To view more expert advice on a different topic, please select one from the list below.
Q. Lots of photographers offer an engagement shoot, but we don't really like having our pictures taken as a rule and don't know if it's for us. What are the benefits?
A. John Payton says: Engagement shoots offer many benefits to marrying couples. Firstly, it's the perfect opportunity to be photographed by your chosen photographer without the inevitable pressure of the wedding day. It's a chance to have fun, chat, get to know each other and take some lovely photographs. It's not essential this happens, but growing an early relationship with your photographer will always make a difference to the experience on the wedding day. Trying out a photoshoot before the wedding also breaks the ice and means couples will generally be more relaxed in front of the camera when the wedding day portraits come around. My photography is all about natural, relaxed moments but even so, there will always be an element of posing here and there, so if you have the opportunity to practice with your photographer, and get some gorgeous photos before your wedding, then I highly recommend doing so.
John Payton, John Payton Photography
Q. Choosing our wedding photographer is proving harder than expected. What should we look for to know we're making the right decision?
A. Rob Moore says: Selecting a photographer is one of the biggest decisions you'll make in the run-up to your big day. Why? The pictures are usually the only thing you'll keep after your wedding… other than your spouse!
The first thing to consider is whether you like the way the photographer takes their pictures, asking yourselves if you prefer a traditional shoot or something documentary in style. The initial meeting is also important before you commit, as you need a photographer that you like as a person. You're going to spend hours with them on a very emotional day, so you need to 'click' to work together well.
You should also take time to look at their wedding work on their website and social media. Read through the photographer's blog if they write one, to understand them on a more personal level, and listen to other brides, grooms and suppliers. Reviews are there for a reason; they'll tell you the true experience of others and hold a lot of detail about what to expect.
Rob Moore, Rob Moore Photography
Q. What are your top tips for getting the best out of our wedding photos?
A. Dan Scott says: I find that having a great connection with my couples makes all the difference. I'll meet with you a few times before the wedding to help build a relationship and trust. Once an understanding is built, then great moments will naturally follow.
The best wedding photography is not posed or planned too much, it's when you interact with your partner and you're being yourself. My job is to give a little direction at times and capture those moments to document your day as it happens. Those real moments when you forget you're being photographed are when the memories are made.
It's important for me to connect with people and build trust – that's when you and your guests can enjoy your big day together. You may even forget I'm there!
Dan Scott, Dan Scott Professional Wedding Photographer
The little details
Q. Will we still get amazing photos at our intimate wedding?
A. Chris Woodman says: Since the pandemic hit, the world has had to evolve and adapt to major changes. One of the industries that was worst hit was the one I have committed eight years of my life to: the wedding industry. Having shot a handful of weddings during COVID-19, I had a taste of what it was like to shoot the most intimate of gatherings, with small guest lists from six to 30 people.
I love smaller weddings; you get to spend quality time with the people that matter most to you. There's no rushing around and you get much more time to enjoy your day. I find couples tend to be more comfortable around their closest friends and family, so your photos will look more natural and authentic throughout the day. You'll also find your nearest and dearest will huddle closer, which makes key moments like throwing confetti, cutting the cake and the first dance even more emotional and visually pleasing. Smaller weddings are now my preference as a photographer. There's no compromise with your requirements and you get to make the most of the day you've worked so hard to plan.
Chris Woodman, Chris Woodman Photography
Q. We're both nervous in front of the camera. How can we relax on the day?
A. Emma Gosling says: My couples always tell me how much they hate being in front of the lens. However, I can honestly say that once we get into the groove, all we do is laugh and have fun! My advice for couples who are nervous is to build a relationship with your photographer; keep in touch throughout the planning and you may even become friends.
If your photographer offers a pre-wedding shoot, do it. They're an amazing way to get used to the camera and each other, get some awesome photos and maybe even realise that you've mastered the blue steel and have a budding modelling career ahead of you!
On the day, just be with each other and don't worry too much about the camera. Have fun and remember that your photographer is only human and (hopefully!) won't bite.
Emma Gosling, Emma Gosling Photography