Local wedding photographers share their professional advice with local and destination couples planning to say “I do” in Bermuda.
Why do some couples hire two photographers?
“A couple may hire two photographers if they find that their timeline does not allow enough time for one photographer to cover everything. One photographer cannot be in two places at once—taking getting-ready pictures of the bride, for example, at the same time as taking similar pictures of the groom. Cocktail hour is usually when all the portraits are taken, so at such a time you may want to double up on coverage to capture cocktails and do the portraits. It also depends on how long the day is. Some photographers have a maximum number of hours they will shoot in one day and you may need a follow-up photographer to cover the remaining hours.”—Becky Spencer
Should I hire two photographers, or is one enough?
“If your budget allows I would always opt for two. One photographer can more than cover the day’s activities, but why not get various perspectives and more coverage if you can?”—Zeudi Hinds
“It really depends on your plans. For almost all of my weddings I work alone and have no trouble with covering all of the events of the day. Unless you are planning a very large, relatively complex wedding, it’s not necessary. Keeping the number of vendors to a minimum avoids distractions during the day.”—Gavin Howarth
When should the couple shots take place? Before or after the ceremony?
“This is best decided by the couple being married. For destination weddings, or when there are many guests from overseas for local weddings, capturing as much as possible before the service is often a good idea as it allows the couple to spend as much time as possible with their guests at cocktail hour and dinner. Generally, group shots take 15 to 30 minutes and couple shots take between 20 and 30 minutes, so that can be up to an hour doing photos when the newlyweds could be celebrating with friends and family. Many modern couples realise that, traditionally, the bride and groom didn’t see each other before the wedding because in olden times the couple may never have met and the parents wanted to keep it that way to ensure that the wedding took place and the alliance was sealed. But nowadays, couples have often lived together so fleeing from the altar is unlikely, and so the “bad luck” element of seeing each other before the ceremony has been discounted. That said many couples have dreamed their whole lives of the moment when the groom sees his bride for the first time as she walks down the aisle. So whether the couple chooses to have an intimate first meeting before the ceremony which is special and tender (and then capture photos with family and bridal party, and even couple shots, so that the party can be enjoyed more fully later) or they prefer to be traditional and not see each other until the ceremony, a timeline can be created to suit the couple’s needs.”—Sacha Blackburne
Who owns the photos—me or the photographer?
“Photographers own the copyright of their images. Wedding photographs are created for the couple’s personal use. In the event they are to be published, or used in a commercial capacity, permission must be granted from the photographer.”—Amanda Temple
What can I do to look my best in my wedding photos?
“I have a very long tip list that I provide to all my brides. Most important is not to get sunburned in the days prior to your wedding. If you are having a beach ceremony, there will usually be some breeze so it is best to wear your hair up. Applying your makeup a bit more heavily than you normally would is helpful, too, as long as it still looks natural and you look like you. Try to be in the moment as much as possible and don’t stress over the details. If you are being yourself and enjoying the day, it will show through in the photos. Let your photographer know (ahead of time) any issues you have with getting your picture taken, like a goofy grin that tends to show up in photos. It also helps to do an engagement session with your photographer so you are more comfortable with the photographer and having your picture taken.”—Becky Spencer
“A good photographer will give a couple all the guidance they need to help them relax in front of the camera. Besides that, sleep and joy and makeup that the bride is happy with are all good. Making sure a dress does not need fiddling with or adjusting constantly is key since a photographer cannot concentrate the whole time on whether there is a fault with wardrobe, a bra showing, for instance, or an ill-fitting dress.”—Sacha Blackburne
Is it a good idea or a bad idea to allow guests to take photos?
