Top tips for amazing speech photos

Top tips for amazing speech photos

I’m very pleased to say that I get to see all sorts of speeches and toasts at weddings and each and every one is great. It’s an occupational hazard that I very much enjoy! In the last year I have also seen lots of speeches from brides, bridesmaids and mothers – I’m a big fan of women speaking at weddings, so long may that continue!

mother of the bride is given the microphone to give a wedding speech at fun wedding

It’s very natural to feel nervous about public speaking – it’s one of the most commonly listed fears. The best advice I have ever been given was to learn the first paragraph of your speech by heart and then read the rest from cue cards. The first paragraph will be the hardest, then you’ll naturally find a rhythm and deliver a cracker.

Speeches are most commonly delivered from wherever the speaker is sat in the room. Most people will simply stand wherever they have been sitting for their meal, and deliver their speech from that position – it’s less nerve-wracking this way than walking up in front of 100 guests.

Groom delivers wedding speech from top table and reads from a giant piece of paper

When I photograph the speeches my aim is to document all of the emotions of the speech, so I’ll take some photos of whoever is speaking and then also get the reaction from your guests. I’ve found that the best way for me to do this is kneeling on the floor, so don’t be surprised if you see me wearing knee pads and crawling around!

Groom wipes tear from eye as bride gives wedding speech

If you have a particularly busy top table then I may need to move some of the larger items to one side so that I have a clear shot of you and your partner. I will always try to take photos through the regular items on the table (like glasses etc) as these can add interest to the image, but large opaque items can be tricky to navigate.

Bride scrunches up face laughing a best mans wedding speech

Top tips

  • If you are delivering a speech it’s perfectly normal to use cue cards or a phone to remind you of the words. If you do this make sure that you look up and engage with your audience every now and again. Your eyes looking at your audience as you speak makes the best photo!
  • If you are using a piece of paper to read your speech (again, totally acceptable and very common!) try not to hold it in front of your own face, or in front of your partner face.
  • Keep breathing! It sounds obvious but it’s very common to hold your breath with the nerves of delivering a speech. Just the act of taking a few deep breaths will slow your heart rate down and relax you.
  • SMILE. Again just the process of pushing your face in to a smile will actually relax you. Plus, I’ll get a lovely photo of you smiling while delivering your speech! Double bonus.

Bride gives wedding speech and laughs, standing in front of juke box at greenwich yacht club

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Funny and Relaxed Wedding Speech Photos

Want to see tips for getting amazing wedding photos? Check out these blog posts:

 

And if you want to know where these photos were taken, here are links to venues (in order):

Stockport Town Hall

Greenwich Yacht Club

The Gypsy Queen Pub

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Top Tips for Amazing Wedding Portrait Photos

Top Tips for Amazing Wedding Portrait Photos

How I Photograph Your Wedding Portraits

And all my top tips for amazing photos

It’s always nice to have at least one photo of you and your beau on the day that you get married – and yes, this applies to you who hates having their photo taken. It’s perfectly natural to not enjoy having a camera thrust in your face, and I totally empathise! However, this doesn’t mean you can’t get a photo of you two in love that you both adore – and here’s how.

relaxed fun wedding photographer

Relaxed and Informal Wedding Photography

I’m a super informal and relaxed wedding photographer, so my couple portraits tend to be exactly that: informal and relaxed wedding photographs! When it comes to your wedding portrait photos, I am completely led by what you both want as a couple. We’ll chat together before the wedding and talk about how comfortable you feel and what you want from your photos. I can guarantee that you won’t be forced in to doing any cheesey or awkward poses!

Two brides stand silhouetted in a beam of sunlight in a barrel store for a cotswolds vineyard.

Generally speaking I capture the couple portrait by taking you away from your guests for 15 to 20 minutes, getting you to stand in some beautiful light, in a pretty location and asking you to focus on each other. I absolutely encourage – in fact, it’s almost compulsory – chatting and laughing during this time. Most often it’s pretty much the only time you will spend alone together on your wedding day, and it can be nice to take a step away from all the action and just be together, so enjoy it.

Don’t worry if think you’re going to be really aware of the camera; if this is the case then I have lots of techniques that I can use to help you feel relaxed. I’m very used to working with couples that don’t enjoy having their photo taken, and I can give you as much direction as you feel that you need.

