Once you’ve been booked by the happy couple, get as much detail from them as possible. Visit the venue. Scout out some possible locations. Do your homework well, and you should be able to find the perfect spot to take the pressure off yourself and get many of your key shots in the same place – a single location.
Few people know better than the wedding photographer how quickly time passes on the big day. Pace yourself, and allow enough time. Do what you can beforehand. The Wedding Notebook and One Fab Day have tips for how to choose the perfect wedding venue if you are the bride or groom. These can also be useful for a photographer to use during initial discussions.
Start by finding a well-lit window. It needn’t have a spectacular view, but of course many venues pitch their location and views as their unique selling point, so for example someone working as a wedding photographer for Sopley Mill in Hampshire is spoilt for choice with view – river, trees, grounds and more.
A photographer also has choice of the window. Light is more important than the view, so keep that as the top priority. Check the available light at all potential windows, and different times of the day. It should be possible to get a lot of the ‘key’ shots done by the window – the same window – before the ceremony starts. With good available light, even the worst-lit venues can offer up a good solution.
Once you have exploited the natural light and surroundings, why not venture indoors to other areas of the premises. Try to find other light sources like a roaring fire. The ambient light given off can be both romantic and charming. Look out for wood burning stoves like those sold by stoveworlduk. Wood burners can come in all different sizes and some locations are bound to have impressive sizes to capture the perfect shot.
Choose a big window – ideally one with curtains. Using different materials for texture – a tablecloth or even a bridesmaid’s dress – take your detail shots. The light, the distance from it and even the angle of the camera will give huge variety to your shots.
Try hanging the dress in the window; the light will give it a luminous glow that picks out highlights.
A window is a great way of framing people for portraits, which will be some of the most important shots of the day. If you pick well and get a good window, put your subject outside and shoot through. To save time on the day, finding a good window beforehand can pay dividends.