Aside from the favours, the only things you can really take home from a wedding are the memories and photos. Choosing the right photographer is crucial so that your special day is remembered the way you want it to. As an expert himself, Leo Farrell of Leo Farrell Photography knows that a photographer’s skills, style, and personality can make or break a couple’s photos.

Leo is a skilled wedding photojournalist located in Melbourne. He became well-known early on for his distinctive approach to photography. Instead of relying on posed shots, Leo’s photography has a more candid, documentary-style that showcases natural interactions between couples and their guests. He continues to have a passion for capturing these authentic moments today.

In this chat we discuss:

  • How to choose a photographer
  • The photographer’s role on the wedding day
  • Different photography styles and treatment
  • Lighting in different times and seasons
  • How important is your wedding timeline
  • Wedding photographer’s packages and hours
  • Is a shot list necessary?
  • Making portrait sessions stress free
  • A photographer’s pre- and post-wedding preparations

Couples can look for photographers on Google and Instagram. Referrals from friends, vendors, and celebrants can also give you good leads.

A preliminary meeting with a photographer will give you insight on their personality and shooting style. Do you prefer candid or posed photos? Do you prefer romantic lighting or a moodier aesthetic? Do you get along well with him or her? These are all important factors to consider.

On the wedding day itself, a professional photographer should ideally provide reminders to the couple and keep track of the timeline. Couples don’t have to provide a shot list, but it would be helpful to communicate if they want to document specific guests and moments.

A photographer’s work doesn’t end after the wedding and reception. They have to back up their files and then send highlights that the couple can share. Bear in mind that post-processing images may take up to a few weeks to finish.

Links & Vendors Mentioned:

Leo Farrell Photography

Find Leo Farrell: 

On Polka Dot Wedding: Leo Farrell Photography

On Instagram: @leofarrellphoto

Find Dorothy & the Polka Dot Wedding team:

On Instagram: @polkadotwedding

On the website:

This podcast was produced by Polka Dot Wedding.

The Polka Dot Wedding team is honoured to conduct our work on the land of the BoonWurrung, WoiWorung, Eora and Kuring-gai people. We honour the traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders custodians of the land and pay our respects to Elders past & present.

Episode Transcript


If you’re looking for a wedding podcast that’s not just fun but goes a little deep, then you have found it. We’re the Feel Good Wedding Podcast by Polka Dot Wedding. My name is Dorothy and I am also known as Ms Polka Dot. I am the founder and editor of Polka Dot Wedding and I have been writing about weddings for 16 years. The Feel Good Wedding Podcast dives a little deeper than the stories.

Of course, we tell the stories, we tell plenty of them, but we’re also talking about vendor advice, we’re also talking about business advice, and we’re also diving a little deeper beyond those stories. We’re diving into the mistakes and I-wish-I-dids and the problems and the qualms that these couples have, and that vendors have too.

We’ve got so much in store. We’re jumping into season two and we can’t wait to have you along for the ride. Keep on listening and we’d love to hear from you, so make sure you stick around.

The Polka Dot Wedding team is honoured to conduct our work on the land of the BoonWurrung, WoiWorung, Eora, and Kuring-gai people. We honor the traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander custodians of the land, and we pay our respects to elder’s past and present.

We know, we know. Wedding photography is so intimidating because how do you find a wedding photographer that masters how you want your day captured, whether that’s moody or light and bright, to someone that also makes you and your partner feel so comfortable in front of the camera when really you’re probably the complete opposite? Well, we have asked Melbourne wedding photographer Leo Farrell along today to help us out. We have been featuring Leo on Polka Dot Wedding for over a decade and I’ve always loved his beautiful candid approach to weddings.

He has this mastery of being able to capture those moments that you don’t even think are important, but will be important to you, so crucially important, in years to come. Now, Leo knows a thing or two about photography, so of course he is an expert on this subject. We’ve asked him along today just share all the ins and outs you need to know. How do you book a photographer that you’re comfortable with? What happens after the wedding? And what do you really need to pay special attention to? Leo is going to share all of this and more, coming right up on The Feel Good Wedding Podcast.

