The pro’s and con’s of using a friend or family member to shoot your wedding.
Being an experienced Birmingham wedding photographer it hasn’t escaped my notice that the average cost of a UK wedding last year was over £27,000. That’s a rise from the previous year of a whopping 9.6%. In this climate it is not surprising that couples are looking to make savings when arranging their wedding. It may be tempting to ask a friend or family member to take your wedding photographs. If you are thinking of doing this, here are few things you will need to consider first.
How skilled is your friend/family member with their camera?
There’s more to photography than having a nice camera. A professional photographer has experience of taking photos in different light, different conditions, composing different shots and executing it perfectly. The camera doesn’t do this, the photographer does and this results in consistency meaning that you get not one or two stunning photos, but a whole albums worth.
Wedding venues like churches, barns and castles can have poor light. Professional photographers know how to get the best shots even in the trickiest of lighting. They know how to work with the sunshine to grab the best opportunities for outside shots. A professional has doubtlessly shot weddings at your venue before, they will have an established working relationship with your venue and will know the best backdrops, positions and light when photographing you and your wedding guests.
If your friend is a professional photographer then you’ve really lucked out but if they’re an enthusiastic amateur with a new toy that they’re keen to try out on your wedding day then you may want to reconsider.
Does your friend/family member have the right equipment?
On the day your friend or family member will, as an absolute minimum, need:
Two Camera Bodies (one to shoot on, one as a backup)
A fast wide angle lens
A fast telephoto lens
A spare lens
Two speed lights (flashes) and batteries
Around 100gb of memory cards
What is you and your friend or family member’s backup plan if something goes wrong?…Read more
As an outdoor wedding photographer, I get to meet some great couples and this was definitely the case when I met Melissa and Kai. They were a delight to work with and their country farm wedding was a delight to shoot. Let’s start at the beginning of their day.
On the day I arrived early at Studd Farm Barns (holiday accommodation owned and ran by Kai’s parents) where the wedding party were getting ready for the day. I took the opportunity to take some shots of the beautiful hand built barn, especially built for the wedding and marquee all dressed and ready for guests. Everybody had clearly worked very hard and it looked absolutely amazing. Imagine vintage rustic charm and you’re there. In fact you don’t have to imagine, take a look at my images.
I also got a chance to take some shots of Melissa, Kai and their wedding party as they excitedly got ready before heading to St Swithun Church in the pretty market town of Drayton Market for the ceremony.
Melissa looked stunning in her dress that she bought at wedding Belles in Frodsham with hair by Sophie at Envision Hair and makeup by Natalie Ravenscroft. Melissa looked beautiful and had her attentive bridesmaids Claire and Sophie along with her Auntie Wendy on hand to help her with any final preparations.
St Swithuns is an impressive building and a traditional village church. Churches can sometimes be dark places but St Swithuns has fantastic light shooting through the large stained glass windows which assisted me greatly! The ceremony was beautiful and was conducted by the Reverend Andy Ackroyd. Weddings are family occasions so it’s lovely when beloved pets are included. So the sight of Melissa and Kai’s dog running down the aisle to join them was one of my favourite moments of the day.
It’s always nice to work with other professionals in the industry and this the case with Best Wedding Videos who filmed the wedding.
The weather was not kind to us at this point, so we were unable to take too many images outside the church. We opted to head straight back to Studd Farm for the reception. On arrival everybody enjoyed a canapes (provided by Gold Goose Events) and drinks reception and whilst guests were being seated for the wedding reception I took the opportunity to take some quick portrait shots of Melissa and Kai in the beautiful hand built barn. Now it’s the little quirks at weddings that tell you something of your clients’ personalities and with Melissa and Kai it was the portrait shots including the dog and Melissa’s red wellies!
Next it was the wedding breakfast and Melissa and Kai entered to rapturous applause. After a sumptuous meal again provided by Golden Goose Events and some very well received speeches, the weather was a little kinder so whilst guests meandered about chatting, I quickly took Melissa and Kai to catch some portrait shots of them around the farm and set against the beautiful Shropshire countryside.
Evening entertainment started with a romantic first dance with musical accompaniment by live band ‘The Lost Boys.’ The image of Melissa and Kai embraced on the dancefloor with all of their loved ones looking on seemed a fitting one to close the story of their wedding day.
This wedding was everything that is great about being an outdoor wedding photographer. A rustic, relaxed and fun farm wedding for this laid back pair. Congratulations to Melissa and Kai for getting married and creating such an amazing day to remember.
Studd Farm Barns (holiday accommodation) www.studdfarmbarns.co.uk
Hair: Sophie @ Envision Hair firstname.lastname@example.org
Makeup: Natalie Ravenscroft email@example.com
Dress Shop: Wedding Belles Frodsham www.weddingbellesoffrodsham.co.uk/
Videographer: Best wedding videos www.bestweddingvideos.co.uk
Entertainment: The Lost Boys Band firstname.lastname@example.org
Caterers: Mandi Wilson Golden Goose Events email@example.com
Cake: Wendy McDonald Wendy’s Cupcake Kitchen
I met Ian and Sian at a venue open day event and soon received an email with details of their date and venue, to see if I had availability. Thank goodness I did as their plans sounded amazing and they had booked the beautiful Shustoke Barns.
It’s quite common for my couples to book their wedding photography a year in advance, so I didn’t have too long to wait until their big day. Sian and Ian’s ceremony was at All Saints Church, Sheepy Magna. I’ve captured weddings there quite a few times and was really happy to be sharing their day with them there too.
