The Ultimate Manchester Wedding Photographer Guide
Welcome to this epic guide brought to you by a born and bred Manchester Wedding Photographer. This is a helpful guide for couples looking for a Manchester Wedding Photographer. It also serves as a helpful resource for some other wedding photographers as I believe in giving back to the community. Let me give you a breakdown about what you can expect to read about in this guide. Grab a brew, sit back and enjoy the read.
- Background about Paul (the dull part)
- The importance of wedding photography
- How I work on the wedding day
- Morning preparations
- The ceremony
- If the ceremony is in a church
- Taking the group photos and how I handle your wedding guests
- Couple portraits in the day
- Couple portraits at night time
- The wedding breakfast
- Before the evening guests arrive
- First dance and cake cutting
- Party time
- Back ups of your wedding photographs
- What to expect after the wedding day
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Background of Paul
I’ll likely keep this short and sweet. It won’t be one of them fluffy “I knew I had always wanted to do something creative and meaningful in my life.” This couldn’t be any further from the truth. In fact, I bumbled along school thinking I would be an accountant. Yet I secretly yearned to be a fighter jet pilot, Eric Cantona (still do actually) or an international superstar DJ. Technically I got the latter as I played vinyl in Ibiza back in 2002. It wasn’t until my wife gave birth to our first son that I used this as an opportunity to get a gadget known as an SLR camera. Quite literally, I blagged my wife that we needed to have such a great camera. Honestly, I thought the camera would take great photos, how wrong was I.
After a while my interest in photography grew and I genuinely enjoyed taking photographs of people as well as the local landscapes. I was asked to photograph a couple of parties before the request came to capture one of the most important days in a couples life; their wedding. It was a great success and immediately gave me a thirst for wanting to do this as my career. From then on all I could think of was shooting weddings and making that my goal. Over time I obsessed over learning and won new clients. After a few years I was fortunate enough to leave the day job and from that came even more work and a better quality of work. Quite possibly it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
The importance of wedding photography
You would have seen these words before: “after the cake is eaten and the dress has been worn….” Blah blah blah. It’s boring. I won’t lie, I just don’t like that analogy. Let’s face it, if you don’t have photography high on your lists of wedding priorities then is a few words from a Manchester wedding photographer going to sway your mind? No.
I do believe that it is one of the most important investments of your entire wedding and that is speaking from experience. Our wedding photographer was a film shooter who was there for a short period of time. He got a couple of the arrivals, our ceremony, a couple of group shots and a few of me and my wife. All in a 20 page album. That’s it. No extras. Looking back, it is the one thing I wish we had invested more in. Having him there all day would have brought back many memories, including jumping in the pool with a bottle in hand. They are fading memories. So I’ll just leave it at that.
How I work on the wedding day
To help answer any questions you may have I will outline what a typical wedding day, when it comes to photography, looks like.
A typical day would start with me joining one of you for the preparations. I may arrive to take some shots of the venue surroundings. Then I will be in the room as you get ready. Here I will get a shot of the dress, shoes or any other related items before the real fun starts. Then it is off to get shots of you getting ready. As a bonus, if both of you are getting ready in one of the rooms at your wedding venue then I can nip out and get the other person getting ready too. For reference, I am not going to say bride or groom all the time because it is 2017. Just before the ceremony I will likely have a quick word with the registrar who will no doubt tell me I can have an awesome position for the wedding photography.
I am getting married in a church though
If you are taking your vows at a church then it is going to be that I am under the direction of the vicar here. Fingers crossed I will get a nice position to get photos of you both looking in the same direction of the camera, but likely at a slight angle. There is the chance that I may be sent to the back of the church though. If you want I would recommend letting your vicar know that I take off my shoes and creep around the church in my socks. So I am very quiet should I need to move to the back of the church!
After chatting to the registrar I am free to get photographs of guests arriving and of your other half. Sometimes I can take a photo of you arriving to the ceremony room, before walking down the aisle. When you are about to make your entrance I am likely right there, at the front anticipating your moves. During the ceremony itself I am likely free to gain a variety of shots and sometimes the venue size allows me to move to the back aswell. If I can’t move to the back, don’t worry, they aren’t the most interesting photos in the grand scheme of things. The best ones come from the front! After the ceremony is the signing of the register and we can get your witnesses involved too.
After the wedding ceremony is complete it is time to mingle and start the party. This all revolves around your timings and I would move freely between guests to capture a wide rang of photographs, time permitting of course. We then do have to consider when to go for the group shots and your own portraits. I would always give you a 5 minute warning when I think this is a good time to get started. Then, I will double check before I start to make my announcements. Yep, announcements. I am a confident guy and will get your group photos done with efficiency and hilarity.
I’ll likely split this section into two parts.
- How I would typically approach the group shots. Personally, I love it if I can get a big group shot of everyone. A bit of height like a wall would be perfect here but there is one venue whereby I have to stand on a chair use a really wide angle lens. Once I have everyones attention I will keep the smiles going and if someone throws a cheeky comment to me then one is going straight back at them. This might seem odd to read but a bit of fun never harmed anyone. I get everyones attention quickly so that you can all get back to the party. As such, I am not a shy person.