Leo, thank you so much for joining us today. I’m so thrilled to chat to you all about wedding photography.

Leo Farrell  02:27

My pleasure, Dorothy. So thrilled to be here. Thanks so much for asking me.

Dorothy  02:31

Let’s introduce you. Tell me all about who is Leo Farrell. How did you get into photography, how long have you been shooting and all that good stuff.

Leo Farrell  02:38

I’m Melbourne-born and bred, living on the north side of the tracks. Grew up with a love of cinema I think through my father. Loved a lot of classical movies, actually just went to see Casablanca recently. One of his artists was Humphrey Bogart. It was great. I think from early on, I had a love of life through the lens. I was also a really keen camper with, with friends when I was younger and I loved kind of having a camera out in the wild, just trying to bring home a little bit of what I was seeing when I was on camping trips.

I think from there, my sister was studying photography in high school and she brought home some black and white prints that she processed through her film camera. They were of my grandfather and I was really struck by the beautiful tactile nature of the prints and just the whole process as she described the mystery of the darkroom. That led me further down a bit of a photography rabbit hole.

Dorothy  03:48

You started out with aerial photography, didn’t you?

Leo Farrell  03:51

Yes. I did do some aerial photography. I was doing some assisting at a photographic studio early on. One thing led to another and I came across another photographer who was looking for someone to capture some rural properties from a light airplane. This was back in the film days. I’d always love that aerial perspective and the abstract nature of seeing the landscape from the sky, so I was really thrilled to try out for that job and I ended up getting it and worked as an aerial photography for about 12 months, flying with the door off an airplane, and just wearing a seatbelt to strap me in while I was leaning out. It was loads of fun, a real incredible adventure job.

Dorothy  04:36

What led you to get from aerial, which is very, very different, to weddings?

Leo Farrell  04:42

Yes. The aerial job had a limited shelf life. It was about three weeks away and when we get home; and the company was actually naturally winding up after about 12 months of me having done that, so I came back to Melbourne and was doing some work in studios, which is where I learned a lot about lighting. Even using indoor lighting, you’re really conscious about where you want your light to be placed. I use the same concept when I’m working with the sun. It’s using one light source when I’m photographing couples. I was doing some work in studios.

I assisted a friend on a wedding a couple of times and just really enjoyed the way that the day unfolds with a wedding. I really like photojournalistic photography and thought that would be something I’d be able to do within the confines of a wedding day to really capture it in a documentary kind of style. I didn’t really think that anyone else was doing that at the time.

Dorothy  05:52

Way back in the time, it was very unusual to not do posed photography. I still remember, way back.

Leo Farrell  05:59

Yes. It felt like quite a revelation to me at the time to be shooting in that way and just really enjoyable. I felt like it had a really low impact on the couples as well, which is really important. I think that actually helps get some really good photos for the couple.

Dorothy  06:19

100%. The wedding photographer, suppose alongside the cinematographer, are the two vendors that spend the most time with a couple on the day. I think the role in some ways is underplayed because it’s not necessarily just the role of clicking the camera. There’s lots of little unseen things that you do. What do you consider your role as a photographer on a wedding day?

Leo Farrell  06:43

There’s a few roles. The main one I feel for me is to be really unobtrusive observer and also to not be someone that the couple have to worry about. I don’t want them to feel like I’m someone they need to manage on the day. I actually want to make their day easy and stress-free. I see my minimal input in a maximum way, if that makes sense. In terms of with working with a videographer, for example, if I was with someone I hadn’t worked with before, I would call them leading up to the wedding. Just have a brief chat, introduce myself, talk about how I want us to work together so that we can both get the best results, the best video and best photos for the couple. That would pertain to just talking about being conscious about where each other are on the day.

Literally on the day, for example, during the ceremony, just having a brief chat about where we’re both going to be positioned so that we’re not in each other’s firing line. If we are in each other’s firing line, just to be conscious of it and just subtly move out of each other’s way. Yeah, just a general awareness of each other. Also, if I, for example, saw a tender moment or a really nice moment that was happening, if the videographer was close by but wasn’t noticing, I might give them a nudge, just to make sure that they could capture it as well. All those things are being considered and the couple’s really getting the best outcome from both of us.

