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

Beautiful end of Summer wedding – Lake Vyrnwy Hotel and Spa

Lake Vyrnwy in Mid-Wales is a wonderful setting for a lovely wedding between two very happy people. We were also fortunate that the couple booked both Oona (www.oonalinnett.com) to play the wedding music on her harp, and myself as their wedding photographer. The venue was very helpful and we intend to visit The Lake Vyrnwy Hotel and Spa ourselves sometime.

We always get their early to set up and recce and then I go off to photograph the bridal preparations. E was stunning to begin with and the make up artist and hair stylist made everything as E wanted it.

Brides must look their best and everyone works hard

I always enjoy time with the bride and her friends before the wedding

E’s mother, father and sister were there to give encouragement.

Father of the bride helping with bridal preparations

Proud father of the bride takes a moment to take in the loveliness of his daughter

Bridesmaid gazes at brides dress

Sisters are important to brides! Having grown up together this is a special day, sister bridesmaids get to dress up too!

Bride and mother kissing

Mum kisses daughter for the last time before she gets married

Then there is the final moment of reveal when everyone stands back and the bride is ready! The dress is antique lace with subtle blush of dusky purple in the flowers.

Young bride is ready to go to the ceremony

Stunning bride stands in the window light of the Bridal Suit at Lake Vrynwy Hotel

Then it is down to the ceremony! A little walk and down the stairs to the drawing room which will have views of the Lake. Just outside the ceremony room the last moments for last thoughts and glances.

At the ceremony entrance door

Bride and father last looks before going into the ceremony

oona Linnett harpist playing at a wedding at The Lake Vrynwy Hotel and Spa

Oona is ready to play ‘their song’ as the bride enters

Bride and groom relax during wedding ceremony

Yes it is a solemn event with serious moments, but these run next to more light hearted ones too

Pronounced husband and wife the newlyweds kiss

Husband and wife! A very enthusiastic kiss and a very happy family

Registrar gives newlyweds their wedding certificate

Register signed and photos all taken, the registrar hands over the wedding certificate

oona Linnett harpist is thanked by the bride for playing her selection of music

E thanked Oona for playing the music she chose for the ceremony

Confetti moment outside Lake Vyrnwy Hotel

Everyone enjoyed the traditional moment when confetti is showered on the newlyweds

Bride relaxing at Lake Vrynwy Hotel

With Lake Vyrnwy in the background the bride relaxes

Bride enjoys the view at Lake Vyrnwy

A confident bride enjoying the Summer sun and the beautiful view

Kissing newlyweds at Lake Vyrnwy Hotel and Spa

A very relaxed couple who knew exactly why they chose Lake Vyrnwy for their wedding

After the ceremony I still stay in contact with brides and grooms with the pictures presented in a private gallery on my website and the USB or DVD to make and post. Later on I often get a call to take pictures of other family events as they come along, especially the babies and children! It was a very pleasant and tasty surprise when E and C sent us this thank you card and a small present of cake. I hope I can do a photographic service for them in the future.

Oona Linnett Harpist and Richard Linnett Photoggraphy - it is always good to receive presents of appreciation

We are always moved and pleased by a gift of appreciation from those we play for and photograph

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Cut Out the Middle Man

Kiss at the gate Peckforton Castle Peckforton Cheshire

As a professional photographer I am very clear about the value of the services I provide. It is wonderfully simple when people take the time to follow up a word of mouth reference or look for me online.

Bride and friends waiting to come into the wedding ceremony

Search the internet using relevant search words for the kind of photographer you want and use the map tab to find local photographers and read google reviews (The Wild Boar Inn Beeston Cheshire)

There are just too many websites offering to find me for people, and can charge both the client and me for the privilege. They very rarely do any real checking on the quality of my services, provide no real way of comparing photographers and the services they provide, do little to facilitate communication after the first contact, and provide no insurance or support if things should go wrong. Fortunately that has never been an issue for my clients because I make the effort to talk, discuss, clarify and resolve questions before contracts and money change hands.

Groom and best men arrivng at ceremony

Spend some time listening to others about the photographer they use and follow up on a recommendation (Bramhall Hall Stockport)

Clients would always be wise to read references and reviews and then to make a shortlist of the photographers they think will meet their needs. When people consider how much they are going to spend on the wedding photographer, they would be very unwise to leave it all to an agency.

Word of mouth recommendation is the best way, and thanks to the internet every photographer should have their best work online for clients to see, having heard of them from a family or friend.

