EXPERT ADVICE

FAQs and expert advice about photography

Here is a selection of Q&As from Your North West Wedding magazine whether it be about flowers, hair and makeup, fashion, wedding themes, health & beauty, cakes, stationery, legal advice. If you would like your question answered by our experts, please email it to editor@yournorthwest.wedding

Festive Cheer

Festive Cheer

Q How can we incorporate our winter wedding into our photographs?
A Sarah Bainbridge says: Adding a winter theme to your wedding photos can create a magical and cosy atmosphere. Here are some ideas to help inspire you:

Choose a palette that reflects the season, such as blues, silvers, whites, and icy tones.

Incorporate winter elements like evergreen branches, pinecones, and snowflakes into your decorations.

Use artificial snow or snow spray to create a wintry ambiance.

Opt for rich, warm fabrics like velvet, faux fur, and wool for attire and décor.

Select blooms that are in season during winter, such as roses, amaryllis, or poinsettias.

Serve hot cocoa, mulled wine, or warm cider to keep guests nice and cosy.

Give your guests winter-themed favours like blankets or personalised ornaments. You could also add an elegant touch to your décor by incorporating ice sculptures.

Sarah Bainbridge, West View Photography

Capture The Moment

Capture The Moment

Q We're unsure whether to book an engagement shoot. What are the benefits?
A Joe Mather says: I advise anyone thinking of booking an engagement shoot to go ahead and do it. Not only are they a lot of fun, but it's the perfect chance to meet your photographer, learn how they work, and know exactly what to expect from your wedding day. From your photographer's point of view, it's brilliant. As much as you learn how a photographer works, we also learn how you work as a couple, how you interact, your likes and dislikes, and everything in between.

One of the biggest things about being a wedding photographer is being able to build a strong rapport with your couples. Without a doubt, an engagement shoot is the best way to do this. The more you know your photographer, the more relaxed you are. The more relaxed you are with your photographer, the more relaxed all of your guests will be. The more relaxed everyone is, the better the pictures will be.

Another thing to consider is that time can be a huge constraint on your wedding day. Perhaps you want some killer shots in the mountains but don't want to leave your guests for an hour. Instead, an engagement shoot is the perfect chance to get those shots without feeling like you are MIA for too long on your wedding day.

Make the shoot personal to you; perhaps go on your favourite walk or visit your favourite village or town. Your pictures can then be used for invites, displays at the wedding and guest books.

Joe Mather, Joe Mather Photography

Just The Two of Us

Just The Two of Us

Q I'm getting married soon, and I'm worried that I won't be able to look natural in our photographs. What should I do?
A Jane says: When it comes to preparing for your big day, there are many things to consider, including how you present yourself in front of the camera. Although a few people will say practice in front of a mirror, I say don't! You might be surprised by this answer, but the more you practice, the more preoccupied and stressed you may become. Instead, focus on being present in the moment and letting your natural emotions shine through. Hiring a professional wedding photographer is a great way to ensure that your special moments are captured.

When choosing a photographer, it's essential to research their style and portfolio. An experienced supplier will know how to guide your poses and capture your genuine smile. This way, you can relax and be yourself, knowing that your love and happiness will be beautifully documented. So, there's no need to worry! Remember, the most important thing is to be authentic and let your love shine through your photos.

Jane, Jane Photography Services

Capture This

Capture This

Q We're clueless when it comes to photography; is there a list of shots we should ask our photographer to capture?
A Joni Rogan says: Absolutely! While every event or occasion is unique, there are some common shots that you can ask your photographer to capture. Such as wedding prep, guest arrivals, important details like family heirlooms and key moments like cake cutting, speeches and first dances.

If any special activities or traditions are happening during the event, tell your photographer about them so they can capture those moments.

These are just suggestions, and it's important to communicate your specific preferences and requirements to your photographer. Discussing your vision and any specific shots you have in mind will help them understand your expectations and capture the moments that are most important to you.

Joni Rogan, I Love You Thirteen

Picture Perfect

Picture Perfect

Q I want to book our photographer and was wondering how I can keep the price down without compromising on quality?
A Marina Walker says: When you're planning your wedding and have a strict budget to work with, it can be hard to know where to save money. When it comes to your wedding photography, knowing what's important to you will help you make the best decision. Most of my couples value photography and want to feel relaxed knowing they have booked someone easy to get along with, who has years of wedding photography experience and will deliver a gallery of images consistent with what they've seen on my social media accounts and website and are happy to pay what I charge for my services. Having said this, once you have found a photographer whose work you love, you could have a look at the different packages that they offer.