Dorothy  08:11

Yeah. As a photographer, you do almost a lot of leading of the day too because you’re there and you’re guiding through the photos and you’re guiding them through the different parts.

Leo Farrell  08:20

Yes. I think the initial meetings with a couple are really important because I find talking through a timeline of the day and talking through their expectations of the day and how I can meet those expectations, but timing, there’s a few things to unpack there. For a start, timings will really help guide the couple in terms of how the photography is going to work within the schedule of the venue, just that they’re conscious of how much time certain things will take, like how long the wedding party photos will take, how long the couple photos will take, and how we can best fit that into the schedule.

Dorothy  09:05

Starting at the beginning, what are the kinds of things a couple needs to know about booking a wedding photographer? What are the first basic questions they should ask and where should they start in that sense?

Leo Farrell  09:16

I think the first question, how do they want to be represented on their wedding day? What sort of photos are they looking for? Are they looking for, say for example, like a documentary style where they would like the day to be captured as it unfolds in a really unposed manner? That might even continue on through their couple photos. Do they want them to feel really relaxed and unposed? Would they prefer to have something that is more posed and more guided by the photographer, so more setup, maybe it involves some lighting at times, so a lot more structure in terms of their couple photos and their wedding party photos and family photos? That’s probably a little bit more an editorial style, so someone like Jerome Cole, he does things like these Vanity Fair-style wedding party portraits. There’s a lot of consideration going into the background, the way that everyone’s positioned in the frame, that kind of thing.

Dorothy  10:18

How should we begin to research then when we’re looking for a photographer? Is it just a matter of scrolling and trying to find something that appeals to us, or is there more to it?

Leo Farrell  10:27

I think if you do have a clear idea of – if you want a documentary style or an editorial style, you can actually literally search those hashtags on Instagram, for example, or Google them. That might give you a starting point, and then it’s a matter of looking through photographers’ work just to see if that vibe and that style is what you’re looking for. That would be a really good starting point. Also, I think if you’ve had friends who have been married and you’ve seen their photos and if they resonate with you, that’s always a good position to start at as well. A really good strong referral from a friend or even if you know someone in the industry, or if they’re speaking to their celebrant. Celebrants have a reasonable eye for the different styles that different photographers have, so they could also be a good referral point too.

Dorothy  11:23

There’s a common phrase that couples will use, “Oh, we’re not photogenic. We need to find a photographer who can get our best angles,” and all this kind of stuff. My theory is it’s actually not about the couple being photogenic. It’s more about how comfortable you are with a photographer. I think comfort is a key part of finding a photographer that you’re going to gel with easily on the day. Is that right? Am I completely off the mark there?

Leo Farrell  11:49

No. I think that’s completely right. I think you have to feel comfortable. You have to feel like you’re on the same page with the photographer. Does their personality work for you? Do you feel like you’re being heard by your photographer in what your needs are? I think the fact that if you do get along well with your photographer, that will definitely go a long way to getting some really nice photos.

Dorothy  12:09

It’s not on the websites, is it really? That like, “Oh, I’m a nice person.”

Leo Farrell  12:15

No, no, so it’s definitely worth having a meeting, whether it’s in person or over Zoom, or several meetings, just to make sure that your personalities gel together and that you feel like you feel comfortable with this person capturing your photos.

Dorothy  12:29

Are there questions that we should be asking at that first meeting then to ensure that there is that comfort, or is it more about how do we get on? Should we be looking for something that’s like quite an easy relationship, that kind of thing?

Leo Farrell  12:40

I think it’s probably interesting to ask what their approach is with the couple photos and the wedding party photos, because I think if you are conscious about being photographed and their explanation for how they photograph couples is to be really guided and very structured, that’s probably not going to make you feel very relaxed. I think that’s probably a good starting point in terms of whatever their approach is to their couple photos, just to make sure that that’s on the same page is what you’re expecting.

