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Help & Advice

Guide to How I Will Photograph Your Wedding Day

Hello! Here’s a little guide to let you know in a bit more detail how I will photograph your wedding day. Hopefully this post will let you know what to expect if you choose me to be your wedding photographer, and will help you to see if my approach makes me a good fit for your wedding. It’s really important that you love my style so that you love your pictures!

Wedding Photographer

I’ve been photographing weddings for over ten years now – that’s over 350 weddings! My photography style is very natural – I prefer to capture images where people are enjoying themselves and events are unfolding without any direction or intervention from me. You can call this reportage, photojournalism, documentary, candid photography etc, but basically it just means that I like to capture things naturally as they really happen. Sometimes I may make a slight suggestion or direction if I can see that it would be helpful, but most of the time I aim to be invisible and unnoticed if at all possible! That way, the best photographs can happen, and you get a true collection of real memories from your wedding day.

I love my images to be light, bright, and happy (fun, laughter and hugs being a key component!).

I specialise in part day or half day wedding photography coverage - this is because when I married my husband I found it really difficult to find an amazing wedding photographer who was happy to do just a part day option (we only had a small ‘afternoon tea party’ wedding for a couple of hours!). So now I am really happy to offer lots of different options for part day and longer day coverage, whether you are having a small wedding or having a full wedding but only want a photographer there for part of the day - I love to capture a story with whatever amount of time you would like photography coverage for. I’m also very happy to offer help and advice with planning your wedding day timeline if you would like, and I have written another blog post on this topic.

However long you’d like me to be there, I love to shoot everything about your wedding day, from scene setting shots around your venue, to your guests having a great time, to all the little details you have thought about so carefully, to the two of you getting married of course, and everyone enjoying the celebrations. I love to capture the atmosphere and all the people around you in the setting of your venue, in a simple and non-intrusive way. I am a solo shooter so that I can blend into the background as much as possible (more photographers will become more noticeable to you and your guests). I run about all over the place though (in “stealth mode”, said bride Emma) so that I can make sure I capture everything that’s happening!

I’m not one for gimmicks or fads, I just like things to be real. I won’t be asking you to spend ages setting up with a fancy lighting system or a dramatic smoke and mirrors scene, I don’t use a drone and I don’t want to take you away from your guests for hours. I like to use natural light (or candle light, or sparkler light, or festoon lighting light!) (and occasionally the subtle use of flash where required) and I want to shoot what happened on your wedding day, without having a big impact on those events myself. The events of your wedding day are big enough and real enough! I want my images to help you re-live the best memories for the rest of your lives.

I do love taking you off for some photos together, but only for as long as you want to spend – it’s often a nice break for you two to chat together away from all your guests! For this part of the photography, I really love it when you two just ‘be’ together, however you want to be, so I can capture the real you. I don’t want fake smiles here, I want your real happy smiles at each other – your ‘we just got married!!!’ smiles – that’s what I want you to look back on in your wedding photos for the rest of your lives. You can hug or laugh or be silly or romantic, whatever you want, as long as it’s you. I will help you if you want me to, with ideas for how to stand or what to do with your hands! We’ll do one or two of the more traditional ‘standing and looking at the camera’ type wedding poses as the relatives will love these on the mantelpiece, but a lot of the time we’ll just keep it as natural as possible. If you feel like you’d benefit from a practice run of this before the wedding, we can do a pre-wedding engagement shoot if you wish. It really helps for the big day!

I’m definitely a very quiet and calm wedding photographer – I don’t shout or boss anyone around! For this reason, if you would like to have formal ‘group photographs’, I will ask you to enlist your ushers/bridesmaids or helpers to do all the fetching and organising of the people you require in your group photos. It’s their responsibility to make sure everyone is in place! I like to limit the group photos time to a maximum of 20 minutes if possible – this is about 7 group arrangements if everyone is ready for action. I have a short list of suggested groups that you can use if you like to make it really easy & efficient. Then you can all get on with the celebrating and I will get more of the natural candid shots of everyone enjoying themselves! Again, I just keep the group photos simple, no elaborate arrangements or hours spent setting up different poses, just a lovely backdrop and a bit of natural laughter. Similarly, because of the time it takes away from your celebrations, I don’t do a big group ‘everyone’ photo, as I would prefer to capture everyone naturally throughout the wedding day. I don’t go up to people and ask to take their picture, but I do love it if people ask me to take their picture, so if you want some informal group shots with your friends, just call me over during the reception when you’re all chatting together and I will take a picture for you! I’m there to take pictures for you and for everyone. If something fun is happening, I will be photographing it!

After the wedding I will edit all your individual images myself by hand, and I will make sure they are all looking beautiful. I don’t ‘photoshop’ your images, as I prefer things to be as natural as possible, but I do make sure all the colours and exposures are perfectly balanced, and that all your images are bright and clean with my signature style look.

A note on not liking having your photo taken: most of my couples say that they don’t like having their photo taken, and ask if this will be a problem – no it’s not a problem at all, please don’t be worried! The great thing about my photography style is that most of the time you won’t even realise I am there, so you don’t need to be worrying about the camera at all. Because I mostly capture everything naturally, I just want you (and everyone else) to enjoy themselves and have an amazing wedding day. Even when we do your couple photos together, there’s still no need to worry – I keep it very relaxed, friendly and informal so you don’t need to feel awkward in uncomfortable or cheesy wedding poses. I really want you to just enjoy the day and for the photos to be absolutely painless! Hopefully these words of feedback will reassure you –

Wow! We are absolutely blown away by the way you captured every emotion and all of the special moments throughout the day. It all went so quickly, but you have triggered so many memories and we feel like we have relived the day all over again! It was an absolute pleasure having you with us for our day and we are so grateful for the lifelong memories you have captured for us. You are so calming, gentle and your lovely nature made us both feel so relaxed. Your discreet and natural style is what encouraged us to book with you in the first place, and now seeing the end result we are absolutely delighted. Thank you again for everything.

So hopefully this post has given you a bit more insight into how I will photograph your wedding day! If you would like to see more of my recent images, you can take a look at my 2018 Wedding Highlights post. You can also see more pictures and information on my Wedding Portfolio page.

If you would like to find out more about having me as your wedding photographer, please do contact me for my brochure! I’d love to hear more about your exciting wedding plans. Best wishes x

Planning Your Wedding Day Timeline (UK)

Wedding Day Timeline

WEDDING DAY TIMELINE:

Planning your Wedding Day Timeline can be quite a difficult task to get your head around – after all, most people have only been to a handful of weddings themselves, so it can be tricky to know how to start putting your own wedding day plan together. Luckily I have been to hundreds of weddings so I can help you here with my tips and advice on planning your UK wedding day timeline (from a photography perspective too!).

Your wedding venue can also be a great source of help, as they know how to plan wedding timelines that will work well at that venue. They can’t always advise about the photography side of things though, so hopefully that’s where you will find some of my tips helpful. Other suppliers, such as caterers and musicians, will all put their own requirements forward for your timeline – it’s a good idea to pay attention to their advice as they also speak from experience. Most of all though, make sure you are happy with the flow of your day, and make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to enjoy it!

