The insider guide to wedding photos

Fine art wedding photographer and newlywed Aneta Mak shares her need-to-know tips for perfect pics


What are the must-have shots for any wedding?


As a photographer (and recent bride!), to me a wedding day is a collection of important mini-events, each with its own moments to consider and document. The ‘getting ready’ section is full of beautiful detail, glamorous portraits of the bride getting into her dress and retouching her make-up, and the bridesmaids in stunning gowns, each looking like a movie star in her own right. I also spend a lot of this time styling and photographing all the details from the day – the stationery, any mementos, the bride’s accessories etc. I particularly love the moment when the father of the bride helps his daughter with her veil, putting it over her face for the last time before she becomes a wife – it always brings a tear to my eye and gives me butterflies as we approach the ceremony venue. 

Probably my most favourite part of the day has to be spending time alone with my couples. I typically shoot these at golden hour – the last hour or so before sunset – so the images are filled with the most incredible light! The couple portraits are often my brides’ and grooms’ favourite shots of the day and something they all say they look forward to when we meet for our consultation. 

Group shots are also a must: where else will you get all of your favourite people in one photo? These definitely don’t have to be boring! I often encourage a more relaxed way to pose, getting my groups to interact a little, by hugging, kissing and smiling at each other. Movement and laughter creates some really beautiful and sincere moments, all worthy to be printed and displayed in your home. Some of our favourite shots from our wedding are our group photos.

Are you seeing any new trends in how couples want their celebrations captured?

A lot of brides now ask for luminous and romantic imagery photographed on film. They love the softness of film photography and will frequently extend the cocktail hour or schedule their ceremony to coincide with the best light. Many of my brides are avid Pinterest-ers, so they love pretty detail shots. I really look forward to photographing how the personalities of my couples come out in the styling for their big day.

Quite a few couples love the idea of the First Look, when the bride and groom get to see each other in a private setting before the ceremony. This is actually quite useful for weddings that start late in the day and when sunlight is scarce or non-existent. We also use this time to take their creative couple portraits, and it means we can use the cocktail hour for more fun stuff, like guest photographs.

I find myself using a lot of grainy black and white film throughout the day, as couples love the old-school glamour that only a real black and white photograph can provide. The drama that’s created using films like Ilford Delta 3200 is truly incredible, and lends itself so well to getting ready shots, speeches, the first dance and a sparkler exit!

What do photographers need to know before the big day?

I always hold a consultation with my couples at least a month before the wedding – at this point they will have most of the details of their wedding at hand. We typically discuss the itinerary, go through each section of the day in detail, and identify any issues that would need to be overcome to ensure great photos. A week before the wedding, I typically request an updated itinerary and a list of all key people in the bridal party and a supplier list. Sometimes, brides volunteer photos of their family and friends (via email or printout) – this is a great idea, especially for weddings over 70-80 people, as it means no-one will be missed and your loved ones will all feature extensively in the photos. 

How do you deal with wet weather?

Rain doesn’t have to put a stop to beautiful photos! A pretty and elegant umbrella can be a great prop in your images, if you don’t mind venturing in some light rain to get those beautiful outdoor shots. Alternatively, I always scout the venue ahead of time to identify the best room with the most abundant light – indoor shots can be just as stunning, with a little preparation. So many venues have incredible murals and antique furniture; it would be a shame not to incorporate them into your imagery. 



Check out the pics of Aneta’s gorgeous French wedding at youandyourwedding.co.uk/real-weddings