Personally, I would feel like if I knew my photographer was going to take the lead in where we’re going and had scattered the locations, had then also sent the locations through to the couple so that they were all on the same page and agreed on which backgrounds they really liked, that’s giving you confidence already that the photographer’s really prepared for the couple shoot and gives you trust in them. Also, they’re going to say, “We’ll go for a walk. I want to see a connection between you. I’m going to get you walking and talking and engaging with each other. I’ll give you some basic direction, but pretty much I’m just going to be snapping away when you’re engaging with each other.” I think that’s probably more of an approach that will make people feel more comfortable who are quite conscious about being photographed.

Dorothy  14:08

Yep. You mentioned earlier, photography style. How would you explain photography style to a couple that perhaps has no idea what that concept is? Can you talk us through a few of the different styles, etc., that we can expect to see in photography in Australia nowadays?

Leo Farrell  14:24

There’s photography styles and then there’s also photography treatments. Styles probably, from my understanding, would relate more to what sort of photos is the photographer actually going to be capturing? Are they going to be posed or are they going to be candid, natural photos? For example, my style is very documentary, so very much capturing the day as it unfolds, being really unobtrusive, but I will still capture some posed photos. For example, the family photos. Someone who is more of a posed photographer, they’ll be setting up and staging not just the family photos, but probably some of the getting ready photos, most of the couple photos, as well the wedding party photos. I suppose it’s understanding which way you lean, what you want that outcome to be with those key photos and moments.

Dorothy  15:26

You mentioned treatments too.I know there’s that really light and bright area that is almost film-like and there’s moody as well. Are there variations in that? What are the kinds of treatments that we’re seeing nowadays?

Leo Farrell  15:37

Yeah. Someone like Dan O’Day, for example, is more on the darker, moodier side. His works are really, really stunning, so quite artistic. The overall tone in the images is darker, more on the dark side, but for some people, that really appeals to them. I personally love it. There is also a lighter area, maybe you could possibly say more romantic lighting, I suppose. Some couples, they might associate lighter tones with more fun as opposed to the darker and moody, it’s probably a little bit more artistic. That can also just be depending on what their aesthetic is and which way they lean to from that perspective.

Dorothy  16:24

Speaking of lighting, lighting plays a huge part in a wedding day, I presume, as a photographer. Tell me about the role that lighting plays, especially when you’re winter, summer, daylight savings, all of that kind of stuff as well.

Leo Farrell  16:35

Yeah. Daylight savings is probably the easiest time to photograph a wedding for a photographer in terms of you’ve got light all day, so it’s much less of a concern. Although if you are having your ceremony very early in the day, that midday sun, the direction of the light can be quite harsh, and so it’s not as flattering on people’s faces. Generally, most ceremonies are a little bit later in the day anyway. In terms of winter weddings, because it may be getting dark by 5:30, some couples’ wedding might be scheduled for 5:00 o’clock or 4:30, it doesn’t really give you much time after the ceremony for couple photos.

Quite often, I’ll discuss with couples about having their photos beforehand, before the ceremony actually starts. That’s definitely an option worth exploring and definitely something to ask your photographer in terms of timing if you’re organising a winter wedding. That can also incorporate your first look as well, which can be a really nice thing to have. Again, that would be something that I would ask the photographer. If that’s the case, if you’re going to be doing a first look, what locations do they have in mind, where they think is going to be the best place to do that? Also, I would ask them if they have some photos of that location so that they can share, so that you’re actually on board with what their vision is.

Dorothy  18:07

What are the items when it comes to photography that couples really need to pay attention to so that everyone has clear expectations about the day, everyone knows what’s happening, and there’s no sort of surprises popping up?

Leo Farrell  18:19

Timelines on the day are really important. Timings of where the photographer’s going to be, what time is he going to be at each of the couple’s houses; if they’re doing getting ready photos or locations, what time they’re going to arrive at the ceremony? Will it be half an hour prior to the ceremony? Will it be five minutes prior to the ceremony? How long has been allocated for the couple photos and the wedding party photos, the timings of the speeches, the first dance. All of those things need to be clearly communicated between the couple and the photographer.