1. Getting Ready

Your makeup artist and hair stylist will let you know how long they need to get you and your party ready, and therefore what time they need to start. Whether you are doing your own hair & makeup, or are having professionals, always make sure that you allow plenty of extra time to allow for delays. Aim to be ready an hour before you need to be – it will take much longer than you think to do everything, and the morning will absolutely fly by! It is much better to be relaxed and calm with spare moments for a glass of champagne with your bridesmaids before you leave, rather than being stressed and panicking about an unexpected crisis at the last minute.  From a photography point of view, your photographer will prefer it if you are ready early, so that they can get all the shots they need and then head over to the church or ceremony venue well in advance, to capture photos of the groom looking nervous and your guests arriving.

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2. Travelling to the Ceremony

Your wedding transport provider will let you know how long they need to get you all to the church or ceremony venue – if you know the local area better than they do, make sure you let them know about any traffic delays that might be likely on your route. It is traditional for the bride to be a bit late, but do bear in mind that the ceremony officiant might not be too happy about this! Also, if you are very late, it will set back your timings for the rest of the day, and you might miss out on time for photographs later, so don’t keep your groom waiting for too long!

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3. The Ceremony

If you are having a church ceremony, depending on the number of readings and hymns you are having, this can take from 45 minutes to 1 hour. If you are having a registry office or civil ceremony, this can take around 20 minutes. I always think that a nice time for the ceremony is around 12noon or 1pm, as you and your guests will have been able to have a light early lunch bite beforehand, and it allows a nice amount of time afterwards for an enjoyable afternoon reception, before your wedding breakfast. After the ceremony, people can often under-estimate the amount of time that it will take just for everyone to exit the church or registry office and congratulate the happy couple! Make sure you build time into your timeline for people to hug and congratulate and chat with you – this is a lovely time for candid photos too, so do enjoy welcoming all your guests! If you are having a confetti shot at this point, it can take around 10-15 minutes to get everyone organised with confetti, so remember to add this in before you head off to your reception venue.

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4. Travelling to the Reception Venue

If you are having your reception at the same place as your ceremony, you don’t need to worry about this! But if you are travelling, remember to factor in not just the journey time, but also the time it will take your guests to get to their cars, park, gather all their belongings, walk up, get themselves sorted out etc. In some cases this can double travelling time, and reduce the amount of time you think you have for your reception welcome drinks, so it’s best to be generous with timings. If you would like to stop off along the way at a pretty photo location, chat this through with your photographer in advance, and allow extra time.

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5. The Reception

Let the celebrations commence! I always recommend two hours of reception time, from when you arrive at your reception venue, to when you are called to sit down for your wedding breakfast. This might seem like a long time, but believe me, it will fly by, and you will be glad that you allowed the time to talk to all your guests. From a photography perspective, this is a key point for photographs – during the reception, your photographer will probably want to do your formal group photos, if you are having any. They will also want to do some couple photos with the two of you around your venue – this can take as much or as little time as you wish. For the rest of the reception, they will want to capture lots of lovely informal documentary-style shots of you mingling and chatting with all your guests, and capture the atmosphere of your wedding reception – this is the best opportunity of the day to get all the relaxed and natural candid photos that everyone loves, as people enjoy your day, unaware of the camera. Then your photographer will want to capture your dining room and all the details, before guests go in for the meal. To give your photographer the best chance to photograph everything you want pictures of, it is best to allow as much reception time as you possibly can. If you are worried that your guests will be bored or hungry in this time, have top-ups of fizz available, provide canapés for them to nibble, and consider having some form of entertainment, such as a magician or music.

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A note on your formal group photos – different photographers will approach this in different ways, but I like to limit the number of group arrangements to a maximum of 7 groups. It takes about three minutes per group photograph, on average, so this can take 20-25 minutes. I have a suggested list of group photographs that I chat through with my couples in advance of the wedding day, and this covers everything very efficiently. It is also great if you can have a representative who knows both families, who is available on the day to help the photographer with finding people if required. I like to do the group photos as quickly and as easily as possible, so that everyone can continue enjoying the celebrations! (By the way, even if you think you don’t want to have any group photos, there will inevitably be family members who do want them, so be prepared that they probably will end up happening even if not planned!).

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6. The Wedding Breakfast and Speeches

Your reception time ends when your venue or caterer calls you to be seated for the wedding breakfast. If you are having a receiving line into the room, bear in mind that this will considerably increase the amount of time it takes people to sit down. It is up to you whether you choose to have your speeches before your meal, or afterwards. Some people do one speech between each course, although this can sometimes be tricky if catering staff are trying to move about clearing plates at the same time, so do ask your caterers about this plan. If you have speeches before your meal, keep to your set timings as the caterers may be waiting to serve a first course, especially if it is a hot course. If you have your speeches after your meal, bear in mind that if you run over time, you may have your evening guests waiting to come into the room. Speeches work better when they are shorter, so don’t ramble on for too long! A maximum of ten minutes per person is usually plenty.  If you are having a cake cutting, this can come at any point – before or after the speeches, before the dessert, or before the first dance, and your venue will usually advise on their way of doing this.

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7. The Evening and First Dance

The first dance usually gets the evening’s dancing started, so to get the party going it is a good idea to get this done fairly early on once your evening guests have had a chance to arrive. Your DJ or band will probably advise on this, but if you have evening guests arriving from 7.30pm, you may want to do your first dance at 8.15pm, for example. After that, everyone can pile on the dancefloor and let their hair down! Your venue will advise on the time for the music to finish and guests to depart at the end of the night.

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Recommended Wedding Day Timeline – this is purely a suggested guide, and is for a church ceremony with a nearby reception venue. Not everything will apply here, and different elements will need to be changed based on your own situation, but hopefully it gives you an idea of how to factor in the different parts of the day. Also, it’s worth remembering that weddings rarely run according to schedule, so although it is a good idea to have the timeline planned out in detail, I always just go with the flow on the wedding day!

9am onwards, bride getting ready

11.30am Bride is ready, photographer departs for ceremony venue

12.10pm Bride departs for ceremony venue

12.30pm Ceremony

1.30pm Congratulations outside ceremony venue

1.50pm Confetti Shot

2.00pm Depart for reception venue

2.30pm At reception venue for welcome drinks and canapés

3.00pm Group photographs

3.30pm Bride & Groom photographs

4.00pm More mingling

4.30pm Call to be seated for dinner

4.45pm Bride & Groom enter the room, and dinner is served

6.45pm Speeches

7.30pm Evening guests to start arriving

8.15pm Cake Cutting and First Dance

8.30pm onwards music and dancing!

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Perhaps you are having a totally alternative wedding day timeline – I did when I got married to my husband! We both arrived at our venue together at 2pm, and mingled with all our guests for about an hour, before our marriage ceremony then took place at 3pm. After that we all had drinks and afternoon tea and chatted and played garden games for the afternoon, then the two of us departed at 6pm for an evening meal just by ourselves! It was lovely, and was just how we wanted it.

I think the most important piece of advice that other couples would always give is to make sure that you take a moment together to just take in your wedding day, the atmosphere and the people there, and enjoy it. The day will fly by in a blur and will be over before you know it, so taking time out to savour and remember it is so valuable. I wish you an amazing wedding day!

Gemma Williams is an award-winning Wedding Photographer based in Hereford, Herefordshire in the West Midlands. If you are searching for a wedding photographer, please do take a look at my website and get in touch!

