Advice from the experts

How to get great

wedding photos

We’re talking wedding photography today, which means that it’s time for a disclaimer. I am a wedding photographer. Who used to be a bride. I also used to write about fish for a living, but that’s not really relevant. So, suffice to say that when it comes to wedding budgets, I am familiar with the shocked “How much?!” feeling, from both sides of the fence.


But before we get to photography, allow me to digress. As a bride, it took me quite some time to come to terms with how much I was going to spend on a wedding dress. At first it seemed ludicrous to even consider dropping so much cash on something I would literally wear once. Being an all or nothing kind of girl, I tried to banish all thoughts of the designer bridal collections that were catching my eye and sought not once, but twice (some people never learn!) to find a more budget-friendly dress online. The results were disastrous.
And as I sobbed over a ripped, fake tan-stained pile of satin (‘worn once, as new’, my ass!), I realised that you really do get what you pay for in this life. And that’s when it dawned on me. Yes, I would only wear this dress once. But I would remember how I felt wearing it forever.
And when it comes to the world of wedding photography, there’s still an element of urban myth. Over the years, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been told how great it must be to work just one day a week. I agree, it must be! Where do I apply for that job? The taking winters off to travel thing is also the stuff of legend. Most of the photographers I know work really intense hours, seven days a week, all year around. They’re all too busy catching up on admin/album design/bookwork (the less glamorous bit), to spend three months in the Alps come winter.
And no matter how much they love their beautifully creative job, most regularly ponder why they didn’t take up something all together less creative (something with less anti-social hours that when broken down to an hourly wage doesn’t leave them wanting to weep). Most photographers do it for the love, rather than the money.

Wet Weather Weddings Scotland

I may have a vested interest in photography, but the last thing I’m going to do is tell you what you should spend your money on. If shoes are your thing, then by all means have a blow out on the blingy number you’ve been coveting for years. Or if you’re all about the food, then knock yourself out and treat your loved ones to the absolute best.
Or maybe you’re on a really tight budget and are being creative about the things that you can do yourself to keep the costs down. And that’s absolutely fine too. After all, it’s your wedding and there’s nothing at all wrong with going either big or budget. Having said that, a gold toilet tower sounds a little OTT in my opinion. But hey, if it made them happy…
All that being said, if you do love photos and want a seriously beautiful record of your wedding day to look back on down the years, then here’s the best way to go about it.


1. Go pro
Book an experienced, professional photographer whose work you love and who you feel comfortable around. Of all your wedding suppliers, your photographer is the one you will spend most time with on your wedding day. And if you feel relaxed while being photographed, you’re already half way there.
Good photography is a substantial investment. And if having fantastic photographs is important to you, I’d suggest prioritising this in your wedding budget whenever possible (here’s a blog post that explains why great wedding photography costs so much, if you’re interested).
Now is not the time to let your neighbour/friend/uncle build their portfolio – no matter how lovely the shots they post on Facebook are. It’s really easy to take a few killer shots on a wedding day. Capturing the entire day in an unobtrusive, seamless and breathtaking way – no matter what happens in terms of the light/weather/unexpected – takes not just talent but real skill.
2. Book a makeup artist
As I wrote in a recent post on looking your best on your big day, I would always recommend using a makeup artist. It’s so much less stressful and more relaxing than trying to do your own makeup on the morning of your wedding, and a good makeup artist will make you look your absolute best (while still looking like yourself). Makeup tends to last longer when professionally applied too.


