Most couples have never had professional wedding photographs taken in the past, so...

I figured it would be a good idea to talk you through a typical wedding day so you know what to expect from me, I understand that most weddings are slightly different in procedure and that your wedding may not be the same as explained but hopefully it'll give you a better idea of how I work and how I approach a wedding.

Basically, I’m a natural light wedding photographer and only use flash during once the sun has gone down during your wedding reception, my main priority is to always make sure that you both feel totally comfortable with me throughout the day and my second priority is to uniquely tell your wedding story. It's your wedding day and you both deserve to have unique wedding pictures; this is why I approach every wedding with a clean slate by making sure I stay inspired and introduce a new idea or technique to each wedding that I photograph.

This guide will talk you through each part of the day, in a typical UK wedding order whilst offering tips and techniques that you can use along the way to help better the photography in situations out of the photographers control because truth be told, lighting is everything in photography and a little preparation can make for some very flattering photographs.
 


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Let's start by describing the morning preparations...

I always try my best to convince couples to have their Bridal (or sometimes Groom) preparations photographed because it’s a perfect visual lead-up to your wedding pictures, during this time I capture so many great moments and good lighting always help capture these in a more elegant way.

Brides often get very paranoid in regards to preparations photography because they'll feel uncomfortable being photographed with no makeup on or some seem to think that I will be in the room with them while they are getting changed into their wedding dress, I can reassure you now that's not how it works! I am very courteous to the Brides needs and will always leave the room prior to anyone getting changed, and I just ask to be called back into the room once you feel comfortable. Each Brides comfort differs from person to person; some ask me to return once the back of the dress is due to be fastened and some call me back once their fully clothed, either is fine.


How can I help improve the photographs during my preparations?

Lighting, lighting and more lighting, I can't over exaggerate this enough! I would recommend getting prepared in a clean spacious room with windows that let in enough daylight to light the room evenly whilst the lights off, this can be easily achieved by renting out homes or getting ready in a bed and breakfasts instead of hotel rooms because most hotels contain signs such as 'no-smoking' and very peculiar carpet choices. Also, please ensure you're not getting natural light confused with florescent lighting, florescent lighting is blue and will make your skin look blue/green when being photographed.

Often I arrive shortly after the hair or make-up professional arrives but the most common occurrence is that some hair professionals often unintentionally prioritise your seat location near or next to a plug or power supply which tends to be the darkest corner of the room with the least flattering light, obviously you want your photography to be amazing and usually once the team have set camp it is quite difficult to move locations so my advice to you is to open all the curtains in the room so you can get as much natural light as possible and also position your chair so that you are sat in that natural light, getting everyone to work around you.

My aim is to arrive at the wedding ceremony location 45 minutes prior to the wedding starting, the consequence to this is that if you require a photograph of yourself in your wedding dress or a fun portrait session of your bridal party and bridesmaids then you will need to be in your wedding dress earlier than expected, this is not always necessary as you could potentially be getting ready really close-by.


 

“It was a total pleasure working with Antony - we contacted him very last minute and he was immediately incredibly friendly, helpful and accommodating to our plans. On the day, he was a warm, professional but unobtrusive presence and as someone who often finds the process of having photos taken rather over-exposing, Tom and I both felt very comfortable and at ease with him. When we received the photos afterwards, we were both blown away by the quality and the way the day had been captured. I would totally recommend him to anyone and I can only say thank you so much Antony for being there as part of our day and for giving us such a beautiful record to remember it by!”

 


Here's the most important part of your day, the wedding ceremony...

The Wedding is what everyone's come to see and witness! I always aim to arrive at your wedding 45 minutes before the wedding ceremony starts so I can photograph the venue details, guests arriving and also the groom and groomsmen all getting ready for the wedding... I call this the 'Nervous Groom' pictures. Technically, all you both have to do is arrive, it's quite simple.

I document your wedding quietly like a fly on the wall, trying not to attract any attention to myself so I can photograph yourself easily and guests watching your wedding undisturbed. I often find myself moving locations between readings, applause's or hymns so you have a variety of photographs from different angles, this is mostly dedicated towards church or weddings held inside because if you're getting married outside then natural sounds will drown-out any footsteps or camera sounds.

If you're getting married inside a church then corporation is required between myself and the vicar / priest / rector to get the best possible results as under contract I am limited by the photography guidelines of the ceremony official, these rules can vary in different parishes with rules stretching from 'no photography' to 'free rein'.


How can I help improve the photographs during my wedding ceremony?

If you are getting married outdoor you'll most likely going to be standing in direct sunlight, if there's no shaded area or just spotted light from the leafs under a tree then try to avoid the hours between 10am till 3pm, as beautiful as it looks with the naked eye, it sadly leaves harsh shadows under eyes and nose which is unflattering.

Sadly some couples have missed out on some amazing photography opportunities because of restrictions held in the church (as explained above) so I would really advise for you to notify the ceremony official that you have a professional photographer present and that you would like no restriction placed on the photographer in regards to where he will stand or how many photographs he will take, this way if I am approached by the official asking me to "stand at the back of the church" or to "not to take any photographs" I can mention that I have no restriction.

