Ask a… Wedding Photographer! With Claire Fleck
We were so delighted when Claire agreed to join us for a wee question and answer session on Instagram, answering all the questions you have about wedding photography! We are so lucky that the wedding photography industry in Scotland is chokka full of wonderful people, and Claire is one of the most talented and kind artists we have met so far. Below, you will find the answers to questions ranging from ‘do I need a second shooter’, to ‘do I need and engagement shoot’ to ‘how to be more comfortable in front of the camera’. All SO helpful, and so interesting to read about! All images in this post are her work.
Over to Claire…
Hello! I’m Claire Fleck, I’m a wedding photographer based in Scotland and I’ve had the absolute Joy to work with TLWC team either at weddings they’ve styled or their own weddings over the past few years so I’m really excited to be here to answer some questions from you all. So far I’ve got 20 questions that have come in and I’m sure there will be more so I’ll do my best to answer them well!
Q. What is the most helpful thing a couple can do to make it easy to work with a wedding photographer?
A. I think that there’s a few things that you can do to be helpful to your photographer but also to help you to have a really relaxed day. Firstly, chat to your photographer in advance about your timeline just to make sure you’ve got enough time to have a great day with your guests as well as have some photos taken. The other thing that I’ve learnt over the years would be to delegate as much as you can to venue staff, other staff or your friends and family so that you can switch off completely, chat to guests in between things and not be running around worried about what is happening next.
Q. We’ve been thinking about doing a first look before our wedding ceremony, do you have any advice?
A. First looks can be a great way to spend some time with your partner before the ceremony starts, especially if you think that you’re going to get emotional and you don’t want to do that in front of all your guests. It can also be really good for winter weddings to make the most of the natural light before it gets dark early. My advice would be to make sure you are ready early. Give yourselves half an hour, make sure your hair and makeup artists know you’re doing a first look and that your photographers and videographers are ready. Find a location in advance, somewhere that your guests aren’t going to be walking past or your bridal party won’t disturb you. Somewhere that you can both really relax and enjoy some time together before everything kicks off!
Q. Is a pre-wedding shoot actually helpful or is it just something nice to have? Location recommendations for an engagement shoot in Scotland?
A. There’s been lots of questions about doing a pre-wedding shoot and whether they are useful. I think they can be a really helpful way of getting used to the camera and used to having your photo taken as not many people have had professional shoots before. It can be a way of easing your mind before the wedding day as well as just having some really nice photos of the two of you without your wedding clothes on. In terms of location tips, I love taking photos of people in places that mean something to then, whether it’s their neighbourhood, the place they got engaged or somewhere they just love to go for a walk. Doing this means that you have a memory attached to the engagement shoot as well as some nice photos.
Q. What is your pet peeve at a wedding?
A. My pet peeve would be someone who brings a big camera with them and stops me from being able to do my job properly. I’m not meaning people with cameras just snapping away throughout the day, that’s totally fine, I love it when guests take photos…it’s when people step in front of me in the aisle or during other important moments. I’ve had a camera literally resting on my shoulder throughout the vows and it meant I couldn’t move and they were distracting other guests. My style is really natural, I don’t like to be noticed so it’s really difficult when people are standing in front of me and getting in my way and distracting other people. So please don’t do it, just enjoy the day, you don’t need to…I’m there to take photos…Thank you!
Q. What’s the one wedding day photo you advice couples to take?
A. The one photo I advice couples to have taken on the wedding day is probably quite a controversial one from someone who has a natural, documentary style, but I think a photo with your family is super important. They are the photos that you will look back on in years to come… I’m not saying they need to take ages or be really formal, but just a quick gathering with you and your parents or your siblings or your friends – the ones who are the most important people there with you. You will not regret gathering those people together for a quick photo.
