Wedding Editing (Wedditing)… Is it for you?
Photographs connect us all. They pinpoint a moment in time. A moment shared, captured and to last forever. Photographing weddings in digital today gives me, as a photographer, infinite opportunities to edit any tiny moment, edit the small imperfections and ultimately edit to make you look the most stunning you have ever been.
Asking for small cosmetic retouching on your wedding day photos is fairly normal and I have fantastic software at my fingertips to do almost anything. However, I also know how to take your photo to capture a great angle. These are all important trade tricks that I have learnt over many years of taking photographs and training. Although you will have a million things distracting you, stand tall; push your shoulders slightly back, which encourages your neck to lengthen. Keep your arms slightly away from your body, which prevents your arms squishing against you and looking larger. The final check in the mirror is key; of course, to confirm your make up is perfect. Then just be yourself, be natural and I will capture the essence of the moment.
Almost every bride will inevitably think about every inch of her hair, skin, eyes, lips, neck, body and even feet for hours and hours to make sure they look their best and leave nothing to chance. You have spent time deciding and choosing the THE dress, the one that fits you perfectly and then put yourself through the pain of the most uncomfortable but beautiful shoes hoping you’ll be so busy on the day you that wont notice you can no longer feel your toes. You have purchased the right shade of lipstick, eye shadow, and blusher to emphasise your skin tones and chosen a stylist to make your hair look the most perfect it has ever been. So much preparation goes into looking your best, let’s face it, of course a little editing is ok. When you have put so much time into looking fabulous, why not let a little bit of editing allow you look that slightly more gorgeous if you wish.
We are so used to taking the perfect ‘selfie’ that only the best will do! With that in mind, all your photos will look like you, just if requested; without that small blemish you’ve been worrying about or I may make your jawline look slightly sharper. The photos will tell your story and they will be the most treasured possessions that you will own as you share them with your family and friends. These photos will make you feel special when you look back on them in years to come, so why not invest in a photographer with amazing professional editing skills who will discuss all your options with you beforehand, so you feel the most comfortable on the day, knowing that any sudden spot outbreaks or hair malfunctions won’t ruin your day.
Remember, photos of brides in the bridal magazines and websites that you have scoured for hours looking for the perfect dress or veil have all been edited. The models do not look ‘fake’ or unrealistic, the photographer and editor have just helped the model capture and embody the full potential of their beauty
Take the pressure off yourself and enjoy your day, it’s how it should be, and rest in the knowledge that in this digital world of photography even the most gorgeous of images can always be improved…. So ask! It’s your wedding and you deserve to look as beautiful as you can be!
Every wedding package automatically offers you a generous amount of cosmetic editing.
There are only a few weeks to go before the big day and the final preparations are all falling into place nicely...however the bride and groom have a concern about the use of mobile phones and other cameras by their guests and are considering how to politely restrict usage. This thought is increasingly common amongst soon to be couples and the natural desire find a solution which does not ‘offend’ your nearest and dearest can quite understandably cause anxiety.
So here are some thoughts and tips to help you decide what is right for your day:
Guests are attending to see you. They have often traveled long distances, taken days off of work, bought new outfits, paid out for accommodation, taken time to find that perfect wedding gift, and become involved from the sidelines during the past eighteen months of planning. So why after all this emotional, financial and time investment would they want to observe the most magnificent and special elements of the day staring at the back of a mobile phone screen? Often it appears that there is almost a peer pressure to ‘get the phone out’ as one guest feels it is appropriate and then others all leap on the bandwagon. In reality they all miss the magic moments and simply end up with a shaky video showing the back of a distant mystery couple in a dark building. Without the need to poorly document the occasion your guests will have a far more pleasurable experience.
You have invited family members and other loved ones as you want them to share this very special day with you. Hours were spent agonizing over who should be on the guest list as these are the people who you will remember being at your wedding day for the rest of your life. Connecting with each and everyone of them at some stage during the day is important to you and them...it may be just a few fleeting minutes, but that time taken for some well chosen words to be exchanged is wonderful. Certainly some of the most memorable elements of the day for the couple is when entering and exiting the ceremony and reception, however increasingly this once in a lifetime few precious minutes is marred by guest photography. When a bride and groom turn for the first time as a married couple to present themselves to their family and friends who have just been an audience to the service, the true wonder is for them to recognise those faces and soak up the special moment as smiles are exchanged, tears of joy are seen and mutual love is shared. Turning to see an array of phones, cameras (and increasingly huge ipads) instead of enjoying the warmth of human eye contact really does destroy the moment for many brides and grooms.
