Advice for your big dayfrom experience of professionals

Hello and welcome to this little guide through your wedding day!
We take pride in shooting candid photos without interfering, so getting you to relax and enjoy is important to us. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t give you a few pieces of advice right now.
All of what follows is just our advice which will help you get the most out of your wedding coverage. You can choose to heed it or ignore it, it’s completely up to you.
We base this on vast amount of experience shooting weddings and getting couples’ feedback afterwards.

 
 
 

 

welcome!

 

Getting ready

 
 

1. Location, location, location

 
If you’re flying in for a destination wedding, you will often book a hotel room and get ready for your wedding there. Our first advice is to reconsider this idea.

Hotels, even five-star ones, are designed to fit as many rooms in given amount of space, which usually makes the rooms narrow and elongated, with windows on just one side. This is perfectly fine for enjoying your vacation, but less than optimal for photographic coverage.

Light is insufficient, as the windows are usually on the far side of the room, while the rest falls in shadows, twilight or depends on flickery artificial lighting.

Also, hotel rooms are very sterile decoration-wise. There may be a piece of art on the wall, but that’s about it. They’re boring to look at on photos and show no personality.

 
 
Finally, it’s much easier for us to react and move quickly in more spacious rooms without getting into anyone’s way.

Almost all hotels we’ve ever shot in have had these features with very rare exceptions of ultra-luxurious (and ultra expensive) presidential suites.

Luckily, all of these problems have a very simple solution. Get a nice, spacious and well-lit Airbnb apartment for a day or two and get ready there!

They’re usually reasonably priced, have a lot natural light coming from many sides, they’re quite spacious so we can move very fast and they’re much better decorated, having a more homey feeling to them.

Pick one that reflects your personality!

 

getting ready apartment

An Airbnb apartment, spacious and beautifully lit

 
 
 

2. Let there be light

 
Great lighting is what makes a good photo amazing, so it’s worth thinking about this in advance.

Natural window light is the best kind of light, so let there be light! Open the curtains and raise the blinds on all windows to give your photos the best chance to shine.
Yes, the A/C may have to work a bit harder, but in 20 years’ time all you’ll remember are the perfectly lit photos we recorded. Sunny or cloudy, it doesn’t matter.

Another important consideration are the artificial lights. They tend to flicker on video and have yellow-green color casts on photos. Human eye easily compensates for this, but it looks very unnatural mixed with natural light in photos and video. If there are windows in the room, turn off all the artificial lighting to get a more flattering tone of light.
Finally, if there’s a TV in the room, consider turning it off. It’s really distracting in the photos and especially video. Do you really want a washing detergent ad running in the background as you get ready?
 

let in natural light

The mysterious atmosphere created by natural light

 
 
 

3. Clear things up

 

There’s clutter and then there’s clutter. Before we arrive, consider clearing up anything you don’t want in the photos.

In 20 years time, do you really want to see breakfast leftovers on the table or clothes on the floor?

It doesn’t all have to be tidy and sterile. A bit of creative mess gives the place a character and tells a story of a hectic start of the day. Makeup all around the table or the stiff drink that your maid of honor gave you to calm your nerves will all bring back memories.
So, feel free to leave relevant stuff lying around!

 

good kind of clutter

The good kind of clutter that tells a story of a hectic morning: sweets, lots of black coffee and makeup!

 
 
 

4. Clothes
 
 
We usually arrive before you and your family get all dressed up. Ask your family members to wear something they’re comfortable getting photographed in. What that turns out to be is completely up to them – be it a tracksuit or a suit – but please don’t allow them hide from the camera just because they’re not “proper” yet!
We’ve never had a bride or groom fall into this trap, but often have a mom or sister taking a long time to get ready, all the while avoiding our cameras.
This results in them being recorded in almost no shots from the preparations, as we just don’t have time to chase them around.
 

clothes

Georgia left nothing to chance and made sure everyone was ready for photos

 
 
 

5. Makeup Artist
 

Consider getting a professional makeup artist, instead of a friend or doing it yourself. This is really not the best place to save money. There’s a reason you picked us, professional photographers instead of asking a friend to shoot your wedding. There’s a strong case to be made in doing the same with makeup.

Destination wedding takes you to somewhat unfamiliar climate and it’s hard to predict everything that’s ahead of you that day. A professional makeup artist will know how to prepare you for whatever lies ahead – be that a lot of cheek kisses by gleeful guests or sweating under the noon sun.

Another piece of advice – don’t use bronzer instead of blush. It just doesn’t look good in photos. It often gives you an odd skin tone which varies wildly under different lighting conditions and shows unnatural transition from your face to neck.