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How to Choose a Wedding Photographer

Find Your Dream Wedding Photographer

I am a wedding photographer and I was recently asked by ‘Your West Midlands Wedding‘ Magazine to be on their expert panel of wedding suppliers, answering wedding-related questions from brides & grooms.  I thought it would be a great idea to share some of my help and advice here on my blog too!  If you have a question you would like answered, just drop me a line.

FINDING YOUR DREAM WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER

The first question that I want to answer is one that comes up time and time again – “How do I choose a Wedding Photographer?!”. There is just so much choice out there now, so many photographers and so many different styles of photography, that it can be quite a daunting challenge. You also hear so many horror stories about people who were disappointed with their wedding photographs, and you want to make sure that you are making the best choice so that this doesn’t happen to you.

The most important things to think about are the style of the photography, and the personality of the photographer. First of all though, you will probably want to get an idea of what your budget is for your wedding photography, so that you know how much you are able to spend. Having your budget in mind is very important, but ultimately you should make the decision to choose a photographer because you love their images, not because of their price. My advice here would be to spend as much as you can on your wedding photography, as your wedding photographs will become your main memories of your wedding day, and will be all that you have left to remember the day by, so they really are the most important investment you can make.  So many people end up regretting not spending more on their wedding photography, as they are disappointed with the results. It really is worth trying to put as much as you can into the budget for it.

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Wedding Photographer

Wedding Photography is the Most Important Investment

In general, the more you spend on your wedding photographer, the more experienced they will be. They will have a great reputation, with many, many happy customers, and they may even have won an award or two. They will also have better equipment for better quality results, and they will know how to handle any situation. They will have an extensive and consistent portfolio for you to get a real idea of their style and their ability – you will be sure of being able to place your trust in them to do a great job for you, and to get the results you want.

As a side note, I often get asked about whether it’s a good idea to have a ‘friend’ or a ‘family relative’ shoot the wedding – they have a camera and they take great pictures of their kids/dogs/cars/landscapes, plus they have offered to do it for free or cheap. I would always advise against this option (unless your friend is a professional wedding photographer!).  Mainly, you want your friend or relative to be able to enjoy the wedding day as a guest, not to feel stressed or pressured by having to take the photos.  But also, there is a big difference between shooting kids/cars/landscapes and shooting a wedding. Just because they have a great camera, they won’t have as much experience in shooting weddings as a professional wedding photographer will, and they may not know how to best use their camera in the tricky conditions that weddings often present.  If you can afford to have a professional wedding photographer, you should definitely opt for their experience and know-how when it comes to weddings.  But of course, it is fantastic to have all of your friends’ and family’s snaps as well!

Consider Part Day or Half Day coverage options

If you don’t have the budget for an amazing photographer for a full day, see if they do part day or half day coverage options. That way, you can get the best wedding photographs you love for the main parts of the wedding day, and then just have all your friends’ & family’s photographs for the other parts of the day such as the getting ready in the morning and the disco dancing in the evening. I am delighted to now offer a variety of different part day options to suit any budget, so do contact me for more information!

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Great, so you are sorted with your budget and now you can get looking for a wedding photographer you like. Where to start?

Choose the Photography Style you Love Most

Have a think about the style of your day, and your own personalities. Is your wedding going to be quite relaxed and informal, is it quirky, or is it going to be more traditional in style? Do you have ideas for particular photographs you would like, or would you like the day to be captured in a natural way?  Do you like posing for your photographs to be taken, or would you rather not know there was a photographer there? All of these questions will influence the type of wedding photography you like the most. It’s important to make sure that you choose a style of wedding photographer that fits with your vision for your wedding day and how you would like it to be captured.

Traditional wedding photographers will generally do more posed or set-up pictures, with more ‘formal’ group photographs, for example. On the other hand, ‘documentary’, ‘photo-journalistic’, or ‘reportage’ photographers will capture your day naturally as it unfolds, without any posing or direction. Fine art photographers do this in a creative and artistic way, recording the wedding through their own style and vision. I would definitely describe my style as being natural and artistic - if you are interested in this then please do contact me for more information!

As well as the different ways your wedding can be captured by a photographer, there are also different ways that they can ‘post-process’ the photos after the wedding. You will notice that some wedding photographers have a clean, fresh, natural look to their images, some are more contrasty and have more vibrant colours, others may be more muted and might use ‘filters’ which give, for example, a vintage look. It doesn’t matter which of these you prefer, but make sure you are choosing a photographer who delivers the images in the style you like best. Also, make sure that you will still like this style in several years to come when you look back at your photographs.

Spend lots of time looking on the internet at different wedding photos. Pinterest is a great resource for this – lots of ideas and inspiration! As you pin different pictures, think about what you like about them, and try to identify a particular photography style that is really standing out for you – this is the kind of style you should then be looking out for as you look at photographers’ websites.

You can do Google searches for wedding photographers in your local area, or wedding images at your wedding venue.  You can also look on wedding blogs and at wedding magazines for photography you like.

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Have a look at the photographers that your wedding venue recommends. It’s  not essential, and there may not be any that suit your style, but it is a good idea to take a look, because these are photographers who will know your venue well and will be able to help you with photo ideas that work best there.  Check out whether your wedding venue has a Wedding Fair coming up where you will be able to meet them in person.

Recommendations from Friends and Wedding Venues

Perhaps your friends had great wedding photographers when they got married, that they would be happy to recommend to you. Word of mouth recommendations are always good, as you know that they were really happy with the service they received. When looking for photographers it’s always great to see if they have reviews or feedback from previous delighted customers, to give you added reassurance and peace of mind. Facebook and other social media can often be good for this.

When you have a list of photographers that look promising, check out their websites thoroughly, look through their blog posts and portfolios, and make sure you love their work. The design and wording of their website should give you a good idea of their personality and professionalism, and they should have lots of up-to-date, consistent examples of weddings to give you a firm idea of their style of shooting and processing. Then get in touch with your favourite to see whether they are available on your wedding date, and ask for their brochure with further information about pricing etc. If their brochure looks good, and they offer the service you require, that’s great!

Maybe you love their work so much that you just know they are right and you want to book them straight away. Or maybe you would like to meet up with them in person first of all for a chat about your wedding and to look through their albums. Your wedding photographer will be with you for most of the day on your wedding, so it’s a good idea to check first that you get on with them and will feel comfortable with them being around on your wedding day. If you ‘click’ with them and like their personality and their approach, then it will just be like having another friend at your wedding! This will really benefit your photos too.

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When you book your chosen photographer, they will usually ask you for a deposit to secure the date, and they will also ask you to complete some paperwork, such as a booking form / contract. Check that you are happy with everything, and then don’t delay in booking as you may lose the date to someone else! You will then usually have to pay the remainder of the balance at some point before your wedding day. Your photographer should keep in touch with you as your wedding day approaches, and will make sure they know all the important details of your wedding so that they do a great job for you. You may also have an engagement shoot with them before the wedding, which is a great idea to get you ready for the big day! Exciting times ahead!

I hope that you have found this helpful, and I hope you find an amazing photographer that you love! If you have any further questions that you would like to see featured in my Help & Advice section of my blog, please do get in touch.

If you are getting married and are looking for a wedding photographer, I would love to be on your list of favourites! Please take a look at my Wedding Portfolio and Pricing pages on my website for further information, and drop me a line if you would like to have a chat about your wedding photography.

