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

 

Romantic photography

Romantic photography

Q. How can we get creative night-time shots?

A. Stacey Jackson says: When photographing at night, flash photography is often used to illuminate the subject. There is, of course, more than one way to do this. One option can be to use an off-camera flash to backlight the bride and groom to create a silhouette shot. Flash can also be used in darker conditions to create stunning high contrast photographs.

Remember to look at what ambient lighting your venue has. Signs and outside lighting can make for some striking and memorable images. Other light sources can be used to make interesting and dynamic pictures, such as string lights, lanterns, sparklers and candles.

Stacey Jackson,Darklemoner Photography
www.darklemoner.co.uk

 

Hold me close

Hold me close

Q. Is a pre-wedding shoot worth the money, and what should we expect?

A. Rachel de la Mare says: The quick answer is yes! Lots of photographers will say that they are a fantastic way for you to get to know your supplier before the big day. Pre-wedding shoots can be a great introduction to working together as the last thing you want is someone you've barely met popping a camera in your face on your wedding day. The majority of people find having their picture taken a less-than-natural experience, and one of my aims with a pre-shoot is for you to be at ease and to see me as a friend with a camera rather than paparazzi.

That aside, what I feel pre-wedding shoots are really all about is the anticipation of the wedding day and celebrating that journey. Like couple shots on the actual day, these are often quiet, romantic moments in the midst of the beautiful craziness of it all. With so many aspects to plan and consider, a pre-shoot can be an excuse to spend some time together building new memories.

Choose somewhere special for the location. It could be where you proposed, a view that you both love or a place you've been meaning to visit. Treat it like a date and enjoy your time together and most importantly, make it yours! Bring your dog, climb a mountain or toast with your favourite drinks.

At de la Mare Creative, pre-shoots are included in all of our wedding options, and so there is no extra investment. If, however, you aren't quite ready to book your wedding photography – then you can always book a shoot and expect to have fun, spend time as a couple and take some beautiful photographs.

Rachel de la Mare,De La Mare Creative
www.delamare-creative.co.uk

 

Summer loving

Summer loving

Q. We're having a summer wedding and want to capture some seasonal photographs. Do you have any suggestions on how we can do this?

A. Stacey Johnson says: During the summer months, the hours of daylight are longer, so make good use of it, especially the lighting around sunset, also known as the golden hour, which will create some beautiful warm tones and soft-lit imagery.

- Wearing light, airy and flowy fabrics will work well for a summer theme, as well as keeping everyone cool.

- Include seasonal items such as parasols, sunglasses and seasonal flowers that will not wilt in the heat, like orchids, sunflowers or roses.

- Capture shots of your guests enjoying refreshing cocktails or grabbing a beer from an ice bucket.

- If the British weather is on your side, then your big day might be an outdoor celebration. Garden games like croquet, Jenga or even an egg and spoon race will provide a fun and playful backdrop.

- Create a dessert station or hire an ice cream van.

- As the night sets in, why not provide some sparklers?

Stacey Johnson,Darklemoner Photography
www.darklemoner.co.uk

 

Magical memories

Magical memories

Q. We want fun and quirky wedding pictures. Do you have any ideas of how we can achieve this?

A. Scott Wigglesworth says: When looking for images full of character, it's a great idea to consider the things that make you and your partner special, such as your apparel, body mods, interests or fandoms. Referencing something you both love in your images is one way to make your pictures stand out.

Look for a photographer that can shoot editorial or fashion images. Why not take a leaf from your favourite movie posters, music videos or the pages of a journal? You could even incorporate props or book a venue with quirky elements such as a gallery or museum.

Either way, it's always a good idea to start by talking over your requirements with your prospective photographer. Make sure they're able to work with your requests and generate ideas in line with your vision.

Scott Wigglesworth,Blackfell Photography
www.blackfellphotography.co.uk

 

Making memories

Making memories

Q. There are so many photographers out there – How do we choose the right one for us?

A. Scott Wigglesworth says: It can be tricky when it comes to selecting the right photographer for your big day, but there are some simple rules for choosing wisely. The first thing to consider is the style of your wedding and how it impacts the type of photographer you're looking for. Take inspiration from magazines, movies and television shows. It's important that the work of any prospective supplier gels with your preferred look, for example, if you're after dramatic imagery that evokes classic Hollywood vibes then perhaps look for a professional that specialises in natural light.