For instance, I offer a full-day photography package with a second shooter and a pre-wedding shoot included, but if you wanted to save a bit of money, you could book me for a full day without the extras. I also have a part-day option that would cost less than a full day.

Talk to your chosen photographer and be honest about your budget constraints; it might be that they could meet you in the middle or do a couple of hours less on the day to accommodate your budget.

Marina Walker , Marina Walker Photo

Fall in love

Fall in love

Q My wife-to-be and I are getting married next autumn and want some couple shots both in the venue and at the nearby beach. Do you have any suggestions?
A Christina Davies says: Beach shots in autumn can be tricky, so I recommend setting aside some time just before sunset or what is known as 'golden hour' to get some lovely shots, as the colours at that time of day will look wonderful.

Chat with your photographer about possible locations in and around your venue. Meet with them at your venue and walk around the grounds, or if that's not possible, your photographer should visit the space anyway or know it well so you can chat through options in your final meeting. You could always use Google maps or look on the venue's website to get some ideas as well.

Christina Davies, Fish 2 Photography

Picture this

Picture this

Q How can we ensure our photographer is the right fit for our big day?
A Sarah Bainbridge says: When planning your wedding, you need to do some research into who you are booking. For example, are they within your budget? Is their style for you? Can you build a relationship with them?

The wedding industry is full of talented suppliers with different skills who cover various areas. When booking your photographer, they need to be reliable, friendly and up for having fun on your wedding day. You could hire 'the best' photographer out there, but they may not have good social skills.

Before booking your photographer, follow them on social media and meet with them and make sure you are 100 per cent happy before making the deposit.

Sarah Bainbridge, West View Photography

Trend setter

Trend setter

Q We'd like our big day photographs to be timeless with a few fun extras. What's set to be the next big trend in the world of wedding photography?
A Rachel Laidler says: Wedding photography is moving away from posed and stiff images to a more natural and candid style. This will allow your personalities to shine through, making each image unique, showing a true, authentic reflection of your day.

I love the candid style as I get to capture natural moments that show the joy and emotions of the wedding, along with moments that would normally get lost or missed.

Another trend is smoke flares, these add a unique element to the images and are always a lot of fun.

Rachel Laidler, Rachel Laidler Photography

A moment in time

A moment in time

Q We're both camera shy and anxious about photos on our wedding day. Can you offer us some advice?
A Marina Walker says: These are some of, if not the most important photos you'll ever have, and it's completely reasonable for you to want them to look amazing. Most of my wedding couples would say that they're camera shy when we meet up for their pre-wedding photos, so please know that you're not alone in feeling this way. During the shoot, we will walk around a bit and chat about the wedding, I will give some light direction and snap away as those lovely natural moments unfold.

In my experience even the most camera-shy couples are relieved when they see how relaxed the pre-wedding shoot is, and they end up looking forward to their wedding photos. Having that relationship with your photographer really helps you to ease up so they can capture you at your best.

You put so much effort into every detail and the photos will document all of that and will hopefully end up being printed in an album or hung up in your home, so it's worth putting a bit if time into a pre-wedding shoot to settle those nerves.

Marina Walker, Marina Walker Photo

Whatever the weather

Whatever the weather

Q As our wedding day gets closer, I'm starting to worry about the possibility of bad weather. How do we prepare for this and make sure we still get gorgeous images?
A Christina Davies says: Don't worry too much about the weather, as there are ways to get gorgeous images come rain or shine. Start by asking your photographer if they have umbrellas and flashes they can bring along, just in case. If you need to buy some, white brollies work the best as they fit any colour scheme.

At your final meeting with your photographer, discuss wet and dry weather options for your big-day photos and the logistics of your venue.

Lights are a great way to change any space and get gorgeous photos; even the smallest room can be transformed with lights.

Lastly, just relax. The weather will be what it will be, but if you try not to worry and enjoy your special day, your photographer will take care of the rest. You've hired them because you love their work, so put your trust in them.

Christina Davies, Fish 2 Photography

A time of our lives

A time of our lives

Q What should we take into consideration before booking a photographer?
A Paul Swift says: When planning the wedding of your dreams, one of the most important aspects to get right is the photography. Having confidence in your photographer and building a rapport with them is important. Before booking consider the following:

Do your homework – just as with any other vendor, you need to do your research and find a photographer whose style aligns with yours. Check out their portfolio, read the reviews, and schedule a meeting to ensure you two are a perfect match. After all, your photographer will be with you all day, so you want to make sure you trust and get along with them.

