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“So you’re engaged? Congratulations! Now all that’s left to do is plan a wedding.” The woman behind these tongue-in-cheek words is the lovely Maureen Haynes of Gold Coast-based Life in Bloom photography. Maureen has years of experience behind the camera, and specialises in telling “modern day love stories” through the medium of film. Maureen not only shoots weddings, but also engagements, too, so she’s well-versed in tracing the trajectory of a betrothal from its very beginnings right through to the big day. “I’ve seen and done it all,” she says, “so I’m happy to impart some of my knowledge!”
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On your marks

For many couples, wedding preparations begin the very night of the proposal. Those happy phone calls and messages are invariably met with responses such as “so, have you set a date?” or “do you have a venue in mind?” Maureen is all too aware that many couples may feel as though they’ve been thrown into the organisational deep end. “The mere thought of planning a wedding, whether it’s small and intimate or a gathering or huge proportions, can send the most organised of us into a state of utter panic!” she says. “While some couples out-source their nuptials to a wedding planner, many find themselves going it alone. ”

Getting started is perhaps one of the toughest parts of the whole planning process, as that blank wedding slate can be filled with an almost infinite number of possibilities. So if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by those stacks of glossy magazines or an endless list of google results, don’t despair: you’re not alone. “Most couples do find themselves wondering where on earth to start,” she says.

Maureen recommends focusing on the major, time-critical aspects of the wedding planning first. “In addition to your venue, one of the first things you’ll want to do is book your photographer,” she says, pointing out the need to get in before those other happy couples do–particularly during the busier months. “The popular and good choices are usually booked well in advance, so make sure you pay a deposit to guarantee your spot.”

Decisions, decisions

Now we know exactly what to focus on in our preliminary preparations, but how exactly does a couple go about finding the right photographer for them? Maureen finds that couples often come to her after seeing examples of her work and deciding that her style fits with their own. “I can only speak for myself here, but I love it when couples book me for my style of photography.”

Maureen also highlights the importance of getting to know your photographer prior to the wedding day. “When meeting with a couple for the first time we like to discuss how they see their day unfolding. This allows us to provide guidance in terms of scheduling and timing.”

This is a key part of the planning process, says Maureen, as often couples are unaware of what they can realistically expect within the tight time-frame of a wedding day. “Running around on the wedding day to lots of different locations does not necessarily make for better images!” says Maureen. “If you’re relaxed, are enjoying the day, and have allowed adequate time for your photographer to do their work, you’ll find that this will go a long way in ensuring that the end result is a great set of natural, candid-looking shots.”

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Say cheese

Maureen also has some valuable advice for those of us who have a habit of blinking in the flash or smiling awkwardly whenever a camera is trained upon us. “I would be a rich woman for every time someone told me they hated their photo being taken!” she says. It turns out that like most things, practice makes perfect–regardless of which side of the camera you’re on. “Brides practice putting on their wedding dress, and many couples also rehearse their ceremony, too. So it only makes sense to have some coaching in how to present yourself to the camera.”

But pouting and posing in front of the mirror with a cameraphone isn’t what Maureen has in mind. Rather, she finds engagement portrait sessions to be a great way helping her couples become more comfortable in front of the camera–not to mention take away some gorgeous shots of that happy time.

“An engagement portrait session is one thing that I insist on with my clients,” she says. “I love them. Let’s face it–having a big camera sticking it here and there and everywhere can be intimidating! Engagement shots can be a great way of getting to know each other before the wedding day, and we can use them to help couples with their posing so that they look more comfortable and natural in those wedding day shots.”

Get creative

Maureen points out that engagement shots don’t simply have to be consigned to an album, either. Rather, they can be used in myriad ways. “Table numbers, guest books, on a gift table, or even on save the date invitations are just some of the ways that they can be used,” says Maureen.

Contact Maureen

For more examples of Maureen’s stunning work, or to get in touch with her, stop by the Life in Bloom website, or the Life in Bloom Facebook page–and don’t forget to say that we sent you!

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