A couple of weeks ago I had the absolute pleasure of talking wedding photography with Hannah Larkin, of Hannah Larkin Photography. We covered bespoke, and tips for looking your best on your wedding day, as well as her how-to for finding the right photographer for you.
You can tell I had a “lovely” time talking to Hannah, because that’s how I responded to everyone of her answers! And it was awkward typing up the transcript, but I stand by my declarations of loveliness. Check out the video below (subtitles available) or you can read the chat below.
Katherine: Hi, it’s Katherine from Giftast, and I’m here with Hannah Larkin, wedding photographer. Lovely to see you, Hannah.
Hannah: Hi, nice to see you Katherine.
K: And if you wouldn’t mind just introducing yourself?
H: Yeah, sure. So I’m Hannah, from Hannah Larkin Photography. I’m a London-based wedding photographer, with a second base up in Northumberland, in the North East, and
I travel across the UK and also overseas, photographing beautiful weddings, and also families.
I have a sort of “Lifestyle” style to my photos, just natural, relaxed, and with a real focus on capturing emotions as they happen on your wedding day, so I can create a story of the day as it happens.
K: Oh, lovely. Now, do you have any tips for brides and grooms who might be a bit more uncomfortable with being photographed, for how they can look their best in their wedding photographs?
H: Yeah – that’s a really common concern, and actually most of the brides and grooms who get in touch with me will say that at least one of them either hates having their photograph taken and is camera shy, or feels very awkward.
So what I always recommend is to have an engagement shoot as a chance to practice.
So all my wedding photography packages include and engagement shoot, and it’s just a couple of hours for us to go somewhere where you feel relaxed and comfortable, and we can practice taking the pictures. You can get used to being in front of my camera, I can get used to working with you, and we get to know each other as well, because I think if you know the person who’s taking the pictures and you feel that you can kind of trust them, that you can relax and be yourself and have a bit of fun with it as well, then that will show in your photos.
K: Lovely. What are your favourite sort of images to take in both wedding and engagement shoots?
H: Well, I think the beauty of weddings is that you get to take all sorts of different photos throughout the day, so I get to start off with catching all the special details that you’ve chosen for your day, so I’m – yeah, I love seeing the kind of thought and effort that people have put in to finding exactly the right accessories or rings, you know, shoes, jewellery, the stationery, of course as well, and capturing all those pretty details before the start of the day. Ceremonies are always special, as that time where where everybody is just sort of stopping and watching, so being able to document that, sort of quietly and unobtrusively, but really seeing all those emotions as they happen is so special.
I think probably my favourite bit though is the portraits,
so being able to take the bride and groom away from their guests, give them a little bit of time together to sort of take note of what’s happening and have that space to think “wow, we did it! We got married!” And yeah, having that sort of quiet time just to create romantic portraits.
K: Aw, that’s lovely, I suppose that it’s sort of –
if you do them straight after the ceremony as well, it’s the first time they spend together as a married couple, which is really special.
Thanks for that, that’s lovely.
H: Yeah, and I think that as part of that, I’ll get them to walk around a little bit, so I’m not going to be with them or in their face for the whole time, so they do have a bit of time just to kind of chat and have some private moments, and then of course I’ll be interacting with them to get kind of more close up pictures too, but yeah, I think a lot of my couples appreciate that bit of time where they haven’t got guests coming up to them all the time saying “Congratulations!”, so it is a little moment just to celebrate with their partner.
K: Aw, that’s lovely. I know you like doing very bespoke, personalised weddings and things like that, so do you have any – if you’ve got a wedding with a strong theme, of how to get that into your photos?
H: So yeah, I really love it when a wedding kind of displays either different cultures or traditions that the families bring, or kind of personalised elements that reflect the couple themselves rather than just a kind of generic wedding, so I always sort of spend time getting to know my couples.
I take on only a limited number of weddings each year, so I do dedicate time to chatting with them, getting to know them, so I’ll be asking all about their decisions and choices for the wedding, what are the things they’re most excited for, what are the things they’ve spent the most time looking for and were the happiest when they found, and in that way I can make sure that all of those special details, important people – things that I know they really, really wanted or they put a lot of effort into getting, all of those details are captured for them on the day.
