Brides! Don’t take chances when it comes to choosing the people in charge of capturing your perfect wedding day

You’ve spent A LOT of time and money planning your wedding, so the last thing you want to do is cut corners on picking the people who will be faithfully recording every detail of your big day.

But with only one shot at getting it right, how do you go about planning the perfect pictures and wedding video? It’s stressful, right? But before you start pulling out the hair you’ve been growing for your wedding up do, we have the only tips you need, thanks to celebrity wedding planners, Snapdragon.

Managing Director Julia Dowling and Creative Director Rebecca Menzies have spent years advising the stars on their wedding choices, including the all important photographer and videographer decisions – so we have asked them to provide their top tips to ensure you get it right too. Phew.

1. Pick your picture style

‘Think about the style of photography that you and your groom would like: do you want traditional photography, or something contemporary, a fashion-feel, or reportage? This will be a really good indication of how to choose a photographer that really works for you and your style.’

2. Get recommendations and do your homework

‘There is nothing better than a friend’s recommendation but, failing that, ask to see testimonials from your photographer before you commit. Make sure you go through ALL a photographer’s website galleries thoroughly and not just look at their favourite pictures on the homepage; you are looking for consistency, not just their best work!

‘Don’t cut corners. You should put aside 10% of your entire budget for photography. Your memories will fade, but photographs will last forever.’

3. Make sure you and your photographer ‘click’

‘Your wedding photographer is going to be spending as much time with you on your big day as the groom. He or she will be there when you are feeling sick with nerves, you’ve just snapped the nail on your all-important ring-finger or you are about to lose it because that bit of hair refuses to curl the right way.

‘In short, you need to be totally comfortable in this person’s presence, so we recommend at the very least having a Skype conversation or, better still, meet up for a coffee to see whether your personalities align.’

 4. Write a list of the people you need in pictures – and those you don’t!

‘Always pick up to ten family portraits. If the photographer is good then they will be able to work the crowd. Make sure that they take the natural shots that you want. Ask your parents about who they want to be in the pictures, especially if they are contributing to the budget.’

 5. Ensure your timings work

‘When planning your shots, work through the day beforehand to ensure the photographer captures every aspect you want to remember. Start from the moment you wake up and then go through the schedule of the wedding step by step. Where is the photographer going to be at each point?

6. Check the small print

‘Most photographers work on a time basis. Double check how many hours they are going to spend with you on your wedding day and whether or not that will cover off all the key moments that you would like captured.

‘A lot of photographers have in their small print that they will only stay for seven hours, meaning many of them will leave after the first dance and then you are reliant on your guests’ photographs, which are more often than not full of blurred or upside-down shots after a few drinks!’

7. Don’t forget the groom!

‘Always ask the photographer if they are going to bring an assistant. Think about those moments that occur at the same time and how that is going to work. For example, the bride walking down the aisle is a beautiful shot to take, but at the same time you also want to capture the moment that your groom turns around and looks at you for the first time.

‘Brides often say they love looking at the pictures of the moments they didn’t get to see – for example, the groom getting ready. An assistant will ensure you capture every bit of your big day.’

 8. Point out your best bits… and your worst

‘Don’t be afraid to tell your photographer what you do and don’t like about yourself. We all have our own perspective on the bits of our body and face we don’t like. It might be our nose, chin, so have a really open and honest conversation so that you get the end result you are after.’

 9. Where will your photos end up?

‘Photographers will always own the copyright to the pictures they take, so have a frank conversation before you put down the deposit as to what will happen to your photographs following your wedding.

‘How comfortable will you feel if you suddenly find yourself on their weekly blog or, even worse, on social media platforms? If the photographer won’t release the copyright to you, ask them to put a caveat into the contract stating they can only share certain photography from your day or can only put photographs up on their Facebook six months after your wedding. This gives you a chance to share the photography with those around you that unfortunately did not make the special day.’

10. Apply MORE make-up than usual

‘Whether you are normally a bare-faced beauty or won’t leave the house without your ‘face’ on, always put on more make up than you would usually wear because you want the photographs to pick it up. We have had so many brides say after the event “I wish I’d just put on a bit more lipstick or blusher”’.

11. But think about your man before you tan…

‘Always consider what your partner will look like standing next to you in pictures. So if you get a pre-wedding spray tan and your partner doesn’t, one of you will have a six-week summer holiday glow, whilst the other will look like they’ve been locked away in a cupboard!’

 12. Try a video with a difference

‘Many couples decide against a video and then regret it because they don’t think they will ever sit down and watch an eight-hour movie of their day. But with different styles of videos out there, you can incorporate something fun as well as capturing those moving moments and sound bites from your day, like the father and groom speeches.

‘One of our favourite styles is to get a short film shot on old Super-8mm cine film to give it a wonderful 60s and 70s feel. S8 Films do this brilliantly, stitching together magical moments from your day to create a music video of your day.

They have been trusted to capture the weddings of celebs and royalty alike – filming singer and Strictly Come Dancing star Rachel Stevens’ wedding and also the marriage of Lord Freddie Windsor to Sophie Winkleman.’

13. Ask your photographer to do a pre-wedding recce 

‘Plan, plan and plan some more to ensure you get your perfect pictures. If you want really special pictures, they don’t just happen by chance. The best wedding photographers in the business prefer to do a site visit of the church and venue to check the light and scout out the best locations for those unforgettable shots.

‘Celebrity wedding photographer, David Morgan, who shot the wedding of Take Me Out’s Paddy McGuinness, is famous for his breathtakingly beautiful and iconic shots. But he takes time planning and staging everything so that on the big day, you are not wasting precious time away from guests. You simply turn up and he has everything ready to go.’

14. Check with your church!

‘If you are having a religious ceremony, speak to whoever is officiating beforehand to ensure he or she is happy with photography during the service. The last thing you want is an awkward moment where your photographer is told off on the day or, worse still, is unable to get the pictures you want.’

Visit Snapdragon’s luxury weddings website for more information on their premier planning service.

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