10 Secrets from a Wedding Photographer

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10 Secrets from a Wedding Photographer

1.  How do I choose my wedding photographer when there are so many out there?

First, check out websites such as Hitched, UKBride or blogs such as So You're Getting Married...  Most Brides have a particular style they are going for even if you don't know it yet!  Think about your wedding - are you going for soft muted pastels or bright and funky?  Are you a relaxed and natural person or do you like to do things that make others stand up and take note?  They give fabulous advice & tips, and Brides who use them tend to be looking for a romantic vintage style which matches us perfectly.  Of course, if you've been to a wedding recently, ask who the photographer was if you loved their style!  Most of our business is based on recommendations from previous Brides & Grooms, which we love!

Once you have a few favourite photographers (no more than 2-3) arrange a meeting with them - meet with the actual person who will be shooting your wedding - not a sales person!  This is so important. You need to make sure that not only your photographic style matches but that you have the same vision for your wedding and that you get on!  You have to trust your photographer to create those magical images for you and that you will be safe in their hands!  You'll be spending many hours with them, so you have to like them!

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2.  How many photos will I get?

Wedding photographers usually deliver around 30-50 images per hour they spend with you.  A full day's wedding coverage for us is usually from around 11am until 9pm - that's a ten hour day! 400-500 photos may seem a lot, but then, you've spent months, if not years planning your big day and we wouldn't miss a thing!  All those details, the special moments, the laughs, the tears and the love.  Who can put a limit on that?

3.  I want photos with that gorgeous blurry background - how do I get that?

This is about depth of field.  The shallower the depth of field, the more blurry the background becomes.  This is also how you create bokeh.. (the fabulous soft orbs of light in a background too).  Professional photographers achieve these beautiful looks by using professional lenses, particular settings and lots of practice!

4.  Why is wedding photography so expensive!!

So this is the biggie.. It's also the question that every professional wedding photographer wants everyone to understand and know the answer to the most.  Wedding photography should be cheap, right?  They turn up, take some photos and deliver them on a disc.

The truth is, it's not like that!  Most photographers carry around £10,000 worth of kit on your wedding day.  They are also perfectionists.  We work 60 hour weeks, editing in to the wee hours of the morning to give your photos the perfect look - remember the hundreds of photos from question 2?  It takes a several full days alone just to edit those.  Add on things like insurance (a professional photographer will have public liability & professional indemnity insurance so check your chosen one does!), taxes, kit, advertising, albums, postage... the list goes on.  But we do it because we love it.

I explain more on the subject in this post - in case you want all the nitty gritty!

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5.  How can I make sure I look my best in photos?

Every Bride wants to look beautiful on her wedding day.  Here are a few top tips to give you a head start!

RELAX...  I know.. don't hate me!  It's a big day.  But it's here, it's NOW.  Trust yourself that you have created a beautiful day.  Trust your photographer to capture it for you.  If you're relaxed, it will come through in your photos - after all you're marrying the love of your life.  ENJOY IT!

DEDICATE TIME.  Ensure you leave enough time for your wedding photos.  MYTH BUSTER: you do NOT have to spend 3 hours on your photos and your guests will not get bored if you do it right!  Click here to get our free Photo Shot List!.  I always recommend my Brides to dedicate an hour and a half to photos.  It doesn't have to be all at the same time.  In fact, it's better (for various reasons!) if it's not!

EAT. SLEEP. DRINK.  (Water, not wine!)  Have a glass to calm the nerves but don't drink too much.  You don't want googly eyes in your photos! - even Photoshop can't fix that.

STAND CORRECTLY.  Take a moment to read through this post - you'll love me forever, I promise!

CHIN FORWARD.  If you've ever had a photo shoot with me, you'll know that I say thins a hundred times: "chin forward and down".  It's quite simply the best way to eliminate any worries of double chins, it tones and slims your face, shows off your cheekbones and jawline all in one simple move.  Yes it feels a little weird.  But it's like gold, fairy magic and a unicorn all wrapped in to one simple move.  if you didn't love me before this very second, you will now.  {Still don't believe me?!  I dare you to grab your camera phone and try it!  Take one picture 'normally' and then one picture with your chin pushed forward and tilted downwards.}

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Done it?!  I told you, gold, fairy dust and a unicorn  :lol:

6.  Do I really need a second photographer?  

No-one has to have a second photographer.  It's not imperative.  It is however wonderful.  I work with my husband, Ian as a second photographer.  He is amazingly talented and we work together so often, we know what each other are thinking.  Second photographers give you variety.  You'll get more photos, different angles, perspectives (one photographer can't be at the front of the aisle capturing your smiling face and at the back of the aisle photographing that gorgeous train at the same time).  As I work with Ian, I'm at the top of the aisle, he's at the back.  Perfect.  I'm with the Bride during Bridal Prep, he's with the guys.  Awesome.

NOTE: a second photographer is not the same as an assistant.  Be sure to check this with your chosen photographer first!

7.  Should we do a 'first look'?  What is a 'first look'?!!

This is a fairly new trend in the wedding world.  It's a chance for wedding couples to see each other before the ceremony starts.  First Looks are very emotional, they get all those last minute nerves out of the way and give you a few private moments to spend time with each other before you say "I Do".  The reactions when a Groom see's his Bride for the first time (& vice-versa !) and can really let those emotions show are just blissful.

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8.  When should I book my Wedding Photographer?

As soon as possible!  Like, yesterday! :)  Notton House Photography get booked up as much as two years in advance although one year is more common.  But this means that every person getting married on your wedding date, in your area is looking for a photographer at the same time.  Book in as soon as you have a wedding date confirmed!  If your favourite photographer is unavailable on your date, please feel free to ask us if we have any recommendations!  Photographers do know other photographers (and contrary to popular belief we aren't all in competition with each other!).  We may know someone who will match your style!  But if you do choose Notton House Photography to capture your wedding, we'll take really good care of you and that's a promise.

9.  Can you just fix that in Photoshop?

It depends.  As a professional, I like to get everything perfect in camera first - lighting, posing, location etc.  Yes, if you have a big spot on your nose that came up over night and your make-up doesn't completely cover it, of course we will 'fix' that for you in your wedding portraits.  If Uncle Bob photobombs you, I'll re-take the photo straight away instead.  No, I can't crop out people you later decide you don't like, and sorry, but photographers also won't make you lose 3 dress sizes post-processing - although if you follow my posing advice, this won't be needed!  Many photographers charge for extensive editing as it is very time consuming and is not covered in the wedding photography fee.

10.  What on earth is an 'Unplugged' Wedding?  How do I get one?!

The best thing since sliced bread.  Seriously.  As a photographer my dream is to give you the most perfect set of wedding photographs I can, for you to love and look through with your children and grandchildren.  My nightmare is when I see the most perfect moment happening during the ceremony and a guest stands up with an iPhone, right in front of me and I miss it.  I guarantee you my shot will have been better - that's why you booked a professional to capture your wedding.

An 'unplugged' wedding is something we mention to all of our wedding couples.  It basically means that before the ceremony starts, the guests are asked to put all of their cameras away.  Your guests are there to celebrate you, and enjoy the emotion and the excitement of the day with you, not stuck behind a smartphone or compact camera.

There are some great sites (like this one) out there now which provide beautiful ways to mention this to your guests before hand - you could add a card in to the invitation, set little notes around the venue to remind them or simply have your registrar ask at the beginning of the ceremony.  There is always time after the ceremony for photos with guests :)

Trust your photographer to capture those moments for you and let your guests be guests!

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WeddingsLesley Notton1 Comment