The lead up to your wedding can be so much fun – just like planning anything you are excited about, so can the planning part of your wedding be a brilliant time to share with family & friends and each other. You may find yourself with a really clear idea of your day, or be inspired by Pinterest boards or real life for the little touches that can make your wedding so pretty. Generally speaking you’ll have an idea too of the “vibe” you want your wedding to have – whether it’s traditional, family orientated, relaxed, a really big party, romantic vintage or a bit of everything. After being lucky enough to capture close to 200 weddings I’ve realised your wedding day photography can really help enhance your ideas for the big day. With a bit of planning and communication with your wedding photography your photos will really capture the “spirit” of your wedding. I’d compiled the 2015 Wedding Highlights for Melissa’s Photography on my blog the other day and realised how much this was true of some of my favourite weddings from last year. So thought I’d share some advice and ideas from the most amazing weddings we got to capture last year.
- Probably the MOST important thing to make sure your photos capture the feel of your day, is to first select a photographer that “fits” with you as a couple. Our style is relaxed, genuine and family & friends orientated. So we tend to attract weddings that have that feel. Colleagues & friends of mine specialise in the “big Italian” weddings and the “hipster” weddings and the more “classic traditional” weddings. By having a really good look at your potential wedding photographers website, Facebook or Instagram feeds you can get an idea of their style and if it fits with your ideas. Then actually meeting with your shortlist and seeing if they make you feel comfortable, excited and reassured about your photography for your wedding.
- Once you’ve sorted out your photographer they can help you with the timeline of your day (in conjunction with your venues and/or caterers. This can really make a difference to how relaxed and happy you and your guests feel on the day. We try to find a balance between maximising time (and more importantly LIGHT) for your bridal party photos, and making sure your guests aren’t left to their own devices for too long between the ceremony and the reception. A good photographer can provide ideas on how long to allocate for congratulations and family photos, when the best time for bridal party photos will be and how to work with your caterers to get a great sunset shot. A May wedding with 80 guests at a single venue will have a very different photo timeline to a December wedding with 180 guests at a church and separate reception venue.
- Around 2 weeks before the wedding I send out my brides and checklist and information sheet, asking them for their family photo list, any special requirements for the day for guests eg: a elderly Grandad you is only staying until straight after the ceremony, meaning the photos with him will need to be done first. And any special details of their day. Generally speaking a “shot list” is not a great idea. Having confidence in your photograph means knowing they will capture your day beautifully, with all the styling details and story-telling. But it is really helpful to get an idea of “special things”. Like the mirror you are using to check your hair & make-up in an heirloom from your nan, or your son is your page boy is a bit shy, but he loves Shaun the Sheep, or your bridesmaid has flown all the way from Canada to attend your wedding and would love a pic with her family too. Those sorts of things are really useful info to me to help tell the story of YOUR day.
- Planning a special dance, bridal party entrance or speech with props for the reception. Make sure you tell us these in advance too. For instance, this wedding the groom played his saxophone for the Father & Daughter dance, because I knew about it in advance the videographer and I had set up some special lighting and positioned ourselves differently than we would have if only capturing the actual dance.
- Family photos are SO important. It can be tempting to throw your hands up in the air with family photos, but instead of being difficult to organise and time consuming, they can actually be one of the best part of your day, on the day, and the nicest of lasting memories with a bit of planning and communication. I generally advise couples to do a family photo list themselves, and then share it with their parents. Then we can get all the photos that are important to your loved ones, and know about them in advance – meaning we can easily stick to the time frame on the day without feeling rushed. We also avoid family photos feeling a bit stiff by having a gentle laugh with the family members. A silly question or a joke at family photo time can make these fun and relaxed, and often the laughing photos are the ones I see in the albums alongside with the more traditional group shots. Give yourself enough time for these photos and you definitely won’t regret it.
- Photo locations are another thing to chat about with your photographer. Often we will photograph at a location that is special to the couple, the spot of their engagement or their favourite place they walk their dog. On the other hand, often couples will say “where looks good?” Then I’ll ask them “are you beach, urban or park people?” So we can pick the prettiest spots that will suit them and their wedding style and vibe. Often in Perth it’s the beach or the river.
I hope these ideas help with your wedding photography planning and that your wedding is one of the best days of your lives. If you’d like any further info from us you can contact Mel via the website at www.melissasphotography.com.au or on 0406 016 106 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Having exhibited at the 2016 Vintage Bride Perth Wedding Fair we still have a special offer for all our Vintage Bride referrals.