Underatreehouse Photography » Wedding and Event Photography. Central Coast, Sydney and Australia

A Photographer’s Top 10 Tips for Great Wedding Photos…

How to help your photographer give you the best images possible!

 

I put together this ‘Top 10’ list at the request of Modern Wedding Magazine, who wanted to give their readers an insight into a Photographer’s perspective.

It occurred to me that there are things that we, as Photographers, see time and again, which really help us make great images. There are also things which make it more difficult, yet could have been easily rectified with a little thought.

 

Tip #1:

Relax/Laugh/Don’t be scared

First and foremost, if there is one piece of advice I could give it is this. You may never have been photographed professionally before and you may think you don’t like being in front of a camera, but if you want real, natural and happy pictures on your wedding day, put those fears aside. Relax, enjoy your day with your loved ones, laugh and don’t take things too seriously.

Wedding Photography Central Coast and Sydney

 

Tip #2:

Trust your Photographer and be open to ideas

The person you choose to document your day has more than likely been doing this for a long time, developed their approach and figured out what works. Trust and listen to them. Remember you have no control over the weather and conditions on the day, so be flexible to their suggestions, as they will constantly be looking for the best angles and light to put you in. If your photographer feels like you are open and willing, then there is no telling what you might be able to create together!

stars milky way wedding photo

 

Tip #3:

Natural light is good in the morning

A lot of thought and planning tends to go into the look of the ceremony and reception, but all too often we turn up to the morning preparations and find the bride is getting ready in a tiny room with nowhere to move and artificial light. These two things do not make for pretty natural images. When deciding where to get ready think about what is going on behind you, like a messy room or kitchenette and try to find an uncluttered area preferably with space to move. The main thing though is to look for plenty of natural light coming in, as this is very flattering for skin and beauty shots and avoid harsh directional artificial light, which will look yellow or greens in photographs.

Natural Light Bride Portrait Sydney

 

Tip #4:

Look at other pictures you like…learn…and mimic

This could be a controversial one amongst photographers. I am not telling you to give them a Pinterest board or list of shots they have to get (you should chose them in the first place because you like what they do). What I mean is this: I recently photographed a wedding where the groom had clearly paid attention to his fiancé’s favourite images. I would move the couple into a general position and then he would touch his head to hers or gaze on lovingly without needing any direction. It was a complete shock to us both but it made the images so much better because he understood what we were trying to achieve at that moment and it wasn’t forced.

Beautiful natural Wedding Couple Love

 

Tip #5:

Feel the love

Why try to create images that show you are in love, when you can do it naturally with real emotions? Be in the moment, forget your surroundings and the camera hovering around and take a moment for yourselves. Be selfish. Wrap yourself in the love you have for the person you have chosen to spend the rest of your life with and the images will look natural, honest and sincere.

Natural Emotion Wedding Photo

 

Tip #6:

Be an actor in a romantic movie

As easy as it is for me to say forget everyone else, I realise that not everyone can easily do that. If this is something you struggle with then try taking on a role. We can all imitate scenes from a romantic movie. Just pretend to be an actor if you are uncomfortable and do what they would do. Go all out and do that lift or drop from the movie, they are still images and (as long as you don’t drop her) you’ll look amazing!

Dramatic Wedding Dance Move

 

Tip #7

Allow enough time for the ‘Pictorial’ session

Unless you have chosen a photographer who shoots purely reportage, it is likely that there will be a section of the day dedicated to photographing the two of you alone or with your bridal party (usually after the ceremony and family group photos). This is the only time when your photographer has the chance to choose where they are going to place you and work with you without the distraction of other formalities or guests. It is also the time when you will more than likely create the lasting image that will hang on your wall for years to come. With this in mind, please allow us time to create this and try a couple of options. If you want to go further afield with locations allow plenty of time for the travel. If it is all going to happen close by and you don’t want to be away from your guests for too long then at least an hour for the session is good. Put on some canapés and drinks and they’ll be more than happy chatting amongst themselves.

Dramatic Sunset Wedding Photo Terrigal Central Coast

 

Tip #8

Ask for recommendations

It doesn’t hurt to get some advice, particularly when it comes to timings and locations. Generally, the best light for photo’s is at sunrise and sunset, but depending on the location this may change for some reason. Ask your photographer for their recommendation on timings and locations. Perhaps also ask your planner or reception coordinator if there are particularly good spots nearby that couples often use as they may be hidden away.

