From Tips for Wedding Photographers

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At A Glance | Javad and Lynn’s Wedding at the Shangri-La Hotel Singapore | Singapore Destination Wedding Photography

AT A GLANCE is a section of our blog by our photographers with a quick summary of a recent destination wedding with some of their favorite pictures along with a insider’s tip for couples and photographers about the venue. 

My New Years this year was very different to usual as I teamed up with Christian Berg to photograph an incredible wedding at the Shangri-La Hotel Singapore.  The couple Javad & Lynn were so much fun, they stayed in the Bridal Suite and the bridesmaids put on some hilarious games in the morning that were great to photograph.

bridesmaid and door game
Copyright 2017 Photo by Tim Barker/Mott Weddings

 

chinese wedding door game
Copyright 2017 Photo by Tim Barker/Mott Weddings
crazy door game
Copyright 2017 Photo by Tim Barker/Mott Weddings

It was a two-day wedding with a traditional Persian ceremony in the Katong Ballroom followed by a lunch in the Tower Ballroom on New Years Eve.

persian wedding ceremony
Copyright 2017 Photo by Tim Barker/Mott Weddings
Copyright 2017 Photo by Tim Barker/Mott Weddings
Persian wedding details
Copyright 2017 Photo by Tim Barker/Mott Weddings

Everyone then came back on New Years Day for a Chinese tea ceremony in the Island Ballroom Foyer followed by a dinner in the Island Ballroom. At 10pmthings got a little wild as the after party continued well into the early hours.

couple getting married shangri-la singapore
Copyright 2017 Photo by Tim Barker/Mott Weddings

 

 

wedding reception at shanti-la singapore
Copyright 2017 Photo by Tim Barker/Mott Weddings

 

Congratulations to the couple Javad and Lynn as well as thanks to the whole staff at Shangri-La for putting on a spectacular wedding.

Photographer’s Insider Tip (For Couples and Photographers)

If you are getting married there, make sure to do your portraits in the garden and the incredible paintings in the ballrooms also work as a great background. 

garden at shangri-la singapore for weddings
Copyright 2017 Photo by Tim Barker/Mott Weddings
wedding at shanti-la indoors
Copyright 2017 Photo by Tim Barker/Mott Weddings

Wedding Details

Couple | Javad and Lynn

LOCATION | Singapore 

VENUE | Shangri-La Singapore 

Photographer | Tim Barker/Mott Weddings

Date | 12/31/2016 and 1/1/2017

 

Tim Barker/Mott Weddings
 Vietnam | Southeast Asia | Beyond
Tim is an Australian photographer and cinematographer based in Vietnam and shooting globally. His background has included everything from news to travel stories and feature documentary films. Tim believes that the best moments are the candid ones and to capture them, he shoots in an unobtrusive documentary style.  Couples love his relaxed manner and quick wit which make everyone feel comfortable in front of the camera. You can see Tim’s full portfolio on our website here.
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Our top 5 unique ring shots!

The ring shot is on every couples shot list, it’s a must-have for good reasons. For wedding photographers, you always want to make this a creative shot. For me personally it’s the first shot I try to take once I arrive on the big day. I shoot the dress and the rings right away. 

Go Beyond

The key is to go the extra mile. Don’t just get a macro lens and take a shot, stop and think.

Look Around

I think about the color scheme for the wedding and I look around for textures and colors that match the venue and the style the couple has chosen.

Georgina and Simon's Wedding Photography in Danang, Vietnam

It could be leaves or grass…

Vietnam wedding photographer

Or metal…

Thailand wedding photographer

Water…

Prem and Gaya's wedding photography in Phuket, Thailand

Or even a statue…

Nicole and David's Koh Samui Wedding Photography by Mott Weddings

After all, just be creative but even more importantly don’t lose the rings!

