Engagement Photo Shoots

Some cynical people would roll their eyes at even the idea of engagement or couples’ portraits; perhaps even considering them a narcissistic trend born out of the social media culture that we’ve found ourselves in. The more romantic would see them as another great moment in life worth capturing in all its beauty, just as important as a wedding day, the birth of a child or a grown, happy family.

But, regardless of your position, you may not have considered an interesting benefit of having an engagement photo shoot: trying out your photographer and seeing if you like their work and style!

This assumes you want the same photographer for both your engagement photo shoot and your wedding. But it gives you an opportunity to see how the photographer captures you as a couple, appraise their methods and style and make an informed decision on choice of photographer for your wedding day.

If you have many local wedding photographers who offer engagement services then there’s no reason you can’t try out more than one and make comparisons. Some of them might even offer to do the session for free as a way to introduce themselves to you. Others will charge for their time, but at only around 45 minutes for the shoot (and some extra for editing) it might not be too expensive to try more than one.

Let’s be honest: photographers put their best work on their website. But not all their work will be at such a high standard and it will always be dependent on conditions and the subject(s) being photographed. You want a photographer that can make YOU look good; not just the professionals models that are often used in portfolios.

So, if you have yet to book a wedding photographer, search local photographers for engagement shoot deals. See if you can get a free session from an up-and-coming photographer or look at the cost of multiple sessions as being an investment in peace-of-mind for your special day.

If you’re planning on getting married in the South Wales area; for a limited time you can get free engagement portrait photo sessions with the South Wales Wedding Photographer, Cherry Bomb.

When will the First Look go Mainstream UK?

In the UK there has been a tradition of grooms not seeing the bride the day of the wedding until the ceremony. The history of this can be traced back to the days of arranged marriages where the couple wouldn’t meet until the moment of marriage so to reduce the chances of one of them changing their mind! Luckily, things have changed since then and it has now been relegated to a bad luck superstition.

As someone interested in wedding photography and videography I consume a lot of international content, particularly videos on YouTube. I’m very curious about the differences between the UK, the USA and Canada. One of the more interesting trends to come out of North America is the “First Look”.

Instead of bottling up the excitement until the bride is literally walking down the aisle, some people have decided to calm the nerves a bit instead. The couple gets an intimate few minutes to see each other, away from the wedding guests, before the ceremony. The groom is free to react in a less pressurised environment and the couple are able to share a moment and chat instead of launching straight into a ceremony.

Another benefit of this trend is, by creating an extra moment of emotion, another opportunity to capture the couple arises. While you might think having a photographer or videographer around during the first look may defeat its purpose, professionals can capture the magic with minimum of intrusion. They will always aim to let the moment unfold organically, capturing it from a distance using longer lenses, and posing shouldn’t be used until after the moment has passed.

If you’re interested in a break from tradition then consider speaking to your wedding planner / organiser. They should be very aware of the first look trend and can help manage the experience for you.

So when is the “first look” likely to take off in the UK? It’s only a matter of time before celebrity and influencer weddings introduce it to a wider audience. Once a few couples take the plunge it will snowball. Perhaps, eventually, the old tradition will become the rarity?

Cherry Bomb provides Wedding Photography and Videography services in South Wales.

Why are Wedding Photographers so expensive?

Mobile phones are everywhere and their cameras get more impressive with every year. So impressive that some people ask whether they need a wedding photographer and why the professionals charge so much?

The first point is simple to answer. Although phone cameras are good, they’re not actually great. Their limited sensor size and focal ranges make them poor choices in many conditions. And those conditions are often encountered on wedding days: poor lighting indoors (ceremonies, receptions & dance floors), high dynamic range exposures (bright sunny days mixed with shade, dark rooms and bright windows). Professionals use expensive gear and additional lighting to overcome these problems.

The second point is related to the first. When you hire a photographer you’re paying for their expertise. Instead of snapshots, you get photographs. There’s a big difference.

Now, you might still be thinking it is a lot of money to be paying for a days work. After all, they have all the gear already. But here’s a list of things the photographer has to pay for that you might not have considered:

Maintenance, upgrading and replacement of gear – Although professional gear lasts a long time, it is expensive to buy, maintain and replace. Camera bodies and lenses can cost thousands of pounds EACH to buy and their upkeep is similarly expensive.

