As I work full-time as a Bridgetown wedding photographer, you won’t be shocked to hear that I’ve attended my fair share of extravagant blowouts, intimate unions – and everything else in between! I want to use the knowledge I’ve gained through these experiences to help you have the smoothest, most fun and least stressful wedding possible.
It’s your wedding, so it’s important that it goes your way – these are some tips I’ve collected over the years that will help make sure that your experience matches up with your vision!
Whether you're having a DIY bush wedding at Donnelly River Holiday Village, or a big fancy wedding at Aravina Estate in Margaret River, a photography timeline helps to make sure that everybody is on the same page, meaning that your day will be stress free and the most fun possible! As part of my service, I work with you to curate a timeline that works for your particular wedding. Things to factor in are how long certain events take and when to have them. For example if you want amazing sunset portraits, then we have to schedule this into the day. Don't worry though, us photographers are used to making things work whatever, but this is why it is good to have the conversations and pre-plan.
Despite the popularity of ‘mindfulness’, we rarely actually get the chance to live in the moment. A wedding is that chance. Help to fully bring your guests into your special moment by opting for an unplugged ceremony. No phones, no tablets – just you and your loved ones. This will not only remove a potential sea of devices in the background of your shots, it also removes the risk of poor-quality photos sneaking their way onto social channels before you reveal the official images. If you’ve taken the trouble to hire a wedding photographer in Margaret River, Busselton, Bunbury, Bridgetown, Pemberton, or anywhere else in the beautiful South West – leave the snaps to the pros!
Everyone loves cake. You’ve probably taken it as a given that you’ll have a decadent, multi-tier sponge extravaganza at your ceremony. But do you actually want one? There’s no need to cake because everyone else is caking. Same with a white dress, speeches, vows (actually, that last one is pretty important). The point is, it’s your wedding. You call the shots. Make sure the traditions are there because they’re wanted, not because they’re expected.
Let’s stay on cake for a moment. Many couples think that a fake cutting of the cake is necessary for a photographer to nail that perfect shot. I don’t know how many wedding photographers in the South West also think this way, but allow me to be very opinionated here: IT MOST CERTAINLY IS NOT! Back in the day, the cutting of a wedding cake used to symbolise the bride losing her virginity. Nowadays, it’s more of a tribute to the healthy, long relationship ahead. A fake cutting is posed, awkward and symbolises nothing. If you’re going to do it, do it for real. And put some elbow grease into it – cut it so well that your guests have no option but to cheer!
In the midst of all the wedding excitement, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water; however, it’s so important to feel hydrated and energetic before your bridal portraits. Bring along a little hamper of goodies so you can dish out snacks and drinks during the shoot; a cheeky tipple or two might also help take the edge off any lingering nerves.
You know the things that matter most to you on the big day – but just make sure you tell your photographer what they are! While us South West wedding photographers are an intuitive bunch, a heads-up as to what to focus on beforehand is always greatly appreciated. Maybe a particular family member has travelled a long way to be here. Maybe your darling niece helped decorate the foyer. Each wedding is different, so make sure to tell your photographer anything that helps them capture your day the way you want it captured. Communication is key!
When you picture your ideal wedding shots, you’re probably picturing them in the warm, hazy glow of the ‘golden hour’, that magical 60 minutes before the sun sets. Conveniently, in Australia this is right about the time the party gets going! The nature of weddings means that things might get a little out of sync on the day. Don’t stress. Photographers are used to playing the hands we’re dealt on the day; I’ve been known to whisk my couples away between meals to capture the last of the stunning light.
If you want those super, romantic, amazing shots, ideally we want to be shooting during ‘The Golden Hour’ which is the hour before the sun goes down. In Australia, conveniently this is often just before the time that a party would begin!! If things are a little out of sync, no problem - us photographers are used to working with what we have available at the time. Sometimes I might whisk my couples off for 5 minutes in between meals, just to capture the last of the light.
I love the confetti shot for two reasons. Number one: confetti. Number two: it’s a great group photo that sings with energy. You just need four or five reliable candidates to throw in unison for maximum effect. Asking the celebrant to remind everyone to be liberal with the confetti for photographic purposes is also a big help.