One of my favourite quotes ever from a guests who ended up booking me. He was a wedding DJ so had experience of seeing photographers. The quote went something like this: “When you stood up there and shouted us all I though “oh who is this (sware word!) cos I could punch him. But half way through I had a laugh and at the end I thought you handled us lot the best out of any photographer I have seen.” He was joking about the punching part… I hop. Chris’ wedding was an utter blast too! So, it turns out I am quite unique in this industry.
- There is also the growing trend of “I don’t dictate your day, so that’s why I only take 5 group photographs.” Well for starters doing a handful of group photos is hardly dictating the day. There are a lot of introvert wedding photographers around now and I for one don’t think this is a good thing. Whilst there are some couples out there who solely want documentary photography and no group shots there are family members who would love a keepsake. Only 5% of my work is doing formal groups. Maybe 10% if the weather is nice, we have more time and the wedding is a large one. But, to discourage them. Sorry, but no.
After the group photographs is when I say it is best to have your photos done. It is likely you will be in the buzz of having your photo taken and it serves as a good opportunity for some alone time. I will likely walk a bit ahead of you just so you get some time alone. Trust me, you won’t get much time during the day! There could be the possibility that we need to drive somewhere for these photos. Most of the time we can use the grounds of your venue and not have to worry about going somewhere else.
Couple portraits at night time
Depending on the time of year we can get some outside dark photographs where you pop out of the background. If your wedding is in the summer time then I shall likely do these when I am about to leave. However, in other months we can get these done at various points when it is dark. So if you get married in Autumn or winter then surely there will be more than one opportunity to get these photographs done if the weather is bad. These photographs are quite epic and not every photographer can do them. So there is another reason to book me!
The wedding breakfast
As you sit down to mingle with your guests I will be there to capture the laughs and jokes. It will be likely that you will be having your speeches at this point, of which I will be there to capture. If you have a fake cake cutting then this is a good time for me to get a shot of this. Also, before your guests enter the room I will have been in there to get some photographs of all your details for you to cherish.
Before the evening guests arrive
In the UK wedding industry there is always that period of time after the wedding breakfast and before the night do starts that there is a lull period. This is perfectly normal. Some wedding guests might take a disco nap but this is where there can also be some fun. For example, if it is summer and your guests are outside then we can get more group shots if you want. Otherwise, I will be there to capture the continued fun and giggles.
First dance and cake cutting
When you move into your room to start the party we will have the cake cutting. Usually the first dance is just after this so I wish you all the best with rocking the dancefloor.
So my wedding packages dictate that I am to leave after the first dance. Trust me, if that dancefloor is rocking then I am not going anywhere any time soon. I absolutely love the dancefloor shots. The more crazy drunken family members the better. So the more crazy dancefloor antics the better!
Back ups of your wedding photographs
Any professional Manchester wedding photographer will likely do something similar to what I do. Once I have your wedding photographs by the computer they not only get downloaded to that computer, but also 2 separate external hard drives and the cloud. One of the hard drives are incase my computer has a bit of a fit. The other one is stored somewhere off site incase there was a fire in the building. Cloud storage is even more of an OCD trait I have. You can’t be sure with someones wedding photographs!
Being a full time, professional Manchester wedding photographer has a duty of care which must be taken seriously. I am fully insured for my equipment but also professional public indemnity and public liability insurance too.
What to expect after the wedding day
Firstly I will try and get some sneak peeks to you within 48 hours of your wedding. With the type of work that I do then it is likely I will shoot more than one wedding a weekend and often in succession of each other. After the sneak peeks are sent I will keep you informed of the progress of your wedding photographs. In peak seasons timescales can be longer than quiet winter seasons. But don’t worry, I will never rush your photographs. When they are all edited I will upload them to a secure password protected gallery. From here you can download the photographs in high resolution plus share them with friends and family. Want to know more? Please get in touch.
Tips for wedding photographers
Are you a Manchester wedding photographer? I have some tips which I have learnt over the years which may be of help to you. There is every likelihood you would have heard of some of these but these are the big ones which have helped me greatly in my business.
I’m a big believer in people developing and giving back. I am no means the best Manchester wedding photographer out there but I certainly have a strong set of skills. Here are some tips to help you stay on form during the wedding and also stay in business:
- Learn to take your flash off camera.
- Consider prime lenses if you are using too high an ISO at key points.
- Shoot wide open if your lenses allow it.
- Back up equipment!
There is likely more detailed guides online and some of this may well be teaching you how to suck eggs. However, from a business point of view there is much more to consider.
From a business side:
- Keep your memory cards on you and not in your camera bag when used. If your bag gets stolen you still have the photos and a business.
- Be fully insured. Not just your gear but professional liability and indemnity insurance. Our industry is not regulated but I really wish it would be.
- Further yourself by learning. Obsess over learning new skills and techniques.
- Looks after the cash flow. Couples will cancel their weddings due to relationship breakdowns.
- Put aside income for when number 4 happens. Can you really afford to take a thousand pound or more hit every now and then? It is hard to get that date booked again, often cancellations are such short notice. How will you pay your mortgage or rent that month?
- Save income for your tax bill. So many photographers don’t, it’s madness!!!