Before, during and after: your wedding photographer can capture your big milestones

Pick the right photographer and it could be the start of a beautiful relationship, as the people behind and in front of the camera tell us

Photo: Canvas & Peach Studios

Your wedding is one of the happiest days of your life, sure. We’re well aware of that – we spend hours every week oohing and aahing over gorgeous photos testifying to how brilliant the big event was.

But what about all the other happiest days of your life? You know: finding out you’re expecting, welcoming new life into the world, celebrating the milestones they reach and, of course, scrolling back to when you said ‘yes’ and started this whole crazy journey together.

Wouldn’t it be great if these memories were similarly documented, in glossy albums or gold frames? Well, they can be: we’ve delved into the photo business to find out what’s on offer beyond the ‘I dos’. We all know a dog’s not just for Christmas – but did you realise a photographer’s not just for weddings?

All right, all right, we hear you – weddings are expensive. Maybe you’ve recently gotten engaged, and are already suffering from spreadsheet-induced headaches. Or perhaps you’ve spent years saving up for your dream celebration and now, with the big day just around the corner, you’re looking forward to no longer having to account for every single penny. Either way, the last thing you want is to splash any more cash than you have to.

Yet spending money on a professional photographer to mark an engagement, a pregnancy, a new arrival (whether it’s a baby or something a little fluffier with four legs) is far from frivolous splurging. Take it from the experts: this is an investment that will stand the test of time.

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Rachael and Craig asked Jenniflower Photography to document their wedding, pregnancy, new arrival Mara and a ‘cake smash’ for her first birthday, a craze that started in the US which is now taking the UK family photography industry by storm

“Years can pass, but when you look at a photograph it will immediately take you back to that exact moment and you’ll remember how you felt at the time,” offers Heather Fairley, who runs Canvas & Peach Studios in Coatbridge.

Her co-director Cheryl Lynch puts it this way: “Lots of people shy away from getting their picture taken, but imagine having nothing to look back on! Invest in a professional to capture those moments – you can trust us to create memories that will last a lifetime.”

It’s an approach that certainly seems to be working for them, as David and Emma, pictured right, can attest to. They have called in Canvas & Peach several times over the past few years to document the major milestones in their lives. “Heather and Cheryl have been with us on every step of our journey,” say the couple. “We first worked with them around the time of our engagement when they were just starting out as a business.

Since then, they’ve seen us from our wedding day right through to the birth of our baby boy, Caleb. We’ll always use them as we love how personable they are and how relaxed they make us feel when we’re getting our pictures taken. Best photographers in the industry!”

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Three’s far from a crowd in this family shot of Laura, Andy and their daughter Ava by ABM Photography. The couple’s wedding day was at Dalmahoy Hotel & Country Club in 2017

For lots of couples, their relationship with their photographer begins with that all-important engagement shoot.

“Edinburgh is blessed with amazing places that work well for engagement pictures,” says Alastair Burn-Murdoch at ABM Photography, which is based in the capital. “But wherever you’re thinking of having a photoshoot, we can make it personal to you, with lasting images taken at a favourite place.”

One of the best things about this strategy is the way it can combat any fears you might have about being photographed. “Shooting at a treasured spot can really help you get over any nerves about being in front of the camera,” adds Rose, Alastair’s wife and business partner. “That’s because it feels less about you and more about the location. We’ve taken pictures in woodland, at the beach, at home – wherever felt most special to the couple.”

Two people who know the magic of ABM’s style are Laura and Andy, who hired the husband-and-wife team to capture their wedding after a recommendation from the bride’s sister. It was love at first sight (or shot), as Laura recalls: “Alastair and Rose are the most friendly, approachable people, and on top of that their work is just outstanding. We knew from the minute we met them that we wanted them to capture our big day.”

Rose, famous for always carrying a ‘Mary Poppins’ bag of tricks (with nail file, scissors, tissues, hairbrush and mirror) gets a special mention. “It was like having a fifth bridesmaid with Rose and her goodies!” 

Laura and Andy recommended ABM Photography to so many of their friends that Alastair and Rose decided to offer them a portrait session with their first child, Ava. Being a loyal customer definitely doesn’t hurt – and, as you can see for yourself on page 202, the results are pretty adorable.

