Feature: 7 People Who Could Ruin Your Wedding Photographs

Planning the perfect wedding isn’t easy. It takes a lot of time and to pull it off you need a “dream team” behind you. To make it run effortlessly (or appear to at least) you need a team of people behind you who are all on the same page – a team that is routing for you from the off.

That is why it can be super annoying when you get people who just aren’t team players and seem to want to scupper your dream wedding! This feature we take a look at the top 7 people who COULD potentially RUIN your wedding photos! Once you know who they are, you can keep an eye out for them!

No. 1: The Venue

Picking the perfect wedding venue is a toughie. Do you want a barn or a hotel? A boat or a castle? So many choices! So when you do finally pick the spot for your big day, you want a dream team behind you at your venue making sure your every wish is catered for. What you wouldn’t want (or expect) is the people who run your wedding venue to be the people to scupper your gorgeous wedding pictures?! But they can – and sometimes do!

From the moment you sit down with your venue co-oridinator it is really important that you remain in charge. Your venue are there to serve you. You are paying a lot of money to have a dream wedding… not a generic mass produced wedding. If you have ideas, you need to make these clear to the venue and most importantly, you need to be the one setting realistic expectations. If they can’t do what you want, then there are plenty of other venues that can! It is your dream day after all!

For example, not all weddings are alike and not all couples are alike. Some couples like to take some time out and greet every guest. Others like to spend longer on their pictures and make sure they are just perfect. If for example, you have a large family attending your big day, this takes longer to photograph. So if the venue says “Yeah, you will only need 30 minutes with the photographer” then ask the photographer first if this is a realistic expectation. Before deciding on any times, ask your photographer for their input on how long the photos will really take. Rarely will a venue manager get this right as they just don’t know. They are also keen to get you sat as soon as possible… because the longer you are out having pictures taken, the more it is costing them to pay staff!

No. 2: The Guests

Everyone loves a wedding. Graham and I just love going to weddings… even just as guests. Couples spend so long planning so many little details and guests just want to soak it all in. Sometimes though, it is your guests that can end up ruining your dream pictures!

All too often we see guests at weddings, time and time again, living the wedding through their phones and tablets – and not taking it all in, in person. Yes, everyone loves a photo… but more and more often we are seeing guests at weddings jumping out of their seats as the bride comes down the aisle, just to get a picture on their iPhone. It has turned in to almost a sport!

The truth of the matter is, no iPhone is going to capture a better photograph than the ones your experienced photographer using professional equipment is. So that really special shot that Aunt Bobina just has to get, just won’t be as good as the professionals – and to make matters worse, your professional is going to have a lovely picture of you coming in with the back of Aunt Bobina’s head smack bam in the middle of it.

So if you are a guest, please think before leaping out of your seat to get that great shot… think to yourself: am I ruining a photo for the bride and groom?

If you are a couple: maybe ask your guests to refrain and take in the moment in person, rather than through a lens. After all, you did invite them to the wedding itself, and not to witness your nuptuals via the power of Skype.

No. 3: The Cinematographer

Like a stunning handmade wedding album, a professionally produced video is an awesome thing to behold. To relieve all those memories again and again is cool. Graham and I love looking back on videos from our own wedding. But booking the right videographer is crucial. They need to be a team player too.         

There are two types of video person: the videographer and the cinematographer. The cinematographer is like a photographer in that they don’t just document your wedding day – they stage it. That means that they spend a lot of time creating shots and posing the people within it. It also means that they don’t take a back seat and can be in the thick of whatever is going on. Great if you like that… but that also means (like Aunt Bobina with her iPad) they can jump out at any moment and ruin a great shot of a kiss for example… or crouch down in front of you as you are exiting the church (see above). All without a moments notice… and ideal for the photographer to get the back of their head in a shot!

Videographers on the other hand, are more relaxed and more candid. We work with a handful of really talented videographers who capture the moments without getting in the way and who are real team players.

If you LOVE your photos and want really great pictures… think to yourself if you want a relaxed videographer who captures what is going on, all the while allowing the photographer to do what they do best and get the most beautiful shots of you together, or do you want another person interrupting and taking away from the already valuable and limited time needed to capture the most breathtaking pictures.

No. 4: The Minister/Registrar

Next to the bride and groom (and of course the Mother of the Bride… oh and the bridesmaids)… the next most important person at the wedding is the minister (if you are having a religious ceremony) or the registrar (if you are not). Without these people, there is just no wedding! Finding the perfect person to marry you is so important. You want to find someone who understands, who has experience and will be remembered as being an important part of the team for many years to come. That is why, when it comes to picking the person to marry you that you need them to be on your side too.

