15 Ways to Wow Photography
Some easy ways to achieve unique photographs that you’ll treasure for a lifetime
Image: (Above) Keep it relaxed for a beautiful natural shot. Photo by Audrey Russell Photography, www.audreyrussellphotography.co.uk
First things first: you need to find the right photographer, so start by looking into your options. Magazines, websites and blogs are all great starting points for your research. “Magazines are an ideal point of reference to help work out what styles are out there,” advises Audrey Russell (audreyrussellphotography.co.uk). “And if you are going to a wedding show for the first time, arm yourself with some knowledge of different albums and packages – otherwise it can feel like information overload and you can come away more confused than when you started.”
You want peace of mind, especially when it comes to something as important as your wedding photos, so don’t be afraid to question your photographer on their credentials. It’ll let you relax on the day itself, safe in the knowledge that you’re in the hands of a professional. “Ask how experienced they are and how many weddings they’ve covered,” advises Audrey Russell. “Do they have back-up equipment and insurance should anything go wrong? Such things are the sign of a professional – and that’s what you’re paying for.”
Wedding preparation might seem like an endless amount of list-making, but writing things down will ensure you’ve got it sorted. To help you make your final decision, write a list of photographers you’re considering. “Rule out those whose pictures don’t do anything for you and make a shortlist of those whose style stands out for you. Then, from your shortlist, start looking at each photographer’s website and, more importantly, their blogs – that’s where they will usually post images from their latest weddings,” recommends Mike Cook (mcookphotography.co.uk).
With so many wonderful photographers in Scotland, it can be difficult to choose who should capture your day, so rely on your instincts. “The photographer is going to be with you all day on the most important day of your life, so you’ll need to feel you can get on with them,” explains Hamish Scott-Brown (hamishscottbrown.co.uk). “Half of my business is about people. It’s about making them smile naturally and feel comfortable and relaxed – you’ll know when you meet someone who feels right.”
Image: (Above) Natural Weddings, www.naturalweddings.net
We know that wedding budgets have a frightening tendency to spiral out of control, and photography costs are likely to take a big chunk of your cash. But it’s also one area where it can be dangerous to skimp – you really do get what you pay for. After all, the photos will be there forever to remind you of your day. “Photographs last longer than the wedding cake – that suggests they should be more expensive than the cake too,” says Hamish Scott-Brown.
Spending time with your photographer in the run-up to your celebrations will go a long way to helping you relax on the big day. If you’re not comfortable, it’ll show in your photos, so meet up to chat things through and take practice shots that’ll loosen you up for a fabulous result. “Take time to meet your photographer before the wedding, try to arrange a pre-wedding shoot and be clear on your expectations,” says John Urquhart of Corona Photographic (corona-photographic.com).
Image: (Right) Hamish Scott-Brown Photography, www.hamishscottbrown.co.uk
You can’t expect your photographer to know what sort of shots and look you’ve got in mind unless you tell them about it, so be sure to communicate your wishes. Most photographers will be able to shoot in a variety of different styles so explain what sort of look you really love (and, of course, what you really hate!) so they can tailor your album around it. If you feel they’re not quite getting it, don’t be afraid to speak up – you’ll regret it when you’re unhappy with the end result and wish you’d chipped in sooner. “Communication is essential – talk to your photographer and let them know if you’re not happy with anything you’re being asked to do,” agrees Mike Cook.
There will be a lot going on during your wedding day, with emotions running high and a long list of family and friends you’ll want to spend time with. It’s essential to get all those family group shots taken, as well as some more impromptu pictures of you and your other half in your first moments as husband and wife. Knowing that your photographer has done their research into your venue and knows all the good vantage points will keep you relaxed in the knowledge that your photos will stand out. John Urquhart agrees: “Meet with the photographer to ensure they know the location and have done the groundwork to understand the best places to capture the images.”
Image: (Left) Helen Pugh Photography, www.helenpughphotography.com
While you might love the look of real-life weddings that you see in magazines or online, don’t forget to consider your own personal style as a couple. Your wedding photos should be a representation of the two of you, rather than an attempt to fit into someone else’s mould. “When considering styles in magazines, couples should think about how they would look in such photographs,” Audrey Russell explains. “If you’re not normally a fashion diva, maybe the editorial-style shots won’t be for you.”
A browse through different websites and blogs will give you plenty of inspiration for your celebration, but at the end of the day don’t forget that your wedding is about you, so each element of it should reflect the two of you – and that includes the photography. “Let the photographer cover the day and give you the guidance you need without you having to try too hard. Remember, it’s a wedding – you should be enjoying yourself,” explains Hamish Scott-Brown. Don’t let the photography dictate the running of the day. Ideally, your photographer should blend into the background, snapping some unforgettable shots of you and your guests without you even realising it. It’s those more unguarded photos, where your genuine emotion shines through, that often become a couple’s favourite.
We’ve all seen those photos with tense smiles and rigid poses, where it’s clear that everyone is feeling uncomfortable. The best images are those where the subjects are caught in the moment, concentrating on each other rather than on the camera, so try your best to forget that someone is looking at you through a lens. “Just relax and enjoy yourself,” says Audrey Russell. “You tend to find with most couples that they’re so happy on the day that any worries about having their photograph taken disappear. If you’re really nervous about it, a pre-wedding shoot is often the solution.” Getting some practice in before the big day should help you overcome any nerves about getting your photo taken and help you on the big day itself.
Image: (Above) Mike Cook Photography, www.mcookphotography.co.uk
Depending on where your wedding is being held, you might have the opportunity to take some impromptu shots with an interesting backdrop. Whether you’re on a beach, in the city centre or out in the countryside, your photographer should be able to make the best of your surroundings to create some fabulous shots. Mike Cook explains this process: “I’m always on the lookout for some ‘wow’ shots, and I’ll use whatever surroundings we have available to achieve this. I’ll often be seen hot-footing it to the other side of the road or lake (or anything really) to get the image I’m after. But this is all done to end up looking very unposed, as if I’ve just turned the corner and stumbled upon the scene.”
While every family will want to ensure they’ve nailed those all-important family shots with all the aunties and uncles, the pictures that really stand out are often those that are unposed. It’s these natural images that give your photographer a chance to show off their skills and capture the true emotions of the day. “Try not to pose too much – just have the best day of your life, feel at ease with your photographer and get into the spirit of it,” advises Hamish Scott-Brown. “We all have bad angles – even Angelina Jolie will look bad at some points in the day! You want to recognise yourself too, not think, ‘Heavens, was that me?’” Those images where you’re giggling and having a laugh with your friends will best represent you on the day, so do your best to ignore the camera and we’re sure your photos will be truly breathtaking.