Royal wedding, your wedding!

Now this is going to sound a bit trite, but I think it is true, every bride is a princess and every groom is a prince. I can actually say with conviction that I would put all my enthusiasm, personality, artistic flare and technical ability into the wedding photographs of any couple, and it would be the same whether they were titled or not. Not that I was asked to photograph the recent wedding at Windsor, and not that I only turned it down because I was already booked. I just feel everyone who gets married should be getting the same level of attention and commitment from their photographer at whatever level of service has been arranged regardless.

A King and Queen stand beneath a flowere arch

What a stunning bride and groom standing beneath a beautiful flower arch, in a castle no less, Peckforton Castle Cheshire. They look Royal to me.

Being a photographer I have so much fun meeting new people when I am booked to photograph them. In the case of weddings this begins with the consultation and the engagement shoot; listening and talking to the couple about who they are is vital for them to relax and enjoy the session. They find out about me too, and the mutual understanding that results always makes for better pictures then, and afterwards, especially weddings. That said, I am always amazed when I turn up on a wedding day, having perhaps only briefly chatted on the phone or by email messaging with the bride and groom that we can so quickly sync with each other. There is a lot to be said for photographers who are not just technically and possibly artistically brilliant, but are people who can create an atmosphere and rapport which means others feel safe to allow more of themselves to be revealed by the lens.

A crowd gather in the grounds of Shrewsbury Castle to wish a Prince and Princess well on their wedding day

A crowd of well-wishers gather outside the castle, in this case Shrewsbury Castle to wish the newlyweds all the very best. And yes, there was cheering.

Many photographers have that ability to create a connection, and it is clear through social media and reviews which photographers are not just doing it for the money! There are of course some ex-paparazzi, ex-sports photographers and amateurs who turn their hand to wedding photography who find this more than challenging. I came to photography as a second career and love it no more or no less than my first as a teacher. The things I learnt as a teacher have helped me to be the photographer that I am, and I continue to learn as a photographer.

A castle on an island ideal for a newlywed Princes and her Prince

Chateau Rhianfa, a fairytale wedding venue for a happily married Prince and Princess

So, with no sense of deference I am well content to give all my clients the same level of professional service every time. What more can someone say in recommending themselves to you and your family and friends? Feel free to look across the internet for reviews and examples of my work.

A Princess and a Prince stand before their Castle

So you can be the Prince and Princess and treat the Castle respectfully as your own on your wedding day, in this case Peckforton Castle in Cheshire

And, if you happen to be of royal blood and need a photographer for your wedding, website, portrait or social media lifestyle images, feel confident that you will get that same high level of regard as I give to all!

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Posted in Wedding photography, Wedding photography promotion

Fun at first sight!

Engagement shoots have become an important part of preparing for a wedding, a chance to really check out the photographer, someone you may be with much of your wedding day so they need to be someone you really get on with and even like. They will also be someone who can also make beautiful and technically brilliant images, check out their website thoroughly to make sure this is true.

Black and white engagement picture takien in the studio

I love the simplicity of studio minimalism and keeping it simple in black and white.

A photographer has to be someone you enjoy being with, who is fun, and can get those images you want despite your possible shyness and lack of experience in front of the camera. I wish I had a £ for every time someone said they never looked any good in photographs, and another £ for everyone who said to me after the shoot how pleased they were with the pictures and how they looked in them!

Chester Clock a place for blind dates and engagements

Nothing like a good location for an engagement picture, this one in Chester was very poignant because this was where the couple first met on a blind date!

Springtime is a very popular for engagement shoots as the wedding season starts to really get back into gear. I am busy with them at the moment and have included examples of recent shoots in this blog.

Romantic and sensual engagement portrait kiss

Romantic and sensual, couples should be able to relax and enjoy each others company on an engagement shoot. This couple did not find it too hard to get lost in each other! It was also a chance to visit the venue and discuss the wedding, that is when they had a minute. This was taken at the Double Tree Hotel and Spa in Chester.

As part of my service as a wedding photographer I often include an engagement shoot an it is a chance to relax with the couple before the more intense day of the wedding. I say intense more because there is so much going on rather than that it is a day of stress, my aim is to take the stress out with a confident and light touch when taking the precious images that will help people to remember a happy and remarkable day in their lives.

Young couples enjoy the practice of being with each other in front of the camera.

It is all about being close and not minding the photographer being there, can take a little practice.

