“A good snapshot keeps a moment from running away.”
― Eudora Welty
I‘m going to let you all into a little secret: a photographer, however incredibly talented they may be, is not actually a magician (as much as they may sometimes seem!) They cannot transport you into a wonderful spot without you physically being there (unless it’s some dodgy photoshop job!), they cannot make you laugh if you are not listening to them and if you don’t go outside on your wedding day you can’t have those stunning portraits in the rain, sun or snow. Now I don’t say this to scare you or make you stress on your wedding day but to give you a small piece of advice… I know it can be scary to let go and truly be in the moment but please, trust me on this you will only get the very best photographs if you do.
I’ve seen this from both sides recently, and I know it may seem at the time that the most important thing is to keep that beautiful wedding dress pristine and perfect, and your natural desire is of course to protect it (I know it was certainly mine when I first put my own stunning gown on!), but really when it comes down to it it’s time to face the facts: Your dress WILL get a bit dirty (have you ever tried dancing in a full dress on a dance floor?!) and, when the dust settles, it will be put away in a cupboard or up in the loft out of harm’s way and probably only taken out once in a blue moon to show to your children when they are old enough! The wedding photographs, on the other hand, will be on display FOREVER! On walls, in albums, in photo frames, digital frames, Facebook, grandparents houses, parent’s houses, friends, aunts, uncles.. and eventually your children, your children’s children, your children’s children’s children… you get the idea!
This is your one shot to have those precious memories captured forever so trust your wedding photographer to do their job and deliver those awesome awe-inspiring photographs. Most of the day you don’t need to do anything differently: have fun, smile, relax, spend time with your new hubby and your friends and family – forget the camera is even there! But if you’re able to give your photographer just a little bit of time; just you, your new hubby and your photographer then trust me it’s worth it. It’s up to you how much time you would like to dedicate to this; as a guidance I think that a minimum of 20 minutes is fair. Bear in mind that the longer you can give them the more versatility you will have in the pictures and the more chance you have of finding the right place and getting that killer shot, but of course every wedding photographer understands that it’s difficult to allow any more time than this on a day when every minute is so precious to you!
To be honest though it’s not really about the amount of time you spend on the pictures, it’s about putting in what you want to get back, it’s about the dedication and commitment to getting the shots you want and most importantly it’s about LETTING GO.
If you listen to what your photographer asks of you and give them 100% back then I promise you it will be amazing. Don’t worry about looking stupid in front of the camera; laugh, giggle, move, touch, look at your partner’s face, be in the moment and above all ENJOY! Don’t worry about your dress, if it gets a little muddy then it’s just part of the day. If your photographer asks you to stand somewhere and it’s a little unorthodox then do it, don’t refuse for fear of not looking pristine; trust and let go. You have chosen your wedding photographer presumably because you loved their work, their style and the way they see the world. You have hired them to take photographs through their eyes, whatever their particular style may be. There’s nothing more confusing for a photographer than being hired to get those epic shots they’re known for and then not being given the opportunity to achieve them on the day.
If you loved the photographer’s vision then don’t compromise this just because it may not be as easy as you think.
The day before our wedding we had a First Look, something that gave us the opportunity to have our main portraits taken the day before our actual wedding. It was an amazing experience and gave us far more time with our photographer than we ever expected to have. It was so very special but there were a few small compromises we had to make in order to get the shots that we could practically see were whirring around in Ed’s mind. During our shoot my dress got very slightly damaged and dirty from going up and down hillsides and my shoes were a little bit scuffed. I understand that some brides couldn’t imagine damaging their dress and I know it’s peculiar but I didn’t mind. You see, as a wedding photographer myself I could see the bigger picture and I knew the end goal: incredible wedding photographs.
A photographer will never ask you to do something you’re uncomfortable with and whatever happens, as long as you’ve chosen the right photographer they will get good quality images: that’s their job. The question is just how good do you want those photographs to be? Some of my favourite photographs from the day didn’t need us to do anything at all, but others were only possible if we allowed our photographer to fulfill his vision in full. I was acutely aware that once the cake had been scoffed, the flowers wilted and the dress folded carefully away in that cupboard, these images would be my only real memory of our wedding and I really wanted some amazing photographs for our wall and a beautiful album to one day show our grandkids. Thanks to the amazing skill and vision of Ed Peers and the willingness to participate of my husband Matt along with my own determination to do anything that Ed required of me we got our wish…
Wedding photographs that last a lifetime.
This article is featured on Bride Vs Groom – The Blog for the Baffled Bride and Groom.