ANY QUESTIONS FOR A DOCUMENTARY WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER?
Usually this is the first time a couple have contemplated hiring a professional wedding photographer. Understandably, they have asked me all sorts of questions over the years. Here’s a selection of the ones that seem to frequently crop up. Hope it helps, but please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have another one. No problem!
WHAT IS DOCUMENTARY WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY?
If you love natural-looking, candid photography then documentary wedding photography is probably the style you are looking for!
This is sometimes referred to as reportage or photojournalistic-style wedding photography. It’s all about being able to tell the story of your wedding day through photography. This isn’t as easy as it sounds and needs to be compositionally thoughtful, timed to perfection and filled with emotion. No need for words.
As a documentary wedding photographer I capture the essence of your day in a relaxed and natural manner. I’m trying to write your love story with photos. No script.
I get a buzz out of anticipating moments of happiness and emotion and trying to see beneath the obvious. Your wedding day is a day of huge excitement for you and your friends and family. It will fly by! I want you to emotionally relive those special moments. If you look through your wedding photographs, and perhaps shed the odd tear, then I know I have succeeded.
It’s a massive privilege to share the day with the couple and their guests. I love it when the groom sees what he missed during the fun of the bridal preparations. Or the bride discovers what her groom was really up to in the time leading up to the wedding!
I HATE HAVING MY PHOTO TAKEN! HOW DO YOU HELP ME ON THE DAY?
Actually……I hate it too! I think that helps me understand how you might feel. Over the years I’ve discovered that there are quite a few simple things that I can do to help.
First of all, I’m very relaxed and just let you be yourselves. Most of the day you won’t even know I’ve taken your photo. Even when we take time out for some couple shots. I promise I won’t force you in to awkward poses! I might offer a few words of encouragement and suggest where we go to get the best, most flattering light. But that’s it!
I might even show you the back of my camera so you can both see how beautiful you are!
The other thing that helps is to meet up face to face before your wedding day. This is why I encourage you to take advantage of the complimentary pre-wedding shoot I offer.
OK, SO WHAT ABOUT GROUP SHOTS, DO YOU TAKE THEM?
Of course! But, if you want this to be the focus of your wedding photos then I’m probably not your best choice. A wedding is one of the few occasions when so many family members across the generations are together. We certainly shouldn’t miss the opportunity to capture the happy occasion for posterity. Even a large informal group shot with all the guests too, if you wish.
I normally suggest putting together a list of 5-10 group shots you’d like photographed and send it to me. Having a responsible member from each side of the family certainly helps to shoot them with the minimum of fuss.
It’s also useful to share a list of key family members and friends so we can keep a special eye out for them at the wedding. Capturing photos of them relaxing and chatting with friends tends to reveal more of their character and are special too.
ALL YOUR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY COLLECTIONS INCLUDE ‘PHOTO-A-DAY’. WHAT IS THIS?
OK, you’ve just got married, you’re both excited and you’d love to see some of your wedding photos right away. Well, how about I send you a ‘Photo-a-Day’ for seven days while you are away enjoying your honeymoon?
Yes, that’s what I do for you. Well almost. It’s never just one photo but a ‘couple-a-day’. I just can’t resist teasing you with a selection of your special moments. As you can imagine, couples just can’t resist sharing them with friends and family. I sometimes even get lovely messages from parents and grandparents afterwards!
CAN WE HIRE YOU AS OUR DESTINATION WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER?
We love to travel and soak up the culture, sights and sounds of other countries. Please contact me to discuss further and I’ll do everything possible to help keep the costs reasonable.
In spite of the pandemic, we are hoping to move over to permanently live in Mallorca this year. So no added travel or hotel costs to consider for your Mallorca wedding!
We can even use the wedding destination for your pre-wedding photoshoot a day or so ahead of the big day. Or consider a relaxed post-wedding photoshoot if you’d like to exploit the location further.
HOW DO YOU SUPPLY MY WEDDING PHOTOS?
All your edited photos are supplied on a customised USB together with your slideshow and any sound files captured. You will have all your photos in colour and black and white. In both low resolution (sharing on Facebook etc) and high resolution (suitable for printing or making an album).
I also load all your high resolution photos to a beautiful password-protected web gallery. You can chose to share them with friends and family anywhere on the planet.
HOW ABOUT RECORDING SOUND FROM MY WEDDING DAY?
Rather unusually for a wedding photographer, I also offer to record the sound of the ceremony and/or the speeches. I love to use snippets of the sound and incorporate it in to the slideshow. Why? I find it adds another dimension of emotion which together with the photographs helps the couple relive the day in a rather unique way.