Get your guests to throw it up in the air rather than at your face. This is one of my favourite shots which also doubles up as a great group shot because everybody is in it. Encourage your guests to be on the ball here, and throw at the right time. Getting the celebrant to remind them and that a photograph is also being taken usually helps.
While they probably won’t be the most creative shots coming out of your day, you may be surprised to find that family photos are the ones you treasure most in the years to come. It can be a tall order to bring a whole family together from across the globe; it’s important to document that celebration and create memories for future generations to look back on.
A list is crucial to make the all-important family photos run as smoothly as possible. Start with the stars of the show (you, the couple) then work your way down. Keep it simple but make sure to check it twice so no one’s left out; we don’t want any bust-ups on the day! By tackling it this way, we can sort out a production line for maximum efficiency. This might seem like quite a cold word for the joyous celebration that is a wedding, but trust me – ‘efficiency’ is absolutely crucial at this stage in the day!
We all have that one relative who’s perpetually on the ball. Find this person on both sides of the aisle and enlist their help in organising the family shots. Your photographer won’t know all the different names and faces, so they’ll appreciate any help you can offer in that regard. A lot of couples find their captains in the bridal party, which gives them something to focus on while keeping them relatively sober until dinner. (In theory, at least.)
If you’re after stunning shots of your magnificent cake, you need to showcase it in a flattering position. When you’re scouting out wedding venues in the South West, make sure to factor in a cake angle! Ideally, your photographer will have room to get behind it so they’re able to fit all of your guests clapping and cheering in the background – so much better than a plain wall. Be warned...you might have to spin the cake to achieve this, so enlist someone with a steady pair of hands! Of course, this is just how I prefer to photograph cakes; I feel that if the bride and groom consider this a crucial shot for their day, it’s important to give it the time and energy it deserves.
Whether you’re planning a forest wedding in Southwest Australia or an intimate reception at Bridgetown Gardens Function Centre, you no doubt have your grand entrance all planned out...just make sure to let your photographer in on the details before you sail through to rapturous applause! They can then position themselves in the optimum angle for shooting. Again, this is about getting the absolute best shots possible for you. A little communication in the lead-up goes a long way.
All bets are off by the time everyone hits the dancefloor but (surprisingly) some of the best shots of the day can come from impromptu conga lines and intergenerational breakdance-offs. You won’t please everyone with every song, but you’ll definitely know who among your guests will be first to bust out some groovy moves. Play the hits that will get the party started!
When you book a Bunbury wedding photographer, you’re getting more than just a person with a camera. We’re there from the fluttery beginnings to the final slowdance of the night, and the majority of us have seen every type of wedding – the classic, the weird and the wonderful – so don’t be afraid to ask our advice! We have a very solid idea of what works and what doesn’t, and we’ll be able to advise you accordingly. I’ve been a driver, I’ve been a tie-tier and I’m sure I’ll be a little bit of everything else somewhere down the line! Ultimately, I’m here to make your day the best it can possibly be.
It might be the 21st century, but cameras are still going to struggle in low light. Putting a little thought into how you’re going to light your reception can save wedding photographers frantically fiddling with our settings when the big day arrives. Generally, it’s a case of the more light the better, though it’s also important to consider the atmosphere; we don’t want it looking like a school canteen. I find that festoon lights work particularly well for a balance of both. The more light, the more natural I can make everything look without having to resort to flash. It’s also useful if those giving speeches are well-lit – everyone can see them clearly AND I won’t have to set off my flash every five seconds!
Last but not least, when it comes to the day itself: Don’t worry about the photos. Don’t worry about timings. Don’t worry about posing. Don’t worry about the golden hour. The best thing you and your guests can do is get on with having a bloody good time. The rest will follow naturally. It always does. It’s worth explaining this to your bridal party; a lot of brides don’t realise that the bridal portraits are one of the few times in the day when you can steal a moment to breathe and reflect on the celebration. Don’t stress your way through it. I’ve got you. Embrace it all.
Looking to hire a Southwest Australian wedding photographer? We could be a perfect match! Let’s lock in a coffee/wine/Zoom call and get to know each other. From our initial discussion through to the moment you first open your fine art album, I’m here to share everything I know with you, while offering support each and every step of the way.