The Best Time For Your Wedding Portrait Photos

When you’re factoring photos into your timings, the season that you get married in is crucial to your decision. Like all photos, a great portrait photograph absolutely relies on beautiful light. In the summer the best light for portrait photos is late afternoon all the way through to sunset. During this period, the sun is low in the sky and beaming out lovely diffused golden light. As well as being gorgeous, this light is SUPER FLATTERING. The very worst time to do portraits in the summer is at midday, when the sun is directly overhead and giving out very harsh bright light (the kind that makes you squint). This kind of light will bring out eye bags and harsh lines, not to mention induce some serious midday sun-sweating.

For summer weddings, if it’s possible when planning your wedding day timeline, it’s best to allocate 15-20 minutes for your portraits anytime after 3pm. You may also want to think about allocating another 10 minutes after your meal so that you can take advantage of a beautiful sunset – this is the “golden hour” that you hear photographers wang on about so much. (You’ll understand why when you see photos of it!)

For winter weddings, I advise the opposite! The sun is low in the sky all day due to the time of year, and even at midday the light is minimal – so all the portrait photos and group pictures should be taken as close to midday as possible – the further away from midday your photos are taken, the less light there will be available.

bride-and-groom-embrace-and-laugh-in-front-of-vintage-green-bus-in-central-london

Having said all this as your friendly neighbourhood wedding photographer, my style is that of documentary wedding photography, so I’m very used to dealing with all kinds of light conditions; the good, the bad and the ugly. I’m also totally confident using flash to add in additional light where it’s required.

The Best Location For Your Wedding Portraits

When it comes to choosing locations for your portrait session, I am very much led by how the day flows, as well as what the weather decides to do on the day of your wedding. For this reason, a visit to your venue before your wedding day is unnecessary: the weather and available light, which will have the biggest impact on the choice of location for your portraits, generally isn’t something that can be accurately predicted weeks in advance. 

Also, don’t worry about collecting a Pinterest board of ideas for me to replicate. I’ll already be brimming with ideas and inspiration from just being at your wedding and seeing how you interact with each other. Your wedding photos are primarily about you as a couple and how you two vibe together, which can’t be faked or squished into a pre-made box. To copy another photographer’s posing created for an entirely different couple won’t do your couple portrait justice.

Top Tips for your Wedding Portrait Photos

  • Ask your wedding helpers to keep your guests enjoying the wedding while you sneak away for your photos – if you are already not keen on having your photo taken then having your couple portraits taken in front of an audience is going to make you feel like you’re in front of a firing squad.
  • Allocate at least 15 minutes for couple photos- even if you hate the idea. These will be the photos that you will want to print out. The more relaxed you are for them, the better they will be.
  • In the summer try to make some time in your wedding day to have your couple photos taken in the afternoon (ideally after 3pm).
  • In the winter try to take advantage of the daylight and arrange some time for your couple photos to be taken as close to midday as possible.

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Top Tips for Amazing Confetti Photos

Top Tips for Amazing Confetti Photos

I LOVE CONFETTI! There’s one simple rule here: MORE IS MORE. There is no such thing as too much confetti. However, you will need to check with your venue if they have any rules on it. Even if they don’t have any restrictions, it’s always best to opt for biodegradable confetti – for the planet maaaaaaan! (The planet, and David.) Now, I’ve really thought about this because I love it so so much, so prepare for the ultimate guide to wedding confetti by a true confetti connoisseur:

bride and groom walk through evening colourful confetti tunnel at voewood house wedding

What is the Best Kind of Wedding Confetti?

The best kind of confetti is brightly coloured and fairly large in size. This ensures that you will have photos showing your brightly coloured confetti slowly fluttering down around you and your beau. Generally the larger the confetti piece, the slower it will fall through the air, so it needs to be approximately 2cm diameter.

Confetti that works really well:

  • Brightly coloured tissue paper
  • Flower petals of mixed size and various colours

Things that don’t work well:

  • Rice (looks shit and bloats pigeons, no one likes a bloated pigeon)
  • Lavender
  • Tiny broken up dried flower pieces in a dark colour
  • Bubbles (if you’re dead set on bubbles, get a a few bubble machines to create LOADS)

How Much Wedding Confetti Will You Need?

When you’re ordering your confetti, order enough confetti for each guest to grab a really big handful. If you are buying your confetti in volume and thinking HOW MUCH CONFETTI DO I NEED?!??!!, then a good guideline is 2 litres of confetti for every 10 guests.