Engagement shoots are relaxed and are the start of the real fun of being photographed. A time to learn that the photographer is going to be an asset to the wedding, bringing a calm, confident and experienced hand at dealing with each moment as it arises. During the shoot I always talk about what the couple would like from their wedding images and how I can make that happen for them.

Meeting people in their favourite places.

One of my first engagement shoots this lovely couple enjoyed walking along the coastal path, views of Liverpool in the background.

To help couples relax we often talk not only about their wedding, but also their likes and dislikes,their background. We have a lot of fun, sharing a funny moment and doing things that make them laugh so they are not posing but being themselves. Acting out allows for more natural images even when they do actually look straight down the lens.

Engagement shoot at Ness Gardens

Ness Gardens was the venue for this couples wedding and we agreed to meet there the Spring before and enjoyed the bluebells and the bright green of the new tree leaves.

Once the shoot is over I am sure it is very reassuring to have quality prints or files from the photographer so that couples know the standard has been set and what should come with the wedding pictures. I always give a minimum of two large prints, one for each the bride and groom. I always provide a password protected online gallery from which couples choose their photos and there is always an option to purchase more usually sweetened with a significant discount for large orders!

Shy people love a shoot in the studio.

Inside the studio we can control the light and the background. It is also private so shyer people can relax and get to know me better.

Apart from simply enjoying the pictures there are two other ways that clients use the engagement shoot assuming there is enough time they can use one picture for the invitations, a very personalised card to receive. The other option is for a signing board on which people write their names and messages during the reception, it is basically a very large mount around the picture inside a simple frame.

Inglewood Manor engagement shoot

Practising being photographed on the engagement shoot at the venue, in this case Inglewood Manor on the Wirral, helps a couple imagine the day better and enjoy the build up for longer.

At the moment I am actually offering engagement shoots FREE! No extra charge!! So if you know anyone getting married in the next year, go on, pass my details on.

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Posted in engagement portrait photography, Portrait photography, Wedding photography, Wedding photography promotion

Your wedding photographs should be like your favourite film

Peckforton Castle makes a romatic backdrop for a wedding

A black and white with strong contrast and a black vignette to focus the eyes – Peckforton Castle

Like a favourite film which we can watch over and over again it would be wonderful to have wedding pictures that we also enjoy looking at repeatedly. One of my favourite films is ‘Casablanca‘, and recently we unusually watched a film twice at the cinema we enjoyed it so much, ‘The Shape of Water‘ . What these films have is a richness of atmosphere, artistic flare, and story, not to mention interesting characters which reward us emotionally and aesthetically. That description should apply to our wedding photographers too, a very high standard which we wedding photographers can aspire to. I have always been of a developmental frame of mind and it is important to always be searching to improve in whatever we do, in my case taking ever better wedding photographs.

Casablanca official trailer

Flower surround a bride

A beautiful bride in black and white with again high contrast

Of course there will always be a place in every photographer’s heart for black and white pictures and even attempting a little ‘Hollywood’ lighting. I love it when clients say they would like to see some of their wedding pictures in black and white, and I usually always include some conversions in every batch of proofs I publish for them on my website.

Silhouette Peckforton Castle newlywed image

In partial silhouette this high contrast image maintains the intimacy of the couple’s first few hours together as newlyweds – taken at Peckforton Castle in the bay window

The Shape of Water official trailer

I am sure there will be many out there who want that more saturated and contrasty side lit look to their images. I can do this in the studio and many a model and actor portfolio might want something along those lines.

Wrenbury Hall wedding, natural light bride and groom portrait

Spotlit in the window, this couple only have eyes for each other at their Wrenbury Hall wedding

In the real world people are often caught between the desire for beautiful wedding photographs and what their budget might allow. I believe that as with many things it is quality not quantity that really counts, and it would be better to book your photographer of choice for less time to get the best images than book another photographer offering longer coverage but possibly not producing the images that you like.

Bridal portrait in the bridal suite at Wrenbury Hall

This beautiful bride was so excited on her wedding day. It was a pleasure to photograph her emotion at Wrenbury Hall in the bridal suite as she got ready

By all means people should have very high expectations of their chosen wedding photographer in terms of style, and a list of things that they would like photographed. But make this two lists, one of essentials  and make sure these are included in whatever ‘package’ the photographer is offering. Pricing is not always transparent so ask lots of questions about inclusions and exclusions.

