I wanted to start where I left off last year, my last post I wrote was about the importance of a pre wedding shoot and this is a theme I wanted to bring to the forefront of my blog yet again.
Back in August, when I was waddling around photographing my last few weddings before the birth of my son, I photographed a beautiful wedding at Hogarth's in Solihull. I think it was a day or two after that I received a call from Michelle (and Tom) asking me if I was available for a date in September this year and that she had been a guest at the wedding I was shooting the day or so before and she had also seen my website previously and they really wanted me to photograph their wedding.
Wow, After a lovely conversation I think we ended it knowing each other's entire life story and I'm not sure how long we chatted for but when I emerged downstairs I told my husband the gist of our conversation and he said it must have been good because I had been gone two and a half hours! He's prone to exaggeration so I'm not entirely sure how accurate that was, but we did talk for a while and I had a really good feeling about their wedding. More than anything, they stressed to me how important the photos are to them and I think that is a crucial ingredient, when it comes to a successful recipe for wedding photography. Don't just take my word for it, of course, hear what Michelle and Tom have got to say about their first hand experience of a pre wedding shoot/engagement shoot.
We met last week in Beacon Park in Lichfield, early evening, lovely light at that time of day. I am going to share the images with you in this post, it was everything a pre shoot should be and more. The more bit was Nigel the dog, he's a star and you will see him in a sec, also we had some input from Callum, Michelle's son for a rather special family photo! Oh and the Bride and Groom kind of 'rocked' it in every way possible.
I now hand over to the bride and groom themselves for a little insight into them as a couple and how they are planning for their wedding, the importance of wedding photos and how they felt about their pre shoot.
The Proposal: Who/What/Where?
Michelle says "May 29th 2012, Ricoh Arena, Coventry. Tom had decided around Christmas time that he wanted to propose and chose a Coldplay gig for his perfect moment. Knowing the song "Fix You" was a tear jerker for me he googled the set list, found out that it was the last song of the set and planned it all by himself. He even got his sister in on the act, sneaking the ring through security, and having champagne in the boot of her car for the journey home. It's all on video too!!" (I've seen the video and I was in floods of tears watching it!)
What have you found to be the most useful source of inspiration for your wedding? i.e a particular Magazine or Wedding Blog or something else?
It's been really weird, because I always thought I knew what I wanted. But when it actually came to it, what we've chosen has been so different. I learnt very early on to actually not bombard myself with ideas because its too easy to talk yourself out of things that you thought you'd made a solid decision on. I bought one magazine back in August last year, went to only one dress shop and had the 2nd dress I tried on, and have got so much of my stuff from eBay and etsy sellers!
I'd like to think I gave myself inspiration because I'm quite creative, and love all things vintage. Thankfully, Tom's let me more or less have free rein. He has had input though!!
How important is photography to you for your wedding on a scale of 1-10 (1 being not very important and 10 being ABSOLUTELY IMPORTANT!!)
"10 definitely, it's hugely important which is why we spent time working out how to afford Helen, and then asked her (see below)".
Michelle said"I googled photographers in Lichfield and Helen was the first to come up. Obviously I clicked on her website and had a good look through. I didn't look at anyone else, genuinely. But we were on a really really small budget, and we didn't think we could afford a real photographer so we were going to ask a family member who's quite nifty with a camera.
About a month later, we went to a wedding and Helen was there, when we saw the pictures we both decided that the budget would have to be stretched because there was no way on earth we were not going to have Helen shoot our wedding"
How did you feel about being offered a pre shoot as part of your photography package (before the shoot)?
Tom: "I thought it was amazing, a really good idea" Michelle: "I thought it was a new concept on the whole wedding photography business, not that I'm an expert at all. It was a surprise to find out that was included, but also genius"
My view on pre wedding shoots is not that I am trying to devalue them by including them in my packages, I believe they are totally invaluable, they are an important part of the preparation for your wedding day and working towards achieving the photography you desire on the day.
Did you put much thought into your pre shoot i.e outfits/styling and poses you like?
Yes definitely! I got my dress in March and had the shoot at the end of July! I saved every photograph I found on the net that we liked, and we had a meeting prior to the shoot.
Tom particularly wanted some shots in a cornfield which are absolutely amazing. The best thing is that Helen "got" us. She nailed it.
Did you enjoy the pre shoot?
Tom: "yeah, everything was natural and just fell into place. We didn't feel awkward in front of the camera."
Michelle: "I was worried because I HATE having my photograph taken. But it really was amazing. After about 5 minutes I really was enjoying myself, which I wasn't sure I would. It was honestly AMAZING."
How do you feel about the shoot now that you have done it and have seen your pictures?Michelle: "We sat at the laptop in complete silence for a while, just flicking through each one. I actually couldn't speak because I was so seriously choked up.
Tom is way more confident than me, but it doesn't show at all. I can tell by my face that I'm comfortable. I have been worried about my wedding pictures because its something I can never change, but If they're half as good as the pre wedding shoot, they'll be amazing.
Do you think a pre shoot is valuable for any bride and groom to help them get to know their photographer/feel comfortable in front of the camera?
Both: It's essential. Absolutely 100%.
I think this next image in black and white is a favourite of Michelle and Tom, their chemistry together is wonderful and truthful, they are such an fabulous couple to work with. Despite Michelle's initial worries about having her photo taken, I worked with them to quickly get rid of that fear, after all that is part of my job and what I am paid to do!
When asked what their favouite thing about each other is:
Michelle replied about Tom "He's my best friend! There isnt a favourite thing. He calms me down and keeps me grounded. It took a long, complicated journey to get here... But I'm thankful for every second of it".
And Tom said "I love everything about her, she's my best friend and my soul mate".
Tom describes his wife to be as beautiful, thoughtful & caring and Michelle says her man is cool, handsome & crazy.
Thank you to Michelle and Tom for sharing some of their thoughts on each other, planning their wedding and above all, planning their photography! I cannot wait to photograph their wedding in September, its gonna be emotional and so AMAZING!!
If you wish to view more of my work please visit my main website http://www.helenhowardphotography.co.uk and please 'like' my facebook page http://www.facebook.com/helenhowardphotography
Thank you for reading........xxx