We all then travelled to Shustoke Barns for the wedding reception and as soon as I walked in, the first thing I saw was the beautiful florals and styling. Shustoke Barns seems to have the ability to attract the most relaxed and lovely couples and Sian and Ian were no exception.
After the guests enjoyed the wonderful food the venue has to offer, they danced the night away with The Hot Shots entertaining them.
I am very fortunate to be able to capture tipi weddings often and the couples they attract are so relaxed and creative. One of the main reasons I love them so much!
When I say creative, I mean you never know how the decor is going to look from one wedding to the next. I’ve seen festival themed tipi weddings, pastel colours, skulls as table centrepieces, yurts for your guests to sleep over in, rain and my couples not caring, bumper cars, you name it, i’ve seen it at a tipi wedding.
Just having that freedom for you to create the perfect day, that suits your personalities completely, is something amazing in itself.
Elite Tents are often the tipi company I get to work alongside regularly and I can’t fault their passion in what they deliver.
I know from the beginning it might seem a lot to organise but that is what we are there for and I can help you with recommendations or advice every step of the way.
I have put together some of my favourite pictures from a few of the tipi weddings I have captured, just to give you some inspiration for your day. Really hope you like them….
Over the last two weeks I have been putting together this blog post. I started it by thinking I could do it in a day but when I actually started looking into it further, choosing my favourite pictures, I’d actually not considered how many weddings I had captured at Mythe Barn.
Mythe Barn is probably the venue I shoot weddings at the most. The couples it attracts are always very relaxed and just want a great party surrounded by their family and friends. This is why I love them and they suit me perfectly!
The venue is so light and neutral inside, so it suits any theme and ideas that couples might have in mind. The food is up there with some of the best I’ve had and the Galloping Gourmet team are there for couples every step of the way.
I feel very privileged to have the opportunity to capture weddings there as often as I do. Every time I’m at the front of the Oak Barn, watching on as the I do’s are said to one another, I count myself lucky that I am the one to get that front row seat. …Read more
If you are thinking about booking your wedding at Bordesley Park then you will not go wrong. I am very lucky to be able to capture beautiful weddings there throughout the year and it’s one of my favourite venues to go to. Charlie and the team are so amazing and you will feel so looked after. I thought it was about time I showed you some of my favourite photos I have taken there.
Now with the added addition of the Tudor Barn, you can have your entire day there by having your civil ceremony at the venue. The new bridal suite is perfect for getting ready in also! …Read more
I would say about 40% of my couples book me through word of mouth. I absolutely love this because I get to see familiar faces again, as guests usually cross over! Dan and Sam sent me a lovely email and a few weeks later, I was capturing the wedding of Sarah and Michael (you can see their wedding here).
As the guests were enjoying the wedding breakfast, Dan and Sam came out for a breather and introduced themselves as the Guys who had enquired about their wedding!! We got on so well and I was soon booked to capture their wedding also.
They had a movie theme and this ran throughout the day. The tables were named after movies and the confetti was popcorn! Wethele Manor was the perfect venue and both Grooms got ready together, in the same place. This made the morning even more special, with each of them helping with the finishing touches.
I hope you enjoy looking back on their day, like I did capturing it…..
I have got so many wonderful weddings to show you, starting with Sarah and Michael’s.
Sarah is the cousin of my very talented and good friend Abigail aka Pumpkin Events. I’ve been very fortunate to get to know this family well, capturing a few of the weddings in their family.
Chatting to Sarah on the lead up to the wedding and finding out about their plans, I just knew this was going to a wonderful day and the styling was going to be amazing. Everything from the bridal prep to the dancing was also going to be in one place, which I find really relaxes a Bride on her wedding day.
We couldn’t have asked for nicer weather in the morning and afternoon. After the beautiful ceremony, everybody was outside pimping their pimms and we sneaked off for a few couple portraits. The guests were entertained by live singers throughout the day and by the time the meal was finished, there were garden games to enjoy. This is where the heavens opened! What I absolutely loved was the guests did not care! Nothing was stopping them from playing these games and everybody was laughing.
Where do I begin with this amazing wedding?! Sophie and Craig got married in Stratford Upon Avon Town Hall. It was the first time I had ever been there and it was such a beautiful building. It’s always nice when a Bride gets ready in a local hotel to where the ceremony is going to be and walks around to it. People on the way are so lovely and always like seeing a beautiful bride on the way to her wedding.
The reception was held at a venue called Alveston Pastures Farm. It was also the first time I had been there and it was a bit of a hidden treasure. One thing this venue offers, that a lot of venues don’t, is dry hire! Yes you read that right…a barn that allows a dry hire for your wedding!
So many of my couples try and find beautiful places where they can sort everything else out themselves and they are few and far between! This barn does and I had the pleasure as always, to also work alongside Rustic Roast Kitchen as the caterers. They provided the relaxed BBQ food that Sophie and Craig wanted for their day.
With a slight Harry Potter theme running through the day, guests enjoyed the photo booth, especially when it included the invisibility cloaks that were on offer to borrow ;). Then we came to the cake cutting but as you can imagine, it wasn’t your traditional cake cut. There was a cake table and if you were the lucky chosen one, you got to pick which cake you wanted for your table!
In the evening, it started to rain slightly and I commented to Sophie and Craig that it was a shame they hadn’t brought the umbrella they used on their engagement shoot, where it poured down and guess what? They had!! I couldn’t resit a few night time shots with this and was so happy we got to do this for both occasions.
I really hope you love the images. I certainly loved taking them…..
About me, I'm Nicola, a professional wedding photographer located in Birmingham, UK; I'm a Welsh girl living in England. I have included a photo of me and a little video too so you can see me in action with my wonderful couple.