Evening disco lighting can add saturation and colour to the wedding images

Disco lights are the closest to Hollywood lighting at a wedding. This was Wrenbury Hall in Cheshire

So, have someone take your wedding pictures who you trust will take the time to make them works of art and objects you will treasure and look on fondly, remembering the moments as they flew by. Your wedding day was like a good film, full of excitement and interest and over too soon. Let the wedding photographs be like a reminder of the highlight and reflect the great things you still enjoy about being together.

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A month in California – a year on

Just a few images of my trip to California where Oona and I spent a very happy month one year ago seeing our Son Joseph and touring California and Arizona. It was all definitely the highlight of last year and one of the very best holidays of our lives.

Golden Gate Bridge

Art deco towers in international orange the Golden Gate Bridge straddling the entrance to the bay – we were fortunate in the afternoon that the Sun came out and burnt off the Pacific mist, the fog horn sounding from the bridge was pretty eerie

While in San Francisco we visited our son at Cal State East Bay, where he was studying politics. He was the real reason for the trip. We were there in January and stood alongside many Californians on the day of Trump’s inauguration, determined to add our own voices to the ‘Bridges not Walls’ protest. A lively bunch we walked the streets of San Francisco surrounded by well wishers in a carnival atmosphere. It really brought a whole variety of people together and despite the rain we had a really good time.

On the Golden Gate bridge

Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge Oona and Joseph my two road trip amigos

Golden Gate Rivets

How many rivets in the Golden Gate Bridge? Answer in next picture caption

Golden Gate mist

The Sun about to break through the mist as we walked the bridge (600,000 in each tower)

Of course San Francisco is the city of ‘the bridge‘ and we had a wonderful afternoon crossing it. Opened in 1937 its famous colour is called ‘international orange’, ironic considering what had just happened in US politics. Talk of ‘walls and bridges’ was much in the air. I am definitely for bridges. People should be curious about what is on the other side and not frightened to step out and over to see what life is like looking the other way, that is a very important part of being a human being not to mention a photographer. Movement should be both ways of course, it is what being open and inviting is all about. I like the idea of free movement, much of the rest, all that wall building and stuff is driven by fear, I do not like living in fear. We certainly moved about a lot and enjoyed as much of California and the West as would could fit in and tried to spend a bit of time at each place. By serious contrast we also visited Alcatraz, not much movement from there in the past!

Oona and Joseph on the Golden Gate Bridge

Lots of people out that day walking, running and cycling on the Golden Gate Bridge

Oona on the San Francisco Tram

Had a great time riding the trams – no health and safety here!

Joseph on the San Franscico Tram

We had a great time riding up and down those steep streets of San Francisco. Riding down to China Town

Red lanterns everywhere in China Town San Francisco

New Year in China Town San Francisco!

Joseph also took us to many of his favourite places and we especially enjoyed going to Cannery Row in Monterey as we all enjoyed reading John Steinbeck novels.  Shame about the commercialisation but inevitable I suppose. The Aquarium was brilliant and the first time on the trip we came across sea otters!

Oona and Joseph with the bust of John Steinbeck on Cannery Row

Meeting John at Cannery Row Monterey Bay

Monterey Aquarium sea creatures

Weird and wonderful creatures at Monterey Bay Aquarium

Alcatraz prison

Alcatraz under a dark and brooding sky

Dodgy duo in Alcatraz

Caught this dodgy duo in the mess hall at Alcatraz. Clearly a dangerous couple of desperadoes planning an escape. Also clearly not to be trusted with a pair of scissors let alone a meat cleaver to prepare food for the inmates

Batters plate Alcatraz prison yard

And did Al Capone hit a home run from this batters plate in the Alcatraz prison yard?

After an excellent week we said a sad farewell to Joseph who had to get back to his studies and headed into the mountains, first Yosemite and then Sequioa National Parks. We had a fantastic time in the snow despite getting lost, and despite driving conditions which were far from perfect, thankfully we had four wheel drive and hired snow chains which we fortunately never had to fit. We loved the mountains and the trees and going in January meant less crowds, although we still remained wary that there might be bears, ‘oh my’! The Sequoias and Red Woods were awesome, really very gentle giants that helped us in our more mindful moments.

