Here is a selection of Q&As from Your Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wedding magazine whether it be about flowers, hair and makeup, fashion, wedding themes, health & beauty, cakes, stationery, legal advice. If you would like your question answered by our experts, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
To view more expert advice on a different topic, please select one from the list below.
Q. What's your top tips for finding the right wedding photographer for our wedding day?
A. Tonja Fritz-Johnson says: I frequently look at online wedding forums to better understand what is important to couples. The main and very pertinent questions seem to be 'How to choose..' and 'What is a good price…'.
Most importantly you need to find a photographer you really trust! You need to 'click' with a person; after all they will accompany you throughout an emotional and unique day and whilst offering you a professional service, they should also feel privileged to be with you.
Your trust will be based on considerations like how well they respond to your wishes and expectations. You will also want to check the photographers' portfolio, to make sure they deliver the style and quality you want in the time available on the day. After all, you should spend the day with your guests, not the photographer. Additionally you will want to know about details like the equipment used, insurance, service/products on offer and professionalism.
It's also really important that the photographer is not a 'one man band', so you can be assured that your photographer can provide an equal replacement, should he/she be unable to attend. To that extent, you should always be offered a contract that spells out what they will be providing to you. It may seem bureaucratic, but it will ensure clarity and manage expectations and above all, avoid misunderstandings and disappointment.
And what about the budget? This is an emotive subject, no doubt, and also a very personal one. I'm always worried when I see requests on the forums for a full day coverage for a very low price, that deal that seems too good to be true. The photographers offering those deals will have to operate well under the minimum wage. Everyone is on a tight budget and it is well worth shopping around. Be realistic though and consider what you are asking for. It may be a low cost, but are you confident that you are going to get those images that will remind you of a fabulous day for years to come?
The truth is, wedding photography is an investment. If the overall cost seems a bit out of your range, consider asking for payment options, as spreading the cost might help. Never hesitate to discuss the cost with your photographer, they will understand your concerns.
Lastly my top tip; make a scrapbook to show your photographer with images you like, wherever you find them. It will give them a good idea of what you are after. Don't hesitate to speak to your photographer repeatedly about what's worrying you, so they have a chance to help with any questions.
Tonja Fritz-Johnson , Wallingford Portraits & Weddings
Q. We love all our friends and family and see the big day as much about them as about us - how can we make sure that's reflected in the photos?
A. Sapna Odlin says: Sapna says: On your special day that you've been planning for months or years, your most important people will be there to see you begin your new journey as a married person. You want them to enjoy your day as much as you do and you want to remember them being there. The day will fly by and your friends and family will be having a fabulous time, and you can only experience so much.
If you want to truly relive your day, perhaps think about hiring a second shooter. Your main photographer can capture the main events, and your second can capture all the stuff you might miss: the groom prep, your best mates crying in the aisles, your mum looking on with pride and your dad shocked at the best man's speech.
If you're having a fusion wedding, think about how to incorporate both cultures into the day, as that way both partner's guests will feel part of the day. You could include subtle hints of both cultures in the table decorations, the invitations, the flowers, the favours. And why not think about novel and quirky ways to include your guests in the day? You could even try doing what one couple I photographed did, and swim to the ceremony with your guests!
Q. I'd love my wedding album to be filled with fun and unusual pics rather than the normal family lineups. How can we create the ultimate big-day shoot?
A. Tonja Fitz-Johnson says: Tonja says: If you would like your images presented in a creative and personalised album, make sure you find a photographer who will provide you with the shots that reflect your photographic style. After all, if you don't have the relevant shots, the album will not be what you hoped for! The photographer should be designing the album with your input rather than sending it away to be compiled. The albums are often called digital or storybook albums. Make sure you ask your photographer to see a sample of a real-life wedding to get a feel for it.
There is no limit to the combined creativity of you and your photographer, whether a very styled, themed or totally relaxed wedding! I love the wealth of ideas people have and am inspired by telling the story of their day in the form of an album. My clients are always amazed how fantastic the final images look in a large-scale album when we are so used to electronic product.