It can’t be fixed later so consult your makeup artist!

Finally, we suggest you use a window as the light source during makeup. Your photographers and your makeup artist will thank you! 🙂

 

professional makeup artist

The joy of being in professional’s hands

 
 
 

6. First Look

 

We’ve never had a groom who didn’t look stunned when he first saw his bride all dressed up.

It’s utterly romantic if this happens somewhere in private, away from the guests, and with enough space for us to get further away and let you have your moment while still recording it beautifully. Feel free to consult us if this sounds like something you’d love to do!

Seeing each other before the ceremony will also allow you both to relax a bit and tell each other how great you look without a hundred eyes on your back.

Of course, if you’ve dreamed of the first look only after you’ve walked down the aisle since you were a little girl, feel free to ignore this!

 

first look

Magic of the first look in private, away from all the guests

 
 

Ceremony

 

7. Planning & Scheduling

 

One general tip regarding planning is to consider our human nature: we’re eternal optimists and pretty bad at judging how long things will actually take. Even if we make realistic assumptions, unexpected things are bound to happen and we always somehow get delayed.
Luckily, solving this issue is quite easy: plan for the unplanned! Insert random 15 minute safety buffers throughout your day, especially before key events (like ceremony).
Those few 15 minute intervals will afford you a much more leisurely pace if things start running late.

Multiple intervals will make sure that even a big delay gets slowly soaked up in these small buffers so that by the evening everything is back on track!

…and don’t worry: even if everything is on time, no one is going to mind that extra time spent chatting or enjoying a drink.

 
scheduling wedding protocol

Time is always ticking

 
 

And as long as we’re planning, here’s another tip: avoid having your open-air ceremony while the sun is high, especially in the summer.
Not only will the heat be unbearable, but light will be harsh and unflattering, creating deep shadows on your faces, guests will either be squinting or wearing shades and guys in suits will be visibly sweating in the photos, and wiping off sweat in the video!
Aim for late afternoon — around 6pm during May, June and July, or around 5pm in August and September.

It’s easy to underestimate summer sun while planning your wedding during a cold winter month, but avoiding this mistake will afford a much more pleasant open-air ceremony and great looking photos!

 
planning the ceremony

Early afternoon heat in June dispersed the guests to the shadeded parts of the venue during the ceremony

 
 
 

8. The Grand Entrance

 

We suggest not walking down the aisle immediately behind the person(s) entering ahead of you (e.g. priest, officiant or bridesmaids). From our angle, they’ll completely cover you up and you’ll end up with a lot of photos where you’re kind of maybe visible a little behind them.

In rare circumstances we might have a better vantage point, but generally we shoot from front of the venue to capture your expression as you walk down. So remember, it’s your grand entrance — make them wait a bit before graciously gliding down the aisle with all eyes on you and no one in front of you!

 

grand entrance to ceremony venue

The priest pretty much completely covering the bride behind him

 
 
 

9. Unplugged weddings are cool
There’s a new trend in the 21st century, which is that every big event needs to be (over)documented. You see less actual faces and more phones in front of faces, recording, shooting and streaming.
Some think it takes away from the experience and dehumanizes the guests since they essentially become camera tripods.

So, there’s an even newer trend – unplugged weddings. Couples ask their guests to leave their phones and cameras in their pockets and instead immerse themselves in the surroundings and the moment.

To truly experience. To truly be there. To engage and enjoy.

Don’t worry, nothing will be lost. That’s why you have us there! 🙂

We think it’s an idea worth considering. We happened to be guests on an unplugged wedding recently and it really was different. We were unimpeded by constant consideration of what’s worth recording, when the important moments are coming up and whether to shoot photos or video.

And we really enjoyed ourselves that afternoon!

 

unplugged wedding

The best man witnessing their kiss through his phone, while mom is truly living through this moment in tears of joy

 
 
 

10. Uncle Bob

 

There’s a term photographers use for guests who very enthusiastically shoot your wedding alongside the professional: “uncle Bob”.

If you’re reading this, you’ve hired very good photographers who rarely miss a beat. Guests with cameras can be detrimental to our own coverage (getgin into the frame, squeezing us out of the best angle, ruining a shot with untimely flash etc.).
It’s up to you to decide whether this “third shooter” is worth the risk.

We don’t feel it’s our place to discuss this with your guests and tell them what they can or can’t do, so we’ll leave this to you!

We suggest you ask everyone to relax and enjoy the wedding, leaving their cameras for less critical moments like dinner reception and dancing.

