Lights, Camera, Action!

Lights, Camera, Action!

Q. Can you give us some tips for booking our big-day photography?

A. Ben Allen says: Searching for the right wedding photographer can be a bit of a minefield. If you're reading this, you may have already posted in Facebook bridal groups asking for recommendations, and have no doubt been flooded by countless photographers telling you why you should book them (probably including me!) The right photographer for you is out there...

Whether your main deciding factor is the price, style of photography or personality, take a look at your potential list of photographers' Instagram feeds and delete any whose work you aren't a fan of. This will leave you with a list of those whose work you love. Once you've got a shortlist, look at their pricing and remove any that fall above or under your budget.

Now comes the most important bit - meet the photographers on your shortlist! If you can't meet in person, set up a Zoom call. You must get on well with your chosen photographer because they're going to be spending plenty of time with you on your most important day. Then, just book your favourite. See, it's easy!

Ben Allen, Lenscraft Photography


Caught on camera

Caught on camera

Q. When should the groom get photographed on the morning of the wedding?

A. Libby Clark says: Your wedding day is a story and, like every story, there are two sides to it. It's common for me, as the photographer, to focus on the bride's story; having her hair and make-up done, putting on her dress and capturing the reactions to her finished look but what about the groom? It's his day too! Whilst it may not take as long, the groom is still busily preparing for his upcoming nuptials. He and his groomsmen can usually be found sorting out the suits, working out how to attach a buttonhole and adding final details to the speeches, often while whisky is being passed around to calm the nerves and there's always one groomsman who is still in bed less than one hour before they need to leave! To tell the entire story of your day, I would advise getting the groom preparations photographed - they're just as much fun for the bride to look through as the bridal prep is for the groom.

Sometimes the groom is happy to suggest you get on with booking suppliers by yourself. For some things that's fine, but for booking for your wedding photographer I would suggest you both meet them together because they are the one supplier you're going to spend much of your day with. They'll be with you whilst you're getting ready, throughout the ceremony and for the couple portraits so it's really important that you like them. You need to make sure that you gel with them before the day so arrange to meet them in person or over a zoom call. We all have different personality types, and if you love their work but one of you finds them hard to get on with, it's ok to keep looking for the right photographer for you both. Does your groom hate having his photo taken and was quite happy to not have a photographer at all? Book a pre-wedding shoot so that you can both learn how your photographer works ahead of the big day. It's helpful for the photographer too because every couple is different. What might work for one couple doesn't necessarily work for the next and the pre-wedding shoot means that can all be worked out beforehand.

Libby Clark, Libby Clark Photography


For both your eyes only

For both your eyes only

Q. I'm considering booking a boudoir shoot to surprise my hubby-to-be. Can you tell me what to expect?

A. Libby Clark says: I'm now offering boudoir photo shoots in the comfort of your home for a limited time only at an introductory offer! A 90-minute shoot with five digital files to keep afterwards and more available to purchase costs £100 and makes a wonderful keepsake for you and your partner!

We sometimes feel under pressure to look our best, keep in good shape, achieve perfect skin and have a healthy body, but our bodies come in all shapes and sizes and they deserve to be celebrated.

The most attractive woman is a confident one and a boudoir shoot will do so much for your body confidence. You might want to capture yourself on camera because you've just reached a milestone birthday or are pregnant. The shoots happen in the privacy of your home so that you're comfortable and have control. We will experiment with different looks and outfits in various areas of your home. The shoot is all about you and the results will be fantastic!

Libby Clark, Libby Clark Photography


Through their eyes

Through their eyes

Q. Can you give us some tips for achieving fabulous wedding photos from a photographer's perspective please?

A. Daniella Marinos says: - Be relaxed, enjoy your day and have fun! It should be the most wonderful time and is the start of a new chapter in your life together. Rely on your bridal party to do most of the running around and embrace every emotion that you both feel.

- Remember that the photographer has a big responsibility on your day and they're working hard for you. They'll be running on adrenaline to accomplish everything so please try and ensure they are not forgotten with refreshments and food.

- Take advantage of the weather when it's sunny and request plenty of outdoor shots but remember that the photographer only has a certain amount of daylight hours. Sometimes the weather changes quickly and any good photographer will pre-empt this and try and move the party indoors quickly.

- When you book your photographer, ask them whether they have any suggestions, for example, things like the groom's preparation often gets forgotten but is a really important part of the day.

- Always check your contract to give you peace of mind that your chosen photographer has a backup plan if needed in the event of bad weather.

- Remember that your photographer is a business and has overheads including insurance. If they're a quality photographer, their main summer dates won't be available for long so don't hold on to the deposit or contract because other enquiries will no doubt want the same date.