Redundancy – Good photographers are paranoid about letting down clients. Not only do they buy expensive cameras that shoot onto multiple cards to hedge against memory card failure, they also have backup everything; cameras, flashes, lights. They effectively have to buy 2 or more of everything and invest in long-term backup solutions just so they can sleep at night.

Gear Insurance – Taking all that camera and lighting gear out in public on a regular basis makes for significant risk and so high insurance premiums result.

Liability Insurance – Professional photographers will also have liability insurance so that if a disaster occurs which leads to a loss of their work, you can be compensated (financially or re-shoots). Not ideal, but better than the alternative.

Experience – Believe it or not, the ubiquity of phone cameras hasn’t made us a society of photographers. You can tell a good photo from a snapshot and it’s not just down to the camera used. Composition & understanding lighting are really important skills that take decades to acquire and put to practice in any scenario.

Advertising & Marketing – The wedding photography market is incredibly saturated. Good for consumer choice, but it means it costs a lot for photographers to promote their services. Word of mouth can only get them so far.

Travel & Accommodation – Sometimes photographers have to travel and stay in accommodation to ensure the best work for you. Don’t assume they just drive a bit on the day. Good photographers will have had to previously travel to the various locations for the wedding to scout them ahead of time. That’s their experience coming into play.

Editing – It’s not as easy as taking some pictures and then downloading them from the camera to print or send to the client. Every image needs to be edited for style and consistency. This is time-intensive and often exceeds the time it took to shoot the wedding.

Those were just the ones I could think of off the top of my head in 5 minutes. There’s undoubtedly more, but these are the main ones. If there’s one takeaway from this: yes, photographers are expensive; but they’re well worth it.

If you’re looking for a wedding photographer in South Wales, check out Cherry Bomb Wedding Photography.

Wedding Inspiration & Ideas (South Wales)

Wedding Videography Has Changed

I got married over ten years ago and the video of my wedding video was representative of what was the usual style at the time. It is a complete abomination in terms of film making and totally fails to convey the emotion of the day.

So what is in my wedding video? I’m not going to upload it because it’s personal and I don’t want to share; but also it is very unflattering of the married couple, the venue and the atmosphere. But I’ll briefly tell you how bloated it is.

Full wedding service, uninterrupted. Check.
Full reception speeches, uninterrupted. Check.
Handheld, poor audio quality footage of guests’ messages of good will. Check.
Dated chart music from around that time. Check.
Video goes on for over an hour and a half. Check

Sounds like my magical day was captured in its entirety, right? By a very narrow definition, yes. It certainly fulfils the definition of documentary. But what it has in length it lacks in capturing the joy, love and happiness of the day.

I’m not going to blame the videographer. That was the usual style of the day and it is also what couples (including us) asked for. They fear that the memories will fade and be lost entirely if every single moment of every contributor is not captured in high definition.

What should we be getting from our wedding videos and videographers?

You should be getting a Wedding Film. And by using the word “film” I mean it in the almost pretentious way. It should be a story of your day, told using the film maker’s tools and methods. It shouldn’t be a blow-by-blow account, warts and all.

Believe it or not, the best wedding videographer can make a 3 or 4 minute film that does more to capture the emotions than 90 minutes of reality TV. They can make you look like the most beautiful, happiest, in-love couple in existence using a combination of posing (directing), artistic photography, editing, sound design and music.

And let’s be honest, why would people want to watch your wedding video years later? Without the actual emotion and magic of being there on the day, sitting through over an hour of ceremony and speeches is something someone would do out of politeness only. But if you can show them a film the length of a song which tells a story and heightens the feelings, they can only be impressed and wish for such a beautiful day for themselves. They’re also a lot more social media friendly!

Here’s the harsh truth: you don’t really want to rewatch your funny uncle do that 10 minutes of stand-up. You don’t really want to document every word said in the ceremony. You might think you do now, but in years to come you’ll just have a long video that not even you can be bothered to watch.

You want a Wedding Film that instantly makes you remember that great day, powerful enough to draw a tear.

Cherry Bomb provides Wedding Photography and Videography services in South Wales. Covers the areas of Cardiff, Bridgend, the Vale of Glamorgan & Rhondda Cynon Taff.

South Wales Wedding Ideas & Inspiration

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