A side view of a hand holding brightly coloured wedding confetti. Image by Parrot and Pineapple

Most of all – you do not need to put your confetti in little cones or bags. Get a nice basket or bucket, drop it all in and then get your wedding squad to walk up and down the confetti tunnel asking your guests to take a handful. Cones and bags are an added expense, you may have to spend a lot of time before the wedding filling them and they also really confuse your guests when it comes to throwing (more people than you can imagine just panic and throw the bag / cone, which is MUCH less photogenic lemme tell you. Also, you end up with loads of confetti still in cones / bags – it’s useless there. You want it all in the air raining down on you!)

wedding guests gather round a woman distributing confetti from a box at a wedding. Image by Parrot and Pineapple

 

Consider a Confetti Canon

The best confetti throwing technique is simply just having a handful of confetti and throwing it over arm (like shooting a hoop in basketball or netball) so it rains down on to you and your wedded beau as you skip through the tunnel. As a confetti specialist, I can say that height is absolutely key to a confetti blizzard. If you want a really next level confetti experience, then I can highly recommend investing in some confetti canons. They are BRILLIANT. 

If your confetti is in cones or bags people tend to throw directly from the cone or open bag, which often becomes airborne too! (Again, as a confetti specialist I can confidently say that no one wants a confetti cone thrown at their face on their wedding day.) The best case scenario is that all your guests hold on to their confetti cone or bag when throwing, but even then the confetti doesn’t get the same height and velocity as when it’s just handheld. Trust me, I’ve really thought about the physics behind this. Don’t even consider confetti cones or bags. 

The Best Time for Confetti

Organising the confetti shot is one of only two parts of the day where I will step up and direct your guests. The confetti moment is best done immediately after the ceremony, before you’ve had a chance for all your guests to greet you after the service. After you have been pronounced married and walked out of your ceremony you should both try to step in to a side room, or anywhere away from the crowd. Not only is it nice to spend that time together as just the two of you – you just got MARRIED! – but it also allows your guests to filter out of the ceremony, and for me to organise them in two lines prepped and ready to go. It takes approximately 10-15 minutes to organise depending on how many guests you have – the more guests you have, the longer they take to organise.

After Your Confetti Moment

Once your confetti moment is done you should allow for some time to mingle with your guests. Your guests will be immensely happy for you and they can’t wait to hug you and tell you how amazing you are. You should make some space for that love and well wishing, I recommend to make space for about 30 minutes AFTER the confetti tunnel (depending on the number of guests you have, 30ish minutes is good for approx 100 guests to tell you how awesome you are). 

My Favourite Confetti Suppliers

Shropshire Petals – Naturally grown range of dried petals

Your Confetti – Pick and mix paper confetti in bright colours, circles and hearts

And not forgetting the grow your own option! Lots of couples will task their green fingered friends and family with growing and drying rose petals to make your own confetti. 

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Top Tips for Amazing and Easy Family Group Photos

Top Tips for Amazing and Easy Family Group Photos

When you work with me as your wedding photographer, your family group photos (which are the more formal ones with your family in a line-up) are entirely led by you and what you’d like from the day. While they’re definitely not everyone’s favourite part of the day (including mine, I like the action!) I do tend to find that they’re often the ones that are downloaded and / or bought as framed prints. They lend themselves well to going up on the mantelpiece at home and make excellent gifts! However, approach with caution because they can also take up a large part of your day, if you’re not careful. I’m happy to follow your lead on what you want from them, so here are my tips on how to make the process of taking them easy peasey lemon squeezey AND get some really lovely photos that you’ll definitely want in a printed in a frame. 

family group gather outside a church for a wedding photo and two children scoot away from the group towards the camera. Photo by Fun Wedding Photographer Parrot and Pineapple.

The golden rule with these photos is that less is definitely more. You will need to be in almost every photos, so you need to consider very carefully – and prioritise – your experience of having these taken on the day. The more variations and arrangements that you have, the longer you will spend standing and smiling at a camera when you could be mingling with your guests instead.

Wedding party gathers for family group photo at the asylum in London

A Guideline Family Group Photo Checklist

As a guideline, here’s a pretty standard list of the groups couples tend go for. You can take from this what you need: 

  • You and your partner with your extended family (grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, siblings, cousins etc)
  • You and your partner with your immediate family (parents and siblings)
  • You and your partner with your partner’s immediate family (parents and siblings)
  • You and your partner with your partner’s extended family (grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, siblings, cousins, etc)
  • The wedding party – you and your partner with your wedding squad
  • You with your wedding helpers
  • Your partner and their wedding helpers

It takes approximately 4 minutes per group photo arrangement (so you can see how it tots up quite quickly!) – for example, this list would take approximately 30 minutes to photograph. If you want lots of variations on group photos, then your wish is my command – but you need to make sure you factor in enough time for them to happen.

