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Wedding mistakes to avoid

Thursday, 27th August 2015

Written by Martin Neeves – Reportage Wedding Photographer Nuneaton

D2358-9-The_bride_looks_in_a_mirror-while_getting_ready_for_her_wedding_at_Mythe_Barn_near_Atherstone Your wedding is one of the biggest and happiest days of your life, but it is easy to make mistakes.  The great thing is that you are not the first to get married or organise a wedding, so you can learn from others’ mistakes.  These problems can start at the planning stage and continue right up to the day.  Having seen a large number of weddings now, I thought you might want to know some of the things that I have seen that can be avoided.

Talk to Your Partner.  It is usual for one or other of you to take the lead.  But a word for the wise; make sure you talk to each other about the whole process.  Make sure you agree what kind of wedding you want and what is going to happen. Remember it is both your wedding; do not let one feel they have been railroaded into something they are not comfortable with.  It always helps the process if both of you regularly update on what was planned and what is happening

D2485-172 Random Setting of the Date.  You will not be able to avoid all possible clashes of date, but there are some simple guidelines that help.  Try to avoid important dates that are close like birthdays, major holiday periods.  Also, think about the interests of the majority of your guests.  If a large number of your potential guests have a common interest then try to avoid key dates in their calendar.

Understand Your Wedding Timelines. Some elements of wedding planning need to be planned in advance.  Venues, photographers and similar providers are often booked up well in advance.  Ideally, your guests will need some notice in order to “put you in their diary”. 

 Do not book a venue, before planning the broad outlines of your guest list.  In the last paragraph I said that a venue is an important thing to book early.  However, if you book a venue that is too small to accommodate your planned guest numbers you have to either cram people in or restrict your guest list.  Some venues ask for as deposit and you may lose it should you have to rebook a bigger venue.  I guess there is another factor as well, you don’t want to pay for lots of empty, unused space.”

D2471-51 Planning the guest list.  Your budget may dictate the numbers you are going to invite.  There is always the issue of who you do not invite as this often causes friction.  I have seen some rather unfortunate occurrences when couples have invited people who have messed up the wedding.  These have been ex-girlfriends or boyfriends, problem relatives or former friends you no longer get on with.  If you really have to invite them then I recommend either not inviting them to the whole day, or having someone who can look after them.  

There is often pressure to invite a lot of people, or you feel you want to have a lot of people to your wedding.  Be realistic and stick to your budget.  Once you have planned for a set number, do not go vastly over it.  If you planned for 50 guests and then invite 150 then you may end up not having space, food or spending much more than you budgeted for.  

Do not think that you will have total control over the guest list.  You will want to invite those who are important to you.  Be careful about allowing others to invite people to your wedding.  They may invite folk you do not want to attend or they may invite more guests than you planned for. 

Now that word – Budget.  The given wisdom is that planning a wedding without a budget is a recipe for disaster.  If you do not plan you could be left with a HUGE bill at the end of it that takes ages to pay for. Unless you really have a bottomless wallet, then plan – budget.  Be realistic about your aspirations.  It is important to have an idea how much money you have to work with before you start, but don''t take the costs that planning guides in the wedding magazines give you as gospel as they are often wildly out.  There will always be a wide range of prices for every wedding service or product (from cheap and cheerful to top-of-the-range and exclusive), but only you can decide which services are more important to you (and therefore worth paying more for) and which are not so important. 

There are things you must have and things you would like to have.  Make sure the “must haves” are accommodated first.  Also remember, the wedding is for you as a couple.  Do not plan things in because someone else wants it – if it is not what you want then stand your ground. 

One last word on the budget; do not forget to consider your parents.  They may well want to spend on your wedding, but again be realistic. You and your partner may want to shoulder some or all of the expenses.  But if your parents get involved don’t overburden them with too many demands.  You should not assume that all your whims will be given to you.  Read my article about budgeting.

Hiring Friends.  This can be a sensitive subject.  It can also be a problem area especially if they have “a great eye for it”.  This can range from cake makers, flowers, photographers, videographers, DJs at the reception and many more.  Even if you are on a tight budget, you're often better paying a professional for the major items.  

Additionally, if your friend (or family member) is busy taking photographs they won’t be able to enjoy the day. And what happens if something isn’t delivered to a professional standard that can be very awkward.  If you do hire a family member or friend then do make sure they understand what you want.  Working with family can be tricky, but treat them like another person supplying services to your wedding – write things down.

D2566-246 Photography.  Of course I am going to talk about this subject as it is close to my heart.  Do not book a photographer based entirely upon price.  Make sure you have seen examples of their work and they fit in with your requirements.  If you think anyone can do wedding photography or it is something worthy cutting corners on just Google “bad wedding photographers”.  Or even read my blog on “The Worst Advice I've Ever Heard About Choosing a Wedding Photographer” 

Choose the style of photography you want to have.  Do you want to have the standard posed photos or do you want a more unobtrusive style, usually called “Reportage”?  Each requires a different amount of time to be set aside.  Many conventional photographers will tell you that anything less than an hour isn't enough for a portrait session after the ceremony; sometimes even hour-and-a-half.  If you chose this conventional style, what are your guests going to be doing for that time?   

Getting Ready. Make sure that you plan enough time to get ready.  Make sure you book appointments for hairdressers and makeup artists well ahead of the day.  Make sure they have enough time to finish in time to get you ready.  Most photographers, wedding planners, venues etc will tell you that timetables are usually too tight. A friend of mine is a caterer and she often finds that couples are late arriving at the venue, photographers take much longer than planned etc.  That means that the food has to be kept warm or cold for much longer than planned, which will mean it is not at its best.  Traditional wedding photographers are notorious for making the day run late, however that is not usually a problem with reportage wedding photographers (such as me).

Do not have too much to do for the morning of the wedding.  You will have plenty to do getting ready.  All decorating decisions should have been made.  Do as much as possible before the morning of your wedding. If it has to be done on the morning, make sure it has been delegated to someone else.

Travelling Time.  Remember travelling time needs to be built in.  You will need time to get to the hair salon and back.  Do not forget time to get to the ceremony, and then to get from the ceremony to the reception.  Always assume that the 10 minute trip will take at least twice as long.  Traffic is always worst when you want to travel.  Cars can be late or not start.  At one wedding I attended, the wedding was at a church and the couple decided on a horse and carriage to get to the reception.  The trouble was that the reception was at a venue 10 miles away.  All the guests went in their cars and were sat around for ages. Worse still it was an open top carriage and it rained for most of the ten miles.  They had planned on it taking “about 20 minutes” – result one soaking wet bride and groom arrived much later than planned.   I had a drenched pair to photograph and the food was prepared an hour before it was eaten. 

If your ceremony and reception are at different venues, plan, test-drive it and add in “problem time”.  Remember that vintage wedding cars cannot go as fast as your modern car, so allow for that in your timings.  Try to minimize the in-between time that leaves guests wondering what to do. If a time delay cannot be avoided, then try to ensure guests know this and are looked after.

When you have planned your timeline effectively, why not let Martin Neeves take the pressure off you by letting him manage your wedding photography.  Contact Martin Neeves Photography or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591.

Quorn Grange Hotel Weddings - Alex and Shane's Wedding

Monday, 24th August 2015



Please CLICK HERE to view a small selection of photos I took of Alex and Shane's wedding at Quorn Grange Hotel in Quorn, Leicestershire. 


Quorn Grange Hotel is a beautiful 19th century building set in stunning gardens, surrounded by the picturesque Leicestershire countryside.  

The day started with Alex and her bridemaids getting ready in the hotel's very stylish and modern bridal suite.  Alex bought her wedding dress abroad but she had alterations made by Leicester dressmaker Edith Cattell.  I was amazed when I saw Alex's shoes as she wore 7-inch heels!  I was even more impressed that she was able to walk in in them all day!

Alex and Shane made the most of a lovely sunny day by holding their weedding ceremony in the hotel's pretty gazebo in the garden.  After a drinks reception and a short photo shoot in a neighbouring field, they were treated to Quorn Grange Hotel's first class food at their wedding breakfast.  The wedding flowers were supplied by Broughton Astley florist Karina's Flowers and the chair covers, table covers and other internal and external decorations (including the gazebo) were supplied by Rachel of Create The Scene.

After meal Alex and Shane cut their wedding cake which was made by Alex' friend Chris Wicks, before heading off to the dancefloor to the sounds created by Dancefloor DJs & Events of Thorpe Astley, Leicester.

 After seeing her wedding photos for the first time, Alex sent me an e-mal that said "I had to look the photos first before I reply to your email as I wanted to see them so badly ;-) they are absolutely amazing and words can I describe how happy we are with them, thank you so so so much and I am so glad we had you as our photographer at our big day!"


If you want a Leicestershire wedding photographer to unobtrusively capture all the emotion of your wedding at Quorn Grange Hotel, please give me a call on either 01455 271849 or 07973 638 591.  Alternatively, please CONTACT ME at Martin Neeves Photography using this contact form.

Wedding March Music – What is It all about?

Monday, 10th August 2015

Written by Martin Neeves – Reportage Wedding Photographer Leicestershire

D2288-45 These days wedding music can vary dramatically.  There are also some differences between a civil and a church wedding.  Essentially a processional song is the music that you and your wedding party walk down the aisle to.  You can have one song for everyone, or choose a separate song for the bride’s grand entrance. At the end of the ceremony, the bride and groom leave the church or venue to what is known as recessional music, and this tends to be more upbeat than the processional.

Some couples find traditional wedding marches less relevant these days.

The History of Wedding March Music 

The history of Wedding March music is varied and goes back some time.  It also varies in different cultures and religions.  Pre orchestral music, the wedding music was very much influenced by the availability of the instruments of the time.  Once orchestras and organs became more common place then things took a leap forward.  

One of the traditional tunes associated with the wedding march is the “Bridal Chorus,” the prelude to Act III of the Lohengrin Opera written by Wagner that has become known as “Here Comes the Bride”.  Many Catholic Churches do not like this music because it is essentially secular music.  If you are familiar with the story of the opera, it quickly becomes apparent why it is not appropriate for church weddings. Composed by 1848, Lohengrin features "Bridal Chorus" as the prelude to a very short-lived, doomed marriage between Elsa and Lohengrin.  What many people do not appreciate these days is that Wagner was anti-Semitic. Hence the song is rarely played at Jewish weddings.


D2061-43-wedding_at_Claybrooke_Parva_Leicestershire Felix Mendelssohn's "Wedding March" from A Midsummer Night's Dream and was first used as a recessional march in 1847.  It became very popular after 1858when Prince Frederick William of Prussia’s and Victoria, The Princess Royal married.  However, again it does have a negative side that some churches do not like.  The music portrays fantasy, murder, sex, and other delights that many would not feel is appropriate for a church wedding. 

Spring from Four Seasons – Vivaldi. This is from a series of 12 concertos and by far Vivaldi’s most popular music and some of the most loved music of the baroque era written in about 1720.

Ode to Joy – was composed by Beethoven in 1824. This piece is often used as music for celebration. 

Trumpet Voluntary was written for the opera The Island Princess by Clark and it tends not to be too controversial.

Allegro Maestros from Water Music was written by Handel when his patron, King George requested a concert on the River Thames.

Another piece written by Handel was the Hallelujah Chorus from Messiah and this was first performed in Dublin in 1742.  Its jubilant ending is an ever popular wedding recessional.

Johann Sebastian Bach’s Jesu, Joy Of Man's Desiring was written in the early 1700s, between 1716 and 1723.

And on to the Modern Era

More modern couples have taken to choosing a song that symbolizes their love for one another.  Some recent examples are:

  • Light My Fire by The Doors 
  • (Everything I Do) I Do It For You - Bryan Adams
  • A Moment Like This - Kelly Clarkson
  • All Of Me - John Legend
  • All You Need Is Love - The Beatles
  • Always And Forever - Heatwave
  • Amazed - Lonestar
  • At Last - Etta James
  • Because You Loved Me - Celine Dion
  • Best Of My Love - Eagles
  • Biggest Part Of Me - Ambrosia
  • By Your Side - Sade
  • Canon In D Major - Johann Pachelbel
  • Celebration - Kool & the Gang
  • Chasing Cars - Snow Patrol
  • Colour My World - Chicago
  • Crazy Love - Van Morrison
  • Danny's Song - Loggins & Messina
  • Daughter - Peter Blegvad
  • Differences - Ginuwine
  • Everlasting Love - Robert Knight
  • Every Day With You, Girl - Classics IV
  • Everything - Michael Bublé
  • Friends and Lovers - Gloria Loring and Carl Anderson
  • Get Me To The Church On Time - Stanley Holloway
  • Giving You The Best That I Got - Anita Baker
  • Glory Of Love - Peter Cetera
  • Grow Old With Me - John Lennon
  • Have I Told You Lately - Van Morrison
  • Here Comes The Bride - Richard Wagner
  • Hot Hot Hot - Arrow
  • I Believe I Can Fly - R. Kelly
  • I Do - Colbie Caillat
  • I Give All My Love to You - Rhonda Vincent
  • I Honestly Love You - Olivia Newton-John
  • I Knew I Loved You - Savage Garden
  • I Love You - Climax Blues Band
  • I'll Always Love You - Taylor Dayne
  • I'll Be - Edwin McCain
  • Into The Mystic - Van Morrison
  • Let's Stay Together - Al Green
  • Longer - Dan Fogelberg
  • Love - Sugarland
  • Love of a Lifetime - Firehouse
  • Lovin' You - Minnie Riperton
  • Never My Love - The Association
  • Safe and Sound - Hawksley Workman
  • Sweet Thing - Van Morrison
  • The Carnival Is Over - The Seekers
  • The Colour of My Love - Celine Dion
  • The Day Before You - Rascal Flatts
  • The First Day of My Life - Bright Eyes
  • The Power Of Love - Jennifer Rush
  • The Rose - Bette Midler
  • Thinking Out Loud - Ed Sheeran
  • Through The Fire - Chaka Khan
  • To the Aisle - The Five Satins
  • True - Spandau Ballet
  • True Companion - Marc Cohn
  • Trumpet Voluntary - Jeremiah Clarke
  • Waiting For A Girl Like You - Foreigner
  • We've Only Just Begun - Carpenters
  • Wedding Song (There Is Love) - Noel Paul Stookey
  • When A Man Loves A Woman - Percy Sledge
  • When God Made You - NewSong
  • You Are So Beautiful - Joe Cocker
  • You Look So Fine - Garbage
  • You Were Meant For Me - Jewel

Hymns for Church Weddings.  It is usual for two or three hymns sung during a church wedding service. It always helps to use hymns that your guests are familiar with and are easy for them to sing.   

Registry Offices.  They often use taped music that is appropriate to the occasion.  They tend to be relaxed about the music used, but do like the ceremony to be kept formal and appropriate to the seriousness of the occasion.

Licenced Wedding Venues.  They tend to be the most relaxed about the music used.  Their attitude is that you are the paying customer and can choose whatever music you wish.  The appropriateness, or otherwise, of the music chosen is seen as the bride and groom’s prerogative.

If you want a Photographer who will complement your wedding march why not contact me at Martin Neeves Photography or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591.

So where did these names for wedding anniversaries come from?

Thursday, 30th July 2015

Written by Martin Neeves – Reportage Wedding Photographer Warwickshire

where did these names for wedding anniversaries come from The historic origins of wedding anniversaries date back to the Medieval German empires, although there is some discussion that it might date back further to the Romans or Greeks.  The original idea was that husbands would crown their wives with silver and gold wreaths to mark 25 and 50 years of marriage - hence the term silver and golden wedding anniversary.  This symbolised the harmony and perseverance that was needed to make a marriage last for so long. 

In Victorian times, the 60th Anniversary was added when Queen Victoria celebrated 60 years on the throne, and the Diamond wedding became associated with 60 years duration.

As with many of the “modern customs, the fuller list we now use originated in the USA in 1937. Previously, Americans and Victorians had only the 1st, 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th, 50th, and 75th anniversaries, which were celebrated with a gift. The American National Retail Jeweller Association decided that it would be good business to promote the expanded list of gifts in 1937.  They developed a list that would allow husbands to buy a gift for each year up to the 20th followed by every fifth anniversary after that.  Then as the idea took off, the commercial world saw further opportunities for us to buy “traditional wedding anniversary” gifts during the 20th century.  Some greetings card companies, and others, will now furnish you with a list that contains the ability to buy a gift or card for every year of marriage.

The reason behind the “gifts” is generally believed to be founded on the basis that increasingly durable gifts should be chosen to represent the steady strengthening and value of the relationship in a marriage.

Thus far, as far as we can find out, no marriage has managed to reach the 90 year point.  But in 2012 Karam and Katari Chand, who lived in Bradford, celebrated 89 years of marriage.  They had originally married in a Sikh ceremony in the Punjab, India in January 1925. Mr Karam Chand was 106 and Mrs Chand was 100.  It is fair to assume that not many people will approach or pass this anniversary point.

The list below is the common one used in the UK, but there are some people who will disagree because the US list is seeping into our commercial world:

Year    Traditional (U.K.)

1st       Cotton

2nd     Paper

3rd      Leather

4th      Fruit and flowers

5th      Wood

6th      Sugar

7th      Woollen

8th      Salt

9th      Copper

10th    Tin

11th    Steel

12th    Silk and fine linen

13th    Lace  

14th    Ivory   

15th    Crystal

16th    Wax   

17th    Shells

18th    Feathers

19th    Chilli Pepper

20th    China

25th    Silver

30th    Pearl

35th    Coral

40th    Ruby

45th    Sapphire

50th    Gold

55th    Emerald

60th    Diamond

65th    Blue sapphire          

70th    Platinum

75th    Diamond, gold

80th    Oak

85th    Wine

90th    Stone

This article is brought for your interest by Martin Neeves, professional Wedding Photographer, Warwickshire. 

If you want to find out more about my services, then contact me at Martin Neeves Photography or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591

The modern trend of renewing wedding vows

Friday, 17th July 2015

Written by Martin Neeves – Reportage Wedding Photographer Hinckley

D2344-86-Prestwold_Hall_is_a_stunning_wedding_venue_in_Leicestershire Over the last 10 to 20 years there has been a growing trend of people renewing wedding vows.  Peoples’ opinions about this trend vary from “what a waste of time” to “what a lovely idea” – very much a “marmite” approach to it.  The reasons are numerous, but here are a few:

  • On a key anniversary like 10th, 20th, 50th etc.
  • If the couple have gone through a rough period in the marriage and have come out the other end, so they want to symbolically “start again”.
  • Sometimes it might be after recovery from a serious illness to celebrate their future together.
  • To have a more expensive or splendid wedding if they could not afford it when they were first married.
  • If had a civil wedding in a registry office and now want to have a “more real or religious wedding” in a church.  This is especially true if someone becomes more religious as they get older.
  • To relive the great memories of the wedding day again.
  • A desire to reaffirm the couple’s commitments to each other.
  • A statement of the couple’s continued love for each other.
  • They originally got married abroad and were not able to invite any or many of their family to the celebration.
  • To demonstrate their love for each other to the world or their family.
  • To reaffirm vows after one or other has strayed or split for a while as part of the healing process.
  • As a way to tell each other how much they love each other.
  • To provide a good example of marriage for children and grandchildren.
  • It all seemed so long ago and they wanted to refresh their memories.
  • To make a particular overseas holiday special.
  • If their wedding photos were terrible and they want to re-run it to get a better set of photos.
  • No reason, just felt they wanted to.

Where can I get my wedding vows renewed?

The location for the renewal of vows may be affected by the reason for having the ceremony.  The number of venues and ideas providing these ceremonies is very wide.  Indeed an industry has grown up around the idea.  Here are a few of the types of location where a renewal of views can be held:

Churches. Until recently it used to be the rule that you could not renew your vows in a church if you were not originally married in a church, this rule has been relaxed in many churches.

Registry Offices.  It is not just churches that now do renewal vows; Registry Offices in the UK have been providing this type of service.  I know people who advocate that “every couple should renew their vows”; that seems a bit prescriptive as I think it is for the couple themselves to decide if it is for them.