All images copyright © Mott Weddings 2016

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8 Pro Wedding Tips for Hotels and Resorts

What can a resort learn from a wedding photographer? My team has shot weddings all over the world at luxury resorts and hotels.  We’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly in regards to venues and their service.

I’ve personally shot hundreds of weddings and on the wedding day no one is closer to the bride and groom than the wedding photographer. If we are doing our jobs well, couples forget we are around so in addition to knowing more than I ever need to know about women’s hygiene I also hear all their complaints.

Don’t worry, I respect my client’s privacy and I’m not naming names. This article is good-natured and is only meant to help us all improve.  We all want to create the best possible day for our clients on the most memorable day of their lives so before you role your eyes listen to what I have to say.   Whether you’re a global hotel chain or a boutique resort, you can improve your wedding service and here’s how.

 

 

BRIBES

Problem- I know many of you don’t think your staff wouldn’t ever do such a thing but it happens all the time especially in Asia. It’s commonplace even if it’s against your company policy. Your events manager or event contact person might be recommending photographers and planners that give them kickbacks. In addition to violating your company’s policy, this is also a problem because they don’t always recommend the best vendors for your couples. You want the best of the best if you are putting your reputation on the line, not the best bribe.

Solution- This is easy to police, pick 3 official recommended photographers/planners/DJ’s based on merit, pricing, and client feedback. Check on your staff by sending secret shopper emails to your staff to make sure your they are recommending your preferred list.

 

WEDDING PLANNERS

Problem- I’ve heard brides complain about the hotel’s service when it was something the wedding planner’s should’ve handled.

Solution- Only recommend the best and survey your clients afterwards to see if they were happy. Even when the couple has a wedding planner, that doesn’t mean you’re staff is off the hook. Oversee the whole day and help out when things go wrong. Most importantly, before the wedding, set clear roles and communicate with them and the couple. Get everything in writing, not just a phone call.

 

REMOVE YOUR IN-HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHER (IF THEY WEREN’T HIRED BY THE COUPLE) 

Problem- This is something I hear all the time from couples. “Who are those people taking photos of us and our guests?” Weddings are private events and your clients hired a photographer they carefully selected and they trust with their most special day. I’ve even seen an in-house photographer taking shots of the bride getting ready and they thought he was with our team. Later on when they found out he wasn’t with us and it was a huge issue, one that could’ve been easily avoided.

In addition to the privacy issue no matter how far back or how good they think they are they end up in the way of the hired photographers and that should NEVER happen.

Solution- I understand the temptation to get a bunch of shots for your social media outlets and I don’t blame you. When you work with your preferred photographers ask them to help you cross promote and share their detail shots with you so you have both benefit from each other. If you want to use shots of the couple, talk to the photographer and the couple first and get permission.

This isn’t to say you can’t have your in-house photographer take some shots of the set-up but only when no guests are present. There is absolutely no reason your in-house photographer (again if he/she wasn’t hired by the couple) should be photographing when guests are present.

 

STAY ON SCHEDULE 

Problem- (If your team is handling the day of planning). Lets say the bride scheduled the perfect time for sunset pictures after the ceremony (which is very common) and the schedule is an hour behind.  No sun, no sunset pictures and their vision of the beautiful beach wedding sunset pictures is ruined.

Solution- Drive the schedule, be gentle about it but remind the couple, make-up artists, aunty Susie, etc. the importance of being on time and stay on top of the make-up artist, and remind the guests about being on time. Find that balance of being gentle but reminding the couple the consequences of no sunset pictures when things are running behind schedule.

 

TAKE CARE OF YOUR VENDORS 

Problem– Vendors are dialed into the whole wedding community and yes they need you but you need them too. Social media and word of mouth are powerful tools so make sure your staff is helpful and accommodating to them. My team works 10-16 hour days on their feet and at some point we need to eat. Our contract with our clients is for 2 meals over the course of the day. We’ve had venues argue with us about being fed or feed us 4 hours late. If possible we need to eat at the same time as the couple to insure we don’t miss any big moments and typically that’s the best time for the photographers to break as photos of people food in their mouth aren’t typically sexy.

