I am a big advocate for making the time to do a decent job
of family photos on wedding day! Everyone has made the effort of attending, they are all dressed up and looking fabulous..
It is a brilliant excuse to update the photos!
Not to mention it means so much more as the years go on...

Choosing your backdrop.

I prefer to shoot with the sun to people's backs to minimise squinting and harsh shadows across peoples faces. In some instances this is not possible, and in this case we will work with what we've got! If it is particularly windy for instance, we may prioritise facing in to the wind rather than facing away from sun to allow for people's hair to be pushed back out of their faces rather than across the face. Shaded areas are a great option. Dappled light can be tricky but workable, especially if we can put people's backs to the sun. I will often voice my preference for family photo spot and often times it isn't in-front of the arbour. If you have preferences for a location to use, keep in mind where the sun and wind will be and the time of the day we are shooting at too. I have loaded some picture examples to give a bit of a guide to how the weather can dictate our photos.

Late afternoon, very warm summer day.

Dappled light, warm day, backs to sun.

Overcast, facing toward sun, angle decided by wind and sea views.

middle of the day, very warm, backs mostly to sun.

Very windy, note patches of sun across faces - we try as best we can do avoid this but not always possible pending weather conditions

freezing, windy and rainy!

very warm day, only shade was from one structure and we had a couple of grandparents with limited mobility so we opted we opted to do photos in the shade with water backdrop rather than them navigate the beach

on the verge of raining, but wind was calm at that moment so we pushed on!

Overcast, on the verge of misty rain. Sun would have been shining on their faces if it were out.

Bloody windy, no shelter. Luckily sun was behind enough to utilise ocean backdrop.

very warm day, not much breeze. Sentimental backdrop that just so happened to be a great angle for photos.

Windy and warm. Limited mobility grandparents so we utilised what shade we had to keep with the water backdrop.

General Advice - This advice may seem a bit "stiff" and at odds with how I like to photograph BUT it is always handy to glance over and please simply ignore what doesnt apply to you and your family! If you aren't a hair-brushing or shoe-wearing family, don't do it just for photos! 

Sunglasses - I try to ask family to consider taking their sunglasses off for the ceremony, it looks so lovely in photos to see everyone's eyes rather than the reflection from sunnies! Also, whoever is walking the bride down the aisle (if applicable!), please take the sunnies off and stand proud - even if there are a few tears!

Pockets - This one is mainly for the guys; wallets, keys, phones are quite noticeable if they are in the front pockets of your pants for photos - they tend to look like an odd shaped bulge. If you would like to avoid this classic, pop them in your back pockets for the duration of photos!

Hair – If you’re getting a hair cut for your shoot, consider doing so about two weeks beforehand. This will allow for your hair to grow out to show off a more comfortable and "true to you" look.

Hair accessories – If you’re shooting outdoors, be ready to put your hair up in case of a windy day. Bring bobby pins, hair clips, headbands or any other favourite accessories.

Glasses – If folks wouldn’t recognise you without glasses, you want to wear glasses in your shoot – however, the glare on glasses can detract from your eyes in photos. If this is something you would prefer to avoid, you can have your lenses removed from your frames for your shoot (don’t worry, it’s what Hollywood does to avoid glare in movies), or ask your eye doctor to loan you a pair of similar frames, or you can also visit an inexpensive company online like Specsavers and buy a suitable pair of duplicate frames on the cheap.

Red eyes – Eye drops can be your friend. Not getting drunk the night before your shoot helps. [Don’t think I kid, I’ve shot plenty of hung-over clients.]

Lips – You will probably wipe or lick your lips during your shoot, so bring fresh lip balm or lipstick to do touch-up. Use lip balm for a few days in advance of your shoot to make your smoochers look their best.

Teeth – If you want to brighten your smile, start your treatments about two weeks before your shoot.

Breakouts – Drink lots of water in the few weeks leading up to your shoot and try not to drastically alter your skincare routine in the same timeframe. Equally important, it may be best not to cake on a lot of make-up to try to hide blemishes – it’s almost always easier to smooth over pimples than to clean up overdone make-up.

Make-up – A subtle application of make-up can really soften your skin and accent your facial features. But make sure that you are comfortable with how much you put on, do not feel that this is a necessary addition if it is something you would prefer not to do! If you are wanting to apply make-up, make sure it matches your skin tone, or your face may look a different shade compared to the rest of your body.

Moisturizer – Dry skin can detract from a great photo shoot. Start moisturizing nightly a week in advance of your shoot. When you get out of the shower, dry off until lightly damp, and slather on moisturizer. Focus on your arms, shoulders, neck, face, hands, anywhere you’ll be exposed to the camera. This includes your legs if you’re shooting in shorts or a skirt.

Nails – A fresh coat of nail polish can look nice for photos if you like to wear it. Pick a neutral color that won’t distract in your shoot or clash with your outfits. Freshen the morning of the shoot, then be careful not to scuff it while prepping. Your photo shoot is a great excuse for a fresh manicure, but if you can’t go to the salon, make sure your nails look tidy and clean, including the cuticles.

Undergarments – Bra straps on show won’t do anything to help your outfit look its best. Be sure you bring a set of bras and strap-adjusting accessories to work with any outfit you want to shoot in to keep those straps well-hidden.

Sun burns and tan lines – If your shoot is booked for Saturday, don’t go to the beach on Friday. If you plan to (naturally) tan before your shoot, do so at least a week beforehand and don’t get burned. Be mindful of clothing tan lines, sunglass tan lines, hat tan lines, etc.

Ironing – If you own clothes that require ironing (haha I know I don't own many!!), iron the night before and then hang the clothes for your shoot. If you’re wearing something that wrinkles easily (like linen), don’t wear it in the car on the way to the shoot – just change at the location.