- Speak to your photographer, or email them, with every question you have, plus a list of your must-have shots – communication is key!

Daniella Marinos, Daniella Marinos Photography


Behind the lens

Behind the lens

Q. We want to ensure fantastic wedding photographs – do you have any top tips?

A. Daniella Marinos says: Whether it's an intimate or lavish affair, couples need to feel comfortable with their choice of wedding photographer and there are some important things for them to consider. Firstly, request a video call if you can't arrange to meet them in person at a wedding fair or their studio. This is important so that you can get to know their personality. Have images ready to show them of how you envisage your day and point out what you like about different photographer's work. Be clear about what you want but remember that the photographer is only as good as the surroundings and opportunities presented to them.

Always try to provide a must-have list of shots of family members. When couples say they want the natural candid images, they usually also require the staged shots of their loved ones.

A timeline for the wedding day is crucial because a photographer works with this to see whether there will be enough time to get everything done in an unobtrusive way (bearing in mind the weather forecast). Most venues will provide a timeline of the day one month before the wedding so it's worth asking for this.

If you're shy and introverted in front of the camera then don't worry – as long as you smile, a personable photographer will bring out your different characters through the pictures. It's important to enquire when you're likely to receive your images and in which format this will be, whether it's an album or a USB stick. It's also worth bearing in mind whether you want colour shots or black and white and maybe sepia choices too.

Daniella Marinos, Daniella Marinos Photography




Q. We've just become engaged – how do we go about finding a good photographer?

A. Emily Collett says: Firstly, it's important to decide on the style of wedding photography that you want, for example, do you require your images to be light and airy, warm and colourful or dark and moody?

Alongside the photographer's style, it's important to research how they capture the day. For example, if you're looking for relaxed, candid and natural shots, images of the finer details or more of a formal feel then check how they document a full day and ask to see full albums of their work, not just a selection of images.

For me, a connection is everything. I say this because you wouldn't invite a stranger to your wedding so the same applies to your wedding photographer. As you'll be spending much of your day in the presence of your photographer, you want them to be somebody who you can relax in front of, as you would your loved ones. To see if you're a good fit, ask whether they offer a meeting via Facetime or Zoom, or a phone chat, just so that you can see if your personalities align.

Booking an engagement shoot, if your chosen photographer provides this service, is a great opportunity to relax in front of the camera before your wedding day. It's also a great way to get to know your photographer and of course, leave with some memorable couple portraits!

Check whether the photographer's prices are within your budget. Photography is an expensive part of a wedding but it's an investment, and the photographs will be enjoyed for years to come so try not to compromise on this. It's also important to remember that you aren't paying for them simply to attend on the day. They're available for advice, guidance and support beforehand plus there are hours of editing the images after the wedding.

I would always recommend investing in a second shooter if your budget allows it. Your photographer can't be in two places at once so the second shooter will snap the groom's preparation, guests arriving, additional angles, extra candid shots, those all-important details and much more, making sure that everything's covered. They also offer invaluable assistance in wet weather, and peace of mind in the event of your photographer falling ill on the day.

Finally, if your preferred photographer isn't available, don't be afraid to ask for recommendations. They're likely to know other reliable, friendly, similarly priced photographers and point you in the right direction.

Emily Collett, Emily Collett Photography


Snap happy

Snap happy

Q. We're planning a Wiltshire-based wedding and would love a photographer to capture it all on camera in a natural, relaxed way - can you help?

A. James Donovan says: When choosing a photographer, it's important to remember that they'll be telling the story of your special day through amazing images that will be treasured for a lifetime. Once the day has been and gone, it's the images that you'll be looking back on.

From the very first contact, I build a story of the wedding day by getting to know the couple and their venue, chosen theme, colours and plans. I enquire who the bridal party and family members are in preparation to capture wonderful images.

It's important to consider which package you'd like. You may want your images on a USB stick or presented in a beautiful wedding album, most of which are storybook-style albums.

Top tip: When viewing samples of photographer's wedding albums, ask to see a full one and not just their best shots from different weddings. Discuss what style of photography you want, for example, formal or relaxed, candid or a bit of both. I prefer to capture a wedding in an unobtrusive, relaxed way whilst including some lovely bridal party shots and group images.

Top tip: Ask whether there'll be one or two photographers on the day because having a second shooter provides you with full coverage of the getting-ready session and final preparations, and adds a different perspective to your wedding story.

Let your photographer know how long you require them for, for example from the preparation through to the first dance and evening party. You can decide to book them until after the speeches or cutting of the cake but make sure that this is agreed in writing before the day.

Top tip: Determine whether the final images provided will be in high resolution for quality purposes. You may want copies in a lower resolution for social media.

James Donovan, James Donovan Photography