Top Tips for Preparing a Great Best Man Speech...

There aren't too many rules here and but are some guidelines you may want to follow if you don't want to embarrass yourself and/or insult anyone. I will also give a few line you can include in your own speech.

  1. It's a Wedding - It's not all about the stag and speech there is more to your role, keep that in mind.
  2. Be Thoughtful - why not buy a nice bottle of champagne or wine for the honeymoon suite for after the wedding. Offer to pay for your own suit or the hire? 
  3. Take the Stress - Unfortunately, you are there for the entire day from prep till the tidying up. like tip 1 it's not just about the speech and stag. You should be the go to guy unless it's a real emergency the groom should know of anything that has turned up late.
  4.  Be Prepared - Show that you care about the wedding as much as the groom, get everyone's number from the bridesmaids to the vendors. keep the bride and groom hydrated and make sure the vendors have all paid and been fed and have what they need to do what they were hired to do.
  5. Keep your speech short and sweet and avoid awkward stories that are funny ' by the bar' stories, to a minimum. the aunts and uncles and grandparents don't want to hear about the newlyweds' sex life. Also its generally a good idea not to bring up any ex's during your speech.

MY Top Tips for being a good Maid Of Honor...

There are some questions that dont get asked about weddings. Usually the only contact the photographer has is with the bride and not many other people, perhaps just the brides mother and father, and of course the groom. However, on the day there is a huge role that can be overlooked which can cause some confused as ive seen first hand. This role can be hugely important at some weddings more than others, and that is the maid of honor. For alot of people, whether its their first time or not being part of the bridal train, may not necessarily know what they can do to help the bride. So here are my top 5 tips to help be the best Maid of honor you can be. 

                  Wedding planning really can take over your life so be supportive and give honest opinions about the ideas she is giving you. When the bride asks you about the centre   peices for the table AGAIN, don't roll your eyes give her your honest opinion about them. Saying do what you want its your day is not what most brides want to hear when she has a million and one things running through her head about what could go wrong and what isit done. 
  2. Be her go to girl...

            The final few moments before a bride walks down the aisle can be her most nerve-wracking, so do your best to help keep her calm. Make it clear to everyone that you should be the first point of call when things go wrong, and only get the bride involved in true emergencies – she doesn’t need to know that the cake topper has gone missing or that the best man’s zip has just broken. Shield her from stresses at all costs and she’ll be eternally grateful afterwards.

  3. Make time for her...

      This is related to the first point. Your bride will always appreciate you making space in your diary for planning chats, and you should try your utmost to be available for all important appointments. If you can’t make it, be genuine and apologetic – try not to give the bride the impression that her big day doesn’t matter to you.

  4. Be a bridesmaid ALL day

    You're the maid of honour from the moment you wake up on the big day of the wedding to the moment you go to bed. Don’t forget about your duties after the ceremony is done and dusted e.g continue to be helpful throughout the reception and evening. do things like getting signatures for the guest book, making sure the suppliers have been paid and that granny has caught her taxi home.

  5. Ward off jitters

    Many brides will start to panic that they haven’t made the right decisions in the last few weeks. Banish all talk of ‘have I got the right dress?’ and ‘is the venue good enough?’ and reassure her that she’s made the right choices. If she’s seriously having second thoughts, talk it through calmly with her and make sure she’s thinking rationally before making any major changes.

I Took A Step Out My Comfort Zone!

I've been doing weddings and birthday for so long you get used to the experience and you know what will happen and when. At the weekend I took a job photographing a newborn. Now that might sound like it's not a big deal but its a completely different area of photography I explored.  It might sound simple and straight forward because newborns don't do much apart from sleep how could it be an issue. Their different issues you have to overcome which I found out on Sunday.

Photographing a newborn requires a lot of patience and planning. I did research before I took the photos and there were things I'd never of imagined I needed to prepare on the list. Things like feeding the baby before the shoot to make sure they are comfortable and sleeping. Things like what fabrics are made out of, flash or continuous lights, what the mum was comfortable with in terms of posing as babies as we all know seem more fragile that we think. 

The problems I had on that particular day was that the baby was blocked up and couldn't lay on her tummy for long before she started crying, also she wanted a feed half way through the shoot. There isn't much you can do about this apart from going back another day when she is feeling 100% and just wait for her to finish feeding. One of the props we intended to use wasn't working because she didn't like to be exposed to the air for too long, so the temperature of the room is vital for a comfortable baby. We had to abandon that idea and keep her wrapped up nice and warm and tight. 