Home.  This can allow a very intimate and friendly ceremony.  This type of ceremony can be very focused on family and close friends.

Holiday destinations, Hotels and venues.   This type of ceremony is now very widely available at a wide range of venues.  The up-market Sandals holiday destination offers it.  There are even some rather ostentatious venues like the Graceland Wedding Chapel with a look-a-like Elvis conducting the ceremony.

Gretna Green.  No mention of a wedding destination would be complete in the United Kingdom without a mention of Gretna Green. 

On ships.  Many cruise lines specialise in such ceremonies, some conducted by the Captain, others by a ship’s chaplain. 

Some basic rules about renewal of vows:

  • These are actually not prescriptive and are just ones that I have found when I have been carrying out the research for this article.  The basic rule is to remember that renewing your vows is not a second wedding.  You cannot get married twice unless you have been divorced or widowed.  What it is is some form of restatement of the vows.
  • The renewal ceremony is not a legal ceremony, so anyone may officiate at the event. 
  • There is no need for the bride’s father to escort the wife up the aisle.  Probably much better for the husband for escort the wife up the aisle, after all the deal has been done and you are making a statement about you being a couple.  Perhaps you both start from opposite sides of the room and symbolically meet in the middle.
  • Keep your renewal of marriage vows casual and simple.
  • If you have written vows it is not good to draw attention to negative aspects of your past. Focus on the future together.


Hopefully this has given you an insight into the reasons why you might take part in a renewal of marriage vows.  

If you feel that this is something that you would want then why not consider asking Martin Neeves, a very experienced wedding photographer to capture the essence of your renewal of vows in a way that you will remember, then contact me at Martin Neeves Photography or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591.

Weddings at Prestwold Hall

Monday, 6th July 2015

Prestwold Hall is one of the best wedding venues in Leicestershire and I am proud to be one of their recommended photographers.  Here is a slideshow of photographs of some of the many weddings I have been lucky enough to document there.

Situated in the beautiful Leicestershire countryside near Loughborough, Prestwold Hall is a stunning stately home set in magnificent grounds with manicured gardens.  The bride and groom and their guests are guaranteed a fabulous wedding to remember at this handsome wedding venue as not only does the splendid house interior match the grand exterior, but the food is always top notch and the staff are extremely friendly and helpful.  For more information about Prestwold Hall, please CLICK HERE to view their website.

If you want an experienced wedding photographer who is recommeded by Prestwold Hall, please contact me at Martin Neeves Photography or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591. 

Traditions, Myths and Rituals of Weddings

Thursday, 2nd July 2015

Written by Martin Neeves – Reportage Wedding Photographer Nuneaton

D2334-305-The bride_and_groom_share_a_kiss_at_sunset. Depending what area of the country, culture or religion you herald from, weddings are steeped in traditions, myths and rituals.  Some appear to have some reason based in the past for their usage, whilst others seem quite illogical.  Over the many years that I have been photographing weddings I have come across a great number.

Some traditions have grown up over a long period of time.  Some myths appear to have been generated by superstition.  Weirdly there is no scientific or factual grounding for many of these rituals, although some do have some reasoning in history.  This led me to think about these more where these traditions, myths and rituals about weddings came from.

If the groom sees the Bride before the Wedding it is bad luck. It is bad luck for the groom to see the bride’s dress before the day of the wedding.  It will bring luck if he does not glance at the dress as the bride walks down the aisle.  Surprisingly there is some reason in this in history. In times when there were arranged marriages, often as business deals, then the pair were kept apart.  The groom and bride did not meet before the wedding so that the groom could not find out if the bride was less attractive than he desired and called the whole thing off.   This is also given as the reason that a bride would wear a veil.  Such romance!

 The Bride should stand to the left Groom during the Ceremony.  This goes back to mediaeval times when the groom had to have his his sword arm free to defend her and fight off any man who may wish to take his future wife.  In fact the reality was that it was not expected that he should protect the bride with his sword. The best man had that role – incidentally he is called the best man because he is assumed to be the “best swordsman”.  When the couple were facing the altar, the best man faced the guests ready to use his sword to defend last minute protests from the bride's family

D2334-55-The-smile_on_the_groom\'s_face_says_it_all.You must wear a white dress.  This appears to have originated from the idea that white is a virginal and pure colour.  Patently a dress does not make you a virgin and today it is not uncommon for brides to choose a variety of colours.  On the subject of colours, one is “if you marry in blue then your lover is true.  Marry in pink and your fortunes will sink, so the myths get very mixed up.  And furthermore, many wedding dresses in China, India, Pakistan and Vietnam are red, a traditional colour of good luck. It is interesting that until the 1940s most brides did not wear wedding dresses, but their “best dress” – sometimes called the Sunday best. 

Something old, something blue something borrowed.  There is some historical reasoning for this.  It comes from the time when people could not afford a “one-use” dress.  There are records of some villages have a common wedding outfit that was lent to the bride on the day of the wedding.  The blue element actually comes as a counter to the tradition to wear a white wedding dress.  Traditional wedding dresses were Blue because it was the colour of purity, but it was a colour not easily produced by dyes unless you had a lot of money. Blue was also the colour associated with the “Virgin Mary”.  So that is where the “something blue” came from.  

 There is a more modern interpretation that wearing "something old" represents the bride's past.  "Something new" symbolizes the couple's happy future. The "something borrowed" is from someone who is happily married so that person's good fortune rubs off on her. "Something blue" denotes fidelity and love

D2217-68-Upper_Broughton_Melton_Mowbray_wedding_photographer_LeicestershireYou should have a one-year engagement.  Now why is one year the prefect engagement?  No idea, everyone is different and many people live together for long periods now before marrying so a year seems quite irrelevant. 

You wear a wedding veil for protection. They were worn to ward off evil spirits; this was according to Greek and Roman tradition.  The veil will keep wicked spirits, ghosts away. 

If you drop the rings you’ll die.  Apparently, whoever drops the ring will be the one to die first.   There is a counter myth that dropping the rings is good luck because it “shakes out the evil spirits”.

Be the first to buy something.  This apparently means that the first to buy something will hold the upper hand in the marriage.  This set up the “tradition” that the bridesmaids took something small to the wedding to “sell” to the bride.

D2471-297 If a hungry cat eats out of your shoe you will have good luck. This seems a real wacky superstition that holds that if a cat eat out of your left shoe a week before the wedding you will have good luck. So your shoes will then smell of Felix?

People should throw shoes at you. This is a Tudor custom where the men at the wedding throw shoes at a newly married couple for good luck.  This has been overtaken by tying shoes to the car at the end of the wedding – not sure if a pair of size 12s round the ears would be particularly lucky. 

It is bad luck for the bride to wear pearls.  This myth holds that wearing pearls brings future tears and heartache.  But there is a counter myth that pearls take the place of the bride’s real tears and her wedding will be tear-free.  Yer takes yer pick and yer takes yer chance methinks.

Signing your married name before the wedding is bad luck.  Apparently this tempts fate – this is also tied up in the myth that a bride should not wear ALL her wedding outfit before the wedding – bad luck it appears.

The bride should not marry a man with a surname that starts with the same letter.  This came from Victorian times for no other reason than they had the rhyme:  "To change the name and not the letter; is to change for the worst and not the better."

Wear the ring on the 4th finger of the left hand.  The rationale for wearing the engagement and wedding rings on the 4th finger of the left hand was because it was believed that a vein in that finger led directly to the heart.

The Bride should be carried over the Threshold.  This dates back toMedieval Europe where it was believed that the bride was vulnerable to evil spirits through the soles of her feet. To avoid bringing any evil spirits into the new married home, the groom carried the bride.  Another factor in Medieval Europe was that it was seen to be scandalous for a woman to enthusiastic about losing her virginity. So if she was carried over the threshold by the groom she avoided looking too eager about losing her virginity. Some countries in Europe believed that if a bride tripped over the threshold of a new home that it would bring bad luck to her home and marriage.

Bells being rung at the wedding.  The tradition of ringing wedding bells was supposed to ward off evil spirits.  Some thought that it represents a “harmonious life” 

Breaking glass or plates.  In many cultures it is believed that the smashing of glasses or a plate brings luck.  It also foretells that the more broken pieces there are, then the longer the marriage will last.  Hence the very enthusiastic throwing of the fragile article so it smashes into as many pieces as possible.

In summary

Whilst some wedding traditions, myths and rituals have some roots in history, some are just pure superstitions, often based on pagan or religious thinking.  My view is that it would be sad to lose many of these traditions because they do add to the special atmosphere of the magical wedding day.  But at the same time I would not want brides and grooms to have too much belief in the efficacy of them.  Much better, in my humble opinion, to work hard at the marriage and do things for love.

I hope this helps you to better understand the traditions, rituals and myths surrounding weddings.  If you want someone who will make your wedding a legend, why not contact me at Martin Neeves Photography or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591.

Wedding flower ideas

Friday, 12th June 2015

Written by Martin Neeves

1654D_23ahcp-brides_bouguet_at_a_wedding_in_London Having now photographed a great many weddings now, I am amazed how different wedding flowers can be.  Done well they really make a wedding look memorable. It is interesting how choices are made, or not made, by couples.  Some just leave it to the florist or venue to fix.  Others want to have floristry as part of their theme.  In other cases the bride’s mother or family ladies take charge of the wedding flowers.  

There is also a difference between just having flowers at the church or marriage venue and “doing out” the reception area. I thought that I would give you some ideas of some of the elements of thinking through your flowers for your wedding.

D2356-166-The_groom_helps_the_bride_with_her_veil_in_the_Mill_Garden_in_Warwick If you are looking for some great ideas for your wedding flowers, or you are perhaps looking for something slightly different from the traditional, here are a few that have caught my eye over the past few years.  Flowers offer an opportunity for your guests to have a feast for their eyes.

What different ideas are there for flowers?

There are so many areas where flowers can and are used:

  • Bouquets and button-holes
  • Church decoration
  • D2258-199-wedding_reception_at_Coombe_Abbey_Hotel_near_Coventry_Warwickshire Reception decoration
  • Venue Decoration
  • Table decorations

Different seasons will provide different options for floral decoration.  The great thing with wedding flowers is that you have the choice of so many shades, textures, styles and designs.  It is easy to find fine wedding flowers that can add natural beauty and a unique dash of creativity to your memorable day. For many brides, the bridal bouquet is often the first and most important choice.

Bouquets and button holes

D2257-68-wedding_flowers_at_Knighton_Leicester Chosen well a bridal bouquet can be a real scene stealer.  But it can also be so overpowering that it detracts from the bride and her dress, so thought must be given to the overall effect.

Another aspect of bouquets that sometimes florists and brides get wrong is how to wrap the bouquet for holding.  Effectively how do you make the handle that the bride will be hanging onto so it is easy to handle and manage.  Some florists use a wire wrap, which adds stability, but done badly and it can make the bride’s hand sore.  There are various things that can be used the cover the wire D2358-193-The_groom_kisses_the_brideand make it very attractive.  The important thing to remember is that the “handle” or stems should  not be so bulky that the bride has trouble getting her hands around them.

The hands and the stems can be hidden from view with generous use of ribbon.  I have also seen some really extravagant coverings for the flower stems, with jewels, silk and even metallic covers. It is very much a matter of taste which way you chose to go.

Button holes can range from a simple carnation style flower to be pinned to the button hole to something more exotic.  A lot will depend upon the dress style being used; lounge suit will be different to tail suits.  Additionally, at some weddings the men and women have “button-holes”, whilst at others the ladies have a corsage. They can also range from artificial flowers to real flowers. The flower might just have the stem bound in green tape, or it might have other additional garnishing or foliage or ribbons. 

Church decoration

This can range from a variation on the usual flower arrangement that you see in a church to D2451-206 some more resplendent decorations.  There is a growing trend towards some very traditional and historic church decoration, with church doors being draped in floral arrangements, very much in the mediaeval and Victorian traditions.  

Some of the most elaborate church decorations that I have seen have had flowers bedecking the end of each row of pews.

The decoration of altars will have to be discussed with the vicar or priest.  Some have the view that it is fine, whilst other stake the view that the altar is D1894_135-Bride_and_bridesmaid_at_a_wedding_in_Frankton_Warwickshire part of the religious architecture of the church and should not be decorated.  Another idea is to build an arch of flowers in the aisle just inside the church so the bride and her father appear through it in triumphal entry.

Reception Decoration

Floral centre-pieces can range from quaint and pretty to large arrangements that almost form a  barrier down the middle of the table.  In some cases the venue will provide flowers as part of the service, whilst others will be happy for you to add your own artistry. 

Your wedding flowers will be one of the most photographed details of your wedding, besides the bride and groom. Therefore, it is important to plan wedding centre pieces and bouquets that really fit your wedding style. Start by finding flower types you like. These can then be arranged in a range of styles from casual and rustic to formal and glamorous. Another way of choosing flowers is by colour, again your overall theme needs to be adhered to so you avoid colour and style clashes.   


D2344-49_The bride_and_her_sister_bridesmaid There is no doubt that flowers form an important part of most weddings, but they can be the source of a lot of tension.  They can also be very expensive, so you should be clear about your budget.  There is also a view that the day is about the wedding ceremony and everything else is secondary.  Obviously, this will be a discussion that you and your partner will want to get right.  Be in no doubt there will be lost of advice from your relatives and friends, all wishing to be helpful.  But remember their opinions are exactly that - opinions.  The wedding is about the two of you.  Many couples just commission a florist who specialises in weddings to manage the whole process.  I guess a lot will depend upon your own confidence with flowers and how much time you want to spend organising them.

No matter what you decide, if you are looking for a photographer who is going to capture the essence of your wedding in a way that you will remember, then contact me at Martin Neeves Photography or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591.

Wedding list or gift ideas

Thursday, 28th May 2015

Written by Martin Neeves

Wedding list or gift ideasWedding gift ideas can sometimes be a challenge, both for the couple and those buying the gifts, despite the increasing use of wedding gift lists.  The only problem with the gift list is that it nice to give a special gift that is more personal.  Or perhaps you are a bride and groom trying to think what to add to your wedding list.  Either way it can be difficult to choose well.  It is a truism that many wedding gifts get put in the cupboard and do not often, if ever, come out or get used.  Or worse still get recycled quietly on eBay.  There are several reasons for this.

Firstly, couples tend to fall into 3 groups:

  1. The highly organised who think practically and build the wedding list with their head and not their heart.  They tend to provide lists that reflect their actual needs.  They build good lists.
  2. Those who either get stuck with what to choose or where they take a random look through chain stores check lists without understanding how the gifts will fit their lifestyle.
  3. Lastly, there are the eternal romantics who choose things that are really cool or look great or “I’ve always wanted one of those.  They tend to choose things that are not going to get used or will not be practical. These tend to end up stashed under beds or in cupboards, as one of those nice to haves.

Next, wedding guests fall into 4 groups:

  1. Those who consult with the couple or use the wedding list wisely.  They will understand the need to buy something that is both practical and looks great.  They will tend to set aside time to make the choice and will buy wisely.
  2. Next come the last minute planners who look at the wedding gift list at the last minute and therefore have little, or worse still, no choice.  They may then make a panic buy that does little more than fill the wrapping paper in order to provide something to give on the happy day.
  3. Then comes the “grand gesture”, we must get a gift that reflects our status and sets us apart from the rest of the lesser guests.  Well that can work if the gift is chosen well.  But it can also end up tucked away because the couple cannot find a use for it.  But by all means buy them the luxury yacht or house; I am sure you will only get thanks and admiration for that splendid gift.
  4. Finally, there are those who know best what the bride and groom will need and chose the gift based upon their own likes and dislikes.  This is definitely more likely to be cupboard bound or re-floated on eBay at a suitable time after the wedding. 

I am not going to get into the trap of recommending actual gifts as that is very much something for personal taste and will vary from couple to couple, a guest to guest.  However, I would offer the following guidelines for both groups of people.

Choosing Gifts for Couples:

  • By all means use chain store gift list generators, but plan it carefully.  Do not get swayed by sentiment because you will need to generate storage space for things you do not want.
  • Consider if you are going to rent a house or buy it or live with your parents (or others).  If you are renting a house, then it is likely that you will be moving regularly and that the gifts need to be durable to withstand the moving process.  If you are buying your own house, then you are likely to stay there a bit longer and you will want to personalise it with your own style, but remember that you need to balance style with functionality.  Now if you are going to be living in someone else’s house, then you may have to buy things to store for later”.  Is the item on the gift list one that will not degrade, go out of fashion, become superseded by newer technology or be just plain destined permanently for the cupboard?  
  • It is worth thinking about a theme or style for your gift list.  It is worth giving guests guidance about your tastes; remember I might think that a bright fluorescent pink kettle if cool but you might think my taste is “different to yours”! Your idea of contemporary is likely to be different to others.

Choosing Gifts for Wedding Guests:

  • Try to work with the couple to choose your gift, even if they have a list.  It is worth asking about their tastes and the reason they have a particular item on the list.
  • Remember; do not make choices based upon your taste, think about the couple. This avoids embarrassment and stuff getting lost in cupboards.
  • Couples will have distinct ideas about style, what their lifestyle is likely to be etc.  You may think the deep fat fryer or bread making machine is the best thing going, but the chances are that they may have other ideas.

I hope this helps your select the wedding gift more effectively.  If you want a good gift idea, why not get the couple a wedding photography voucher or ask me to record your wedding day?  Many couples pay for their wedding photography themselves but add the cost of their wedding album to their gift list for their guests to contribute to.  If this sounds interesting then contact me at Martin Neeves Photography or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591.

What about having a wedding day emergency kit for the bride and bridesmaid?

Monday, 11th May 2015

Written by Martin Neeves

1286E_21hp-documentary_wedding_photographers_in_Birmingham_West_Midlands Over the many years that I have been photographing weddings, I have come to the view that it is a good idea for brides and bridesmaids to have access to an “emergency kit”.  Why, you may ask?  Well it is not uncommon for “accidents to happen” during the wedding day.

This is not just about hair being blown in the wind, or that ladder in the tights.  I guess that my instinct as a photographer is to have fall back equipment because I know “stuff happens”.  So I thought that I would flag up some of the things that would cover most eventualities, based on those little problems that have occurred.

Chances are you may not need the kit, but what a godsend it will be if “stuff happens”.  So here is my suggestion for the “Kit List” that can be carried by Mum, Dad, the best man etc:

  • Blister Plasters.  For that blister or scrape from new wedding shoes.  This is more likely to be needed for the reception when you start dancing.
  • Mini First Aid Kit.  Have some Band-Aid plasters, burn relief, liquid bandages, and antiseptic.  Also don’t forget some pain reliever, allergy medicine, antacid and breath mints.   Be prepared for headaches, allergies and indigestion.
  • Sunscreen. This can be especially important in the summer if you have a short sleeved or low cut dress.
  • White chalk.  If you have a white wedding dress and you get something untoward on it that will not be removed.  It is amazing what you can hide with white chalk, and most folk will not even notice. 
  • Tape.  This might be fashion tape, white duct tape or stick on hemming tape.  This will solve many wardrobe malfunctions.
  • D2451-25 Small Sewing kit with the right coloured cotton.  Again wardrobe accidents.
  • Safety Pins. Always a good fall-back for repairs, or tighten bras etc.
    • Super Glue.  This is great for fixing shoes, nails, jewellery, head pieces, and – well important stuff.
    • Personal undergarment kit.  Spare underwear, tights, feminine products and ladies personal liners.
    • Tissues.  Not only for the tears of joy, but for other spillages.
    • Spare Make-up.  It is always best to have some blusher, lipstick, nail polish.  You might just want to retouch, but you may have the need to redo bits that get smeared. Oh and don’t forget the nail file.
    • Cotton buds and makeup remover.  It is amazing what mistakes happen when you try to retouch the make-up.
    • Lint roller. Great for the pre-ceremony once over, and as the day moves on..
    • Extra earring backs.  If you are wearing pierced earrings then spares are always useful and they do not take up much space. 
    • Hair grips and elastics. Great for last minute hair repairs or if the wind is a bit more frisky than you planned for.
    • Hairspray and a comb/brush.  See last point.