Secondly, start with a long list and work down to your favourites; you must spend time reflecting on their existing body of work to get a feel for their signature style. Do you want most images to be posed or candid shots where people are unaware of the photographer? Choosing between these two techniques will help you whittle the potentials down.

Lastly, consider if you're the right kind of client for the photographer. Clients often assume that it's about the supplier being right for them, but unlike many aspects of your big day, there is a constant interaction between you both, whether you realise it or not during the event itself. Someone that shoots editorial may not be at their best if the celebration is outside of their comfort zone and that's a risk you wouldn't want to take when you're investing thousands of pounds on one part of your wedding.

Scott Wigglesworth,Blackfell Photography
www.blackfellphotography.co.uk

 

Through the lens

Through the lens

Q. We're both a bit camera shy and are feeling anxious about photos on our wedding day, but also want a lovely album to look back on. Can you offer us some advice?

A. Stacey Jackson says: There are many styles of photography to consider when choosing a wedding photographer. Some of these can be quite formal and require you to pose in front of the camera. A style that may be better suited to you is reportage or documentary. These capture events as they naturally happen, letting the story of your day unfold in a sort of guest's view. I believe that this type of photography is perfect for people who feel awkward in front of the camera as it's done in a less intrusive way. It captures the joyful moments and natural smiles of the day without needing to be staged and everyone looking at the camera.

Your wedding should be about having a great time, and your pictures should reflect that.

Stacey Jackson,Darklemoner Photography
www.darklemoner.co.uk

 

Moments that matter

Moments that matter

Q. What are your suggestions for creative night-time shots?

A. David Hobson says: I think every photographer should aim to get at least one amazing night-time shot of their couple. It will leave them with a great lasting impression, and if you get it right, it could be the shot that stands out from the rest. Your photographer will need either a video light (I use the ice light) or they can use off-camera flash to help with producing a creative night portrait.

Your supplier should get you to pose, light you with video light and aim for the rest of the scene to be completely black, producing a classic minimalistic portrait.

Alternatively, you could do the same as above but face each other with your noses barely touching. Put a coloured gel on the video light and place a light behind you, close to your faces but out of shot. This will create a beautiful outline of your faces.

Another option is to stand four feet in front of a wall, facing each other with the flash behind you pointed at the wall. This will create a wonderful silhouette and is a very simple but creative technique.

If you're fortunate enough to have booked a grand venue that is beautifully lit at night, take the opportunity to have some photos in front of it.

Inside the venue, try to look for interesting angles, use mirrors as a reflection and ways that light can be used to frame you.

David Hobson,David KH Photography
www.davidkhphotography.com

 

Picture perfect

Picture perfect

Q. A friend of ours had two photographers on their wedding day. What are the benefits of this and should we do the same?

A. Michael A. Sewell says: A second photographer is a great asset for several reasons. Primarily, if you like the reportage style, the second shooter is usually tasked with quietly circulating amongst the congregation during the group photographs. This is where natural images tend to be found. The primary supplier will be dealing with the groups while the second tends to go unnoticed and can catch relatives laughing or children playing.

On a personal note, I've always found the long aisle shot of the back of the dress tends to be one of the bride's favourite images from the day. Once the primary photographer has taken up a position at the front, they can't move away. This is one of the many things that tend to be reliant on the second shooter.

There's also the advantage of a second viewpoint that can't be underestimated. Not to mention the increased number of images available to the couple.

The cost of an additional shooter is usually quite small when compared to the initial price, but the benefits are huge.

Michael A. Sewell,Weddings by Michael
www.weddingsbymichael.co.uk

 

Winter wonderland

Winter wonderland

Q. My wife-to-be and I are having a winter wedding and would love to incorporate the time of year into our photographs. Do you have any ideas on how we can do this?

A. Stacey Johnson says: Deciding how to set that scene can be quite challenging, so I suggest you decide on a theme that invokes winter. You could incorporate festive colours such as berry red, black and gold or natural greenery.

A less invasive method would be to use creative lighting. This can be done to emphasise the darkness of winter with soft subdued lights to create a cosy and romantic feel. If possible, use candlelight or firelight to create a more Nordic look.

