Today’s part of the Wedding Day series is looking at the portraits. On your wedding day, the portraits are when you have a chance to have a quiet moment alone for the two of you and have some beautiful photos to celebrate you getting hitched.
Depending on certain factors, such as timings, locations, and the season, I break up the portraits. I tend to do 10-15 minutes two or three times throughout the day. For example, if you are having your wedding all at one venue, then we will spend a little longer doing the photos. If you are getting married at one venue with your reception at another, then we would have portraits done at both locations. I generally do your portraits before you are announced in for the wedding breakfast. By this point, you will have had a chance to mingle with your guests after your group shots. Whilst your guests settle down for the reception, you can have 10 minutes away to do some photos.
If your wedding is on a beautiful sunny day, I like to try and get some portraits done as the sun is setting. This hour is known as golden hour. Golden hour tends to happen an hour before the sun sets. There’s no guarantee we will get the beautiful light, but it certainly is worth using to our advantage when it is available.
I also like to do some portraits in the evening too. By this time, most of the formal structure of the day has been done with. So you will be much more relaxed by this point. I love to use this time to do something a bit creative. This is when I will use off camera flash or any available light. This is great for more dramatic shots and can give you the “wow” factor.
It’s Not All About The Location
I sometimes get asked if I will visit a venue before the wedding. Usually I don’t as I find I work better in the moment. I will scout out good locations for photos on the day. I will be looking for good light as well as a great place to photograph you in. I don’t go before the wedding as the light and location will be different to what it will be at your actual wedding. This would then meaning looking for new places to shoot in anyway. For example, one location may be fab if it’s an overcast day. But if the sun’s out, it may cause harsh shadows or for you to squint which isn’t so great. Plus finding spots on the day will help fuel my creativity as well.
Some venues may not be “picturesque”, and that’s okay. You will still get gorgeous portraits of the two of you. The backdrop isn’t the main subject for your photos. The two of you are, and that will be the main focus. But it can also give you a chance to get creative. You may want to incorporate props to add an extra depth or to add some of your personality into it.
Emma and Andy were married at a church that was surrounded by concrete. Their wedding reception in a warehouse so they knew they wanted to stop somewhere between the two venues to do their portraits. We went to Cheslyn Gardens so they would have the contrast of flowers and greenery compared to the bricks and urbanness of their wedding venues. It was also a place that meant a lot to the two of them so I love that they had a personal connection to the location to do the photos at.
Kerri and Craig were married in January. They had their wedding ceremony at a registry office, and then held their reception at their local pub. As it was a winter month, when we arrived at the reception venue, the light was gone and we still had their portraits to do. So we had a little bit of creativity added in using off camera flash against the walls of the pub as there was only a small pub garden to work with as well.
George and Chris were married in a hotel in Hitchin, which didn’t have any greenery either. So instead, we took a stroll down the high street. Hitchin is full of quirky looking shops and cobbled streets. Your portraits don’t need to have trees and pretty plants in the background. Your photographer will be able to use their eye to find great locations in all sorts of areas.
Sapna and Shamil were married at Moor Park Mansion. Their wedding ceremony was bright and early at 9am as they had an Indian engagement ceremony in the Orangery afterwards as well. So to ensure we had plenty of time to do portraits, they decided to do them before they were married. This is great to do if you are worried about whether you will have enough time. This is also ideal for winter weddings as well because of the less natural light we have during the day.
Trust Your Wedding Photography
The most important thing to do with your wedding portraits is to trust your photographer. Talk to them, and discuss your ideas. Having an engagement shoot with your photographer will help you see how they work and how they will approach doing your portraits. Are there any thoughts or questions you would like to share in the comment box below?
Next week we will be looking at candids and why I love being able to get natural shots of people at weddings rather than posed smiley ones.