Solution- Talk to the couple ahead of time and ask them what the situation is with them in their vendors. If for example they agreed with their photographers to pay for two meals make it easy for them to schedule. Ask your vendors when they want to eat and have them sign it to the couple’s bill; it’s as easy at that.

See, we give back too. Our List Of Best Wedding Vendors in Hoi An, Vietnam.

BUGGY TRAFFIC JAM

Problem- We see a lot of weddings run late because the guests didn’t arrive on time and they didn’t arrive on time because the resort didn’t have enough buggies to accommodate all the guests.

Solution- Of course you can’t have enough buggies to accommodate 100 guests all at once but you can communicate with the guests ahead of time and send out a notice to plan for slow response time during the hour before the ceremony.

DON’T BE LAZY, TELL A STORY 

Problem- For destination weddings people are coming from all over the world and often it’s the first time they are in that country. At the end of the night you create an experience releasing lanterns into the sky or light paper lanterns and push them into the water. The problem I often see is no one ever explains any backstory.

Solution- Gather everyone and have the planner, MC, or events personnel you’re your property briefly explain the meaning or backstory of the lanterns, this will create a more memorable experience.

 

Assign One Dedicated Staff(If they haven’t hired a wedding planner)

Problem-So many things come up the day of the wedding for the bride and groom. They should be enjoying their day, not stressing out. I see the person in charge of the wedding day focusing on the vendors and the set-up and not the couple.

Solution-Whether you charge for it or not, it’s a great service to provide to your clients. Assign a day of personal assistant/butler that understands weddings and a bride’s needs. They should be at her side the entire day, catering to their every need.

I hope this was helpful, thanks for reading and if you have any questions for me please add them in the comments section.

By Justin Mott

Justin Mott is the owner and founder of Mott Visuals Weddings. Mott Visuals specializes in destination wedding photography and films covering Asia and Beyond. Visit our website at http://www.mottvisualsweddings.com

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Wedding Photographer Vs. Make-Up Artist | Judge Bride Has A Decision To Make

Behind the scenes at many weddings across the globe a battle is brewing between your photography team and your make-up artist (from here on in I’ll just refer to make-up artists as MUA). No, they aren’t fighting about what shade of lipstick you should be wearing, they are jockeying for position on where you will have your hair and make-up done and basically where your entire morning will unfold.

Obviously I’m a bit biased as a photographer but I consider myself fair and reasonable and I’ve tried my best to see both sides of this debate. I’m sure my take on things will upset some MUA’s but honestly most of you are amazing and reasonable to work with and I have all the respect in the world for your job. If this blog does offend you, maybe it’s time to look in the mirror (see what I did there). However, I have seen this growing trend in weddings with more stubborn MUA’s and it’s an issue that should be sorted before the big day begins to avoid stressing out the bride, hence I had to write this blog and clear the air.

Okay, so let me dig into what all the fuss is about, here is the core of the debate. Some MUA’s want their bride in the bathroom with a big mirror where it’s comfortable and easy for them to work. They have plenty of outlets, mirrors, and easy access to their equipment. The photographers want the bride by the beautiful flattering window light so they can make gorgeous natural pictures that tell a story.

So what’s the big deal, just get ready in the bathroom and the photographer can do their best and then they have the whole day to get good pictures. Better yet what many MUA’s offer as a compromise is to do all the make-up in the ugly bathroom and then at the end we can fake it by the window for a few minutes. That seems like a fair compromise right?

Wrong, extremely wrong and let me explain why. Our clients hire us to tell a story, and a huge part of the day, sometimes hours, is the getting ready portion. I’ve captured so many beautiful magical moments in the getting ready part of the day. The bride reading a note from the groom, bridesmaids receiving presents, the mother of the bride watching on and tearing up, the list goes on and on. It makes a world of difference when those moments happen in beautiful window light rather than an ugly bathroom.