This photovideo was the very first time I ever experimented with this approach. When I saw the bride cry before she saw the first photo I just knew this was definitely worth the extra effort. What do you think?
I’ve become more and more fascinated by video over recent years. The incorporation of recorded sound into my slideshows and increasing use of video editing software has taken me down this path. Rather than going fully in to video I am considering the option of offering to capture both video and still photographs at weddings. Let’s call it hybrid wedding photography.
Let me know if you’re interested in this option and we can discuss further.
TELL ME ABOUT THE ENGAGEMENT OR PRE-WEDDING PHOTOSHOOT?
If you are like most people, including myself, the thought of having your photograph taken is pretty scary. This is why I think a pre-wedding photoshoot is worth consideration. It’s quite painless, I promise! We meet up, have a chat over a coffee or beer, take a few photos and have some fun. Simple!
On your wedding day you are going to be spending a lot of time with your photographer. Getting to know one another beforehand on an engagement photoshoot by chatting about your wedding plans and taking some photos in a relaxed setting will build your confidence in front of the camera immensely.
You will be pleasantly surprised when you see the back of the camera. Your confidence grows and before you know it you are posing without thinking! I will look for beautiful light and sometimes semi-direct you to produce the most flattering portraits. Other times you will just do your own thing and we’ll just roll with it.
Some couples like to chose a location that is special to them for their engagement photoshoot. Some prefer a natural setting and others like the idea of a more urban photoshoot. If you are booking me for your destination wedding then we have the option of having your photoshoot abroad a few days before the wedding.
What ever you choose to do, at the end of it all you will have a set of beautiful images to share with family and friends. If you wish, you can have some printed and framed, use on your ‘Save the Date’ cards. You can even put one of your favourites in to a signing frame for guests to add some special words during your wedding reception.
YOU SEEM TO HAVE A LOT OF BLACK & WHITE IMAGES ON YOUR WEBSITE?
That’s true! I love B&W photography and lends itself to the documentary style of photography. It simplifies the image to a more basic form and helps the viewer focus on the content and emotion of the moment. It has a timeless quality.
The good news is that you will receive most of your images in both colour and B&W so you can make any final decisions later when it comes to viewing, printing or album design.
WHAT ABOUT A WEDDING ALBUM?
I offer amazing, beautiful bespoke wedding albums as an option. No doubt that with the passage of time they become family heirlooms. I would go so far as saying the album isn’t really for you but for your children and their children!
Depending on the size of album ordered, I ask the couple to select some of their favourite photos and I then design their album. Once I have a design this is sent to the couple for checking and for any suggested changes. Once we are all happy with the final design the album is then sent off for manufacture either in the UK or New Zealand.
Often couples order a smaller duplicate album for their parents or bridesmaids as a memento of the big day.
There is nothing better than having some of your photos in a physical form rather than just viewing them on a computer screen or smartphone. Whatever you decide I encourage couples to print some of their photos from the high resolution files they receive.
YOU ARE ALSO A PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHER. HOW DOES THIS HELP WITH YOUR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY?
Although I am a documentary wedding photographer, I am also experienced with many aspects of posing, the use of natural light and special lighting techniques such as the use of creative off-camera flash. So, if you would like to spend some time producing some more fashion-styled photos from your wedding then let me know. If you are able to put some extra time aside, we can work together to produce creative and eye-catching photographs. It’s entirely up to you.
WHAT OTHER FACTORS HAVE INFLUENCED YOUR PHOTOGRAPHIC STYLE?
Good question! I have been a photographer since I was teenager and have ventured in to many other photographic genres such as travel photography, street photography, and nature and macrophotography. This has pushed me to learn new technical aspects and has often taken me way outside my comfort zone.
This is particularly true of my street and travel photography which almost always involves observing and interacting with people who don’t know me. Sometimes we don’t even share a common language – but a smile can go a long way! I’ve captured thousands of memories on our travels, particularly from S.E. Asia and South America. They help me relive the excitement so I’m well aware of the importance of capturing a moment in time.
The buzz I get from this has proved to be an exceptional training ground for my documentary wedding photography tuning the skills of anticipation and observation of human behaviour. In the end, it all comes down to the way you interact with people, and how you photograph them!
WHAT IS AN ‘UNPLUGGED WEDDING’?
Understandably your friends and family are really excited to be part of your big day. They want to capture photo memories for themselves and to share with you, and I’m sure that you will love receiving them too!
