ONE IMPORTANT THING
BEFORE WE BEGIN..
As a Wedding Photographer, I definitely don't want to dictate the timeline of your wedding day, but I’d love to share a few tips to help you plan the timetable and lighting at diferent times during your day that will make your photos look gorgeus.
Every couple that books me expects to get beautiful pictures. But couples rarely think about what makes a great picture. Ok, that is not your job, it is mine, but if you read carefully these little tips, it will be much easier for me to achieve your expectactions because your happiness is my ultimate goal. Truth is: no photographer is a magician. We work with light, and good light conditions make it easier to get better results.
IN THE SEARCH OF
All the decor, florals, makeup, expressions, and details will be for not if they remain hidden in shadows, or under the un-flattering beam of a ceiling pot-light. As wedding photographers, it’s our job to not only think about composing a frame, capturing the moments, and making sure everything is in focus (this is questionable); our main task in making everything look great is finding the BEST QUALITY OF LIGHT in a space. Yes, we can manipulate lighting conditions to a certain extent, but if it’s NATURAL LIGHT that you’re after
I love photographing brides and grooms getting ready in the morning. It is a perfect way to start the narrative of your wedding day. So many really great moments are happening and good lighting can help capturing them in a more elegant way. These photos will recall the little nervous moments, joyful anticipation, and family and friends buzzing around.
The best conditions for lighting would be a room with window/s and enough light coming through the windows to light the room evenly with the lights off. An ideal getting ready area would be an interestingly decorated space with windows and light walls for lots of reflective light. A location plays an important role as supporting cast, setting the stage for the big day.
It’s a normal tendency to turn on all the lights when you arrive at a hotel room. Instead, see what can be achieved using the window light alone. MAKEUP should be able to be completed using a BIG WINDOW alone (hair styling may need a touch more light coming from all directions though). In fact, you’ll probably achieve a more consistent look from your makeup artist when only using one BIG WINDOW and turning off all the other lights that might end up negatively affecting the color application. This is because WINDOW light and INCANDESCENT light have very different COLOUR TEMPERATURES, and you should not be mixing a bunch of different-colored light-sources when getting your makeup done. And PLEASE, tell him/her to place you in front of the window.
If you are getting ready far away from each other, you have to calculate the time that I will need to move from one place to the other. In that case, I usually go to the grooms first and do their pictures (he can undress later again) and then to the bride. But you can organize that as you prefer.
Don’t be afraid of dark-colored walls! In fact, when illuminated by a window, dark-colored rooms come alive and the white dress really tends to stand out for the contrast.
It’s best to assign one corner of the room as the “mess corner”. In an ideal world, banish plastic bottles, paper cups and trays. Assign a bridesmaid/groomsman to keep the area around you free of clutter, bags and hangers, and the beds made. When the official wedding photos are finally delivered, you’ll be happy that you took the time to consider these details.
Have you thought about the possibility to rent a hotel Room or an Airbnb. Some couples tell me that their flat might not be so suitable for pictures.
If you definitely want a picture of your dress alone, please make sure to bring a nice hanger. I don't necessary do these pictures, only if it is something that the bride wants. You will have anyway enough pictures with the dress on.
Consider scheduling 20 extra minutes during getting ready for
some special bridal portraits. Try to be ready 20 minutes before we have to leave. It gives you time to breath a bit,
gather your thoughts and create some artful moments when
it’s just you in your dress, and that beautifully quiet anticipation
of the moments to come.
Be generous with the time, at almost all the weddings I have been, Brides are always late, stressed out and we do these portraits in a hurry, which is a pity.
Please tell your family and friends to be ready before you, or at least to dress nicely. You don't want pictures at your wedding day of your friends wearing sport clothes while you are looking fabulous. It looks weird.
First looks are great for many reasons: they are emotional, exciting and overall beautiful to shoot. The bride and the groom meet for the very first time in a more intimate atmosphere. Not only that this gives you time to get your thoughts together and have some time alone before the ceremony.
