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How To Plan Stress-Free Group Shots

We all know the importance of group shots at weddings. This is generally the only day in your life where you have everyone you love the most, in one place. Why wouldn't you get some images of you together? However, these images can sometimes be stressful to arrange. Here are our top tips on how to avoid the stress, and work quickly through them so you can get back to mingling and having a great time!

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PLAN CAREFULLY
Try to limit the total number of groups to 8-10 (or fewer if possible).
 
Think back to when you have been a guest at a wedding… which wedding was the best: the one where you spent an hour being called out for photographs? Or the one where you don’t even remember the photos taking place?
We think we know the answer! For this reason, try to keep your list of group shots to a minimum. Sit down with your fiancé before the wedding and work out who you want in each shot. Be realistic and ask yourself why you want these photos. Will they go in the album, a frame or on the wall? And maybe if they’ll go in none of these places, then perhaps they aren't necessary after all. 
 

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LEAVE ENOUGH TIME
We aim to do the group shots in 20 – 30 minutes. Because at the end of the day, this is your wedding day, so we aim to get you back to your party as soon as possible!
The average time to get people to the location and set up for group photographs is roughly 3-5 minutes per shot. If you opt for an “everybody” shot, this can take much longer (approx. 10-15 minutes).

PHOTOGRAPHERS HELPER
We don't know everyone at your wedding, so delegate the job of rounding up the guests to a member of the wedding party, normally an usher or bridesmaid (or both) and make sure they are on hand to work with us. Your group shots will be much more efficient and painless if you have your groups ready and waiting to be photographed. Make sure everyone who is in a group shots knows in advance when and where they will be needed. You don’t want Nan nipping off to the loo at the crucial moment!

NOT EVERYONE LIKES THEIR PHOTO TAKEN
Not everyone wants their photo taken. At least one guest will shy away and try to hide behind someone else. This can prolong the photographs and make for an awkward image. If this is the case, we don’t mind, but it’d be great to let us know or just discreetly let them know they can opt out of the image if they wish.

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TICK TO THE PLAN
We will ask you for the list of group shots before the wedding day - please try and stick to that list as best as possible. There have been occasions when a family relative has ‘hijacked’ us and asked us to take numerous unscheduled group shots. This eats into personal time with your guests and your portraits - a situation best avoided. So be decisive with your group list, and stick with it!
It’s also good to have a backup plan for the location of the shots. You may want them on the steps outside of the church, but you may find it rains or the sun is too harsh on the day. Trust in us and we’ll find the perfect setting for your images!

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GET CREATIVE
Think how these photos are going to look in frames around your home! Providing you only have a short shot-list, make the most of this time and get creative. Trust in us to choose a great backdrop (lighting is the most important thing, there is nothing worse than everyone squinting because it’s so bright) and have fun. Allow some time for fun images of your Bridal Party (Bridesmaids and Groomsmen) too!

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KEEPING IT RELAXED
It’s often possible to capture some lovely images while people are actually moving into position or waiting for the photography to start. These can sometimes make nicer shots than the ones where people are looking at the camera. Give someone the job of keeping everyone’s glass filled up. Keeping everyone hydrated will keep everyone smiling and often more co-operative! It’s a good idea to mention this to your venue.

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IT'S YOUR DAY
Above everything... this is YOUR day. It's only going to happen once. We want to make sure you’re happy with your decisions regarding group shots. If you want lots, that’s totally fine with us. Just make sure the suggested time is allowed.
 
We hope you’ve found this information useful! Jade and Emma xx

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Emma & Ashley Engagement Shoot

We had the privilege of going to Cyprus to document the wedding of Emma and Ashley and we had an amazing time! Our second destination wedding didn't disappoint and we're so excited to share the images with you.

We captured Emma's Mum's wedding the previous year, and when she asked us if we'd be the photographers for her wedding, of course we had to say yes! An amazing family, full of love and who love to party! We knew documenting their wedding would be a lot of fun.

We met with Emma and Ashley the day before the wedding, went over final details and then did a pre-wedding shoot just before sunset.