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Gemma Williams is an award-winning wedding photographer based in Hereford, Herefordshire in the West Midlands UK. I specialise in beautiful, natural, creative documentary wedding photography.

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Engagement Shoot Tips and Advice

Engagement Shoot Tips

COUPLE SHOOT PHOTOGRAPHS:

Engagement Shoot season is coming up, so I thought I would write a helpful post with my hints and tips for your photoshoot! Engagement Shoots, or pre-wedding Couple Shoots, are a great idea as you approach your wedding day, and many photographers offer them as a part of their wedding services. They give you an opportunity to get to know your wedding photographer, and to get used to being in front of the camera, in preparation for your wedding day. You will see how your photographer works, and you will be able to find out what looks best for your actual wedding photos. It will be a lot of fun, and you will end up with some great pictures to remind you of the days before you got married! In my experience, I always find that couples really benefit from having an Engagement Shoot, as they then feel a lot more relaxed, comfortable and confident about the photography on their wedding day. This leads to even better photos on the day itself! So, while you may feel a bit unsure about doing an Engagement Shoot, it actually will be a really worthwhile investment of your time, and you will definitely enjoy it once you get into it!

Here are my tips to help you make sure you get the best results from your shoot…

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1. Location

Choosing a good location can make your Engagement Shoot really amazing. I always recommend that it should ideally be somewhere that means something to the two of you, and suits your style – maybe somewhere that you like to visit together, a stroll you took on a first date, the picnic place you loved, the river where he proposed, the pretty village with that cake shop you always have to go in, or the beach where you leapt off the sand dunes that time…. or even romantic destinations like Paris or Venice (I don’t mind travelling!). It’s also great if your chosen location has a variety of different backdrops for us to work with, to give you many different photo opportunities. You could choose two different locations if you would like to have a contrast in your backdrops, for example urban and countryside. I can help you come up with some suggestions if you are stuck for ideas. It’s always great if it’s somewhere that means something to you though, as it will make your pictures even more memorable.

Some couples like to go to their wedding venue for their pre-wedding Engagement Shoot, which is also a great idea. It gives your photographer a chance to explore your venue if they haven’t been there before, and together you can find your favourite spots for photos, so that you know where you want to shoot on your wedding day itself. It’s also nice to get an extra set of pictures from your wedding venue, as on the wedding day itself there may not be time to do so much exploring around the grounds. Other couples decide that they would prefer not to go to their wedding venue for their Engagement Shoot, as they want a different look for their pictures – that’s totally fine too. The choice is yours!

Just a note on permissions – some locations, such as country houses etc, may require that you get permission to have a photography session there. It’s always best to check first.

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2. Time of Year/Day

The majority of my Engagement Shoots tend to take place in the Spring, as this is a really lovely time of year, with all the blossom and spring flowers and foliage appearing. The weather is usually pretty ideal too. It’s also good in terms of time before the wedding – I usually recommend that the Engagement Shoot happens about two to three months before the wedding day, as this is far enough away for you to not be super stressed, but also close enough so that you still feel the benefit of the photo practice when the wedding day arrives.

Having said that, you can choose to have your Engagement Shoot at any time of year. Perhaps a particular season is more important to you – maybe you met in the autumn, or you really love snuggling up in woolly jumpers in winter. The different seasons give so many different photo opportunities, and it is great to make the most of these, for example playing in the colourful leaves in the autumn, relaxing in summer meadows, or cuddling up in crispy snowy winter scenes.

A little note on what time of day to have your shoot – if it is sunny, the light gets nicer as you go later into the afternoon, so if the diary permits, try to schedule your shoot for afternoon or later. I absolutely love the ‘golden light’ you get as the sun starts to set, so if you’d like to do a sunset shoot, I’m definitely up for that!

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3. What to wear

Deciding what to wear for your Engagement Shoot can be a bit of a nightmare! But don’t worry – the main thing to remember is that if you feel good in the outfit you’ve chosen, this confidence will make a big difference in the photos. Go for clothes that suit you and your style, so that you feel like you are being true to yourselves when you look back at your photos. I want you to feel happy for the photos, and wearing something you feel confident in will be a huge boost, and will make it more fun.

Between you, choose a look that you want to have for your photos, so maybe you want to be smart, or casual. It’s best to both be smart or both be casual, as then you will complement each other’s look. Also bear in mind that it needs to be suitable for the location, so if you’re going to be on a muddy farm for instance, make it all about the fun wellies look! Or if you’re on the beach, flip flops and shorts. If you want to really make your photos special, after all it’s not every day you get a professional photoshoot, then go for it with your outfits! – girls wear that gorgeous skirt you love, and boys smarten up a bit! Maybe you have chosen a quirky location for your shoot, or somewhere a bit vintage, so choose your outfit to match, such as a cute 50s-style dress for you, with a waistcoat and bow tie for your man. If you make an effort it will make so much difference.  Maybe bring along a change of outfits if you want to mix things up – relaxed first and then change to dressy for example.

Weird tip, but please don’t carry anything in your pockets. Phones, keys, wallets etc will make your clothes look lumpy and I hate photoshopping mobile rectangles off legs! I have room in my bag to carry anything if you want to empty your pockets before your shoot. Just remember to collect it back!

People often ask me what colours they should wear or avoid. I generally recommend choosing colours that go well together and won’t clash, so for example, if your other half is wearing a red shirt, don’t wear orange yourself. Choosing different, but complementary, colours is the best idea. You don’t want to match each other, but you do want to coordinate. I also find that really bright, vivid colours can sometimes reflect a colour cast up onto your face, so I generally advise against strong pinks etc. I always tend to prefer more neutral and pastel shades, as I think these colours look lovely in photographs, but that’s just me, and everyone is different. Think about the textures too, and how they go together – I love lace, woollens, and cottons. I also love accessories – necklaces, bracelets, scarves, hats, belts etc… At the end of the day your outfit choice is entirely up to you and how you want the styling of your shoot to look, so wear whatever you fancy. You will look fabulous!

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5. Props and Activities

There’s nothing like a good prop at a photo shoot. Props and activities can be a great addition to style your photoshoot or to make a fun picture, making it really unique to you – and it can make it easier to be in front of the camera if you have something to do. Feel free to bring along anything that is relevant to you both, maybe your favourite books if you like reading, a hamper, blanket and pretty cakes if you want it picnic stylee (although I might eat your cakes), a bunch of flowers, a giant balloon, your surfboards if you’re sporty, your dog, your cat, or your VW camper.  You could also bring along things that also might be featuring on your wedding day, or things that tie in with your wedding theme. If there is something specific you’d like – talk to your photographer about it and maybe they can make it happen. It’s great to share creative ideas!

Perhaps there are activities that you can do at your chosen shoot location. Maybe you can hire a boat to row on the lake, or have an ice-cream on the beach. I’ve also done shoots involving crazy golf, and bowling, which were fun! That said, props aren’t compulsory. If you would like it to be just the two of you being together, that is absolutely fine too!

A note on bringing your dog – some venues or locations might not allow dogs, so check with them before you pop your pet in the car.