It also allows us to take the family portraits before the wedding, in case you want to have them, so you can enjoy the receptions with friends afterwards without any interruptions. Some couples decide to see each other at the ceremony for the very first time, it is equally amazing and I will follow whatever you prefer.
OUTDOORS CEREMONIES in the middle of the afternoon can be gorgeous, but try and ensure that it takes place in a shady spot as the sun at certain times of day, on certain days of the year, can be very intense. If you’re going the outdoor route, I recommend trying to find some open shade in which to have your ceremony. It’s not always available, but if you can try to at least have the bride and groom in a place where they won’t be squinting, all the better.
I can’t really change the trajectory of the sun (I’ve tried and failed), so if you’re planning to have it in a non-shady spot, the bride and groom may be left with dark circles under their eyes and deep shadows under their noses. Not a single human in the history of humans has ever looked great under these light conditions.
If you just can’t manage to get a beautiful, 22 degree cloudy day, and there’s no possible way for your ceremony to be facing the ‘right’ way and it’s high-noon, because that’s the only time that will work for your family and guests, and the sun is shining intensely and my lighting guide is going up in flames, DON’T WORRY! Just be present at the moment and feel every little bit of this because getting the best photos don’t always JUST depend on light. I would always rather photograph a joyous, present couple on a sunny day, than shoot a detached, worrisome couple with the best lighting available. Like your getting-ready location, GOOD LIGHT serves only as a compliment. It is not subject.
For the ring exchange, always face to each other. And for getting in and out e.g. of the church please take enough time and distance from people who may be at the front (priest, flower children, etc) in order to get some photos only of the two of you in that special moment.
It is always a good advice to remind your guests to leave cameras and mobiles in the bag (I know it is not easy, but you can give it a try). You don’t want to have pictures with only mobiles and cameras. in the background. Propose it in a nice way, by telling them that you prefer to see their faces instead mobiles in the background, to just enjoy the day, that you paid for a photographer to care about the photos and that of course that you will share the pictures with them.
I do cover group shots, I just don‘t share them in my portfolio. I recommend you to do it, at least to make someone of your family happy with these pictures. I also recommend you to do it quick, we just need 2 minutes and find a corner. I have had more than 1 hour group shots sessions, and it breaks the rhythm if you make your guests waiting for too long.
If you would like to have them, it would be better to prepare a list with the people you want to be on the pictures, and organize someone who knows the family and friends better than me, to call the people to cover this part as fast as possibe so you can enjoy more time with you famliy and friends.
I try to shoot as candid as possible, but probably there is always someone closer to you who doesn't feel comfortable in front of the camera and hide every time I get closer. This is a good way to make sure you have some photos with them together.
If portraits are important to you (I love them), and you like the kind of portraits that I show in my portfolio, you’ll need to make time for portraits with good light conditions. I don't need sunset light for my photos, but try to avoid the midday hours (between 11am 5pm in summer)(in winter will depend on where your wedding is taking place). Another option is just to split it, taking some portraits before, maybe in some areas with shadows like forest for example, or in interior or interesting buildings, and leaving the outdoors portraits for later.
Many couples see that a bit complicated, but believe me, at the end they are always happy to be 20 min. alone (well with me but I am very quiet :), to look each other in the eye, and to breath and think about all the things that have been happening during the day. Usually those moments are very beautiful and emotional, much better than scheduling all the the couple shots before the ceremony, when you are problably more stressed.
because believe me when I tell you, nobody looks good for photos with the midday sun above your head. Do you see her shadows everywhere? We also tend to close our eyes in a very sunny day.
But if that is your only possible option, we will search some shadow places and wear some sunglasses (well actually sunglasses are cool in any circumstances, if gives a modern and sophisticated look.
SOME COUPLES ASK ME OFTEN HOW TO FEEL MORE CONFORTABLE IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA
Well, first and more important advice, you should have a good time. It is more about directing a bit than posing, I love making my couples move around as being active produces dynamic shots and eases any possible tension. Movement bring natural emotions, that is why there is much movement in my pictures.
