Wedding Photography is not copy and paste
Every wedding is different…
And therefore every wedding requires a different approach and 100% of my care and attention. I can’t just rock up to the venue and do what I did last week. While most weddings do follow a vaguely similar timeline in the UK, there are a large number of other things that differ wildly from wedding to wedding.
Obviously this is one of the key differences and different venues can require different approaches from the photographer. For example, Coombe Abbey is a very large wedding venue with lovely grounds.
Group shots at a venue like this are fairly straightforward, but they may be hosting multiple weddings. Therefore you need to engage with the master of ceremonies to avoid conflicts of timings. A smaller venue may need a completely different approach. I photographed a 50th wedding anniversary last year where there was no easy place to do the big group shots. So instead I photographed everyone going into the meal, one small group at a time. It worked really well and I made sure everyone at the wedding was caught on camera, which is one of the main points of the formals.
I love themed weddings and I’ve photographed a fair few now! The theme can be quite subtle, as at Caroline and John’s wedding. They were both avid gamers so it was important to get some of the little details in the photos.
These are not award winning shots. They won’t make it into my portfolio. However, they are important to the couple and they come from me talking to the couple and getting to know them before the wedding. Had I not done that, I may have missed some of these details.
More themed stuff…
Coco’s wedding to Joe in Brighton had a much more overt theme. It would have been hard to miss this one!
Obviously it was an Alice in Wonderland theme ( I hope you got that on your own! ). The trick here was the tone of the editing. It’s much warmer than I normally go for, but I knew from talking to to Coco that was what appealed to her. She was delighted, and she noticed the way I’d toned the images. This was her response to seeing the images..
“So Perfect! Exactly what I wanted all warm and twinkly! Thank you so much!”
Documentary vs Candid
Another difference between weddings is how they are photographed. I am primarily a documentary wedding photographer, but I will do posed group shots. I understand that these are important even though I’d prefer to skip them entirely!
Knowing which approach to take, and sometimes I have to do both, comes from getting to know the couple before hand. Even when you do that, there are surprises on the day so you have to be flexible with your attitude and know your gear. At the end of the last wedding, long after the group shots had been done, I was asked to do this shot.
This was at the end of a long day, in the dark, and it was raining. However, I was happy to do it and I’m sure the couple love it ( I did need to know how to use my flash for this of course ).
Where am I going with this article? I guess I’m saying that you can’t be lazy as a wedding photographer, either before the wedding or on the day. You need to get to know and understand what the clients want, even if they don’t know themselves. On the day, you need to be tireless and flexible and really know your gear, because you just don’t know when you’ll have to go out in a snowstorm for some last minute couple shots!