They’ll be able to truly engage with what is going on instead of witnessing everything through their screens — you’ll be doing them a favour. Trust us, we know 🙂

 

uncle bob

We love this shot, but notice ‘uncle Bob’ with his camera covering up the right third of shot

 
 
 

11. Formals & family photos

Shooting formal photos of you with your family is a traditional part of most weddings, so here’s a few suggestions to make the most of it.

It’s a good idea to make a list of groups you want photographed, so we don’t forget anyone. It’s an even better idea to hand this list to someone who knows these people well (like one of your siblings, best man etc.). This way (s)he can help in gathering people and making sure everyone’s in the shot when they need to be, which is much more efficient than us yelling name by name instead of setting up our cameras and the group.
This will make formals very efficient, leaving more time for you to just enjoy your big day.

We also suggest to keep your list short. It can be surprisingly exhausting to just stand then smile for dozens of photos while people around you come and go. You need to stay fresh to properly enjoy your wedding, not to mention look good for later!

Most people go for shots of their closest families, bridesmaids with groomsmen and a group shot of his and her friends. This way you have everyone important on the photo, looking good and smiling.

Further groups are optional, but it’s best not to go overboard as some very traditional parents may insist (e.g. the couple with one mum, than the other mum, then first mum and dad, then the second, then throw in siblings, then their partners, then the same for other side… then the aunts and uncles, then add the parents again… you get the picture!).

This is utterly exhausting and time-consuming so we recommend against it. If your families are in good relations, there’s no point separating and recombining each and every person for photos. A few group shots will do.

Time-wise, it’s best to shoot formals either before the ceremony or immediately after.

Experience has shown that if you have drinks planned after the ceremony, it throws a wrench in the formal shooting – it’s next to impossible to gather people for the photos, not to mention convince them to put down their glasses of cold drinks on a hot summer day. This makes everything last three times longer than it should and instead of you enjoying your drinks with guests, you’re standing around constantly waiting for someone to show up for the photo.

If you’ve already had your first look, best possible case is to shoot the formals before the ceremony. Why? It’s simple: everyone’s there, looking great, excited and ready to go. You can feel this excitement in the photos, not to mention that when the ceremony is over you don’t have a worry in the world and can immediately join your guests for drinks or run away with us for a short private session. (more on this later)

If you’re planning your first look after you walk down the aisle, next best thing is shooting immediately after the ceremony. We start with biggest group first and send people away as we shoot them, so they can enjoy their drinks while we wrap things up. This also saves a lot of time looking for people around the venue and convincing them to put their drinks down for a second.

Final suggestion: make sure you’re looking at our camera as we shoot the formals, not the dozen phones and cameras around us. It’s a trap everyone falls into – you see your family or friends snapping a quick photo and naturally look at their phone. However, when you get your beautiful professional photos, you’ll notice you’re looking away from the camera and it will bug you. It’s not worth it!
As much as we keep reminding people during the formals to look at our camera, there’s often that one person looking somewhere to the side.

 

formals

 
 

Private Portrait Session

 

12. Light & Time of Day
We recommend two portrait time slots of just the two of you together: right after the ceremony for 20 minutes and before sunset for another 20 minutes. (or 30 minutes if we’re also shooting video)

Why after the ceremony? It’s an emotional experience and you will positively feel the magic in the air. You’ll be happy, in love, smiling and exuding affection. It shows in the photos and you can effortlessly get enchantingly emotional photos in those moments.

Why before sunset? It’s when the light is best. It’s the very end of golden hour with diffuse, flattering, warm light that makes everything look amazing… not to mention the beautiful colors in the sky and the mystery of dusk which follows.
If your ceremony is towards the end of the day, we’ll just combine these two time slots into one session of 30 minutes.

Most couples tell us that session was their favorite part of the day and you’ll soon see why, we promise! 🙂

 

private couple session

Absolute magic in the air just moments after the ceremony

 
 

13. Reception

 

Weddings are exhausting for the photographer and even though we come very well prepared and fresh, after 5-6 hours we need some nourishment to keep going. We can’t leave your side, so we kindly ask for you to provide a meal for us around time when you sit down for dinner with your guests. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just something nutritious to keep us going until the end of the night.

By default, reception venues group our meals with other vendors. It’s logical when you think about it, but vendors are often served last.

This is fine for a wedding planner or florist who have pretty much done their jobs, but makes it hard for us to keep our eye on developments. If we just get our meal as you and your guests are getting up for a toast or are moving towards the dancefloor, it’s much harder for us not to miss something.

Our suggestion is to ask the head waiter to serve us at the same time as your guests. This way we will eat quickly be ready while everyone else is still eating, so we’ll be prepared for whatever comes next, whether it’s the speeches, toasts or surprise dance numbers!

 

party time

You can’t plan this!