Who should be attending the bride on the way to the church?

I am not going to make any friends with this particular posting.    But as a couple you really need to know exactly how to achieve the best shots at your wedding – and understand that some stuff is totally outside the control of your photographer.  

With that knowledge you can make decisions beforehand which will affect the look of your wedding photographs – if it is really important to you and if your photography is your priority.  And even though I may think pictures are important it isn’t necessarily the case for everyone.  I understand that  – really I do!  But finding out that things could have looked better by seeing it on your wedding photographs – well, by that time, its just too late.

Last year I photographed two weddings where I felt particuarly frustrated at the shots I couldn’t get.  At the first wedding I didn’t manage to get any shots of the bride arriving at the church door without the car company drivers in attendance. It was a beautiful wedding, lots of emotion and a very pretty church and angelic-looking kids.   An excellent wedding car company, two lovely drivers – but why did they feel the need to take on this ‘role’ at the wedding when there were bridesmaids around who could have done the job perfectly well?  And, sorry to say,  more prettily!

A group of bridesmaids lifting the skirts of the bride’s dress in a lovely procession to the church door is a beautiful moment to capture on camera – it has all the key people you need in there too.  So don’t allow the job to  be done by someone that you’ve only met once or twice – unless you really don’t care. 

At the second wedding the bride walked downstairs to greet her father – his first viewing of his daughter in all her glory – and there in the background the wedding coordinator smiling up at the camera.  Aaagh!  And no matter where I stood during those few moments,  I could not crop out the unnecessary personnel.   So frustrating, as I know that when it comes to your wedding albums, none of those shots will be chosen to go in your final selection.  In fact I don’t even bother putting them in the preview books these days.

As a B&G its up to you both to decide just how much attention you want from your suppliers on the day.  I know of florists who insist on being at the church to instruct on how to hold the bouquet.  Couldn’t that be sorted out at a pre-wedding meeting?   Drivers who insist on the ‘car shot’ with them in it?  Toastmasters who are more interested in the photo for their website than managing the crowds at your wedding.   

Go away, people!  This is an intimate moment – not a marketing opportunity!     

And the really good suppliers – these are the companies and venues that just get on with their jobs and don’t feel the need to dominate.  Their products and services speak loudly for themselves.  In fact, I’ve known businesses lose work because they are so ‘in-your-face’. 

I don’t have a particular gripe against wedding car companies – I have serious doubts about any wedding suppliers other than the photographer, the minister/registrars and possibly,  just possibly, the wedding coordinator at a hotel being present on the photographs in any major way.  I don’t understand why a wedding supplier might consider it to be part of their job description or why they would even want it   (I feel I have failed if I appear on any of the wedding shots when shooting as a team – I want to be invisible!).

So, just to reiterate….decide how much of a role you want your other suppliers to take.  If you have no problem with them appearing on your shots then just go with the flow and don’t be disappointed if you don’t get the shots you may have hoped for (Actually it may be that they are such a part of your day that you want shots of them anyhow).

But if you want to avoid this situation and get the pictures you want and that look nicest  – overcome your embarrassment and tell your drivers/florists/cakemaker etc that you want them to keep a low profile!

Hope I haven’t offended anyone here but sometimes you’ve just got to tell it how it is.   My customers don’t see the things that I do until they’re looking at their photos and by then its too late to do anything about it.  Only then do they realise why I risk life and limb by making posts like this!

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Caroline and John, 20th November 2009

We had so much stuff going on before Christmas and into the New Year that I have yet to post some of the weddings that we did at the end of 2009.

Caroline and John’s big day dawned bright and beautiful.  I had to drive through some fairly major puddles to get to the venue at Springfield House and all the fields around this lovely venue were awash.  Nevertheless the sun shone and, although a little parky at times, it was a really lovely day.

Caroline had this amazing pair of shoes – I can’t remember where they came from but they were really funky and had these sweet little cat creatures painted on the soles.

And one of her friends had this perky little fascinator  – she told me where she got it from but I’m sworn to secrecy!

The flowers came from Zime Design in Lytham.  They are listed on our favourites section on the website,  mainly because I think Catherine who runs it is a very pleasant lady.  But I think the deep purpley red of the lilies was fabulous and it was lovely to see a proper hand-tied bouquet.  (Its one of my pet hates to have plastic handpieces on a bouquet – they are never very effective and I ‘ve had situations where the flowers just drop out of them whilst the bride is holding them – so be warned).  Catherine and her team did a fabulous job.

Caroline was one of the easiest brides to work with – she never stopped smiling the whole time.   In fact, disconcertingly perhaps for John, she giggled the whole way through the ceremony –  but in the nicest possible way.  John said afterwards that he knew she would either laugh or cry – the emotion of the day sends people in different directions! 

Caroline and John had three of the nicest children and they were easy to photograph – no big tantrums and tiaras (though the hair pieces were very nice!).  They just got on with having a great time.  There were quite a few children there that day – a big family wedding – and they were all really well behaved.  Just nice kids to be around.

Sara is the lady who runs Springfield House.  She has had this fabulous venue for a few years now and has  made great improvements – lovely decor and fairly uncluttered despite being an older property.  The lounge with the open fire was really welcoming for the older members of the party and less noisy than the bar area.  Great for those who just wanted a little calm after all the madness and excitement of the day.

One of my favourite things about Springfield House  are the chandeliers which I think look lovely and sparkly, particularly for a winter wedding.   They are in the very welcoming entrance way, also with a grand staircase and under Sara’s eye it has been decorated very elegantly.  It makes for a very special and intimate wedding.

It would be really nice to be able to photograph groups on something other than the lawn – because during the winter the ladies heels are going to sink into the grass.  Which leads to the guests feeling a bit reluctant – so it would be good to be able to photograph from the room above the entrance way.  I did try to scramble through the 6″ gap but sadly even my weedy frame wouldn’t allow it.  So a ladder job it had to be (with my trusty assistant for the day, Marianne, holding it steady!).  But the resulting shot was good and I was pleased with it.

Caroline and John have been one of my favourite couples of the year.  They were really easy-going and seemed to embrace the day for all the right reasons. The light at the end of the day for photos was lovely – just golden and gave Caroline this lovely halo effect.  Her hair looked fab anyway.

Thanks for selecting Fotoamour to photograph your wedding and hope you have enjoyed your fabulous montage.  I’m looking forward to using some of the photos with that wonderful late afternoon sun in the gallery, when I get it updated later this spring.

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