Wedding photography tips for brides..
“My fiancé and I really like the idea of documentary wedding photography, but I know my parents will want formal photos. We’re not keen on the idea of spending lots of time our wedding day posing for photos. How can we get the wedding photos we want and keep my parents happy?”
Please refer to my answer in Part 1 for the details on documentary wedding photography. However, just to add that a professional wedding photographer should be able to provide you with the style of photography you like and also with a selection of group shots to keep your parents happy.
In spite of what the impression or your experiences may be, the posed group shots needn’t take around an hour (something couples regularly tell us about weddings they have been at) or be overly formal or even awkward. This part of the day can be relaxed and fun if your photographer is able to engage the wedding party with some good humour and keeping the time spent on group shots to a minimum.
For lots of couples, the family group shots are seen as a necessity to keep other family members happy on the day. In fact, this can be a unique opportunity for families to be together in the same place so it’s a good chance to get such shots. While we have shot weddings where there have been no group shots planned or even taken, it is a rare occurrence. In fact, at a recent civil partnership we shot at Knowsley Hall, the guys said when we met up that they definitely did not want any groups..however, on the day, they realized that they would like a couple doing after all which, of course, was fine.
The fact is, your wedding photographer is working both with and for you so there is a certain amount of give and take required here. It’s important for the couple to understand a photographer’s style before the wedding so there are no surprises on the day. So, for example, we will not supply countless images of shoes, dresses or other details. Of course, we will shoot some of these but the focus of our photography will be the people and not the things. We are also not going to prompt and/ or direct shots like all the guys holding the bride, spot colouring or other such examples
As long as this is all clear before the wedding, it makes it a better experience for everyone on the day.
Ask your potential photographer for examples of full weddings (not just sample albums and portfolios) so you can get a feel for the amount of group shots they do. This will also help you understand whether they actually are documentary wedding photographers or are merely using that label to make them appear more attractive. Maybe you mentioned that’s a style you like and they are simply telling you what you want to hear.
We have lots of clients that really like documentary wedding photography but do stop short of actually having 100% documentary images with no group shots at all. Almost all of these will cite their parents as their main reason for wanting some posed group shots. Discuss the shots you want with your photographer and aim for a sensible amount so they won’t take too much time and end up dominating your day. We usually suggest around 8 group shots are sufficient and should only take around 15 minutes to complete. In 2015, our times for group shots has varied from 11 to 21 minutes.
Let your photographer know if you want any specific family shots you want, and perhaps assign a guest to round up those people on the day for you. It is important to note this point is family shots and important people that you want a photo with in a more traditional style. This is not about telling your photography you would like a shot of you and your husband on the bridge in the garden, or on the steps in front of the venue, let the photographer that you are paying for use their expertise and experience to find and suggest great places for a shot. Trust them, they will have years of experience and may have even shot at your wedding venue before too.
Stay tuned for the final, thrilling installment of this mini series, “how long will my photographer stay, or will I get value for money?”
Please feel free to ask any questions or add your comments below…cheers, Ian