Weddings are opportunities for happy memories to be made, and an opportunity for you to tell your amazing love story through pictures. We wanted to explore if and how the changing times have influenced this important aspect of your big day.

We had a chat with a professional photographer Soji Oni (IG: sojioni) on what really matters for photography at wedding ceremony, be it an owambe party or an intimate wedding.

Is the shot list you follow for an intimate wedding different from an owambe wedding?

The order of events for an owambe wedding is almost the same for an intimate wedding - however, the time lapse may be slightly different. So take a typical scenario of how a bride preps for her big day - she gets up early for her hair & make up, gets her gele tied (if it is a traditional wedding), dresses up and is set - this will happen in both scenarios. There are no set rules or defined time lapses, the order depends on what the event requires and what the couple is trying to achieve.

Lighting is really important for photography; do you communicate the specific type of lighting you need for an event beforehand?

Photography is light - it is key to assess where and when we are shooting beforehand. As much as communication helps, preparation might not fully prepare us for reality. When we arrive at the venue with lighting tools, we may realise the lighting there is suitable and there is no need to set up extra lighting or the place is so dim and not well lit, that additional lighting is a no-brainer. Most times, I do communicate with my couples and tell them the amount of light I will be coming with, the amount of photographers I will be working with, equipment I will be working with and overall the things I will be doing just to ensure my images come out well.

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What are the ideal venues to shoot for intimate weddings?

Recently, we found out that nowhere is too small to have an intimate wedding and nowhere too big to celebrate your day. I have shot at garages, restaurants, gardens with less than 10 people. I have also shot at event venues that are so intimate that we have just the parents as guests. One time, I was working on a wedding with a 500 person capacity but the invited guests were less than 100. So, there are different venues for intimate weddings. There is no ideal venue - it depends on the decor, theme that we want to work with.

Will I need a pre-wedding shoot if I am not having an owambe wedding?

A pre-wedding shoot is an intimate time for the couple. For me, it is a time to know how my clients react to the camera and make them understand my style - this makes shooting at the wedding much easier. Some couples still want their pictures printed on souvenirs or incorporated into the decor of the venue (eg roll up banners, back drops). The pre-wedding shoot comes in handy in ensuring these things are embedded in the main event. Either you are having an Intimate wedding or an Owambe, I believe a pre wedding shoot is really necessary.

How will my guests get great photos if they do not get the usual set up for the Owambe wedding e.g. photo booth, flower walls.

It really has to do with the creativity of a photographer, to take great pictures at any given circumstance. No matter what the location looks like, beauty can be created anywhere and great photographs can still be gotten. Irrespective of the props available, great photos can still be taken anywhere.

Is the wedding package for an intimate wedding vastly different from an Owambe wedding?

Not really because I tell people we have gone past the age of film shooting whereby the number of pictures taken will be restricted. Taking great pictures entails a lot of things - good lighting, editing etc. The wedding package for an intimate wedding does not typically reduce because of the number of guests compared to what you would have at an owambe wedding. The price of your photography package will be customised depending on the client needs and the client’s budget.

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