3. Work that dress
When choosing your wedding dress, go for a style that flatters your figure. You may have been dreaming of a strapless dress, but they really aren’t for everyone and something else will be exactly right for you. And then you will look and feel fabulous! When you go shopping, take a friend or family member who you can trust to be really honest.
Don’t forget to try your dress on again before the wedding day to make sure it fits perfectly. And test your bridal smalls in advance to make sure that nothing leaves you with unsightly lines. Here are some more top dress tips.
4. Don’t overthink it
Wedding blogs and magazines are brilliant for ideas and inspiration, but bear in mind that many articles are written by people who actually don’t attend all that many weddings and can therefore be a little theoretical at times. Those must-have shot lists that crop up from time to time really are best avoided – while your photographer is studiously ticking off no. 93 on the sheet (which they would no doubt have taken as a matter of course anyway), chances are something way more interesting, happening on the other side of the room, is being missed.
And while pinning your favourite looks is a lot of fun and a great reference tool, it can lead to wedding envy in that you want all of the photos that you see on there (most of which seem to have been taken at backyard weddings in California, and aren’t quite so realistic in Scotland!). Yes, the photo of the bride and the groom jumping on the roof in NYC is epic. But trying to reproduce that spontaneous moment will just look contrived. Be yourself and your photos will be all the better for it.


5. Consider going unplugged
The vast majority of wedding guests are respectful of the occasion and wouldn’t dream of doing something like stepping into the candlit aisle to capture a grainy shot on their ipad during the exchanging of rings (while completely blocking the view of the photographer the couple have carefully selected and paid to capture their day). That having been said, such things do happen, and if you think you know somebody who is likely to get a little carried away, then you may wish to consider asking your officiant to make an announcement requesting that photography be left to the professionals.
You could go a step further and have an unplugged wedding, where guests are asked to turn off their camera phones and not to upload images to social media. This is a personal decision, and all I’m going to say on the matter is that while I love a selfie as much as the next person, my heart does sink when a radiant bride walks down the aisle, only to see a mass of phone screens rather than the smiling faces of those she loves. It’s impossible to be truly present and experience a moment while also trying to record it, which is why I’m the first to leave my camera at home when attending weddings as a guest.
6. Don’t stress about the weather
As Billy Connolly famously said, “In Scotland, there is no such thing as bad weather – only the wrong clothes.” Be prepared and embrace whatever the elements throw at you (here’s our guide on how to do this). A creative photographer will thrive on the challenge to produce incredible shots despite the adverse conditions. And remember that rain brings depth and drama, and definitely a lot of romance.


7. Think about having an engagement shoot
If you feel nervous at the thought of being photographed (and most people do), then this could be just the confidence boost you need. It’s also a really nice way to celebrate this moment in your lives and being engaged, without the time/location restrictions of an actual wedding day. If you fancy having a shoot in a remote location or at the scene of your first date, then this is the time to do it. Here are some more engagement shoot ideas.
8. Be yourself
Struggling to come up with a wedding theme? That’s okay. Not everybody has to celebrate their love with a ‘vintage circus’. But if carnivals from the post-war period are your thing, then by all means go for it.
And when it comes to photography, think timeless over trends. The last thing you want your wedding photos to look is dated. Certain props and post-processing effects may be popular at the moment, but so was spot colour once. ‘Nuff said.

Archerfield, East Lothian wedding by First Light Photo-0049

9. Make time for the photos
It’s all about striking a balance here – of course you want gorgeous photos, but you also want to spend time with your guests. And there’s often pressure from family members over which group shots are a must too.
It is possible to have a bit of time out to have stunning portraits of the two of you taken, while also getting the important family photos and spending time hanging out with your friends and family. The key is in talking to your photographer and coordinator about timings and building the time needed into your day, plus a little contingency time in case the ceremony runs late or travelling between venues takes longer than anticipated.
10. And relax!
You booked your photographer because you love what they do. Trust them to do their job and look forward to seeing the incredible results!