Set a budget and stick to it – photography can be one of the most expensive aspects of a wedding, so it's important to set a budget and stick to it. Be clear on the packages and what they include so you know exactly what you're getting for your money.

Don't let a single moment slip away – your wedding day will fly by, so make sure to plan for enough photography time. Work with your photographer to create a timeline that allows for all the important moments to be captured, from getting ready to the first dance. Don't forget to allocate some time for portraits, group shots, and candid moments.

Why two is sometimes better than one – a second shooter can provide a different perspective and capture moments you might miss. This is especially important if you have a large wedding party or are getting married in a big venue. Having a second shooter can also ensure that all the important moments are captured, even if one photographer is occupied with something else.

Expertise – your experienced photographer will know what works best in terms of lighting, angles and poses. So, be open to their suggestions and trust their expertise. After all, they want you to have the best possible photos, just as much as you do.

Paul Swift, Paul Swift Photography

Picture Perfect

Picture Perfect

Q I'm nervous in front of the camera and was wondering if booking a pre-wedding shoot would help, what are the benefits?
A Christina Davies says: A pre-wedding shoot is a great idea, especially if you're feeling nervous about being photographed. It will give you an idea of how your shoot will go on your wedding day, but as it's usually an hour-long session you can take your time, relax and hopefully have fun.

The other advantage is you'll have photos to use on your invitations, around your venue and on social media.

Christina Davies, Fish 2 Photography

Winter romance

Winter romance

Q I'm getting married next January and would love some couple portraits to treasure, but I'm worried about losing the natural light so early. Are there ways around this?
A Rosie McGhie says: There is no doubt light can be tricky with winter weddings as the days are shorter, but it can also be the recipe for gorgeous soft winter light like Charlotte and Niall's pictured here in December at The Wild Boar in Windermere. We took these at about 1pm and we caught the low winter sun through the trees, which was just beautiful. The natural winter haze gave a romantic, magical atmosphere and it really showed in the photos.

If possible, have the ceremony early on in the day. A dusk ceremony will not give you enough natural light for portraits afterwards. If an early service is not an option, you could arrange with your photographer to do the photos before the ceremony. Another tip would be to check the forecast to get an idea of when the sun will set that day, plan your photos and keep an eye on the time. Your photographer will help with this!

Rosie McGhie, Rosie Miranda Photography

Fun at the fair

Fun at the fair

Q We're having a carnival-themed wedding with lots of fun rides – how can we get creative with our wedding photographs?
A Christina Davies says: A carnival-themed wedding sounds exciting! To capture all the fun, I would relax and let your photographer go around photographing everyone playing the games and going on the rides.

Set time aside for your photographer to follow you to your favourite rides so they can focus on you both playing and having a good laugh. If the rides carry on into the evening, you can always do fun shots with flashes and lights. For example, your photographer could go in the carriage in front of you to catch a photo where all the lights are moving around you, but you are static in the photo. A Wurlitzer would be good for something like this and can create some amazing photos.

Christina Davies, Fish 2 Photography

Capturing memories

Capturing memories

Q How can we ensure our photographer is the right fit for our big day?
A Christina Davies says: Choosing the right photographer can be difficult as there are lots of things you need to consider. The first thing you should do is look at websites and social media pages or go to a wedding fair for some inspiration. Find a supplier whose work you like whether that's documentary, posed or someone who specialises in dramatic portraits.

Once you have a shortlist, contact your favourite and see if they are free on your wedding date. After this, meet with them and see how you get along and how you feel in their company. You will be spending one of the most important days of your life with them, so it's essential that you feel comfortable and happy around them.

Don't book at the first meeting. Take a few hours and chat with your fiancé to see how you both felt. If you both feel positive, then get booking. If not, don't worry! Contact another from your shortlist and go through the process again. Just make sure you let the photographer know whether you want to book or not, as it means your date can be secured or released for someone else.

Christina Davies, Fish 2 Photography

Treasured memories

Treasured memories

Q My wife-to-be and I are clueless when it comes to photography. Is there a list of shots we should ask our photographer to capture?
A Rebecca Smith says: Lots of experienced photographer will capture candid moments throughout your day, and many won't need a list. However, if you'd like to create one, there are lots of examples on Pinterest, or your photographer will be able to draw one up for you. Choose up to five group shots. This can include granny and grandad, parents and children. Keep in mind that group photos can take a long time to organise, especially if the venue is large and someone has just popped to the bar!