I also bring a small speaker, so we can listen to music. Music helps a lot to relax and to create a beautiful atmosphere.
Try no to look at the camera smiling constansly only when I ask for it, that is something that we do automatically. Just enjoy the moment as if you were in a movie together. Imagine your best movie, a music video, and you guys are the start of it. The music will help, and for the shy ones, I will care to make a private imaginary triangle between us, it doesn't matter where we are and how many people are around.
The goal is to enjoy and to have a good memory of this moment. I’m helping to create memories that will last a lifetime. So try not see it, this goes specially for the grooms, as a must do.
We well have a good time, because that is exactly how I would like to remember too.
My approach is very relaxed and calm, no stress, no pressure, not forcing anything, no weird poses. I will try to photograph many moments in-between, which at the end, become the most beautiful images.
And we will need a little time to warm up, the first couple minutes it feels weird, because most of you are not used to it, but believe me, it will work. All the couples I have photographed war basically their first time too.
RECEPTION AND DINNER TIME
There are so many variables here and lighting varies stylistically from person to person and venue to venue, but my vote is always natural looking, warm light. String lights and candel light are a beautiful way to add pretty bokeh to backdrops. They’re ideal for outdoor yards, to make a border around dance floors and eating areas, and they help to light the perimeter of the reception in a beautiful way.
If you want a dynamic wedding, try to avoid that your guests sit for 5 hours in a row. Between speeches and the different courses, it can be sometimes too long and at the end they don’t feel like dancing anymore. I have seen in some weddings, how the couples made everybody dance between courses. It is an option, it is dynamic and it is fun.
The only time that I don‘t shoot people is when they are eating.
Ideally I should dinner at the same time as your guests so
I can finish quickly and be prepared for toasts and speeches.
Don‘t worry about not sitting me with your guests. Usually I
am using that time to breath a bit and organize my equipment
and next steps.
And about the party, if you want a full dance floor, you have to dance. Guests usually go dancing when they see you dancing. Don’t expect the dance floor full while you are only sitting or in the bar.
BANDS/ DJ / VENUE LIGHTS
Bands and dj,s often offer coloured lighting systems to their service. While they are great for parties, we should avoid them for dinner time and first dance. I would suggest to use coloured light only for the party.
AFTER WEDDING SHOOTING
Some couples book the After Wedding Shooting, (one day after the wedding if it is a destination wedding) The good feeling after an unforgettable day are still fresh. Brides can choose another hairstyle, free hair for example. If your wedding is out of Berlin, we need to do it the day after. Or you need to cover the travel expenses if you want me to go somewhere else.
We can choose dream locations without mattering spending time, things that maybe at your wedding day are not possible. The atmosphere is more relaxed, no stress at all. This is an option to consider if you love portraits.
FINE ART ALBUMS
Because a digital image will never replace a good print. Specially these days of so much imagery consum with mobiles, social media...I always encourage my clients to print their Wedding Photos, with me or somewhere else, but please print, and choose good quality prints.
I work with high end print companies who offer the best quality for fine art albums.
Here I share with you two of my favourite Wedding Blogs to get inspired.
BRIDAL DESIGNERS and BOUTIQUES
MAKE UP AND HAIR ARTIST (in Berlin/Germany)
SOME FINAL THOUGHTS
When beginning the exciting process of planning a wedding throw away any preconceived notions or pressures of what a wedding is supposed to be, instead focus on the experience. Weddings can be a unique, stylish and incredibly joyful celebration delivering the most extraordinary experience for you and your guests, yet all too often, the planning stage becomes usurped by the expectations of others and inspiration overload.
When you hone in on what is important to you, it helps liberate the process and illuminate the purpose behind the wedding.
I would love to see you shine on such a special occasion like this, where your loved ones have gathered together at the same place to celebrate with you. When will you have all this people together again in the same room? Days like these are difficult to happen again.
So details, decor, timing, everything is important, but nothing more important than you having a wonderful time. Because wedding is not only a celebration of LOVE, is a celebration of LIFE.