Q + A wedding photography

Wedding photography is just taking pictures, right? Wrong! We speak to Scottish wedding photographers to get the scoop…

There are so many photographers out there. How do I choose one?

The more you look at different photographers, the more you’ll realise they all have slightly different quirks and styles.

Picking the style that speaks to you most is the fastest way to find a photographer you really like. You will probably have seen what is known as ‘traditional wedding photography’, which – you guessed it – is pretty traditional. It consists of mostly posed shots and is usually crisp, clean and to the point.

“If you’re looking for very posed, glamorous-looking wedding photographs then searching for a traditional photographer is probably best,” says Ewan from Top Table Photography.

Then there’s candid wedding photography, which is sometimes called reportage because of its roots in news journalism. In its extreme, this photography style is very fly on the wall and the photographer will not set up any posed shots whatsoever.

Instead, they shoot the day as they see it unfold (“Think of it like a documentary,” says photographer Chantal from The Gibsons). The problem with candid photography is that you might not get a guaranteed great shot of a special friend or family member, or a photo-frame-friendly picture of you and your partner.

It is a good option though if the thought of incredibly posed shots fills you with dread, or if you want a far more relaxed, authentic vibe to your photos.

Many photographers now offer the best of both worlds, shooting half in a fly-on-the-wall style and using the other half for group shots and intimate couple portraits, or else they sit somewhere on a spectrum, perhaps offering 70% reportage and 30% posed, or vice versa.

“All styles are common in Scotland, so there is something out there for everyone. Book someone whose work you love; you won’t regret it,” says Chantal.

I want some posed photos, but I’m scared I’ll look daft!

Don’t worry about having to Gigi it up on the lawns of a fancy hotel, because getting photos taken at your wedding isn’t like being on a Vogue cover shoot.

The fact that you’re hiring a professional photographer may make it feel formal, but they’ll do all they can to ease your nerves.

“We work in a very relaxed manner, and have a bit of a laugh with the couple to keep everything light and jovial,” says Ewan at Top Table Photography.

“If you’re happy and having a good time then the photos are going to be so much better than if we try to force you into awkward poses.” Jenni at Jenniflower Photography agrees, adding, “I don’t take the couple away from the guests; it’s fine for those guys to be there, because it relaxes the couple to be around their guests and makes them laugh.”

Will an engagement shoot really help me relax?

If you’re still worried, it might be worth doing an engagement shoot just to get used to being in front of the camera.

That’s when you and your partner meet up with your photographer in a nice location sometime before the wedding and practise doing wedding-esque poses, and a lot of photographers offer it for free as part of their package.

“I love engagement shoots as it gives us the chance to hang out with our couples and get to know them better,” says Chantal.

“It also gives us the chance to show them how we achieve natural photos which in turn takes the fear out of the wedding day photo session.”

You will actually be more camera-aware on an engagement shoot than you would be on the big day, because there will be less outside distractions and you won’t be on as much of an adrenaline rush.

So if you can get through it with no hiccups, your wedding day will be a breeze!

I don’t want to leave the party for too long. How long will our couple’s shoot after the ceremony take?

If everything goes to plan, most photographers say about 20-30 minutes.

“But that’s only if family photos go smoothly,” notes Chantal from The Gibsons. “Getting people together for the photos can sometimes take a bit longer.”

Jenni at Jenniflower Photography agrees, but has developed a handy trick for getting the wedding party to show up and stay put. “I usually ask a member of the bridal party, like the chief bridesmaid, to round everyone up for me. Then when I’m shooting it I’m very efficient and time conscious – I have never run over on any of my weddings!”

It’s also good to let the photographer know if there are any awkward family dynamics, so that you can plan family shots beforehand to avoid any nastiness on the day.

Same goes for any special moments too, such as fireworks or surprise entertainers.

Is it worth having a second photographer?

A second photographer is really handy if you’re having a large wedding and would like as much coverage as possible.

“It allows one photographer to focus on the more formal aspects of the day, while the second has more freedom to photograph everything else that’s going on,” points out Ewan from Top Table Photography.

It also means that both partners can have getting ready shots taken in the morning.

“I’m with the bride while she is getting ready until she’s stepping out the car going into the ceremony. I’m like the paparazzi without the flash!” laughs Jenni. “So a second photographer can stick with the groom in the morning, and get photos of the people that I’m not able to.”

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