“I have no problem with guests taking photographs. Photographers cannot be everywhere and capture everything. But we can get the bride walking down the aisle and we can definitely capture the bride and groom walking up the aisle. However, if guests extend their phones into the aisle, we cannot get that shot. Up until about five years ago, some of my favourite images were captured as the couple was walking up the aisle. They are beaming, they look at each other, they smile at their friends and at the end of the aisle they kiss! I used to love that shot—that kiss with their happy friends behind them. That shot no longer happens; too many people are looking at their phones or too many phones, not smiling faces, are in the background. Many couples these days are requesting that their ceremonies be “unplugged.” I love this idea—I feel that at the ceremony guests should be present and not on their phones.”—Amanda Temple
“I personally have no problem with wedding guests taking photos, though I always find it odd when a guest leaps up between me and the bride and groom with a large iPad or the like. There are so many moments I cannot capture on the wedding day and I always think how lucky the couple would be if their guests captured the moments I am missing, rather than going for exactly the same angle I am capturing. At other times, it is a little disconcerting when guests are so absorbed in taking photos they don’t notice they are directly opposite me and therefore potentially appearing in every photo I am capturing of the newlyweds. Many couples these days request that their event be “unplugged,” and I think that is a lovely idea—to ensure their guests are in the moment and enjoying the day. But I really do not mind either way, as long as guests are respectful and allow me to do my job well.”—Sacha Blackburne
What is a shot list?
“This is a list that all bridal magazines seem to recommend and all photographers hate. We shoot what we see; we are there to capture the day—and as such will shoot everything that we see. It is a good idea, however, for the couple to share with the photographer those elements of the day that are particularly important to them, so that the photographer can be sure to dedicate time to getting those images. But a detailed list of every single photo will not only set up unrealistic expectations, but can make the day stressful. Often, it is the spontaneous moments that make the most wonderful images. That said, however, creating a list of the formal portraits is a good idea. But as the photographer will probably not know everyone on the list, it is helpful if a friend gathers together the family members and friends who are to be included in those photographs.”—Amanda Temple
“A shot list is a list of key shots the couple feel they must have on the day.”—Sacha Blackburne
What should I include on my shot list?
“This is a personal decision, but I do think that it is important to include your specific wants. Most photographers will do their best to capture all the details of your day; however, to reduce the chances of a key element of your day being missed it is best to communicate clearly with your photographer. Never make the assumption that a photographer will just know or that they will capture what you have seen in another photographer’s work.”—Zeudi Hinds
When should I send my shot list to my photographer?
“It is best to provide your list to your photographer a few weeks before your wedding, when the timeline is being created to make sure the timing is adequate to fit in any extra shots.”—Becky Spencer
What happens if my photographer misses key shots from my shot list?
“Usually this does not happen if there is good communication between you and your photographer throughout the entire process. The best way to try and avoid this happening is not to cram a six-hour wedding into three hours and expect to get all the shots you wanted. Making sure guests do not block the photographer from getting key shots during the ceremony is also important. Having a family shot list with someone who is familiar with everyone in charge of calling people up for the shots is important, too. I have a questionnaire that I give to my clients that addresses any specific requests and I carry that with me the day of the wedding. Before I leave, I check with the client to make sure nothing was missed.”—Becky Spencer
“Sometimes, this can happen—a minister may ask the couple to kiss at a time that is not typical of other ministers and the photographer may be moving from one location to another, or the kiss may be so brief the photographer does not get the shot at the exact moment but shoots the going into or coming out of the kiss instead. Also, one photographer cannot get the groom’s face looking at the bride and, at the same time, the bride looking at the groom; in this case, there would have to be two photographers. A good photographer will capture all the important moments as they unfold, but it is important to share key details that are atypical, such as a special piece of something sentimental attached to the inside of the bride’s dress or bouquet, or an unusual dedication, or a shot of someone’s face when something special is about to happen. All these things should be shared with the photographer ahead of time, but a balance must be maintained between allowing the photographer to capture the day as it naturally unfolds and making her (or him) aware of any special circumstances.”—Sacha Blackburne
Do photographers provide less expensive packages for those with a smaller budget?
“Photographers generally have several different packages that will vary greatly in price depending on the scope of the wedding and what is included.”—Amanda Temple
What information do I need to provide my photographer with before the wedding?
“The timing and timeline of the day is key, knowing start and end times, room numbers for getting ready, as well as identifying key people and phone numbers.” —Gavin Howarth
How long do photographers typically shoot for?
“It can be anywhere from one to eight hours depending on the wedding and your needs; for a medium-sized wedding somewhere around four hours is typical which is enough for an hour getting ready, a simple ceremony, cocktails and a bit into the reception. When you start introducing multiple locations, travel time and other factors, it’s usually necessary to add time onto that. For a large and full wedding day, eight hours is ideal.”—Gavin Howarth
Do you include engagement photos in your package?