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6. Don’t worry about the camera

Every time I say this I know it sounds stupid, but try to pretend like your photographer isn’t there! I know this is hard when I am bouncing about in front of you with my cameras. But really! I want to capture the interaction between the two of you – the natural personalities, the love, the laughter, the romance and the silliness. I would much rather capture a picture that looks real, than one which is posed and fake. So don’t worry about me – I am just there to photograph the moments between the two of you. You can move about, chat, laugh, hold each other, spin round, whatever you feel like. I’ll help you out if you don’t know how to stand or what to do with your hands, and I’ll make sure you are always looking your best with beautiful light and backgrounds behind you – so don’t worry. Sometimes I’ll ask you to look at the camera, but you can still just keep it relaxed and natural. I know it will be weird at first, but it really will get easier as our session goes on! I’m speaking for myself here, but I’m sure that any other photographer would share the same view too!

Most people hate having their photograph taken, but don’t worry about it – it’s our job to make sure you are enjoying the session, and to help you feel comfortable so that we can get the best photographs for you. There are absolutely no expectations of you, we just want you to have a good time. If you do have anything that you are particularly concerned about, please do let your photographer know beforehand, such as if you have a preferred ‘side’ or if there is anything about yourself that you don’t like in photos. Most people have something that they don’t like about themselves in photos (I hate my nose!) but if you let your photographer know this in advance, they can bear this in mind and shoot accordingly. Often people have not had professional photos taken before, so hopefully when you see the pictures from your photoshoot, you will be really pleased with the results and love all of them!

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7. Have fun!

This is a great opportunity for you and your photographer to get to know each other, and for you to have a lot of fun relaxing, laughing and spending time hugging your other half, while creating some stunning photographs that you will want to put all over your wall. Enjoy it!

I have a Pinterest board here which contains lots of inspiration for your Engagement Shoot and ideas for things to do, different poses, different types of locations and clothing choices, etc. Take a good look through and see if there is anything that inspires you to try for your own photographs.

{Bonus tip: Get your fiancé to take you out for dinner afterwards, to make a real occasion of it!}

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I hope you have found this post helpful. If you would like to book an Engagement Shoot with Gemma Williams Photography, please do check out my website, and get in touch!

My Top Ten Tips for Better Wedding Photos

Best Wedding Photos Tips

GET THE BEST WEDDING PHOTOS:

 Whether you are having a family friend do your wedding photography, or a professional, here are my top ten tips for you to remember on the big day, to help you and your photographer to achieve the best wedding photos possible of the key moments throughout your wedding day!

1. When you are getting ready in the morning, try to do so in a tidy room with plenty of natural window light. Have your dress unwrapped and hanging up ready for your photographer to take a photograph of it, if you would like.

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2. As you are walking up the aisle towards your groom, try to make sure you leave plenty of space between your bridesmaids and yourself, so that your photographer can get a clear shot of you. Try to remember to walk slowly and look up, if you can.

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3. When you are exchanging rings, try to remember to turn to face each other fully. If your photographer has to stand down at the bottom of the aisle, they will be able to get a better shot of the rings if you fully turn your bodies to face each other.

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4. The first kiss will be easier for your photographer to catch if you can hold it there for a few moments, rather than just doing a swift peck. Keep it decent though, hehe!

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5. As you walk down the aisle as husband and wife, take your time, look up, and enjoy all the smiling faces of your family and friends! If you are having confetti, it usually works better for your pictures if this can be organised to be thrown all together.

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6. Allow plenty of time for your drinks reception after your ceremony, before you sit down for your wedding breakfast. This is a really great time for lots of natural candid shots, as you mingle with your guests, chatting and hugging. I usually recommend at least an hour and a half for your reception, to allow you to spend time with everyone, and to allow your photographer to get all the shots they need. Believe me, the time will really fly!

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7. If you are having group photographs, have a (short) pre-prepared list, and nominate a couple of helpful people who know your families, so that they can quickly and efficiently gather the people that are required, and avoid waiting around.

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8. If you go off for some couple photographs together, try not to worry about the camera – just be yourselves and enjoy the opportunity to spend some time together away from your guests, in your wedding bubble!

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9. When the speeches start, try to remember to remove anything on the top table in front of you that may obscure your face, such as candelabras, table name etc. This will give your photographer a clear shot of your laughter / embarrassment!

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10. If you are having a first dance, try to spend at least a couple of minutes dancing together before you call all your guests onto the dancefloor, as it’s so lovely to get some shots of you by yourselves.

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I hope you have found these quick tips helpful! Hopefully they will help you to get the best wedding photos.  I hope you have an amazing wedding day!

Gemma Williams is an award winning Wedding Photographer based in Hereford, Herefordshire in the West Midlands. If you are looking for a wedding photographer and you think I might be the one for you, please do get in touch!

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My Wedding Albums

Wedding Albums

Hello lovely new wedding albums! Yes, they are here! These are my new sample albums to show to all you lovely lot when we meet up to talk about your wedding – I can’t wait for you to see them! My wedding albums are available to add to your wedding photography package when you book me as your wedding photographer, or you can choose to add your wedding album at a later date, even up to twelve months after your wedding. (This flexibility is really helpful as you can spread out your wedding budget, or use wedding gift money afterwards to get the album you really want). My wedding albums are gorgeous Fine Art albums with beautiful matt paper and stunning print quality – they will really show off your photographs and bring your wedding day to life even more as you look through the pages!

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I offer two sizes for your main wedding album – the 10×10″ size is included in your wedding album package, but you can also choose to upgrade to the bigger 12×12″ size if you wish. My albums come with 40 pages as standard, but you can upgrade to 60 or 80 pages if you would like a really luxury album with space for lots more favourite photos! There is also the option to add on mini-replica gift albums too if you wish, these are a great present idea for the parents or grandparents as Christmas approaches! These are 6×6″ size (perfect for the handbag too!) and they are a cute copy of your main album, with the same high quality finish.

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The other thing I love about my wedding albums is that they are carefully handcrafted here in the UK and are made using only the finest quality materials and inks. Their archival quality means that they really will last a lifetime and can be handed down through the generations, so your wedding photographs to be preserved and enjoyed long into the future.  Your images are printed directly onto the fine art matt paper and the crease is almost invisible so you can have lovely full page spreads with no image loss in the centre. I absolutely love designing your wedding story in these albums.

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There are so many stunning options for your cover. You can have quality leathers or fabrics/silks, in a huge variety of tempting colours. There is sure to be something to suit your colour scheme! New for 2019 I also now have vegan-friendly leather options and 100% cotton covers, all in lovely colours too. You can either choose your cover in person with me, looking at all the swatches together, or I can send you the brochure of colour choices so that you can decide in the comfort of your own home. You can also decide whether you would like to have names, date, or other wording embossed onto the front cover, or you could just leave it plain if you prefer. A gorgeous cotton bag and a presentation box completes your album.

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The album design process itself is really fun and interactive. You choose your favourite pictures (or I can choose for you if you would like), then I design your draft layout. You can then view this design draft online, and turn the pages ‘virtually’ to see how your album will look. You can make comments for changes on the pages, swapping or moving pictures etc. I’ll then make the changes you have asked for, and you can view the draft again online, before approving it for print. When your album arrives, make sure you have a bottle of bubbly in the fridge ready to enjoy looking through the lovely pages together!

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With a wedding album this gorgeous, you will want to show it to all your friends and family all the time! It really is the perfect way to treasure your favourite wedding day photographs.