Stacey Johnson,Darklemoner Photography LLP
www.darklemoner.co.uk

 

Capture the moment

Capture the moment

Q. What questions should we ask our photographer before booking?

A. Michael A. Sewell says: I'm assuming you've found a professional with a specific style that you like. From this point, you need to ask questions that can't readily be answered by looking on their website. Are they able to create the images you've fallen in love with if the weather is less than ideal? Not all venues are suitable for indoor portraits, so your photographer must be confident in any given location, with the tools and creative drive to make the best of it.

Do you receive images in web resolution, full resolution or both? Full resolution versions are needed for printing, and you need to check you have permission to have them printed. Print shops are increasingly asking for proof of ownership or the right to print images. Web resolution means you can upload to social media channels without having to resize.

Your supplier must know which group images are required, as it can get quite hectic on the day, and members of the congregation have a habit of disappearing to the bar. It's worthwhile asking the best man to assist in rounding up family members for group shots. That way, your photographer can concentrate on the photography, rather than trying to herd people, which cuts down time considerably, allowing everyone to enjoy the day.

Michael A. Sewell,Weddings by Michael
www.weddingsbymichael.co.uk

 

Come rain or shine

Come rain or shine

Q. How can we capture amazing outdoor pictures at our December wedding if the weather turns bad?

A. David Hobson says: I've had to shoot in all kinds of weather, come rain or shine so the first thing you should do is make sure you've discussed the possibility of rain during your consultation. Your supplier should always suggest ideas for if the weather turns sour and have a backup plan, which will usually revert to photographing the wedding party indoors. Choose a venue which has lots of outside cover, that way everyone can keep dry, and there are plenty of opportunities to get some great shots. If you're hell-bent on having your photographs outdoors and there's no cover, I would order lots of brollies, just in case. Your photographer should be able to orchestrate some funny and quirky shots of you and your guests braving the weather.

On a more serious note, if it does happen to rain, sleet or snow on your wedding day, then this can be an absolute Godsend for any photographer that knows how to create portraits by using flash to light up the scene. December nights move in fast, so if the weather turns and you think it's all over, think again. Don't miss out on this opportunity and make sure you're confident that your suppliers can produce some epic shots.

David Hobson,David KH Photography
www.davidkhphotography.com

 

Keep calm and carry on

Keep calm and carry on

Q. Our wedding has been postponed due to COVID-19, and we're having to re-book our photographer. What do you suggest we ask before booking?

A. Christina Davies says: In the sad event that your existing photographer cannot cover your new date and you need to look for a new supplier, ask what's their style of photography? It's important to do your research to see if their style matches your personality.

Secondly, find out what their cancellation policy for COVID-19 is. We're in an unknown and extreme situation, and if it were to happen again, it's worth knowing what their stance is. Remember it may differ from the terms and conditions in their contract for rescheduled events and cancellations.

Lastly, meet with them for a brew. It will help you feel comfortable around them, which is important as you'll be spending a lot of time with them on your wedding day.

Christina Davies,Fish 2 Photography
www.fish2.co.uk

 

Counting the pennies

Counting the pennies

Q. I want to book our photographer and was wondering how I can keep the price down without compromising on quality?

A. Simon Kearsley says: - If you're looking to save money, ask your supplier if they can do a half-day package. Most photographers will do this but most likely stipulate that it will only be available on less popular dates.

- Save money by meeting your photographer just before the ceremony and have coverage until the speeches. You could then ask a friend or family member to take pictures of the bridal prep and first dance.

- An alternative would be to save money elsewhere, for example, you could use your photographer as a photo booth. Purchase a cheap background and inflatables and ask your chosen supplier to spend an hour shooting group shots.

- Invite fewer people to your wedding. The average cost for meals, invites, seat covers etc adds up to £70 per person. By removing 10 people from your guest list, you'll have more than enough to cover a full day of wedding photography.

- Remember when the day is over one of the few things you'll have to look back on is your photographs, so it's worth investing in them.

Simon Kearsley,Creative Camera Photography
www.creative-camera.org

 

Summer loving

Summer loving

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 suggestions?

A. Vicky Dubois says: Living in Great Britain, our weather can be glorious one day and wet the next, so my top tip is be prepared!

Take into consideration that the sunshine can have a positive and negative impact on your day. In the morning and evening, the sun is low and can offer flattering natural lighting, dramatic silhouettes and romantic sun flares. However, the red hot sun at mid-day will make you squint, cause harsh shadows and leave sweaty faces.

Our beautiful country is lush and green because of the rain but don't worry we can use downpours to our advantage! Obviously, we want the best weather for you, but just in case, I always have a collection of stylish umbrellas with me for couples to choose from.