Perversely, the advent of all the amazing smartphone/i-Pad camera technology has persuaded some couples to request an ‘unplugged wedding‘ for just the ceremony part of their special day.
They just want their guests to fully experience the special occasion. To listen to every word spoken, really feel the love and emotion and maybe even squeeze the hand of their partner rather than push the shutter button! An ‘unplugged wedding’ ceremony may even help your photographer to not miss a special moment through a raised i-Pad unintentionally obscuring the view at just the wrong moment.
If an ‘unplugged wedding’ ceremony sounds like a good idea to you then just let your guests know beforehand. It’s also a good idea to ask the celebrant to remind everyone before the bride makes her appearance to put their cameras away and just sit back and enjoy the wedding. In my experience, guests are very respectful of your wishes. In return you will see nothing but smiling faces as you make your way towards your groom.
There will be loads of other photo opportunities for guests during all the hours of your wedding day. They can even take advantage of any group shots that your photographer arranges on the day as long as the paparazzi kindly hold back for a few moments now and then for the ‘money shots’ you’ve paid for!
HOW FAR IN ADVANCE SHOULD WE LOOK TO BOOK YOU?
Since being establishing as a full-time wedding photographer, I’m encouraged to see couples booking a year or more in advance. However, I would never deter somebody from making an enquiry closer to their wedding date. I will always do my best to accommodate them or help locate another photographer in my network with a similar style.
WHAT CAN I DO WITH THE DIGITAL PHOTOS THAT YOU SUPPLY TO ME?
All your individually edited high and low resolution photos are supplied to you on a customised USB. They will also be uploaded to your own password-protected web gallery.
Although the photographer nearly always owns the copyright to the photos they have taken, I grant a licence to clients to allow them to use their photos in any way, except for commercial purposes. This means that you are free to copy them to multiple devices, share your photos with family and friends, post to social media and websites and print them as you wish.
Although it’s nice to view your photos on your smartphone, there is nothing quite like viewing a physical print. A framed photograph or wedding album has a way of holding our attention. If you would like to have your photographs printed and framed at a professional photo laboratory then please get in touch to discuss your requirements. If you would like to consider the option of a beautiful Queensberry or Folio wedding album then take a look at my Investment page for further information.
WHO ARE YOUR IDEAL CLIENTS?
I love clients who tell me that their wedding photography is important to them are drawn to my approach and style. They just trust me to do my job and I believe it makes a real difference to the end result.
Couples who have some element of fun, or creativity, or are just naturally emotional add an extra dimension of interest too. In fact anything that helps to build a connection between the couple and photographer. After all, we end up spending quite a bit of time together so the more we enjoy each others’ company the better!
WHAT ARE YOUR INSPIRATIONS AS A WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER?
I’m inspired by many so many things but I’m particularly fascinated by people and their love stories. How people meet and fall in love. Finding out about what makes them tick. This connection helps make my photography feel more personal and intimate and drives me to do my best.
The whole perception of what constitutes wedding photography has changed beyond recognition and I love it! With so many incredible wedding photographers worldwide producing mind-blowing images, it just makes me want to pick up my camera and create something special for my own clients.
I know it sounds a little corny but I find the whole notion of capturing moments that can create emotion and lasting memories a very inspiring thought.
HOW CAN COUPLES HELP TO GET THE BEST WEDDING PHOTOS?
I have no doubt that meeting up and getting to know one another before the wedding builds confidence and trust in one another. In fact I feel so strongly about this that I offer a complimentary pre-wedding shoot and find that after a little while the couple feel comfortable and relaxed in front of the camera. I think it can really reflect in the wedding photos.
Nominating a family member or two to help pull people together for any group shots always helps to move through them with the minimum of fuss and doesn’t detract from the natural flow of the day too much.
Finally, I would say to just have fun and enjoy your day! Take a moment now and then throughout the day to take it all in. You’ve spent a huge amount of time planning every detail of your wedding. Nobody but you will notice that something doesn’t quite go how you planned it.
WHAT’S THE MOST COMMON MISCONCEPTION ABOUT WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY?
“It’s an easy job, my friend could do it with his fancy camera.”
Believe me, being a wedding photographer is not for the faint-hearted. Think carefully if you are considering offering a friend this responsibility. There are no second takes.
Wedding photographers invest in professional equipment with spare cameras and lenses. They shoot to multiple memory cards and have back-up protocols in place to keep your images safe. Many hours will be spent professionally editing the final photos to ensure consistency and quality. But most of all, they will have the benefit of huge experience to deal with difficult or unexpected circumstances and be able to respond to changes in light or capture an unrepeatable moment in a heartbeat.