“I have a package that offers engagement photos, but some couples choose to use this to cover the rehearsal dinner or even a day-after session, and I am flexible about how they use that time. I love engagement sessions as they allow me to work with the couple and get to know them before their wedding day, and it is also nice for a couple to have some lifestyle shots that capture who they really are since wedding photos are not always so typical of the couple. But day-after sessions are absolutely wonderful as well, as they allow us to capture fun shots that are often not possible on the wedding day due to time constraints and concerns about damaging wedding outfits.”—Sacha Blackburne
How long until I receive my photos?
“It will vary from photographer to photographer, as well as the time of year. I ask for as much as eight weeks but usually deliver in four to six weeks. In most cases I try and blog my weddings, which happens in a week or two and is a great way to see a large preview of the images.”—Gavin Howarth
Do you give me the negatives or digital images?
“I know a lot of photographers never give the original files as they want control of how prints turn out, or perhaps even control of any profit made from the photos. I build my costs into my shoots so I think I am perhaps higher priced to begin with, but I do choose to release the digital files in the same way I released the negatives back when I was a film shooter. It is different for every photographer, and a couple should be very clear on the policy of their photographer before they commit to be sure they will not be disappointed later.”—Sacha Blackburne
“In the digital age the equivalent of “negatives” are called RAW. These are unprocessed files that contain the RAW data from the sensor; they come out of the camera dull and flat but the beauty is in how malleable they are, allowing photographers to express their vision. Part of why you hire the photographer that you do is the way they make these files into a consistent set of finished images. In my case I do not deliver these files and I would expect most other photographers wouldn’t either.”—Gavin Howarth
What are some of the best locations/times of day to shoot?
“There really is not a bad location in Bermuda. In my opinion, a location with a choice of various backdrops is ideal, that is, one that has a beach, greenery and architecture to really capture the different aspects of Bermuda. It is best to choose a location that means something to you and has the look and feel you want your wedding to have. The best time of day to shoot is late in the afternoon, the few hours before sunset when the light is soft and flattering.”—Becky Spencer
How do I select a location for my engagement/wedding photos?
“I always suggest my clients browse my previous sessions for ideas or inspiration; secretly though I always hope to be working in a new location. Engagement sessions can take place literally anywhere and often the more unique the better; it’s a great chance to get creative!”—Gavin Howarth
What is your photography style?
“I call myself classic with a twist. I incorporate photojournalism with traditional elements of wedding day photography. My ultimate aim is to customise wedding day images to the spirit of my couples.”—Zeudi Hinds
“I am a lifestyle photographer who aims to capture the real moments of a wedding as candidly as possible. I would rather see a candid shot than a posed one. However, posed shots must be taken, and so I try to make the posed shots look as candid as possible. I feel that real laughter makes a better shot than a forced smile any time. I ask my clients what type of couple they are, that is, fun and silly, romantic and sexy—or traditional, and then gear my photography toward their personalities. My goal is to have fun, and I want my clients to have fun so I will do what it takes to make the day carefree and fun, even if it means I have to get a bit goofy to get a laugh and lighten the moment.”—Becky Spencer
“I strive to create timeless, elegant and romantic images. In university I started shooting film, and have always loved its colour and tonal range. I was probably the last person to buy a digital camera. However, digital cameras have come a very long way; the pixels are no longer visible and they are able to produce beautiful soft images. In my processing, I keep it simple and rather than suturing the colours, prefer a slightly muted palette.”—Amanda Temple
“It is hard to see your own work objectively, but most people describe my style as romantic and dreamy, and I know I am attracted to other photographers who have a dreamy style so I think that is probably what I am striving to capture.”—Sacha Blackburne
“I would describe my style as somewhat mixed. I aim to capture the traditional and essential images and build on that with some creativity through the use of the lighting, scenery and the personality of my clients. Trends can be tempting but they can also age quickly; simplicity is often best.”—Gavin Howarth
How far in advance should I book?
“As soon as possible. Some weddings are booked almost 18 months in advance, while others only a matter of weeks. But if you are partial to a particular photographer’s work, it is a good idea to book them as soon as you have confirmed a date.”—Amanda Temple