Here are some of our favourites from the pre-wedding/ Engagement shoot... 

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5 top tips for planning your Wedding Photography

Here are some tips that we hope you'll find useful. There is so much to think about whilst planning your wedding, so below you'll find our TOP TIPS for getting the most out of your Wedding Photography.

1. SPACE
It’s important to consider your surroundings when deciding where you’ll get ready on the morning of your wedding. You could choose to get ready at your own home, your parents’ house, or maybe a hotel. Wherever it is, please pay attention to the space you’ll have around you. Once you have your makeup artist, hairdresser and other bridal party members in the room with you, plus a photographer and potentially a videographer, it can get a little crowded! So plan ahead. Think about who will be there with you on the morning of the wedding and try to find somewhere with enough room for all of you.

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2. LIGHT
Consider the light. A top tip from us is to turn off artificial light in the room - it can set off a really horrible colour in the photos and that’s definitely something to be avoided. Natural and directional side light coming through windows is beautiful and ensures much more flattering imagery.

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3. TIMING
It’s all in the timing. We can't stress this enough! Allow more time to get ready than you think. Our advice is to have bridesmaids all dressed and ready to go 1 hour before you are due to leave for the ceremony. This then allows them time to help you into your dress, leaving plenty of time for beautiful portraits of you all before leaving. With some careful planning, we can help you to get the best out of your time with us.

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4. DAYLIGHT
Light plays a huge part in the final result of your images. And that’s why we feel we need to talk about it some more! Weddings in the summertime obviously have greater amount of daylight - giving more outdoor photo opportunities. Weddings in the summer allow for beautiful golden-hour light in the evenings, which is perfect for portraits. This is so important to consider if these are the types of images that you’re hoping for. Remember to schedule this time in with your Wedding Planner/ Co-ordinator, as this will likely fall within your wedding meal. If you are getting married in the winter, daylight is limited - so it is worth considering a First Look and planning your ceremony as early as possible to make the most of the natural light.

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5. TRUST US AND RELAX!
We hope that if you’ve booked us to shoot your wedding, then it’s because you love what we do! It’s our job to capture your day, so let us do just that, whilst you relax and have the best day. When you’re happy and smiling and having fun - it’s an absolute joy to photograph. There may be things that don’t always go to plan. We get it - you’ve planned, planned and planned some more for this day. So when something doesn’t quite go right, it can be upsetting. But honestly, try to relax and just go with the flow. Let go of the small stuff and enjoy everything about the day.

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We hope you’ve found some of these tips helpful! If you’re looking for a wedding photographer in Northamptonshire, Derbyshire or beyond - get in touch!

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4 tips on how to get the most out of your Engagement session 

Engagement shoots...They're not everyone's cup of tea. But we love them! Here are our 4 TOP TIPS on how to get the most out of your Engagement session  - and why we think they’re so important!
 

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  1. Don’t shy away!
    Engagement sessions come as part of some of our wedding packages and we feel they are extremely important. It’s a chance for us to get to know YOU, and for you to get to know US. It’ll likely be the only time we’ll meet or spend some time together before the big day and we want you to feel relaxed around us and get used to our shooting style.
     
  2. Feel good
    We want you to feel your best when you have these photos taken - because when you feel good it really does show in the photos. If you think you’ll feel more confident having had your hair or your makeup done - then do it! Maybe tie it in with having your wedding hair and makeup trial. We want you to feel comfortable in these photos - so if that means dressing up, then do it. If jeans and tee’s are more your thing, then wear that! Be happy, be comfortable and relax.
     
  3. Location
    Think about the types of images you want from this shoot. If being at home, chilling in your comfy clothes, drinking hot chocolate together is your thing, then we can plan a shoot to capture you doing just that. This type of shoot creates more lifestyle images and takes on a bit more of an editorial look. Or if you have a specific location in mind, then that can take on a whole different look. Think striking scenery and an amazing backdrop - creating a real sense of adventure within the images. We will happily chat with you about what you’d like from this shoot.
     
