At this time of year we always seem to be meeting and skyping with a lot of lovely couples, chatting about their plans and giving them lots of advice from having shot quite a few weddings and knowing how the day works.. I think it's easy to forget how much wedding planning is a bit like diving in to the unknown.. how long do things actually take? How much time do we need to allocate for stuff? What is expected of us when it comes to photography??? These are all questions that couples want to know.. and we like to give them as much support and advice beforehand. This is not only going to help our couples plan their day, but they're going to feel less nervous about it.. and from our point of view.. it makes sure that there is enough time given for things and that they are really going to get the best out of us...
Most of our couples mention three things when they come to us.. one, how they like the way we capture the moments, the story, the emotion, the love... two, how we appreciate the little things, the everyday beautifuls, the little things others might miss... and then three, how we capture our couples.. how they all seem comfortable in front of the camera and how we always are creative with these portraits. These three things are most definitely what is the heart and soul of us and what we do but we'll be honest.. to give every single one of our couples all of this.. we always ask for team work.
Working as a team is one of our biggest pieces of advice. I think some people look at our work, our storytelling, our documentary style and will often say how much they want someone to blend in to the background.. they give us the freedom to 'do our thing'.. and this is AMAZING. For about 80% of the day.. that is what we do.. we 'do our thing'.. we shoot the story.. as it's happening.. super stealth.. immersing ourselves in the day... but, there are also parts of the day where we ask our couples for a little help..
But I guess you're thinking.. but what do you mean by team work? Well the biggest thing that we ask for is time. This is always a tricky one as traditionally.. a wedding day isn't really set up to give a lot of this. Often for the couple portraits a quick 10 minutes is snatched as things might have overrun.. or it isn't thought of as important as, say the ceremony (obvs). We TOTALLY get this and will always work with however long we have got.. BUT.. our couples have booked us for us.. for OUR work.. for OUR creativity.. they want us to push it.. they want us to give them those creative portraits.. they want us to use all our cameras.. our Polaroids.. our Lomo cameras.. they want to have photos in that field up the road.. or in the gritty cafe round the corner.. that's what we do. But we can only do it if we have time. We always ask couples for 40 dedicated minutes minimum.. this could be in one go or in two 20 minute slots.. but we feel that this is the minimum amount of time we need to do our job.. the way we all want it done.. :)
I often see a lot of inspiration out there when it comes to weddings and a lot of this inspiration comes from America.. weddings can sometimes have a completely different structure with a strong focus on giving time for photographs. For example there might be a first look (where the couple see each other before the ceremony).. they will then have some photos with the Bridal Party and then their couple portraits ALL before the ceremony.. this could be a dedicated hour.. or even two hours given before the wedding which then means that after the ceremony there is more time to spend with their guests.. I'm not saying this is how all weddings should be but I feel it is definitely our responsibility to make sure we explain this and manage our couple's expectations.. to make sure they understand what we need to do our job.. to produce what they see on the website.. what they booked us for.. and when we are working together.. when we are that team... that is definitely when the magic happens.. ;)
So if you're getting married.. talk with your Photographer.. ask them honestly what they need to give you the photographs that you want.. think about your timings.. think about logistics (if you want those photos in that field.. make sure there's time to get there, shoot and get back).. if you're thinking "ohhh there's a really amazing barn/cafe/block of flats/poppy field/beach up the road then bloody go for it! This day only happens once and I promise you.. on the day you'll only regret the stuff you didn't do..
And Photographers.. don't be afraid to tell your couples what you need.. they're not mind readers! You need to see this relationship as a team too.. inform your couples, offer them advice, manage their expectations and work together.. and it'll be amazing I promise...