The Wedding Photography – My Story and Advice from the Expert – Phil from Give Us a Goo
When it came time to choosing a professional for our wedding photography it was really important to us as a newly engaged couple that we both agreed on the style of Wedding Photography we wanted on The Day, and what was just as important is that we wanted to ‘get on’ with our future Wedding Photographer. Having scoured Wedding Websites, googled Wedding Photography and Photographers, met with and viewed Wedding Photographers and Photography at Wedding Fairs we decided to make an appointment with Phil Voon from Give us a goo. First impressions were one hundred percent positive, he was roughly our age (not that that matters, I’d hate to be considered ageist), he was down to earth and he knew exactly what we wanted from the get go … so after viewing his work, in hard copies, on-screen and in a magazine … wow! … a nice cup of coffee and a friendly chat we knew we both wanted him to be our Wedding Photographer for our Big Day. We decided on an Engagement Shoot too, that’s Engagement Photography, for those not clued up on the lingo just yet … so watch this space as it’s due to take place next month so I’m sure I’ll be sharing a photo or two along with my experience of the days events.
For the meantime … whether you have just gotten engaged over Christmas or New Years … Congratulations! … whether you are at the booking a Wedding Photographer stage, whether your Big Day is only around the corner or whether you’ve been added to the Guest List, Phil has been very good and agreed to an interview. He has shared some great advise that I think you’ll love to learn, so sit back, enjoy and give it a goo …
An Interview with Phil Voon from Give us a goo Photography
Patricia and Phil, partners in real life and in the magical world of photography set-up Give us a goo in 2007. Their Wedding photographs have been featured in weddingsonline.ie, mrs2be, VIP and in numerous magazines. To top this Phil has claimed ownership to such awards as one of the Best Wedding Photographers in Ireland by weddingsonline.ie and the Kodak Award for Wedding Photography Ireland & Uk … so there really is no better person to answer Wedding Photography queries and questions …
So Phil, what is the best advice you can give a couple to help them choose their Wedding Photographer?
It can’t be stressed how important it is to find a photographer based on recommendation these days. Thankfully, with so many online forums, it’s not difficult to find out who’s a professional and whose just bought a professional camera. If you see a photographer’s work you like, join a forum and post a question. Other brides should be able to help or at least point you to another photographer with a similar style and professionalism.
At the very least, set up a meeting and make sure that the photographer shows you as many real weddings as possible. Look for real albums (not an album with several weddings in it) and have a quick scan through their previous DVD’s made for clients to see what you can expect. If you find yourself quickly flipping through the album then they’re obviously not that good. Each page should tell part of a story that makes you want to read on. If you’re happy with their work then that’s a bonus cause many a day has been ruined by an “artistic” photographer who was also a complete and utter eeejit.
This is really important, If you walk away from a meeting smiling and confident in their work and has good referrals, then that’s your photographer…oh and make sure they’re insured, they’ve back up equipment and they’ve got some sort of photography qualification with lots of work experience. I have a 4 year degree in photography and art.
Do you think an Engagement shoot is important?
It depends. It definitely helps to get to know the photographer. It helps you know what angles/poses/faces you like/don’t like. It can really help you become more aware of yourself in front of the camera as you see the results before the wedding. I’ve known brides to do the engagement shoot at the same time as a trial make up and hair to really get a feel of the big day!
But, if you’re the kind of person that really doesn’t like photographs of yourself then it’s probably not the best thing to do as you’ll only end up becoming more self conscious on your wedding day worrying about angles and poses instead of being in the moment and trusting the photographer.
Personally, I really enjoy doing engagement shoots as I get really creative with lighting, have a laugh, get to know the couple and I’ve got time on my side to experiment too but it’s also really exciting working with a couple who don’t know what to expect on the day when it comes to the photography. For a good photographer, that first warm up pose is always such good fun. There is nothing funnier than a bride and a groom doing a new pose for the first time.
Browsing through Wedding Websites I’ve noticed different styles of Wedding Photography, what are they?
There’s so many new labels for wedding photography these days that it even confuses me. I reckon it comes down to the four below:
Photojournalistic or Reportage style – Photographer doesn’t intrude at all whatsoever on the day – no group photos, no poses, no set ups. Your day is captured as it happens. It’s important to note that the choice of lighting, angles and focus he/she uses will of course determine the mood and story of your wedding photos so it’s not entirely objective but the purist would disagree. This form of wedding photography is really for those who aren’t interested in posed photos and would prefer to just document their day as it happens even if the hair loses form, the make up could do with a touch up and the dress is slipping slightly, well, then so be it, but hopefully someone will tell you if there’s something stuck in your teeth 🙂
Traditional – Your ma and da’s hired wedding photographer’s photos with cheesy smiles. These photos are generally posed, you know the ones – couple at the altar signing the register with pen in hand whilst looking at the camera, couple standing at altar looking at camera, couple in car looking at camera, couple cutting cake, couple in front of fountain…generally all looking at the camera and the dress is always perfectly arranged. The good thing about traditional photos is that you will look your best as everything is posed before the photo is taken. It’s predictable because it looks great but can be time-consuming.
