Photographs at your wedding -
a rough guide to the day’s photography.

At your home I intend to take informal relaxed pictures of the preparations and
yourself and the bridesmaids getting ready.
With luck I’ll get time to photograph you in your dress before I leave for the Church.

At the Church  I’ll photograph the interior with the awaiting guests,
the best man and the Groom looking nervous and waiting expectantly.
Usually there is enough light in the Church to photograph without flash.
Most Vicars or Priests allow photography as long as it is discreet,
some don’t like photographs taken during the actual service.
At the signing of the register I may use flash to ensure a strong image and
I can often include your witnesses.

As you leave the Church I will endeavour to capture your procession down the aisle
(if you’re not too quick!) and the take a few pictures as you emerge from the
Church doorway.
I like to then leave you to be congratulated by your guests who will want to talk to you.
Meanwhile I’ll take some relaxed candid documentary style shots of the guests
who will by this time be more relaxed in themselves.
After about 20 minutes or so (depending on timings) I’ll ask you if you’d
like to start the pictures of yourselves and the guests.
This can be at the Church or at the venue or a mixture of each
(which we will have decided beforehand).

The group photographs can generally take between 45 mins - an hour and a half.
 The speed depends on
    the number of people and 
    how quickly they will organise.

If the group is attentive and willing it takes much less time as I don't have to search
for or cajole people into joining the group.
If there are a lot of smokers and drinkers in the group it can take much longer.
(If there is a bar nearby, if it is cold outside, if it is a long while since guests have had a
chance to go to the bathroom;  these are factors which lengthen the process.) 
There are ways to help encourage a more speedy response from the guests. 
    Designate two people who the guests know reasonably well to help me
to organise and usher them. 
    Allow at least 20 minutes after the ceremony and before the photo session
to allow people to smoke, talk, congratulate you. 
     Try to let the guests know beforehand either as a short printed programme
of events or verbally when you invite them, what will happen.

 The big group of guests, friends and relatives alike we will organise first.
This has everyone feel included and they will all be gathered together.
Then it is a simpler task for the ushers to gather particular
family groups and groups of friends.

The ususal order which seems to work best is: 

Large group from high up. (from a first floor window or from a step ladder)

Close family both together then separately.

Mums and Dads. 

Brothers sisters mums and dads.

Grandparents Bridesmaids Pageboys Best man 
BM and ushers and BMan BM, PB, Bman all together,

All men in suits, All women incl BMs and flower girls.

Large families, incl aunts uncles and cousins, both sides.

Best friends both sides. Best friend, both sides
(often the B Man with groom - Br Maid(s) with bride) and all together. 

Special shots, with special people...

Then I take you away together for a few intimate pictures. (Usually 15 - 20 mins)
This can be anywhere you like and we can take very special shots,
creatively and romantically.

Rings, bouquet, garter, corsage. Bride on her own, the dress.
(These shots may be sitting or standing.)
If there are young children it is best not to try too hard to include them
unless they are willing. (They can take up a great amount of time)
I will endeavour to get good pictures of them during the day when they
are more amenable or unaware of me photographing them. 
I try not to spend too much time making formal groups;  
loosely gathered groups look better and feel more natural. 
I usually spend some time getting people to be closer together. 
In all groups some people hide away, and others will not comply
and will chat to their neighbours
(this is caused by shyness or feeling uncomfortable)

It is best not to try to make perfect groups as this takes much more time.

I will endeavour to photograph nervous guests when they are unaware
or in a more relaxed state at some other time throughout the day.

At the reception I’ll endeavour to photograph the guests around the tables
(not while they’re eating). 
If we can be seated in the room with you and your guests I find that I can
capture much more of the atmosphere as the reception progresses.
As this is not always possible (due to numbers or cost) it may be a
good idea to designate someone (an usher) to make sure that I know when
events such as the speeches and cake cutting are going to take place. 
(I do appreciate it if we can be provided with refreshments of some sort.)

After the reception there may be an opportunity to organise a few shots of
special people who we haven’t yet had the chance to photograph with you.
Occasionally there may be evening guests with whom you’d like to have a picture.

My last photocall is usually your first dance as husband and wife.
I’ll organise this so that you are aware that I’m  taking photographs
and you’ll be able to help me to make some romantic pictures with
the atmosphere of the room as a background. 

Finally, I have found  that some hotels and/ or the wedding organiser
from the hotel can become agitated and/or insistent if it appears that the
photography is taking longer than expected.  
Often they will blame the chef..who they say is becoming worried that the
food will spoil. (unlikely of course!) or they will expect me to respond to
their anxieties and start to blame me for the delay.

It is worth remembering that it is your day.
You have paid to have the day exactly as you want it to be.

So it may be worth letting the hotel know that you want plenty of leeway with timings,
and if any part of the event does not fit their plan, they should not worry.
They should fit in with your requirements, not you with theirs.
(If there are two weddings booked at the same hotel and we have to be finished by a
certain time then of course I will make sure that we do.)

To keep costs to a minimum I will only employ an assistant for very large weddings.
However, I may sometimes ask for a willing volunteer
(usually an enthusiastic youngster!) to help by holding reflectors.

Andrew Mills

07850 192 113