EXPERT ADVICE

FAQs and expert advice about photography

Here is a selection of Q&As from Your Surrey Wedding magazine whether it be about flowers, hair and makeup, fashion, wedding themes, health & beauty, cakes, stationery, legal advice. If you would like your question answered by our experts, please email it to editor@yoursurrey.wedding

Big-Day Shoot

Big-Day Shoot

Q My partner's extremely camera shy so I'm worried about our photos not looking natural. What advice can you share and how can you help with that on the day?
A Amy Sheppard says: My advice would be to hire a photographer that's fun and that has great people skills. I'd certainly suggest to meet your photographer a few times before the big day to form a relationship and get to know each other and to also discuss your thoughts and expectations. You could even plan an engagement shoot to get used to being in front of the camera beforehand. It's important to remember that the best photos come from the natural moments, that aren't staged or posed. A good photographer will disappear into the background so you'll forget they're even there snapping away!

If you do feel nervous about the camera pointing in your direction, try and have a joke or a laugh with your partner, take a deep breath, relax, forget what's going on around you and simply be you!

Amy Sheppard, Photography by Amy Elizabeth

Making the right choice

Making the right choice

Q What should we consider before booking a photographer?
A Ryan Cox says: Do you like their work? Don't just decide based on price, have you seen a wide selection of their work from different weddings.
Do you get on with the photographer? You could be spending approx 10 hours with them depending on your requirements and if there's no connection between you it could be an unwanted partnership, make sure your personalities connect.
Have you seen reviews and testimonials from previous couples to see what they have previously done?
Are they receptive to your ideas or shoot the style of work you want from your photographer?
Know what you want from your photographer, do they shoot the style you want, do they provide you with the images you want, can they accommodate your needs to ensure you have a wonderful day?
Do they have the resources to ensure there are no loss of images or damage to equipment during the day?
Are they insured?
How long have they been shooting weddings?
Don't over complicate booking your photographer, select a few whose work you like then find the one you get on with so you can trust them on the day to give you beautiful images and tell your story.
To avoid being disappointed once you have found your photographer, book them! I have seen a few very disappointed couples who wanted to book me but left it too late, someone else had then booked me and their desired date has gone.
Hire someone you can trust and then trust them to give you the images you want so you can enjoy the day and look back at the memories after with their beautiful images.

Ryan Cox, Ryan Cox Photography

Ocean waves

Ocean waves

Q Our wedding is near a beach, and we'd love to visit to get some wonderful photographs, but I'm worried about ruining my dress or it being too windy! Do you have any ideas of how we can achieve this?
A Eray Kaya says: If you're getting married on or near a beach, then lucky you! You must take full advantage and get those all-important beach shots. Don't worry about sand on your dress, it will brush off, and any wind or breeze will only add drama to the image.

You don't have to touch the sand; you can do what you're comfortable with. You can position yourself on the sidewalk or pier or even balance on some rocks. My only advice would be for the bride not to do this in heels. A nice pair of flats on the beach will make it all the more comfortable and enjoyable. Remember, the most important thing is to have fun in your photos.

Eray Kaya, irockvisuals

Creative flair

Creative flair

Q What are your suggestions for capturing creative night-time shots?
A Ryan Cox says: Start by looking for a photographer with a varied portfolio of night-time images. They should be able to talk you through how each one was achieved, and what equipment they will bring with them to the wedding.

It's worth checking if they can offer a pre-wedding shoot. If so, try and arrange it at night so you can get a taste of what your big-day portraits will look like.

Think about whether your venue allows for creative night-time images and what time of shots you're looking for, such as sunsets, silhouettes etc.

Ryan Cox, Ryan Cox Photography

Especially for you

Especially for you

Q We've just got engaged and are planning to get married in 2024. When should we start looking for a photographer?
A Eray Kaya says: If you've booked your wedding venue, then it's never too early to start booking suppliers, especially your photographer. Be aware that the time of year that you're getting married will depend on the demand for your chosen supplier. May through to September will always be busiest, with lots of clients booking a year to 18 months in advance.

As always, make sure you choose wisely. Get a good feel from your photographer and make sure their style suits you. When you do come to book, a holding fee or a deposit is all that is generally required to secure your date.

Eray Kaya, irockvisuals

Love through a lens

Love through a lens

Q A friend of ours had two photographers on their wedding day. What are the benefits of this, and should we do the same?
A Denise Winter says: For my personal approach to photography, which is quite documentary, I tend to work alone and blend in with the guests. However, having two photographers really does depend on the number of guests and location. For a small intimate wedding with everything in one location, two photographers can be overwhelming, but they can be beneficial for larger weddings or those that take place across multiple locations.

Having two photographers means one can be with the bride and one with the groom for the morning preparations. During the ceremony, you will have coverage from two angles, usually one from the back of the ceremony room and one at the front. This can give a great view of both the bride and groom's reaction when they first see each other at the aisle. It's also great for the ring exchange and first kiss.

During the reception one photographer can focus on the family and group pictures, whilst the other can take relaxed guest photos. Similarly, during the speeches, the room can be split between the two photographers to try to capture all of the guests' reactions. Have a chat with your photographer, and they will be able to help guide you on what would work best for your big day.

