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!


Weddings, Wedding Fairs and Nice People

OK so its been a really busy weekend at Fotoamour.

Firstly we had Maria and Simon’s wedding at Bartle Hall.  We were blessed with wonderful weather and all the elements were right for some great shots.   A VW Campervan was one of the stars of the show and it was great fun photographing Maria and Simon sampling the delights of it.   The company was Morecambe and Wize  (www.morecambeandwize.co.uk)  tel: 0844 8797265.  The driver was great and accommodating  without being a pain and insisting on ‘The Car Shot’!  He was also dressed nicely – in a suit and not the typical chauffeur/driver kind of outfit.  What a refreshing change!

Bartle Hall are a good venue and the staff are friendly.   I like the ceremony room that Maria and Simon were married in, although it is very dark when the curtains are drawn.  Don’t know whether anything can be done about that, but given the private, secluded nature of the ceremony room I would have thought it would be easy enough to rectify. 

The next day we were covering two weddings – Louisa and Mark in Middlewich and Karen and Adam in Scotforth.

Both were church weddings followed by lovely hotels – in Louisa and Mark’s case Cranage Hall, Cheshire.  With Karen and Adam it was The Fabulous Barton Grange Hotel (why don’t you change the name permanently?!).  In both cases we were blessed with just really kind and helpful hotel staff to work with and families that were great fun.  Thanks for making things easy for us, guys.

Finally, a wedding fair yesterday at The Tickled Trout Hotel.  Thanks very much to all those people who visited my stand – the lovely couple who were weighing up Ferrari’s and The Preston Marriott.  Hope my advice helped you make the right decision and think about some alternatives too.  The sweetheart who visited my stand late on with an April wedding next year and who had been waiting patiently until I was available to chat.  Lynne who booked her wedding with me there and then for August at The Willows in Salford.    There were so many more who were just lovely and pleasant people – come back and book me!!  I want to photograph your weddings!

I’d also like to say a big thanks to Maxine and Natasha at The Little White Book Company who organised the day and also to Helen Hacking of the Tickled Trout.  She’s a woman after my own heart, that girl.   (Nice shoes, Helen and Natasha!)