To view more expert advice on a different topic, please select one from the list below.
Q. We're looking for a wedding photographer, but we're a bit worried about booking someone online we've never met. Do you have any suggestions?
A. Karen Boyle says: In this day and age, it seems our entire lives can be run online, and indeed over the last two years much of our lives have been forced online. Whether it's ordering a pizza or shopping for a wedding photographer, it's often our first port of call in a busy life. When your life is hectic and you haven't managed to meet photographers at wedding fairs or other weddings, looking at their websites and chatting online can be fitted in any time. What catches your eye first will be the style of images they present. Do they appeal to your own sense of style? Take time to read any recommendations as well as any blogs they may have written as these will give you an idea of their personality. Clearly, you need to be able to communicate easily and comfortably. Ideally, they should respond to your initial enquiry within 24 hours, even if it's just a, "Thank you and welcome, we're working at a wedding today but will chat tomorrow." A helpful, fairly rapid response is always a good indicator.
Over the last couple of years we've all become accustomed to Zoom calls. They're a useful tool when you can't meet in person. They give you a chance to see faces, hear voices, ask questions and look at possible products such as photo albums. They give you the opportunity to see if the photographer is a good match for you both – just don't judge them by their wallpaper or contents of their shelves! We've enjoyed many giggles with clients negotiating the vagaries of video calls.
Never be afraid to ask questions. You might even want to know if they have any previous couples who'd be willing to chat with you. Planning your big day should be a pleasure not a chore, so most of all, enjoy yourselves!
Karen Boyle, Andy Boyle Photography
Rain or shine
Q. We're getting married in the autumn and our only concern is the unpredictability of the weather. How can we prepare for the worst (but hope for the best) when it comes to our photographs?
A. Daniel Cooper says: It's true, you can never depend on the weather in the UK, but it does create an opportunity for some amazing photos. Come rain, shine, fog or snow there's magic to be captured. A professional photographer should come prepared for all scenarios ensuring we get the best from your big day regardless of what the British weather throws at us.
Everyone would love to have the sun shining, but try not to let what you can't control affect your big day. Your photographer's experience should give you confidence that only the best photos will emerge whatever the weather, indeed I've captured weddings in all conditions. For example, this image was taken in the Peak District, so there'd normally be a breathtaking vista behind the couple, but we had to innovate and use the flashes to good effect. I believe the foggy background actually puts more focus on the couple, which is what we want to achieve for your special day.
Daniel Cooper, Daniel Cooper Photography
Q. It's time to choose a photographer, and I've no idea where to begin. What would you advise?
A. Melissa Barker says: Start by choosing a style. Are you naturally drawn to bright, bold images, or do you prefer a dark, more moody effect? Each supplier will have their own shooting and editing style, so it's important you do your research and decide which style you like before booking.
Next, decide on a budget that you're willing to spend. The majority of photographers will have set packages on their website but offer extras if you want something more bespoke. If you're struggling to find a supplier that fits your price range, get in touch and see if they offer half-day coverage instead. This is a great way of saving money and means you'll still be able to capture the most important parts of the day.
With so many photographers to choose from, it can feel a little overwhelming. Look through local websites, social media and check magazines to get a list of potential suppliers. Once you have a list, narrow it down to three options. Check those three have the style you like, are available on your date, fit your budget, offer any additional extras that you want and most importantly have good reviews. Set up a meeting in person or via video chat with each of them to see if your personalities gel. Before the meeting, create a list of questions to ask, such as do you have insurance? Have they worked at your venue before? How much deposit do they expect upfront and when does the final instalment need to be paid? After the meeting, if you feel particularly comfortable around one of them and like their answers, contact them about booking.
Melissa Barker, Your North West Wedding editor
Q. Our venue is gorgeous inside and out. How can we make the most of it with our wedding photos?
A. Andy & Karen Boyle says: We're so lucky in this region to have such an amazing variety of venues from canvas to castles. You may be pitching a tipi in a fabulous landscape, relaxing in an atmospheric country pub or celebrating in a magnificent mansion. Whether you looked at a dozen venues or knew the first was the one for you, it's the unique features that will have stood out to you. Our job is to find the stunning attributes of the location and use them to capture your wonderful memories, and we'll start by having a chat with you about your favourite spots, the elements that made you fall in love with it.
The exterior of your venue can look so different in the daylight to how it does lit up at night. There might be glorious gardens and outdoor features that look stunning as you take a stroll together at dusk, making for some amazing low-light shots. If we're lucky there'll be a great sunset to wish you good luck.
Many venues have stunning staircases, which afford us so many opportunities. Fireplaces and furniture too, whether they be traditional or ultra-modern, can really make a formal or fun statement. Plus, you get to sit down for a few minutes and have a drink!
Even if you think there's nothing that stands out to you, we'll have visited your venue, had a good look around and come up with a cunning plan. It's incredible what can be found and made into something fabulous. Your job is to enjoy time together with your loved ones on your big day. Our job is to create the beautiful reminders.
Andy & Karen Boyle, Andy Boyle Photography
You're a natural
Q. We're both a bit camera shy and are feeling anxious about a lot of photos on our wedding day. Can you offer us some advice?
A. Karen Boyle says: Don't worry, it's your photographer's job to make you feel as comfortable as possible. The chats you'll have with us in the run up to your big day help us discover what you like and what you're worried about. There are very few concerns we haven't heard, so don't be afraid to share yours so that we can put your mind at ease. What's more, you'll be having such a wonderful time with friends and family, most of the time you won't even notice us taking photos. Occasionally we'll say: “Just look this way,” then you're done.
Of course, we all want some stunning portraits, just the two of you, so we'll sneak you away from your guests leaving them to drink to your happiness. We'll have already found the perfect areas of your venue, so no time will be wasted and we can have a little fun and let you have a little quiet time together too. Fear not, you won't be gone so long that your guests will have started the wedding breakfast without you!
One way to get some fun practice in is to book a pre-wedding shoot with your chosen photographer, either in the studio or at your favourite location. Whatever worries you may have, you'll have a good time overcoming them.
After all's said and done, what you'll remember when you look through your wedding album is having a wonderful day together with your loves ones.
Karen Boyle, Andy Boyle Photography