The photographer ideally should touch base with the couple on the day. Just little reminders, “We’ve discussed you know ducking out at sunset. I’ll keep an eye on the light. We’re aiming at 7:45. If the speeches are going to be pulled forward, should we aim to do that at 7:30, we can still get some really nice low-light images.” Just being clear in communication and expectations. Sunset photos are a really good thing to talk about with your photographer if that’s something that you would really like, and also just planning so that there is enough time to do that or making them early enough so that you can adjust if need be. If times do get changed, if things are running late on the night, the photographer should still take the lead in following up and reminding the couple of when it’s happening and if things are still on track.

Dorothy  19:52

We’ve met with our photographer, we’ve decided we’re comfortable with them, and the next thing is packages. Photographers generally base their packages on a set number of hours, so it’ll be 10 to 12 hours, etc. Can you demystify this a bit for us? What should we think about when it comes to hours with our wedding coverage? Are more hours better? If we’re going to minimise the hours, should we cut off getting ready or is the reception more important? What do we have to think about when it comes to this?

Leo Farrell  20:18

I think if you’re looking to have the getting ready photos of the couple beforehand, leading all the way through to most of the reception, that’s probably going to be about eight hours pretty consistently. If you weren’t as interested in the getting ready photos and it was more important to cover the reception, then it might be a few hours less. If you wanted the photographer to be there right until the end of the night, that might be 10 or 11 hours.

Most photographers have flexibility within their packages. They might have some base packages, and then you can add on extra hours depending on what your needs are. I suppose it’s really just about, for the couple, what’s most important for them to capture. If they wanted to cut things down, is it more important to have things at the earlier part of the day? Are they going to have important family members when they’re getting ready and they want that captured and they’re less fussed about having speeches captured? Are they not bothered about the getting ready photos and they’d rather have more time at the reception? Speeches might be really important to them, depending on who’s making them and they want to capture all of that emotion? If they think it’s going to be a really emotional time, people’s reactions. First dance and some dancing, maybe they’ve got something planned on the dance floor that they really want captured. I suppose it’s where they feel that the most important moments for them will be.

Dorothy  21:43

I know, especially years ago, a lot of photographers would leave very early on in the reception. Is it worth spending that extra money to have a photographer stay almost the full length? I suppose the dance floor can become redundant after a while. There’s only so many dance floor shots you can take.

Leo Farrell  21:59

I definitely think it’s worth staying for the reception. If roughly it works out to be around about 10:00 and I feel like by that stage, all the speeches have been covered, the first dance, if the couple of doing your first dance plus a good half an hour or 40 minutes of some dance floor action, and maybe even a couple of moody pics with a spotlight outside. I quite often encourage couples to step outside for a few minutes just to really try and soak in the day, have a few moments together, and I’ll snap a couple of photos that are more on the moodier side and that are a really nice way to end the story of the day. Also, it makes for a really nice couple of last final images if they’re ordering a fine art book or a wedding album.

Dorothy  22:51

How does the wedding day usually unfold for a couple? I know it starts much earlier than a lot of people realise really, with a photographer.

Leo Farrell  22:59

If we’re doing some getting ready photos, it would be between half an hour. With myself, it would be between half an hour, an hour, depending on how much is happening. It would be capturing a few details of dresses or suits, as well as the interactions with the family and friends that are present when a couple of getting ready, through to getting outfits on and then heading out the door. Then, I’d be going to the other partner, and then following on to arriving at the wedding ceremony about half an hour just to capture some details at the wedding ceremony site, set the scene, capture the guests arriving. If either of the couple are greeting guests beforehand, then just capturing that. And then waiting for the arrival of whichever partner hasn’t arrived at the wedding, capturing that arrival all the way through the ceremony, post-ceremony congrats, really lovely emotion. Any kind of family photos and group photos if needed, followed then by bridal party or wedding party photos, couple photos. They’re normally a little bit of a break for the couple while they go into the entry into the reception traditionally, followed by some speeches, a lot of mingling with guests during the reception, and might move into some first dance and general dance floor action and again, maybe ending with some spotlights and moody pics at the end of the day. As I said, the photographer should just have a few little touch points during the day, maybe reminding the couple of where they’ll be next so that there are no surprises and it’s all as they’ve discussed earlier in the timeline during the meetings.