Have you got any questions about wedding photography? Just shout – the We Fell In Love team would be more than happy to answer them! Christina x

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Alison + Michael

Photographed by Justin Scobie

at Achnagairn House


School-day memories of The Great Gatsby and Mario Kart (don’t you love the juxtaposition?) weaved their way into a wedding that was peppered with personal touches. For inspiration on how to create your own origami flowers, or create a table plan with a difference, then read on…


Who saw who first?
We met at school and neither of us can quite remember the first encounter! It wasn’t until many years later at the end of University that we got together!
We were inspired by…
Between piles of magazines and lots of wedding blogs we were inspired to have a colourful day with lots of personal touches. For example we had seen the idea of a fingerprint guest book and also saw the idea of jenga bricks for guests to leave us messages. We liked the idea of doing things slightly less traditionally.
How did you personalise your wedding day?
Lots of hand made details and of course lots of buttons! With help from the bridesmaids and our Mums we made the stationery, garlands, decopatch letters, button bouquet for our flower girl, ribbon for the cake, place names, menus, photo frames for the table names and confetti cones. The confetti cones were made out of sheet music from the songs played during our ceremony. We also made some origami flowers made from an old copy of The Great Gatsby, which we had read together at school. Our table names were Aberdeen pubs, so with our bridal party we went round all of these a few months before the wedding and got our photo outside them all! The table signs were the photos and Alison had drawn a map of Aberdeen for the table plan.
We also loved having a humanist ceremony, as it let us say what we wanted to say, and was relaxed and funny. It really set the tone for the day, and many of our guests said they had never laughed so much during a wedding ceremony! We also arranged a sweetie table and had a drinks boat outside for people to help themselves to soft drinks. The plan had been for everyone to be out enjoying the nice weather, but of course in Scotland that didn’t quite go to plan, and it was typically dreich! Our favours were seed packets of African Birds Eye Chilli seeds, also known as Piri Piri – as the new Piries we couldn’t resist!
What was on your wedding menu?
We stayed quite traditional with the menu opting for: Roasted red pepper soup or Chorizo and leek tart for starters; Highlander’s Chicken or Beel Balmoral for mains; and White chocolate and Raspberry cheesecake or Passionfruit and Mango Brulee for Pudding.


First dance – choreographed routine or sedate shuffle?
Our first dance was all planned by Michael as a surprise (although he had accidently let the song choice slip before the day!). He had arranged for one of his Ushers, and his band mate, to perform an acoustic arrangement of the “Mario Kart Love Song” by Sam Hart. This was a game we used to play together at school, and our cake toppers were Mario and Peach. A totally original first dance song, it had our guests in fits of laughter, but was romantic too!
What is your advice for future brides and grooms?
Try not to worry if things don’t go to plan, no one will notice, and everyone is on your side anyway! We had a massive power cut on the morning of our wedding. It was chaos, and some guests had to go off site to get ready. After months of planning, we decided there was little we could do other than go with it and try to enjoy the day as much as possible! Thankfully the lights came on shortly before the ceremony, so all the catering went ahead as planned. Our guests didn’t mind and everyone pitched in to help out, which is one of our lasting memories of the day!
Where did you spend your wedding night?
In the house, which has a Honeymoon suite complete with free standing whirlpool bath in the room!
How beautiful the ceremony room looked, complete with the emergency candle display in the fireplace.


I love that Michael organised a surprise first dance. Would you trust your groom to do that? Alie x
VenueAchnagairn House, Invernesshire
Photographer -Justin Scobie
FilmmakerThistle Productions
FloristAngela Stewart Creative
Hair stylistLouise Chrystal
Make-up artistLyndsay Alexis
Wedding dress – Stella York from Perfect Bridal Rooms, Aberdeen
Shoes – Day – Harriet Wilde and Evening – RedorDead
Accessories – Earrings – Melle Cloche, Glasgow
Bracelet – Borrowed from mother of the groom; Veil – Etsy; Hair piece from Perfect Bridal Rooms, Aberdeen
Groom’s outfit – McCalls Kilt hire
Bridesmaids’ dresses – Sorella Vita from Perfect Bridal Rooms, Aberdeen
Stationery – Hand made
CakeMarks and Spencer
BandThe Big Shoogle
CaterersRed Poppy Catering
Additional SuppliersErskine String Quartet; John MacDonald – A Highland Piper and Celebrant – John Howieson, Humanist

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