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If you would like to find out more about my wedding albums, please do get in touch!

Gemma Williams is an award winning Wedding Photographer based in Hereford, Herefordshire, West Midlands UK. If you are looking for a wedding photographer, please do visit my website and drop me a line for more information! I’d love to hear from you x

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How To Choose the Photos for Your Wedding Album

Here’s a little bit of help from me if you are having trouble narrowing down your favourite pictures for your Wedding Album!

Wedding Albums

1. Enjoy Choosing.

Your Wedding Album is something that is going to be with you for the rest of your life, reminding you of your favourite wedding day memories, so it is absolutely fine to take your time over choosing the pictures you want to have in it. I believe that choosing the pictures should be something enjoyable, as it is another stage of your wedding journey. If you can choose them together over a glass of wine or two and enjoy the experience, rather than getting stressed about it, this will make your album even more meaningful.

2. Tell the Story.

When I design albums, I like the story of the day to flow through them. I arrange the images chronologically, including the key moments from the day, and I like to set the scene so that you have a sense of place. If there is a change of location, I like to include something that indicates travel or a new scene. Finally, I like to start and end the album with an opening and closing shot. So if you can include pictures that help to tell the story in this way, that is really helpful in the design and will make your album flow smoothly, as if you were re-living the day again.

3. Break the Day into Sections.

Your album will flow better if you have a nice balance of pictures from across the different parts of your day. So rather than picking loads from the first part of the day and not much from later on, try to ensure a consistent spread of favourites across the board. Divide your shots up into the various sections and just pick the very best from each bit, keeping the numbers roughly the same. For example, to help you to narrow it down to your key favourites from each part of the day, I would suggest choosing the following:

  • One ring shot to open your album

  • One or two venue shots to set the scene for the story

  • Five getting ready shots for the bride, plus up to five details (dress, shoes, flowers etc)

  • Three getting ready shots for the groom, plus a couple of details (if applicable)

  • One wide shot of your ceremony room, plus one or two details

  • One or two shots of the groom before the ceremony

  • One or two shots of the bride arriving and walking up the aisle to the groom

  • Up to eight key shots of the marriage ceremony

  • One or two shots as you leave the ceremony

  • One or two confetti shots (if applicable)

  • Up to twelve reception mingling shots

  • Up to eight group photographs

  • Four or five bride & groom couple shots, including something epic that can be a double page spread

  • One full shot of your dining room, plus two or three details shots

  • One shot of you entering the room / or sitting at top table

  • Up to five other room shots

  • Around six shots of the speeches

  • One or two shots of the cake and one of the cake cutting

  • Two or three shots of the first dance

  • Eight to ten shots of the evening fun, dancing etc

  • One closing shot such as venue at night.

This makes about 100 photographs and gives the perfect storyline to your day, covering all the key points. You can then add in any extras if you need to, making sure that you are still keeping the balance evenly spread. Don’t choose too many, as the more you choose, the smaller the images will have to become in your album to fit them all in. I like to give your images space to have impact, with full page spreads being a feature, and a clean, uncluttered design.

[Of course, it is very easy for me to say this, but when you are faced with 500+ photos, it can be quite a challenge! If you would prefer me to select all of the photographs for your album, please just let me know and I would be very happy to do this. It is easier for me to choose as I can be objective and I have a lot of design experience so I know what works well. You will be able to proof your album online and make comments for any changes before the album is printed, so this can sometimes be easier to do than choosing them all yourself from scratch.]

An extra note – when choosing photographs, I always find it is easier to select ‘in’ rather than to eliminate ‘out’. You’ll end up with fewer pictures and they will all be the best favourites that way.

4. Include your Must-Haves, not your Should-Haves.

This is YOUR wedding album and it should hold your absolute favourite images from your day. Go with your heart, not with your head – include the photographs that you love. Don’t include images just because you think you ‘should’, or because other people would expect them to be there. You have all the images on your USB and you can always look at them there, or print them out and frame them and give them as gifts to others if you wish. Your album is for the favourites that tell your story, to preserve your favourite memories.

5. Choose a Variety.

An album with plenty of variety in the pictures chosen will be more interesting to look at and will show you all the aspects of your wedding day. If you have selected several pictures of the same thing that are very similar, try to choose the best one out of these to avoid too much repetition in the album design. If you can’t choose between them, leave them all in and allow your photographer to select the best one for the design. I always offer this opportunity to my couples – if you are really struggling to narrow it down to the correct number of pictures for the album, just send me your whole list of favourites, however long it is, and I can choose the best ones out of these for your album design. You get to proof your design online, so you can always swap in any that you really wanted.

6. Colour or Black & White?

I give you every picture in colour and in black & white on your USB, and I’m very happy for you to choose your favourite version for your album. While many couples are happy for me to choose whether the picture is in colour or black & white, sometimes you may have a definite preference, and that’s great. Occasionally I may need to change this to better fit the design, for example if I am designing a page of speeches pictures and they are all in colour except for one, I would probably prefer to have the whole set looking the same, for consistency. But you will be able to proof the design online and you can always change this back before approving it for print, if you wish.

7. Choose as soon as possible, rather than putting it off.

The longer you leave it, the harder it will become to choose your favourites for the album. It is better to choose soon after your wedding, while the memories are still fresh in your mind.

8. Think about getting Parent Gift Albums too.

Parents might really appreciate a mini-replica album to remember your day too – this makes a very special gift and is a lovely idea for Christmas.

9. Display your Album where it can be enjoyed.

When you have your album in your hands, keep it where it can be enjoyed often! Keeping it on your lounge bookshelf or in a drawer in your coffee table will make sure that it is always close at hand to be looked at by yourselves, or to show off when you have guests round.

10. Consider getting some Wall Art.

I am a huge advocate of enjoying your photographs to the full. Maybe there is an epic shot of the two of you that you just have to display on the wall because you love it so much? This is definitely something that I can help you with – just let me know!

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Well, I hope that this has been helpful as you choose the pictures for your album! If I can be of any further assistance, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and I will be more than happy to help.

I’m looking forward to making your album design!

Best wishes x

Family Photography Tips and Advice

FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY IN HEREFORDSHIRE:

It’s that time of year when my Family Photoshoots diary starts getting full – spring is just around the corner, summer isn’t far away, and families are thinking about having their family photographs taken in the holidays. So here are some helpful hints and tips for families who are looking forward to having a family photoshoot but maybe have a few questions about what to expect…

Family Photography in Herefordshire

1. What should we wear for our family photographs?

This is probably the question that I get asked the most – what to wear. My advice is always to wear whatever you would like to be wearing in your family photos – the ‘look’ that you want for your photos is entirely up to you. For example, some families may want to have a smart look for their photos, whereas others may want a more relaxed, casual look. These photos may be to mark a significant point in your family’s timeline where looking smart is important to you, or they may be photos that are to record natural family life as it happens, where being casual is the norm.  As long as you are all on the same page about what style you are going for, so you are all at the same level of smartness or casualness, then anything is fine!

Within that, there are a few bits of advice that I would offer –

Think about how all of your clothing choices are going to look when put together. There’s no need to be ‘matching’ – for example, don’t think that you all have to wear blue jeans with white shirts. Different is good. But try to avoid wearing colours that are going to clash with each other. Wearing colours that subtly tone together can be nice to make your photographs more consistent.

