'Why Did I Want to Become a Photographer?'

From a young age I remember having an eye for imagery.  I was a keen artist and loved to draw, paint and create and I would spend hours beavering away on a portrait or painting. 

I was always around imagery; wherever we went my Mum would take two cameras with her; a 35mm film camera and a 35mm slide camera (a kodachrome 64).  When the slide negatives had been developed I would love taking them out of the long grey box and holding each one up to the light one by one.  It was like a secret image, a secret window into an exact moment in time, captured forever within a little white frame!

Every Christmas and New Year we would set up the slide projector (35mm long cassette type) and giggle our way through years and years of memories (some of which I was too young to remember).  It wasn’t New Year without it.  Cosy, warm, and content in my Grandparent’s front room, with the big, glass bowl, retro style light fitting, high ceilings and grey velour sofa.  I would usually be drinking a Bucks Fizz loving prepared by my Grandad and our bellies would be full from one of Nan’s amazing roast dinners.  I will always remember the overwhelming feeling of safety and contentment. It was the highlight of our Christmas Holidays and I look back on those days so, so fondly.

My Grandad was also a keen Photographer and used to develop his own photos of my Mum when she was growing up.  For my 18th Birthday he gave me a small photo album with some of these inside, black and white and a little aged around the edges.  Each one captioned with a small label written on a typewriter, each depicting a different year of her life.  They were treasured memories shown through a proud father’s eyes and I treasured them even more.  It was this, my Grandad’s influence, that really triggered my awareness of Photography and my love and passion for it grew from this shared interest.  I felt it bought me closer to him and when he died this brought me a great deal of comfort.  I wish he were still alive today to see some of my photos.  I have never developed in a dark room and would give anything to travel back in time and watch him.  Things are so different now, although just as much time and effort goes into capturing and editing an image, the raw, handcrafted skill involved in developing your own images has given way to a technological haze of RAW format and Lightroom; (hands-up, guilty as charged!)  Grandad though would be fascinated by it and I would love to show him all the ways you can manipulate an image in Photoshop for example; it would be almost alien to him!

It was without a doubt these fond memories that helped form my love of photography and my passion for creating beautiful images. 

Weddings, newborns, family shoots, birthdays, I feel extremely privileged to be able to capture these special memories; so that people can look back on them, share and enjoy over and over again.

7 Qualities to Look for When Choosing Your Wedding Photographer (Part 7)

The final part of our series, I feel is the most important of all...

7)     Communication

Last but not least, do they grasp the importance of communication?

You will probably be able to gauge early on how keen a communicator your wedding photographer is… How respondent are they to your queries? Do they offer you a direct line to be able to contact them? Do you have a phone number for them for emergencies?

Throughout what is undoubtedly one of the most stressful times of your life, you need to be able to trust that you’ll be able to get hold of your Photographer quickly and reliably should you have any questions or concerns. After all, you are paying for their services and want to feel your day is considered as important to them as it is to you, (and of course, this is their livelihood you are funding!)

Does your photographer confirm meet times/details in writing? Have they explained details of their contract with you? Are they prompt in replying and following up on promised or discussed actions?

A prompt reply to a query you may have will give a good indication of their overall manner, punctuality is obviously an important trait for whoever is capturing your big day. The last thing you need at zero hour is the added stress of not being able to find or get hold of your photographer!

Wrapping up this ultimate guide to choosing a wedding photographer.

Although not the be all and end all (and not exclusively what makes a good wedding photographer), the points I have identified in the last few weeks are things that should always be considered when choosing your photographer, or at the very least, things to expect or question when making your selection. 

Of course, it will be important to establish these key points before you pay your deposit and place a booking. Therefore, on your initial contact, be sure to ask as many questions as you can and ask to see an example of their process, (initial meeting, correspondence drafts etc.) It is also a good idea at this point to try and get in touch with other couples whose weddings they have photographed so you can ask the couple directly about their experience with the photographer and whether they would recommend them. This will play a big part in informing your decision.

Organisation is a MUST have trait of any wedding photographer and it is obviously fundamental that they gain your trust to perform such an important part of one of the most special days of your life. This is a huge undertaking and you must be confident that they take it as seriously as you do. 

Everyone likes to feel special and although many photographers depend on wedding photography as their profession, it is also important that you are not made to feel like just another couple in a long line of weddings that need to be photographed.

Look for that personable touch that makes you and your day feel special and unique.  On your wedding day you are the two most important people and you need to make sure your photographer is capable of accomplishing all of your photography requirements.

Sally & Jaime

Sally and Jaime tied the knot in a beautiful, intimate ceremony at Rugby Registration Office on a sunny Sunday afternoon in May.