When you have got it all prepared and the wedding is taking place, Martin Neeves will be happy to answer your questions about the professional way he can photograph your wedding.  If you want to find out more, then contact me at Martin Neeves Photography or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591. 

Weddings and the Seasons – When Is Best?

Monday, 27th April 2015

Written by Martin Neeves

I once heard a wedding supplier (who shall remain nameless) say that a wedding is a wedding is a wedding, never mind the time of year.  I do not agree with this sentiment as it is people who a wedding what it is.  Everyone is different and that's what makes every wedding different.  Having said that, the time of year, the venue and the weather play a big part too.

After all the inside of a drab church in early January, with rain or snow or fog outside may not be quite the same as that same church in mid-July when the sun is streaming through the stained glass windows. And you know, however good the heating blowers, a wedding in a marquee in January with the rain lashing down definitely does not compare with the same venue in June.

Each season has its own attraction and each present different things to think about.

It is not all about the weather, there are other elements that are seasonal, so let’s look at how weddings can be different throughout the seasons.


D2451-179 Traditionally, Spring is seen as the season of rebirth and renewal. The trees and flowers start to come back to life after the cold of winter.  In Spring the gardens are starting to bloom with daffodils and crocuses, however, the weather is less predictable.  It does rain more often and can be a little cool

Bridal Flowers

With flowers being imported from abroad and greenhouse cultivation choice can be quite wide.  However, Spring is the natural time for the ealry Spring Blooms.  

A variety of blooms can be found ranging from the African LilyAnemone, Anthurium, Carnation, Chrysanthemum, Freesia, Lily, Lily of the valley, daffodil, Nigella, Oncidium Orchid, Phalaenopsis orchid, Rose and Tulipto name but a few.


Whilst you might be able to manage open sided cars or carriages, it is risk thinking about fully open top transport.  If it is a bit blowy it is safer to be enclosed – a cold pimply bride will not feel her best.


A spring wedding lends itself to a nice variety of dresses.  Most wedding dresses made for a spring wedding have full and large skirts.  In the height of summer they will probably be too warm.  Now is the time for sleeveless or strapless dresses.


Spring is a grand time for food variety.  You can choose fresh young vegetables such as baby carrots, baby asparagus (or regular asparagus), new potatoes, sugar snap peas, and green beans. There are usually some strawberries, rhubarb, and apricots available, even if they have been imported.  The Spring Wedding Cake can be a tiered white cake, classically topped with flowers (faux, real or sugar)..


Slight discounts may well be available as it is not high season.  However, remember that Easter, Spring Bank Holiday and the conference season may push prices up a bit.  Probably not the time for an external wedding ceremony or celebration.


D2463-277 Summer is definitely the high season for weddings.  It benefits from being warm and the weather is the driest of all the seasons.  The options for venue, location are at the most varied. However, summer is the busiest wedding and most popular seasons for weddings.  The costs of venues, honeymoons etc are higher, it is reasonable to expect to have to pay premium rates because venues and services are in such high demand.


This is the time for flowers, they are I abundance.  The choice is wide and varied.  You are spoilt for colour and variety. 

 You can chose between varieties like Peonies, Dahlias Mimosa, Ranunculus, roses, sunflowers, red and yellow calla lilies, dahlias, Gerber daisies, cosmos, mums, zinnias, purple dendrobium orchids,  roses, stephanotis, white phlox, elegant white calla lilies, casa blanca lilies, hydrangea, snowball mums, and daisies.


The warmth and nice weather give many more options.  Very little is off-limits, so you can go for enclosed splendour, open top show or a mix of the two.


Summer is the season that allows a great deal of versatility, but most of the dresses on offer will be sleeveless and/or strapless.  It is the perfect season for light fabrics such as organdie, linen, chiffon, crepe, georgette, and other light weight silk.  You can also consider something less formal, especially if you are considering an outdoor wedding.



Okay summer is here and you have a wider choice of food.  You can have a choice of berries, fresh vegetables, as well as both hot and cold meals. Summer is also a good time to have fresh seafood, including lobster and oysters. 


The biggest advantage a summer wedding can offer is an outdoor wedding. The downside is that venues are much more in demand and the prices may be higher than at other times of the year.  On the up side, there will be more options of venues because you can consider an outside wedding.  No problem having a marquee in summer because it can protect you against summer showers and you can heat it adequately at this time of year.


1651K_20hcp-bride_and_groom_at_Quenby_Hall_Hungarton_Leicestershire Autumn is the season of rich and distinct colours that make for a memorable wedding.  But do remember that there is more possibility of cold weather and possible rain.


There is still a wide range of flowers and blooms available.  The green of Autumn allows for a more natural look.  Ferns can be mixed with roses, daisies, Freesias, Chrysanthemums, Dahlia, Carnation, Aster, Gypsophola, Hypericum, Lilac, Iris, Marigold, Sunflowers and Lily can be mixed with Autumnal foliage. 


Much like Spring time, open sided cars or carriages might be possible, but the weather is likely to be less predictable.  Does the bride really want to risk turning up damp and wind-blown? 


Autumn allows the wearing of cream and off-white dresses. It is also more likely that you will find dresses with gold beading and accents in autumn wedding dresses. But, do not forget that the weather in autumn can be less predictable.  This is where you might want to consider buying accessories like wraps etc as a barrier when entering the church or wedding venue.


Autumn is the start of the weather cooling off and depending upon the time of day, you can have a good choice of foods.  If you want to serve a hearty meal there are a range of seasonal vegetables and roasted meats available.  .


The weather will be cooling down, but you will have the natural and gorgeous autumnal colours.  A real benefit is that the prices start to coke down towards the end of Autumn.  You could even risk taking a chance and having a cooler outdoor wedding.

Autumn lends itself to weddings in castles, Inns, old churches, old mills and even barns.


D2132-64-rainy_wedding_day_at_Stoney_Stanton_Leicestershire Winter is the less popular, but does give opportunities to have a more memorable wedding. Some feel that Winter weddings are more romantic.  Certainly, you will need to ensure that your guests can stay warm.  Also, if you opt for a winter wedding, I would advise you to have the ceremony as early in the day as possible in order to maximise the available daylight, otherwise much of your wedding day will be in darkness.


Whilst it is true that there are fewer flowers available in Winter, it is by no mean a barren time.  Additionally many blooms are imported during this period so you can still have you colourful bouquets of flowers. There are some beautiful orchids available as well as the Phalaenopsis or Cymbidium orchids. Other options include Peonies, Tulips, Chrysanthemums, Narcissus, Iris, Call Lilly and Roses. 


Definitely the season for being enclosed, warm and dry.  It does allow you to consider the grandeur of the Rolls Royce, Bentley or traditional enclosed horse and carriage.


This is the season of the fuller wedding dress, possibly long sleeves.  You may also need to consider wraps, capes or some form fur or faux fur wrap.  


Winter is going to require warmer fare, even if you are serving a buffet.  Whilst a cold buffet may work, some of the options available in summer will not be possible.  


Winter weddings are generally considered to be in the off season.  This means most venues are likely to offer a discount so that they fill vacant dates. 


"Hey Martin, I cannot believe that you did not mention photography as a seasonable issue?" I hear you say.  Well no, although it is obvious that wedding photographers will be busier and possibly pricier in summer, time of year is not a problem.  We are so used to getting a great shot whatever the weather or season.  A professional wedding photographer will not be fazed by having to work in different light and weather.  It can be just as much a challenge to photograph in a dark chapel in the height of summer as it can be to get great shots in a splendid venue in the height of winter.  even bright sunlight brings its own challenges.  


All seasons have their attraction and uniqueness.  Cost can make summer less attractive, but my view is that there is no best time to get married – when the time is right for you that that is the best time to get married.

If you want to use a wedding photographer who is going to deliver great images for you whatever the season (and who will charge the same prices all year around), then contact me at Martin Neeves Photography or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591.

World of Weddings Show at The Hinckley Island Hotel

Tuesday, 21st April 2015

Hinkley Island Wdg Show - 26_04_15

I will be exhibiting my unique brand of unobtrusive reportage wedding photography at the World of Weddings Show at the Hinckley Island Hotel this Sunday (26th April) from 11am to 3pm.

It will be a big wedding show for Leicestershire and it looks like being busy as over 950 people have pre-registered for tickets already.  The on-the-door price for tickets is £4.00, but if you pre-register by CLICKING HERE, you can have FREE ENTRY!

The full address for the Hinckley Island Hotel is Watling Street, Hinckley LE10 3JA, but it is just off junction 1 of the M69 (just a few yards on the left on the South-bound section of the A5).  

I will have lots of sample wedding albums on display and I will be there to answer any questions you may have.  TOP TIP: If you want to have more time chatting to me and the other exhibitors, arrive in the afternoon as the mornings are usually the busiest part of any wedding show and arriving later will help you to avoid any queues.

If you are planning a wedding in Leicestershire, it would be great to see you on Sunday.  

Writing the Best Man’s Speech – Some Simple Guidelines

Thursday, 16th April 2015

Written by Martin Neeves

D2211-392-The_best_mans_speech_at_Kilworth_House_Hotel_North_Kilworth_near_Lutterworth_Leicestershire I have now heard so many best mans’ speeches, but it amazes me how some are really great, whilst others could do with a lot more thought.  There are a couple of standard advice books, with sample speeches, which I can now recite word for word.  On occasions I have laughed at the humour and at others the thought has crossed my mind “I cannot believe he just said that”.   

A good speech can be hilarious or it can be serious or it can just be plain sincere and it depends upon a number of factors.  Some people have a natural ability to stand up and deliver a speech, whilst for others it is stressful and not natural for them.  I suppose the worst ones are speeches from those who think they can deliver a witty oratory, but in truth they get it really wrong.  Do it well or appropriately and it adds to the happy day.  Do it wrong and it can disrupt a day, cause offence or just make it go flat.  

To help you make a great impact when you carry out your duty I thought that I would share some guidelines to help you.

1.   Plan, Plan, Plan

D2358-323 There are few people who can give a spontaneous speech and sound good.  Speaking totally “off-the-cuff” with no plan could mean you forget important parts of the speech.  It could mean you get a dose of “motor-mouth” and say something you would rather you had not.

So plan; work out what you want to say.  Who are the people you need to thank?  What is the function of a best man’s speech?  Remember it is not about you showboating, it is to play your part in the bride and groom’s celebration.

There are some great online resources to help you write the Best Man’s speech and I will not attempt to list them here – Just Google “Best Man’s Speeches”.  Do not copy them exactly, but use them as a guide to help you produce your speech.

2.   What should be in it?

Well let’s remember that the place of the best man is firstly to be the chief supporter for the Groom.  Secondly, you have a role in making the day go smoothly.  Here are a few of the things that I think need to be in the speech:

  • Firstly, there are a series of thanks need to be given by you to:
    • The groom for his speech
    • The father of the bride for his kind words
    • Everyone for attending. 
  • Next you should propose a toast to both sets of parents.
    • This will also include thanks to both parents on behalf of the bride and groom.
  • Next move on to the bride and groom and say something about them.  This might be:
    • How they met.
    • How they are made for each other.
    • It might have a little humour, especially if there are humorous tales to tell.  But remember the humour should be appropriate and it should not be totally embarrassing to them.  Stories of their past sex lives will be embarrassing to them and to the people listening.
    • Tell a story about the groom, this is likely to have some humour attached.
    • Then let people know about the groom, the person. What is the like, what have been the high points of his life?
    • Next a little about the bride, her personality and again the highlights of her life.
  • Your last task is to propose a toast to the happy couple, with your best wishes for their happy future.

3.   Use of Humour.

D2471-297 Whilst humour is seen as one of those things you have to do in a Best Man’s speech, you have to be careful.  Not everyone can tell jokes well.  A funny story can be fine, but a full blown comedian style joke might not work if you do not have the skill.  Also, think about the audience, if the wedding is a family one with children present then you should be very careful.  Swearing by comics may be funny, but it is usually done to specific audiences – generally at a wedding it is a definite no go! 

Risqué jokes can be funny, but while you may poke fun at the bride and groom, you should not say anything that is likely to cause severe embarrassment.  The bride might not know about “that really fun night out with a prostitute in Amsterdam” when you were younger and the groom might not want her to know now.  

By the way if you are expecting people to laugh at a “funny” then give them time to – pause.  If you continue they may miss it or stay silent out of courtesy. 

4.   Should I use Notes or Memorise it?

If you are used to public speaking and not using notes then fine.  But even those people who do public speaking for a living are likely to not want to trust everything to memory – it avoids an embarrassing silence.  What a lot of professional public speakers do is to rehearse the speech, but have a brief set of notes on index cards to act as a memory prompt.   But hey,  if you do decide to read it everyone will be happy with this. 

A couple of pointers:

  • Practice.  One rule that is often ignored, but it should not is REHEARSE it.I have attended a number of weddings where the Best Man has obviously just written a speech or done it off the cuff.  If you rehearse it you will give yourself confidence and you will know what is going to come next. 
  • Take it slowly.  The nervous speaker will generally go too fast.  He may not come up for air and just fire the speech out like a machine gun.  The chances are that the Best Man will babble, so take your time.

5.   Stand and Deliver

You will feel better if you stand up straight – it will help you look confident and will slow you up.  Also you will be looking down on the audience, which is great psychologically.  Remember to make eye contact so they get the feeling that you are talking to them – this works even when reading your “script”. 

If you get interruptions, then pause to let the audience laugh if it is funny.  For you they give you a bit of thinking time. If the comment is funny, it will add to your speech, if it is not then the audience will be with you.

6.   Dutch Courage or Drink and Relax

Do not do it.  Drink in moderation before speaking. Whilst it may help you “feel brave”, it will not help the quality of your speech.   A tummy full of Dutch courage may tempt you to be too brave and say something you later regret or just make getting the speech right harder.

7.   They are on your side

Whilst it may seem like the threat of Chinese water torture, remember they are all on your side and want to hear what you are going to say.  Some will be sat there thinking – glad it is him so they will want you to succeed.  They are going to be quite relaxed and know that you are part of the process of making the day happy and memorable.

One great piece of advice I was given is do not treat this like a performance.  Treat it like a conversation.  After all you are quite happy taking one-to-one conversations with the groom, the bride, and the rest of them.  The only difference is that you are having a conversation with all of them at once.

In Conclusion

Whilst I know that public speaking is not for everyone, if you are asked to be a Best Man and have to give a speech I think these guidelines will help you with the challenge.   Good luck and knock them dead.

If the bride and groom want to use a wedding photographer who is going to deliver some great images, then contact me at Martin Neeves Photography or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591.

Planning your wedding menu

Monday, 16th March 2015

Written by Martin Neeves

D2136-257-wedding_food_at_The_Warwickshire_Golf_and_Country_Club_Leek_Wooton_Warwickshire There are various options that you can have for your wedding menu.  Not only is there a wide variation in price, there is a wide variation in quantity and quality.  Much will also depend upon the number of people attending, the time of day and the style of reception you want to have.

My aim in this blog is to help your with some of factors that will help make the menu planning process smooth and the reception successful. 

Things to consider

I have tried to list the various considerations in some form of timeline order to help you through the planning process, and will cover:

  • Number attending
  • Budget
  • Time of year
  • Dietary Restrictions
  • Time of day

Number attending

D2356-279-Wedding_food_is_brought_to_the_table The number of guests affects the budget, the venue, and the type of menu you are going to have.  It is fair to say that the first issues to be decided should be number of guests and budget, because they may dictate the art of the possible in terms of menu type.  

Obviously, if you are looking to impress, but have a fixed budget then you will have to limit the number attending.  If you are under pressure to invite a wide range of family members and your friends, then it is likely that this may dictate a slightly less lavish menu (or even venue).  One factor that often swells numbers is guests’ partners and children if not properly accounted for during planning.  Unless you are quite clear on invitations that the invite is only for the “named” invitees, you could find a few hangers on appearing because “we assumed that you would not mind” or “we assumed it included Auntie Alice”.


Different types of menu and venue will bring varying costs.  When multiplied by the number of guests attending the cost can quickly ramp up.  

A good wedding caterer/wedding planner will help you understand those factors that affect the costs of your wedding menu.  It is easy to forget that catering for a wedding involves much more than just the cost of food. The planner will need to budget, on your behalf, for staff, linen, glassware, cutlery, drinks, decorations etc.  

Time of Year

You need to consider that at different times of the year different ingredients are more plentiful or have to be purchased at premium prices if they have to be imported.For instance, you can get strawberries all year round they are cheaper in the height of summer. Additionally, people want to eat less heavy dishes in the summer, but expect more filling meals in the winter.

Dietary Restrictions

These might be vegetarian, vegan, coeliac, non-dairy and religious.  It is not possible to say that there will be no dietary issues as it is becoming more of an issue these days. This means that you should cater for these different needs.  This can be done in a number of ways, but you need to have a plan on how this will be dealt with.  Will you just accommodate specific dietary requests for those guests who request them, or will the restrictions affect the entire guest list, if the dietary restrictions are of a religious nature?

Time of Day

The time of day not only gives some clues about the style of menu, but it also means that you have to manage expectations about what will be served.  An evening menu, say after 7.30 pm, will mean that many people will have a bite to eat before coming out.  They will obviously want a lighter snack-type food.  Whilst a late morning up until about 5 pm reception, may mean that they expect a fuller meal - unless you tell them otherwise.  Remember people will make assumptions or be confused unless you give them clear guidance.

Settle on a Style

So you have thought through all the planning constraints, what next?  Well you have a series of menu options that all have particular pros and cons.  You will have to think do you want a formal dinner that will be the focus of the night? How many courses will it involve and will it be a formal sit-down affair?  If you intend music and dancing to be the main event of the day or evening, then you will need to choose a less formal style of menu.  So what are the main options:

  • Sit down plated meal - waiter/waitress served meal
  • Family style Meal
  • Silver service
  • Buffet 
  • Finger Buffet/ Cocktail Style

Sit Down Plated Meal. This is the traditional and formal option where each guest is served a plated meal. This usually involves 3 courses: a starter, the main course and a dessert. Guests may have a choice of 2 or 3 starters, which would be selected beforehand.  

  • For: This is an easy option because each table gets its meals served at the same time.  It also allows the caterer to keep costs down because they can plan and budget more effectively.  It also allows you to manage the pace of the meal. 
  • Against:Staff costs are likely to be higher because it will require servers.  This option also usually means that the choice of meals is restricted. It can also be a problem for those who have distinct food likes and dislikes or who are finicky eaters.  

Family Style Meal. This is a variation on the sit down plated meal.  Servers bring the base meal (meat course) to the table.  There are then tureens of vegetables on the table for the guests to self-serve those items.  The empty plates are then removed at the end of a course. It can be further refined that the plates are empty and the whole of the meal is served from tureens. 

  • For: This allows guests to control their own portions and works well with children and old people.  It also allows those who eat a larger portion to be satisfied.  It is a more efficient way of managing a meal and means that people can eat at a similar time without the need to wait as tables go for a buffet etc. 
  • Against:It requires a larger table space to allow the tureens to be positioned on the table. It can require more food to have to be prepared to ensure that food does not run out.  

Buffet.  A buffet is a more relaxed method of menu that allows more choice in the food offered.  It can be cold or hot and uses food stations that are set up on long tables.  This might include cold meats and food. It may also include a carvery, with serval options and a full plated meal.  The guests start at one end by picking up plates.  They then move along the tables and serve themselves. There is an additional option to this, with servers positioned behind the serving area and placing food options onto the guests’ plates.  A well planned buffet will have more than one “queue” and more than one food station to allow a greater throughput of guests.  A more refined version may have a cook to order version. More expensive but vey personalised. 