group photograph of all guests at a cultural fusion wedding

Scheduling in your Family Group Photos to Your Wedding Day

The best time to take the group photos is after your ceremony, but before your food is served. It’s nice to get them ticked off the list of things you have to do, so that you can start relaxing in to your day. It also means people won’t be so rowdy that they can’t be instructed – which leads me onto my next point…

Groom and best man in wheel chair pose for a relaxed group photo

Making Family Group Photos Easy

With no disrespect to your nearest and dearest, getting everyone together and ready for the group photos can be a bit like herding cattle. The most efficient way to get the groups organised and ready for their close-up is to nominate one person from each side of the family to be the herder, gathering everyone together so that everyone’s there when they need to be. So, you’ll need someone from your wedding party that knows your family members, and someone from your partner’s side that knows their family members. Give these helpers the list of family members that you want in each photo, so they know who they’re rounding up. I will then work with your nominated helper to make things flow so easily that the whole she-bang will be over before you know it. And then you can get back to the love, hugs, mingling and CANAPÉS! 

Bridal party pose for a relaxed group photo against a wall in london.

 

Top Tips for Family Group Photos

  • Be realistic with the number of group photo variations that you want
  • Plan time for your group photos to happen (approx 4 minutes per arrangement)
  • Ask someone in your family to help gather the right people, get your partner to do the same
  • Plan for the group photos to be taken after the ceremony but before the meal

Finally – it’s worth saying that some of my favourite group photos are most often the spontaneous, late night, dance floor fuelled big huggy group photos. If and when they ever pop up, I’ll be sure to dive in and capture the moment.

Wedding guests gather for relaxed easy group photo at a wedding.

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Top Tips for Amazing Photos of your Wedding Ceremony

Top Tips for Amazing Photos of your Wedding Ceremony

This is the second post in my series on top tips for getting amazing wedding photography. In this post I am going to share with you exactly how I shoot a wedding ceremony and give you all my advice for ensuring that your wedding ceremony photos are exactly what you want. So without further ado, read on!

Wedding ceremonies are, of course, beautiful and poignant and emotional and euphoric, but most of all they are a legal process (unless you’re having a Humanist ceremony, but this is still the first four things). Whether you are having a religious ceremony or a civil service, I will always go and introduce myself to the person leading the ceremony. It’s usually quite obvious from the giant cameras swinging from my hips, but I find this really helps to create open communication between the two of us and allows me to negotiate any rules they may have. As the registrar or religious leader is always the person in charge of the wedding ceremony, it’s a good idea to ask them about restrictions on photography before you book. Every person and location will be different. Some are very relaxed and allow me to move around and photograph freely – which I will always do with the utmost care and respect. Others will have strict rules, like the photographer having to stand in one position and not move, or the photographer only being allowed to photograph only from the back. If you find this information out in advance of booking your service it will both help you make decisions about what you want from your photos, and help your photographer work out how to play it.

Bride and groom during their wedding ceremony. By feminist wedding photographer Parrot & PIneapple.

To alleviate any worries, my cameras work with a silent shutter function – so no awful clickclickclickclickclickclicking – and I never use flash during a ceremony because it can feel really disruptive. Basically, I try to be as ninja-like as possible! My aim is that you and your guests don’t notice me, and I can photograph your ceremony as it proceeds naturally – all the big, epic moments and all the fleeting ones in between too.

Speaking of the worry of disruptive cameras, unplugged ceremonies are a popular choice, and you may want to consider one. This is where couples ask all their guests to leave their phones, cameras and iPads in their bags and refrain from taking photos. There are some big benefits to doing this;

  • Your guests get to enjoy the moment of you getting married instead of viewing it from behind a camera.
  • Your official photos are better because you can see your guests faces and reactions, instead of them being hidden behind a screen, or distracted by a large glowing rectangle.
  • You will feel less pressure entering your ceremony without 20 cameras being pointed at you.
  • You won’t hear the constant clicking of cameras as you get married
  • You won’t have photos from your day uploaded to social media before your evening guests arrive. All of my photos will be free to share and distribute among your guests once they’re ready – I’ll deliver you a handful of highlights within the first week for the keen beans!

If you’re wondering how couples enter the ceremony room, I’ve seen loads of variations; some couples come in together, some enter separately and ask their parents to accompany them, some people walk in entirely by themselves, and some choose to be given away (by their father/mother/sibling/dog). There are no rules and you should go for whatever feels right for you. Well, when I said there were no rules, I lied: the only rule is that when entering the ceremony room, you need to leave plenty of space between you and person walking in front of you. I want to be able to get a lovely photograph of you walking in to the wedding ceremony!