Mobile phones are certainly sophisticated and an amazing tool for both business and personal use. However they are generally woeful for image creation when compared to the £5000 camera and lens combo that your hired professional photographer is going to be skilfully pointing in your direction. If your hope is that there will be from your guests a suite of hundreds of amazing candid images which add to the story and feel of the day, and that somehow you will collate these into a journal to treasure, then it is likely that you will be sorely disappointed.
Good photography is challenging and a true art. Just because Uncle Dave has bought the top of the range camera in Argos in no way should you believe that a gorgeous visual treat is going to be the result - in the same way that owning an expensive cooker will not make you a super chef like Gordon Ramsey.
Tipsy, well meaning guests make terrible photographers. There is unlikely to be another day in your life so meticulously planned; the investment has been substantial to ensure that all the main players look fabulous, the venue has cost the equivalent of four good holidays, and a whole team has spent days preparing every last detail - so why would you want all that effort reflected in any way that was not at least equal to the input? The thought that your second cousin will be showing the glory of ‘your day’ to their work colleagues on Monday morning on a 2” scratched mobile phone screen displaying a host of out of focus and badly composed imagery should be more than a little depressing.
Social media is fast, if not instantaneous. Smart phones mean that in many cases a bride has not even managed to travel from the church to the reception by the time dozens, if not hundreds, of poorly lit, out of focus, badly composed and unflattering images of her are splashed all over her social networks. Having no opportunity to vett what is distributed can feel extremely frustrating.
Google never forgets. Anyone who has taken a selfie knows that 99% of the time you immediately hit delete and try again, most people continuiously take picture after picture before they are happy to commit this visual to the social media world! Self-editing is even more important on your wedding day. Imagine having dozens of mobile phone toting guests all snapping away - what are the odds of any of those photos making the cut for you? It is guaranteed that one well meaning relative thinks they have bagged the dream shot, but in your eyes (if you had seen it which you won’t) it makes you look ghastly - now imagine that they tag the image with your name fire it off to their social media channels...by that time it is too late because within milliseconds the image and the data has been gobbled up by the search engines, and for the next 100 years whenever anyone googles your name that horrid photo pops up to greet them and haunt you.
You have spent somewhere between 10 - 20% of your entire wedding budget hiring a professional photographer. In return you are entitled to expect a collection of marvellous images to enjoy forever. Ask any professional wedding photographer if they achieve an improved result for the clients when shooting weddings where casual photography is restricted and the answer will be a unanimous “Yes”. It is not the guests fault that they get in the way at exactly the wrong moment, or that their flash (that they did not realise they had on) blows out the professionals image, or that the purity of the church aisle shot of the couple is destroyed as there are a dozen guests standing down the centre holding phones in the air, or that their red focusing beams cast a weird light over the bridal gown….things just work out that way because in the excitement of the moment guests do not see the surrounding scene whilst staring at the back of their phone. Your selected professional is there exclusively for you so giving them the best conditions to succeed makes a great deal of sense.
So what is the answer for our wedding? Should we just issue a blanket ban?
Whilst it might be popular for Hollywood A-listers to strip search their guests in the hunt for recording devices to avoid unauthorised images leaking on to the front of Hello magazine, it is probably not the ideal scenario for a usual English village wedding. As a general rule the best option is both personal to the couple and bespoke for their occasion; there is no one size fits all, however a little planning and thought prior to the event will ensure that no issues arise.
Top 5 ways to manage guest photography at a wedding:
TIP 1: Decide what you want...it is your day! If you want a free for all approach with no guest restrictions then there is not much to do, however be aware you may still have to instruct your guests to observe the rules laid down by venues. Churches for example typically have preferences which your hired professional photographer will have been wise enough to gain advance knowledge of, however attendees will not know of and it could cause distress if there is an altercation between a guest and an official.
TIP 2: Find a wedding photographer who is happy to work with your requirements. Be sure that you specifically discuss your wishes and desires regarding guest photography prior to contracting a service.
TIP 3: Make a decision and stick to it. Once you know what you want then stand firm as there will undoubtedly be detractors who have their opinions. It is your day & they are your guests so they should be both willing & happy to comply with your instruction.
TIP 4: Communicate, communicate, communicate. If you get the opportunity to insert a small special note specifically regarding any photographic restrictions within the formal wedding invitation then that is excellent, however often this has been forgotten by the time the event arrives. Inform your best man and ushers that it is their task to give guests the correct guidance at arrival….and make sure they are confident enough to police the matter as the event proceeds. A few politely worded notices can help too.
TIP 5: Have a route of access to ‘official’ images so that both those attendees and your wider social circle can enjoy the photography. Usually there will be a weblink or online catalogue which is provided by the professional photographer - ensure you have a method to let all know how to access it.
I hope you found this useful. Please do leave your comments by replying below - I would love to hear your thoughts regarding your plans for guest photography or stories of events you have attended:)