So one of the most important elements of a wedding, is capturing it. We want to ensure we have beautiful images to coo over for weeks (and decades) after the big day.
So we thought getting in touch with an industry professional would be a super idea. Not just any however, but a multi-award-winning photographer (he won the IPPVA Wedding Documentary Category at the Photographer of the Year Awards 2018 - impressive!). He's favourite to many celeb couples and has had work commissioned from every part of Ireland, the UK and Europe - helping to build his enviable reputation at home and abroad.
Dermot Culhane - the Limerick based photographer - has 11 years experience under his belt, capturing beautiful images with a reportage eye. Here are just some of his top tips...
Dermot's style of photography is traditional reportage, meaning capturing the real story, emotion and expressions of the day is central to his work
1. Should I Give My Photographer a Shot List ?
"By all means give your bridesmaid/groomsman a list of various groups they should round up on the day for those formal family group shots. But when it comes to posed photographs, etcetera, I would definitely not suggest giving a list to your photographer. Pick the right photographer and trust him/her. They will capture all the natural spontaneous moments that make your day different from the rest. That way your images will be unique and not replicas from someone else’s wedding day. Let your photographer capture your story."
2. Know the Difference Between Quality and Quantity
"Don’t fall for the photographer that’s going to give you 'everything.' The disk of images, the parent album, the engagement shoot, and while doing it all for a low price. There’s going to be a cost. The real cost is you’re losing out on so many moments that haven’t been captured. Always emphasise going for quality first."
3. Meet Your (Potential) Photographer
"Don’t just book a photographer online. Narrow your photographers down to maybe three or four - then call and arrange to meet them. You’re not exactly meeting them to see their work, because you’ve seen that online. You’re meeting them to see who they are and what they’re like. It’s important to build a rapport with them. If you feel comfortable around the photographer when you meet them first, you’re definitely going to feel comfortable on the day."
4. Should Light Be a Concern When Choosing a Venue?
"If you’re going to pick a venue, pick the venue that speaks to you. Don’t worry about lighting - that’s the photographers job.
If you’re a professional photographer, you should be capable of shooting in all kinds of lighting conditions. In any lighting situation, a photographer should be able to adapt and there should be no worry for the bride and groom."
5. Have Your Favourite Photographs Put to Print
"Everything is digital now. I won’t say I’m old fashioned at heart, but I think when the dust has settled and you’ve paid for your photographer, it can be a little bit of an anti-climax receiving all your images in digital form.
"It’s really, really special to have an album, and to show family, friends and the generations these images as well."
6. How Much Coverage? And of What Kind?
Something to think about is the fact that "some photographers will offer coverage up until guests are seated for the meal. They arrive in the morning and they photograph up until five or six o’clock. When the bell is rang, they’re gone. If you don’t have a videographer there’s still a lot left in the day."
Dermot also explained that if a photographer takes the bride and groom away for two hours (or even more) they're often missing one of the best parts of the day. He admits much of a photographers best work (in his own experience) is brought about when a bride and groom are relaxed and having fun with family and friends.
"Speeches are an amazing part, for a photographer especially. It’s not just about who has the microphone - to me it’s about the reaction of your guests too. I’m [focusing] on the mic but I’m also looking at the reaction and expression of friends."
7. Where Should the Bulk of the Budget Go?
"No one can say put most of your budget into that, or this. A couple that is into their photography and want something that’s going to last forever will likely put a lot of money into it. Another couple might put their money into the band.
"Of course, I’m always going to say spend wisely with your photographs - I am a photographer. But it’s all about what you really want on your day."
8. Full-time Professional Photographer Insurance
"If someone has a fall over the photographers bag - god forbid - insurance is just peace of mind for everyone. There should be a contract signed at the beginning so that a couple knows this photographer is a full-time professional, and it’s all good."