First of all, I just wanted to say a BIG thank you for booking me in to shoot your wedding. I know what a huge financial and emotional investment it is, and I want you to rest assured knowing that you have made the best decision ;)
Over the years I have come to learn what works at a wedding and what doesn't work. Usually I don't really get a say as to how things should be laid out for your wedding day, as no one really feels the need to ask me. But when it comes to making your photographs as beautiful as I can, it definitely helps to have a few things in place to facilitate that. Here is a list of things that help the day run smoother and the photos look sexier.
best time to shoot
You have probably heard of something called the 'Golden Hour'? This is the hour just before sunset when the sun is at it softest and is the ultimate time to take photos. The sun can be a pretty harsh obstacle to shoot around, especially in QLD and Northern NSW, but can also be an incredible attribute to bathe the photos in warmth if you shoot at the right time. Ideally, portraits turn out best if they're done as late as possible. The best way to do this is to aim for a later ceremony time. To capitalise on the 'golden hour' light, I would try to arrange your ceremony to be around 4 - 4:30pm in the summer and 3 - 3:30pm in the winter. That way you'd be starting portraits at around 5 - 5.30pm in summer and 4 - 4.30pm in winter. Perfect!
The problems you will face with this arrangement will largely be due to the place of the ceremony and the venue of your reception. If you are getting married in a church, I have found in the past, they usually have two time slots in the day for ceremonies to take place and they are very strict about adhering to these times. Reception venues will also try to have you back at the venue by a certain time so they can kick off their evening. If there are restrictions, of course we can work around that. Some couples that have an earlier ceremony choose to hang out with guests for a drink and some canapés before heading off to shoot portraits when the light is less harsh.
Now, please understand that this is purely a recommendation and not an obligation. This is YOUR day, and in no way do I want to dictate how the day should unfold. I am very flexible and adaptable to any situation, so if you decide to have a ceremony at 12pm, I'm OK with that. The main thing is just to be informed and keep the light in mind when planning the timing of the day, which is why I am informing you now and not a month before the wedding.
Another practical piece of advice regarding timing is to try and book accommodation close to each other, for the places that you wish to get ready. The obvious reason for this is the amount of time it will take me to travel between yours and your partner's house. I always say 'the more time I spend driving, the less time I spend shooting'. I am sure you would rather have me by your side capturing those fleeting moments than be stuck in traffic somewhere right? If you could keep the distance between you both at a minimum (15 mins drive time max), that would be highly beneficial.
DIY weddings are awesome, but they're not for everyone. They are a heck of a lot of work, but some people wouldn't have it any other way. And I respect that, being the control freak creative that I am. It is often the case that due to the copious amount of things on your to-do list, you often forget (or don't think too hard about) the importance of a good lighting setup. Most reception venues have pretty decent lighting, but if you are deciding to have an outdoor/backyard wedding with a marque etc, you have to make sure it is lit up efficiently. I assume people think that low light is more atmospheric and moody, which it is, but that doesn't help when I'm trying to take photos. When the light is too low I can't take pictures. My cameras can't focus on something they can't see properly and low lighting usually results in ugly digital noise and/or blurry photos. Candles and fairy lights are fantastic additions to create that atmosphere you want, but they should not be the sole lighting source of your set up. Just think 'the more light, the better'. As long as it isn't fluorescent, you should be fine. Some suggestions are festoon lights strung up across the tables, spotlights bouncing off a wall or in a corner (the more the better), fairy lights (battery operated) and candles placed in the centre of the tables - this illuminates peoples faces and looks fantastic. I have made a Pinterest Board with a few ideas for you (some may seem a little extravagant - but don't let that stop you from being inspired). I would also google 'party lighting' company's in the local area and talk to a pro about it.
YES PLEASE. IT'S AWESOME!! Confetti, rose petals, pasta, rice, lavender.. it doesn't matter, it's all good. I just love the excitement it creates for that walk down the isle. It always produces awesome photos! Just make sure that you ask your celebrant to remind your guests that it is there. Sometimes it is forgotten about, and that is tragic.
A much anticipated time of the day for me. By this time I would generally have already been working for 6 hours or so, and most often without anything to eat. I'm the type of person whose energy levels drop drastically if I haven't eaten, so I rely on a good feed to get me through the rest of the evening. It is included in my contract that I require a meal for the night, but the main point I have to raise here is the timing of when that meal arrives. Unfortunately, the photographer's meal is an after thought for some kitchens, and I usually get served up a cold meal at the very end of service. I am usually so hungry by this time that I don't even care that it is cold. The problem lies in the fact that usually straight after dinner, speeches kick off, and I'm half way though my meal. What I would love to ask, without sounding too demanding, is that my meal be served at the time of the bridal party's to avoid this situation. I can't even take photos during dinner service, because no one wants to have photos of them eating (trust me, it isn't pretty). So it makes sense that I eat when you guys eat because that's one time that I don't need to be shooting. If this could be arranged I promise you your photos will be even radder.
Most people book me to photograph their wedding because of the way I shoot. I avoid cheesy and uncomfortable poses, always encouraging couples to relax and be their natural beautiful selves. I try and set up the scene and let the couple have a quiet moment to themselves, as this is the only time they get by themselves on the day. I know a lot of people get nervous and anxious about how they are going to be in front of the camera. That is VERY common, so don't worry about it. I just want you both to remember one thing...
NOTHING IS MORE ATTRACTIVE THAN RELAXED HAPPY PEOPLE
Happiness is usually a given on your big day. So if you can work on being relaxed for the photos by not giving too much attention to how you might look - because let's be honest - you're never going to look better than on your wedding day - then leave the rest up to me. Naturally, I will work with you if you are having trouble relaxing and of course will be directing how the shoot will go. I just want you guys to have fun and enjoy this remarkable day together.
who to work with
I have made a collection of wedding suppliers who I can throw my weight behind, as they are very talented and usually a little different. I love seeing people who are pushing the boundaries of what is expected in the industry. So make sure you check out these talented folk and hopefully you will find something/someone you like - LINK LOVE
Please, if you have any questions regarding any of the above info, don't be afraid to get in touch.