Snow and cloud covered Josemite Falls

Yosemite Falls

Not an Ansel Adams but one of my own

Another view of the falls, more in the style of Ansel Adams

Jasmin Mountain Josemite National PArk

Half Dome Mountain originally called Jasmine Mountain by the native Americans

Oona and General Sherman

Oona with her favourite tree in North America, the General Sherman Sequoia, one of the largest and oldest organisms alive or to have ever lived

General Sherman tree- Sequoia National Park

Oona at the foot of the greatest tree either of us has ever seen, The General Sherman Tree

Information and conveniences near General Sherman Tree

Sunlight through the clouds at Sequoia National Park high up in the Rocky Mountains

Death Valley was of course other worldly for us temperate townies. We arrived and just stood in the middle of a barren wilderness. And the roads! They really do just go on, undulating for miles into immensely distant vanishing points. Really would recommend getting out of the car and getting onto some of the trails. Golden Canyon and Gowers Gulch was epic for scale, colour and grandeur.

Lost in Death Valley

Lost in Death Valley! We got lost looking for the ‘Red Cathedral’ in the Golden Canyon. Many beautiful coloured rocks everywhere. We have of course lived to tell the tale

Salt flats in Death Valley

There is water in Death Valley but not a drop to drink – all salty

Badwater Basin Death Valley

Looking cool in the desert heat of Death Valley at Badwater Basin

After Death Valley we high-tailed it over to the Grand Canyon for yet more awe and wonder. Waking up with a morning sunrise view of The Canyon was spectacular. The first morning Oona opened the curtains to reveal the shadowy statues of deer grazing beneath our window. With a double take we realised they were real deer! The species for those interested was Mule Deer because of their big ears!! We bought some special snow grips for our boots and ventured down into the depths. Amazing how the walls rise above you so very quickly, often on three sides as you meander down the steeps, and then there is always the vast vista across the valley. Next time we are thinking of going all the way to the bottom where the Colorado looks very inviting. The trail we went down was called ‘Bright Angel Trail‘, must return and do the whole thing one day! We spent a couple of days walking the rim with each new vista causing a lot of stopping and sponging to take it all in.

Snow in the Grand Canyon

You hardly ever see images of the Grand Canyon in winter with snow lying on the terraced cliff faces

On the edge of an abyss

Oona and I wrapped up well as we ‘walked the rim’. Could not believe how some people just sat with their legs dangling off the edge, mad!

The Grand Canyon is big

Oona and I relaxing and enjoying ‘the view’. It is just very very big!

From there its back to the desert and an amazing place called Joshua Tree, named after the weird and wonderful plant that grows there. Named Joshua trees because it reminded early Mormon settlers of the biblical Joshua’s outstretched arms in supplication. This is also cowboy country and we had an odd experience walking around ‘Pioneer Town‘. Not really a town at all but a film set with lots of false shop fronts and a few concessions. Built by Jean Autry and Roy Rogers so they would have somewhere to set their films. A sad place really, a reminder of by-gone-times. Loved Roy Rogers as a kid with Trigger his dancing horse and Roy singing Hollywood style western songs.

Joshua Trees growing in Joshua Tree National Park

Just love to be in the desert especially in a strange landscape of trees and rocks such as this

Joshua Tree desert forest

It was an alien world, no wonder Hollywood love it!

Pioneer Town California

Oona in ‘Back to the Future’ Part III! At the mock-up Pioneer Town near Joshua Tree National Park

oona waves to the Obama's

Oona waves to the Obamas who were holidaying in Palm Springs down in the valley after leaving Office

Then off we go again to Santa Barbara and that Great Pacific Ocean. Enjoyed my birthday here with Oona buying me pizza at Ca’ Dario and an epic piece of birthday cake from Lilac Patisserie.

Santa Barbara pelican preening

Hansom pelican down on the pier at Santa Barbara

The West Coast coastal road was now beckoning and my birthday presents from Oona came in very handy reading – Jack Kerouac’s ‘On the road’ and ‘Big Sur’, and a guidebook called  ‘Backroads of the California Coast’ by Karen Misuraca and Gary Crabbe. We never quite made it to The Big Sur because the road was closed due to a mudslide. The weather when we were on the coast was wet and stormy and we were introduced to a new weather term, ‘a weather bomb’! Weather in California in the last year has been very bad, even up to the writing of this nearly one year on.