The couple wore matching Marks and Spencer cufflinks and blue and grey suits and matching black shoes from the Wedding Barn in Ufton, finished off beautifully with fuschia coloured carnation button holes by Sue's Flowers of York: https://www.suesflowersofyork.co.uk/

Sue's flowers of York also created the centrepiece for the table at the Restaurant where the couple had their Wedding Breakfast; the Sarah Mansfield Country Pub in Willey, nr Lutterworth.

The beautiful Wedding Cake was made by Taste That Cake in Letchworth: http://tastethatcake.co.uk/ and the ring box was made especially for Jaime and Sally by Victoria Lewis @creativebridalwedding.

Tammy Jones sang in a private performance for the couple and this was followed by a series of personal readings from family members.

After the ceremony we moved to the Registry gardens for the group shots and portraits.  

The following week, the couple celebrated further and travelled to Mexico for a blessing in front of Family and Friends.

Jaime and Sally's special day was a gorgeous, personal and love filled celebration of their 13 years together! Thank you so much for asking us to capture it for you!

7 Qualities to Look for When Choosing Your Wedding Photographer (Parts 5 & 6)

Parts 5 &6 of this series focus on the finer details of your Wedding and the preparation your photographer should be making to ensure that these important aspects are not missed.

5)     Itinerary

Does your photographer ask for an itinerary?

In order to properly plan the photos on the day and to ensure your desired shots are captured, your wedding photographer should ask for a copy of your itinerary for the day, including the details of your wedding planner/ toastmaster/venue’s co-ordinator. 

They will then be able to plan where they need to be at what time and have a clear indication of the schedule and running of the day.  In a lot of cases the photographer will guide the running order of the portraits and it is their responsibility to ensure all desired images are captured in the times allotted. 

There will usually be a slot allocated for photos after the ceremony and before the wedding breakfast, however how the time within this is used and how the photos are organised will be the photographer’s sole responsibility.  If they haven’t asked for a copy of the itinerary, you may need to check they are fully prepared for this task.

6)     Attention to detail

Has your photographer asked for the finer details of your wedding?

Examples of wat we’re talking about here are colour schemes, theme, any traditions that you would like recognised or if there is a particular style of edit you would like? Most photographers will have developed a style specific to them and this is something that you would have undoubtedly considered prior to booking them.

However it is important that your wedding photographer pays a general interest to the finer details of your wedding in order to make your photos as personal to you as possible. For example, making sure extra care will be taken to capture decorations or table props or accessories if a couples theme is an important aspect of the day.

Another example could be if your wedding is of a vintage theme then your photographer may feel it appropriate to employ a black and white edit choice when processing your images to accentuate the feel of the day.

Above all, you want to choose a photographer who demonstrates an honest interest in your day and who appreciates the efforts you have gone to make it special.

Coming Next: Part 7; Communication

7 Qualities to Look for When Choosing Your Wedding Photographer (Parts 3 & 4)

In parts 3 & 4 of this series we will look at the documentation your photographer should complete with you and start to assess the prep work that takes place in regards to research around your booking.  In this week's case, the venue visit.

3)     Photo Worksheet

Does your wedding photographer give you a worksheet to complete? 

This should list the key photos that you would like (group shots etc.) and a list of names of key family members including any particular special notes that the photographer needs to be aware of. 

This makes the formal photograph part of the day run much more smoothly and again, if the photographer is aware of who’s who it will help put people at ease and make the day much more enjoyable for everybody. 

It also means your photographer can ensure they get all of the photos you want – which of course should be any wedding photographer’s primary aim!

4)     Venue Visit

Has the photographer done a venue visit or is it a venue that they are already familiar with?

A familiarity with the wedding venue will again allow for a much smoother running of the photos on the day.  Your wedding photographer should be aware of where certain aspects of the day are to be held so that they are able to prep equipment and they should have already scouted out places for group shots, couple photos and alternatives if it happens to be a wet wedding (heaven forbid!). 

Time won’t be limitless on the day and there will probably only be narrow allotted slots for each set of photos, so having already done this preliminary visit will ensure none of the key points of your day are missed.

Don't be afraid to ask your photographer if they are familiar with the venue, if they are - great! If not, ask them if they will be visiting or if you haven't had your initial pre-wedding meeting yet, maybe suggest this takes place at the venue.  This will enable you to discuss your requirements in more detail and play out where you would like specific photos taken and where you expect certain aspects to take place on the day.  If the venue holds open days, visiting on one of these will give the photographer the opportunity of discussing intricacies with the staff, if they have any and also potentially finalising any requirements in regards to insurance or guidelines that the venue may have. 

Coming Next: Parts 5 & 6; Itinerary & Attention to detail