My Top Tips for Wedding Couples

'Fashionably late'. Arriving a few minutes late is fine, but any more and you will risk unnecessary stress, annoyed guests, or worse: your ceremony being cancelled due to the impact on a following wedding ceremony. This can and has happened! Ask one of your wedding party to be the time keeper.

Guests and their cameras/phones. Your call , but from experience, my strong advice is to ask family and guests to put their cameras and smartphones away during the ceremony (aka 'Unplugged Wedding')  Ask the official to announce it and you won’t feel awkward. You guests are there to witness and enjoy your wedding; to be IN THE MOMENT with you!

Photo list: The only list I need is the Family/Group shot list (see below). Sending a list of wedding photos to your wedding photographer is something that some wedding magazines recommend, but the only time this is useful is if you are using an inexperienced photographer. If I have a list to work to, I could easily miss fleeting magic moments as I will be looking down at the list all day! It also affects my flow and creativity. I am very experienced at wedding photography and you can trust me to anticipate all the key moments. By all means if you have a special photos or two in mind let me know, but preferably not an instagram shot to replicate as that will not be YOUR wedding memory!

Family/Group Shots - this is the part of the day that can cause unnecessary time away from your guests and irritation if not planned properly. Create a list, and don’t go overboard with the number of combinations. I will help you compile the list in a logical order and explain how we will make this happen smoothly.

Please see the example list at the bottom of this page.

Moiré - avoid any fine check or repeated patterns/lines in clothes (suits etc) , as this can cause an effect in photography called Moiré resulting in rainbow type patterns. Consult your wedding photographer if you are unsure.

Rain - There is nothing that can be done to stop it, so we go with the flow! It rarely rains without a break, but if it does, I come prepared with portable lights for indoor shots. We can always capture some wonderful atmospheric/romantic shots of the two of you walking together under an umbrella in the rain!

Alcohol. Pace yourself! It is fine to calm the nerves before the ceremony if you wish, but you have a long day/evening ahead, so take it easy during the day! This is good advice for your immediate wedding party too...

Confetti, Bring your own, it looks better if it is all the same type. Plus many venues insist on biodegradable, so you can control it. Assign one of the Wedding Party or the venue to hand it out as guests exit the ceremony.

Bubbles - although can be a nice substitute for confetti, they are more prone to being blown away outside! I am not a huge fan as they can burst on my lens requiring a stop and clean!

Fake Tan - I would recommend going easy on fake tan as it can come out on the orange side in photos!

Sun Tan, as you approach a wedding be aware of any exposed areas not have an even tan! Your makeup artist should be able to fix through.

Best Man speech. Remember there are often young guests present, so over-lewd jokes or in-jokes can fall flat. Cheeky is fine, but keep it clean and don’t go too far with the Groom’s (or Bride’s) past. I have seen microphones being snatched away from the Best Man by the Bride or the Bride’s Father - and no one wants that!

Makeup. Avoid any make-up with SPF including mineral veils/powders (used for cheek highlights etc) , as it can cause silver reflections in photos particularly when flash is used.

Chewing Gum! - it may calm the nerves but can result in unattractive shots. A big No-No for the couple and the wedding party!

Finally. This is a happy occasion, try not to let the nerves take over. Once the day arrives, take in every moment and allow the day to unfold. If you book me, you can be sure you will have photos of memories you will want to revisit, and moments you never even saw, so relax and enjoy YOUR big day.


Thinking of getting a family member or friend to do your wedding photography?

When I started out, I was advised by a seasoned professional that it would take me 6 months to feel fully confident and able enough to handle all the requirements that make up wedding photography. I found this hard to believe but it was sound advice. I'm glad I didn't take on my own weddings until I had experienced several weddings as a 'second shooter’. There is so much to learn, experience and manage. This can include planning, lighting variations, anticipating key moments, time management, registration rules, working with other suppliers, pace, differing equipment choice, plus a whole list of unseen issues such as insurance, duplicate equipment, contingency planning, spare batteries, cards, bad weather lighting, professional post-production skills and software, print preparation, album design skills, and on!

With all the costs and time dedicated to weddings, it's so important to ensure you have professional photographs to bring back all those memories for a lifetime.

How long do you stay?

For packages that includes the evening, I normally stay until around 30 minutes after the First Dance, so typically around 8:30/9:00 pm. I like to get some shots of your guests letting their hair down, but also conscious that they may not want a camera pointed at them all night! However, if there is something specific such as fireworks, Chinese lanterns, etc., we can discuss this.

What do you wear at our wedding?

I dress like a guest so as to blend in. That way I can capture those wonderful natural shots where people are not necessarily aware of my presence.

Are you insured?

Yes, I have a dedicated photography insurance policy that includes public liability

Can I send a list of the photos we would like and examples?

 We always discuss the plan for the day and any specific parts of the day, so I don’t need a list as it will only distract me from catching key moments! Replicating a particular wedding photos you have seen is not recommended as it was a unique moment in another wedding. But happy to look at anything specific or unusual! 

How many groups shots do you take?

Once I know your family structure, I can help you put a list together. I normally recommend no more than 10 combinations. Although I am very experienced at organising these efficiently, I know only too well how this part of the day can take up valuable time away from talking with your guests and of course the time we need for the all-important couple shots.

How/when do we pay?

2 weeks before the wedding, via Bank Transfer

Do we feed you?

Totally up to you, but if you do please note that I am a Vegetarian.

What happens if you fall ill or have an accident etc?

 I have never missed a wedding but as part of my contingency planning, I am part of an extensive network of fellow professional wedding photographers.

Do you work alone?

 I tend to work alone at most of my weddings unless there is a specific reason to have a second photographer (e.g. separate preparations etc). It keeps your costs down and I find it less distracting. It is also less unobtrusive throughout the ceremony and speeches etc. I do have some great second photographers to call on if/when required though!


 By default, copyright remains with the photographer. However the wedding couple is effectively given a 'licence of use'. This means you can use your wedding for anything that isn’t ‘commercial’,(eg competitions, advertising, selling etc). When posting your wedding photos online, all I ask is that you quote '@Alan Barnes Photography’. This not only helps to protect me but also deters others from copying your wedding photographs and using them elsewhere!

What is your Privacy policy?

 Please visit my Privacy page

Wedding Family/Group List example

Below is an example of the combinations that make up a typical Wedding Group photography session.

Of course this list assumes all parents are present, which of course is not always the case.

Also I have referred to the couple as B&G, but please translate to G&G, B&B or Partner 1 & Partner 2 for same sex weddings etc.

  • B&G with B's Parents
  • B&G with G's Parents
  • B&G with both sets of parents
  • B&G with B's immediate family
  • B&G with G's immediate family
  • B with Bridal Party (and one with G too if desired)
  • G with Groomsmen (and one with B if desired)
  • B&G with everyone

Other combinations could include Grandparents, siblings, colleagues and friends etc

My recommendation is for no more than 12 if you don't want to spend too much time on this part of your Wedding day.