It's a good idea for the Groom and the Groomsmen to refrain from attaching any button holes or final details such as watches etc, until I arrive so I can photograph these events acting as a mini-preparation for the Groom.

Please walk down the isle slowly whilst leaving a big gap between the Bride and Bridesmaids, at most weddings the bridesmaids walk down the isle first followed by the Bride and father of the Bride but unknowingly to everyone else the photographer is unable to see the Bride or father of the Bride as the bridesmaids are obstructing the view, I would advise you to either let the bride walk down the isle first or for the bridesmaids to walk down the isle first with a big gap followed by the bride.


 

"Being a wedding photographer is a tough gig; you need to be aloof yet attentive, traditional yet creative. Antony, however, made it look effortless. What's more, he felt like an old friend, even though I only met him in person for the first time an hour before taking my place at the front of the aisle. Of course, even though he was the perfect photographer for our relaxed wedding, it wouldn't have meant much if we didn't like the finished photos. Of this, prospective couples should hold no fear. The (huge) portfolio of shots he supplied was simply stunning, capturing all the beauty and emotion (and a number of details I had even missed!) His eye for detail is superb and his final edit can only be described as 'sumptuous'. He's always willing to go the extra mile and, perhaps the greatest compliment we can give is, looking back through the album brings back the best day of my life with perfect clarity."

 


My favourite time of the day is during cocktail hour...

This is the point where I would have personally congratulated you both on your marriage because you now official husband and wife, covered in confetti and you cannot stop smiling!

Don't worry if you can't see me as I will usually be scouting the area for the group shots and taking photographs of all the guests congratulating you, giving you kisses, hugs, manly handshakes and they'll be all asking to see that beautiful ring now on your finger. I do love cocktail hour as this gives me a chance to observe and capture all the wedding guests telling jokes, stories and general chit-chat and this gives me a good understanding of characters at your wedding and who will be smiling or laughing next.

During this time I also prioritise capturing the elderly grandparents and young children at your wedding as sometimes the elderly, children and their parents leave prior to the wedding reception.


How can I help improve the photographs during cocktail hour?

I would really recommend having lawn games or fun activity's ready for guests to use and play whilst canapésare being handed out as this makes for great natural documentary photographs and it's also best to organise cocktail hour where you would like your formal group photographs taken because moving people from one place to another is very challenging, especially if you had elderly guests.

If you're looking for ideas on how to entertain guests, here's a few examples which I've captured in the past:

  • Ferret Racing
  • Space Hoppers
  • Swingball
  • Giant Jenga
  • Giant Draughts
  • Sack Race
  • Horseshoes
  • Petanque
  • Table Tennis
  • Beer Pong
  • Lawn Bowling
  • Croquet

 

"Where do I start, if you’re looking at booking Ant as your wedding photographer look no further - he’s your one! As soon as we met him it felt as if we’d known him forever. Making us feel photogenic and comfortable behind the camera is a tough gig, but he made us at ease instantly! The wedding day was made enjoyable by having him there, then the comments we got from guests about our amazing photographer (both there for every moment, and the nicest guy!) started rolling in. The communication, keeping us up to date with editing, and the sneak previews to keep us absolutely hooked on our day! We then received our photographs, and I suddenly felt the excitement of the wedding day. We were absolutely blown away! How on earth could one man be here there and everywhere? And not miss a minute! How did you capture that emotion, that moment, that love. You only have to see 1 of our photographs, to understand just who we are - loud and laughing all the time. An Australian wedding was different than the norm, but this was taken in Ants stride, and wow did he ace it! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. I still can’t wipe the smile off my face and I can’t stop looking at the pictures! I’d recommend Antony 10 times out of 10 over and over again!"

 


I capture traditional yet relaxed formal group photographs...

When photographing formal group photographs I will ask you to choose one location where you would like these taken, this could either be the ceremony or reception location, all the group photos will take place at this site, the reason behind this is because people are very hard to get motivated while they are in cocktail hour mode and moving people from one place to another is very challenging.

I do two types of group photographs, the traditional formal - which is where all member are in one strait line, all tight together and these are the photographs most of the parents and grandparents want and following the formals I immediately shoot the non-traditional in-formal group portraits, these portraits capture people relaxing, throwing their jacket over the shoulder and sometimes not even looking at the camera but at each other, these are my favourites as it makes the formals a fun experiance for everyone.


How can I help improve the formal group photographs of my friends and family?

I often ask clients to provide me with a group shot list of around 10 groups combinations so the group shots only last around 30 minutes, if your having difficulty formulating a list use this standard list as a starting point.

  1. Bride and Groom
  2. Bride with Bridesmaids
  3. Groom with Groomsmen
  4. Bride with Parents
  5. Bride and Groom with Bridal Party (Bridesmaids, Groomsmen, Ushers and Flower-girls)
  6. Bride and Groom with Brides Immediate Family (Mother, Father, Siblings and Grandparents)
  7. Bride and Groom with Brides Family (Immediate and extended family)
  8. Groom with Parents
  9. Bride and Groom with Grooms Immediate Family (Mother, Father, Siblings and Grandparents)
  10. Bride and Groom with Grooms Entire Family (Immediate and extended family)

Once the list has been completed, please print out and hand this to at least two wedding guests who know most of each family so they can help assist in gathering people ready for the group photographs.