Q. What advice would you give for a bride/groom/couple who don’t like having their photo taken?
A. There’s been a few questions about advice for people who don’t like having their photo taken. I would say firstly, choose a photographer who doesn’t focus on the photos of the two of you. There’s loads of photographers out there who love to just document moments and specialise in really natural photos so choose someone who will do that. Secondly, chat about it in advance. If one of you is wanting to spend ages having their photo taken and the other one isn’t, come to a compromise. There’s absolutely no point in you both being annoyed at each other on the day because you’d rather get back to your guests. Have a chat to your photographer as well, they’ll be really happy to limit how long you have your photo taken if that’s not something your in to but most of all I’d say just relax…you’ll be surprised, if you’ve got a good photographer, how well the photos come out so just have a great time, maybe suggest just going for a walk rather than having some really obviously posed photos and make sure that you get all of those natural moments together.
Q. What time of year do you like to photograph? What works with your style best?
A. My style lends itself to natural light so I’d say I love photographing in the summer and the late spring and early Autumn. I love taking photos of natural moments and the more light in those moments the better because I can work quicker and get a better shot. So, in terms of seasons those are my favourite although I absolutely love photographing at any time of year, theres alwayS something magical to find so I really don’t mind…but summer is probably my favourite!
Q. Where would you travel first after Corona is over?
A. I’m so excited about travelling when this is all over! The first place I’ll go will probably be to London to see my family, (miss you guys a lot!). I’ve had some trips cancelled because of this so I’m hopefully going to head to Copenhagen and Ghana in October so we’ll see if that happens…if it doesnt I’ll go to London first and then decide from there!
Q. What would you like to see more (and less!) of in wedding photography?
A. I’d love to see more natural moments being captured, I think if this situation has taught us anything, it’s that friends and family are so important and the relationships that we have with them are super important to remember. So yeah, I’d love to see more candid photos, less posed stuff going on. I’d love to see less trends around editing and posing – seeing more of peoples personalities coming through in photos. More smiles, more dancing, more happy times.
Q. My wedding is in 2022, should I book a photographer now?
A. I’m not taking bookings for 2022 yet but if you have your eye on a photographer you love then drop them an email and they’ll let you know if they are taking bookings or can add you to their mailing list to be the first to hear when their diary opens.
Q. What would be the best time to have a wedding ceremony in November in regards to pics?
A. I’d say no later than 1pm. That gives you a few hours of sunlight after your ceremony to take some photos. You could also think about doing a first look and taking your couple photos before your ceremony, giving you more time later to either take some more photos at a different location or more time with your guests – win win!
Q. What colours and outfits would you recommend for an engagement shoot?
A. Firstly, I’d say wear something you feel amazing in and is comfortable. Think about the location you’ll be at and the weather/season and dress accordingly (eg. don’t wear heels to climb a mountain!) I’d also personally recommend avoiding big logos and neon and think about if your outfits work well together both style and colour wise. Floaty fabrics are always fun to add more movement to the photos and contrasting colours will help you stand out against each other and the landscape around you.
Q. What are your favourite Scottish wedding venues at the moment?
A. This is super hard as I think that what you do with a venue is what makes it special but if I had to choose my top scottish venues right now they are – Timberyard, Guardswell, Ardgowan Estate, Cambo Estate and Civic House. That list changes on a nearly daily bases!
Q. How long should we leave for couples photos after our wedding ceremony?
A. I’d say about an hour for photos is loads of time but other photographers may say differently. I recommend to allow about half an hour for your group photos and then another 20-30mins for couple photos. If you’re getting married in the summer you can split your couple photos and do some at sunset/twilight too which is the absolute best!
Q. Is it ok to have our dog join us for some photos on our wedding day?
A. Errrr…YES. I don’t know anyone who would ever say no to this question.
Q. Is it worth having a second shooter for our wedding? We have a videographer too…
A. This depends on a few things. If you have lots of guests or are getting ready at two separate locations and want photos of both of you getting ready then I would say yes. If you’re not too worried about getting lots of candid photos of guests and both preparations then I’d probably say no. Have a chat to your photographer about it, they’ll have their own thoughts on how they prefer to shoot.
Thank you SO much Claire for taking the time to answer all these questions! We really hope you have all found this useful, and do let us know who you’d like us to speak with next as part of our Ask a… series!
Jean, Kate and the team x