My own wedding OMG moment!

Gloucestershire and Cotswolds Wedding Photography

When I’m chatting about wedding photography with my Clients they often ask me if I had any learnings from my own wedding day. Now to put this into context my marriage to the very awesome Mr NKP is now well and truly into its second decade so this all happened a long time ago. And long before I thought about becoming a wedding photographer.

When I got Married…

Well over a decade on and I still adore Mr NKP! He’s my rock. And when we got married we were right at the beginning of the trend for documentary wedding photography which is what we all love now and what is really the norm in wedding photography.

I also wasn’t a professional wedding photographer back then. I loved photography but didn’t have a clue when it came to wedding photography. And why would I? I had never organised a wedding before. I had no idea what to look for and what questions to ask.The-Painswick-wedding-photography-Nikki-Kirk


Did we have high expectations? Not really if I’m honest! Neither of us love having our photograph taken and are known for avoiding the camera!

However what we did want were gorgeous photographs of us on our wedding day. A collection of images to treasure for the many decades of marriage we hope to have.

Did we get that? No we did not! We were absolutely gutted.

Deep breath… I’m going to share with you my mother of all wedding photography stories. Let my mistakes be the road map for your success.

Deep breath and here we go!

So our wedding photographer was a professional. He was recommended. We had a look at his portfolio and were impressed by the photographs he had taken. What we didn’t think to ask was ‘when’ they were taken.

Big Mistake #1

We also didn’t see any ‘full weddings’ and we didn’t think to ask. Why would we? He was a professional photographer. All photographers are the same aren’t they?

Big Mistake #2

Being a meticulous planner I had also inhaled every morsel of wedding information available to me at that time. Wedding magazines were my go to resource and I read every word on every page. I created pages of budget spreadsheets trying to make our wedding do what the wedding magazines told me I should do when it came to budgets for different wedding pros.

Big Mistake #3

Gloucestershire and Cotswolds Wedding Photography

The wedding magazines told me that we should be spending X amount on a wedding photographer. So we took this as the exact amount we should be spending. We didn’t realise that this ‘average’ covered from the tiniest weddings through to the huge weddings (which were few and far between). The figures were skewed. But we didn’t realise that. We didn’t even think to compare the cost of a photographer against say my wedding dress.

Big Mistake #4

For reference the photographer cost half of the cost of my wedding dress cost. I don’t even have a picture of my wedding dress before it got trashed on the wedding day.

Big Mistake #5

Ignore what the magazines tell you in terms of fixing your budget. Work out what is important to you and budget accordingly. For my Clients photography always sits within the top three in their spending plan.


Alarm Bells…

Alarm bells should have started ringing when I asked for specific group photographs and we were told that he didn’t need this information. That we were to just let him get on with it as with his vast experience it wouldn’t be a problem.

We don’t have the group photographs we wanted. My adored Father, Father in Law, and Grandparents on both sides are now gone. We will never get that chance again.

And I can hear some of you saying “why didn’t you ask for them on the day”? Well the day just wraps you up in its wonderfulness and you just don’t think about it and to be blunt we trusted him. We had our list but he wouldn’t use it. He wouldn’t collaborate with us or listen to our requests and ideas. If we’d spent time with him before hand I like to think we would have realised this and readjusted our photography budget and we would have 100% changed our wedding photographer.

Big Mistake #6


And you know how I love details…

Like most couples we (well, me!) had spent hours creating beautiful table centres, having food tastings, getting the tones of the flowers and accompanying details just right. It was important. This was our big day.

Our photographer didn’t take photographs of any of these details.

We wanted to do everything we could to create a spectacular day for our friends and family.

They all still say without prompting that ours was the best wedding they’d ever attended. We think the same! We just don’t have any photographic memories of it.

Big Mistake #7

Gloucestershire and Cotswolds Wedding Photography

There are no photographs of any of the details I spent weeks and months researching and creating.

There are no photographs of the delicious food we ate carefully prepared by the fabulous chef.

There isn’t a photograph of us with our niece who was our flower girl.

There are no details of the flowers in the church. The roses on the pew ends in our stunning Saxon church, tied with swathes of wide double satin ribbon that my friend Zoe and I had tied on the evening before.

There are no images of the stunning pedestal my wonderful Aunty Mary created for us at the Church.

There are no photographs of my Husband and I chatting to our guests.

Big Mistake #8

Photographs of Us…

There are three photographs of my Husband and I. Yes you read that right.

Just three photographs of my Husband and I on our wedding day. They are very badly exposed, and badly posed. The lighting is hideous and we look down right uncomfortable. Not madly in love. Which we were and still are.

Being a Professional Wedding Photographer I can see what went wrong.

Rookie errors on his part! Serious. Basic. Rookie. Errors.

Basics such as the settings not being changed on the camera between the church service (very dark old church) to the photographs outside (brilliant sunshine).

Not understanding how to pose a couple.

We looked ordinary, we were just wearing lovely clothes!

But we can’t go back and recreate the day. Its gone. Too late. Nothing we can do.

Gloucestershire and Cotswolds Wedding Photography

The Result…

We don’t have our wedding photographs up in our home because they are dreadful. We have one photograph that my lovely friend Emma took.

I want wedding photographs just like the wedding photographs I deliver for my Clients.

Beautiful, heartfelt, well thought out, creative images that showcase my Clients love for one another and tell the world “WE ARE IN LOVE”. It breaks my heart that I don’t have these.

So my top tips from one Bride who has learnt the hard way to another…

  1. Research your wedding photographer even if they are recommended to you.
  2. Meet your wedding photographer before you book them. Or at least speak to them on the telephone/Zoom/Skype. You need to like your wedding photographer. You need to feel comfortable to ask them questions and you will be spending a huge amount of time with them on the most important day of your life.
  3. Ask to see a full wedding from start to finish. And by that I mean the details, the guest photographs, people photographs from getting ready through to the end of the day as well as the couple portraits.
  4. Ensure that your photographer either knows your venue or will commit to a recce of your venue before your wedding day so that they know where the best places for photographs are that best represent you and your wedding day.
  5. Your Photographer should collaborate with you. They should listen to you. Its your day not theirs. It should be a collaborative process even if you feel that you don’t have a creative bone in your body!
  6. Spend what you can. Good wedding photographers cost money. Great wedding photographers cost a lot of money! And there’s good reason for that. The general rule of thumb is 10% of your wedding budget. Yes that feels like a lot of money but its all that you’re left with. Do you really need that sweetie table after everyone has eaten a three course meal and is awaiting cake?! As with all things in life you get what you pay for.
  7. Get to know your wedding photographer and meet with them in person several times before your wedding day if you can. The best photographs are when the subjects are relaxed and don’t even know you’re there. That takes skill on the part of the photographer as well as being able to pose you so that you look natural.
  8. Make sure that they have the relevant insurance.
  9. Ask your photographer about poses for photographs. They should be able to pose you properly and give gentle direction. For more information on this have a read of my blog on posing.
  10. Ask them questions. One of my Clients recently came in with a list of questions. I loved that as it showed that they cared as much about their photography as I do.

Gloucestershire and Cotswolds Wedding Photography

To chat about your wedding photography please do get in touch (with that list of questions!)…




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