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Pearl & Plum Photography originally captured Hannah and Dean’s wedding at The Byre at Inchyra in 2016, a fabulous day by all accounts. Hannah and Dean then brought Mabel, the newest member of their family, into the studio for a taste of the camera. Looks like she’s a natural!

One of the things that makes studio photography so appealing is that it’s a blank canvas: the pared-back setting really allows the subject to take centre stage. But that doesn’t mean you can’t show off your personality. “We love capturing sheer joy and natural expressions in our studio,” says Leigh Irwin of Glasgow’s Pearl & Plum Photography.

“We can make even the most camera-shy come to life, and we always encourage families to bring pets, clothes, toys or whatever best depicts their lifestyle – such as walking gear, skis, bikes, baking kit or even champagne!”

Celebrating a new baby? Pearl & Plum have some ideas to help you pay homage to where it all began. “When you photograph someone’s wedding you get to know them so well,” points out co-owner Carli Kieran. “We normally stay in touch, and when our couples take their lovely new additions to the studio for a shoot we often suggest the parents bring the wedding dress and kilt to use as a prop with their baby. It’s a personal touch, and looks lovely in photos.”

The team’s laid-back and friendly approach has helped them win over a fair few fans. “Working with Leigh and Carli is like having a couple of good mates at your wedding who just happen to be taking your photos,” confirms former bride Hannah, pictured above with husband Dean. “The girls knew exactly what we wanted and our photos were better than we could have imagined. When we had our baby, taking her to the studio for her first photoshoot was a no-brainer. Leigh was amazing with Mabel, making her giggle and smile – we managed the whole shoot without any tears. Pearl & Plum now feel like our unofficial family photographer.”

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Nadya and Dan enlisted the expertise of Chloé Jane Wedding Photography for their wedding reception. Soon there was a baby on the way, and Chloé was back snapping happy memories (and, of course, an oh-so-cute doggie). The couple and photographer were reunited once again to celebrate Svetlana’s first birthday – that beaming smile says it all

The whirlwind of a wedding is a pretty good foundation for establishing solid friendships with the people experiencing the eye of the storm – and your photographer is no exception.

“As a result of all the time that goes into capturing a wedding, I build up great relationships with my clients,” explains Chloé Timms, owner of Chloé Jane Wedding Photography in Argyll. “There’s something really great about meeting up again further down the line and recording new memories in their evolving lives.

We already have an understanding – they trust me, they know me and appreciate my style, and they feel comfortable in front of the camera.”

Chloé would probably be pleased to hear that the feeling is mutual. “Dan and I loved having Chloé take our photos, from our wedding to pregnancy, newborn to first birthday,” enthuses Nadya, pictured above. “She listens to us and the photos always come out brilliantly – we’ve got them all over our house. She will always be our first-choice photographer.”

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David and Emma first worked with Canvas & Peach Studios for their engagement shoot, who then captured their lovely winter wonderland wedding at Glenbervie House Hotel. When the couple recently welcomed a baby boy named Caleb, there was no question who’d be taking the first professional pics of their newborn son 

It seems that witnessing the most meaningful moments of someone’s life is a rewarding experience: “It’s wonderful to be a part of each stage of my couples’ lives,” agrees Jennifer Lorenz, who runs Stirling-based Jenniflower Photography.

“Watching their families grow is amazing. We spend so much time getting to know each other during the lead-up to the wedding, on the day itself and then afterwards putting albums together, that most clients become firm friends.

“Because of that, they trust me – which is obviously really important when I’m photographing their week-old baby,” she jokes. “I just love how it’s all fallen into place – now I can capture their expanding families with my new baby studio.”

In the age of social media, the power of photography has, quite literally, been placed in our hands. We’re all pretty snap-happy, plastering images of ourselves and our loved ones across the internet.

When it comes to recording those life-altering moments and decorating the house with your memories, however, there’s no match for the technical ability and vision of a professional photographer. So why save their skills for just one day? Instead, let them tell the whole story and capture the journey of your lives in the process.