We got as far north as Cambria and stayed at the Bridge Street Inn. This was a much smaller town with a lot of atmosphere and the Inn was a very unusual and traditional place to stay. The sound of frogs ‘croaking’ and ‘ribbiting’ at night was very evocative. This was where we began to see some wonderful wildlife, sea otters by the score and elephant seals by the hundred. The fact we could get so close was incredible.

Sea Otters Morro Bay

Happy sea otters eating clams in Morro Bay. We were able to get up really quite close

Mummy otter rafting her young

Mummy otters support their young acting as a raft to give the baby otter somewhere to rest

Elephants seals up lcose

A Bull Elephant Seal calls out across his territory and harem and his wives call back

Nature can be violent and deadly

Two bull elephant seals shape up to each other, the females and pups between are in danger of being crushed!

Young elephant pup suckling

Suckling seal pup. There were many on the beach as it was birthing time for the colony

It was now time to head back to see Joseph once more for a few days before flying back. We had spent an amazing time in a place we probably had not expected to go to. I had had the best company I could have wished for, people to share the experience with whom I love. Seeing Joseph was the highlight and we all want to go back at some time in the future. It is a great place to visit and so much to see.

With the exception of San Francisco we tended to go to the National Parks which have come under a lot of pressure from the new administration. I hope that when the next President gets into power they will reverse the damaging policies of the present one and the beautiful wild places and wildlife might again be properly protected.

 

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Posted in Travel, travel photography

Should you go with the first wedding photographer you see? Should you go with the one offering the lowest price?

As with all things purchased ‘shop around’ on the internet, in literature, listen to recommendations from friends and family and attend wedding fayres. Talk to as many photographers as you have time for and draw up a short list. Do not make a decision in a rush. After your venue the photographer may be the next most expensive part of your wedding, depending upon how much photography you want and how in demand your ‘favoured’ photographer is. Another reason not to rush is to get to know the photographer a little better choosing someone you know you are more likely to get on with, more on this later.

Newlyweds first kiss.

Capturing that moment when the bride and groom may kiss as a married couple for the first time! Photographers need timing. Taken at Shrewsbury Castle.

The Internet is really every photographers ‘shop window’ these days. Many wedding photographers do not have a high street shop, especially if they specialise in wedding photography. If they have a shop then go and see them and go through their work with them at what is usually a free consultation. Images should be in a style you like and appeal to you, and once taken these images will ideally be yours for a lifetime and should have a timeless quality as well as a record of how you were and how you felt. I would also suggest reading as many reviews as possible including those on Google as well as those on the photographers website.

Veil of tears.

A good photographer will capture the emotional moments.

Your photographer should be artistically and technically competent, but also remember they may be with you all day, so someone who is friendly, sensitive and who is going to make taking the photographs enjoyable and even fun. You and your guests are there to have a wonderful time, so a person who is going to be able to get on with you all with patient, assertiveness and a sens e of humour is more likely to be inclusive of you all and their character is therefore an important consideration.

Silhouette of newlyweds at Shrewsbury Castle.

A wedding photographer can use natural light as well as flash lighting. This silhouette has enough detail to add to the interest in the picture.

Your wedding photographer also needs to be a great communicator, listen to you first and then adding in experience and ideas that make your photographs the joy they should be. They should also make it clear exactly how they will photograph your wedding so that you know exactly what you are paying for and know you are getting value for money. They should also be happy to answer your questions and enthusiastic about their work and there is perhaps a sense that they don’t just do it for the money.

Laura's Tower, a romantic spot inside the grounds of Shrewsbury Castle.

On the courtyard beneath Laura’s Tower in Shrewsbury Castle.

Ideally cost is not your only consideration, but perhaps be honest about how much you have budgeted and if the person is definitely the photographer you want it might be better to book them for less time and get the quality of images you really want. It may be a case of ‘less is actually more’ and the last thing you want to be is disappointed in the final wedding pictures.

Wedding party enjoy drinks on the lawn at Shrewsbury Castle.

Drinks reception on the drive and lawn in Shrewsbury Castle.

Once you have booked expect high professional standards from your photographer with the best of before, during and after care service. Your photographer is probably the one professional working with you on your wedding whom you will meet a number of times and you deserve the best on one of the most important days of your life.

Family picture at Shrewsbury Castle Wedding.

Wonderful wedding at Shrewsbury Castle with a lovely family.

All the images in this article were taken at Shrewsbury Castle, a wonderful Shropshire wedding venue.