Wear clothes that make you feel comfortable and confident. The most important thing for me is that you feel you can be happy, natural and relaxed in your photographs and enjoy the photoshoot session – the clothes we wear can have a huge impact on how we are feeling about ourselves, particularly when there is a camera involved. So wear that dress which makes you feel amazing! Wear those trousers you feel really comfy in. Wear that jumper or jacket that you felt was made for you! It will make a real difference to how you are in the pictures.

Bear in mind the environment that we are going to be shooting in. If we’re going for a walk on the beach or in the meadow, choose clothes and footwear that are going to be appropriate for this. Also consider whether it’s likely to be hot, cold etc. We can always have a change of look if you want to add/remove coats/jackets/jumpers etc once we’re there.

It’s a known fact that small children will mess up any nice clothing that they are wearing within about 2 minutes flat, so we will do our best to get lots of photos before that happens! But if they do get muddy knees, don’t worry about it, it’s all part of the family lifestyle and a lot of fun!

2. Where should we do our family photoshoot?

The choice of location for your family photoshoot is, again, entirely up to you, but I can definitely help with ideas and suggestions. I am based in Hereford in Herefordshire, so I have lots of ideas around these parts. I love to get outdoors so I always recommend that a family photoshoot is done outside in the countryside, with beautiful backdrops. I love to include nature, trees, flowers, green rolling hills etc, so anywhere with this kind of scenery will look great in your photos. You might have a favourite countryside park that you like to visit as a family, or a riverside walk or woodland near you. You may also have these opportunities in your own back garden, which is great. You might alternatively like to venture further afield to a castle or the beach, for example. Some locations might need you to check first whether we need to get permission to shoot there, but most places are usually fine – please ask if you would like further help with this.

My style of photography is very natural, relaxed and informal, with plenty of candid documentary shots of you interacting together and having fun as a family, so anywhere that gives us plenty of opportunity to have some natural family time is great. It may be that we are walking along on a stroll, or having a picnic – whatever you would like to do together as a family that will give plenty of nice photo opportunities. I also like to do a few more structured group arrangements throughout the session, so somewhere that has the space and the different backdrops for this is ideal.

3. How long is our family photo session likely to last?

The length of time of your shoot will vary depending on where we’re doing your shoot, how many people you have in your family, and how much time you are happy to spend shooting! I don’t set a time limit but it’s usually between 1-2 hours.

4. What should we do / how should we pose for our family photos?

As mentioned already, I do love to shoot in a natural and relaxed way, capturing fun family moments together and making real memories. So for me, you just being yourselves together is great! Laugh lots and enjoy it. Walking along together chatting, playing a game, throwing a ball, having a picnic, sitting together, or other activities you like doing as a family are great for natural photo opportunities. Then we can also do some more structured photos where you are together in a group, looking at the camera but again keeping it happy, fun and natural. You will probably feel a bit strange doing this with a camera around, snapping away, but often this initial awkwardness is only there for the first few moments and then you will get used to my friendly, informal style as I work together with you and your ideas.

I’m all about things being ‘real’, so I’m not going to make you stand in weird poses or cheesy arrangements. I like things to be natural and I want to capture the essence of you as a family – whatever that may be!

5. Can we bring our pet dog/lama/other?

Yes, absolutely, if they are allowed at your chosen shoot location! Pets can make a photoshoot even more fun as they give something for you to interact with naturally, plus they are a part of the family too!

I hope that you have found this useful! If you have any other questions that you would like answers to, I would be delighted to help!

If you are looking for a Herefordshire Family Photographer and you would like to find out more about the photography services I offer, please do visit my website and get in touch!

Best wishes x

Recommended Group Photos for Weddings

If you are planning your wedding right now – congratulations! I hope you are having a lot of fun and enjoying the whole wedding planning process. One thing that people can sometimes worry about with wedding planning is deciding which formal ‘group photographs’ to have on the day, or whether even to have them at all. So I thought I would write a little blog post to hopefully take some of the stress out of this part of the planning. Group photos don’t have to be stressful! Here’s how I recommend it’s done to make life as easy as possible…

Group Photos for Weddings

Do we have to do group photos?

You absolutely don’t have to do group photos if you don’t want to. It’s your wedding day after all, and you can do what you like!

Advantages of planning in some group photos:

  • You will definitely get a picture of you with the loved ones that mean the most to you, which might not have happened if it wasn’t planned.

  • Any older family members or those who live far away can be photographed with you for sure, and they might really like to have those pictures.

Disadvantages of doing group photos:

  • It can take time out of your day when you would rather be chatting and celebrating.

  • Sometimes it can take longer than you expected or become frustrating if people keep disappearing!

A lot of weddings now are a lot more relaxed that they used to be traditionally, which is fantastic. I think that the key approach to doing group photos if you don’t want to spend a lot of time on them is to keep it relaxed, keep the ‘formal photos’ list to a minimum, and have someone efficient organising it.

Keep the group photos relaxed

As a documentary wedding photographer, I love to shoot real moments with real personality and real emotion. It is so important to me to capture those special moments with you and your parents / bridesmaids / gran that happen authentically as a part of the natural events of the day. You will remember those moments long after your wedding. But I also totally feel that it’s nice to have a ‘posed’ photo of you with the key people in your life, to make sure that you have that picture. They’ll look great printed and framed on everyone’s mantlepiece, and will be treasured in the future. Wedding days are so busy that sometimes you might not even get to spend any time with your parents or grandparents – I know I didn’t at my own wedding! So sometimes it might be difficult to get natural photos of you together with them, which is why having a posed photo that has been planned for in advance can be such a good thing.

Group photos don’t have to be ‘formal’ or stuffy though. I think they always look better if they are more relaxed. I adore it when you are with your loved ones having a good old laugh or a squish. That way, a formal photo can look as if it is really spontaneous and natural! I always like to elicit more natural looking smiles from you than just your standard forced grin!

Staying relaxed and stress-free during the group photos time is really important so that you feel this part of the day is still a continuation of your wedding celebrations. You should still all be having fun, so that you have great memories from this part of the day too! I always like to do the group photos as quickly as possible as part of the drinks reception, so everyone’s got some bubbly, and can carry on with the party.

Keep the formal photos list to a minimum

A key factor in keeping the group photos stress-free is to have prepared a list of what you want, and for this list to be at it’s absolute minimum. The ‘formal’ group photos that you want your wedding photographer to take are the most important ones with your closest loved ones. This is the recommended group photos list that I give to my brides & grooms…

  1. Bride, Groom, Bridesmaids & Groomsmen

  2. Bride & Bridesmaids

  3. Groom & Groomsmen

  4. Bride & Groom with Bride’s Parents

  5. Bride & Groom with Bride’s family – inc parents, grandparents, siblings, aunties & uncles if required

  6. Bride & Groom with Groom’s Parents

  7. Bride & Groom with Groom’s family – inc parents, grandparents, siblings, aunties & uncles if required

That’s it for the formal photos for me! This should only take a maximum of 20 minutes if everyone is close at hand. Then, on a more ‘informal’ basis, I can capture any other pictures you might want to have, such as you and your gran, or you with your sister. I love to just capture you with your groups of friends very informally as you are mingling around your reception, it’s much more fun and relaxed that way.

