Expert advice about photography

Here is a selection of Q&As from Your South Wales Wedding magazine whether it be about flowers, hair and makeup, fashion, wedding themes, health & beauty, cakes, stationery, legal advice. If you would like your question answered by our experts, please email it to


Love through a lens

Love through a lens

Q. What should we ask a potential photographer before booking?

A. Paul Davies says: The first thing you need to do is a little research. Ask friends and family for recommendations and look at various websites to get an idea of what style you like. Every photographer has their own technique, so if you want a particular look, check to see if it's something they can offer.

- We tend to get booked up 12 to 18 months in advance, so start by seeing if your chosen supplier is available on your date. It's important you meet in person to find out more about their work and decide whether you gel with them. Ask to see a few wedding albums of the whole day instead of just a few select pictures.

- What are their packages and prices? How much is the deposit and when does the balance need to be paid? Find out if there are any extra costs for a second shooter or travel expenses. It's also worth looking at their packages and seeing if they offer half or full-day options.

- Do they have insurance? All professional photographers should have Public Liability and Professional Indemnity Insurance.

- How long do they stay? I usually start around two-and-a-half hours before the ceremony and stay until an hour after the first dance or later if there are fireworks.

- Have they shot at your venue before? If I haven't, I would usually go and check it out beforehand and speak to the wedding coordinator.

- Do you need to feed them? Usually yes if they're staying after the wedding breakfast. A lot of venues will feed the photographer, but some will charge you.

- Do you need to make a list of shots? Most do the standard groups, but if you have something in mind, ask your photographer.

- Finally, I always recommend that the happy couple take out wedding insurance just in case they have to cancel or postpone. It's very cheap and could save you a lot of money in the long run.

Paul Davies,Paul Davies Photography


The look of love

The look of love

Q. We're looking at photographers and were wondering what questions we should ask before booking?

A. Andrew Cockerill says: This is a question I see pop up all the time on social media. Start by talking to your photographer, and get to know each other on a personal level. This is important as you'll be spending more time with them on your wedding day than you will with your husband!

- If your photographer can't attend your wedding, do they know someone who can fill in last minute?

- Make sure everything is in writing, and you understand how the final product is going to be delivered to you. Some photographers provide albums and digital files as part of their package and others deliver them via The Cloud or USB. It's important you know exactly what you're getting to avoid disappointment.

- Find out how much additional products cost as you don't want any surprises when it comes to paying the bill.

- The amount of photos you get varies, but it's always good to ask, so you know what to expect before booking.

- Anyone can show you a portfolio of 40 or 50 images, but you must see a full gallery to get a true representation of what you'll be getting on the day.

Andrew Cockerill,Andrew Cockerill Photography


Snap happy

Snap happy

Q. How can we ensure our photographer is the right fit for our big day?

A. Carmel Teresa Mccabe says: Never be afraid to ask questions. Have a good idea of the type of things you want from your photographer and make a list of what's important to you, such as do they offer albums and is a second shooter an option?

Make sure your chosen supplier is insured and enquire about their cancellation policies just in case the worse was to happen. Do they have back-up equipment and how many hours of coverage do they offer? Finally, always go through the contract thoroughly before signing!

Carmel Teresa Mccabe,Carmel Teresa Mccabe


Love through a lens

Love through a lens

Q. We're looking for a wedding photographer, but we're a bit worried about booking someone online that we've never met. Do you have any suggestions?

A. Carmel Teresa McCabe says: Photographers should never have a problem meeting in person before the big day. I believe it's important that you gel with your chosen supplier, after all, you don't want to share one of the most important days of your life with a stranger.
- Never be afraid to ask questions before committing. Ask if and how long your photographer will provisionally hold your date and if they offer a no-obligation consultation before booking.
- Most importantly read the reviews from past couples to get a better insight into the company.

Carmel Teresa McCabe


Capturing memories

Capturing memories

Q. We're getting married next spring and would like some shots that reflect the season. Do you have any suggestions?

A. Lucy Parker says: Firstly, it might be useful to research places near your venue that you want to take photographs at. Mention them to your photographer, so they can go and visit before the big day. Don't be afraid to tell your chosen supplier your ideas and the look you want to achieve. Look for locations with beautiful spring flowers that are beginning to blossom, parks, fields and beaches with sand dunes. I encourage my couples to think of their favourite place that they may want to visit during the day.

I love all things natural, so I get my couples outside to make the most of the weather – even if it's a rainy day. I have a clear brolly in my car at all times so we can make the most of every situation.

Incorporate spring into your theme with pastel bouquets, seasonal favours and flowers. It's always fun to get your bridesmaids involved and get some cute outdoor photos.

Lucy Parker


Counting the pennies

Counting the pennies

Q. We're getting ready to book our photographer and were wondering how we can keep the price down without compromising on quality?