 I myself had thought it was going to be easier than it was to take these types of photos but to get a baby to look like they're smiling or to pose them in such a way is very difficult. Compared to wedding photography it's much harder without a portfolio of newborn work to convince them it's safe to do some poses and you're not hurting the baby. All in all though it was successful and it looks like we got some great shots. I will ask teh mother if its ok to post a few photos on here so you can see the outcome. 

Is this where things change?

Lvone and Mendisi...

          When I first arrived at the house I couldn't tell who was the bride I approached the mother of the bride and told her congratulations, she replied with 'thank you, Lvone is upstairs getting ready you can go see her'. To my surprise, that was in fact, the bride.

Where can I start with this wedding, well, that's quite obvious, the bride. The lovely Lvone, bossy yet polite, my favourite type of bride she knew what she wanted and what time she was doing it. Now, the reason I became a photographer is because they are one of few people that women listen to without hesitation. The bride and I gelled instantly I arrived at her mother house the morning of her wedding. She was excited, nervous, on edge, happy, thrilled and agitated. The morning of your wedding you will feel more emotions than you ever knew you had. 

       Lvone had the most polite and beautiful family and bridal crew, they were all helpful and everyone pulled together to make the day run smoothly. They were all up and ready on time, before the bride as I like them to be. the bride didn't let anyone but the father saw the dress before she put it on so it was a surprise to the whole bridal crew, flower girl, and mother of the bride. We set up a shot to capture the expression of them when they first see the bride is all her glory. 

      The whole day was beautifully planned, they bride and groom decided to get married in the same place her mother and father got married just over 20 years ago. The attention to detail was really impressive they ever got the wedding rings from the 'Forever' range the same as the bride's parents. It was an emotional first half of the day and there were a lot of memories from the bride parent giving away their daughter the same place they also got married. It didn't stop a few happy tears being shed on both sides of the family.

      We had great fun shooting all the guest and bridal party, everyone knew everyone and got on very well with each other. The families were very welcoming to each other and it was like one big family. The Reception was small and intimate which was a first for me because usually I'd have 300-400 people to contend with but there were not more than 150 people at this one, I had plenty of time to get the shots I wanted to get and move on, my brain was in full creative gear. The speeches were a true reflection of just how well the families got on and even gave the mother of the bride a nickname. The location of the reception was perfect it had multiple locations I could use with the couple in order to get them the best shot together having a private moment alone to take in what was actually happening. 

    It was immensely clear the love that they had for each other and they really appreciate what I did and what they were going to get out of it at the end of the day. I Love this type of couple I couldn't ask for anything more from a client and am sure that we will become lifelong friends. I honestly wish them the very best and a happy and healthy life together. 

The Challenges of the day

    Now, when things are this perfect it doesn't mean I didn't have challenges. I'll give a few examples of things that went wrong but I made the best out of my situation. 

     At the house, I was taking shot inside and outside and changing my setting back and forward certain a challenge as I would forget to change things back, and I overexposed some of the outside shots which I correct the best of my ability and the cameras capability. Their shots aren't technically correct but I'm sure the bride will appreciate the moments I caught. 

I forgot to do the ring shot at the groom's hotel and I didn't know if I would have had time at throughout the day, but I had a 10-minute window at the reception where I asked Lvone and Mendisi for the ring to quickly get the shots at the venue. They turned out great as you will see in the slide show I will put up very soon so stay tuned for the update.

the only other thing that went wrong was I dropped my flash with my wireless triggers and then they didn't seem to work. To overcome that I had to move on calmly and think on my feet.  I had to use the slave mode on the camera with my flash and use my on-camera flash to trigger the off camera flash the result were outstanding still. I captured the love and intimacy between the couple with a beautiful sunset sky in the background.

  This is a new direction for me. This was the wedding that I realised that all my hard work was starting to pay off. This was what spark that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you accomplish something.  

Continuous lights have a place in Photography...

Recently I was looking at new lighting techniques and only really use my rotolight for stationary subjects, aka rings and shoes and jewellery to give it that extra sparkle. Recently  learnt that in dimly lit halls my rotolight was perfect to balance ambient with the couple to make them stand out from the background but also let in the beauty of the hall. 

I was worried about getting motion blur but given that the rotolight in the most very dark situation is very bright I could have a fast enough shutter speed to capture every moment. the other benefits can control the power output and the white balance to really show off the background colours but get correct colour on my subject. 

 Another benefit is that it is quick and easy to get the lighting just how you want it in second without the need to take a photo to get the shadows where you want them you can automatically see where they are. 

 In conclusion, continuous couldnt replace flash not in the near future at least anyway, but it has a place and for me and the way i shoot its here to stay