Below, you will find short tips and tricks from my perspective. You do not have to go by them at all, however I would like to show you how can you make the most out of your Wedding Day, minimise time spent on taking photos and maximise time spent with your guests. If you use some of my tips, Great! If none, that’s OK! I will still do my best to capture your day in the most beautiful way.

I have divided this article to the sections on how the day would run. This is a gather of my thoughts from previous Weddings that I had an opportunity to photograph. Please be mindful, that some tips may relate to other parts of the day as well. I hope you will find the read interesting and beneficial when planning your Big Day.

Preparations

Relax and Enjoy

As I capture reality, I am not able to add or remove things that did not happen during Your Day. What I mean by that, if you relax during your Wedding day, this is how you are going to be captured on photographs. Yes I know, this is the most important day in your lives and nerves are expected. Surround yourself with only closest of people in the morning. People that you enjoy being with and put you at ease. Have a clear time plan for the morning and add on extra 45 minutes for any delays. Don’t forget to eat a breakfast, that will keep you for bit longer. Work with reasonable people, that will keep you relaxed and excited about your day. Communicate with vendors beforehand to see how much time do they need for makeup/hair/flowers/car etc. Have a good sleep a night before (I know, its impossible ;)).

Room Tidy

I worked in various places. I’ve seen quite a lot, from knickers on the ground to clothes lying literally everywhere. I will work in such a conditions no problem, but be mindful that I can catch that mess in some photographs. However, When the room is tidy, I’m able to capture much more interesting photographs, as I focus on you and not on avoiding the mess.

Have Details Ready

The very first thing I do when I come to my Bride, I say Hello :) The second thing is, I start to shoot details. Dress, shoes, flowers, invitations, jewellery and other bits that I find interesting. Maybe there are some things close to your heart that you wish me to photograph. Just have it all ready for me.

Putting up the dress

This is more of an advise on how not to get late. Make sure, that your maid of honour/mom knows how to zip/tie up the dress. I’ve seen it countless times, where a bride would take up to 45 minutes to put up a dress, running late for the ceremony. If you have a zip dress, likely 10-20 minutes is enough. If you have a tie up, that may take 20-40 minutes if untrained hands take care of you. Do not forget about the shoes, jewellery and other bits, that also take time.

Forget About Me

I work hard form the very start of the day to have good relaxed contact with everyone so people starts to forget about me within 20 minutes of me starting up. Once that happens, natural and organic reactions starts to appear. Your family and friends can stand in front of me, pass in front of camera and so on. They can ignore me completely. I will work around to get the best out of the situation.

Ceremony

Civil Ceremony

I decided to split it to two parts as different obstacles happens during different venues. If you plan indoor ceremony, there are very little things that can go wrong. You can control the elements of this part so we can move things around to suit us.

Church Ceremony

Oh boy. This part of the day is quite difficult as I have no control over anything. Priest is the person running the show, and I have to go by whatever he says. In the past, I’ve been asked to stop taking photos, do not go up the altar at any time, do not get close to the bride and groom. And no, I wasn’t in a face of everyone. During each ceremony I always respect the place we are in. I try to make slow moves to not bring attention to myself. I keep myself low. I wait for moments. I always talk to the priests before the ceremony. I try to eliminate any possibility of being pointed at during the mass. But priests are all different. While the most of them are lovely and really open, there are exceptions. Just be mindful of all that when it comes to choosing your church and a priest.

Guests and their cameras

Do consider to do an unplugged ceremony. What that means, you let your guests know, in a polite way, to keep the phones in their pockets during the ceremony. I have seen so many people stepping into the aisle with their iPads, or a row of phone screens while the bride walk down the aisle. Let people enjoy the ceremony with their hearts and not their cameras, my images will look better, and I will have greater chance to create more intimate moments of your guests during the ceremony. The best way to do it, is to talk to a priest/celebrant so they can mention it at the very start of the ceremony.

Family Photos

Delegate

Make sure to have one or two people for delegation. Usually your siblings/bridal party are the perfect choice. They can round up people for us very quickly. We will agree beforehand, where about and when we could do the family portraits. We are weather dependant on the day so its good to have two options. I work very efficiently during that part, and you would be surprised how quick I get these photos done. The longest part of shooting family portraits, is waiting for all of the people involved to turn up. Once we plan that ahead, we will minimise the time to complete that part.

