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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Recommending a wedding photographer

We’ve just had one of our questionnaires back from Joanna and Mark Needham who had their wedding earlier this year.  I’m going to copy it here for you now.

” Its a joy to deal with a company that is so slick and professional.  Your attention to detail and organisation of your business is fabulous and we would highly recommend you.  PS….we love your blog!”

Thank you, Jo and Mark.

We have had a mega busy time of it this year.  That’s fantastic.  We’re really happy that so many of you have beaten a path to our door.

We pride ourselves on our service both before, on, and after the big day itself.  With all the weddings that we have been shooting there is inevitably the danger that we will miss something, or be a bit late in delivering your stuff to you.  Or we might make a very rare mistake – because we’re human.

In such cases we will go out of our way to rectify the problem as quickly and efficiently as possible.    We never question your right to get the best service – ever.

But most of the time we do get it magnificently, fabulously, wonderfully right.    We know we do.   Because we ask all our couples to fill in our questionnaires and return them to us with their comments on our service.  And what they tell us is that they love what we do, they love our customer-friendly pricing and payment systems and they love our professionalism.

Sometimes you also tell us that some of our products are a little beyond your budget and you’d like us to make them a little less expensive.    We have listened to these comments but the bottom line is that we have to make some profit to enable us to keep trading.    We’re a small business and not a nationwide conglomerate.   Nevertheless, through a variety of different methods and by asking the right questions we frequently find more manageable solutions to the problem.  All you need to do is ask the question!

We always try to be kind, always honest and want our customers to go away with the best possible impression of us.   We’re only human and we occasionally get it wrong but when we are, we always put it right.

See you soon.

Joanna and Mark – 5th September 2009

Jo is a make-up artist and we first met her when Martyn shot Rochelle and Simon Billington’s wedding a couple of years ago. (Jo was wearing this fab spotty dress and looked amazing – and she is a really good make-up artist too.)  So we were really pleased when she asked Fotoamour to photograph her wedding.

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As you would expect her prep shots were lovely and Jo was particularly keen that we get some good shots of their bulldog, Frank.  How’s this?!Needham Coole 050909

I love the White Church in Lytham and particularly the minister, David Philips, who presides there.  He is very laid back and is happy for front of church shots – though we try to be as unobtrusive as possible.   Mark looked at bit nervous at times but he was supported by a great Best Man and a bunch of usher/mates!

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It was a fab dress – by Frothimoon (never heard of it – you’ll have to google!) and cars were by one of my favourites for sheer unobtrusiveness – JetSet Limousines.

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It was a bit of a miserable day weatherwise, it has to be said, so all group shots were taken in the church which was a bit of a life-saver as everyone would have been chilly outside.  However, as with all good weddings the inclement weather didn’t spoil the mood – this was a real bunch of party people!

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Jo and Mark were photographed in their room at The Grand Hotel, St. Annes.  Jo and Mark have the most amazing blue eyes – stunning.

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Needham Coole 050909

I loved their cake too – simple but with a real ‘wow’.  It was made by a family friend – Robyn.  Flowers were also by a family friend, Bev.  This is one of the very best ways to go about sorting out your wedding – budget or no budget, as every element of your day will really mean something special to you. 

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