  • For: It permits greater choice, and the ability to cater more easily for dietary restrictions. It uses less staff, allowing lower staffing costs.  It can also allow easier mingling, but it is imperative that there is one chair per guest to avoid the awkward situation of trying to eat standing up and having to juggle drinks, food and napkins. This is great for children, especially because they tend to be pickier than adults.  
  • Against: It can be chaoticif everyone charges up to eat all at once.  Also, it requires careful planning to ensure that those who eat later have the same choice of food as those who ate first.  Buffets usually need larger quantities of food because people tend to eat more when they self-serve. With a large number of guests, it will be important to manage the flow of tables who move to get served it chaos will reign.  Some people are funny about serving themselves and see this as “bad form”.  You will need greater space in the room to accommodate the food stations.

Finger Buffet/ Cocktail Style. This is also called Canapé, hors d’oeuvres, bite sized food.  The food can be a combination of hot or cold food – it often works well to have that combination.  This works well but does require very very careful planning.  It is also not as cheap as people think, because you need to keep moving round serving and each service is basically - ONE mouthful.  If you can imagine cutting up a plate of food into mouth sized portions and serving them one or 2 at a time, you can see that it requires quite a few circuits of the room for the servers to satisfy people.  It can be ideal for an evening reception when people may have had something to eat before they come out or between usual meal times.  Finger foods can be useful for both casual and formal receptions.  

  • For: It does allow a wider choice and for dietary restrictions to be managed more easily. It is great for mingling.  It is also helpful if you have many tables and chairs scattered round to allow sitting down during the rounds of servers. It also allows an effective way of serving food in a room that has little room for tables or serving stations.  It allows people to circulate and mingle easily. 
  • Against: It requires meticulous planning to get the timings of the food preparation and storage right.  You will need staff to server the “morsels”.  The other planning factor that is often forgotten is the number of canapés that need to be prepared to serve a realistic amount of food.   The rough formula is number of guests x 5 or 6 servings per hour.  So 100 guests x 5 or 6 servings equals 500 or 600 portions.  This usually surprises people.  It can confuse people attending the wedding fi they are not used to the concept – especially if they are expecting a full meal.

Once you have planned your reception, the food and all other aspects of the wedding, do not forget to remember to choose your photographer well in advance.  

If you want to use a wedding photographer who is going to charge realistic prices and deliver some great images for you, then contact me at Martin Neeves Photography or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591.

Ideas for wedding venues Leicestershire area

Monday, 9th March 2015

D2288-299-Prestwold_Hall_Prestwold_near_Loughborough_Leicestershire It is becoming quite the norm these days for people not to get married in churches or registry offices.  The venue can still be an important factor if a church or registry office is not on the agenda. Quite often, the venue still needs to have the formality and style, but wedding couples are looking for a degree of uniqueness.   I was looking at the venues that I have attended and the list is obviously quite long; here a few:

-    Ansty Hall, Ansty near Coventry

-    Ashorne Hill, near Leamington Spa

-    Belvoir Castle

-    Catthorpe Manor, near Lutterworth

-    Colwick Hall near Nottingham

-    Dodford Manor, Northamptonshire

-    Halstead House Farm, Tilton on the Hill

-    Mythe Barn, Sheepy Magna, near Atherstone, Warwickshire

-    Prestwold Hall, near Loughborough

-    The Park Inn, Nottingham

If you are looking for different ideas for wedding venues, I thought I would suggest a few ideas in the Leicestershire area.  It is surprising what a variety of venues there are.  These range from castles, hotels, country houses, sports venues and some unique venues.


1650F_2hp-Belvoir_Castle_LeicestershireAs I previously said I have photographed weddings at castles.  In the East Midlands there are quite a few alternatives and they can be quite different. These are some that I have been to to or know of that can host weddings:

-    Belvoir Castle

-    Nottingham Castle

-    Oakham Castle

-    Rockingham Castle

-    Tattershall Castle

Magnificent Country Homes and Manor Houses

D2376-124-Halstead-House-Farm-Leicestershire There are quite a few country homes and manor houses that provide wedding venues.  These range from extensively renovated buildings, to others which retain much of their old historic charm.

-    Ashton Lodge

-    Beaumanor Hall

-    Brooksby Hall

-    Catthorpe Manor

-    Chatsworth House

-    Donington le Heath Manor House

-    Haddon Hall

-    Halstead House

-    Hothorpe Hall 

-    Keythorpe Manor

-    Kilworth House

-    Ladywood Estate

-    Ladywood Estate, Knossington

-    Langley Priory, Diseworth

-    Prestwold Hall

-    Stanford Hall, Lutterworth

-    Staunton Harold Hall

-    Sutton Bonington Hall


D2211-440-Kilworth-House_Hotel There are hotel to suit most budgets who have civil licences and provide receptions.

-    Barnsdale Hall, Rutland

-    Barnsdale Lodge, Rutland

-    Belmont Hotel

-    Best Western Premier Yew Lodge Hotel

-    Best Western Three Swans, Market Harborough

-    Best Western, Ullesthorpe

-    Blaby Hotel

-    Castle Hotel, Kirby Muxloe

-    Charnwood Arms Hotel

-    Donington Manor Hotel

-    Fieldhead Hotel

-    Fort Henry, Rutland

-    Hambleton Hall, Rutland

-    Hilton Hotel, Leicester

-    Hinckley Island Hotel

-    Holiday Inn, Leicester

-    Imago at Burleigh Court Leicester

-    Leicester Marriott

-    Mercure, The Grand Hotel, Leicester

D2223-5-Stapleford Park -    Millers Hotel, Sheepy Magna

-    Normanton Park Hotel, Rutland

-    Queens Head 

-    Quorn Country Hotel

-    Quorn Grange Hotel

-    Ramada Hotel, Leicester

-    Royal Arms

-    Shearsby Bath

-    Sketchley Grange Hotel

-    Stage Coach, Wigston

-    Stapleford Park

-    The Angel Hotel, Market Harborough

-    The Belmont Hotel

-    The Falcon Hotel, Rutland

-    The Hermitage Park Hotel, Coalville

-    The Link Hotel, Loughborough

-    The Meeting Centre, Hinckley

-    The Noel, Whitwell, Rutland

-    The Rothley Court Hotel

-    The Royal Hotel, Ashby-de-la-Zouch

Sports Venues

If you are a sports fan and want to stay close to your sporting love for your happy day, then these venues are quite modern,

-    Greetham Valley Golf Club

-    Hinckley Golf Club

-    Leicester City Football Club

-    Leicester Race Course

-    Leicester Tigers

Miscellaneous and Historic Venues

D2451_079-Quorn_Grange_Hotel There are a surprising variety of licenced venues in and around the Leicestershire area that have a licence for a civil wedding ceremony.

-    Abbey Pumping Station, Leicester

-    Barnsdale Gardens, Rutland

-    Belgrave Hall, Leicester

-    City Rooms, Leicester

-    College Court Conference Centre, Leicester

-    Devonshire Place, Leicester

-    Dodford Manor – Barn

-    Guildhall Leicester

-    Halstead House Farm

-    Mansah, Leicester

-    Mythe Barn

-    National Space Centre, Leicester

-    New Walk Museum

-    Normanton Church Museum, Rutland

-    Symphony Rooms, Leicester

-    The Empire Hall, Leicester

-    The Jungle Club, Leicester

-    The Sir John Moore Foundation, Appleby Magna

-    Town Hall, Leicester

-    Twycross Zoo

-    Whetstone Gorse Barn

Having decided upon your wedding venue, be it for the ceremony and reception why not call Martin Neeves, one of Leicestershire’s most experienced wedding photographers to add some real sparkle to your wedding memories.  

If this sounds attractive, then contact me at Martin Neeves Photography or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591.

FREE TICKETS for Colwick Hall Wedding Show, Nottingham

Thursday, 26th February 2015

Colwick exhib advert 010315

I have some free tickets to give away for the Colwick Hall Wedding Spectacular this Sunday (1st March, 11am to 3pm).

Just follow these instructions – but be quick before they’re all gone!
Go to
Select the number of tickets you need
Go to Shopping Cart
Type in FBFOC and click APPLY COUPON
Complete the registration form and we'll email your tickets to you!

The address is Colwick Hall, Racecourse Road, Nottingham, NG2 4BH.  I will be exhibiting at the wedding show, so if you are planning a wedding in Nottingham, it would be great to see you there.

One of the First Same-sex Weddings in the UK - Andi & Jackie's Wedding in Colchester

Tuesday, 24th February 2015


Please CLICK HERE to view some photos I took of Andi and Jackie's wedding in Colchester - one of the first same-sex weddings in the UK.  

In May last year, I had the pleasure of photographing one of the first same-sex weddings in the UK.  The lovely couple Andi and Jackie orginally planned to have a civil partnership, but just before the planned date of their civil partnership, the law changed to allow gay marriage, so they changed their plans to have a wedding ceremony instead.

Andi and Jackie were married in the very grand council chamber of Colchester Town Hall in Essex.  As they are both originally from London, they had a strong London theme for their big day.  The guests were brought to the Town Hall by a big red London Routemaster bus (provided by Layer Marney Tower) which helped the guests get to know each other right at the start of the day.  Andi wore a beautiful wedding dress from Jeneveve of Colchester and Jackie wore a stylish handmade suit from Suits My Size (also of Colchester).  The stunning flowers were supplied by Sacha's.  Their guests were full of fun and there was a lot of laughter on the day.  

After the ceremony Andi and Jackie had access to the Mayor's Parlour and they made an appearnace on the balcony overlooking Colchester High Street before being whisked off to their reception at Colchester Football Ground in a white London Cab by driver David Blake.  Guests were able to post cards in a red post box from Wedding Panache before tucking into traditional London fayre such as pie and mash and liquor.  After the meal, Andi and Jackie's first dance to a DJ from Chase Stereo went with a bang, thanks to two suprise confetti cannons. The guests were then treated to live music from The Outlaws band.

 While I have photographed civil partnerships with gay men in the past, this was the first same-sex marriage with gay women I have photographed - and it was brilliant!  It was such a privilege to be invited to share Andi and Jackie's big day with them.  They certainly know how to party!



If you are planning a same-sex wedding at and you are looking for a wedding photographer, please CONTACT ME for more information about my wedding photography packages or give me a ring on either 01455 271 859 or on 07973 638 591.

Join me at The Leicester Wedding Show

Tuesday, 17th February 2015

Join us at LT

I will be exhibiting my reportage wedding photography at The Leicester Wedding Show this Sunday (22nd February) from 12noon to 4pm.  The wedding show will be held at Leicester Tigers Stadium, Aylestone Road, Leicester, LE2 7TR.  As usual, I will have lots of stunning wedding albums on show and I will be on hand to talk to you about your big day.

As well as being a BIG wedding show, it looks like being really busy too as over 1,300 people have registered for tickets already!  If you are getting married in Leicester or Leicestershire and you are in the process of planning your wedding, this really is the place to be on Sunday.

To get your FREE TICKETS before they're all gone...

Go to

Select the number of tickets you need
Go to Shopping Cart
Type in FBFOC and click APPLY COUPON
Complete the registration form and we'll email your tickets to you!

It will be £4 per person or £10 for groups of three or more, on the door.

My wedding photographer wants to shoot our wedding in RAW – will they be naked?

Tuesday, 17th February 2015

Written by Martin Neeves

D2288-033-The_bride_is_ready_in the_Silver_Room_at_Prestwold_Hall_near_Loughborough_in_Leicestershire So you are getting married and you are seeing a couple of photographers and they start talking about shooting in the RAW.  Well you can relax it does not mean they are a part of a nudist group and will take all your photos’ with no clothes on. The first thing it should do is put your mind at rest, because probably means is that they are less likely to be low-budget – low quality photographers.  So what is this RAW stuff about then?

What is RAW?

Using RAW format allows a photographer to produce the final prints at the highest quality possible.  You will possibly be familiar with JPEG format. It is the most common image format, but the downside is that it is a compressed file.  The information captured by the camera sensor is averaged and produces a pretty good quality image.  Now comes the BUT, because it is a compressed file it cannot be edited as fully as if all the digital information that the camera sensor saw had been captured.  This means that any imperfections or areas that need optimising will not be as good.  

Okay, enough of the jargon

Well I guess the best analogy is that shooting in RAW format is like using film in the old cameras.  You could develop it and play about during the development and printing phase to get the best photograph possible in the darkroom.  And JPEG is a bit like the old Polaroid™ shots – it was quite possible to get good shots with it, but you got what you took and could not manipulate the print, with the exception of varying the development time.

So you are saying that using RAW format you can do the equivalent of using a Darkroom?  The answer to this question is a very loud yes.  Instead of lots of chemicals and an enlarger, we now use computer software to optimise the images.  So when a photographer is talking about optimisation of your images, he or she is talking about the darkroom equivalent of getting the best from the imagery.   

It is also worth noting that a JPEG is created by the relatively small computer in a digital camera.  It does the processing automatically, usually by averaging the final solution.  This means it is not the best image possible from the information that the sensor has captured. Then when you get the image on a computer there is significantly less information for the computer to manage, so less options for improving the image.

Here you go again, jargon – so what is this optimisation stuff?

If we were to just print photographs straight from the camera from JPEG (or even RAW) you will only get what has been recorded on the camera sensor.  Now that might also record dark marks that are on the lens or sensor.  It does not matter how often you clean the sensor or lens dust will settle on them. These blemishes have been a problem for all digital cameras since they were invented.  The great thing about digital photography is that is not an issue.  By optimising the image, it is possible correct these problems.

So what can we do with this optimisation stuff?

Okay, jargon stuff first when we optimise we can do sensor-dust retouching, adjustment of levels, tone curves, colour balance, saturation, perspective adjustment, selective lightening/darkening as well as the addition of vignettes, conversion to black-and-white and colour/black-and-white combinations.

Thanks, plain English please!  If there is a slight under or over exposed image we can correct it.   Sometimes the recorded image is a little dull; then we can brighten it up.  You may get one area of the photograph that is duller than the rest of the mage area; with RAW we can balance it up.  We can remove blemishes from the image (and sometimes from the bride and groom).  

If you want black and white images, they are best obtained by converting them from the RAW image. I know that a lot of photographers cut corners by using batch processing all photos or use simple greyscale conversion.  This will not guarantee the production of the best quality photographs and will most likely result in very low-contrast black-and-white photos.  For that very reason when I convert photos to black-and-white, I optimise each one individually.  I want you to have the best image possible.  For examples of uncorrected and optimised versions of the same photos, please CLICK HERE.

So shouldn't I get the RAW images then if they are best?

There are several reasons for this.  Firstly, this is the equivalent of asking the chef in a restaurant to prepare the ingredients because you will cook them yourself.  If the food then tastes wrong, you could not blame the chef.  If he had cooked it as well then you are experiencing his expertise, the same with a photographer.    Think of an unedited image as a raw ingredient.  If the photographer uses his experience and expertise to produce the image then you are getting the best possible end-product.  Yes these are saved in JPEG, which means you can use them – bear in mind you cannot view RAW files without special software and you cannot add them to documents, websites etc.  So JPEG is best for viewing image, RAW is best for editing the image.

So do not fear if the photographer tells you they want to shoot your wedding photographs in the RAW.  You now can rest easy that they are not going to turn up in their birthday suit.  Nor do they want you to be in the buff. They are just going to produce the best photographs possible for you.

If you want to use my RAW powers to record your wedding day with reportage photography, then contact me at Martin Neeves Photography or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591.

Budgeting for a wedding

Friday, 30th January 2015

Written by Martin Neeves

weddingplan In bygone years a wedding used to be a simple affair that just involved a ceremony at the church and a simple celebration.  The dress would have been made by the bride or be her “Sunday Best”.  The groom would have put his best suit (best “bib and tucker”, whistle and flute” etc).  Now many weddings have become major social functions and the expectation of modern brides and grooms has grown immensely.  This can fill both the happy couple and the family with worry.  There can be great social pressures to have that “wedding to remember”, or we must not look shabby against our social peers.

The problem for many couples and their families is that they have not planned for the happy event.  The first thoughts that a wedding is imminent can often be the engagement.  Tradition has it in the UK that the Bride’s parents pay for the wedding, and often the Groom’s family will also help.  Increasing numbers of couples are footing the bill themselves, but often with no idea of the costs involved. 

After attending hundreds of weddings as the photographer, I am amazed at the costs involved, but am sure that many couples do not understand it- until the final bill comes.  Also, many go into the project with planning that equates to “on the back of a fag packet” and get surprised by the final costs.  It can end up being a bit like another student loan!

This article tries to give an idea of the highlight the potential costs and provides you with a complimentary spreadsheet to help you budget and plan for the happy day.

The possible costs

The BBC reported approximately 250,000 couples got married in 2014 and that the average wedding will cost £21,000.  But that hides the number of weddings that cost a lot less than this (and some that cost a heck of a lot more).  Now there may be savings to be made, or perhaps compromises.

The Dress. For instance it is possible to buy a good quality second hand dress for just £100 or sometimes less.  But you could pay £4,000 or more for a top designer dress; there are many options in between those 2 margins.

The Wedding Venue.  The cost of a venue varies dramatically as well. A big venue might cost up to £6,000.  Even a church now has a legal fee for marrying in a church, in 2015 that is £486 (Fees page of the Church of England website

Publication of banns - £28, Certificate of banns, if required - £13, Marriage service - £413, Marriage certificate, at registration, if required - £4.  This basic is the legal fee and will include the cost of the Vicar, the church, calling your banns, the marriage certificate, lighting and all administration.   You should note that there are likely to be optional extras, over and above this fee for items like a verger, heating the church, having an organist, bells, choir or flowers.

Reception venue: This may be included in the wedding venue costs, but can vary from £150 for a Village hall to £6,000.

Catering: This may be included in a venue cost, but may need to be added if you are using something like a church hall or marquee in the garden.  This can vary from £5 per head to one venue I have seen charging £149 per head.  The average seems to be around £50 per head.  There are a variety of options for managing the costs, like finger buffet etc.

Photography/Video: This is an area where people often have sharp intake of breath.  It is difficult to give a ball park figure but a photographer charging less then £1,400 for a basic photo set is likely to be new to the marketplace or one of the budget photographers or weekend warriors (those having a weekday job not related to photography) who are not true professional photographers.  They are often then ones you hear the horror tales about; so bank on at least £1,400 for all-day files-only coverage.  Albums would be extra.

My FREE gift to you – the wedding budget spreadsheet.

Please click here to download our complimentary Wedding Budget Spreadsheet to help you plan ahead.

If you want to use a wedding photographer who is going to charge realistic prices and deliver some great images for you, then contact me at Martin Neeves Photography or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591.

Ansty Hall Wedding Photography - Sarah & Raj's Wedding near Coventry

Monday, 26th January 2015


Please CLICK HERE to view some photos I took of Sarah and Raj's wedding at Macdonald Ansty Hall near Coventry.  

Macdonald Ansty Hall Hotel is a historic manor house hotel set in 8 acres of beautiful landscaped gardens in the Warwickshire village of Ansty near Coventry and being one of my most local wedding venues, I have photographed many weddings there.

The bride's hair and make-up were expertly done by Rachel Liney.  I have worked with Rachel at many weddings and not only is she very good at her job, she is lovely to work with too.

Sarah the bride looked stunning in her wedding dress from Dresses 2 Impress U of Leicester.  The bridesmaids all looked fab too.  Their dresses were from Dona Nicole, also in Leicester.

Ansty Hall's impressive interiors were decorated with beautiful flowers from The Flower studio in Blaby and the ever-popular chocolate fountain was supplied by Chocolate Foutains R Us.  

If you are planning a wedding at Macdonald Ansty Hall Hotel and you are looking for a wedding photographer, please CONTACT ME for more information about my wedding photography packages or give me a ring on either 01455 271 859 or on 07973 638 591.

Why do wedding photographers cost so much?

Thursday, 22nd January 2015

Why do wedding photographers cost so much

Written by Martin Neeves

One of the interesting debates I enjoy listening to is about the perceived high cost of wedding photography.  Ignoring the discussions about “getting a friend to do it” and “a hobbyist photographer doing your wedding photographs”, which I covered in this post.  Let us assume we are using a truly professional wedding photographer, who has all the correct equipment, experience and does a professional job.  In this case there is so much more to producing good wedding photographs than just turning up at a wedding, shooting loads of photos, going home and choosing the best of the bunch.

