Picking your dream bridal bouquet, venue and catering is easy, discovering your dream wedding photographer? Not so much! To find out what to look for when picking your camera confident expert for the big day, GoHen sat down with luxury wedding photographer Iain Gomes to talk about the hottest styles, John Legend and why your wedding should be an iPhone-free zone.
What’s hot this year in the world of wedding photography?
I’m seeing a trend towards fewer guests and more intimate weddings in 2017.
What’s not? Is there anything couples should avoid?
Definitely avoid guests with cameras during the ceremony. You should want to see the them getting married in real-time and not through a 4″ LCD, or sometimes even a 12.9″ iPad Pro! Engage with the couple and enjoy the moment. The guests are welcome to download my images.
Is there one mistake that most couples make when choosing a wedding photographer?
Not researching the Photographers portfolio properly! They may have shiny impressive photos on their website, but check if they’re all from the same wedding. This could be a sign that the photographer is using images he/she has taken on a portfolio building day. The only thing the photographer has to know on one of these days is how to switch on the camera and press the button. The lighting, posing and location are all chosen by the instructor. I went on one early in my career. It was great – I had lots of lovely photos but learnt nothing.
What are the basic styles of wedding photography couples can choose from?
There are few Photographers who solely specialise in one style, most do a combination of all.
Photojournalism – Every wedding photographer should be able to capture the day without interrupting or changing things. Standing back and observing, listening for people laughing, looking for genuine moments. It’s much harder than it sounds but extremely rewarding.
Traditional – I class this as the more staged photos throughout the wedding. For example, the signing of the register. I try to get photos of the couple doing this naturally, not always possible as sometimes the Registrar or Vicar will say it’s not allowed. 9/10 times the Registrar will pose the couple with a ornate feather quill, it’s all quite awkward really for the couple and me!
Modern – In the past, wedding photographers would turn up, take a few standard photos and return a few hours later with the prints. Modern wedding photography is all about capturing the whole day, the major moments and all of the bits in-between. It’s seeing your wedding through a completely different pair of eyes. The photos will allow you to relive your wedding day time and time again. To share that special day (which went way too fast) with family members, and family members who may not even be born. It’s quite a responsibility us wedding photographers have.
Contemporary/Dramatic – This is the style that has taken me around the world shooting weddings, from the Sydney Opera House to the North Shore of Hawaii. I think it’s amazing to work with couples who are really into their photography. We work together to get the types of vibrant and beautiful images you’ll find on my website.
Are there certain standard wedding photo packages?
I find that as weddings are so very different it’s difficult to have set packages. I might get a request for an 8 hour, 60 guest wedding which is 20-minute drive from my home. Or the request could be for a 300 guest Jewish wedding. Which means four locations, two photographers and staying until 1AM!
What’s your top tip for finding the right photographer?
Ask friends and family and get recommendations, that’s normally the best way for anything really. Or ask your wedding venue who’d they recommend. Google is also great for finding your wedding photographer. You can search for your wedding venue + “wedding photographer”. But don’t stop at page one! Some of the best photographers might need searching for.
We bet you’ve got a good photo album?
I use Queensberry and Sim albums, they’re pretty damn good.
You must have been around lots of weddings, what is the best wedding day advice for brides?
I love this question. I’ve photographed over 300 weddings and reckon I could probably hang up my camera and give wedding planning a shot. I won’t, because I genuinely enjoy the whole wedding day experience!
1. Bridal Prep
For bridal prep my advice is try to keep the room clutter free as much as possible.
Most makeup artists will put you in the right light but some don’t. When having your makeup applied make sure you’re facing a window so not only will your make up look natural, it’s also the best light for your Photographer and ultimately your wedding photos will look even better.
2. The Ceremony
Have a think before your wedding about your thoughts of guests taking photos during the ceremony. It’s cool either way for me, but often it’s nice for you to look around and see a bunch of smiley faces, rather than phones and tablets. At every wedding, there’s a handful of extremely enthusiastic photographers wanting to get that photo of you as you walk down the aisle.
Honestly, it’s cool, we really have got it covered! No doubt you’ll want photos of you and your new spouse together walking down the aisle in your album. Let’s make sure that photo looks the best.
3. The Drinks Reception
This is an easy one. For goodness sake make sure you allocate enough time to actually speak with your guests. Enjoy the champagne and canapés. This brings me nicely onto the group photos and your couple photos.
4. Group/Couple Shots
Try to limit your group photos to under 8. After the ceremony, your guests will scatter like confetti (smooth, right?) and finding them can be a nightmare. Make sure your guests know that you want them in your group photo and ask them not to disappear. The best bit of advice I can give is to nominate someone from both sides of the wedding and ask them to be responsible for gathering the guests. Some of the nicest shots are taken in-between the group photos. If your photographer is busy looking for Aunt Margaret, you’ll be missing out on these photos.
When it comes to your couple shots, I’m against taking the couple away for hours on end. I like to get a normal natural light portrait which will take seconds. The creative photos can be done throughout the day and night. 5 minutes here and there. You’ll want to spend as much time with your family and friends as possible.
5. The Wedding Breakfast
If you’re having tall centre pieces, just try to make sure that they’re not hiding you from view of your guests and your photographer during the speeches.
If you’re supplying food for your photographer (which I know most of us appreciate, but never expect) work with the catering team to ensure that the food is available when you have your dinner. Some venues insist on bringing food out to the photographers once the guests have eaten desert. This is normally when speeches start.
Oh, and ask your DJ to do a countdown so that hopefully everyone will cheer when you cut the cake!
When’s the last time you took a ‘selfie’?
About 10 minutes ago with my son.
What’s the most original idea you’ve ever seen at a wedding?
At a wedding recently the couple made the guests work for their wine. Wine was replaced with water. Each table had to sing a song with the word love in the title to earn their wine. It was brilliant and really created a terrific atmosphere.
What’s the worst thing you’ve seen at a wedding?
A silly waiter. I’ll say no more!
Spending all day looking and talking about weddings sounds like a dream, so what’s the best part about your job?
With most jobs, you have to wait until the end of the year to get acknowledgement from your boss about how well you’ve performed. It’s a buzz, right? Wedding photographers get that every week from the emails we receive from happy couples. We get to meet lovely people and see some incredible things.
You can tell us, we won’t tell a soul, honest… What’s the worst song you’ve heard played for the first dance?
I honestly can’t think of a worst song I’ve heard. They all have a specific meaning to the couple. That said it’s a good job I’m a massive fan of All of Me by John Legend.
Any final parting words of bridal wisdom?
You’ve spent months and maybe even years preparing for your big day. Make sure that you enjoy every last second of it. Embrace when things don’t go to plan, don’t stress about it. You’ll have a bunch of suppliers around you who will want you to have the best day of your life. Use their experience and knowledge to make sure your wedding is everything, and a bit more, that you dreamed it would be.
I wish you a wonderful wedding day!