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Wedding Photography Trends For This Year! with Fiona Kelly, Wedding Photographer


Wedding Photography Trends For This Year! Fiona Kelly, Wedding Photographer shares her best bits of last year and what trends to look out for this year!

Listen to Fiona on the Wedding Espresso Awesome DIY Wedding Planning Podcast…


Fiona Kelly, Wedding Photographer

Monika Clouth, The Icing Fairy


Tim Podesta A question – the Ceilidh trend – is this linked to Scottish influence? I did one recently for Burns Night and they are great traditional dancing events
Kim Robertson Ceilidh’s are great fun and have always been the tradition at Scottish weddings, although nowadays I thought younger people were moving away from traditional Ceilidh bands and moving more towards disco’s or more modern music bands
Susan Stuart What about using a celebrant, though!
Clare Hartland-Brown Excellent point about the ceremony venue.
Susan Stuart You can do the legals and go for gold with the type of ceremony you want.
Lorna Boyer I was thinking about celebrants Susan! especially with the changes to outdoor weddings that came recently
Susan Stuart Hi Lorna!, unlicensed venues can be even better! But not always, especially if you are outside!
Yvonne  Beck i think couples actually want more personalisation
Susan Stuart Great photos! Thanks!
Rachel Vine I’ve seen lots of amazing creative shots that are quite artistic which has been a pleasant surprise. Some really unusual stuff.
Tim Podesta Q for the future of photography – is there a new way of creating  the wedding album –  it can be very personalised but the handling of the 1000’s of digital images to find the right 100 is hard and the file size is massive?
Fiona Kelly There is no getting away from the fact that, for a couple, designing their own album is probably going to be a bit daunting. Unless they are designers of course! For the most part they are going to have 500+ images to choose from and we have all had the ‘blank page’ blindness when we have no idea where to start. It is tricky. The best advice I can give from that score is what I say to the couples whose albums I design. I ask them to look at the whole day and choose 5-10 images from each part of the day that are their favourites and the ones they really want to remember as time goes by. By breaking it down to smaller chunks it’s easier to choose a selection.
In terms of getting the physical album there are going to be limits to what a couple can do themselves. Primarily because many of the top album companies, who produce the kind of albums that will last a lifetime, will only deal directly with photographers. The choice for a couple is to firstly get their own photographer to help with their album. I do this for 50-60% of my couples and its something I really enjoy (I used to be a graphic designer so it comes very naturally!). The second options is to find another photographer or a company who offer the same quality of albums. I have also done this for couples who have married abroad or whose photographer doesn’t offer albums. The third option is to go for a company that does deal with the public directly. There are a few and one of the best I have found is a company called Blurb. Many companies that offer albums/printing to the public have their own online software for designing albums and have templates you can populate with the images, so it’s actually not that complicated. Just a bit time consuming.
The other option is that a couple can set themselves up with an online gallery or website so they can create something they can share easily with their guests. Most photographers will provide an online gallery for the full set, but if a couple would like to do something more bespoke then there are wedding websites you can create, which again offer templates for easy set up. Or using software such as iPhoto to create albums is a possibility. A lot depends on how tech savvy someone is.
There are things out there for a couple to create their own wedding albums, however from a quality point of view nothing is going to beat having it designed and created as a bespoke album by your own photographer.


Fiona: [00:00:00] Thank you very much. Hi I’m Fiona. I’m a wedding photographer, and I’ve been doing this for almost nine years, quite a long time. And yes it’s quite interesting to see how every year new trends come through, and you see different things.

And while weddings are still weddings, and nothing changes drastically, every year things change a small bit. As people bring in a bit more personality or they’re allowed to do things in a slightly different way.

Because tradition doesn’t necessarily have to be followed to the same extent. So it’s always really interesting looking back. And at this time of year, I’m just finishing up my December weddings, and starting to look back on the weddings from last year. You know, you’re picking the favourite ones. Looking at all the images, going back to all the weddings. We can start to see things, and how people have particularly gone in a different direction, or not, over the course of a year. 

Fiona: [00:00:57]

One of the things that I’ve really noticed this year with my own brides and grooms is a lot more individuality and personality brought into their clothing, into the outfits they choose.