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Posted in Wedding photography

Why not let Uncle Tom or Auntie Julie do your wedding photography?

Mirror picture in the bridal suit of Rowton Castle in Shropshire

There is a lot to be said for a relative or friend taking your wedding photographs and my first wedding photography ‘booking’ was for my brother over thirty years ago. I am writing this article to clarify a few key points from my perspective on the difference between a relative taking wedding photographs and a professional.

My brother’s wedding I did it as a present for him and I included a beautiful album too. Cannot say I was not just a bit anxious as it was my first time organising a lot of people in front of a camera, although training as a teacher at the time did help, but I made lots of mistakes. It was back in the days of film and I had to wait for the negatives and the prints to come back from my high street chemist before I knew I had captured it as well as I did, all very stressful. In those days as an amateur I had a dark room and specialised in black and white edits and have included a few of my modern black and whites in this blog.

By the way, I am not in any of my brother’s wedding photographs!

Bridal smile as finishing touches are put o the dress

Spending time in the bridal suit with the bride and her bridesmaids produces pictures which reflect the excitement and emotion

So like me Uncle Tom is a loved family member, a passionate amateur photographer, and he will certainly get good images of your wedding. They will be special because he took them and he will have an advantage in that everyone will relax because they know him and trust him. Many people do have a relative or friend taking their wedding photos and although I don’t know for sure, many people will love their wedding pictures because they were taken by someone close to them.

But, is it fair on Uncle Tom? He will be put under some demanding expectations and however reassuring his family are, he will feel under a lot of pressure. He too will also not be in any of the pictures!

Or, does the bride and groom, and everyone including Tom want to be carefree about the wedding photographs, relying on me, a professional, to make sure the images are wonderful? Tom can certainly take pictures, I always encourage people to join in as long as I am able to do my work.

Now I have referred to uncle Tom, but this applies equally to Auntie Julie, not to mention any family or friend who loves their photography just like I do.

Photographic and wedding experience

Great expectations

A professional like myself has the photographic and wedding experience to get those photographs that people will love and use to remind them of a wonderful wedding day. I am very used to the pressures of photographing one of the most important days of a couple’s life together and there are so many brides and grooms who will vouch for this. Brides and grooms, and Tom, want to enjoy the wedding. Will he get stressed out not wishing to let them down?

Tom may well have taken some wonderful pictures in the past: landscapes, family pictures and the like, and some may even hang on the wall at home- beautiful. As a professional I have taken thousands of wedding images under all sorts of lighting conditions. I am not only applying my understanding of light, photojournalism, portraiture and artistic composition but I am continually learning and developing as a professional. There are hundreds of online galleries, framed images, photobooks and weddings albums providing my clients with fantastic works of art.

Beautiful bride looks into the mirror and wonders what the day will bring

That mirror shot can capture an inner thought. But what is such a beautiful bride thinking?

People skills!

Uncle Tom is a fantastic accountant and loves photography because it is so different from work. Uncle Tom may even have done some people management courses and is willing to do a bit of research on wedding photography on Google and Youtube. However, I have an open and friendly persona and have learnt through experience to get on with people and make them smile, even if I have only just met them, gaining their confidence quickly and leaving them having enjoyed the experience of being photographed. I am beyond worrying about camera settings and knowing how the composition of the photograph will work; I am into the soft skills of working with the bride and groom, their family and friends, to get the very best images which reflect their memories of their day.

Fantastic equipment

Cameras do not take pictures, photographers do!

 Uncle Tom probably has a really good camera and other equipment, he is an enthusiast after all. When I go to a wedding I also have all sorts of backup equipment, I backup all the image files I make because my cameras take two memory cards. I shoot in what is called ‘manual mode’ giving me full artistic control of how the camera records the light and situation; this is where the creativity comes in.

I also guarantee the tones and colour quality of my images and do all the editorial work on them before clients see them. I have specially calibrated screens in my studio which show the picture as it would come out of the printer. Uncle Tom does very well with the equipment that is personal to his photographic needs, wild life photography, etc., but he is not generally using it to photograph weddings every weekend.

Lacing up the wedding dress

Looking at her very best before going to the Ceremony here in the Bridal Suit at Rowton Castle in Shropshire

Contracted and insured – it is peace of mind

Assured and insured

I will talk to brides and grooms about exactly which pictures they would like, take them in the style they prefer, and present them in a way that will amaze, and I will commit that to a signed contract. If anything goes wrong I carry business and public liability. I pay for insurance, it is one of my costs. I am afraid that if anything goes wrong for Tom there may be a lot of sincere apologies and sorrow. Let’s also hope no one is upset or injured tripping over the camera bag and does not want to sue!