Top tips for getting amazing photos of your wedding ceremony :

  • Ask your ceremony venue about their restrictions on photography.
  • Plan to walk slowly down the aisle with your head up. If you are meeting your partner at the top, keep your eyes on them. It’ll help with nerves.
  • Leave plenty of space between each person entering the ceremony. If you want photos of each person entering, I need to be able to see them. It also helps build the anticipation of your entry.
  • If you are doing a first kiss, let that linger for at least 2 seconds, then I can ensure I have captured it. Lots of couples hug immediately after the kiss which really helps to diffuse nerves!

 

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Top tips for amazing photos of you getting ready

Top tips for amazing photos of you getting ready

Getting ready is usually an extremely exciting start to an extremely exciting day ahead! However, it’s also the first time that I’m meeting most of your party, and lots of folk won’t be fully ready for the day yet. For this reason, I start the day off by shooting slowly – I know there’s literally nothing worse than having a camera in your face first thing in the morning, so I like to ease you in. I’m nice like that.

For brides, I generally arrive at the getting ready location between one and two hours before you’re due to leave; this gives me plenty of time to get all the key shots without overwhelming you. We’re talking nice, relaxed shots of your hair and make-up being done, you getting into your wedding gladrags, and some of the general ambience too.

Speaking of glad rags (the handbags come later) – you should aim to be putting your outfit on 30 minutes before you’re due to leave. Though this may seem keen, it means you have plenty of time to do it up without rushing and risking getting make-up on the fabric or ruining your hair! Depending on how many buttons your outfit has, it takes approximately 15 minutes to get your outfit on; this leaves 15 minutes for your family and friends to bask in your fully-dressed glory, and for finishing touches like shoes and any veils or headpieces. Ask your wedding squad to be ready 45 minutes before you are due to leave so that they have time to help you with your finishing touches and leaving.

What that time should not be spent doing is worrying about the tidiness of where we are. When I shoot anyone getting ready one of the first things that most people will say to me is “I’m sorry but it’s a mess in here”. No need to apologise! Getting ready for a wedding can be chaotic, and with chaos comes mess. It’s nice to tidy away uneaten food and dirty plates, but I can work around everything else!

In fact, we’re aiming for you to not be worrying on your wedding morning at all. This is why it’s a good idea to plan it out, just like you have for the ceremony and reception. You don’t want to have to think about anything other than getting ready for your wedding and enjoying yourself, so if there are things that need to be done on the wedding morning, give clearly defined jobs to your wedding squad in advance. After all, that’s why you have a wedding party! You want to make sure that you haven’t got anything else to think about other than getting ready to get married – and they want to help you.

To plan it effectively, start with the end in mind and work backwards through all the steps. List out all the jobs and delegate everything (and I really do mean EVERYTHING) that you don’t need to do or be involved in. I promise you, you’ll feel a million times better for it on the day.

On to the boys! To photograph a groom getting ready I will arrive about an hour before you are due to leave. I generally ask guys to get their trousers and shirt on, then I will photograph the finishing touches like ties, bow ties, button holes, etc. It goes without saying that if you want me to photograph you giving presents to your helpers, or anything else that’s significant, then you will need to hold off giving them out until I arrive. Again, if there are jobs to be done on the wedding morning, delegate as much as possible to your wedding helpers. It’s what they’re there for after all (as well as drinking with you, obviously…)

Top tips:

  • Start with the end in mind and work backwards through the steps to create your running ‘to-do’ list.
  • Ask your hair and make up artist to have you finished 30 minutes before you are due to leave.
  • DELEGATE as much a possible.
  • Have a final check list to run through before you leave to make sure you have everything you will need. This might include the keys to wherever you are staying on your wedding night, any speech or reading you are giving, the rings (if they are your responsibility), a change of shoes if you plan to, a jacket if you have one.
  • Leave your phone at home. It’s just another thing for you to think about on your day.
  • A crochet hook will make light work of a button up gown.
  • Your flowers will arrive from the florist in water. Have kitchen roll or an old tea towel on hand to blot them dry so you don’t drip water all over your snazzy outfit.

Want to see more helpful wedding planning tips and advice? Check these out:

 

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19 pages of all the info you need PLUS a useful checklist.

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Read what previous clients say about working with me

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Find out who I am

Get cracking advice and see real weddings on my blog

Contact me here