Why our temperamental weather won’t put this North East wedding photographer off
We chat to local wedding photographer Rachael Fraser about getting creative when rainclouds, overcast skies or spectacular sunsets strike.
We can plan almost every minute of our wedding day.
The details, the décor; the wedding venue and each course of the wedding breakfast menu; the glitz, the glam and the guestlist. Many of us spend over a year getting everything ready for one of the most special days of our lives. But the one thing we can’t plan for? The weather.
Not that a little rain is going to stop North East wedding photographer Rachael Fraser from capturing the most candid, romantic photos of your wedding day.
What’s that old saying? ‘Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass… it’s about learning to dance in the rain.’And that’s what drives Rachael’s style of wedding photography: capturing life. Real life. As it’s happening.
Because we remember what’s real. The people, places and situations who have shaped the people we’ve become – and never more so than when we look back on our wedding photos in years to come.
Which is why, with a little creativity and flair, an expert eye, plenty of passion and an extra helping of chill vibes for good measure, Rachael manages to capture the highlights of your wedding day in natural, timeless and exquisitely romantic style.
We caught up with this North East photographer to find out everything you need to know about getting only the very best photographs of your wedding day, whatever the weather…
What attracted you to becoming a photographer?
Photography has always been a big part of my life. My Grandpa was a professional photographer in Scotland and my dad was always taking a lot of photos when I was little, so I grew up interested in cameras. Initially it was just a hobby, taking photos of friends and family. But, as I got older, it became something I really loved doing. After university, my friend Claire Fleck started doing wedding photography and loved it and she suggested I give it a try too. So, I second-shot for her a couple of times and caught the wedding photography bug!
What do you love about wedding photography?
My favourite thing to photograph has always been people, so wedding photography seemed a natural place to start. I love capturing people when they’re unaware and showing their uninhibited emotions and natural beauty. For me, it’s not just about the image but also the memory and the story that image tells. I love to focus on the real emotions and highlight the laughter, joy and love that are felt throughout any wedding day.
How long have you been in the industry?
I’ve been photographing weddings now for about six years, (although that depends if you count 2020!).
How would you describe your style of wedding photography?
I think my photography is natural, romantic and timeless. I aim for mainly documentary-style photography: capturing the day as it happens, without setting up too many shots or poses. I like to capture real emotions and that connection between the newlyweds so that, when they look back, they can see a true reflection of themselves as a couple and how they felt on the day, as well as photos of their friends and family celebrating and having a good time.
Do you recommend having a practise shoot before the wedding day?
An engagement, or ‘pre-wedding’ shoot is a great way to get comfortable in front of the camera, get to know me as your photographer and how I work, and capture some beautiful photos of you as a couple outside of the wedding environment. The wedding day can be such a rush that it’s nice to have the pre-wedding shoot where you can be a bit more relaxed and without the time constraints of the wedding.
It also means that, on your wedding day, you already feel like you know what having your photo taken will feel like, so it takes away that element of mystery and nervousness. Plus, it means that when I arrive it will feel more like the arrival of a friend (hopefully), rather than a first meeting.
What’s your rough schedule for a wedding day?
I don’t have a ‘shot list’ as such, but there are certain moments I know are important to capture throughout the wedding day.
I’m flexible around what my couples want, but usually I would arrive at the wedding an hour or two before the ceremony to capture couples getting ready and any décor details before heading to the ceremony venue.
After the ceremony is usually the time when I will take the couple away for a short time to get some portraits. I like to take them on a little walk away from the rest of the guests, to give them a bit of time to themselves and so that they might feel a bit more comfortable and relaxed. I like to get the couple walking together, talking and interacting to capture the natural connection and get photos which reflect them as a couple.
The time between the ceremony and the wedding breakfast is also often the best time to do the family group photos. I always ask my couples for a list of family photos that they might want in advance, as I think it’s always better to have this prepared – wedding days go surprisingly fast and something important might be forgotten in the rush of the day! Although family photos are obviously important, I advise my couples to remember that each group photo might take a bit of time to organise, so it’s worth bearing this in mind when making your list. The more group, formal photos that you want, the more time you’ll be spending getting photos taken and the less time to spend you’ll spend with your guests!
For the rest of the day, I try not to be intrusive and just let the day unfold naturally –capturing the joy and celebration of the day as it happens. If there is a beautiful sunset, I might take the couple out for some more portraits in the evening to capture that gorgeous golden-hour light.
What are your top tips for some candid shots without couples looking awkward?!
Honestly, sometimes the awkward giggles are the best! But really, just try to relax and be yourselves – don’t think about what you think I might want you to do or look like, just do what feels natural. Try to keep moving and interacting with each other to avoid stiffness and, if you aren’t sure where to look, look at each other!
And what poses or shots would you recommend couples avoid?
Anything that doesn’t feel like you! Don’t just do a pose because you saw it on Instagram or Pinterest. If it doesn’t feel like something you would do naturally and it feels a bit forced, then you will probably be able to tell in the photos.
For you, what makes a ‘perfect’ image?
I think not worrying about an image being ‘perfect’ is what can make really amazing photos – when couples are relaxed, being themselves and having fun. I find this is when the true magic comes through. Celebrate the imperfections!
The North East’s weather is characteristically unpredictable. How do you tailor your wedding shoots if the weather’s not the best?
If you’re getting married in the North, be prepared for any weather and try to embrace it! We will still capture some beautiful portraits, we just might have to be a bit more opportunistic and flexible.
Often overcast skies actually create a nice, even light and some vibrant colours. Some of my favourite photos were taken on rainy days. In my experience, it’s rare for it to rain consistently all day, so it usually means we just have to be a bit more flexible with when we do the outdoor portraits and head outside during dry spells. And there are usually indoor areas or areas under shelter at venues that can be used if there is really no break in the downpour.
I also always have large see-through umbrellas with me that I have used in the past to go outside with couples, even if it is a bit bleak! I’m always up for going outside if the couple are and I honestly love it when they brave the outdoors. It will be so worth it in years to come when you look back at your photos!
The main thing is, don’t stress about your photos. Even if the weather isn’t what you had envisioned, grab an umbrella and embrace it!