Crying bride on her wedding day

It is worth the time and energy to find the right photographer for you – the more personal the relationship with your photographer the better the pictures (Shrewsbury Castle)

Google and other search engines are also good especially if people use the map tab to find local photographers. Having specific location or quality key word searches will also help to bring up the kind of photographer people are looking for. With the map tab they will also get easy access to google reviews which are another good place to start. Yes, this does take a little thought and time, but it is more likely to provide people with a personal contact and the beginning of a quality relationship between client and photographer.

It is also more fun to do the research and to meet people in the process of making a choice of photographer. Again, after the venue the cost of a photographer may be the second most expensive thing purchased, so surely it is worth spending time getting a photographer who is artistic, technically accurate and with the personality to not only produce beautiful images but also to get on with family and friends.

Worth researching your photographer yourself

After the venue the photographer may be your most expensive investment for your special day – worth doing the research yourself to find the right photographer for you (Wrenbury Hall Cheshire)

So by looking personally for their photographer people would not only save money, but the fun of investing time and energy would result in a deeper and more significantly committed relationship with the photographer without the need for a third party. This is bound to lead to better photographs.

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Posted in Wedding photography, Wedding photography promotion

So pleased to have a studio

We had a short spell of cold winter weather recently in Chester but only a smattering of snow and that did not last long. We are now back to damp and cool. Feeling for those expecting a blizzard and deep snow in the USA.

Great song 'The sound of silence' by Simon and Garfunkel

‘I turn my collar to the cold and damp’

Doesn’t matter what the weather is like outside I have a very well set up and warm studio to photograph people. These times in the studio are often engagement portraits but I do a lot of other kinds of portrait work too.

Bokeh I think is a Japanese word for the out of focus element of a picture

Like many I like those out of focus shots

 

Who loves you?! great when clients like Charlotte wanted a different pose

Who loves you?! Charlotte wanted a different kind of pose with Mike

The centrally heated studio and office gives me somewhere to work with clients and then process the pictures. I can even show the clients previews on the computer screen if we have the time. Regardless I always get the proofs in to a private password protected gallery on my website at www.richardlinnett.com within a few days.

Birthday present shoots before a party

‘Mirror, Mirror’. Great to do a birthday present shoots for people

Quite looking forward to some heavier frost and some proper snow, and those crisp clear blue days when visibility is so very good. Still, until those days arrive I am going to enjoy taking pictures where I can completely control the light.

In the studio engaged couples can get to know their photographer during a shoot

Engaged couples can get to know their photographer during a shoot

 

I enjoyed taking pictures of Oona (www.oonalinnett.com), a wonderful harpist and my wife. She loves to dress appropriately for weddings and has been asked to do more and more Bollywood music as part of her repertoire.

Wonderful to get such dramatic colours in the studio

Oona Linnett harpist (listen to clips at www.oonalinnett.com)

Oona and I enjoyed a sari buying trip with friends in Manchester and I then did some promotional images for her.

I enjoy it when children, like Darcie, love to play in the studio

Kids, like Darcie, love to play in the studio

Children and pets also walk through the door to the studio, and in the case of babies carried! Again, I ensure the studio is warm and cosy for these smaller visitors with extra heating should they need it.

The dogs relax and the owners can enjoy a 'family' picture

Jane and Sam and the three amigos!

 

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Posted in Children, pet photographic portraits, Portrait photography

Valentine’s Day approaches!

The first meeting - first date

Romantic moments

Every year I post about Valentine’s Day. It is a date I never miss in my own relationship with my own partner of 25 years married. Every relationship that  will stand the test of time has involved both people living in the moment, something outside of time and not corrupted by time. Photographs are there to record some of those moments. Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to reflect upon this.

038-richard-linnett-photography-DSC_6200

Discussing the future

I see only good in celebrating this out of time relationship with someone who we believe is our soul mate. This, of course, can be done at any time, and should be, whenever partners are together. Valentine’s day can obviously be one such moment in the year when we can do this despite the sometimes flippant worldly view of this day.

Engagement portrait on the Wirral coast

Walking together by the sea

As a photographer I enjoy being on the edge of such moments out of time whether it is an engagement shoot, wedding or a portrait sitting of people in love.

Celebration portrait

50 years together

This applies to all ages, and you are never too old, and all kinds of relationships regardless of gender. The daughter of Betty and Cyril thought it would be great to get the family together and celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. They were clearly relaxed and very happy in the moment with each other.

So just as there is a better Christmas to be had where real feeling is felt, there is also a better Valentine’s Day to be enjoyed when we are in the moment, and really do touch souls.

 

 

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Posted in Portrait photography, Wedding photography
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