Abandoned Plane Wedding Photo Iceland

 

Tip #9

Think about styling and lighting

Magazines, blogs and Pinterest are full of ideas for styling your big day. You can go big or not, but these elements will create the overall look and vibe of your day and potentially give the photographs a continuity and provide your photographer with things to frame you with. Furthermore, once the lights go down a lot of daytime styling can disappear, so lanterns, lightbulbs and even light letters can add something to these photos and look elegant in the dark.

Fairy Lights First Dance Pretty Wedding Photo

 

Tip #10

Choose a Photographer who makes you comfortable

My final tip is this. Believe it or not, you will probably spend more time with your Photographer on your wedding day than any other person, even your partner. Choose a photographer whose work you love because you will trust them, but also choose a photographer whom you feel comfortable around and will enjoy spending a lot of time with because (as I said in tip #1) being relaxed is how you will be sure to look great in your Wedding Photographs.

Happy Bride with Confetti

 

I hope you enjoyed my list of the 10 best things you can do to get great wedding photos, and can take something from it to make your pictures extra special!

 

Written by: Chris Perkins

Underatreehouse Photography

Central Coast NSW, Australia

Natalie and Sandy’s Hunter Valley Wedding is currently ranking as my all time favourite! Big call I know, but it seems like everything just came together perfectly on the day. Tie this in with the bride and groom’s excellent taste and styling choices, along with a stunning venue and what more could I wish for? Absolutely nothing!

 

Some of our Hunter Valley Highlights

 

 

A week prior, I had photographed Natalie and Sandy’s first wedding in Sydney. A traditional Indian Hindu Wedding, full of colour and opulence. This was all reigned in as we moved to the relaxed rolling vineyards of the Hunter Valley. With the incorporation of incredible flowers in elegant pastel shades and a classical white dress and navy suits, it looked classy and sophisticated.

I met the bridal party at the Hunter Valley Crowne Plaza in Pokolbin. This is a large hotel complex, made up of many blocks of apartments, each backing onto large lawn and lake areas. There is plenty of room to move and relax. The boys were recovering from a night of whisky and cigars, and the girls were busy with getting their hair and makeup perfected by Chic Artistry.

Our bridal party was transported the short distance to the beautiful Circa 1876 by a Classic Stretch Chevrolet. Circa 1876 is a hatted restaurant that grows its own produce on the grounds. The venue is part of The Convent estate and Pepper Tree Winery. They have a deep-rooted history, which is clear from the moment you arrive. As I walked through the front door and entrance rooms my mind was blown with the opportunities for photos. Timber walls, antique furniture, candlelight lamps and old books abound.

 

Here is the Video Slideshow we put together for the couple. Well worth a watch!

 

 

The ceremony took place in the tree lined back garden of the restaurant. We then were able to use the gardens and the vines for photos afterwards in the gorgeous sunset light.

My favourite part of the building for photos followed as I took them to the library for something a little more unique! Then, as the evening progressed I took advantage of our location and the clear sky with a very special photo of the couple under the milky way stars to finish off the perfect day.

 

And now the day from the start…

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One wedding I have always wanted to photograph is a Hindu wedding. With their Indian origins they are always so full of colour and life. This year I got the chance, thanks to Natalie and Sandy, and I’m so excited to be able to share it now.

The way this all came together was very fortuitous for me. Nat and Sandy both grew up in Sydney, but they had moved to Newcastle a few years ago for work. When they got engaged though and wanted to have a party to celebrate with friends and family, they decided to hold it half way between the two places to be fair to all guests. After looking around, they settled on the Boathouse at Koolewong on the NSW Central Coast.

As a local Central Coast Photographer, I got the call up to photograph their evening, and the rest, as they say, is history. They loved the photos of the evening, and it might’ve helped that I spoke a little Spanish to their visiting guests from South America, because a few months later they asked me to meet with them to talk about their wedding.

You couldn’t believe my excitement when I found out there was to be not one wedding, but two. A Hindu wedding, and a ‘Western’ wedding, and I was invited to both!

If there is one thing I learned from these days spent with Nat and Sandy, it is that they have great taste!

