Weddings should not be stressful. Let me repeat that; weddings should not be stressful! Having been photographing weddings for over 6 years now we've seen a few stressed out couples both on the wedding day and in the lead up. Often on the day before the wedding, at the rehearsal, stress levels can be high in that last minute haze of setup!
Thankfully we seem to attract like-minded, easy going and fun couples as our clients so we haven't witnessed any full on wedding stress meltdowns! However, I totally remember the stress that came with our own wedding (before we were photographers) and how frazzled I was wanting everything to turn out just 'perfect', following wedding planning guides to the tee as if some writer for a magazine knew exactly how our wedding should be. If I could turn back time and tell myself what I know now, here's what advice I would give:
I do a little happy dance when I walk into the bridal suite on the morning of a wedding and I see that the bride has a long wedding veil! Veils aren't everyone's 'cup-of-tea' and that's totally cool (in fact we often have brides that choose a simple hair accessory or flower crown instead), but when brides do choose veils I say the longer the better! Here's why I love long veils...
There's a special timelessness and flow to a wedding veil which creates magic in photos. I love the movement that a wedding veil can give to a portrait.
I also enjoy using the veil in detail shots to create a soft backdrop and interesting texture.
You can let the wind and the light catch long wedding veils creating a dynamic composition. Veils can create great leading lines too, drawing your eye in towards the subject of the photograph.
While shorter veils don't provide as much versatility they can still be used to create some cool imagery too.
I love using a long veil to frame my couple or bride, creating a soft blur around the edges of my photograph.
We usually have a few laughs during portrait time while we're getting creative with the veil. I either employ Matt or a member of the bridal party to help me with fluffing and throwing the veil in the air, then jumping back out of the way of the shot. It usually takes a couple of practice throws to get the shot, and a breeze or gust of wind can certainly provide a challenge to getting the perfect veil shot. But after shooting weddings for 6 seasons now we've almost got the technique nailed haha!
Most brides choose not to wear their wedding veil all day as they aren't the most comfortable or practical accessories. Often brides will wear it for the ceremony and maybe half of the portraits, choosing to take it out for some portraits to change the look up a bit and also to have it out when they get to their reception so they can party without it getting in the way.
Whether you choose to have a wedding veil or not, a long cathedral style veil or a shorter veil, to wear it all day or only for the ceremony - the important thing to remember is that there's no right or wrong decision, just choose what feels right for you! x
Today I'm talking about a few things that I never get asked by our wedding couples when they first meet with us. These are three topics that actually could have a detrimental impact on their wedding photography experience but yet I never get asked about them. Perhaps prospective wedding couples just trust us with this [boring] stuff, but I'd be willing to also bet I never get asked about these 3 things because couples don't know to ask.
BUSINESS INSURANCE. Why is this important you might ask? Well what if someone hurts themselves tripping over a tripod at the wedding or perhaps the photographer knocks over a lit candle while shooting & causes damages (or worse, a fire!)? If your photographer doesn't have the appropriate business insurances then you as the client could be financially liable. Now if that seems a little far-fetched then maybe it's as simple as the photographer being ill & not able to shoot your wedding... Photographers should have insurance policies & contracts in place to ensure that you as the client are not left without a photographer. Additionally professional photographers have equipment insurance for their gear in case of damage or loss, which helps ensure minimal business disruption when things do go wrong.
LET'S TALK ABOUT THE EQUIPMENT. Whether you're getting a friend starting out in photography, 'Uncle Bob' who just bought a new camera or a professional to shoot your wedding - they need to have back up equipment. Why? Camera gear is not infallible. What happens if their camera plays up or suddenly dies in the middle of your wedding ceremony? We carry back up gear on us at all times so if a camera or a lens starts mis-behaving we can swap it out, keep on shooting & our clients will never even know (in fact we've done just that before!).
Additionally, while I thoroughly believe a good photo is more about the photographer than the equipment, there is a difference between consumer grade and professional grade gear. Cameras come in various levels of quality, and lens are certainly not all made equal. Another huge difference between a professional & a hobby/amateur/enthusiast is the maintenance of that gear. Just like with your vehicle, camera gear needs serviced and checked over on a regular basis.
HOW SAFE ARE OUR IMAGES? Having just discussed equipment back up, let's look at another area where back ups are critical. The digital data: your photographs. What measures are being taken to safeguard & protect all those precious moments and details captured?
While each photographer will have different systems here's ours as an example: Our cameras have dual card slots which we put to use by saving every photograph on to 2 separate memory cards; the first level of protection in case of card failure. Secondly we're shooting on the highest grade memory cards we can buy & we don't use cards more than 2 years old as another level of precaution. Then at the end of a wedding day the images are immediately backed up to another 2 hard drives, one hard drive is then stored in a different location to the second. Our back up system also includes cloud storage, a fireproof safe and a 'RAID system' which backs up our computer every night just in case the computer decides to go on the blink. Our back up system is rigorous (and boring) but it's part of running a professional business.
There is always room for errors & mistakes - but having insurance policies, systems, routines & contracts in place certainly helps me sleep easy at night knowing that I'm taking a number of actions to safeguard our clients' memories and investment.