Q. How did Sapna combine rustic barn décor with a modern twist in our 'get the look' special?
A. Sapna Odlin says: “Her work captures natural events rather than staged photography, which I truly love.” - Sarah
Q. How can we make sure our wedding photos are of a high quality without costing the earth?
A. Graham Lee says: Next to a house purchase, your wedding probably ranks as one of the biggest expenditures you will have. At such an expensive time, when everyone seems to want a slice of the cake, many couples will try to look at ways to ensure their budget goes as far as possible. Your wedding photos are your memories for life and something you'll treasure and show generations to come.
Friends or weekend photographers can be a false economy. While they may be great at landscapes, they may not have the experience of photographing a wedding under pressure to capture those one-time shots. However, getting friends involved in contributing – on social media or your own wedding website – can be invaluable. This means you can hire the professional photographer at their basic package or for less time. Don't go for an album package upfront. An album can always be added at a later date. It's more important to spend that hard-earned cash on quality photography.Is there something unusual or noteworthy about your wedding that the photographer can use to promote themselves? This could be a great way to negotiate a discount within your photographer's price wiggle room. Do find a couple of photographers you like and who offer quality work. Sometimes, value is not just about getting the cheapest prices but rather the energy and enthusiasm, coupled with what is in the package and who really wants to work with you.
Q. I'd like to surprise my other half with a really special album of our wedding photos – what options are available?
A. David Bostock says: Giving your other half a beautiful surprise album is a fantastic idea. The motivation to do something with the images is always high, but then life gets busier and somehow it gets pushed back and back and, apart from the lone frame on the mantelpiece, the rest of the images get forgotten at the bottom of a drawer.
You have probably paid your photographer a considerable sum to take the photos that tell the story and create imagery that stands out from the crowd. Fast-forward 20 years. Your kids come to you and ask: “Mum, dad, what was your wedding day like?” You'll wish you had something you could get out to show them that they can touch and feel that doesn't rely on electricity, batteries or Wi-Fi.
Having high-resolution files on a USB stick as a form of backup is a great idea, but it should never be the final product. Some clients who have purchased high-resolution discs go on to get some flat-looking prints. Some design their own wedding photo books over the web, but unfortunately, when the image files do not perfectly match the calibration of the lab's colour profiles, clients can end up disappointed. Often, these modern photo books are not designed to last a lifetime, unlike a properly bound, professionally designed wedding album.
Leaving images in a digital format on a high-resolution disc is also not sensible. Far too often, digital files get forgotten or misplaced or laptops and hard drives fail. The long-term compatibility of the files or the disc is not guaranteed, either. On the other hand, I am still captivated by my parents' 1948 wedding pictures with real photos stuck into a pretty simple album.
Broadly modern wedding albums fall into two main categories. They are either albums wherein the images are printed directly on to the page itself – often known as coffee table books or flushmount albums – or the type where photographic prints are set into apertures with bevel-cut mounts (matts) on the page known as matted albums.
Remember the simpler and less flashy the design, the less your album will date in the future. However, some coffee table book companies now have some great products coming on to the market, including rigid pages and a mix of paper finishes, from high-gloss HD paper through to matte heavyweight fine art paper with an incredible tonal range.
For me, a well-designed, matted classic wedding album will be something that stands the test of time and is well worth the investment. And one of the advantages of getting your professional photographer to design your wedding album is the access to album companies that deal exclusively with professional photographers and a high quality range of products not available to the consumer.
Q. We just realised we haven't properly planned the timings for our wedding photos – how can we make sure we've covered the basics?
A. David Bostock says: The key timing is from the end of the ceremony until the guests are called for the wedding breakfast. If you're having everything in one place, then two hours for your drinks reception should give you plenty of time for family photos, couple portraits and other shots. If you are travelling between venues, add that time on; guests will arrive in dribs and drabs if they are driving themselves, so consider going away for your couple shots immediately.
However, the most important factor is how many family group shots and combinations you want to do. No more than six to eight groups will give you plenty of time to mix with your guests and have some beautiful time in the grounds getting some killer images with your photographer.
Buy yourself back time on the day by having a strict list in advance and nominating two people (one from each family) to be responsible for rounding up the next group as one is being photographed. I always allow four to five minutes per group, so eight groups could take up to 40 minutes. Agree a running order and timings beforehand with your photographer, and you will be absolutely fine; just don't cut the champagne reception short, and don't be bullied by the venue into doing so.