Part of getting married means hiring professional helpers (like me) to take care of aspects of your big day. The wedding photography being just one entry on a long (and seemingly endless) to-do list.
As a past bride I'm familiar with this process. It can be fun, but also time-consuming too. Because part of what it means to plan your 'perfect day' is articulating what you actually want. From the types of chairs your guests will sit on, to the number of tiers to your wedding cake. If you've only just started down the road of wedding planning, prepare to be asked A LOT of questions.
Your wedding photos are no exception. And any good photographer worth her (or his) salt will sit down with you to work out your requirements before the big day (commonly known as a photo brief). But - and here's the catch - you don't have to include EVERY photo you want in your brief. In fact, your requirements should be 100% unique to you and your wedding. And definitely not a generic list lifted off the Internet.
So, if you're struggling to put together a brief for your wedding photographer, here are my 5 'dos and don'ts' of wedding photography briefing that (if followed to a T) will ensure you get the pics to do your day justice.
1. Don't list every detail
I LOVE a list. List making to me is one of life's little pleasures. But, when it comes to your wedding day photography, not everything needs to be written down in black and white.
If you've taken a look at my portfolio (or chatted with me in person) you know I'm all about the details. From the bride's shoes to the bouquet, I don't miss a beat. I know the hard work, late night planning and DIY projects that go into a wedding. Be it 100 origami swans or 80 handwritten sonnets.
We get that you've put a lot of love, thought (and expense) into your wedding. So we make a point of capturing every little detail of it. Without you telling us to (we're just that on it).
2. Do talk to your photographer
I'm a firm believer that a little open and honest communication can solve most things in life. I get there might be burning questions you have about the wedding photography process. And it's my job as your photographer to answer them.
But equally in this process I'm counting on you to tell me all about YOUR wedding day. So I know what's vital - above all else - to capture on camera. From the key people in your party, to those unique touches that are yours alone. Whether you're wearing your late grandmother's pearls on loan from your mum, or have something special on the underside of your shoe. These are the all-important things I need you to flag up in advance.
3. Don't try and recreate someone else's wedding
The quest to find your wedding photographer is a bit like Goldilocks & The Three Bears. You'll look at hundreds of websites and galleries until you finally find the one that's just right.
But (and here's the crucial thing to keep in mind) your wedding isn't like any other. Your wedding is a one of a kind event and it deserves one of a kind photos. Photos that tell the story of YOUR wedding day (emphasis on the your).
So if you see an image you love (whether on Pinterest or in a photographer's portfolio) don't try to recreate it. It might be the most special photo you've ever seen. But trust me, your wedding photos will be even more special. You know why? Because they're yours. Your photos will be of your moments. And that's what makes a wedding photo truly beautiful.
4. Do keep the formal shots short
Here's the thing, I get brides come to me all the time who say they love candid wedding photography (i.e. shots that aren't staged). And that's great! Because I LOVE candid wedding photography too! But then they hand over a photo brief containing 30 formal photos and I'm left scratching my head.
Now don't get me wrong, it's not that I have anything against formal shots (I really don't). And I definitely do them. But your wedding is a celebration, not a photo shoot. And formal photos take A LONG time (sometimes over an hour). So, if you really do want candid images, my advice is to keep your formal photo list short and sweet (we're talking 10-15 shots and ideally no more than 4-5 people in a group). This ensures you cover all of the most important people in your wedding party. And then get back to enjoying your big day.
Photos are an important part of your wedding. But so is experiencing it. If you're looking for tips on how to nail your group shots we have a fab blog post below.
5. Do create your 'ultimate top 5 photos'
I'm a visual person (I'd be in the wrong line of work if I wasn't) so I get that a picture is sometimes the best way of articulating what you want. Especially when it comes to your wedding photography.
So I'm all for couples sending me images as a point of reference. But, I advise limiting this to five photos only. For the pure and simple fact that 5 images tells me what it is you REALLY LOVE. Not just like. Or kind of like. Or possibly might like. But actually LOVE with all your heart.
Whittling down your photo references to a final top 5 forces you to really focus on what it is about each image that makes your heart sing. So in the end, those 5 photos tell me so much more about what it is you're looking for, than hundreds ever could.
If you're looking for a wedding photographer who listens, cares, and genuinely wants to give you the best wedding day images ever, drop me a line. As well as weddings locally in Hampshire, I also travel further afield for my couples (including destination weddings abroad) so let's have a (no-obligation) chat about what you’re looking for.