Mirror picture in the bridal suit of Rowton Castle in Shropshire

A final look before the bridesmaids take the bride to the Ceremony

Pre-care and after-care

My reputation your recommendation

I take time to meet brides and grooms, set up engagement shoots in my studio and at the venue. I listen to the bride and groom and give them my advice on what will make for the very best images. I have experience of what does and does not work. I work with Jorgensen and Acerboni to make up the most beautiful of albums and presentations of your images. Uncle Tom does not have access to such companies who only make up albums for professionals with whom they have an ongoing working relationship.

My camera, computer, printers and professional print laboratories are all calibrated so that what you see is what you get. It is in my interest to make sure you are more than happy with my pictures so that you recommend me to all your family and friends. You can read reviews of my work on Google or Freeindex. Uncle Tom will do what he normally does to his pictures, he may use top professional standard software or not, but he is unlikely to have access to market leaders in the presentation of images.

In the garden at Rowton Castle Shropshire

Rowton Castle Shropshire is a beautiful wedding venue in Shropshire

Price and value

Price is what you pay. Value is what you get

Uncle Tom will do the wedding for nothing, no charge because he loves the bride and groom and he will do his very best. I do not love you, but I might like you. I am a quality wedding photographer and this means I am not necessarily cheap, although I do try to be competitive, and if you are on a budget a bespoke level of service can be discussed and for part of your wedding you can have the very best.

I would say that wouldn’t I!

Yes, I want people’s business, because I think I can give them something that Uncle Tom cannot. I add value because I have a friendly professional approach to providing people with such high quality images that they will come back for more in the future: anniversaries, first child portrait, family portraits, even their own children’s weddings!

Rowton Castle Shropshire group photograph

The little boy is the son of the bride and groom who wanted to help me organise the photograph

Final choices are always the bride and groom’s.

All the images for this article were taken at Rowton Castle, an exceptional venue in the heart of the Shropshire countryside.

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Posted in Wedding photography, Wedding photography promotion

How soon should you book your wedding photographer?

September and a few people are still looking to set up their winter wedding. Most people book their photographer  at least 6 months in advance, but if you want the right photographer for busy times of year then the sooner you find the right person the better.

 

Winter weddings are very different and very special

Snow, white dresses, morning suit and black and white building. No challenge there for a photography

By the right photographer I mean someone not just excellent artistically and technically, but also someone who is going to probably be the anchor to the wedding, especially if you have booked a full day. This means it really has to be someone you get on with, can have fun with, and who is prepared to go the extra mile to make sure you get the wedding photographs you would like and deserve. It has to be someone who will also will your guests, family and friends deserve that too.

Presents from the newlyweds

Always a joy to know you made a difference to a wedding day and that people have not forgotten you

You cannot do enough research even into those photographers recommended by friends. You may well start with their online portfolio and short list from there, adding any that family and friends recommend from their wedding or weddings they have attended.

Barn owl brings groom the rings

Rufford Old Hall is a popular unique winter wedding venue and this was made even more so with this barn owl acting the ring bearer

Once you have a short list arrange to meet the photographer to discuss your wedding. I think this should be without charge or obligation. Key things are that they are friendly as well as professional, with a sense of humour and a sensitive listen manor. They should be enthusiastic about being creative, treating you and your day as unique opportunity to photograph you at your best. and you should also feel that pictures they take of your day will be as special as the day itself. Look at examples of their work and ask questions about how bespoke their cover of your wedding will be. Too much talk of ‘packages’ can mean they are not as careful to listen to you. Some basics to also remember is whether the photographer includes presentation of images in their offer, whether they carry professional insurance and if they are in the cost important world prepared to discount their price for a good reason.

Bride and Groom beneath the Christmas tree

Christmas wedding at Rufford Old Hall

So if you are thinking of getting married make a good photographer one of the things you book as quickly as you can and feel free to contact me, remember, no obligation! If you know someone who is getting married and you like the sound of this blogger feel free to share my details with them. I will give a 10% discount to anyone who contacts me and books a 10% discount.

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Posted in Wedding photography, Wedding photography promotion
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