If pictures of your ceremony are important to you, you need to pick someone who is going to understand that and is going to play ball. You need someone who won’t banish the photographer to the back of the church or tell them that they aren’t allowed to take a picture during the exchanging of the rings.

Now, yes, it is their venue and there rules… but… you have a choice. You can decide if you want to marry in a certain location. You can decide if you want to let that person be part of your day. Ask the minister/registrar what “their” rules are with regards to photographers and see what they say. Some ministers are fabulous and understand that the photographer is there to do a job too. Others won’t allow any photographs to be taken… even if the bride wants it. From experience, this comes down to the particular ministers/registrars having a bad experience of badly behaved photographers in the past. Photographers like Graham have been doing this a long time, and know how to behave in a church. Often we find that ministers/registrars who don’t like photographers have a new outlook on them once they work with Graham.

No. 5: The Make-Up Artist

You want to look your most gorgeous on your wedding day. The stunning bride and the dashing groom. A professional and experienced make-up artist can help to make you even more stunning. BUT at the same time, an inexperienced make-up artist… or one who shoots you with a oompa lumpa orange make-up gun can make you look like a drag artist very quickly. Speak to your make-up artist before hand and make sure they are on the same page as you. No amount of Photoshop can undo the harm caused by a badly pointed make-up gun! A good make-up artist should also be skilled to do their job quickly. On the morning of your wedding, no one wants to spend three hours sitting in a make-up chair (all the time thinking “I could have done this quicker myself!”) and no photographer wants to leave the house having only taken pictures of the bride without her make-up done!

No. 6: The Photographer

Oddly, the one person who should be making sure your photos look amazing can also be the person to ruin them! When you are booking a photographer for your big day, make sure you book someone whose photos you LOVE (not like, but LOVE!). Make sure you could see yourself in EVERY photo that they take. If they are the type of photographer (like Graham) to push the boat out and be adventurous with posing – like sitting a bride on the edge of a waterfall, or up a tree… make sure you are up for doing the same thing. If you are not, then your photographs will just not look like the ones the photographer showed you when you first met. If you aren’t the type of bride to go out if it rains – don’t book a photographer who takes awesome rain shots – and at the same time, if you love the rain, don’t book a photographer who has no experience of going out in the rain!

You need to choose a photographer you can trust and one who you can get along with. If your photographer makes you feel awkward… you will look awkward in every photo. So pick wisely and pick a photographer who you know will make you look fab!

In addition to choosing the right photographer make sure your photographer actually is as good as they say. I recently saw a post on a Facebook group where brides were posting photographs that they would like “fixed” because their photographer was awful at taking pictures. Very little can be done afterwards. Do your research BEFORE your wedding and employ someone who really can take a picture. Ask to see FULL albums. Ask to SEE HUNDREDS of weddings. If they have only got a handful to show you… there is a reason! If they are cheap, you get what you pay for… but that is for another blog post!

No. 7: You!

This might come as a surprise, but the person who can ruin your wedding photos the most is… you! I touched on this a wee second ago, but… your wedding day happens once. You have one chance to get it all perfect. Wedding photos don’t just happen. Relaxed, natural pictures actually require orchestrating – all be it, in a nice and relaxed way – but those stunning shots of a bride at sunset still require posing. If you really want stunning pictures to remember your day for many years, you need to be part of that too. Work with your photographer and think to yourself “I get once chance here. When it’s over, it is over”. Trust them… like Graham, they know what they are doing. Spending just a few more minutes on pictures, or venturing out after dinner for even ten minutes can produce the most truly beautiful pictures too. Be bold. Be brave… and be yourself. It is your wedding day afterall.

About Graham

Graham Crichton is an award winning professional wedding & portrait photographer based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. With 10 years of experience and having photographed hundreds of weddings he has photographed weddings all over Ireland, the UK and abroad.

About Hannah

Hannah Crichton is the principal photographic assistant, blogger and studio manager (and other half of Graham Crichton Photography). Hannah and Graham recently married themselves in Ynysybwl, Wales, where Hannah is originally from. Hannah loves “everything wedding"!

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I don’t think we can say how amazing Graham and Hannah are in this review! But we are so glad we found Graham! We’re not one to pose for photos. Come the wedding day, it felt like a pleasure to have Graham and Hannah at the wedding! Our guests loved them, Graham is fun and enthusiastic, but also discrete!

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