Another argument I have heard is that “you charge, say £1,500 for wedding photographs, blimey that is £190 per hour – money for old rope - great money if you can get it”.  But wait a minute, the average wedding takes around 40 hours of work to produce the shots and to complete all the admin – that reduces the hourly rate to £37.50 per hour.  Now even that sounds great, but on top of the hours work are all the overheads (highlighted below) so that hourly rate drops dramatically in real terms.  

It is well understood that couples are working to a budget and are trying to minimise costs, but it might help to understand what goes into the charges for wedding photography.  As an aside, I was once asked by a printer if I would do wedding photographs for his daughter at a huge discount and he would publicise my work on his website.  When I countered, I tell you what how about you do all my printing for nothing and I will publicise his great work on my website he grumpily declined my kind offer. In a manner of speaking it is allied to the same argument about the cost of wedding photography.  It is about understanding the value of the wedding photographer’s skills, and just as importantly understanding that the photographer has to charge a viable rate to ensure he can make a living.  Unless you are top-level London society photographer, you are not going to get mega-rich as a wedding photographer, but it is not unreasonable to expect to be able to afford to look after your family.

So what goes into the charges for wedding photography?

A wedding photographer needs professional equipment.  To be a professional wedding photographer you need professional equipment.  A Nikon D750 Digital Camera with 24-70mm f2.8 Lens costs in the region of £3,000 and this is not top of the range by a long chalk.  A Nikon D4S digital SLR camera body  will cost around £4,500 (and that's without a lens!).  This is a professional camera as it is designed to be used day in, day out.  You will also need at least one more camera body (3 bodies minimum) so that you can cope with any equipment failure and you will also need several other lenses (as well as back-up lenses).  A Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8 wide-angle zoom lens costs around £1,500, while a Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 telephoto zoom will set you back around £1,600.  Lenses such as the Nikon 85mm f/1.8 lens (£350) and the Nikon 35mm f/1.8 lens (£400) are really useful in low-light too.  Don't forget that you will need a couple of flashguns too - such as the Nikon SB-910 Speedlight, costing around £340 each.   You may also want a basic 2-flash lighting kit (costs about £2,000 ) and a professional Tripod – say at least £500.  At this stage I have only skimmed the surface and not talked about software, computers and a wedding photographer has outlaid at least £20,000.  This also needs replacing every few years or when it wears out.   I know you can buy cheaper DSLR cameras, but they are not built for every-day use, and the most important part of a cameras is the lens and to get the quality of optics is not something you buy in Curry’s or Argos at discount rates. The full amount of equipment will cost more still.

Office/Studio Rental.  The professional wedding photographer will need somewhere to house their equipment, and computers to process the images once the wedding is over.  This costs about £400 per month (about £4,800 per year).  Even if the photographer works from home, an equipment storage room and an office will have to be set-aside, so they will have to buy a larger house than they would otherwise have bought if they were not running their business from home - again, another cost to be considered.  

Marketing/Advertising.  The only way to attract new business is to have a website, advertising and other marketing (such as exhibiting at wedding fairs).  This can cost a minimum of £200 per month (£2,400 per year) and can be much more in reality.  As well as the cost of marketing and advertising, a significant amount of time must be set aside for writing blogs and other social media articles.  Also, several whole days per year (usually on Sundays) must be spent exhibiting at wedding fairs, plus time has to be spent after each fair following up each enquiry.

Transport.  The photographer has to keep a car on the road as well as pay for fuel to get to and from the wedding.

Insurance.  This will involve liability insurance, equipment insurance and professional indemnity insurance etc.  

Business professional costs.  The photographer will need a bookkeeper and an accountant for their accounts and tax returns, a solicitor to cover legal areas like agreements etc.

All the above are costs before a single photograph has been taken or processed.

Planning time.  This will include a meeting with the bride and groom before the wedding, telephone calls and replying to e-mails from the couple.  Backing up to original images, preparing the equipment, other preparations.

Photography on the day.  This will take between 6 to 10 hours (sometimes more), plus travelling time.

Processing the Photographs.  The photos need editing and optimising to ensure they are all produced at the highest standard for you.  An average shoot will require between 3 and 4 whole days to process.

Production of wedding albums.  This can take another 5 or 8 hours to design.  On top of that the photographer will have mount and purchase the album.  Now you can go to Boots and buy a do-it-yourself album for a fiver; but it will look like an album for a fiver.  If you are looking for quality that will last then you are going to pay more than a fiver.  Top end wedding albums are amazing, but you have to pay for such quality as they cost a lot of money for the photographer to buy from his or her supplier.

There are other costs and also unexpected ones to repair equipment etc.  Do not forget, if a photographer is truly good (not just average, capable or any other okay phrase), then they will be in great demand and their time will become more expensive.  It is also truer than ever with wedding photography that you get what you pay for.  One mega important factor is that many people go into the wedding photography business with some degree of skill, but do not consider the cost of running a business. This means they look cheaper because they effectively under-charge and cannot afford to stay in business.  The reason that I have been in the commercial wedding business for around 30 years is because I deliver and because I understand the economics of the wedding photography business.

If you want to use a wedding photographer who is going to charge realistic prices and deliver some great images for you, then contact me at Martin Neeves Photography or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591.

Warwickshire Wedding Fair at Ashorne Hill

Monday, 12th January 2015

I will be exhibiting my reportage wedding photography at Ashorne Hill wedding fair near Leamington Spa ans Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire this Sunday (18th January) between 11am and 3pm.  


 Ashorne Hill is a handsome wedding venue which is based on a beautiful grade II listed manor house (for the bridal suite, wedding ceremony room and drinks reception) and an adjoining ultra-modern building for the wedding breakfast, all surrounded by 35 acres of beautiful grounds.  I enjoy photographing weddings at Ashorne Hill as the old building makes a really grand background and the new building has lots of vast glass windows which gives fantastic light during the reception.  It's a real gem.

I will have lots of sample wedding albums on display (both modern storybook albums and traditional matted albums), along with a slideshow of lots of my photos.  If you are planning a wedding, it would be great to see you there.  Oh, and entrance is FREE!

If you are planning a wedding in Warwickshire but you can't make it to the wedding fair, please CONTACT ME for more information about my wedding photography packages or give me a ring on either 01455 271 859 or on 07973 638 591.

If a wedding photographer was a super hero which one would they be?

Monday, 5th January 2015


Written by Martin Neeves


Well I was having one of those bizarre conversations with “my helpful friend” again on Thursday.  His latest odd thoughts were centred on superheroes and wedding photographers (he had been at the cooking sherry again I think!).  I said that I thought wedding photographers were superheroes anyway and didn’t need anything more.  But he changed the conversation a bit by saying, “Okay if a wedding photographer was a super hero, which superhero would make the best wedding photographer or which super powers would they need”?

Now I do sometimes wonder if my friend is on the same planet as the rest of us, but I humoured him.  Now here are my thoughts on some of his ramblings that I thought would be fun to share with you:

Spider Man – Web spinning and wall climbing.  That would give the photographer the ability to get some great angles for shots.  It would add another dimension to the saying “fly on the wall” photography.

Superman – Flying.  That would help the poor old wedding photographer get ahead of each event without having to run around with a heavy load of cameras and equipment.  

Superman – X Ray Vision/Super vision.  I often think I need to be able to see through crowds and round corners to keep up with what is happening. So this could be very useful.

Incredible Hulk – Super Strength.  Obvious one that I would welcome with all the equipment I have to carry all day at weddings.

Captain Marvel – self sustenance – not needing to eat, drink or sleep.  Often a wedding shoot can be 7 to 10 hours long (sometimes longer).  This can make finding time to eat or drink hard to fit in, or when I can eat it is often at really odd times.  And being able to go without sleep I sometimes have to  process images quickly if I have a high workload at the time.  This super power would help me not feel so tired afterwards. 

Dream Girl – she has the power of clairvoyance.  There are certainly times when it would be nice to see into the future to foresee those wonderful moments that occur during a wedding.  Then instead of having to concentrate all day, just waiting for the magic moment to happen and being ready to shoot at an instant, I could rest in between shots knowing that I would miss nothing.  Also, clairvoyance would allow me to see those unpredictable occurrences before they happened.  Having said that, one couple my magic moment prediction skills with those of Nostradamus (see my testimonials), so I must be doing something right.

Doctor Strange – hypnosis.  Now here is one power that would be great to keep control of those who might have had a bit too much to drink.  Alternatively I would be able to get people into the set poses quicker. It might also be good to use when there is a nervous of shy bride or groom. But I guess I will have to just continue to make use of my skills to get on with people, it seems to have worked well for me so far.

Chameleon – shape shifting.  You know the ability to change shape or appearance so I blend in with the crowd is actually one power I think I might already have.  Blending into the background is an important skill with my reportage style of photography.  Many couples say that they hardly notice that I am there and are amazed at the shots I have captured.  They will have often been unaware of my presence for long periods of the wedding day.

Shadowcat – cloaking or being able to hide from optical sight.  This is a bit like the previous super power.  It would aid my reportage style photography so I could merge into the background and get even closer to the action.

Colossus – endurance.  Well as I said previously the wedding day can go on for many hours and definitely requires endurance, being on my feet all day and constantly looking for special moments to capture.  I think I have quite a bit of this super power already.

Aurora – Illumination.  That would save having to carry flash or lighting equipment. No problem with poorly lit venues if that was a power I had.  Mind you, guests are often amazed at how low light I can work in before reaching for my flash.

Galactus – levitation.  There are times when it would be nice to be able to move furniture and other items out of the way to get a good photograph.  It would save me having to use so much imagination or ingenuity to get the great shot and still not include the errant child or piece of furniture.  

Green Goblin II – super reflexes.  This would be great to be able to move quickly and take that never to be repeated shot before the moment is lost.  I manage quite well as it is, but I am sure there would be more if I had even better reflexes.

Dr  Manhattan – Time Control.  Wouldn’t it be great to see a photo opportunity, to freeze time, and then take the photo exactly as I want it – in my own time?  After getting that great shot, I could then let the world carry on as if nothing had happened.

Wedding photographer and super powers.  You know the more I read these super powers, the more I think I have some of them already.  I have to confess that there were some powers I am not sure that I would like.  After all telepathy could be a problem if I was just taking a photograph and I could read someone’s mind and they were thinking “I wouldn’t do it like that” – it would be distracting.  And what about magnetism?  Would it wipe information off my memory cards?  Would I look silly with the entire cutlery from the table being attracted to me?!! 

On second thoughts I think I will just rely upon my skills as they are, as they have served me well during my 28 year photographic career.  With all the practice and experience over the years, I have been able to hone my skills pretty well.

If you want to use my super powers to record your wedding day with reportage photography, then contact me at Martin Neeves Photography or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591.

A funny thing happened on the way to the Wedding

Monday, 8th December 2014

Written by Martin Neeves

photodune-838771-broken-camera-lens-xs I was having a chat with a guy who writes articles for various publications and we got round to discussing whether I had any funny stories about weddings I had attended. I said there were one or two, but there is a wealth of stories I has heard from others.  I realised he was fishing for ideas for an article so gave him some ideas and some tales I had heard.  I thought nothing of it for a while then my brain started churning up other “funnies” I had seen or heard over my long career as a photographer.  

Whether they are all true or not are not the issue from my perspective; because I realised they had actually defined the way I work.  Each time I heard a tale of woe related to the fear of failure it made me more determined to be systematic and to avoid mistakes by planning meticulously.

I have not used any names or anything that might identify the individual wedding, happy couple, photographer or any other one involved.  I am also not going to talk about the well-publicised incidents that can be found by googling “are these the worst wedding photographers of all time”. 

So here we go:

  1. Went to the wrong church.  This has, I believe, happened a few times.  But I am aware of one photographer who went to Saint Mary’s Church, as he was supposed to but found no wedding party and a locked church. After about 15 minutes the penny dropped, he was either at the wrong place or on the wrong day.  Luckily he had the presence of mind to call the florist who he knew and was cheerfully told it was Saint Mary’s but 2 villages away.  After a frantic drive he arrived not long before the bride feeling pretty hot and sweaty –he got away with it by the skin of his teeth. Yes I am fanatical about making sure from the couple which town, village, street etc the venue is located in. 
  2. Someone stole the bride and groom.  There was one photographer who had taken a few photos at the registry office and then went to the reception venue for the main photo session.  He found most of the wedding party there, but no-one knew where the bride and groom were.  Despite a lot of searching – still no bride and groom.  About 35 minutes later the bride and groom came strolling across the rather large grounds with one of their relatives (cameras strung round his neck).  He fancied himself as a bit of an amateur photographer and didn’t want to be cramped by the professional wedding photographer’s style so he had hijacked the couple.  He had taken them to a remote part of the grounds that he felt would do his photos justice.  The poor old wedding photographer was then left to play catch up, allegedly with some sideways comments of “let’s see if his photos match up to mine”. 
  3. The bride and groom had too much to drink.  Whilst it is not unusual for this to happen during or after the reception, they had taken a few “warmers into the bank” before the wedding.  Both had quite rosy faces as they arrived for the wedding and were not steady on their feet.  They managed, with some prompting, to get through the ceremony. However, when they came to the first photos outside the church the poor photographer was “in charge” of 2 very giggly and frisky people.  She managed to get sufficient photos after taking many images – but it is fair to say that all of them had over developed smiles on their faces.  The photos at the reception were duly taken, before the groom fell asleep.  But it left the couple with a set of less than inspiring photos of their wedding day.
  4. Photographer forgot to take lens cap off.   UTTER TOSH!  This is an urban myth.  It could never happen as the photographer would realise immediately if the lens cap was still on.  With an SLR (single lens reflex) camera the image viewed through the eyepiece would be completely black.  It could temporarily happen with a rangefinder camera but as soon as the photographer checked the first photo on the back of the camera, it would be obvious that the lens cap was still on so the mistake would never be left to continue for a whole wedding.  It may have occurred years ago when rangefinder film cameras were used, but there would be no excuse in this digital era.
  5. D2132-64-rainy_wedding_day_at_Stoney_Stanton_Leicestershire Down came the rain.  The bride and groom had hired an open top horse and carriage to get from the church to the reception about 10 miles away.  The heavens opened and they arrived absolutely drenched.  The weather with its usual sense of humour compounded the issue with the sun shining when they arrived at the reception venue.  Everyone else had travelled in cars and were dry as a bone.  I understand that the photographer started trying to take some photos outside but it was obvious that the couple were soaking wet. But it shows how some businesses can really display great customer service.  The couple changed quickly into their “going away clothes” and started the reception, meanwhile the hotel venue managed to get their sodden clothes dried in an hour (how I do not know) and returned to them for the speeches and the subsequent photo session before the daylight disappeared.  In my view, the adverse weather and the soaked couple would be all part of telling the story of the wedding and would make some great photos.
  6. What no memory card.  The poor photographer had arrived at a well-known castle in Oakham and taken what he thought were some great photos.  Bizarrely he had not checked them after one or two shots – the excuse was that the bride and groom were running late so he tried to help them make up the time.  It was only when the couple were about to drive off that the found the offending memory card tucked in his pocket.  Although he did redeem the situation a little with some great photographs at the reception, the sad truth is that he never got to take the photos at Oakham Castle.  All my cameras have dual card slots to safeguard against card failure.  I also set them to lock if no card is inserted so I know immediately if there is no card in any of my cameras.
  7. The film was loaded back-to-front.  This may sound far-fetched, but I know a photographer who was used to shooting only 35mm film (before the days of digital cameras) and he was asked to photograph a friend's wedding even though he didn't normally shoot weddings.  He borrowed a medium format camera for the wedding as it would be better quality than 35mm, but he was unfamiliar with it.  Consequently, he loaded every film back-to-front and exposed the backing paper instead of the film.  Needless to say that none of the photos came out.  I'm not sure if the photographer is still on speaking terms with his friend!
  8. The cardinal sin – not taking back up equipment.  I know of 3 instances where photographers have not taken spare cameras, batteries or memory cards.  The biggest problems were the photographers who did not have spare cameras or batteries.  NO PHOTOS!!.  The lady who only had one memory card did have her laptop, so she was able to recover the situation by downloading the photos onto the laptop as she went along.  I always take spare camera bodies, lenses, memory card, batteries, flash, tripods etc.  People sometime smile when they see all the equipment I have in my car, but I feel that I owe it to the couple to have minimal chance of failure.  It is their once in a lifetime day.

1d0ffdbe0e1f6717fe31c157ebda4163 There are more stories, but I do not want to make it appear that wedding photography is a business that suffers from constant faux pas.  These stories have been picked up over my long wedding photography career.  At this moment I am touching wood, stroking my rabbit’s foot, turning 3 times to the left and throwing salt over my shoulder – so far I have been able to avoid being the subject of such a story.   As I said, every time I have heard about something going wrong I have added to my system of fastidious planning and allowed that fear of failure to motivate me.

If you want to choose a wedding photographer who is going to plan to avoid these mistakes and produce some great images for you, then contact me at Martin Neeves Photography or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591.

Photography – one of the things that gets forgotten when planning a wedding

Tuesday, 25th November 2014

Written by Martin Neeves

D1894_273-wedding_reception in_Frankton_WarwickshireAs a wedding photographer I am aware that a great deal of thought goes into choosing a wedding venue.  However, one factor that I think is often forgotten in the venue choosing process is how practical it is for having wedding photographs taken.  I am not just talking about getting “fairy tale photos”. I often go to some venues and they are a photographer’s nightmare!  I will always endeavour to make the best of a venue, but I, along with many wedding photographers like to use natural light to avoid making your wedding look like the paparazzi have invaded with flash going off all over the place.  Also, available light looks far more natural than photos taken with flash.

Many wedding blogs cover the food, the style, the space, the geography, parking, power outlets for the DJ, colour, and the view, but few mention lighting or the photographic possibilities.  Talking to other photographers I realised that it is probably only something that is considered on the day or afterwards when the photos look gloomy.

Your wedding photos will stay with you and will be looked at for the rest of your lives - so you want them to look amazing. You will have a beautiful dress and a good photographer, but a stunning backdrop can complete the overall picture.  That said most photographers know that if they take good photographs that flatter you then the background is less important.  In fact, I would go so far as to say that you can have the best backdrop in the world but it can be ruined by poor photography.

A professional wedding photographer will be equipped with lighting for the “set-piece” photos.  But as I said, will you want flash and lighting sets glaring in yours and your guests’ eyes throughout the day?  Again, a professional photographer will have high quality lenses that are capable of capturing as much light as possible – you will see that they are bigger in diameter than an amateur lenses.  There are also some other tricks we can deploy, but I always think that photography should be one of the factors that should be considered during the decision making process for the venue.

So what sort of thing can be a problem?

Some historic venues that I have been to are very dark inside.  They have little natural lighting and utilise candles (or artificial candles).  While this may create a romantic atmosphere, such deliberately poor lighting will severely limit the options for your photographer.  I like to capture spontaneous images, often when people are in mid movement, so poor light restricts the manner in which I can record that spontaneity.  I can (and regularly do) work in extremely low light, but even I have a limit when I am forced to reach for my flash.

The most gorgeous rooms can look drab if they are badly lit.   However, dim lighting can make a very plain room look atmospheric, until the photographer takes a photograph with flash and exposes the tatty nature of the décor that was hidden in the dim light.  At one particular wedding venue I know, they keep the lighting so low that it is difficult to see expressions on the wedding guests' faces, making it difficult for me to know when to take photos at the "decisive moment".

On the subject of lighting, it is amazing how it can transform or destroy the mood and the space.  I always advise to visit the venue at the time of day you are getting married.  Is the sun going to blind all those sitting opposite the windows.  Photographing people who are squinting because they are being blinded by the sun does not make for a great photo.  Also, has the Hall got enough light, besides the problems for the photographer, who wants to spend 4 to 8 hours in a gloomy room?   

