, the ladies may change their shoes, guests take the opportunity to move their car or even have a lie down (yes, these all actually happen!). So let’s get in there quick. And I recommend only between 5-7 groups in total. You and your guests would much rather be enjoying the canapés and bubbly, let’s face it.
I want fun, story telling photography
Reportage and documentary wedding photography are words commonly used by a lot of photographers now but what does it actually mean? Well I can only tell you what it means to me and my interpretation of it. For me, it is watching a wedding day unfold and capturing real moments, as they happen. It’s spotting the crying bridesmaid, the emotional father, the deep breath before waking down the aisle, the hand hold, one of the girls trying to get the best pic on IG before anyone else. OK, so, these may not always be the most flattering pictures and I doubt some of them will make your timeline on Facebook or a frame on the lounge wall. BUT….. these moments happened on YOUR day and they are often fun and will evoke emotion when you look back at them and for me that is the most important thing about photography. I want an image to take you back to that time and place, to make you smile and not just look pretty. I would love to post more of these images on my social media but quite often these moments only have meaning to those in them so admittedly, I shy away from it a little. But I want you to know that I look for moments in between the expected stuff whether it be funny, silly, sad or slightly awkward!
So, if having read this you think I am not the right wedding photographer for you, then, that’s OK! Find a photographer whose description of their work makes you feel like they are talking just to you. If, on the other hand, you have read til the end (thanks) and it’s resonated with you, come and say ‘Hi’. We may just be the perfect match for one another x
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I'm a documentary wedding photographer based in Kent and also cover Surrey, Sussex, Essex and London. I also love to shoot family portraits in the Kent area.
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