Stress Free Couple Photos

I find that, more often than not, the couples who book me are the kind of folks that can get bit uncomfortable in front of the camera – and are actually drawn to my style for that exact reason (i.e. they know I won't make them do any awkward posing!). That being said, I do think it's important to take a wee bit of time for a few photos of you both together, as at a wedding there is actually no guarantee that there'll be many opportunities for any truly natural, lovely candid couple photos of you both – and it would be a bit of a disaster if we didn't get at least one on the day. The reason why it might be difficult is that everyone is there to see you both and can't wait to speak to you, and as such you might find it difficult to get a few moments to yourselves at any given time (this alone is a great reason to take a wee 10-15 minute break away from your guests to get a few snaps).


I much prefer photos that are natural and unforced, and as such it's probably hard for people to imagine how we can go about getting some nice couple photos that compliment the off the cuff style of wedding photography that I offer. The way that I like to go about it is simple and, in line with my policy of keeping everyone relaxed and comfortable, is all about making the photos as unforced as possible. As such you still wouldn't need to worry about posing; I will simply ask you to go for a walk, or maybe just take a minute or two to sit and have a a debrief about the fact that you are now married(!!) and I will get a few photos of you as you do. If you want to kiss, or hold hands or fall into any other natural pose (romantic or not), then that's great and I'll be there to shoot it. On the other hand, however, I would never ask you to do any particular thing as I don't know if it's something that is natural to you. That is, you might not be super huggy kissy people, and so I'm not going to tell you to be like that for the camera – what would be the point? An underlying principle of my approach is that your final photos should be a genuine reflection of who you are and what actually happened on your wedding day, not some over the top romantic dramatisation that is perhaps false and, more to the point, made you feel uncomfortable (not that there's anything wrong with photos like that, it's just they're really not my thing). As such, ultimately, my job when taking couple photos is to do what I always do; be as unobtrusive as possible, and help you feel like you can relax and be yourself around me – and having already spent some time together in the morning and through the ceremony, that really won't be a problem. :)









The Wedding Formals

I often get asked by couples, sometimes with a wee bit trepidation, if I would mind taking some group photos for them on top of my usual wedding photojournalism-style photos that I provide – and I can't blame them for thinking it might not be possible, as to be fair, I don't make much effort to promote this aspect of my wedding photography and certainly don't include these sorts of images in my website photo galleries. I will however, gladly get some family/friend group photographs with all my couples. It is really unusual for a couple to want none at all, and if anyone told me they were considering doing that then I would definitely want to discuss it with them so they didn't end up missing out on some potentially valuable photos.

That being said, it is 'value' that drives me to do formal group photo sessions the way that I do (in a very informal and casual way). I try to stress to all couples that any extended session with a photographer on their wedding day is, in my opinion, bad news and should be avoided where possible. The one guaranteed bad thing about any wedding is that it will go past super quick, so any time you're spending doing anything other than having a good time should be kept to a bare minimum. The thing about the formal photographs is this; they can take a long time, be stressful, and other than getting half a dozen photos that will find their way into frames, the majority of the shots will be skipped by and just look like a bunch of (albeit splendid) people standing in a line... not a great reward for the time and energy spent on them.


So, what's the best way to tackle the group photos? Try to think about them in terms of time-versus-reward – are the final shots going to have been worth the annoyance of getting everyone rounded up and standing about for a while? Especially during a part of the day when the majority of your guests will be having a glass of fizz and enjoying themselves (you should be as well!). As such, my advice to any brides and grooms is to do the following:

WRITE A SHOT LIST AND STICK TO IT – I can't stress this enough! While I can't possibly tell you what photos will and won't be of value to you, try and be picky about it; if you don't think a photo of you and your great uncle is a photo that will make it into a frame or is one that you will have difficulty getting another time away from the wedding then you might want to consider dropping it from the list.

GET HELP – You should think about getting a couple of helpers on board who can recognise people and round them up at the appropriate time (groomsmen, bridesmaids, brothers and sisters are good for this), so give them a copy of the photo list as well and have them briefed before the day. The more organised you are about it all the quicker you'll be back to the party where all your lovely guest are. :)


GET EVERYONE PREPARED – Try and tell everybody that has made it onto the final list in advance so they are ready to go. If you don't want to spend lots of time on this part of the day then make sure everyone knows that and tell them to be all set and ready to dive straight into it.

RELAX! - Really, don't let it stress you. If it takes a bit longer than you'd hoped then don't worry. If you're with me, I personally try to get the photos done as fast as I can and keep everthing pretty informal and relaxed; there's really no need to put your drinks down, stand in symmetrical lines and put your thumbs in your pockets. What's important to me is that everyone looks as comfortable and natural as possible (which will make the final photos a bit more fun and nice to look at).

You may or may not agree with what I've said above; as I've said before, photography is a very individual and personal thing. Ultimately, despite my own opinions, you should get the photos that you want to get, regardless of how many or how much time they take - just be sure that they're worth it and you're happy to spend the time getting them. If you like the idea of having a collection of formal family portraits then look for a good portrait photographer who can get those for you; and if you're anything like me then just follow the simple advice above and you can't go wrong.