WHY DO YOU THINK WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY IS WORTH THE INVESTMENT?
Let’s be honest, getting married is not cheap. You will probably never spend so much of your time planning anything else in your life.
Unlike the wedding dress, food and flowers, you will not see anything tangible on the day from your wedding photographer. It is in the days after your wedding that you will get excited, or even emotional, when you finally see your photos. After the passage of time it is your photographs that will help you relive one of the happiest, most precious, and most expensive, days in your life!
There are very few other occasions when that happens.
The photos become an important part of your memories and preserve special fleeting moments for present and future generations. I’d go so far as to say they become more important and valuable with the passage of time. It is an investment that ultimately becomes a part of your family’s story.
WHAT’S BEEN THE MOST MEMORABLE WEDDING YOU HAVE PHOTOGRAPHED, AND WHY?
I love a wedding with a story and the one with Simone and Chris at Hanbury Manor certainly had a story. They had been together for many years before deciding to get married but unfortunately the groom’s father passed away a few months beforehand. As a sign of his love for them, he gave them his own wedding ring and they used this to produce their own wedding rings. How beautiful is that?
You could see that everyone was overjoyed to finally see them married but it was the emotional interactions between the two mum’s that made it so special for me. But most of all, it was the best man’s speech, the groom’s son, who spoke the most beautiful heartfelt words. I guarantee that there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. I know my viewfinder kept going all misty!
It was after experiencing this wedding that I decided to offer to record the sound from the ceremony and speeches and incorporate snippets in to the clients photo slideshow.
SHOULD WE SET TIME ASIDE FOR OUR COUPLE SHOTS?
Although I spend most of the day taking unposed photographs I think it’s great if we can find time during the day to leave the hustle and bustle and take some photographs of just the two of you.
I often suggest a 30-45 min session around 1-2 hours after the ceremony finishes. Usually, while the guests are enjoying a drink and canapés. It’s also a great opportunity for the couple to step back, relax and take it all in. It all very relaxed – I don’t force you in to awkward poses so no need to worry, I promise!
I also suggest another 15 min session around sunset if conditions allow.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU ARE ILL OR UNABLE TO ATTEND OUR WEDDING?
Fortunately this has never happened. But, it’s an important question – you must have someone present to capture your day. Together with like-minded friends in my photography network, I’m also a member of several emergency photographer support groups who can be relied upon to cover in an emergency situation.
HOW ABOUT A ’TRASH THE DRESS’ OR OTHER AFTER WEDDING PHOTOSHOOT?
Why not? I’ve never done one but I’m up to try anything! Would you like me to document a few days before and after the big day too? Just let me know and I’m sure we can work something out.
HAVE YOU EVER WON ANY PHOTOGRAPHY AWARDS?
HOW DO WE HIRE YOU AS OUR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER?
If my approach and style is of interest then please get in touch to check my availability. Also don’t hesitate to contact me if you’d like more information or would just like a chat before making your decision. I’ll send you a copy of my wedding photography brochure for 2023-2024.
If you wish to hire me then I will send you a copy of my wedding photography contract for signing. Once this is returned, together with a £350 booking fee, I will block your date. We can then exchange further information and schedule your pre-wedding photoshoot to ensure everything runs smoothly on the day.
SHOULD WE OFFER YOU FOOD AT THE WEDDING?
I put 100% in to capturing your wedding day. It’s a long day of intense concentration, often 10+ hours, so an offer of a meal of some kind is always hugely appreciated. This is often a bar-snack or a main course from the guest dinner menu, sometimes we even get invited to sit with the guests! I tend to not take photos of people enjoying the wedding breakfast so it’s a great time to re-energise before the evening entertainment starts.
COULD YOU DO MY MATERNITY OR BABY SHOOT FOR ME?
It has happened several times already! I love it when a couple whose wedding I photographed get in touch and ask me to do this for them. As we already have a connection it feels very special to be invited in to their family life once again. It’s also when I get to see the wedding photos they have chosen to put on their walls!
I’d also love to document ‘a day in the life’ for a family sometime too so let me know if you might be interested.
WHAT CAMERA EQUIPMENT DO YOU USE?
This is one for the camera geeks! I currently use the amazing Canon R5 as my main camera. The two back-up cameras I carry are a Canon R and a 5D Mk4. All my lenses are high quality L- or RF-series lenses. I carry lots and lots of spare memory cards, batteries, a couple of Canon flash units and sound recording equipment.
No problem! Just get in touch and I’ll do my best to help.