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A decade in the making: Our wedding photographer

26 Sep 2019

In her final post before the big day, bride-to-be Alicia Dunning discusses the importance of finding the perfect wedding photographer

Image gallery

Image gallery

There are some suppliers who are absolutely crucial to a wedding and one of these is the photographer, after all photographs and memories are really all you have after the day to remember it by – well, and a husband I suppose.

For me, finding the right photographer was a key part of the wedding planning process. Just think, these photos are going to be on the wall in your parents’ homes, in your own home and what you’ll look back on in years to come to show your children and grandchildren what an amazing day it was.

It’s not really as simple as just going to Google and picking the first person who comes up on the search - each photographer has their own style both in terms of how they capture the day and how they edit the photos and you have to find someone whose style suits yours.

I was lucky that when it came to a photographer, I knew who I wanted well before we’d even booked the wedding. I met Andrea Ellison years ago in a slimming group and I remember thinking way back then how great her photography was so when we started planning our big day, I knew she was the one for us.

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Let’s be honest, it’s awkward having your photo taken. It’s not like when you’re going out and take a selfie or have a friend get a good full-length shot of you; official photos feel awkward because you very rarely have them taken – except maybe that one time on holiday where they forced you to sit with a parrot and then tried to get you to pay 20 euros for a photo you didn’t want in the first place.

You need a photographer who’ll make you feel at ease and relaxed around them, you need to get to know each other’s personality and trust that they’ll be able to capture an accurate representation of you both. This is often why photographers will include an engagement shoot in their package, as it’s a chance to see how you work together and allows you to become more relaxed around them.

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One of the reasons that I picked Andrea was because I know that she’s got the most amazing personality; she’s mad as a hatter and makes you feel completely at ease the second you’re in her company. It was so important to me that both Phil and I would be able to enjoy that part of the day and if the engagement shoot is anything to go by then I know we’ve made the right decision.

From the minute we arrived she had us laughing and joking, she explained that some poses will make us want to cringe but that we should just enjoy it. I know there are lots of couples out there who are absolutely fine with having a big old snog in public, but that’s not me and Phil... we’ve been together for over 12 years now so we’re well past that phase! So instead of asking us to do things that we wouldn’t normally do, Andrea framed things in ways that felt familiar and it made a huge difference in how we approached the photos.

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The other reason I picked Andrea as our photographer is because of her catalogue of work and photo style, she’s such a dreamy photographer. Some people want bold colours and stark contrast; I didn’t, I wanted romantic and a little rustic glam. If you look at her blogs online you’ll see she describes a lot of the weddings she’s photographed as “laid back” “relaxed” and “chilled out”. Now I can’t guarantee our wedding will be any of those things but I’d love it to look like it was!

Andrea’s style is natural and authentic, she blends into the wedding day and takes photos of people actually enjoying the day with real laughter and smiles. We loved having our engagement shoot with her and were absolutely over the moon with the photos she took of us that day. The wedding isn’t even here yet and I already can’t wait to see some of the beautiful photos she’ll take. 

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Here are my top tips for planning picture perfect day:

  • Look at friends/family members' wedding photos and decide what type of photos you like – posed or natural, bright and bold colours or lighter softer shades, moody skies or light greenery. Once you know what you like it will be easy to see which photographers suit your style.
  • Definitely have an engagement shoot – it not only makes the photo portion of your wedding day faster, because you’ll have practised your positions and your photographer will have an idea of the surroundings and backgrounds they want to use, but also because it will help you learn to relax in front of the camera.
  • Try to embrace the pose, it’s hard to show others the intimate side of your relationship but try to remember that the whole point of a wedding is to celebrate how much you love each other and so there really isn’t a more appropriate time for you to display that and embrace it.

All images: Andrea Ellison 

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