Ten years ago, Khalile Siddiqui was running his own photo lab and doing studio work when he decided to become a wedding photographer. ‘Brides kept bursting into floods of tears about their dreadful wedding photos and it was heart breaking, so that, combined with a friend who wanted me to photograph their wedding, made me decide to branch out,’ he remembers. Now after photographing more than 200 weddings, Khalile is sharing his vital advice on what couples should do to make sure their wedding photographs successfully capture their special day.
- To find a photographer, ask friends for recommendations, explore websites and wedding fairs, but most importantly speak to the photographer. If meeting is not possible, then facetime or skype. Khalile explains, ‘As well as liking the photographer’s style, you must feel 100% comfortable with them. They will be in close proximity for a lot of your wedding day, often in intimate situations, so you must like them. ‘
- Check that they use correct protocol and procedure. A sign of that is whether they are not just a member but have a Licentiate (Licence) Associateship or Fellowship of a professional body. Khalile is a Licentiate of The Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers which means the quality of his work has been approved by other professionals. Likewise, a photographer who has entered and won awards is showing both pride in their work and that they are good at it. The South West Wedding Award, which Khalile has won three times, has independent judges rather than an easily manipulated Facebook liking system.
- Check that the photographer has public liability and professional indemnity insurance. Khalile’s insurance means that should a couple’s wedding photographs be of bad quality they are entitled to have another wedding day paid for. Happily, he has never had a claim against him. ‘I understand that this is the most important day of their lives and the photos are sacred,’ said Khalile. ‘When my wife was due to give birth to our son Quais, I reassured the couple whose wedding I was doing I would be with them even if she went into labour. After all, they booked me before the pregnancy happened. Luckily the two dates didn’t overlap.’
- Check how the photographer safeguards your images. Khalile uses two memory cards simultaneously on the day and downloads the images to duel hard drives immediately after a wedding.
- Check whether the photographer does their own editing, as Khalile does. Some photographers farm out the images for editing which can result in poorer quality. Do remember though that the photographer can only do so much with editing, this may be an occasion when a professional makeup is a good idea. Khalile’s wife Tamsyn, as well as taking photographs on the wedding day too, is a makeup artist and she freshens up the bride’s makeup and subtly change it as the lighting changes. What looks good in the sunlight, is not the same as what looks good under the disco lights.
- Have a meeting with your photographer about a month before the wedding and make it at the venue if the photographer has not seen it. Khalile says, ‘This is when I am part wedding planner as well as photographer. We discuss the timing of the day, for example I am not a fan of photos of brides in their curlers, so that’s when I gather together the groom and his mates for a photo shoot, then I can be with the bride for the finishing touches, such as putting on the dress. I also suggest a visit to the local beach between the wedding breakfast and evening reception. It’s often a down time and it gives the couple a breather, as well as atmospheric photos.’
- Make lists of your family and friends and what groups you would like them photographed in – no one wants to find that a random plus one is star of the wedding photos while a much loved relative is missed out. Khalile says, ‘The shortest group list I’ve had was the bride and groom with her parents and his parents, but most of the time couples have many more people they want featured. I also like to know people’s names, it’s much friendlier on the day to be asking for Shelia rather than the mother-of-the-bride.‘
- Khalile also suggests setting out a photo booth style setting. He explains ‘I provide studio lights and the couple can provide fun props like photo frames, feather boas and glasses which are cheap on ebay and it really helps even the most camera shy guest relax. A bit of mischief, it’s fun and quirky.’
- But do not go too quirky in the style of the photographs. Khalile advises, ‘Go for a timeless style, not one where people can say ooooh I remember when everyone had their wedding photographs done in that way. For example, there was a fashion for black and white wedding photos with the balloons coloured. It looks dated now and also it’s not helpful in 40 years when your grandchildren are asking what colour the bridesmaid dresses were and you can’t remember because your photographer only supplied you photos that have been through filters or are black & white.’
- Make sure the photographer gets some photographs to you soon after the day. ‘I like to send a link to the couple of their wedding blog on our website a couple of days after their wedding day,’ says Khalile. ‘It reassures them that the job has been well done and they can go away and relax knowing when they return the full batch will be waiting for them to enjoy.’
You can view Khalile’s contact details on www.weddingphotographyincornwall.co.uk.