I mean, this first image is the perfect example of this. The bride wearing the most amazing Temperley London Dress. Which is one of those ones where I have a very, very bad habit of squealing slightly when I see the dresses. When I see something that is just really different. I mean, all brides dresses are so amazing.

But sometimes you just get something a little bit different, or that little bit WOW. Or for me, I’m kind of like “oh my gosh, I’d so wear that” kind of thing.

And I did that with this brides dress. They were a slightly older couple. They met when they were in their mid 30s. So they were getting married, I think that was probably mid 40s now, when they got married. And like I said, they kind of wanted to go into it in a slightly different way, and do things very much their way. 

Fiona: [00:01:53] So this is definitely something we’ve seen, with her, with this bride as well.

Not a typical wedding dress. There’s nothing fitted or anything like that. It’s quite loose. It’s quite informal. It’s a little bit more boho.

There’s definitely a lot more of that, that I saw coming through this year. This one as well. You know, it’s very flowing. Lots of different details too. And it’s great. It’s really exciting when you see someone really bringing their personality into the outfits they choose. 

Fiona: [00:02:30]

And even the grooms, you know, the grooms are looking quite stylish.

They’ve got slim fitting suits and a bit more colour in it. I mean, he just basically wore his waistcoat because it was that ridiculously hot summer. And I think he had the suit and went, “No”. So really styled it out in his waistcoat. And like the first guy, the first groom, choosing very much clothing that reflected his style, rather than going down the more formal route, or the more traditional route. So that was the first thing that really struck me from 2018, was individuality in dresses and outfits. And like I say, it’s a very exciting thing from a photography point of view, to see something that’s different. So that’s really, really fun. 

Fiona: [00:03:16] And that kind of level of individuality followed through in terms of people’s approach to their day. There’s a lot of really fun moments, like these guys. You know they just embraced everything. It was not so much formality. These guys got married on a dark December day, but they’ve got fairy lights everywhere. They had a really fun time. Also lots of black tie weddings. I’ve seen quite a lot black tie weddings this last year. Maybe a little bit more of an evening vibe.

So there’s definitely a sense of having lots of fun, not taking the day too seriously, or getting caught up in doing things the way that people feel that they should do it. And just having a really, really lovely time, very much off their own back, of their own account. 

Fiona: [00:04:17] I’m always inclined to throw a bit of a sunset shot in, just because I like a sunset shot. So there’s no reason for that, just because I love it. Just because it’s basically me picking some of my favourite shots of the year. But one thing that was a year of was absolute extremes of weather. So we have this, which was a very, very beautiful warm sunny autumn day, and we had this in March. So we had these really crazy extremes last year, which I think also affected how people went about their wedding. Having this in March! The couple were really hoping for a lovely springtime day. And we got that. Which you know, again, I was like “whoa”. You know, this is one of my favourite photos of the whole of last year. I absolutely love it. But it definitely wasn’t on their plan when they planned their March wedding, to have snow. 

Fiona: [00:05:12]

So I think last year really taught a lot of couples that it doesn’t really matter what time of year you pick, you have no idea about the weather.

To go from the March snow through to the summer, where it was absolutely sweating, and really hot. And like I said before, the groom from the first shot didn’t even wear his jacket, because it was so hot. So I think that’s possibly a trend prediction, not in terms of a trend, but just in terms of couples having to bear in mind that we’re not getting the sort of weather that we’ve had in the past. We’re not necessarily guaranteeing a nice spring day and an average summer. We might be getting snow in March and a heatwave in September. So I think that’s something that people might be bearing in mind a little bit more, in terms of their planning ahead. Given the fact that weather is certainly changing. But it was yes, it was kind of a crazy year in terms of the weather. Which definitely brought in a change. 

Fiona: [00:06:13] I saw lots more couples, brides with faux fur throws, that kind of thing. So again, bringing in the clothing aspect.

So the other thing that I loved was crazy times. Ceilidh! I had a lot of Ceilidh’s last year, and I have to say, I do love Ceilidh. I love going to a Ceilidh. I love taking photos of Ceilidh’s. They are a lot of fun.

So again it’s bringing in that kind of heritage and individuality. So like these guys, the groom was Scottish, the brides’ English, so they really brought together their backgrounds in terms of how they created the entertainment, and the meaning of the day. So it was very much a bringing together of all the aspects of their personality, and their backgrounds, and it’s great fun. 