Another problem with faking it is it can sound good at the time but more times than not things run late and you run out of time. I’m not done yet, having the whole process done in stunning window light or at least a nice room gives your photographer time to be creative and experiment shooting through mirrors, having the dress in the background, etc. You are paying your photography team a lot of money for pictures that are meant to last a lifetime, do you really want them having nothing to shoot in an ugly bathroom for 3 hours then scrambling to be creative crammed into 15 minutes of frantic shooting?

I’ve explained our side of things and that sounds well so what the case for the MUA. Why are they being stubborn? A few arguments from the MUA side of things I’ve heard are “ I don’t want to make my bride hot” or “I can’t see well with natural light or it’s uneven light” or “I need a mirror.” My rebuttal to that is if you’re in a hotel room than heat shouldn’t be a problem, jack up the AC and of course from the photographer’s side of things don’t place her in direct sunbeams. As for a mirror, just bring a medium sized handheld one so the bride can check on things. For the MUA not being able to see well or uneven light, that’s a bit of BS. I’m a photographer so you can’t fool me about how light works. If you face directly out a window the light is completely balanced. Plus our eyes have amazing optics and guess what we can adjust to variant lighting conditions. I’ve worked with hundreds of MUA’s who have done make-up by the window with ease and with beautiful results so I know it can be done. Don’t let them fool you with playing the old, “you won’t look beautiful.” If your MUA can’t make you look beautiful while working by a window then you should find someone else. I don’t know too many photographers who take beautiful pictures in dark ugly bathrooms.

To be fair many MUA’s can be turned off and defensive to photographers because honestly photographers can be pushy and aggressive. Our team’s approach is to have a talk with our clients ahead of the wedding. We ask them politely if they can ask the MUA to do everything by the window and this avoids the annoyance of a MUA getting set up and having to move later on (I can see why that would be really annoying). Our team also offers to help with moving any furniture, their equipment, and extension cords (although any good MUA should have their own) to help make things comfortable for everyone.

In the end neither vendor should cause any stress to the bride on her wedding day so this should be addressed early on. Unfortunately the reality is that this does happen on the wedding day and a bride has to make a decision. To avoid any stress on your big day, make it clear ahead of time.

For MUA’s working weddings, I highly recommend you figure out how to do make-up by the window and don’t scare the bride by saying you won’t look pretty, that’s cruel. It’s your job to make them look pretty and so many MUA’s do a fantastic job so if you don’t know how to do it, ask someone and learn. I see MUA’s work outside, inside, just about everywhere and while it might be more convenient for you to work in the bathroom suck it up for the better good.

For photographers, don’t be an ass and be pushy and demanding. Address this beforehand with the bride and make a plan so the bride doesn’t have to deal with any stress on her big day. Help out with moving furniture and just be polite and friendly about everything.

For Brides, the last thing you want to do is offend anyone and I understand you want to avoid conflict but the decision is yours and better to avoid conflict ahead of time than on your wedding day.

If your getting ready pictures are a big deal and you want the most beautiful shots possible for that part of the day, side with the photographer and let them choose the location. If that part of the day isn’t a big deal and you don’t want getting ready pictures let the MUA choose the set up, just let both parties know ahead of time and you will save yourself a wedding day hassle.

Here are some samples of my favorite getting ready shots all taken by the window.

Hyatt Regency Danang Mott Visuals Wedding Photography Vietnam Hoi An Justin Mott
Hyatt Regency Danang Mott Visuals Wedding Photography Vietnam Hoi An Justin Mott
Nicole and Bel's Wedding in USA
Nicole and Bel’s Wedding in USA
Nicole and Bel's Wedding in USA
Nicole and Bel’s Wedding in USA
Nicole and Bel's Wedding in USA
Nicole and Bel’s Wedding in USA
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