I have also photographed weddings where the venue itself is fine, but the options for the “set piece” photographs are severely limited.  The back-drop of a dual carriageway or some other unattractive view, the other side of what should be an ideal location makes for some cramping of the photo opportunities.

Some venues have the capacity to host multiple weddings or receptions at the same time.  I think it is a shame when two brides bump into each other at the venue, as each bride wants to be the centre of attention, but it is not uncommon for that to happen at such venues.  This can also lead to competition or queuing for the prime spots to get your “unique photographs.   Also, you may visit a venue during a special event when it has been really given a makeover.  Will all the decoration still be there when your wedding is going to take place?

When you visit a venue, think about the opportunities for photographic locations that are available. It is fine having some beautiful gardens, when you look at it is the spring or summer, but in the autumn or winter they are a mess.  Also, some parts of private house wedding venues may seem like great photo locations, but they are out of bounds because the owners keep some beautiful bits to themselves and don't allow public access.  On that subject, some priests, vicars and registrars will not allow photography during the wedding ceremony, so it is essential to check before making a booking.

Apart from the choice of wedding venue, much consideration should be given to the time of day for your wedding ceremony.  In the spring or summer you will have plenty of choice as you will benefit from long days with plenty of daylight until late into the day.  When the clocks are turned back for autumn and winter however, the daylight starts fading from 2pm onwards, so I would advise you to have your ceremony as early as possible to maximise the daylight and to give your photographer a fighting chance.

If you are dead-set that you want a particular venue that you think may challenge the photographic skills  photographer, then make sure you get a good professional wedding photographer who has a track record working a in a wide range of environments.  

If you would like to see more examples of my reportage wedding photography, please FOLLOW THIS LINK to view my full portfolio or CONTACT ME if you wish to discuss your wedding photography.  Alternatively, you could just give me a call on 07973 638 591 or on 01455 271849.

Here are some examples of how I am able to adapt to varying lighting conditions to produce great photogaphs of your wedding:


East Midlands Best Wedding Photographer Regional Finalist

Friday, 31st October 2014


I am delighted to announce that I have been declared an East Midlands regional finalist for the Best Wedding Photographer section of The 2015 Wedding Industry Awards.

Although I didn't enter the 2014 awards, I was a regional finalist in the 2013 Wedding Industry awards too, so it is great to be recognised as one of the best wedding photographers in the East Midlands again.

The competition is stiff as the Best Wedding Photographer category is one of the most hotly contested in the competition.  I would like to say a huge thank you to all the couples whose wedding I photographed this year who voted for me.  

If I win the regional section I will go through to the national finals for the Best Wedding Photographer section.  So, fingers crossed...

If you want to have your wedding day captured by an award-winning wedding photographer, then contact me at Martin Neeves Photography or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591.

Behind the scenes with Martin Neeves Wedding Photographer

Wednesday, 29th October 2014

Written by Martin Neeves

D2507-6-Leicestershire-wedding-photographer-Martin-Neeves Have you ever wondered what a wedding photographer gets up to behind the scenes before, during and after your wedding?  Your experience of the wedding photographer is probably limited to 2 or 3 face-to-face meetings with the photographer:

  • At a wedding fair
  • The booking meeting
  • At the wedding 

At the wedding you see the photographer looking like a swan (some may say more like an ugly duckling!) swimming serenely around your wedding – but how do they manage this without looking like they are swimming frantically below the surface.  Most wedding photographers have a well-tried process or system to ensure that they are well prepared and unlikely to be caught unawares on the important wedding day.  I certainly have mine, so I thought that I would tell you about it.

For me it begins at the meeting with you, where I make sure that I fully understand what you are expecting and how we are going to achieve this.  This is very important for me because, the original booking may be made between 6 months to 2 years ahead of the event (although I have just had some enquiries for 3 years ahead!).  Once this is agreed, then my process kicks in:

About a month before.  We will have a telephone conversation (which typically lasts around an hour) to discuss the itinerary for your big day, as I will need to know exactly what is happening at what time and where.  It is also a good time to discuss any special requests for posed group shots that you may have.  While the majority of photos I take at weddings are candid (as I specialise in reportage wedding photography), I am happy to take a small number of group shots.  Lastly, we can discuss any logistical issues such as car parking or any restrictions placed on me by the vicar or registrar.  

There is usually no need for a site visit before your wedding for venues that I have not been to before, as the majority of my shots will be reportage, so I will be following the action rather than having you and your guests following me for a day-long photo shoot.  I can easily find a suitable spot on the day for the small number of posed photos that you may request.

The day before.  I prepare my equipment very carefully as I don't want it to let me down.  This will include making sure that all my batteries are fully charged.  As I use DSLR cameras, I need to ensure that I have more than enough memory cards.  I always make sure that I have more spare cameras, lenses, memory cards and batteries – I work on the principle that something could fail and I do not want to be embarrassed.  For me the day before is like an inventory check – what do I need – have I got it – does it work?

I also check all the cameras and equipment to ensure they are working correctly.  I will check the sensors and lenses for dust spots and then I synchronise the clocks on all my cameras to ensure that all the photos end up in the correct order when I download them.

I also make sure that my car is filled up with fuel, the last thing you or I want to do is run out of fuel on the way to the wedding.  Finally, I make sure my shoes are clean and a shirt is ironed as (unlike many wedding photographers these days), I always wear a suit to weddings as i believe it is polite to look smart - plus it enables me to blend in with the guests more, which helps when taking candid photos of them.

On the day.  I arrive at the venue where the bride is getting ready at least 40 minutes before the time I am booked to arrive.   This allows for any traffic delays and it also gives me a chance to eat some sandwiches in my car before I start work as the bridal preparations often take place over lunchtime and if I don't eat then, it is likely to be  a long time before I can eat again.  If the bride is getting ready at the wedding venue, I usually take some general views of the the building and grounds before going to find the bride as it helps to set the scene for the day.

For me the day is broken down into several elements or phases:

  • Any photographs of the bride and groom preparing for the day.  This can make my life interesting as they are likely to be in 2 different locations, and possibly not near the wedding venue.  I normally spend around 45 minutes taking photos of the bride getting ready.  I obviously slip out of the room for 5 minutes when she needs some privacy to get into her dress before being called back in to take some shots of the dress being buttoned or laced up.  If the groom is getting ready at the same venue I can take a few shots of him then too, but there is usually a lot less to photograph of the his preparations than of the bride and her bridesmaids!  Often I just catch up with the groom at the wedding venue 30 minutes before the start of the ceremony to get some shots of the groom and his groomsmen as well as of the guests arriving.  It also give me a chance to introduce myself to the vicar, priest or registrar.
  • The ceremony.  This may be a church, a registry office, in someone’s garden or a venue where everything is going to happen.  This may be indoors, outdoors, or a combination of both.  I am normally allowed to take photographs very discretely from the front (without flash) throughout the ceremony, however some vicars and registrars place some pretty heavy restrictions on photography during the wedding ceremony (ranging from only being allowed to take photos at certain parts of the ceremony such as during the hymns, to not being allowed to take any photos at all), so it's always best to check well in advance to avoid disappointment on the day.
  • The Reception.  This typically starts with a drinks reception and it is a good time for you to chat with your guests.  It is also the time when I would take any posed shots you request, but I always advise to keep these to a minimum to stop your guests getting bored and to allow you more time to enjoy the company of your guests.  Then it's time for some food.  This may be called a wedding breakfast, lunch, supper, feast or party.  But this is likely to have a meal, dancing and partying.  These events are all different, but they are all great photo opportunities, but they require me to be on the ball to capture that one-off happening that may only last for a few seconds.  My years of working as a press photographer have equipped me with the fast reactions necessary to all those special but oh-so-fleeting moments.  I usually eat my meal at the same time as the guests eat theirs as there is no point in my taking photos of them with mouthfulls of food, however I carry on working between courses as there are some great photos to be taken then.
  • The speeches.   These are often at the end of the meal, although some couples have them at the start of the meal or even between each course, although this can can cause timing issues for the caterers.  The speeches can make for some great photos - especially the groom's reactions during his best man's speech!  The speeches are often followed by the cutting of the cake.
  • The First Dance.  I often set up extra lighting to get some really atmospheric shots of the first dance.  My coverage usually ends after the first dance, although some couples ask me to stay a little longer, which is not a problem.  I am happy to stay as long as required.

f6d803bae00421bf07d3817eb527a036 After the event.  On the day I always try to get back to my base to secure the cameras and memory cards.  Ideally, I like to upload the contents of the memory cards to my computer so I have effectively got an immediate back up.  In reality I take several back-up copies on external hard drives as an insurance policy. 

As it will have been a very long working day, I will then go to bed.  

After the event I then start processing the images.  Firstly, I edit the photos to choose the very best shots of each different subject.  I take all images in Raw format.  Raw format is unprocessed and captures the maximum amount of image data from the camera sensors.  Unlike JPEG which compresses data and loses some.  I want to have all the data so I can give you the best final image.   This is called optimising the images, so I can give you the best images possible.  This post-production work takes around 3 whole days (often more) to complete in order to produce photographs of professional standard.  CLICK HERE to see the difference that optimisation will make to your wedding photos.  Before completing the optimisation of all the photos, I usually optimise a small selection of photos to put up on Facebook to give the couple a sneak peek of their wedding photos.  The resulting photos then have to be archived, uploaded to my password-protected web-gallery, written to either DVD or a USB stick and a slideshow has to be made.

The Wedding Album.  If you have ordered an album, you will then choose which photos you would like in your album and send me the list of reference numbers.  It takes me around a day to design your wedding album before sending you a PDF preview for your approval, after which the order can be placed with the album manufacturer.

In conclusion.  I hope this gives you some idea of the amount of work that goes into recording your special day.  I believe that all the planning is what you deserve.  I have heard so many tales of woe where photographers failed to provide adequate photographs or turned up at the wrong venue.  I like to minimise the risk of something going wrong.

If you want to have your day recorded in an empathetic and artistic way with reportage photography, then contact me at Martin Neeves Photography or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591.

Reportage Wedding Photography “Like What I Do” – What’s That You Ask?

Wednesday, 22nd October 2014

Written by Martin Neeves

D2334-174 Some couples have either with a strong idea that they want the conventional, posed wedding package, while others will saythat they just want “natural” photographs that tell a story and record the day.  I mainly get enquiries for the latter as I specialise in natural, unposed wedding photography.

The main issue with the conventional “posed” wedding photography is that the flow of the day is broken up with a number of “scripted and posed” photo sessions.  They cannot be described as photo opportunities, but the world comes to a halt while the photographer gets his wedding party mannequins grouped together and posed like artists dummies.  While this is going on, the guests stand there trying to look excited and getting in the way as they take their photographs.

The alternative is what I call “reportage wedding photography" – sometimes known as “wedding photojournalism” or “documentary wedding photography”.  The message is very much in the name(s).  This is much less intrusive; it may still involve a few of the conventional wedding shots, but the photographer will merge into the background taking shots as they happen during the memorable day. 

D2356-279 Instead of posing the bride and groom at the milestone times like cutting the cake; the photographer will be ready to get in a good position to get that unique shot.  For me, it is easy – my photo journalistic background allows me to spot photo opportunities and get great shots on cue.

A reportage photographer will capture those little memorable events that occur during the wedding.  BUT, and it is a BIG but, they will do it in a candid and unobtrusive fashion.

D2469-14Unlike the traditional wedding photographer who will tend to want to control the pace that he or she takes the photographs and the wedding will revolve around them.

 A reportage wedding photographer is going to understand that you will still want a few group photos.  This may be a brief series of photos of just the two of you, if you'd like that or perhaps “the family”.  But the important factor is that the formal photographs will be a subtle, but small part of the day.

But importantly, the photographer will remain unobtrusive and sensitive to the fact that it is your wedding day, and will make every effort not to interfere with your enjoyment of your day.  I feel very strongly that your wedding day should revolve around YOU, not me!

So I expect you are thinking that this “reportage photographer” is going to just point that expensive camera, take hundreds of random photos and click and see what comes out at the end.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The reportage photographer has to plan ahead, assess the lighting in the environment around them as the day unfolds and plan their shots.  They then have to be ready when the “perfect moment” occurs and get that perfect shot.  No, probably not a long lens and hide in the bushes, we are not paparazzi.  In order to truly “tell the story” the reportage photographer has to be right in amongst everything that’s going on, listening but being unobtrusive – it takes skill.  That artistic photograph that catches the atmosphere and moment often happens in an instance and the moment is gone.  You cannot then recreate it (or re-pose it).

Done well, reportage wedding photography will result in a great and unique album that will tell the story of the day.  It will provide a very memorable record that everyone will be able to relate to because it will be “your wedding” and not just like someone else’s. It may also mean a wider choice of photographs. So not about snapshots; the photographer still has to be aware of picture composition.

If you want to have your day recorded in an empathetic and artistic way with reportage photography, then contact me at Martin Neeves Photography or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591.

The Park Inn Wedding Show, Nottingham

Tuesday, 21st October 2014

exhibiting at Park Inn

This will be my fourth weekend in a row of exhibiting at wedding fairs as I will be The Park Inn Wedding Show, Mansfield Road, Nottingham, this Sunday (26th October) from 11am to 4pm.

If their last wedding show is anything to go by, it will be a very busy show.  As usual, I will be showing lots of reportage wedding photos in a rolling slideshow and in my fabulous demonstration wedding albums.

To book your FREE TICKETS, just call 0843 4444 554 and mention my name.  If you are getting married in Nottinghamshire, why not come along?  Go on, you know you want to!  ;-)

Prestwold Hall Wedding fair

Tuesday, 14th October 2014

I will be exhibiting at Prestwold Hall wedding fair (near Loughborough) this Sunday (19th October) from 12noon until 4pm.  I photograph many weddings at Prestwold Hall and it is one of my favourite wedding venues in Leicestershire.  The building and gardens are stunning, the food is always first class and most importantly, all the staff are lovely.  They really know how to look after their guests.


As usual, I will be displaying lots of wedding albums (both modern storybook albums and traditional matted albums) as well as a rolling slideshow of reportage photographs.  Oh, and I'll be there, so if you are planning a wedding, it would be great to have a chat about your big day.  You won't be disappointed!

Here's the address:  Prestwold Hall, Prestwold, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE12 5SQ.

Catthorpe Manor Wedding Fair

Wednesday, 8th October 2014


I will be exhibiting my wedding photography at Catthorpe Manor (near Lutterworth and Rugby) this Sunday (12th October) from 11am to 3pm at their wedding fair.

As usual, I will have lots of sample wedding albums on display as well as a rolling slideshow and I will be there to answer any questions too.  Entry is FREE and there will be lots of other excellent wedding vendors there too.

Catthorpe Manor is on Lilbourne Lane, Catthorpe, near Lutterworth, LE17 6DF.  If you are planning a wedding in Leicestershire, Warwickshire or Northamptonshire it would be great to see you there as this wedding venue is close to the border of all three counties.

If you can't make it to the wedding fair, but you would still like to discuss your wedding photography, please give me a call on either 01455 271849 or on 07973 638591 or you can contact me via my website.

Different ways of using your wedding photographs - from the Wedding Photographer Leicestershire

Monday, 6th October 2014

Written by Martin Neeves

martinblog I was listening to a conversation at a recent wedding and 3 of the ladies were discussing the different ways that the wedding photographs had been used by them and their friends.  One announced with a wicked smile on her face that she used it as a target on the dart board because she was divorced, but I thought that was a bit extreme.  Aside from target practice and the traditional methods of albums, frames and DVDs, none had anything more innovative to offer.  

As I was driving home from the photographing the wedding, my mind wondered around various ideas.  Here are some of the things that crossed my mind.

Wedding Photograph Album. Straight away I knew that there are many options for albums.  There are a wide range of albums available these days, ranging from budget to expensive.  I covered this is a previous blog about Wedding Album Choice, so won’t labour that point further. Suffice to say I offer some great albums.

Wedding Scrapbook.  This is a combination of an album and other memorabilia put into a scrap book format.  This can have orders of service, menus, garters, place name settings etc.  It can be a bit bulky and should be planned before the wedding so that correct items and photographs are collected on the day.

Wall Photographs.  Most wedding photographers can provide high resolution, large and small format photographs in a variety of frames to be hung on your wall. These can not only provide a decorative effect for your chosen room, but also act as a permanent reminder of your memorable day.  As one of my previous clients said, it allows me to remind him every day how lucky he is.

Print Canvasses.  These come in much the same format as the wall photographs, but are provided as high quality prints on canvas and look like a cross between a painting and a photograph.  They are usually printed on a polycotton canvas and mounted on a wooden mount stretcher.  A good canvas print will provide a real focal point for visitors to your house.

Framed Wedding Photographs.  These can be set on your mantelshelf, dressing table, side board or even on a wall.  You need to think carefully about the type of frame you are going to use.  These range from the conventional styles to some quite wacky formats.  They also come in a variety of sizes.

Multimedia Albums.  It is fairly routine these days for wedding photographers to provide their photographs in DVD format.  These can be then be displayed on TV, laptop, tablet etc.  If you are thinking of this, you need to discuss the fine detail before the wedding.  Some photographers will provide a set number of images on a DVD or USB stick and others will set it up as a real multimedia experience that is almost like a video.

I have seen many people who use these digital images as screens savers on PCs, Laptops, Tablets and Smartphone.  They can also be used on Digital Photo screens, acting like a slide show form of the Framed Wedding Photograph.   

Wedding Photographers Website. Some wedding photographers offer the service of not only viewing your wedding photos on their website (or third party websites) but also have a permanent page on the site.  There can sometimes be issues of about ownership of the photos and it is harder to get high quality images off these sites. But they do provide a great place for your family and friends to view the album before buying their copies.

Photo Montage.  Done well, a photo montage of your favourite shots can be a very effective piece of wall art.  My only reservation is that quite a few of the so-called photo-montages have just looked like a series of photos stuck on the wall – almost a bit DIY.  A good photo montage can look like one continuous image.

Pinterest.  Pinterest is a social media image website that is growing in popularity. Brides and grooms are more frequently displaying their favourite wedding photographs on this site.  But there is a factor many forget, they need to check the copyright issues about public display that their wedding photographer has in his/her terms and conditions. 

Novelty Wedding Photographs.  I have seen the following advertised in some websites:

>   Table mats.

>   Mugs.

>   Lap trays.

>   Wallpaper – a bit too cheesy and egocentric to my mind.

>   Facebook

>   Christmas card if near to the event.

>   Inside cupboard doors

>   Thank you cards

As you see there are quite a few different ways of displaying your wedding photographs.  All of which are better than using form target practice on a dart board.

If you want to find out how Martin Neeves Photography can help you if you are looking for ideas about  different ways of displaying your wedding photographs then contact me or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591.

Colwick Hall Wedding Spectacular

Thursday, 2nd October 2014

Colwick Flyer for FB

I will be exhibiting my reportage wedding photography at Colwick Hall Wedding Spectacular this Sunday (5th October) from 11am to 4pm.  Colwick Hall is a stunning country house hotel set in the beautiful Nottinghamshire countryside and they will be hosting this huge wedding fair, which is so big that they have called it a "Wedding Spectacular"!  If you are planning a wedding in Nottinghamshire, this is an event not to miss.  The full address is Colwick Hall, Racecourse Road, Nottingham, NG2 4BH.

You can Pre-Register FREE OF CHARGE by going to and once you've selected the number of tickets you want (ADULT MORNING or ADULT AFTERNOON only) just apply Coupon Code NOTTSFREE to reduce the price to zero. Then just go through the checkout to give us the email address to send your tickets to.

I hope to see you there!

Wedding Themes - Thoughts From The Hinckley Wedding Photographer

Tuesday, 16th September 2014

Written by Martin Neeves

D2463_157 We have all become used to the conventional wedding, where you turn up at the church or registry office, the bride wears white and we all sit down etc etc etc.  While most weddings are still conventional, there has been a growing trend over the past 20 years for “themed” weddings.  Some are quite tasteful but some verge on the bizarre.  The themed wedding ranges from decorative theming or wedding stationery, to the whole dressing up and role playing approach.

