Find your focus! Nicole Conner shares five brilliant tips for getting the best wedding snaps, from colourful confetti snaps to first look pics
Before I jet off on holiday, I like to spend the weeks leading up to my departure researching all the best places to dine, dance and explore at my destination. The best tips and recommendations, not surprisingly, come from people who’ve been there before and know the place well, and I rely on their expert advice to steer me in the right direction.
The same can be said to apply to wedding photography: your snapper has been there, done it and bought the T-shirt, and their insider knowledge holds the key to getting great shots. You won’t be left to your own devices on the day, as your photographer will be there to guide you and ensure you end up with some really memorable pictures. Even so, there’s no harm in knowing a bit about what to expect before you find yourself in front of a professional lens for the first time. We chat to three experts to find out more.
I’m not used to having my picture taken. What if I’m nervous about being photographed?
If you’re nervous, you’re not alone. In fact, unless you’re a professional model, the thought of being scrutinised by a camera can be a daunting one. That’s why Kate Godfrey recommends booking a pre-wedding or engagement shoot. “It’s such a great way to get used to the camera, and will really help you relax on the big day when it matters,” says the Edinburgh-based photographer. “A good snapper will know how to talk to you and get you feeling your best.” Everyone realises there’s nothing to worry about once they’ve done a pre-wedding shoot, she adds.
I’d love to get confetti shots. How do you achieve the best results?
One shot that Gail McCarthy of Gail Photography always recommends is the confetti shot. Why? “For me, it has three things that make the perfect wedding photo: colour, movement and laughter,” she explains. In order to capture the moment, the photographer instructs guests to file into two lines for the newlyweds to walk between. The guests should then throw the confetti as the couple pass by (note: tossing the confetti up into the air, not directly at the newlyweds, is much more effective). “And the confetti should be in your hand as you toss it, not in its little box or bag – it’s much easier to throw that way,” Gail points out.
Asking the groomsmen to help dish out confetti beforehand is a good way to get everyone involved. And don’t forget to check with your venue or church that confetti is actually permitted. If it isn’t, bubbles make a decent alternative. And Gail’s final tip? “The most important thing is to laugh and have fun!”
How do we get great ‘walking down the aisle’ snaps?
It’s the part many of us have dreamt of and acted out since we were wee: walking down the aisle. Such an important bit of the big day will be high on your list of key shots, and if this is the case, say the team at Canvas & Peach Photography, “get your partner to turn around and look at you from the top of the aisle down. Don’t do a turn-around at the last minute.” The reason? You will miss taking each other in – and that’s the best moment!
“On a few occasions we have seen the couple’s eyes meet seconds before they reach one another, totally missing the entire walk down. You should enjoy seeing one another – and everyone else.”Canvas & Peach also note that if pipers or bridesmaids head down the aisle before you, wait until they’ve reach the end before you set off, otherwise your partner and guests won’t see you, and your photographer won’t either!
What tips do you have for my flowers on the big day?
“Flowers bring all-important colour to a wedding, but almost every bride and bridesmaid I have ever photographed has held her bouquet up to her chest. Hold it lower down! Let us see the dress!” says Gail. She also suggests making sure your bridal bouquet isn’t too heavy (she has seen some that weigh a ton) and isn’t too thick (you need to be able to hold it with one hand).
Gail also recommends having a bridesmaid primed to look after your flowers during the couple shoot. “I will use the flowers for some pictures but it can be hard for newlyweds to interact and get close when there’s a big bouquet between them!”
We want really natural wedding pics. How do we achieve that look?
While scrolling on social media, have you spied those seemingly effortless snaps of couples who are so lost in each other that you’d be forgiven for thinking there was no photographer present at all? Well, the key to getting this kind of image, according to Kate, is simple: act like you’re being filmed rather than photographed. “In other words, don’t stay static but make sure to move, because it’s in those fleeting moments that your photographer will capture the real gold,” she tells us.
So instead of smiling, try laughing; or perhaps look away from the camera and at your partner instead. Again, having a good relationship with your photographer will be useful in creating a relaxed atmosphere, which is where the likes of pre-wedding shoots can be so valuable.