Working With your Wedding Photographer, Do’s and Don’ts With Xander & Thea Photography

Wedding photography is one of the topics I am asked most about on Nu Bride. From advice to recommendations. It’s understandable, It is probably the most saturated of fields in the wedding industry.

So, as promised I wanted to share some tips straight from the experts as part of our new year wedding planning series, to help you get off on the right foot.

Today, gorgeous international Fine Art photographer AND bride-to-be (yippee!) Alethiea of Xander and Thea gives us the lowdown on working with your wedding photographer. Ps. Alethiea, how are you going to decide who takes your wedding pictures! LOL!

Let’s go!


After graduating from University with a Fine Art BA specialising in Fine Art photography, marble sculpture and Art History, I threw myself into fashion photography. I loved fashion so it seemed at the time a perfect fit but I grew quickly dissatisfied, I wanted more emotion and genuine romance (it’s the Italian in me!)

After working in Madagascar doing photojournalism for an American NGO (too much heartbreaking emotion there!), I realised wedding photography was the perfect combination of style, romance and storytelling. So one morning whilst sitting on a beach in one of the remotest parts of Madagascar I decided to start my own wedding photography business. That was 2012 and I’ve not looked back since! (Nu Bride: Thank goodness!)

Xander and Thea Wedding-Yurts--Xander-and-Thea-Fine-Art-Wedding-Photography-UK-and-Italy-6018Xander-and-Thea--Staffordshire-wedding-photography--West-Midlands-Fine-art-photography-1429

I’m now both a wedding photographer and a bride-to-be so this year has really got me thinking in-depth about the Do’s and Don’ts of wedding photography.

It is so important to find a professional, reliable and experienced photographer but; and I don’t think this is said enough, the road to getting great images is a collaboration between the photographer and the couple.

Here are some important Dos and Don’ts I have come across as a photographer and will be making sure to implement them to help my photographer create the best work they can for my own forthcoming wedding.

DO: Speak to your priest / celebrant / minister in advance


For whatever reason some priests / celebrants / ministers can be pretty strict when it comes to photography during the ceremony.

Some don’t allow flash.

Some require photographers to stand in one position, limiting your photographers view of you both. Grrr…

And some don’t even let you take photos at all!!

For many (most!), the ceremony is the reason you are all here together in the first place, so make sure you ask your ceremony conductor in advance of booking about their policy on official photography.

I’d suggest getting it in writing too. I have had on a couple of occasions them change their mind on the day.

With that being said, ensure you are working with a photographer who works as unobtrusively as possible during the ceremony in particular. As a guest, I witnessed a photographer fanning out the brides dress and moving the couple so they were exactly in the centre point of the aisle WHILST the ceremony was going on! My little photographer heart wanted to cry!

DO: pick your venue carefully 

Xander and Thea

Love a photographers light, airy images? Don’t want flash to ruin the ambience of your intimate wedding celebrations?
Don’t pick a poorly lit venue!

Please consider your venue and photography style in tandem.

Rooms bathed in natural light will allow your photographer to achieve those light and airy images you have seen on their website. Of course there is artificial lighting which can help, but nothing truly compares to that naturally diffused light that makes skin tones look so luscious and soft and if this is what you prefer, choose your venue and photographer wisely.

DON’T: give your photographer a huge list of shots


Whilst you definitely should give your photographer a list of important people to photograph and any unique must have shots, please don’t give them a minute by minute shot list, walking down the aisle, ring on finger, first kiss etc. And I suggest no more than 5 family group shots. This isn’t so much for photographers, but I find that couples massively underestimate the time of gathering people together for a photo. (Nu Bride: Yes, it’s like herding sheep!) Budget 5 minutes per group photo. Although that is more than enough time to get the shot, it can quickly get eaten up if you are having to find guests or prize your aunty away from the champagne.  Guests can get irritable if they have to hang around waiting so keep it as efficient and short for them as possible!

DON’T: be fooled by Pinterest


Now I have nothing against Pinterest.

In fact I am a little addicted, aren’t we all?

But I strongly recommend staying away from fad photos. There are lots of very cutesy ideas, but don’t feel you need to ask your photographer to try to recreate every one. If they are a must, pick your favourite to do, but more importantly talk to your photographer to find more unique and timeless ways to capture your love.

Another of my woes with Pinterest is that those beautiful natural looking images that don’t look posed, most often are in fact just that!

The word ‘Posed’ definitely has a bad reputation, we immediately think of stiff and awkward couple shots we see in our parents wedding album, but there is a new breed of photographer in town and this new generation of photographer poses you into beautifully styled yet natural shots! Think of it more as ‘lightly directed’! Ultimately, please trust your photographer to do what they do best, they really do want you to look great in your photos.

DO: linger on your first kiss


I have seen some first kisses so short that had I blinked I’d have missed it! Ensure your photographer captures this beautiful moment by lingering for a just second longer! (Nu Bride: Permission to have a big smooch, don’t be a prude now! lol!)

Do “Bring it!”


Imagine, you are at a karaoke…someone gets on the stage. You can tell they are embarrassed, their voice isn’t actually bad but they are quietly singing out the words, crippled by shyness. Quite frankly it’s awkward for everyone involved….Now the next person to get on stage is the worst singer but really goes for it! They give the most entertaining performance and the crowd are loving it! This singer is confident, enjoying themselves and doesn’t care what the audience think. Now which singer would you prefer to watch?
Do you see where I am going with this? As Brits we aren’t actually that good with showing emotion, especially if it’s in front of someone else. We are meant to be a little too cool for that! But the best photos come when you just let go and ‘bring it’ to your couples shots! You are getting married, you are in love! If there is one time to let go, this is it!! (Nu Bride: Keep it clean folks, keep it clean lol!).

DON’T: forget to feed your photographer a hot meal


Last but not least please, please, please feed your photographer and make sure the caterers know where and when!

It is such a long day for a wedding photographer. There are no breaks in the day to replenish our body and it’s not been unknown for me to be too busy to stop regularly for drinks of water. The last thing a photographer wants to do is have to leave your wedding venue to find food, as it’s a risk that any change in timing will mean you miss photos as your photographer is offsite. The only time a photographer has to eat is when the guests are eating so please make sure the caterers feed your photographers during this time to avoid missing any action. Often caterers will want to feed the vendors last, this is a problem because by the time the couple have finished, the vendors may just be getting their meal and suddenly you haven’t got your photographer when you need them!

Now that’s food for thought! Thank you so much Dear Thea and the very best of luck with the rest of your wedding planning too!

The Talent

Photography: Xander and Thea

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