A. Carmel Ensor says: Sticking to a budget is easily achievable, here are my top tips:

- Research is key! Don't be afraid to ask plenty of questions and see what different suppliers offer. Does the photographer charge for extras that you're not interested in such as albums? If you're creative, consider purchasing a digital package and making your own album.

- Photographers will often offer lower rates at the weekdays or off-peak times. Keep an eye out for cheeky offers around the holiday season too! I always offer discounts for the new year and have seen other suppliers do the same around Christmas and Valentine's Day.

- Visit weddings fairs as they often have offers galore!

Carmel Ensor


Snow is falling

Snow is falling

Q. My wife-to-be and I are getting married next December, and we're worried about the weather ruining our photographs. Do you have any suggestions?

A. Peter Morgan says: Couples always worry about whether the weather will have an impact on their photographs. Choose a supplier and venue that can cater for all conditions. Expect the worst and plan for the best, and you'll be fine regardless of what Mother Nature throws at you. A good photographer will have assessed the location before the big day and looked at backup options. Bring a large white umbrella that can be incorporated into your pictures.

Peter Morgan


Winter romance

Winter romance

Q. We're having a Christmas wedding and want to incorporate the season into our photographs. Do you have any ideas of how we can capture wintry images?

A. Michelle Huggleston says: As a wedding photographer, it's my job to work with what you've booked in terms of location and venue. For images with a wintry feel, use your venue as a backdrop and incorporate the time of year into your décor and colour scheme. Your photographs should look cosy and warm, so think of Christmas trees with twinkly lights and stone fireplaces with a green garland across it.

If you're lucky enough to have good weather, pop outside and take some pictures of you snuggled up together.

Michelle Huggleston


Moments that matter

Moments that matter

Q. Booking a photographer is the next thing on our list, but we're worried about booking someone online we've never met. How can we overcome this?

A. James Matthews says: - With the number of photographers available, it's understandable that you're feeling overwhelmed. I get a lot of bookings from brides I've never met before the big day. Give your potential supplier a call and ask questions. You can even FaceTime or Skype if you find that easier.
- Make sure you read reviews carefully. Do you they feel genuine, and can they be verified? - Can the company supply a copy of its insurance? Most venues insist on seeing it before the big day.
- Find out how many weddings they've photographed.
- Make sure you're comfortable with their style.
- Above all, go with your instinct. If the price seems too good to be true, then it often is.

James Matthews


Paint a picture

Paint a picture

Q. We're getting married this autumn and would like some shots that reflect the season. Do you have any suggestions?

A. Neil Williams says: - Take some time away from your guests, and make the most of the weather.
- Ask your friends and family to throw coloured leaves instead of confetti.
- Decorate the venue in seasonal hues.
- Opt for festoon lighting to create a romantic atmosphere.
- Don't panic about the possibility of rain. If it pours, embrace it. Photographs in bad weather can create drama, especially with an autumnal backdrop.

Neil Williams


Through the lens

Through the lens

Q. We want lovely photographs, but we're limited by our budget. Do you have any suggestions?

A. Emily Wells says: - Style – Take some time to research and discover what type of photography you both like. - Cost – Decide on a budget, and remember you get what you pay for.
- What's important to you – Think about what part of the day means the most to you and your partner. If it's the ceremony, you could save money by finding a supplier who's happy to take photos of part of the day rather than the whole thing.
- Pick up the phone – We're a friendly lot and love a good wedding. Let your photographer know your budget, and if your big day is off-season or a last-minute booking, they may be able to put together a bespoke package for you.
- Be realistic – If the company you love is based in Scotland and your nuptials are taking place in Wales, don't be tempted to call and ask them to do a deal. Find someone local so they don't have to travel as far.
- Get creative – Chances are most of your friends will own a smartphone, so if you're tight on money, why not leave the reception images to them? There are some great photo-sharing apps available that will allow your guests to upload their images so you can see them all in one place.
- Priorities – Try to save money in other areas, as your photos will be the only thing that lasts a lifetime.
- Extras – It's always lovely to have a beautiful album, but most businesses don't offer them in a basic package. If you don't have the money, try making your own or purchase one a few months after the big day.
- A few words of caution – Trained professionals can capture beautiful images in what can be a stressful environment. Don't be tempted to ask your loved ones to shoot your wedding unless you're 100 per cent sure they'll do a great job. I've heard horror stories about lost moments and out-of-focus images. It's such a special day and deserves the best you can afford.

Emily Wells


Picture this

Picture this

Q. How can we keep photography prices down without compromising on quality?

A. Andrew Dowling says: - Photographs are one of the most important parts of any wedding. Look for other ways of saving money, and remember your pictures will last a lifetime.

- If you like a particular supplier and are keen on booking them but can't afford their services, then ask whether they offer an hourly package. That way, you can capture the ceremony and intimate shots without deviating from your budget.

- Keep in mind that most photographers will be booked months in advance and will be looking for a full day's work rather than a few hours here and there.

- Speak to students who are trying to break into the industry.

- Always ask to see a suppliers portfolio before booking.

Andrew Dowling