Dorothy  24:55

It’s a big day for you working.

Leo Farrell  24:57

It is. It’s very busy. I think the other thing is if the couple have got, you know, some elderly relatives, maybe some grandparents or a particular aunt and uncle or some siblings, I might prompt them at one point and say, “Would you like to go and have a chat with with your grandfather or your aunt or whoever?” and I can just snap away and get a couple of photos. Sometimes, that’s because we may, with things earlier in the day, might have got a couple of photos, but it’s nice to make sure you’ve got a couple of extra ones if that was a really key person to them in their lives and it was really important for them to have some photos on the day.

Dorothy  25:36

Speaking of those important photos, I know a lot of wedding websites years ago used to say, “You’ve got to give your photographer shot list like, ‘me hugging mom and me walking down the aisle’,” which I understand photographers don’t need, but then there’s the formal portrait scene where you need to probably have someone in charge of the list of “Who do I desperately need formal portraits with?”, the grandmother portraits that they’ll sit on top of the piano. How does the shot list play? Do we need to do a shot list at all? Is it redundant now?

Leo Farrell  26:08

Some couples still give me a shot list with some of those important moments. I don’t mind that at all. It usually is all the things that I would be capturing. If the couple feels, kind of safer, making sure that they have written those out and give them to their photographer, then by all means, I encourage them to do that. In terms of the family grouping shots, definitely, I would encourage to write a list out so that we’re super clear on who all of the different people are and the different groupings. Makes it really efficient for when it comes time to capturing those. I also encouraged them to nominate a person, either a family member or close friend, who knows who all of those people are on the list and basically give them the responsibility of rounding them up so that myself and the couple don’t have to run around the venue trying to find Uncle Arthur and that just means we can be really efficient with those photos because quite often the couple, while it’s important for them to get them, they want to get them done so then they can move onto the next part of the of the day. Any assistance in rounding people up and being organised with that makes the couple a lot happier.

Dorothy  27:25

Of course. The portrait session, this can often be the most nerve-wracking part of the day if you’re feeling awkward in front of the camera. When it comes to the couples feeling comfortable with photography, how does that play out? What can we do to make the best shots possible during our portrait session, whether that’s before the ceremony or after?

Leo Farrell  27:45

I think it does start back at the meeting. I think it starts with your rapport with your photographer and it’s about, to start with, you know exactly where you’re going to be going so you’re going to be efficient with your time, so that worrying about the time is not an issue for you because that can make you feel a little bit stressed and not as relaxed. Knowing that you’ve got enough time coordinating, speaking about that with your photographer, and also knowing where you’re going so that you’re really certain about where you’re going. That also means you would have discussed those locations with the photographer beforehand and you’re really happy with where you go. You feel really good about where you’re going as well. There’s an element of control that the couple actually have.  They’re going into that session already knowing that “We know how much time we’ve got. We know the locations. We’ve already approved them and they’re really beautiful.” They just have to worry about themselves. From a photographer’s perspective, my job is to really just make them feel as relaxed as possible and keep things really low key.

Having done all that prep work, that makes me feel confident that we can just go for a wander with the couple. I can say, “Let’s head over this direction.” I’m already making the decisions about where the light is, where I want the couple to be heading, and also just give them some basic directions about where I want them to go, let them wander off and give them some space, and just let them feel connected together. I’ll guide them in a few different directions and maybe ask them to come a little bit closer. Just snap away and if anything does start to feel a tiny bit awkward, then move on to another location. Just encouraging discussion, a chat, being close together, all of those kinds of things, little – little hints from me every now and again just keeps things feeling really natural and just shows the connection of the couple.