 

"Antony was amazing on the day, everyone felt relaxed around him during the preparation in the morning and throughout the day we felt as if we barely noticed him - which made seeing the final photos all the more fantastic and emotional to be honest - he captured things we’d not even realise he’d seen. We wanted very natural shots and very few posed photos - Antony was pleased about this as this is his style although was more than happy to do a handful of formal shots to please the parents! We hired Antony because we saw his website and met up with him for a coffee about a year before the wedding - we got on straight away and felt that he really understood what we wanted."

 


Let's get creative when photographing your wedding portraits...

The portraits usually occur directly after photographing the group shots, I ask the Bride and Groom to give me as much time as they can give me, a recommended minimum time of 20 minutes is required for me to get a few portraits but 40 minutes plus would result in some incredible portraits!

The Wedding portraits are so simple, I've had couples say to me after I've photographed their portraits “Is that it?" and "That was so easy” this is because instead of asking you to pose, I direct people, creating natural laughter and movement, it's very natural and it feels effortless. I will ask you both to give each other a few kisses and cuddles, and I will also put you both in some nervous but fun scenarios which will help express natural laughs and smiles. My priority for the portrait session is to capture you, as a couple, I do this by starting at a distance and then get closer and closer gaining your confidence until I'm only a few feet away, I know it sounds a little nerve-racking, but I am a firm believer that capturing the emotion and atmosphere of the subject cannot be captured at a distance.


How can I help improve the wedding portraits?

I would recommend inviting a Bridesmaid or Groomsmen along to the portrait session, I'll be able to use them for laughing ammo to help you relax and they'll also be very helpful when carrying your wedding flowers and accessories if necessary.

Most of the main portraits occur directly after the group photographs during the day, so there's no need to worry about the light being too dark etc, but if you wish to have portraits taken at sunset then you will need to schedule an additional 15 minute portrait session during your reception about 30 minutes prior to sundown, these make for amazing portraits!


 

"Antony blended into our day so well, half the time we didn’t even notice he was there and when it came time to do portraits he made it such an enjoyable experience! I think we were laughing the whole time rather than smiling, our cheeks certainly hurt afterwards! A real pro when it comes to making people feel relaxed, I’d really recommend Antony to anyone! The result is stunningly fresh, completely unlike all the stiff posed wedding photos I’ve seen a million times before. We booked Antony for his individual style and look, one that caught my eye as soon as I saw it."

 


Capturing the energy and atmosphere of your wedding reception...

Every wedding reception I have been to is very different in regards to the procedure, but it's very apparent that this is when the party starts! Often I get to the wedding reception after the portraits whilst all your friends and guests are outside socialising and I photograph all the untouched details of your wedding reception (cake, decorations and room layout) so I can showcase the atmosphere and build a mood through the photos.

If you have any quiet moments during your wedding reception then I sometimes ask guests if they require any mini-group photographs of them and other guests, this usually only lasts a few seconds but creates some amazing photographs of your guests without eating into the formal photographs time.

I treat the reception similar to how I treat the cocktail hour, I observe and capture the guests talking to each other seated at tables or having a joke at the bar until I've captured most of the guests socialising. Once everyone is up and dancing after your first dance I get right into the middle of the action and photograph everyone within close proximity getting some really energetic photographs of your guests dancing.

I never leave a wedding until I am 100% satisfied that your wedding day has been told to my best ability and also ask you, 30 minutes before leaving, if there is anything else that you require or if there's anything you think I have missed.


How can I help improve the photographs during my wedding reception?

If you're having a DJ please request them to turn off any crazy, laser or unnatural coloured lights for your first dance, these lights will leave your skin looking unattractive and multicoloured
, after the first dance you can tell your DJ to turn on the light show.

If your reception is held outside then it'll be a good idea to think about lighting the area, this can be achieved by using natural looking warm bulbs, you'll find that Italian string lights are a beautiful way to add lots of light plus bokeh (out of focus orbs in the background so some of my photographs) to your photographs, they're ideal for creating borders around dance floors etc.

If you like the look of night-time portraits, then I would suggest to book a 10 minutes window for these once all the formalities of your wedding reception is over, this allows you to step aware from the craziness and have one last portrait.


 

"We were entirely confident about Antony photographing our big day, with so many details to worry about, it was nice to know that our photographer was not one of them! Antony was just as lovely with our friends and family at our wedding. I have to say, I was so busy enjoying the wedding that I barely noticed him working on the day (as it should be!). But everyone commented on what a pleasant guy he was, and when we got our photos back we were amazed to see all kinds of fun that we hadn’t even noticed at the wedding. He managed to be everywhere at once! He caught the little kids playing together, grown-up hijinks on a tightrope and all sorts of merrymaking throughout – as he had stayed with us from the early morning preparations until the bitter end of crazy dancing. All shot with such an eye for composition and character. Dedication, creativity, good humour – this guy is the perfect wedding photographer."