I was chatting to a friend and we got on to this subject and we came up with a very varied array of themes.  This led me to wonder just how many we could come up with.  Here are a few that came out of our discussion, perhaps you might want to think of a few more:

Colours.  This is a simple one; the whole wedding is themed around a colour.  It is really just a play on the conventional wedding but moves away from cream or white – not too adventurous.

Era.  This takes the form of a wedding inspired by a period in recent history.  I have actually photographed one that took its theme as the 1920s flappers.  All the guests joined in the fun.  A similar theme would be the Great Gatsby.  This also maintains the standard format we are used to for the wedding day, but gives a sense of style.  Done properly this can add a very high class style to the marriage day.

Pagan or non-mainstream religious wedding.  Some time ago I photographed a pagan wedding. I could “get that” because they were using the ceremony as part of their spiritual beliefs.  I guess you could argue quite strongly that this is not a themed wedding but just their style of wedding, but for me it was obviously something I had not been familiar with previously.

D2463_083 Period/ Historic Dress.  The next move in style uses more historic scheming, such as Tudor, medieval with all the period costumes.  Again this can be quite theatrical, but it can also stray into the more eccentric wedding style.

Cultural.  This is not the obvious situation where an Asian family wear their cultural dress.  No here the wedding take on a theme that is not of their culture.  This is where the theme takes on a more of a fancy dress, almost role-playing approach to styling.  

Beach Wedding.  This is again a US/Australian theme, but I do know that it has happened quite a few times in areas like Newquay in Cornwall.  Often this has been where either the bride or groom or both have been surfers. These weddings can be totally beach themed all the way through and the wedding celebration and reception all take part on the beach.  It would seem that this would only be appropriate for a mid-summer wedding as it could get quite chilly in the evening (or freezing in winter).  

Movie/ Game themes.  There have been a few wedding based on movie themes like Star Wars, Harry Potter, Shrek, Super Mario, Alice in Wonderland, and other Disney characters.  This is a cross between fancy dress, fantasy and fan worship.  If the theme is just a case of using themed decoration then it is just a conventional wedding.  But when the whole wedding party and guests adopt the theme it is definitely something else.  This is seen as being a “pop-culture” wedding theme.

Steampunk.  Now you might not be aware of what Steampunk is - it is a sub-genre of science fiction.  It features steam-powered machinery, usually inspired by 19th century industrialized Western civilisation.  It is inspired by Jules Verne and H.G. Wells and sundry modern authors.   It is a cross between fancy dress, Era theming.

Super heroes.  This takes the form of perhaps a particular super hero, say super man and super woman.  It can just be general super hero themed where the bride dresses up as Wonder Woman) and the groom Batman. Here are some of those themes

Zombies - The Walking Dead.  I have seen a few magazine articles showing this style of wedding.  It always seems a bit odd to me because a wedding is supposed to be a celebration and the zombie “culture” is about death.

Halloween theme.  I guess this might work if you got married on Halloween, but I am not sure how it works in May or June.  It seems to be mainly something that emanates from the US, I have not come across it in my 27 years of being a professional photographer.

Adventure/Hobby weddings.  There have been more and more weddings where the bride and groom have been keen on an adventure sport.  I have seen (but not attended or photographed) weddings that use sky diving, scuba diving, bungee jumping, climbing, abseiling and many others. This might make it more difficult for the wedding party to take part and photography might be challenging. 

In summary, I expect some of you will think I have made up some of these themes, but take a look at this site as an example – The Weirdest, Wackiest Wedding Themes Ever and you will see I am being quite conservative.

I must admit I have more experience in more conventional weddings, but would be more than happy to bring my skills to these unique events.

If you want to find out how Martin Neeves Photography can make your day memorable with a great album to look back on then contact me or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591.

Your Wedding Photographer Is Your Worst Enemy. 10 Ways to Defeat them.

Thursday, 4th September 2014

Written by Martin Neeves


If you are not careful your wedding photographer can become your worst enemy.  You have one shot at your wedding; you do not have the option of a reshoot.  It is not unusual to hear horror stories about the wedding photographer from Hell.  Google the term “bad wedding photographers” and you will see what I mean.  Stories about “the wedding photographer from hell” abound online and this can be for a number of reasons.  So the wedding photographer is going to be your worst enemy unless you plan the photography for your wedding fully and with the right photographer for you. 

1.   They will be bossy and steal the show.  Make sure you talk to them before the wedding and agree what will be photographed.  Let the photographer know the order of the wedding, when you want any posed photographs and where.  When you first meet them before the wedding, if they are very opinionated, drop them like a shot.  There are lots of bossy and shouty photographers, but that doesn't mean you have to book one for your wedding.

2.   They keep asking you what photographs you want AT the wedding.  Make sure you have met them before signing them up and check a few basic things.  How many weddings have they done before?  Can you speak to previous couples? Make sure you have discussed any posed photographs you want and those that they suggest.  A good wedding photographer will not be fussing around on the day “wondering” what he or she will shoot - especially if yours is not the first wedding they have ever done.  Make sure you get an experienced professional.

3.   The person who sold you the package is not the actual photographer on the day.  You arrive at the wedding and the person you met (and whose portfolio you were shown and loved) is not the person doing the job.  They have sent a substitute, the junior, the apprentice, a part timer or an amateur photographer.  Again, this is something that you need to be clear about when you agree the contract.  I would be worried if the person who does the “selling bit” tells you that they will not be the photographer on the day.  Otherwise, your brief will be relayed to a second person who was not part of the original planning meeting – they are then going to have to interpret a discussion they were not party to.  

4.   They want to do it their way.  They tell you what is going to happen and want to take wacky photos.  They ask the guests to perform all sorts of bizarre poses – granny might not thank you for being asked to make a fool of herself.  This comes down to making sure that you fully understand the photographic style that the photographer specialises in.  Styles can vary, but there are three main types typesReportage wedding photography (also known as documentary wedding photography, which is a very natural, un-posed and candid record of the day), traditional wedding photography (all formal posed shots) andcontemporary wedding photography (mainly posed, but more of a fashion shoot in style).  If you are “madder than a box of frogs” then fine you will find an off-the-wall photographer great fun.  But if you are expecting traditional wedding photography then make sure the photographer is not “madder than a box of frogs”.  Also, if you want reportage wedding photography, don't restrict your photographer by giving him or her a long list of posed photos as you will not be making the most of their skills.  Most will be happy to take a few posed shots for you, but you will get the best out of them by just letting them "do their thing".  If you really want lots of formal posed photos (and you are prepared to spend most of the day being directed by the photographer) then book a traditional wedding photographer instead.

5.   They dress like a tramp or out of synch with your wedding.  They are ultra-trendy or turn up in jeans and T-shirts.  What they are effectively doing is disrespecting you and your guests.  They are professional people and should dress accordingly.  It is definitely a point to be discussed with the photographer during the planning meetings. 

6.   They dump their kit in the middle of the floor.  They come with loads of bags and equipment that gets left in the middle of the floor or in the way of guests.  The venue, the church and everything has been decorated to complement your wedding then this disorganised lump goes and makes it look untidy.  Make sure they have somewhere to store equipment when it is not needed, even if it is in their car boot until they need it.  A good photographer will only bring the equipment they need to do each element of the job because they will have planned ahead, but if they do need extra equipment, they will leave it in a discrete place.

7.   They disrupt the wedding ceremony.  They use flash, make lots of noise, fidget with their camera equipment or move around intrusively during the ceremony.  A good wedding photographer will not want to do anything that will take the attention off the couple and the vicar, priest or registrar and they will work in a very unobtrusive manner at this most important part of the day.

8.   They take ages to deliver the photos.  It is obvious that you will want to see your photos wedding photographs as soon as possible.  Digital or conventional photographs require time to process and optimise, but make sure you agree a timetable with the photographer before the wedding day.  If they have a backlog of work (which can happen from time to time as weddings are seasonal), they should let you know and keep you informed of their progress.

9.   They quote a price for the wedding and then try to charge extra after the event.  This often happens when a photographer has not planned correctly or the client has not been clear about what their expectations are.  If the photographer does not provide a contract or agreement that details all aspects of the project, including the agreed prices, then do not get involved with them.  Obviously, if you ask the photographer to stay later than agreed or order a bigger album, you must expect to be charged more.

10.   They turn up late or at the wrong location.  It has happened, not occasionally but quite a few times.  A good photographer will confirm the exact venue, its location, the wedding timings and will plan accordingly. 

So to summarise, if you allow them to be, the wedding photographer can be your enemy.  However, if you engage a professional who understands your needs fully, then you will not have an enemy but a friend.  Plan well in advance, meet the photographer well ahead of the wedding and agree what is and isn’t going to happen on the day.  Above all, choose a photographer whose style of work fulfils your needs and whose personality is warm and friendly.  Do this and you will have a happy day.



If you want to find out how Martin Neeves Photography can make your day memorable with a great album to look back on then contact me or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591.

Wedding Photographs with Style - Wedding Photographer Warwickshire

Monday, 18th August 2014

Written by Martin Neeves


You know that your wedding album should capture those precious memories of your big day.  But - BUT - BUT - BUTBUT - have you noticed you look through so many wedding albums produced by “professional photographers” and they all seem to look the same?!  Sometimes you look at the shots from wedding photographers and it seems that only the faces, dresses and people have changed.  The poses are all the same, the layout looks similar – it is as if the photographer works to a formula.  Now a formula assumes commons themes and variables – but I bet you want your wedding and it memories to be unique.  I despair when I see this because it is not only doing the bride and groom justice – it is lazy.  It is a "thumb up bum and brain in neutral" attitude and it is insulting to the couple.

You know what I mean by a “formula approach”.  For most couples and their families, the wedding ceremony is exciting, fun, emotional and everyone is full of joy.  Bride gets ready, bride arrives in car, bride walks up aisle with father, vicar does vows, bride kisses groom, pose outside wedding venue, reception, speeches, lots of laughter, a few tears, cake-cutting, first dance etc – etc…. At each stage, the traditional wedding photographer poses everything and gets a bit bossy (or extremely bosy and shouty in some cases!).  His/her whole needs must be met and can take hours out of your special day.  Every so often the whole proceedings grind to a halt while the photographer stages his/her next shot to “recreate” the ceremony and make those most "perfect" wedding photos.  The bride or the groom or others in the family just want to hug and share the joy of the day but they just can’t because of that fussy photographer.

It amazes me that this complete disruption to the special day is the accepted norm – “It’s just the way wedding days are”.  The photographs are pristine, stage managed and the wedding group looks like a bunch of shop window mannequins.  And yes, everybody will say the photos are beautiful and “what a lovely day”.  But if you take a close look at the faces they look nervous and uncomfortable.  Let's face it, if you ask someone to smile, they will never smile naturally.

But is doesn't have to be like this.  You can have a few traditional posed shots, but why not get some spontaneity into your wedding photos?  Why not make sure that the wedding photographer blends into your wedding - without you having to work in his photo session as pseudo fashion models?  Now there is a thought!  Why not hire a photographer who is going to produce some wedding pictures that have style, creativity and soul?  You will not just have a “nice” wedding album, you will have one that is full of memories and that is alive.

But how do you find that sort of photographer?  Well you will need to plan early to break out of the humdrum routine.  You have to find that photographer who understands that the wedding is about you and people who celebrate your memorable day.  It is not about a fashion shoot of “Barbie dolls”.  It is a happy memory that can be recalled forever.  

A documentary wedding photographer will be more unobtrusive and will not get in your way.  Your job is to enjoy the day - their job is to record it.  The wedding photographer should become part of the wedding - more like a professional wedding guest (albeit, with the skills and experience behind a camera that not many wedding guests will have).   I use a style called “reportage” where I bring that thought, creativity and flair to producing an album of photos that looks amazing.  By photographing you and your guests while you are enjoying yourselves, it ensures you look your best and it brings out the characters of all present.

Using this more creative approach to produce your treasured wedding photographs, means you will approach the process with great excitement and not trepidation.  That is because the wedding photographer understands that they are there to serve this wedding and to capture special moments when they occur.  Of course there will be occasions to “pose” for a picture but that does not mean bringing the wedding day to a halt.   My experience ensures that you will have an album of spontaneous, candid and stylish wedding photographs that are full of life – and they will be treasured memories.  I really can bring the day back.

If you want to find out how Martin Neeves Photography can make your day memorable with a great album to look back on then contact me or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591.

Remembering your wedding day in Leicestershire and Warwickshire

Friday, 1st August 2014

Written by Martin Neeves


Your wedding day is a memorable day in your life, but it will be over so quickly.  The danger is that if you do not plan for it, your memories will become jumbled and a blur. One of the main way of keeping the memories alive is to have an album set of wedding photographs that really capture the day.

I know that it is important that whether your wedding day has a short ceremony or involves a late night reception, you will want to have beautiful photographs.  This will allow you to have memories that allow you to recall the little things that happened during the day.   Taken well, your wedding photographs can tell the story of your wedding day so that you can cherish your memories for ever

You will want to remember the first time your saw your bride walk down the aisle or your eyes met your husband’s after you had walked down the aisle.  Equally, when looking back on those epic photographs you will be pleased to see the smiles on faces relishing your important day.  Consequently, the wedding photographer needs to be one of the early booking you make.

It makes sense to book your wedding photographer early so that you get the right person for you.  Not only must you love their style of photography, but you must like them as a person, as you don't want to share your big day with someone that you don't get on with.  A bossy and shouty photographer can ruin a wedding day.  Remember, wedding photographers are often booked up well I advance, especially if they are good.  I have recently been taking bookings for 2016!

I have heard many brides and grooms being advised to try to slow down and enjoy the day.  The reality is it will seem to go by quickly. I have now photographed so many weddings that there are some things I feel help you put everything in its place and allow you the tie to enjoy the day both during and after the day.

Firstly plan everything beforehand and try have people responsible for everything that needs to happen on the day so you do not have to get involved.  There is growing trend for people to hire wedding organisers or planners, however, these are not really necessary.   If you feel that you do not want or cannot afford a wedding planner, then many brides and grooms to get their Best Man and/or Maid of Honour to be the trouble shooters on the day.  Sometimes it may be a sister or brother.  For this to work they need to fully understand what you want to happen so they do not make things upon the hoof that are not in accord with your wishes.  Also, don't get too obsessed with all the minute details on the day.  If something doesn't quite go to plan on the day, don't worry, just go with it and enjoy your day.

Secondly, those people who are necessary for the success of your wedding, like cake makers, caterers, vicars, wedding car chauffeurs, videographers and photographers should have a rough timetable for the day, with critical times highlighted.  Make sure they understand what their critical times are, but don't give them too many pages or irrelevant details, otherwise their critical information will be lost. Ask them what their contingency plans are for dealing with emergencies; for example will the photographer have extra cameras and equipment in case of equipment failure?  You would not expect my contingency to be my IPhone for wedding photographs if my primary camera failed, that is why I always bring back-up equipment.  Incidentally I have heard stories of wedding photographers having camera failure and resorting to using makeshift replacements.  This is unprofessional and disrespectful to you.

I hope that these thoughts will help you enjoy your day and have some splendid memories to help you look back with joy at your wedding photos.

If you want to find out how Martin Neeves Photography can make your day memorable with a great album to look back on then contact me or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591.

10 Quick Tips About Wedding Album Choice in the Leicester and Warwickshire Area

Monday, 21st July 2014

Written by Martin Neeves


One factor in a wedding that often gets forgotten until too late or takes low priority or gets the “saving money” touch is the wedding album.  Do not forget that you remember your actual wedding day through your precious photographs. You will want to hold them close to your heart, but get it wrong and you could be filled with regrets later.

I thought it would be helpful if I set put 10 top tips to ensure you have great memories to look back on:

1.   Not creating a wedding album.  The album is the memory you have of the great day.  It is becoming more common for wedding pictures to languish online without proper presentation.  Don't make this mistake!

2.   Only having a CD of digital files instead of an Album.  After all you can print the photos when you want them and “printed albums are so yesterday”.  Great idea, but CDs do not last forever.  The first CD-R disc produced claimed to last in excess of 40 years. DVDR discs have a claimed life of at least 100 years.  The reality is that CDs tend to degrade after 10 to 15 years.  Also, you might not be able to read your CD photo album in a few years if technology ceases to be fitted with CD players.  Once printed the conventional album is there for life and longer.

3.   Making your own wedding album.   While top quality albums can only be purchased from professional photographers (as consumers can't buy them directly), some couples say they will buy and design their own album.  Although making your own wedding album can save you money, you will likely end up with an inferior product.  also, many couples who opt for files-only coverage find that life takes over after their wedding, so they never actually get around to designing their album.

4.   Not talking to your photographer about the Album.  This is a common mistake.  The initial meeting with your photographer to create your wedding pictures is only the first step in the final presentation of your wedding day.  You cannot agree totally what photographs will go in your album at this stage because you haven’t seen the final images.  So the important final step is to work with your photographer to create an album that will be a family keepsake for generations. Both you and your wedding photographer will have a specific vision of the results and process; make sure that they are aligned otherwise when the photographer shows you the final results they may not match your expectations.  The most appropriate presentation of your wedding photographs is a wedding album.  Talk to the photographer about the album options and what can be achieved with the different types of album.  Discuss with your photographer about creating an album.  Remember that each photographer will have their own unique style for designing wedding albums.

5.   What style and quality of album?  Think about what it is going to look like in 15 to 20 years’ time – or longer.  The style will reflect the class of the wedding.  The top line albums are library bound to give a better appearance.  Are the photographs embedded into the pages using professional print techniques or are they being put in an album under a thin film that keep peeling - peel and stick albums? Why would you want to unpeel the photographs later? – They are a permanent reminder.  I have seen albums produced by professional wedding photographers that look like they have been purchased at a department store (or in one case a pound shop) and after 3 or 4 years they look awful – some memory to keep for ever! Ring binder wedding albums or ones with removable pages look cheap.  Also the ring binders usually degrade and start releasing the pages, spilling your valuable wedding photographs on the floor in a heap.

6.   Attention to detail in album production.  I read this comment on an online blog by a lady after her wedding:  “I Would Prefer That My Name Be Spelled Correctly On My Wedding Album”.  She had seen loads of proofs before the album was produced but nowhere did the cover feature, even though it is an integral part of the album.

7.  "My photographer won't let me choose the photos for my wedding album."  It is impossible for a photographer to choose which photos are to be included in an album as he or she will choose on photographic merit alone as they will not know the relationships each couple has with their guests.  It is therefore important that couples choose which photos go into their album and then let their photographer design the layout for them.

8.   Does the photographer have some examples?  The photographer wants you to sign up to buy an expensive album, but does not have an example of a finished product.  This will allow you to feel the quality, or lack of it.

9.   What size and style of photographs will he/she produce?  After all you are looking for a bit of a wow factor and if all you are getting is 6 x 4 photos then you could go to Boots and get those.  Are they being optimised for print and produced on high quality paper?

10.   It’s going to cost me a fortune.  It is true that there is a wide range of prices for wedding albums, but it is exactly that – there is a range and you can still get quality for sensible prices.  Martin Neeves mainly uses 2 types of album, both of which look amazing.  These are Jorgensen Traditional Matted Wedding Albums and Graphistudio Storybook Wedding Albums – take a look at some examples.  

If you want to have a look at some sample albums I produce, please give me a call on 01455 271 849 or contact me by email

The Worst Advice I've Ever Heard About Choosing a Wedding Photographer in Leicester

Monday, 7th July 2014

Written by Martin Neeves


How often have you heard a bride and groom say after their wedding that they are disappointed with their precious wedding photographs?  Sadly most couples only realise how important their wedding pictures are after the big day - it is then too late.   Comments like:

  • Our wedding photos are boring and lack emotion.
  • We spent all day being bossed around by the photographer, so we didn’t have time to talk to all our guests.
  • I waited ages for the photos.
  • I am now too embarrassed to show people.
  • It has made me hate my own wedding.
  • The photographs are horrible, dark and blurry.