Fiona: [00:07:03] And then the other thing we saw a bit of as well, which I know is not new, but the silent discos.

I had a few silent discos last year. That was definitely a trend that came through. And I know they’ve been around a year or two. But I think they’re coming in with full force.

And having never experienced one before, it is possibly the most hysterical thing you’ve ever seen. From an outsiders point of view, when you’ve got a load of people all dancing and singing to completely different tracks, out loud, and then you can hear them, and they have no idea. And it is just the most bizarre situation from an outsider’s point of view. Just listening to all this really bad singing. But everyone clearly having an absolute whale of a time, which is yeah, is a lot of fun. So things like the Ceilidh’s and the silent discos are very different ways of bringing the evening entertainment around. 

Fiona: [00:08:00]

And then the last thing that I saw a big trade trend with, which I was very happy about, is brides doing speeches. A lot more brides doing speeches. A lot more of the girls standing up and doing their thing, which is fabulous.

And I had probably about 30, 35 weddings last year and probably about half of them had brides who stood up and said a few words, at some point through the day. And it was really, really cool to see. It’s definitely becoming more of a thing I think. That was a really nice thing to see through the year. 

Fiona: [00:08:39] And then lastly again, just another picture that I like. This is a venue where I went on their suppliers list last year. And it is a new one for me. It’s Queens House in Greenwich, and it is a beautiful, beautiful venue. I’m really hoping I do a lot more weddings there now. Because this is just stunning. So it’s been really nice to see a lot more couples finding venues that are again, that little bit different. So some route that’s maybe not the run of the mill that people always have to go down. I think it sort of expands on that individuality, and people wanting to do something different. And find their own way, for their wedding. That’s kind of it, in terms of what I’ve seen.

So lots of unique things, and lots of people doing it their way. Even more so than previous years. 

Fiona: [00:09:32] And I think for next year… oh I’m really rubbish at trends. I’m so bad at coming up trends.

The one thing I’ll be really interested to see, because I always follow the Pantone colour of the year thing. And this year it’s the living coral, which I’m very excited about because it is my branding.

My branding is actually living coral. Completely unknown when I did it four years ago. I’m always really intrigued to see how things like that actually play off. Are we going to see a lot more of that colour coming in, in terms of flowers or dresses or details? Yeah I would predict that we’re going to have a continuation from what we saw last year, in terms of unique or individual ways of creating something for their wedding. Maybe bringing in elements of the colour. Something a bit brighter, a bit bolder. A bit more maybe away from the whites and the greens.

I’ll be really interested to see if that becomes more of a prevalent style for the year. I think the Pantone Colour of the year is always designed to be something that predicts how the year is going to be. And if it’s going to be living coral, bright and bold, and a bit more positive.

Hopefully that will be what we see coming through in the weddings and the wedding styles. 

James: [00:11:00] Awesome. Great. Thanks very much Fiona. So an absolute ton of stuff came through there. But before I get stuck into it from my end, Monika have you got any questions for Fiona about wedding photography in 2019? 

Monika: [00:11:18] I mean she’s taking all my words right out of my mouth. Individuality is exactly what I’ve seen as well. Absolutely spot on with that. Really for questions, I haven’t got any right now, they will come. I’m pretty sure they will come. 

James: [00:11:35] Well I’ll jump in. So Fiona it’s very interesting that you’ve highlighted a lot of the change in people’s attitude towards freedom of expression and personalisation. I think when Rachel and I got married, we tried to embrace all of that, at the time. But since then, like four years on, we’ve seen an explosion of change.

Do you think from your perspective that there’s any one particular area that has changed more than any other? 

Fiona: [00:12:15] It’s hard, because obviously while there’s still the restriction on having to get the actual ceremony in certain places, there’s only so much you can actually change. So I think a lot of that at the moment comes in with what people wear, the entertainment, the colours that are used, and the approach to the day. Because obviously the main core of the day, which is the ceremony, you are still very much tied, from a legal point of view, to where you can do it. I think that will be the crux for me. I think the minute that that changes, and there’s a massive hope that that will, at some point, change. Obviously if you want to do a church, great! Do a church. But if you don’t want to do a church, you know, to have that possibility of getting married wherever you want. Because it would be the person who has the license, not the building. I think that would be when the real change happens. But definitely up to that point, so until that happens, I think people are definitely bringing in their own personality, their own style, their own approach. 