On the day of the first wedding, I was not disappointed. I arrived to find a deep red traditional Sari, full of intricate beading and piles of bangles ready to adorn the girls’ arms. Natalie’s arms and feet were decorated with henna tattoos, including a portrait of her and her husband-to-be on each hand, which would meet when she brought her hands together.

The bridesmaids wore a royal blue sari and the boys looked sophisticated in white and gold, with Sandy in a traditional decorative Sherwani jacket and hat with feathers and beads, and incredible Juti shoes.

 

Here is the Video Slideshow we put together for the couple. Well worth a watch!

 

 

The wedding took place at the Shri Shiva Mandir Temple in Minto, in Sydney’s south west.

One of the main reasons I love photography is it opens doors and allows me to experience and be a part of traditions and ceremonies I would never otherwise have had the opportunity to witness. I found it fascinating to watch all the Indian customs that make up a Hindu wedding, like the couple having a private moment behind a curtain, where the groom puts the red Bindi mark of a married woman on his new wife’s forehead; and the Saptapadi, where the couple walk around the sacred fire 7 times.

A week after their Hindu Ceremony, I met with Nat, Sandy and their families once more, this time in the Hunter Valley, for their absolutely stunning Western Wedding, which you can now view here!

 

And now the day from the start…

 

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Something nice for a Sunday

Yesterday we decided to go to the Avoca Beachside Markets, something we have been meaning to do for a long time but have always missed out. It was a bit of a windy day, which made things a little tricky for the stall holders, but otherwise beautiful.

We have been to a number of local markets around the Central Coast, but this one stood out as having a really good vibe, being quite big with a lot of different businesses, and a high quality of vendors.

It was also nice to see Fletcher Pilon performing again, whom you might know as the winner of Australia’s Got Talent. If you follow our work you will know we have followed his progress with excitement, seeing him many times around the Central Coast before he was on TV.

I took the camera along with me and here are a few of our favourite stalls…any excuse to practice my craft!!

P.S. If you like the look of anything I have done my best to provide links to the businesses below their pictures…

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GirlMade Chocolate

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Mar and Pars Unique Kitchen Boards

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Bilpin Bush Honey

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Brooklyn Boy Bagels

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Star 104.5

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Sofrito Paella

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Charlie & Bella Cupcakes

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Avoca Beachside Markets Facebook

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Lying here, as the slumber turns to a gradual awareness, the sounds of holiday creep into my conscious and I am brought back to a time in my youth I know well. Kids are playing outside, there is a breath of fresh air gently wafting through the open door. Water splashes around from the nearby swimming pool and shafts of sunlight edge across my face, peeking through the gap in the blinds.

There’s just one thing missing though from my senses and I can’t quite get to that place I know so well.

As I grew up, I was very fortunate to get to holiday a fair bit, and as we lived in Europe, different cultures were close by. We had a family caravan and thus we were able to pack up and travel without the huge costs associated with flying and renting accommodation. Living in the UK meant I grew up having holidays both on our home shores, and once a year we would board a car ferry and cross the English Channel, emerging in France to explore a part we had not yet seen.

One of the strongest things I remember from these glorious trips is the scent. I don’t think it is something you can exactly quantify, but as I woke this morning I knew that there was something missing in my transportation to another time. There is a scent about the fresh, crisp morning air in France. Perhaps it is something from the trees, or something that emanates from the relaxed demeanour of the people. Or perhaps it’s the early morning rises, filling the air with their unique way of baking bread…

Bread could well be it. Dad would often get up early to walk to the nearest Boulangerie, returning with fresh Croissants, still warm from the oven, to eat for breakfast. As I grew a little older I relished the chance to go along and practice my French, “Une Baguette et Quatre Croissants, sil vous plait.”

I think these early experiences are what got me addicted to the idea of travel and of new cultures and experiences. Travelling to a new place, no matter how near or far, it is important for me to remind myself to be there and experience it, using all my senses. For in that moment as I longed for the scent of freshly baked bread to transport me to another time, I was in fact already there.

Opening my eyes, I saw my young daughter, at a similar age wandering in and out of the open porch door with the breakfast her mother had made for her. And I had to smile, because although she doesn’t realise it, she it creating the memories that will transport her back to this moment in years to come.

father daughter pushing scooter

  • Bob Perkins - Great piece – brought back excellent memories for me as well. Thank you.ReplyCancel

    • Chris - Thank you. I’m glad you liked it. I hoped you would. XxReplyCancel