Just remember, you can't control the weather, so whatever happens, a great photographer will be prepared to capture your day with you in mind.

Vicky Dubois,Vicky Dubois Photography
www.vickydubois.co.uk

 

Picture perfect

Picture perfect

Q. We're looking for a wedding photographer, but we're a bit worried about booking someone online that we've never met. Do you have any suggestions?

A. Simon Kearsley says: Here at Creative Camera Photography, 95 per cent of the time we won't take a booking unless we've met the couple.
- I understand your hesitation, after all, you don't know if they're a real person or company unless you've met them. We have a studio and always encourage our couples to come have a brew and chat about their day before booking.
- It's important you get on with your chosen supplier. If you don't have a connection, then you won't get the best outcome from your time with them. You're going to spend most of your day with or around your photographer, so make sure you like them before you book.
- Sit down with them and decide whether or not you'd avoid them at a family party. If the answer is yes, then keep on looking until you find someone that's the right fit for you.

Simon Kearsley
www.photographerbury.com

 

Winter romance

Q. My hubby-to-be and I are worried about having our pictures taken on our big day. We're not the best posers but would love a few snaps in the venue's wintry grounds. What would you suggest we do?

A. Vicky Dubois says: I hear this question a lot, so don't worry, you're not alone. Most people are nervous in front of the camera, myself included. The best advice I can give, speaking from my own experience and working with numerous shy couples, is to find a photographer who you're comfortable with. Having a friendly and honest relationship is a huge part of the service a photographer should offer. Knowing what your likes and dislikes are is also incredibly important, and it means you'll feel comfortable enough to tell your photographer when you've had enough and need a break.

Vicky Dubois
www.vickydubois.co.uk

 

Walking in a winter wonderland

Walking in a winter wonderland

Q. My wife-to-be and I are getting married next December, and we're worried about the weather ruining our photographs. Do you have any suggestions?

A. Aaron Gilpin says: Working primarily in soggy Cumbria, this is a question that comes up a lot with my clients. Try not to worry there are lots of ways to deal with inclement weather.

- What most people would consider a poor weather forecast can often result in fantastic photographs. The most dramatic light always comes before or after heavy rain showers. I would choose a mixed forecast over a bluebird sky every time.

- Be prepared and purchase wellies and colourful brollies.

- A carefree attitude goes a long way. Your wedding is only going to happen once, so don't be afraid of getting the most out of the day.

- Be flexible with dates for your pre-wedding shoot. It rarely chucks down non-stop for an entire day, and there are often breaks in the rain that can be used for photographs.

- When choosing a photographer, ask what they would do if it rains. They should have several strategies up their sleeve to ensure quality pictures whatever the conditions.

- Wet weddings are often more sociable as people tend to gather together inside, often around the bar. Resulting in some great photo opportunities.

Aaron Gilpin
www.la-lumiere.co.uk

 

Hold me close

Hold me close

Q. Our December wedding is going to be held in the late afternoon, and it'll be getting dark by the time our ceremony ends. How will this affect our photography?

A. Mark McNeill says: December is a wonderful time of year in which to tie the knot, as the trees still have autumnal leaves and the atmosphere is magical.

As a wedding and astro photographer, I use special lenses and tripods to capture low light images. If you want to wow your guests, you could even arrange a firework display – that will look fabulous in your pictures.

Mark McNeill
www.markmcneillweddingphotography.com

 

Especially for you

Especially for you

Q. Lots of photographers offer an engagement shoot, but we're camera shy and don't know if it's for us. What are the benefits?

A. Jo Greenfield says: - An engagement shoot is the perfect way to combat any worries you may have about your wedding photos. Use the experience to practice posing and to connect with your photographer. Your chosen supplier will quickly learn what you're both comfortable with and use their expertise to make you feel relaxed.

- It's beneficial for you to see your photographer's editing style before the big day. Initially, you're probably going to hate your shots because it will reveal all your imperfections. I'll be the first to admit that I hated my wedding images, but once I saw the way my husband looked at me, I began to get really emotional and saw them in a whole new light. I didn't have an engagement shoot, and it's one of my biggest regrets.

- If your supplier offers a pre-wedding shoot as part of their package or as an extra, take them up on it. Your pictures are a big part of your day, and knowing what to expect will make the process a lot less daunting.

Jo Greenfield
jogreenfieldphotographer.com