a checklist to look great in your wedding photos

1. Don't look down... look up!  The key to doing this is making eye  contact with those around you all the time. Practice confidently looking at every person next time you walk into a room. Do this when you walk into  the church.

2. Choose a dress you look and feel great in and this will mean you move and look better in the photos. 

3.  Pale or very slightly tanned skin is best for photos.  Avoid tanning lines! 

4. Your smile matters. Practice in a mirror. See what looks good. Remember how it feels! Seems stupid but it works.

5. Have your teeth whitened - people don't usually but it makes your smile look great in photos and it never looks artificial.

6. Be honest and tell your photographer what you like and don't like about yourself in photos. some things are surprisingly easy to  accentuate and hide. Just by choosing the right angle and lighting. 

Beautiful relaxed dyrham bride in church

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A checklist for choosing your wedding photographer

1. Always talk to your photographer on the phone before booking. You must feel at ease around them. 5 minutes on the phone is better than 50 texts/emails to see if they are a good match.

2. Meet your photographer before the day. Engagement shoots are the best way to do this. Making time to meet  for a coffee is still a great way to sense if you'll get on. Your photographer will be there for the entire day (albeit in the background) and you must like them!

3. View their work. Look for consistency and storytelling as well as creative flair. The first two are marks of experience.

4. Know what style of photography you like. Choose a photographer who fits in with that style. We can tailor our style a little  but don't expect a leopard to change her/his spots!

5. Do discuss cost at the outset rather than just before signing contracts. Ask the average cost of a wedding to check its roughly what you wanted to spend.  Expect photographers to have some flexibility if your wedding is off peak.  Go for quality over quantity.  250 really strong images in 4 hours by a talented experienced photographer is better than 750 images of full day coverage with no story and no amazing images! 

choose a venue which is bright - think big windows and white walls over small dark historic houses

Choose that wedding venue really carefully.  Big windows and white walls are better than small windows and dark wooden panelling often found in historic houses. Why? Because natural light inside means great reception photos and a place for couple and group photos inside if it pours down. Documentary wedding photographers usually prefer working in natural light. Good photographers will be happy to bring extra flash guns for dark venues but I think most would agree that flash will produce fewer strong images than a reception venue bathed in lovely natural light. In the summer there is enough light in most venues but if you're planning a winter wedding then steer clear of dark historic venues with small windows if photos are a priority. 

light bright wedding venue the the barn tetbury

light floods in through the barn doors

look at the nearby surroundings of the wedding venue

Lots of quiet little areas with uncluttered backgrounds where you can escape to at a couple of points during your wedding day. Ideally these secluded spots should be less than 3 minutes walk from your venue so your time will be spent making great photos rather than walking to the best spot for photos. In the countryside gardens are great for a lush natural green feel, and water for dramatic reflections of big skies. City locations are perfect for dynamic viewpoints with lines leading in to draw the eye to the couple. I have to say it is a little easier to work in countryside locations because you can slip away from your guests and the public eye more easily. Its hard to relax when you have onlookers. Its also surprising how many people unwittingly walk into shots in busy city centre locations. 

The wedding venue has more influence on your wedding day than anything else.  is the single most important thing that will make up your wedding. Why? Because the venue often affects many other parts of the wedding. If you want full freedom over all the suppliers at your wedding then you have to check this at the very outset.

Does the venue have that wow factor? How did you feel when you walked in? Cross off those venues that leave you cold. 

secluded forest venue for wedding photography

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