Dorothy  29:50

It keeps coming back to me that so much of the success of the way that your wedding is captured with your photographer comes back to that comfort and that trust that you just have to have in them. You have to find that in the first place.

Leo Farrell  30:02

Yeah. Absolutely. I think it’s just that, for the couple knowing that the photographer is being really professional, they’ve done all the planning and all the work beforehand, that will just make them feel really confident on the day that the photographer’s got it sorted.

Dorothy  30:17

I think when you say the work beforehand, so many people think wedding photography is just about showing up on the day and capturing stuff with a camera, whereas we know that there’s a lot more to it. Can you debunk some of the backroom logistics for me? Such as delivery times, what we can expect with that, the backup plans because your wedding day, of course, doesn’t end when you walk out the door. There’s you’re doing your backups and your downloads and all that kind of stuff. Wedding albums, what to do in case of illness, there’s so much more to it. Can you talk through some of the stuff that you have to deal with for a wedding beyond the capturing of the moment?

Leo Farrell  30:52

There’s everything from organising all of your equipment beforehand, making sure everything’s charged, making sure you’ve got lighting equipment in case you might have some dark areas, say for example, during the speeches or even the ceremony, if something gets moved from outside to inside in an unexpected area. Just knowing that you’ve got lighting on hand if you need, and definitely for speeches, for first dance, lighting can really add a nice extra element of mood with lighting. You’ve got all of that planned and ready in the car. After the ceremony on the day, there’s managing a lot of gear, a lot of different lenses so that you capturing the couple from different perspectives with wider angle lenses and with longer lenses.

After the wedding, there is a lot of backing up of all the files. Back all the files up in three different locations for redundancy purposes, and then also have to go through and cull through the images, prepare a highlights gallery so that there’s some really lovely moments from throughout the day for the couple to revisit and share within a day or two of the wedding. I feel like that’s really important for them to be able to receive that and be able to share that with family and friends while the excitement is still really fresh. In terms of culling all of the images and then processing them, that also takes quite a bit of time, on top of the fact that photographer may have been shooting other weddings that weekend. They’re doing backing up and they’re doing highlight reels for maybe two or three other weddings on that weekend. That then plays out to needing multiple weeks to be able to edit and process all of the images for the various couples. That can be anywhere between three weeks to five or six weeks, and longer for some. I’ve heard of much longer wait times for other photographers depending on workload.

Dorothy  33:02

Especially in times of COVID when workload has tripled in some cases.

Leo Farrell  33:06

Yes, that’s right. Absolutely. Probably longer for video, I think.

Dorothy  33:10

Yes. Is that the timeline after the wedding day? We’ve got potentially a sneak peak if our photographer offers that, which may be up to a week, I suppose after the wedding, and then we’re waiting for the editing after that, and then perhaps an album. Is that the way the timeline falls into place?

Leo Farrell  33:26

Yeah, that’s right. Once the couple have received all of their photos, that’s when they can start making selections for their album. The album is definitely the last piece of the puzzle.

Dorothy  33:40

The keeping of mementos and making sure we actually have these images tangibly, if that’s important to us, is often key with our wedding photography. When it comes to wedding albums, what are the things we should know when it comes to the files, the digital files, the way that they’re received, the prints, the albums, all that kind of after-wedding tangible stuff?

Leo Farrell  34:02

Prints are normally available to purchase through the photographer. Let’s take a step back. The photographer would usually provide high res images and low res images. The low res images are great for social media, for emailing because the files are very small and the high-res images are ideal for printing. The couple usually are able to print their own images, but most photographers will also provide possibly like a fine art option where they can order through their online gallery and those sorts of prints will be on archival paper that has archival inks. They’re really high quality. They’re designed to be able to last for decades.

Similarly with fine art books. The inks that they use in fine art books are designed to last for generations so that they can be a keepsake for the couple. The ordering of that is normally done through a gallery process, selecting images from the gallery. The photographer then themselves or through a designer will design the album. That’s sent back, usually electronically, where the couple can then proof the various spreads and suggest adjustments to be made until they come to a final agreement on the look of the album.