K: That’s lovely.
H: Yeah, and also I sometimes offer a slideshow – a wedding slideshow – of the day and that can be set to music that – so sometimes to the first dance song, or sometimes if there’s a particular song in a ceremony that means a lot to the couple, then I might use that to help kind of also carry that theme on through their wedding pictures.
K: Aw, that’s so lovely. With all that in mind, how much sort of work you do with couples ahead of time, how far in advance do you recommend people try and book their photographer?
H: Well, it depends how long your engagement is obviously, what options you’ve got. I’ve got some couples who’ve been booked in for two and a half years in advance, other couples will contact me with a few months to go. I’d say ideally you’d want to be booking at least six months in advance, and that’s to give a time to get to know each other, to schedule any engagement shoots, and to think through the timings for the day and the group shots, and just make sure that there’s no rush. But of course, if you’re planning a last minute wedding, especially elopements tend to be shorter time scales, and that’s something that I can work to too, but yeah – so something that fits you,
but if you’ve got the option then I’d go for it at least six months before.
How does that work for you in terms of ordering for somebody’s Save the Dates and then Invitations are some of the first things that people are going to be sending out. What the sort of time scale for doing that?
K: Well, again, it depends entirely on how long your engagement is. Personally, I had a very short engagement, so we didn’t do save the dates at all, we did it far too short to be honest, for any of that, so yeah, we just did straight to invitations. But it really depends on like how personal you want it, because I think there’s this idea that you have to do save the dates, invitations and RSVPs, but at the moment, again, depending on how long their engagement is, and whether you’re going abroad, save the dates might not be the right thing for you, and it’s the same with RSVPs – if you’re inviting a lot of younger people, you might not want to send out paper RSVPs to everybody,
so it’s really mix and match, making it to what fits best with how you’re doing your wedding and how you’re planning your ceremony.
So yeah, it’s so personal. Absolutely. Do you have any tips for couples on choosing the right wedding photographer for them, so for style and things like that, that they want for their photos?
H: Yeah, I guess first it’s about looking at pictures and trying to work out what sort of style appeals to you, what sort of style fits with how you imagine your wedding. Generally there seems to be a range to this one, from super-posed – and all the way through to more paparazzi-style, documentary style images.
I’m somewhere in the middle, so I’ll make small adjustments so everyone is looking their best, but I won’t pose people too much, because I want them to have that natural and relaxed feel.
So I think it’s about finding that style that you think “yes, that’s what relates to me”, and then I’d really encourage you to contact some photographers and start talking to them, and making sure that you really get on with them. Because as a photographer I spend most of the wedding day with the couple, so I’ll be with either the bride or groom in the morning, capturing them getting ready, all the way through the ceremony, that intimate time for portraits, speeches, and the celebrations going on into the evening.
So you want to feel comfortable with that person, that you can trust them, that you can get on with them, and I’m lucky that a lot of the clients that I end up with actually become friends, that you know, we’ve got on so well over that process, so that’s something we can continue beyond the wedding, which is lovely.
K: That’s really lovely. Yeah I think the ideas about really doing your homework, and checking on whether someone’s style is right for you. And it’s the same with invitations as well. Especially if you’re going bespoke, erm, looking at the other work someone does, and checking that it’s in line with your vision. Like, I do a lot of water colour-y, quite soft, pared back ones, rather than the really strong, graphic style. So, it’s not for everybody, and there are going to be other people that, if you want that particular style, are going to be a lot more suited to it than me. So really it’s finding that right person.
H: Yeah, and I guess because you can also make sort of subtle changes, can’t you? So you’ve got your overall style and within that you can make things to be bespoke, and that’s the same with photography,
I think you pick an overall style and then work with them to make sure they capture it. Capture what you want from your day.
K: Lovely, well thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me, Hannah, it’s been lovely.
H: Well it’s been lovely chatting, thanks Katherine.
K: I’ll see you again soon.
H: Take care, bye bye.
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