Have you ever wondered what your wedding photographer goes through when preparing for and shooting your big day?
Our Guest Blogger and photographer Nicola Davison Reed has given us a run down of the events in a day in the life of a wedding photographer – have a read!
The Run Up To The Big Day…
“Months before the wedding day I will have met up with the couple – usually around three times.
The first – for them to get to know me – have some fun and a good chat over coffee and chocolate!
The second – to ‘dot some i’s and cross some t’s’: contracts, venue details and so forth. We normally discuss the couples ideas and thoughts around themes etc.
The third – is there for an option – if the couple have any added concerns or ideas, basically a ‘lets do this and have some fun!’ meeting. By the time the big day arrives the couple and I are on the same page.”
The Night Before…
“The night before a wedding I am always early to bed and make sure the camera bag is packed, lenses polished, batteries fully charged and my black shirt/trousers and camera harness set our ready to go first thing.
I shoot mainly portraits, and consider myself to be a contemporary photographer AT weddings rather than A wedding photographer, without being put in a box I feel frees me up to use my style of photographer – which is unique to me and to which people are now coming to me specifically for in terms of weddings.”
When The BIG Day Arrives…
“Weddings are wonderful occasions but can get a little intense during the preparations – I make sure not to add myself to any organised chaos that may be occurring! I’ll normally try to find a quiet chair and sort out my equipment and I’ll look around to observe my natural light spots…”
“I meticulously plan which route to take to get to the ceremony venue, as part of my pre-organisation. I need to arrive before the couple, taking into account traffic and train crossings…believe me I do not want to get stuck…anywhere!
Once I arrive – I photograph the waiting guests and get into the best position for when the bride or groom to be walks to meet their partner.”
“The ceremony is always a beautiful event, whether it’s outside in a field, a church or a registry office – each one is always without fail extremely beautiful. I always feel a great sense of honour to photograph such moments. During the magic moments I am working to find the best light, always so as not to draw too much attention to myself but keep the focus on the couple.”
“My thoughts are always focussed on what’s going to be the next best point to shoot from, or the best place to position myself for the next photograph… I always want to be as close to the proceedings as possible, I don’t use huge lenses – I just get closer, trying to blend myself into the the environment like some creature off a David Attenborough documentary!
My goal is to create an intimate shot – without spoiling the ambience and almost privacy of the moment which sometimes can bring the occasional surprises, like when the vicar gets the names wrong… oopsy!”
“After the ceremony, I take big strides to get myself outside to be there for when the couple are first married! Everyone is usually buzzing, there is so much celebration it’s actually tangible in the air at this moment, and there are a gazillion opportunities to make some cracking photography! I’ll be working like a swan, graceful on the top but paddling like fury underneath – I have to be three steps ahead and then some!”
“I’m always looking to capture the joy and fun of a wedding adventure!”
“This stage in the day usually ends up making the guests a bit fed up! Now, some couples have their guests shipped off to the venue, so they can get sufficiently ‘lubricated’ and fed and not have to stand around irritated – there is one thing I know for certain, wedding guests are always hungry AND thirsty.
Some couples just choose documentary style all the way through the day, so there are no formal set ups… some couples have a list as long as your arm, but during the meetings we always find a realistic set of group shots. Whichever way – I am always ‘bish bash bosh’ in my approach – let’s do this, let’s get the group shots done and let’s get you to your celebrations, pronto!”
The Wedding Breakfast
“Plans for the wedding breakfast coverage are discussed at our meetings, so I know exactly how many speeches there are (if any), and if they are pre-dinner or after. I love photographing the speeches, it’s always such a humorous time and sometimes very moving and poignant!
My job is to capture the emotion and the reactions which are always plentiful. Moving around here is quite easy without disturbance, as people are usually very engrossed in the speeches – so long as they’re entertaining and don’t go on too long!”
“Making sure I have photographs of the venue pre-dinner, as well as getting shots of all the beautiful ideas the couple have had – whether it’s homemade favours, or stunning wedding cakes, to the gorgeous scented, colourful flowers on show. I am a monochromatic photographer, but I do shoot 50/50 at weddings – how could I not with all of that gorgeous wedding colour on show?!”
“During dinner I go to find my private place where I eat the same meal as the guests and the wedding couple eat. This is part of my contract – I’m not going to nibble on crisps and a soggy sarnie when I’m working so hard! My couples are always so respecting of this, which I’m grateful for. As I eat, I usually reflect on all of the special, personal and detailed shots that I’ve managed to get for the couple.
After everyone has eaten – it’s time to re-focus on the evening guests arrival.”
“I usually leave just around the first dance, as a natural light photographer that’s a good time for me to quietly leave and head home. I make sure to drop my gear off at my studio on the way back, so the days moments are kept safe for me to work on and create my white wedding album over the next few weeks…
The saying is so true that time really does fly when you are having fun, so stop , look around you….soak up every second!”
All images are courtesy of Nicola Davison Reed Photography.
If you have any queries you can contact Nicola here.