Relaxed Wedding Photography – My Approach

Something a bit different from me today on the blog – instead of sharing a gorgeous recent Wedding … I started to think about what I might be able to post to help those couples out there who have either booked me, or are in the process of searching for a wedding photographer.

Of course I’ll share a few images along the way! …

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Over my 8 years of capturing lots of lovely weddings – developing my style, and now consistently attracting my ideal clients I’ve learnt a lot and it’s probably time I shared a bit more of an insight into what it’s like to have your couples shots taken by me.

Because yes that’s right … choosing your wedding photographer doesn’t just happen by coincidence or who you happen to stumble across first … it’s a conscious decision based on not only loving their work – envisaging your day being captured the way they consistently do but more importantly implicitly trusting their approach and what they may ask you to do along the way!

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So I began to question what my past & future couples all have in common – what they told me on their contact form, why they were attracted to my work, how it was to work with them at their pre shoot & on the wedding day – as well as of course the amazing feedback I have received after weddings …

And the first thing which stands out by a mile is that most of them tell me they HATE HAVING THEIR PICTURE TAKEN … yes that’s right – which kind of feels a bit ironic for me to be shouting about, when I’m offering to stand in front of you and take pictures all day!

But hey – I can relate to it … I too hate being in front of the lens – in fact I actively avoid it – perhaps that’s why I’ve ended up doing this job right?

One of the biggest buzz’s I get doing this job is changing that exact perception … people finishing the shoot and saying “you know what that wasn’t as bad as I expected – we actually enjoyed it!” and even better, seeing the images and getting comments like “wow – we can’t believe that’s us … I’ve never liked a picture of myself before” (and by the way these are totally real comments which I consistently receive)

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So I guess first and foremost when you visit my website, instagram or facebook page you won’t be hit with any images of my couples being forced to stand un-naturally with fake smiles to the camera … my aim is to capture the natural & genuine interactions between two people in love celebrating one of the best days of their lives!

This doesn’t just happen by chance – when you choose & book a photographer aside from the obvious of booking them for having professional equipment, knowing technically how to use it – much more than that you are paying for their expertise, experience, artistic eye … and one other factor which I feel is hugely important – their personality.

I always tell my couples that out of everything & everyone you book for your wedding day – your Photographer will be the one there all day – interacting with your family & friends – it sounds totally cheesy but see it as an extension of your guest list. It has to be someone who you connect, engage with & like on a personal level – if you don’t feel relaxed with the person taking the pictures you will never fully embrace & let your guard down having your picture taken.

So – how do I get my couples to relax into their photo couples shots on their wedding day? …

First & foremost I always tell people to remember that on the day itself you will be a bride & groom – sounds obvious right? But you will look & feel amazing … it will be one of the happiest days of your lives … and it will just naturally feel like a more socially acceptable environment to be having your picture taken! Never underestimate the power this will have to make you feel more ok about being in front of the camera.

I should probably say first that I don’t spend much time on the day taking you away for your photographs – perhaps 15 / 20 mins during the drinks reception … and then another 5 / 10 mins later in the day (I’ll explain later why I break it up in this way).

I work quickly – and never stay in one place or position for very long at all – a lot of my shots involve movement – so lots of walking, talking, laughing, chatting & generally just being yourselves.

It doesn’t feel like I’m in your face for your shots – I have a range of different lenses so I can be far away from you shooting epic wide angle shots – and also maybe sneak a couple of closer ones in too!

When I do come in close – it’s not to tell you to “look & me and smile” (I promise!) … we’ll continue to chat, we’ll continue to laugh, smile – even look romantic … but in a non – forced way.

I use my camera on a constant shutter feature – this means I’m shooting through the moment – capturing it all – quite often it’s the looks, smiles, laughs and moments in-between what you think are the official shots which end up being your favourites.

I will always take you away from your guests at that point in the day – privacy is also a key element to me to ensure you feel relaxed.

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So – back to why I break my couples shots up into two sections.

Firstly – your drinks reception will whizz by in a flash – usually at that point in the day you have on average 1.5 hours before you are seated for your wedding breakfast. During that time you want to greet all your guests – enjoy a drink & a canapé (you’ve spent enough time planning, choosing & saving for these right?), have a few ‘official’ family snaps (yes – I still see that as a vitally important element of the day) but most importantly you want to relax, enjoy it and not feel like you are being pulled from pillar to post too much! So for me to even think about taking a couple away for say 45 mins at that time of day is unimaginable for me. Knowing I can get a few shots in that time and then take you back out later in the day works so much better for me.

Later in the day (usually after the speeches & meal, sometime perhaps even after the first dance depending on the time of year) I will sneak you back out for a few more shots.

At this point in the day you will both naturally feel more at ease – the formalities are out if the way, speeches are done … and its a lovely time for you both to be away from your guests, enjoy some peaceful time together, reflect on the day & take it all in before the party gets started!

From a photographers perspective – the light will also be a lot more appealing to work with .. much lower, softer, diffused natural light than the harsh mid day sun … and fingers crossed you even get some amazing sunset time and golden hour!

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I hope that has provided a bit more insight into how I work & what to expect from me & your images.

Don’t just take my word for it – head over to my kind words section – I’m really proud of the consistent & heartfelt feedback I receive.

If you have enjoyed reading this article & found it useful – either as a past, future or prospective couple – share the love & leave a comment or share it on social media – it really does make a huge difference to a small independent business!

Thank you for reading xxx

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I shoot weddings across Yorkshire, Manchester the Lake District & beyond – if you are looking for a natural, relaxed & creative photographer I would love to hear from you via the contact form xxx