Fiona: [00:13:19] So you know…

I’ve done a few weddings this year where there hasn’t even been a formal sit down dinner. They haven’t wanted that. They’ve wanted finger food, or bowl food, or you know buffet, or the relaxed kind of approach.

But there’s definitely a lot people still doing that level of formality, because it feels special. There’s a heck of a lot who aren’t, because it just doesn’t feel right for them. 

Monika: [00:13:42]

Do you see a size difference in the year? That the groups are getting smaller, or bigger? 

Fiona: [00:13:49] No they’re still floating somewhere between 80 and 120. That’s still the average. I’ve done a lot more really small weddings, as in two or three people. You know, a couple, and a handful of guests. That is something that I’ve seen a few more of this year. But they tend to be front end and back end of the year. So people tend to do that, not so much in the summer months. The summer months seem to be the ones where they’re still doing the full whole shebang. Yeah but floating somewhere between 80 to 120 is the kind of the average I’d say. 

James: [00:14:24] Awesome. Thanks very much Fiona. Really, really appreciate that. And I’ve just got to say, you know, fantastic shots. 

Fiona: [00:14:32] Oh thank you. 

James: [00:14:34] Really incredible.

Yeah I love that set. I’m so glad your favourite shot is the snow one, because I saw that shot and I was like boom. Look at that. Wow. 

Fiona: [00:14:45] That was the last shot of the night. I went outside to just get a couple of photos of the venue, and the snow was just coming down. It had been like dribs and drabs all day, and it was just coming down. And I was like, “Oh my word”. I literally ran back in and was like “you have to come outside, you have to go outside. It’s going to be really cold, It’s gonna be amazing.” I had in my head, I knew what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to light up the bit where they were standing. The porch, it’s not a porch. 

James: [00:15:15] Entranceway. 

Fiona: [00:15:16] Yeah. The entrance way. I’m sure it’s got a fancier name than that. I can’t think what it is. I knew I wanted to light that up, to make it a bit of a feature. So I had that in my head already. And the minute the snow came down, I was just like “Oh my gosh this is going to look amazing.” And I just said come on guys, I’m across the other side of the road. You can’t hear me. I can’t hear you. I just want you to stand there, and just give me five minutes of your time. And try not to shiver too much. So you know, God love them. They stood there, and they did it. I did that first shot. It took me a few to tweak it to get the light right. But I did that first shot and I went “oooooh”. This is amazing. This is so exciting. Yeah it was that last shot, went in and defrosted slightly, got the taxi home. And they loved it as well. When I sent it through to them as one of their sneak peeks, they were literally “that is amazing.” It was on their thank you cards. I even think the bride might have it as a screensaver on Facebook, or something like that. Sometimes you just get those moments where it’s just a winner. 

James: [00:16:23]

You were their wedding photographer, so they obviously trusted you. Were they really up for that? 

Fiona: [00:16:27] Yeah. You know the minute they knew obviously that the beast of the East was coming in with a vengeance, like the day before their wedding. And we had a quick chat, e-mail chat, and I was like, it’s going to be a bit cold. We’ll do our best you know. Are you up for an outside shot maybe at some point, because it would be a shame not to. They were like “yeah, yeah it’s OK”. They had layers on, and all that kind of stuff, and they were totally OK. We did earlier photos outside and you know, we kept it quite quick. I mean, I couldn’t feel my hands after doing the family photos. It literally took me about 10 minutes to defrost my fingers. It was that cold. But they were up for it. They were really up for doing it. And I think that made all the difference, because they were quite happy. As long as we didn’t take too long, which was absolutely fine by me as well. They were really up for getting involved and doing those photos that really made a difference. 

James: [00:17:21] Brilliant, I’m glad to hear it. Cool, well thank you very much Fiona. 

Fiona: [00:17:26] No worries.

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  • Reply Fiona Kelly February 7, 2019 at 9:09 am

    Really great to join everyone at the last meeting! Thanks, James and lovely to meet the other ladies who were sharing their knowledge.

    • Reply James Pearson February 8, 2019 at 12:42 pm

      Thank YOU Fiona for sharing so much great info 🙂 Can’t wait for the next one!!!

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