Contemporary – current magazine style shoots, fashionable photos of the bride and groom, the kind of photos that are posed by models in wedding magazines. These can be very artistic but just like traditional wedding photography, they can be time-consuming and posed.
Fusion – A little bit of all the above, I think most wedding photographers fall into this category, including myself. The style itself is how they capture the moment, direct the pose and edit the photography.
How do you choose the style of Photography for your wedding?
Talk to your photographer. Look at their albums and DVDs and let them know what photos you like/don’t like. Tell them your schedule and how much time you want to allocate towards photos. Like I said, all wedding photographers generally do a mix of the above styles. It all comes down to the photographer’s eye and how they will edit your work from the day. Which is the best style? Well, if you find yourself easily stepping into the shoes of the “portfolio brides” in the photos, then that’s your style. If you know you’ll feel as awkward as watching an episode of Curb your enthusiasm then run away!
Personally, I step in and out of styles to suit the couple, sometimes a couple are so relaxed on the day it doesn’t feel like a creative shoot and has more of a reportage feel despite it being staged. Other times the couples just wanna hang out with family and friends so I look for moments in areas of good light or if necessarily make the light. On average I spend about 60% capturing moments as it happens and the other 40% setting up shots.
Some people hate getting their photograph taken so what advice can you give them? Should they practice posing before their BIG DAY?
If you absolutely hate your photograph being taken then I’d advise against practicing posing, don’t even think about the photography, if you hate being in photos then practicing poses is only going to make you cringe.
Just be yourselves on the day! If you’re the type that thinks “I hate the way I look in photos” then think about it like you’re fighting the start of a cold, think positive and it might just be a little stuffy. Besides, all it takes is for one person to say those words and everybody starts feeling down. The best thing to do is trust your photographer and go with the flow. A good photographer should be able to give you fun directions from behind the camera when it comes to the poses. True professionalism will bring out the best in you.
However, if you wanna look your best, and who doesn’t? If you’re going to practice anything, then practice public displays of affection with each other, practice admiring each other, practice making each other smile, practice being close to each other…other prep that is invaluable –
- Get a full length mirror out, practice leaning forward from the hip (it’ll help slim the waist and it’ll make yer tummy tuck).
- Stretch yer neck out, always looks great, think Tyra Banks.
- Try smiling with your eyes.
- Lads, put the weight on the back foot from time to time, shoulders back (this will really help the nerves) and remember on the day to check your pockets for bulky items such as smart-phones and wallets.
- Chin up as often as possible.
- Watch your hands, for women, soft and graceful movements, use the back of your fingernails to trace your dress until you find a couple of poses that is comfortable. Lads, fix your cuff-links, pinch the inside of your coat lightly, fix your suit whilst looking in the mirror and you’ll find a few poses that you might like too.
What is the biggest mistake a couple can make when it comes to their Wedding Photography?
ƒ, I can generally correct most photography mistakes by talking to the couple on the day but I guess the biggest complaint I get back from brides is “I wish I didn’t put on so much make-up and fake tan”. Unfortunately this seems to be the biggest mistake in Ireland. Even if you’re the type whereby fake tan suits you, at least spare a thought for your poor hubby who may be paler than a Volturi as he awaits your arrival and stands by you on the day.
Then there’s “I’m showing too much cleavage” and “stray hairs or fringe problems”. I can only photo-shop so much and when it comes to unopposed natural photos, it’s even more difficult to discretely tell the bride or groom that something might need to be “done”.
So how can you tell if the hair, make up and dress is going to give you any issues on the day, well, when doing a trial run, get someone to take lots of photos at varying angles whilst you walk about, eat a sandwich, drink from a glass, go up the stairs, walk down a corridor, give someone a hug etc Oh and make sure to take a photo with a few people who aren’t wearing fake tan! When reviewing the photos, you’ll know whether or not you like the result. A big tip is avoid any make up with titanium oxide. Most make up artists already know this but always best to make sure. It’s a great concealer but add a little flash photography and it can look like you’ve joined a tribe.
As for the lads, if you’re shaving (I personally like a half days growth) then figure out when’s the best time for you to shave so that your skin won’t look raw or come out in a rash.
What’s the best piece of advice you can give a couple on their Wedding Day?
No matter what happens – torrential downpour, stuck in traffic, dress rips, flower girl scraped knees, crying babies, crying mothers, forgotten buttonholes, forgotten speech, car tyre puncture, rambling dad, grandma breaks a hip, drunken best-man, lecherous uncle and my personal favourite “stuck in a lift”… don’t get too upset, you’ll only kick yer-self when you’re telling the story to your grand kids…honestly, the day zips by, just relax and savour every minute of the day! I’ll be there to catch it all 😉