Dorothy  35:31

There are quite a few things we can do with wedding photos too, aren’t there? I know a lot of photographers will offer guest access for those galleries where guests can order prints.

Leo Farrell  35:39


Dorothy  35:39

There’s things like parents albums and such. Are there any things we need to know about all those extras, or is it all just fun stuff that we can add on at the end?

Leo Farrell  35:49

Some photographers will include some of those things in their various packages and some things that they can add on at the end. I’m sure for most photographers, you don’t have to purchase the fine art book prior to the wedding, but they may offer a slightly discounted price if you did choose to purchase one prior to the wedding. It may be slightly more expensive if they purchase it after the wedding.

Dorothy  36:16

Is there anything else we need to keep in mind when we’re thinking about our wedding photography and we’re trying to make sure it’s the best possible outcome for us on our wedding day?

Leo Farrell  36:23

I think probably the main thing is, like what we spoke about earlier about the style of photography, it is what you’re looking for. I think that goes to when you’re looking through a photographer’s work, not just looking at the first few images on the website, but if photographer has like blog posts or portfolios where they’ve got like 100 or so images from a wedding, look through all of those images and see if it’s more than just a couple images that you like, make sure it’s the full gallery that you that you feel really in tune with because that’s a really good representation of the work, if you’re seeing a full blog post that’s got, say, 100 images.

You can really see if a photographer’s got a really consistent sense of style. Sometimes, some people might have some really bright photos, some really dark ones. You probably want your images to look pretty consistent, generally. Some photographers may have a couple of good couple shots, but then they may not have many good shots of guests mingling or other important parts of the day that you feel aren’t really represented. Maybe you could ask some questions about that or seek out someone whose body of work has that consistency all the way through, just to make sure that you know that all parts of the day that are really important to you will be captured in a way that really aligns with your own view.

Dorothy  37:53

I think that’s really important, to look beyond the highlights reel is, to use an Instagram term, and look really, like you said, to the full wedding. If you’re getting married in winter, perhaps looking for a winter wedding that takes place in winter on the photographer’s website or something like that. Winter light, as you said, is really difficult and it might be difficult for that photographer, so you want to make sure that they’re able to capture it the way you want. Full gallery’s a great tip.

Leo Farrell  38:22

Yeah. Definitely with winter, it is quite a different experience and the photographer is dealing with more lighting challenges than in a summer wedding. It would be good to ask them if they’ve got some winter wedding examples, specifically if that’s going to be your situation, just so you’re confident that they’re confident in what they’re doing. Absolutely.

Dorothy  38:44

Or churches, mind you, because churches can be very, very dark.

Leo Farrell  38:47

Yes. They can. They can.

Dorothy  38:49

Very challenging.

Leo Farrell  38:51

Yeah. I suppose you’re looking for a photographer who is proficient in all different sorts of lighting conditions because you literally don’t know what’s going to happen on the day. The weather might be really forecast to be quite bright and sunny, but then by the time the day comes, it might be really overcast and dark. That can leave a church much darker than it would have been otherwise. You really need to be able to deal with that situation on the spot.

Dorothy  39:18

Definitely. It takes a lot of skill to do that. Well, Leo, thank you so much for joining me today and sharing everything you know about wedding photography and all your wisdom. It’s been such a useful chat.

Leo Farrell  39:29

My pleasure talking to you. Hope I’ve been of some help.

Dorothy  39:32

I’m sure you’ve been so much help.

Leo Farrell  39:34

Thanks so much for having me on. I really appreciate it.

Dorothy  39:36

My pleasure. Thank you. The biggest of thank you’s to Leo for joining us today. I’m sure you’re going to want to book him, so head on over to where you can find out all the information you need. We’ve also got a written transcript of today’s episode, as well as of course, all the links to Leo’s websites and contact information.

Now you know that we love your feedback on the Feel Good Wedding Podcast, so make sure you write us a review, send us a message or send us an Instagram message because we’d love to hear from you and we’d love to hear your feedback on what you want to see going forward. We’ll be back in another two weeks with another great episode for you.