  4. Relax
    Try to forget about us being there! We know that may sound ridiculous, because having a camera pointed towards you is a pretty hard thing to ignore. But what we mean by that is we want you to focus on each other. We may direct you into a certain place, but mainly we’re considering the light and how good it’ll make you look - we’re not thinking about what you’re doing or saying to each other. Sometimes we’ll direct you, by asking you do something - like taking a walk, and these directions are what create the natural looking images. It’s completely normal to feel awkward in the first 10 minutes of a shoot - but don’t worry, you’ll be surprised how quickly you relax into it.
    We may direct you to do something, but these directions are flexible and we want to give you freedom to move around and have fun! Try to focus on each other. It’s stressful in the run-up to the wedding, so take it as some time to just be together.

    We hope you enjoyed some of these tips for getting the most out of your Engagement Session! Get in touch to book yours now
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Regrets from my own Wedding Photography

Going to go against the norm of what most Brides say about their wedding: “I had the best day ever and wouldn’t have changed a thing”. Whilst this is true for the most part - there is one major thing that I would have changed. 

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I got married 10 years ago - that makes me feel so old! But back then, there was no Pinterest, no Instagram and I had only just joined the world of Facebook. So I was completely unaware of all the advice out there in relation to Wedding photography. My love for wedding photography was only just beginning. Photography was hugely important to me (having just graduated from my photography degree), and we spent a huge part of our budget on it. It was actually my husband who found the photographer after hours of research on google. I still love the photos today - I don’t think they have aged at all - they remain timeless. But there is one major expectation that wasn’t met. And that is there are no portraits of me and my husband. Of course there are the images of us taking our vows, cutting the cake and having our first dance. But the type of images I imagined I’d hang around our home, were very definitely missing.

I still remember the feeling when I looked through the images - I was completely elated and so excited to see them. I looked through them again and again until I realised something so important was missing. ‘Where are the photos of us?’ I remember questioning this, because we had planned so carefully to take our whole bridal party away from the venue to a field hidden behind a dual carriage way. Ha - that sounds hilarious when writing it down! But bare with me. I used to drive alongside this road daily and sometimes cycle to this field whilst planning the wedding and I was drawn to the long, wild grass and cluster of huge pine trees. Our wedding venue was in, essentially a warehouse - which we decorated with candles, fairy lights, peonies and huge drapes of white fabric. A real DIY affair. We did the best we could with our budget, and I still think we made it look beautiful. So it was important that we went somewhere away from this environment for the group photos and portraits.

 

I’m telling you all this, not to speak negatively against our photographer, but to highlight that it is extremely important and essential to discuss EXPECTATIONS with your wedding photographer/s. When we challenged our photographer about these missing images, he told us we hadn’t given him enough time to get them. And he was absolutely right - I couldn’t argue with that, but I also felt cheated because he hadn’t told us we needed to give him that time. I just assumed that was part of his job. We were married 10 years ago, so perhaps having a dedicated time out for portraits wasn’t as ‘trendy’ as it is now, but still. 

So, whilst it is our job to EDUCATE you as best we can, it is YOUR job to tell your photographer/s if you have certain expectations. And we don’t mean producing lists and lists of certain images or obvious shots - you do need to build a level of TRUST with your chosen photographer and let them do their job. But if something is particularly important to you - you need to say so!

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And that’s why we are building a Client Information section to our website - full of all the advice we can give you. We want to educate you the best we can, sharing our knowledge and experience from all the weddings we’ve shot over the years.

So there we go. My biggest regret when we booked our wedding photographer was expecting portraits of me and my husband, and assuming they’d be taken. We should have discussed it with our photographer first - I shouldn’t have assumed anything. Always discuss every aspect of your day, fully with your photographer in your pre-wedding consultations. And then when that’s all taken care of, you get let go and have an amazing, happy day - with the security that everyone is on the same page.

Jade xx

We hope you’ve found this helpful! We’d love to chat with you about YOUR wedding - get in touch via the contact page or send us an email info@coralandstone.co.uk

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