Denise Winter, Denise Winter Photography

The look of love

The look of love

Q There are so many photographers out there – how do we choose the right one for us?
A Eray Kaya says: Choosing a photographer can seem like a dauting prospect, especially since there are so many to choose from. Start by thinking about the style of picture you want, such as candid, formal, or styled and then look at a photographer's portfolio of work. This will give you a good indication of what to expect.

Next, contact them. Have a chat with them and talk about what you're after. You should get a good vibe from them, and you must feel comfortable. After all, they will be capturing one of your most special days, so you don't want a false smile or a strained pose.

Price is obviously important too. Remember that the most expensive work is necessarily the best.

Look at their reviews from previous clients before you decide. They will have used the service so will know first-hand hand if they're worth booking.

Eray Kaya, irockvisuals

Snap happy

Snap happy

Q We're clueless when it comes to photography. Is there a list of shots we should ask our photographer to capture?
A Amelia Cox says: This is one of the most common questions I receive. I always recommend that my clients have a rough idea of the shots that they would like before the wedding, either as a list or a moodboard. Your photographer will want to ensure you enjoy your day as much as possible, so by creating a list of shots, you can relax knowing everything you've requested is being taken care of.

Knowing what shots you want us to capture allows us to blend into the background, so we're not interrupting the flow of the day by asking too many questions.

I always ask my clients to do some research on Pinterest or Instagram of images they like so that I'm confident they're receiving everything they want captured on the day. In my packages, I include a meet-up before the wedding to discuss any unanswered questions, see how your day is going to be structured and to get an idea of what you want to be captured on the day.

Amelia Cox, Amelia May Photos

Picture perfect

Picture perfect

Q I want to book a photographer and was wondering how I can keep the price down without compromising on quality?
A Denise Winter says: This is a great question and a tricky one to answer. Good quality in any industry, generally comes with a price tag that reflects the level of experience, skill and equipment used. This will vary further depending on what's included in the service, as someone including physical products such as albums and prints will usually have a higher price than someone offering a digital service.

To achieve quality photography and remain within a reasonable budget, look for a photographer whose work and style you like. Once you've narrowed this down, contact the company to see if they offer a shorter elopement service or a minimum number of hours. These services became popular during the pandemic and have remained in favour with couples preferring a more intimate or scaled-down wedding.

If your big day is during the week or out wedding season, you may find photographers are more open to discussing a discount.

Denise Winter, Denise Winter Photography

Natural poses

Natural poses

Q I'm getting married soon, and am worried that I won't be able to look natural in the photographs. Do you have any advice?
A Eray Kaya says: Having your photo taken can be uncomfortable at the best of times, let alone when you want your pictures to be perfect. Building a relationship with your photographer is one of the best ways to overcome those nerves. Tell them what you like and don't like and, most importantly, the kind of pictures you want them to achieve. If you have a pose or idea in mind, then discuss this with them. This all leads to more achievable results. Natural style photography is best captured when you're being exactly that! Forget your photographer is there. They should encourage you to carry on as you are, walk and talk with your partner and let them capture that moment.

Look at their portfolio. Their style will be able to reassure you that you've picked the right person.

Eray Kaya, irockvisuals

Ready, set, pose!

Ready, set, pose!

Q Most photographers offer an engagement shoot, but we're camera shy and don't know if it's for us. What are the benefits?
A Eray Kaya says: There are many advantages to having an engagement shoot. Photographers usually offer this as an optional extra, and it's a great way to get to know them and learn more about their style. You'll learn what to expect during the day. This will enable you and your partner to be yourselves whilst candid pictures are being created.

Use the opportunity to ask any questions, and be sure to let your photographer know what you like and don't like. This will all contribute to a smooth and happy working relationship.

Eray Kaya, irockvisuals

Hold me close

Hold me close

Q My wife-to-be and I are having a December wedding and are worried the weather might ruin our photographs. How can we capture stunning pictures whatever the weather?
A Denise Winter says: I can completely understand your concerns, but try not to worry too much. Winter weddings can be fabulous! Think of a dusting of snow, glistening frost on the trees, atmospheric fog and beautiful golden hours, which happen far earlier in the winter and look even more beautiful when you're tightly wrapped up in your partner's arms.

Even rain, as long as it's not torrential, can be romantic when snuggled under umbrellas. The other plus point is most wedding venues have their Christmas decorations out by the end of November, so you'll have the twinkle of fairylights or candlelight glistening in the background.

Lots of photographers also carry off-camera lighting that can be used to create magical outside evening scenes. If you're worried, chat through your concerns with your supplier, I'm sure they'll be able to share their experiences and some ideas from previous weddings.

Denise Winter, Denise Winter Photography

Light on a dark day

Light on a dark day

Q I'm worried about it being too dark at our wedding to take photographs. How can we capture creative night time shots?
A Eray Kaya says: Don't let the longer and darker nights deter you from booking an autumn or winter wedding. It's very popular for venues to host twilight nuptials during these months, which cater specifically for these types of celebrations.

Your photographer should discuss the types of shots they will be able to capture during the darker months. Always check out their website or portfolio for evidence of their artistry before booking.

I always try to make my shots different and creative. Night time shots make for fantastic shadows with an element of romance about them. I use extra lighting to create a glow effect and try and take advantage of any twinkly lights. Capturing worthy shots does come with experience, so make sure your photographer is up to the challenge.

Eray Kaya, irockvisuals

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