Shotlist

I never work with a shotlist during the day. That said, I would love to get a shotlist of family photos that you wish me to complete. I normally complete Bride and Groom with:
one side of parents
second side of parents
parents together
One side of siblings
Other side of siblings
If you plan anything extra, please think about sending me on a shotlist so we can tick it as we go along and we don’t miss that important set.

Portraits

Light

Light is the most important element in a photograph. I always look for moody, not so obvious, interesting light to create something different. Sun is not always our best friend as it creates harsh lighting conditions that make people to squint. But its not an issue for me as I will work around it to turn the obstacle into beautiful opportunity.

Location

I normally scout locations for portraits beforehand. Whether I drive up few weeks before a Wedding, or come earlier in the morning of Wedding for a walk, I will note my favourite spots, where we could do some photos. I will be mindful of distance and time we would need to complete the shots. I will respect your decision on how much time would you like to give me in this part.

Privacy

While we do the portraits, its important to stay away from your guests. I only work with what Im given. I will give you clear instructions on what we can go for in your photographs and I would need from you a focus on each other. Other people hanging around destroys the moment of intimacy, that we would need to create something beautiful.

Weather Conditions

It could be cold, could be super hot, could be really windy (hello beaches!) could be wet. We have to be ready for everything in Ireland. That’s why some plans may change because of that. Have a think if you would mind to go out in rain, would you like to use umbrella etc. brave couples, better pictures.

Timing

Im a great fan of getting photos done after the ceremony as quickly as possible. Lets get the family photos and bridal party out of the way so they can go back and enjoy the rest of the day. Lets get the portraits done straight after that, so you can maximise time spent during the reception. I will talk to you about it closer to your Wedding.

Permissions

If you plan to use some awesome places, make sure to get the permissions, if needed. For example St. Stephen’s Green park will not let you in without written permission obtained in advance. Just double check with your location if you require one.

Sunset

Sunset occurs at different times every day. That might be a wonderful photo opportunity to go out and snap something beautiful. If I spot that sunset is going to be awesome, I will run in to you and say ‘let’s go out! we will get something WOW’. Now, I do not want to disturb you during the meal, but quite often that happens. I just want to let you know that light is king, and there might be another photo opportunity. Have a think if you would be up for it.

Connection

This is by far the most important element of your portrait shoot. Connection between two of You. How do I work on my portraits ? I give you freedom. I’m aware that you are not sure what to do in front of camera. I treat every shoot like a date. We set up ‘your first date’ and we go for a walk. That will keep a fresh and interesting energy between you. I will point out the spots where we can create something awesome. I can even direct how you can stand together for an intimate and close connection. I need to sense you, how do you feel in front of me. If you are a romantic couple, we will go this direction. If you are funny type, we will keep the shoot funny and sometimes awkward. Its important for me to capture real connection between You.

General

Let me know unusual stuff

If you plan anything unusual during the day, please let me know. I promise to keep it a secret. If a groom plans to sing or play a guitar during the ceremony, I would love to know that so I can get ready for it.

Schedule

We will agree on the schedule of the day before hand, that includes when we will complete some of the must-shots. I love to have a good plan for the day, because it eliminates time wasting and wondering what happens next. That also helps you to go back to your family and friends for celebration without spending too long on photos. But be mindful of last minute changes (location for family photos due to better light, or a weather condition). I will try to communicate them in an efficient manner.

Cutting the Cake

A lot of hotels like to do ‘fake cake shot’. I’ve no problem doing it, as I feel its an important shot to have. However, I prefer to wait for the real moment, when its announced by the best man. Real emotions appear and your guests connect with you. They also have a chance to snap couple of images of you, which creates another photo opportunity for me.

Chewing Gum

This one is quite obvious and I mention it just as a reminder. Trying to capture your natural smile is challenging, but also really rewarding for me when I manage to catch it. Having a chewing gum in the middle of your teeth isn’t really pleasing.

End Note

Thanks so much for spending time to read the article above. I hope that will give you a better idea on how to plan the timeframe of your day, and what can you expect from me. That’s my thoughts and advices based on my experience.