As for other formal group photos that may be required with, for example, extended branches of cousins, work colleagues etc, I am very happy to take these for you if you want to put them on your list, but I do think that adding on many of these can make the list become a bit long and it might increase the time taken to the extent that you get a bit fed up! These kinds of photos can perhaps more easily be taken as you do your mingling by those people that want them on their own phones and cameras, so that my time can then be spent invisibly getting lots more of the natural, candid, mingling and laughing shots that everyone loves.

Have someone organised in charge

It will make it much more stress-free for you if you nominate one or two good helpers to round up the required people for your group photos. It’s useful if they know your families too, so they know who to look out for. Give them your pre-prepared list in advance, so that they are ready to leap into action. They will save you (and me!) a lot of time, and the whole thing will happen much more easily, quickly and efficiently. Which means you get to celebrate for longer! Cheers!

I hope that you have found this helpful! For more tips, please check out my Help & Advice section. If there’s a question I haven’t answered, please do get in touch! x

How To Have A Stress Free Wedding Day

TOP TIPS FOR A STRESS FREE WEDDING DAY:

Is your wedding day approaching with speed? It’s an exciting time, but sometimes it can also be a bit stressful! I’m here to help you make sure that the stress keeps far away on the day itself, with my ten top tips…

You’ll no doubt have been planning your wedding for months and months, so when the day itself actually arrives, you want everything to go smoothly, so that you can enjoy it with no worries at all! As a wedding photographer, I have seen over 300 weddings now, so I have lots of experience of different weddings from all ranges of the ‘stress scale’ – from chaos to chilled out bliss! I also got married myself a few years ago, so I could take my own advice! Here are my key ideas for what you can do to ensure that your own wedding day is wonderfully stress-free….

  1. Keep It Simple.

Don’t try to cram too much into your big day. The more you try to squeeze in, such as manicures and salon trips in the morning, multiple ceremony and reception locations, long journeys and jam-packed schedules, the more that has the potential to overrun, get delayed or cause you stress. Keeping your morning and afternoon plans simple, without too much travelling required between locations, is the way to go (having everything happen in one venue location is the most stress-free). That way, you’ll have more time to relax and enjoy the fizz with your loved ones, and take in your amazing day!

Stress Free Wedding

2. Visualise Everything Beforehand.

When my husband and I got married, we spent ages in the run-up to the wedding just sitting and visualising the whole day together from beginning to end, talking through exactly how everything was going to go (in different weather scenarios etc). We went into exacting detail, and this meant that we were able to have a well-developed plan before the big day, knowing precisely how everything would happen, what we needed to remember, and who was doing what, where, when. Pre-visualisation is so important to do together (along with any other people who have key roles to play on the day such as parents, bridesmaids and groomsmen) to make sure that everything runs like clockwork and nothing is forgotten. Our day was completely stress-free as a result!

3. Let Go of Control.

This was probably the thing I found hardest when I got married, but it’s definitely the thing I would try to do better if I could do it all again! There comes a point where you just have to let go of control. What will happen, will happen – you have done all you can. Switch your brain from ‘control’ / ‘stress’ / ‘worry’ to simply ‘enjoy’. The sooner you can do this on your wedding day, the better. Don’t have any last minute things that still need your attention when you should be relaxing on your wedding morning. Make sure everything is finished / ready and sorted before the wedding day. If there are things still to do – delegate – and let go of control. If little things do go wrong, don’t worry about it – in the end, it doesn’t matter as long as you’re getting married to the one you love. You can’t have control over everything on your wedding day – you just have to switch over into ‘enjoy’ mode and make sure you have the best time!

4. Professional Pampering.

I would highly recommend that you consider having a professional do your hair and makeup on the wedding morning, and I would recommend that they do this at your home (or the venue where you are getting ready) rather than you having to make stressful trips to the salon (see point 1 above). You may think that you are confident enough to do your own makeup on the wedding morning, but so often, I see nerves getting the better of a once-steady eyeliner application. Before you know it, you have to start all over again and then you’re running late. Having hair & makeup professionals pampering you and your bridesmaids is a wonderful treat, and you know that your hair and makeup will turn out perfect, with no stressing on your part!

5. Plan To Be Ready Early.

I can’t highlight this one enough. Plan to be ready at least an hour before you need to be leaving for your ceremony. Seriously. That time will vanish! It’s really important to leave a good time buffer so that if there are any delays during the morning, you don’t need to panic. The last part of the getting ready always flies by, and if you haven’t allowed enough time you will be stressing when it comes to fumbling with uncooperative dress buttons (I would even recommend a trial run of putting on the dress before the day, so that you all know what to do without time pressure and to ensure labels are already removed etc). It’s really nice to feel relaxed and calm when you have finished getting ready, with plenty of time left to enjoy a toast with your bridesmaids and parents before you head off to get married. Make sure that your hair & makeup professionals, your parents and bridesmaids all know the schedule for the wedding morning too, so you’re not waiting around for other people.

6. Hire Excellent Suppliers.

A big weight off your mind on the wedding day will be having suppliers who know what they are doing and who do their job well. It’s really important to hire reputable people who come highly recommended, because then they won’t let you down and stress you out on the day. Get the very best that you can afford, particularly when it comes to catering and photography. You may even like to hire an on-the-day wedding stylist or a wedding coordinator to do everything for you that needs to be done.

7. Forget the Weather.

Plan for any weather conditions (do point 2 above), and then forget about it. The weather will be what it will be – no amount of worrying about it will change that. Make sure you have umbrellas, wellies, blankets, sunscreen, fans and chilled water, and then just go with it! As long as there are both indoor and outdoor options on the day, everything will be fine. Rainy wedding photos can be fun!

8. Get your Dress Dirty.

Everyone feels differently about this, but I would recommend that you accept that your wedding dress (and shoes) will get dirty, and that this fact is absolutely okay. Don’t let your fears about dirtying your dress/shoes stop you from having a completely amazing time on your wedding day and doing what you want to do: run across the grass to hug your nan and grandad; go for a romantic wander around your venue’s grounds with your new hubby (and get lovely photos too!); dance like crazy on the drink-soaked dancefloor. If your dress and heels get muddy it isn’t the end of the world (plastic heel stoppers can help a bit) – you’re probably only going to wear your wedding dress for one day anyway, and things can always be cleaned. Enjoy yourself!

9. Have a Strong Team.

Your best people for keeping your stress at bay on your wedding day are your best man, ushers, and bridesmaids. They need to be the ones who are in control, who know what’s happening next, who know exactly what you might need at any given moment. The ushers should be briefed in advance about any organisation required at the church and in the reception afterwards (their efficiency will make your group photos a breeze – to keep things really stress free, keep the group photos to an absolute minimum). Your bridesmaids should be armed with lipstick, mirror, spare hairpins, tissues, phone, water, glass of prosecco, etc and should be ready to leap into action whenever you need them. This will keep you totally chilled out as you won’t be stressing about needing a makeup check or a drink. They are your team bride and groom!

10. Enjoy the Day Together!

Remember that today is about you and your other half getting married! Don’t worry about anything or anyone else! Make sure that you spend lots of time with your new husband/wife and enjoy taking in this incredible day together. Congratulations!

If you would like to find out more about my wedding photography, please visit my website and drop me a line to tell me more about your wedding! x