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.

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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

Winter fairy tale wedding in a North Wales Chateau

Chateau Plas Rhianfa, a place for a fairytale wedding

Jo and Paul married at fairy tale Chateau Plas Rhianfa

This was a fairy tale wedding for Jo and Paul at the wonderful Chateau Plas Rhianfa on the beautiful island of Anglesey. The Chateau overlooks the Menai Straits with a view towards Snowdonia. It was not the warmest day and bridesmaids wrapped up in furs and we were also able to get out into the grounds and down to the waters edge.

Furs always look 'cool' at a winter wedding

Bridesmaids wrap up well in furs – beautiful rings  – flowers with seasonal trim – personalized confetti

With the castle and the beautiful Menai Straits and North Wales in the background people enjoyed a very atmospheric wedding. Made even more so by Oona’s playing (Oona Linnett – harpist) as the guests wait for the bride, the brides entrance, for the signing of the register and for the Newlyweds exit.

Register signing

Signing the register in a place you love gives the moment that extra sense of occasion – exceptional views from the Chateau windows

Lots of candle light in this season add to a magical atmosphere despite the weather, and the Chateau made sure these were added to all the rooms. Lanterns protected guests and those walking down the aisle during the ceremony.

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Candlers in lanterns create that special atmosphere many people are looking for in their wedding ceremony

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Beautiful ceremony with Paul and Jo being played for by Oona

After the group shots were taken we walked down to the Straits and found this mini-tractor on the way – had to be photographed!

Chateau Plas Rhianfa garden pictures with Newlyweds

Newlywed fun in the garden at Chateau Plas Rhianfa

Back to romance on the shores of the Menai Straits with Bangor and the pier in the background. Weather also getting a bit ‘atmospheric’ as the clouds role in.

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Jo and Paul love the view across the Menai Straits

A privileged to photograph people at very close and personal moments. Also a great pleasure to enjoy such lovely places and be in the company of wonderful people. It was brilliant being able to travel to the venue, then work, and then returning home with Oona. I am looking forward to working with Oona on many weddings and other events in the future. Clients benefit to from a discount for booking both of us and love the idea of us being a couple providing the sound and vision for their wedding.

Marrying in a place of exceptional beauty

By the Menai Straits

 

 

 

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Moving, poignant & romantic – harp music for your wedding or other event by Oona

Bollywood harpist Oona Linnett
Bollywood harpist Oona Linnett

Oona in one of her beautiful Bollywood outfits

I am so fortunate to have such an extraordinarily talented partner in life who plays the harp so very beautifully. I am also not the only one to appreciate this as Oona has been asked to play by a huge number and variety of people including for weddings, birthday parties, corporate functions, not to mention TV!

Young bride in window light listening to harp music

I really like this window lit picture of the bride enjoying the moment and the music

Feedback and reviews are always positive, reflecting the emotional impact of Oona’s playing, and the significance of Oona’s music in so many people’s lives. I would encourage you to visit Oona’s website at www.oonalinnett.com and click on the sound-clips in her sizeable repertoire as you read through this blog.

Oona Linnett harpist playing for ceremony at Peckforton Castle in the Great Hall

Oona in the Great Hall at Peckforton castle preparing for the ceremony (http://www.peckfortoncastle.co.uk)

Wedding days mean we are often fortunate enough to work together, and whenever I am available I will help Oona and take pictures of Oona with her harp in each venue. Oona has a very wide experience now of many places in the north west. Her beautiful music brings a relaxed and soothing ambiance as people approach a very important moment in their lives.

Oona Linnett harpist playing in a Cheshire church

Oona often plays her harp at Church wedding ceremonies

Oona Linnett harpist plays for church wedding ceremonies

Oona plays for the brides entry, signing of the register, hymns and for the exit

This includes castles such as Peckforton, Chirk and Leasowe. Castles give a gothic and often darker background setting for the wedding and harp, and the harp music can add to this and lift the occasion. There is also often some tremendous window light to use in many castles creating some very atmospheric musical and photographic moments. The grounds are often fantastic for amazing backdrops, and given warm dry summer weather, Oona plays while people enjoy the season.

Oona Linnett plays the harp at a drinks reception Iscoyd Park

Surrounded by lavender in the gardens at Iscoyd Park (http://www.iscoydpark.com) Oona is playing her harp for a wedding drinks rception

Country houses such as Knowsley, Rookery, and Wrenbury Halls and Iscoyd Park have their historic atmosphere too, and often on a scale not always possible in a more modern venue. Amplified as needed, Oona’s music drifts through the mansions and across the courtyard or gardens.

Knowlsey Hall is a regular venue for Oona Linnett harpist

Oona often plays Knowsley Hall providing beautiful harp music (http://www.knowsleyhallvenue.co.uk)

Oona Linnett harpist plays at a wedding at Wrenbury Hall

Oona plays at Wrenbury Hall on a regular bases, on this occasion a wedding last Christmas (http://wrenburyhall.co.uk)

In summer colours Oona entertains at a drinks reception at Soughton Hall

Oona is happy to play outside when the weather permits as she does here at Soughton Hall (http://soughtonhallhotel.co.uk)

Modern venues have their advantages too, provide a more contemporary feel. Oona’s wide repertoire of modern as well as traditional and classical music fits in just as well, adding very significantly to ceremony, drinks reception or wedding breakfast. Oona can be booked for a variety of levels of service and is happy to include anything from her repertoire which can be found on her website.

Rookery Hall wedding ceremony with Oona linnett, harpist

Oona plays regularly at Rookery Hall for ceremonies, drink receptions and wedding breakfasts (https://www.handpickedhotels.co.uk/rookeryhall#null)

oona Linnett at the Belle Epoque

Another regular venue is the Belle Epoque (http://www.thebelleepoque.co.uk) in Knutsford

Oona has a wide repertoire so always has music to suit the occasion and venue

Wedding music as appropriate and often chosen by the bride and groom

Of course it is not just weddings. People appreciate the sound of the harp at many other occasions including birthday parties. Oona has also played at many funerals and this has been especially poignant when she has played at a previous occasion in the life of the family.

Oona played for parents and officials when the forget Me Not Garden was first dedicated

Oona played at the dedication of the ‘Forget me not’ garden in Lytham St. Anne (http://www.fylde.gov.uk/resident/cemetery-crematoria/forgetmenotgarden)

Many companies have also booked Oona to add a relaxed atmosphere to receptions for awards and celebrations of milestones in the life of the corporation.

Oona Linnett harpist plays for a corporate event in St Geaorge's Hall Liverpool

Oona plays for many corporate functions, this one at St. George’s Hall Liverpool (http://liverpoolcityhalls.co.uk/st-georges-hall)

Oona is in great demand and I would use a cliché and ‘advise you to book early to avoid disappointment’. A year or more in advance is not uncommon. I on the other hand do not need to book to enjoy listening to Oona practise as I sit in my studio editing pictures which are often of Oona.

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