The best bit about my job is meeting passionate people. And I do love a photographer! Clients often ask me which photographers I’d personally recommend. It’s a real responsibility and it is so hard to choose just one. I usually hand over business cards from a handful of my absolute favourites. They each have their own unique approach and feel.
Welsh-grown but Hampshire-based Lauren Hughes (AKA LaHu) is one of the life's’ lucky people – not only does she possess a real flair for what she does, she is also incredibly warm and full of creativity. Furthermore, she has a wicked sense of humour mixed in with kindness and generosity. You can't ask for more than that from a wedding photographer. Lily Anna Rose asked Lauren to share her experience on how you can get the most from wedding photographer on your special day.
Over to you Lauren...
1. Get to know your photographer as a human being
2. Consider having a wedding planner/co-ordinator
3. Choose a venue with plenty of natural light
4. Have a tidy up in the morning
5. Put together a timeline and group photo list
6. Take a deep breath
7. Be present
8. Trust your photographer
9. Let’s work together on this
10. Don’t forget that it’s your day
Get to know your photographer as a human being
It’s a minefield when trying to find your ideal wedding suppliers. Your photographer may be the most daunting because ultimately you’ll spend most of your wedding day with them! But it doesn’t have to be scary. I have a great read on finding your perfect photographer and if you follow the steps you’ll end up with someone who’s the right fit and totally one of your tribe! So once you have them take all the opportunities offered to get to know them. Meet in person for consultations. Have an engagement shoot to see how they work. Meet again to run through the timeline. At the very least, have a few phone chats. If you feel a great connection with them in the run-up to the wedding, the day itself will be a breeze and they’ll feel more like a guest to you than ‘staff'.
Consider having a wedding planner/co-ordinator
I’ve photographed so many weddings now and the ones where things flowed the best and those where the couple most enjoyed the day were when planners or co-ordinators were involved. A wedding pro can really help take the pressure off the bride and groom and their families/friends. This means you guys can be fully present with zero worries. From a photographer’s point of view, a wedding planner gently helps keep everything on track maximising the time for photos. This also ensures that you have plenty of time with your guests.
Choose a venue with plenty of natural light
I would always encourage my couples to find a venue that has a lot of natural light. Us photographers obsess over light and we get positively giddy at the sight of the really good stuff... because this is what makes our photos beautiful. So choose bridal prep, ceremony and reception rooms that have plenty of it and, in return, we’ll deliver the absolute best of what we can create.
Have a tidy up in the morning
Bridal prep photos are some of my favourites from the wedding day because they capture the nervous excitement in the lead up to the main event. There’s a great opportunity to get some gorgeous photos of all the details as well as the interactions and moments between you and those in your tribe who are closest to you. If I walk into a room that looks like the crime scene of clothes bomb explosion with casualties strewn about the floor, over the bed and up the walls… it’s not entirely conducive to the most beautiful photos. It is, however, a real expression of the day so if full documentary style your bag then go with it! You’ll get distractions in the background of the images so if you’d like to minimise that and keep a focus on ‘the moments’ instead, then have a tidy round.
Put together a timeline and group photo list
I’m always happy to advise my couples when it comes to putting together a timeline for the day. I’ve covered a gazillion weddings so I have it ingrained in my psyche that ‘things literally never run to time’ on the wedding day. Which is absolutely no problem at all as long as you plan in contingency time for each part of the day. Communicate with your photographer. If you haven’t had 3000 emails ping back and forth before the big day, they’re doing it wrong! Ok maybe I have a penchant for exaggeration but you get the idea. Communication is key.
Something I learned at my very first wedding is that it’s vital to have a full copy of my couples group list well ahead of the day. I tend to recommend keeping the total number to 12 –14 groups as it can get quite tiring for the couple (plus they probably want to spend time chatting with their friends rather than grinning for a photo with them). But, as long as I know ahead of the day how many groups they would like, I have time to re-write it in an order that flows super quickly and can request small changes to the timeline if needed.
Take a deep breath
You’ve just gotten married, you’ve been running around trying to get to all your guests to say ‘hi’. It’s been a crazy whirlwind of a day and it’s only just starting! Then we get some time to go off and do the portraits. You’re excited and your mind is going 90mph thinking about everything that’s happened and how the rest of the day will go. Do the caterers have the right timeline? Has the cake arrived yet? But right now, it’s just you guys and me. Breathe! Just stand still, hold each other's hand and breathe in until your chest hits its ceiling. The murmur of guests is in the distance, they sound like they’re having a fabulous time! And let it all out. Taking a deep breath will bring you right back to now and help you enjoy each other for a little while. It also helps correct posture and relaxes you for the couples photos. We’ll get the best out of you guys when you’re relaxed. And in turn, you’ll get the best out of us.
My couples often ask how I capture such unstaged, unique moments. It’s easy when the people you’re photographing feel at ease with you. Even easier again, if they are 100 per cent there at the moment enjoying themselves, each other and their guests. I get the images I do when they’re soaking up the atmosphere and the prosecco and not worrying about what I’m doing.
Trust your photographer
Trusting your photographer is two-fold. You must trust their ability and their style but you must also trust them as a human being. You can scour their website, Insta, Pinterest and Facebook to get a really good idea of their style. Reading their testimonials will help you understand what their previous couples thought of them. So, even before you’ve met them you’ll know you’re in safe hands on this front. Know that it’s totally ok to show them other images you like, but understand that your photographer has their own style and that’s why you booked them. Expecting them to recreate images like for like isn’t really what they’re there for.
Trust them as a person. Getting to know them on a more personal level creates a different depth of trust and this is the one that will help you feel totally at eases on the wedding day.
Let’s work together on this
There is so much that can be done before the day in the planning stages to ensure you get the best out of your photos. And planning in advance means you actually have very little to worry about on the day itself. Help us by sticking with your timeline and getting ready in natural light. A great photographer can deal with anything you throw at them, but give them the best opportunities to capture the most beautiful images and understand that the choices you make will determine the look and feel of the photos to some extent.
Don’t forget that it’s your day
Most importantly, be fully present in the moment. That’s how you get images that feel authentic and have that awesome factor you’re looking for.
Lauren Hughes, photogrpapher
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