I was delighted to be asked by Hitched to take part in their ‘Ask the Experts’ series recently. Hitched held a live Q&A for couples to call in with their supplier related questions. Planning a wedding can be quite an overwhelming experience, so this was a great way for couples to reach out to a variety of suppliers & fire away all of the questions they had & receive honest answers.
Here are the questions which came up during my slot;
1. “First look” photos – to do or not to do?
A first look is a personal choice, and something which is really popular in America. If you're looking to keep your day traditional & you want to surprise your partner as you walk down the aisle, then this is not for you. I find a first look can be a brilliant addition for wedding films, and particularly winter weddings - if you're getting married late afternoon during the winter months, a first look can be a great work around if you would like portraits taken in natural light.
2. Do we need to have ideas or do we just turn up to an engagement/pre shoot?
I would trust your photographers judgement. However, if you do have a vision of a certain portrait in mind, then definitely communicate this with your photographer, but keep in mind that so many things dictate what makes a portrait work, mostly where the light falls, how the scenery shapes the image, depth of field, and also what is most flattering & natural of the couple.
A pre shoot is a great way to get to know your photographer before the big day.
3. Does a photographer also have someone to do videos or would we need to hire another person?
Lots of videographers come recommended by photographers, most are separate suppliers that have worked together previously. It is really important that your photographer & videographer work as a team on the day & in a similar style. I work unobtrusively & mostly with natural light, so I would only ever recommend someone with the same working style as me to make sure nothing impacts the end result.
4. How many hours do you typically hire a photographer for?
This depends on your timings & if you would like to have the whole day captured. A full day generally means from bridal prep until shortly after the first dance. If you have a twilight wedding planned, then you may only need your photographer for half a day, which is usually about 4 hours. Some photographers stay longer, some a little less, but the key thing is that you have the important parts of your day captured. Some of the most interesting & fun shots can come from the speeches & the party, which generally wouldn't be covered in a half day.
5. How much does the average photographer cost?
As with any other product or service, prices vary depending on quality, experience, and sometimes just a bit of great branding/marketing! A photographer just starting out will be charging a lot less than a established photographer. For a professional experienced photographer, you would expect to pay somewhere in the region of £1000 to £2000 for a full day, then albums/extras/expenses are usually on top. Prices also vary by region, length of time required, how well published the photographer is (Jasmine Star would be quite a bit more!) and the time of year. If you hire an experienced photographer, it is peace of mind that they know what they're doing.. anyone can pick up a camera, but it takes a skilled professional to deliver those images that will tell your story beautifully & bring back all the loving emotions you felt on the day. Your photographer or videographer play an important role because when the cake has been eaten & the day has unfolded, your images /film are what remain.
6. Any tips for someone who isn’t photogenic and hates their picture being taken?
Firstly I would go for someone with a documentary style who works unobtrusively, (if you're not aware most of your photos are being taken, then that's a win for anyone who feels uncomfortable in front of the camera). Secondly pick a photographer you feel comfortable with, sometimes a bit of banter during the portrait session can ease any anxiety or awkwardness - it should always be a fun and enjoyable experience to get the best out of anyone's portrait. Ultimately try to relax, enjoy the best day of your life and trust your photographer to capture you in the best way possible.
7. More specifically, what poses should I suggest for a groom who despises having his picture being taken?
I've had my fair share of camera shy grooms, and they have always turned out to be brilliant to work with on the day. I find lots of movement and the less staged, the better. For example, walking shots around the venue, poses which the couple naturally do together, and again - pick someone you really get on with so it is an enjoyable experience. Wedding days are so eventful, by the time it comes to your portraits it will feel so much more natural than you realise.
Some couples have even said how lovely it was to have some time out just with their partner.
8. Should we get lots of posed photos or is that outdated?
This really depends on what the couple would like and their photographer's style.
I personally avoid over staged poses or anything I think looks cheesy. I think balance is important as you want to enjoy your day - documentary photography is a current and popular choice for many couples as it is a way to document the action and emotion without being intrusive.
I always suggest to couples to save a little time for portraits, to make sure you have those important shots together... these can be done in the most natural way and don't need to take over the day.
9. How long does it usually take wedding pictures to arrive after the big day?
Generally speaking, anywhere between two weeks to three months, depending on the time of year and how your photographer works. I give a timeline of 8 weeks, and I always aim to deliver before this time.
10. Do I need to send my photographer a list of shots I definitely want?
A professional photographer will know all of the key shots to take throughout the day (e.g guest reactions, walking down the aisle, first kiss, confetti etc), however it's always best to communicate with your photographer regarding specific family or friends group shots and any personal detail you would like captured.