I ask my clients to send me photos of any images they have like from Pinterest or Instagram, so I get a feel for what they want. Keep in mind that the day is very hectic, and some idealistic images don't always happen and can be missed. That's why I would recommend a second photographer if budget allows.

Rebecca Smith, Rebecca Elizabeth Smith Wedding Photography

Whatever the weather

Whatever the weather

Q Our big day is in September, and I'm worried the weather is going to be awful. How can we capture stunning pictures even if it rains?
A Abi Cooper says: Weather can be tricky, especially if you're getting married in the UK. As a photographer, I always encourage my couples to embrace the elements. Rain can add so much drama, romance and beauty to an image. I love the saying 'life's not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain' as it explains the importance of finding beauty in every situation. You can use umbrellas and create some really fun, playful shots.

However, if you don't feel comfortable braving the elements, then this is where your venue's interior becomes important. When looking for the perfect wedding venue, make sure you choose somewhere with lots of natural light and an interior that matches your style. If the inside of your venue has dark walls and small windows, you're going to get darker, grainier photos. Whereas if the interior is light and airy with lots of large windows to let in natural light, then you'll be able to capture much clearer, crisper shots.

Abi Cooper, Orange Ivy Photography

Summer romance

Summer romance

Q My wife-to-be and I are getting married next summer and would like some shots that reflect the season. Do you have any ideas?
A David Allbutt says: Next year will be the first season for some time where weddings will be fully open. The summer season gives you the opportunity to create some fabulous outdoor portrait shots and natural images indoors. Try and plan with your photographer when to get the very best light. Warm colours of the late afternoon or the cooler shades of the morning can create beautiful images compared to the harsh midday light of the UK. Indoors is ideal for prep-images in the morning, the shade will create contrast, and sunlight shining through will help capture the infamous window shot.

Summer creates areas of shadows for romantic portraits with lots of colour and flowers.

Think about having a first look in an outdoor scene. It's not for all couples but it will create a private moment for you both and help get rid of a lot of nerves.

If you're wearing a suit, think about the colour. Does it complement your partner's outfit and colours you will be surrounded by on the day?

Talk to your partner about posing, are you nervous, comfortable or a natural model and secretly love posing? I give couples a guide to think about images they may want to have in their album.

To get the very best summer shots talk to your photographer, ask for advice, be natural, and most importantly relax and enjoy your day.

David Allbutt, David Allbutt Photography

Memorable romance

Memorable romance

Q How can we ensure our photographer is the right fit for our big day?
A Christina Davies says: It's hard to know who is the right photographer for you, so start by looking through websites and social media pages to see if you love the photos they create and their overall style.

Once you have found a photographer you love, then the next thing I would do is look at their reviews. See if they are part of a trade association, have the necessary insurance and how long they have been working as a photographer (this is the biggest thing to check) as knowledge and experience of weddings will help them in any situation that might occur on your special day.

Thirdly if you are happy with all that you have seen, arrange to meet with them for a brew to chat through your plans and see if you feel comfortable with them and if they are available to photograph your day. If you feel relaxed around them, then you should feel comfortable spending all day with them. Come away from that meeting and chat about how you feel before booking.

Christina Davies, Fish 2 Photography

Magical moments

Magical moments

Q We're having a December wedding and are worried the weather might ruin our photographs. How can we capture stunning pictures, whatever the weather?
A Stacey Jackson says: Wet weather doesn't have to ruin your day. There are usually breaks in the rain, so you can go outside to take some photographs. The lighting can make for some spectacular imagery since everything is glistening and saturated with colour. Grey skies and a break in the clouds can create dynamic natural backdrops, and where there's rain, there are often rainbows too!

Sheltered areas such as doorways, arches, and trees are good places if you want to remain drier and avoid harsh winds.

If you're feeling brave, it's worth grabbing an umbrella and some wellies and embracing the elements!

Wear a warm winter cape and other seasonal accessories.

Large group photos might need a backup plan if the weather is particularly harsh, these can be taken in a marquee, a different building or in an indoor area. Be creative with the available space. Whatever the weather, it will be a wonderful part of your wedding story, so keep smiling and enjoy your special day!

Stacey Jackson, Darklemoner Photography

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