The wedding photographs cannot be redone once the day has passed.  Too often the photographer is one of the lowest priorities in wedding budgets – after dresses, cars, flowers, cake etc.  This is a strange attitude, as after the wedding, your photos will be the only lasting memory of the best day of your life.  

To help you avoid the mistakes of others, I thought it would be useful to highlight some of the worst advice I have heard about choosing a photographer for your wedding.

1.  We have someone in the family (a mate down the pub – my cousin etc) who is a dab-hand at photography

Wedding photography is very different to taking photos of a subject you are passionate about.  More importantly, the difference between a great amateur shot and a professionally taken wedding photograph are streets apart.  

Maybe you have a brother/friend/cousin/uncle niece etc who just graduated art school, or an uncle who “has a great camera” or a mate who wants to get started as a professional photographer. As a great sweetener, they “will do it cheaply” or “for free”.  So what can go wrong?

  • They are not experienced at predicting and capturing candid moments.
  • They are not experienced at handling people professionally for any posed photos requested.
  • They do not have the correct equipment to do the job – it takes much more than a work-a-day DSLR with the slow lenses that they are normally sold with.
  • They do not have the appropriate lighting equipment or flash - or if they do have it, they don’t know how to use it correctly and they don’t know when to use and and when not to use it.
  • They do not understand the issues of lighting at a wedding – how to light in a darkened room etc, or more often, how to work with available light in extremely low light.
  • They are not experienced using their equipment under pressure so they spend the whole day trying to work their camera, while missing all those great moments that make up a wedding.
  • They do not know how to do-post production optimisation of photographs.
  • They do not use RAW image files.
  • They do not have back-up equipment in case of camera, lens or flash failure.

Think about it: If you're choosing a wedding photographer, then choose a wedding photographer.  Remember: Owning a great camera, doesn’t automatically make you a great photographer.

2.  She can do it at a great price and undercuts the competition by a mile

A good wedding photographer will:

  • Pay taxes
  • Be insured
  • Invest in high-end professional gear.
  • Take time to ensure high-grade post-production and printing.

So if a photographer is dirt-cheap, ask yourself “Where are they cutting corners?”.  To do a wedding shoot takes quite a few hours on location at the church or registry office or venue.  Then there is the Reception.  Coverage will usually take up the whole day.  When they have taken your precious photographs, they need editing and optimising to get them to a professional standard.  Then when you have chosen the photos for your album, the album layout has to be designed.  Each wedding represents a whole week’s work for a good professional photographer.

3.  They do occasional weddings as a fill-in

Wedding photography needs an experienced eye.  You do not you don't want the photographer using your wedding for practice or making basic mistakes. 

Planning to take photographs at a wedding needs precious thinking and a good understanding of dealing with the unexpected issues that will occur.  

4.  They do hundreds of weddings a year

Alternatively, if someone is shooting 100+ weddings a year – are they doing multiple weddings each weekend or hiring an associate to take the photos for them.  Be sure that if they do it all themselves that they can handle the heavy workload, otherwise you could be waiting a long time for your pictures.  Also, if they are doing that many weddings each year, are they just churning out the same boring photos at each wedding and will you be getting the best out of them?  I strictly limit the number of weddings I shoot per year as I like to keep fresh and give couples the best service possible.

If they use associates, is this an equally talented colleague, a random freelancer or a part-timer? Make sure you know who is going to be holding that camera for your wedding day.

When you phone up or meet are you talking to a sales person or is it the photographer?

5.  The venue recommended him

Early in my career, I shot a wedding at a gorgeous local venue and asked the coordinator if I could drop off a sample album for him to show his future clients. He told me I could -- for a price. Maybe I was naïve, but I didn't realise that some venues sell spots on their "preferred vendor" lists. Many wedding venue brochures have adverts by wedding vendors, giving the impression that they are recommended by the venue, but in reality, they just paid for the advert.  Of course, this doesn't apply to every venue -- some offer excellent recommendations because they like to see gorgeous images of their venue floating around on the web. But always double-check recommendations against friends, online reviews and your wedding planner before plunking down a deposit. 

6.  Can you get on with the photographer?

They may have a great portfolio – but he/she is going to be all around you for the day – do you like them?  Does their style of photography suit what you are looking for?  I like to do reportage wedding photography that is unobtrusive and brings the day day back by capturing the character and emotions of all involved.  when I take a handful of posed shots, I do so with a smile as I want the couple and their guests to have a good time.  

Not only do you have to like the photos your photographer takes, but you have to like your photographer.  Beware of wedding photography mills (they exist!) where you talk to a sales person, view their best sample images, and then get stuck with a minimum-wage photographer with minimal experience to match.

To avoid getting burned:

  • Ask to see a complete wedding (or several!) - not just a few “lucky” shots from different weddings. 
  • Along with the photographer's personality, does their photographic style match your wedding? 
  • If you're still having trouble deciding, check out review sites such as Free Index to hear what their clients really think of them.

7.  Your part to play

Make sure you have given the wedding photographer a good brief of your expectations – do not expect him/her to be psychic.  If you are having a traditional wedding photographer, you should discuss the extensive list of posed photos to be taken.  However, if you have booked a reportage photographer (like me) don’t give him or her a long list of posed photos as they will not be able to take any candid shots while they are working through your list and the reason you booked them was their ability to document the day candidly.  it is important though, to discuss your itinerary for the day and also a handful of posed shots (if required).

It’s important (and polite) to provide food and refreshments for your photographer.  If he or she is working for you all day, the last thing you want is their mind wandering off your photography and onto how hungry they are feeling.  

Here are some articles that highlight costly mistakes:

If you want to ensure that you are going to have wedding photographs to be proud of, please give Martin Neeves a call on 01455 271 849 or contact me.

Dodford Manor Wedding Photography - Sarah and Andy's Wedding

Friday, 13th June 2014


Please CLICK HERE to view a selection of photographs of Sarah and Andy's wedding at the excellent Nortamptonshire wedding venue Dodford Manor.

When most daughters tell their fathers that they are engaged to be married, their first thoughts are usually of overwhelming joy and happiness, but when Sarah told her dad that she and Andy had just got engaged, his first thoughts were of panic!  Not because he didn't approve of the engagement (far from it), he was panicking as he realised he had to finish renovating his prized classic car in time for the wedding.  

It all started in 1985 (the year Sarah was born) when her dad, Steve, brought an old Morris 8 that needed to be completely re-built.  The renovation dragged on for many years and turned into a long-term project that everyone thought would never be completed.  As Sarah grew up she used to wander down to the garage to see her dad working away on his beloved classic car, but not much progress was being made.  Many years went by and Sarah grew up, but the car still wasn't finished.  Steve had always promised Sarah that he would have the car finished in time to take her to her wedding in it, so when Steve heard about the engagement and that Dodford Manor had been booked for the big day, a very real deadline had been set and it was approaching fast!  From that day on, Steve worked tirelessly, day and night on his car as there was no way he was going to break hsi promise to Sarah on her wedding day and true to his word, he finished it - just in time.  

When I arrived at the house to photograph the bridal preparations, not only was there much activity with hair and make-up for Sarah and her bridesmaids, there was much activity in the garage as Steve was giving his treasured car a last-minute polish.  Sarah looked amazing and I have to say that her dad did her proud as the car looked fabulous too and it even started first time!  Steve looked so proud as he walked Sarah out to the car to take her to Dodford Manor to get married.  And justifiably so.

After Sarah's very special arrival, the rest of the day went perfectly.  Here are some of the other wedding suppliers who helped to make the day go so well:

Sarah's wedding dress was by Eternal Bride of Warwick, her hair was done by Klickersof Rugby and her make-up was by Emily from Pink Chocolate in Clifton-upon-Dunsmore.  The wedding flowers were by Roseanne at Perkins Florist of Duston and the caterers were Jenkinsons of Stafford.  The very talented guitarist Andy Nash played for the processional and recessional of the wedding ceremony and entertained the guests during the drinks reception too.  After the wedding breakfast, the band Purple Cloud of Funk (from Buxton) and DJ Paul McQuire of Wedding Jam stepped up the beat and got everyone on their feet - including the bride's grandmother!

After the wedding, Sarah and Andy sent me this lovely message: "We have been really pleased with every aspect of the service we have received.  We absolutely love the photos and how you've captured the day perfectly.  Everyone commented on how nice you were and that the photogrpahy was unintrusive.  We wouldn't hesitate to recommend you."

If you would like to see more examples of my reportage wedding photography, please CLICK HERE to view my full portfolio or CONTACT ME if you wish to discuss your wedding photography.  Alternatively, you could just give me a call on 07973 638 591.

Halstead House Farm Wedding Photography - Karen & Tony's Wedding

Sunday, 11th May 2014


If you are looking for the perfect location for a rural wedding in Leicestershire, look no further!  CLICK HERE to view a small selection of photos of Karen and Tony's wedding at Halstead House Farm, Tilton-on-the-Hill.  Halstead House is an elegant Georgian house set in the rolling Leicestershire countryside (between Leicester, Melton Mowbray and Oakham) with it's own lake (pictured above).  Next to the house are two Victorian barns that have been converted for rural weddings and functions.  It is all still part of a working farm, so your guests will be able to enjoy seeing farm animals in the farmyard.  Brides are often seen leaning over a gate making a fuss of the cutest piglets you have ever seen.

Karen and Tony and left nothing to chance when decorating their wedding venue as they had collected lots of vintage objects such as an old mechanical typewriter and an old sewing machine and set them up on display in the barns.  Leicester florist CK Flowers also put on a beautiful floral display to really make the wedding look special. 

Karen and her bridesmaids' make-up was expertly applied by Catherine at Blush Beauty Box in Loughborough and Karen's beautiful weding dress was from Dona Nicole in Leicester.

While most of my coverage was candid and un-posed reportage wedding photography, I usually take a few posed shots of the bride and groom and their friends and family.  Halstead House has a huge lake at the bottom of their garden that proved to be very picturesque and while I was taking a few posed shots of Karen and Tony, their guests were treated to ice creams from Lees Ice Dreams.  I have met Lee of several weddings and he always seems to have a big queue of people wanting more of his ice cream, so he must be doing something right.  

After an excellent wedding breakfast from the superb in-house caterers at Halstead House Farm, the wedding guests danced the night away on a dance floor supplied by Premier Events UK and had lots of fun posing for fun photos in a photo-booth supplied by Picture Blast.

If you would like to see more examples of my reportage wedding photography, please CLICK HERE to view my full portfolio or CONTACT ME if you wish to discuss your wedding photography.  Alternatively, you could just give me a call on 07973 638 591.

Belvoir Castle Wedding Photography - Renata & Serge's Wedding

Monday, 14th April 2014


CLICK HERE to view a small selection of photos of Renata and Serge's wedding at Belvoir Castle - a truly majestic Leicestershire wedding venue and the perfect setting for a fairlytale wedding.

Although the wedding was in Leicestershire, it really was an international wedding as the groom is French, the bride is Brazillian and many of their guests couldn't speak English.  I was very grateful to some multi-lingual guests who were able to interpret for me as they had to relay instructions for the formal group shots.  Luckily, it wasn't too much of an issue as 95% of my coverage is always unobtrusive reportage photography as I find the photos are much more natural and it leaves the couple and their guests free to enjoy their wedding day without having a day-long photo-shoot.

Some of the other wedding suppliers who helped to make so special were Melanie Rhodes The Bridal Hair Stylist and make-up artist Rachel Liney who made the female members of the bridal party look so beautiful.  I have worked with rachel on many weddings and she always does a great job and is always lovely to work with.  The castle was decorated with stunning floral arrangements by Zinnia Flower Boutique of Bingham and their impressive wedding cake was supplied by Couture Cakes.  The very talented Leicester harpist Soraya Vermeulen really set the scene by expertly playing her harp before and during the wedding ceremony asn well as afterwards during the drinks reception in the castle gardens.  Soraya is a superb player and I would highly recommend her.  She was represented by DG Music who also provide other bands and musicians for weddings and corporate events.  DG Music's director David Graham was on hand in the evening to play the piano during the wedding breakfast.  Again, another first class player who really added to the granduer of the day.  Finally, Renata and Serge were driven away in style in vintage Beauford, supplied by American Pie Limousines.

If you would like to see more examples of my reportage wedding photography, please CLICK HERE to view my full portfolio or CONTACT ME if you wish to discuss your wedding photography.

Leicestershire Wedding Venue - Catthorpe Manor Wedding Fair

Wednesday, 9th April 2014

I will be exhibiting my reportage wedding photography at Leicestershire weding venue Catthorpe Manor this Sunday (13th April) from 11am until 3pm, at their wedding fair.  Catthorpe Manor is a lovely country house near Lutterworth and close to the Warwickshire, Leicetsershire and Northamptonshire border.  

I will be displaying lots of weddings albums (both traditional matted albums from Australia and modern storybook albums from Italy) as well as a rolling slideshow of my unobtrusive reportage wedding photographs.

The full address is: Catthorpe Manor, Lilbourne Lane, Catthorpe, Near Lutterworth (and near Rugby), Leicestershire, LE17 6DF.  Entrance is FREE!

If you have just got engaged or have been planning a wedding for a while, please come along.  There will be lots of other quaity wedding vendors there too.

Wedding Photo-Video Fusion Films

Thursday, 27th March 2014

I have just teamed up with an excellent Leicestershire wedding videographer to offer combined coverage of your wedding in both stills and video for just £2,100.

Here is an shortened example of a wedding photo-video fusion film:


Mythe Barn Wedding Photography in Warwickshire: Tiffany & Leigh's Wedding

Friday, 14th March 2014

D2358-361-The_bride-and-groom_walk_along_the lane_that_leads_to_Mythe_Barn_Sheepy_Magna_in_Warwickshire

CLICK HERE to view a small selection of photos of Tiffany and Leigh's wedding at Mythe Barn in the village of Sheepy Magna, near Atherstone, Warwickshire.  

This was the first wedding I have photographed at Mythe Barn and I was very impressed with the venue.  The barn has ben extensively refurbished and fitted out to the highest standards.  Their attention to detail was superb, the staff were lovely and the food was great too.

I have been so busy recently, that I have been a bit slow with my blogging.  I actually shot this wedding last July and Tiff and Leigh announced the happy news during the speeches that they were expecting their first baby.  I was delighted to hear that their beautiful baby daughter has just arrived and I couldn't be more happy for them. 

Ashorne Hill Wedding Fair in Warwickshire

Monday, 17th February 2014

I will be exhibiting my reportage wedding photography at Ashorne Hill wedding fair near Leamington Spa, Warwickshire this Sunday (23rd February) between 11am and 3pm.  


 Ashorne Hill is a stunning wedding venue which comprises of a beautiful grade II listed manor house (for the bridal suite, wedding ceremony room and drinks reception) adjoined by an ultra-modern building for the wedding breakfast, all surrounded by 35 acres of beautiful grounds.  I enjoy photographing weddings at Ashorne Hill as the old building gives really classy backgrounds and the new building has huge glass windows which gives fantastic light during the reception.

I will have lots of sample wedding albums on display (both modern storybook albums and traditional matted albums), along with a slideshow of lots of my photos.  If you are planning a wedding, it would be great to see you there.  Oh, and entrance is FREE!

FREE Tickets for Huge Nottigham Wedding Show

Monday, 10th February 2014

I am pleased to announce that I will be exhibiting my photos and wedding albums at an exciting new and very large wedding show in Nottingham this Sunday (16th February).  

The wedding show will be open from 11am to 4pm and it will be held at the Park In by Radisson, Mansfield Road, Nottingham, NG5 2BT.  CLICK HERE to view the Park Inn Valentines Wedding Show website.  You can have 2 FREE TICKETS to the show by sending an e-mail to and give her your wedding date, mobile number and address - she'll send you FREE TICKETS.

Every bride will get a goody bag (while stocks last), free parking and WiFi.  There will be lots to taste, see and hear and there will be access to bargains, special show offers and money off vouchers.

It looks like being a really busy show, so if you are planning a wedding in the East Midlands, there is no better place to be this Sunday.  I look forward to seeing you there!

Warwickshire Wedding Photography: Emma & Martin's Wedding in Warwick & Leamington Spa

Tuesday, 14th January 2014


CLICK HERE to view a small selection of photos of Emma and Martin's wedding at St. Mary Immaculate Church in Warwick.  

Following the wedding ceremony, I took some posed shots of the happy couple in the Mill Garden which (as well as being a beautiful garden) has stunning views of Warwick Castle. After the short photo shoot, we all headed back to Leamington Spa for their wedding receiption at Leamington Town Hall.  They surprised all their guests by performing an Argentine Tango for their first dance which they had secretly been practicing.


Prestwold Hall Wedding Photography: Naomi & Andy's Wedding

Tuesday, 7th January 2014


CLICK HERE to view a small selection of photos of Naomi & Andy's wedding at Prestwold Hall, Prestwold, near Loughborough, Leicestershire.  

The very talented pianist Lee Reed provided musical entertainment during the ceremony and drinks reception, while Guy Morris of Mojito Events privided the disco.

Video Testimonial

Monday, 30th December 2013

A huge thanks to Becca and Bob Dickinson for their lovely video testimonial of me as their wedding photographer.  I photographed their wedding three years ago and I recently had the pleasure of taking some baby portraits of their young son Ollie.  They kindly agreed to film this video testimonial for me.  

Catthorpe Manor Wedding Fair

Monday, 4th November 2013

I will be exhibiting at Catthorpe Manor wedding fair this Sunday (10th November) from 11am until 3pm.  Catthorpe Manor is a beautiful country house situated near Lutterworth and close to the Leicestershire/Warwickshire and Northamptonshire border.  

As usual I will have lots of weddings albums on display (both traditional matted albums and modern storybook albums) as well as a rolling slideshow of reportage wedding photos.

Entrance is FREE and the full address is: Catthorpe Manor, Lilbourne Lane, Catthorpe, Near Lutterworth (and near Rugby), Leicestershire, LE17 6DF.

If you are planning a wedding, it would be great to see you there.



Prestwold Hall Wedding Fair

Monday, 21st October 2013

I will be exhibiting at Prestwold Hall wedding fair this Sunday (27th October) from 12noon until 4pm.  I photograph many weddings at Prestwold Hall and it is one of the finest wedding venues in Leicestershire. 


I will be displaying lots of top-of-the-range wedding albums (both modern storybook albums and traditional matted albums) and loads of photographs.  Oh, and I'll be there, so if you are planning a wedding, it would be great to have a chat about your big day.

Here's the address:  Prestwold Hall, Prestwold, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE12 5SQ.

Another International Award!

Friday, 20th September 2013

I am pleased to announce that I have just won another international award for one of my reportage wedding photographs.


This photograph has just won 9th place in the Wedding Photojournalist Association (WPJA) 2013Q2 contest in their Food & Drinks section.  The WPJA is an international professional organisation that is only open to documentary wedding photographers and it's competitions are open to photographers all over the world, so I am pretty chuffed to win this award.

Prestwold Hall Wedding Photography: Pauline and Arthur's Wedding

Monday, 16th September 2013


CLICK HERE to view a small selection of photos of Pauline and Arthur's wedding at Prestwold Hall, Prestwold, near Loughborough, Leicestershire.  

The very talented Pete Hartley (AKA The Wedding Violinist) provided musical entertainment during the ceremony and drinks reception, while Guy Morris of Mojito Events privided the disco.

Blog Article Interview

Monday, 2nd September 2013

I have just been featured in a blog article interview about my business:


The article is based more about how I have had to adapt my business over the years, especially with regards to social media marketing, and it is more biased towards the wedding side of my business.

Ashorne Hill Wedding Fair

Sunday, 1st September 2013

I will be exhibiting at a wedding fair at the stunning Warwickshire wedding venue Ashorne Hill near Leamington Spa, Warwickshire this Sunday (8th September) between 11am and 3pm.  



Ashorne Hill is a unique venue for a wedding as it comprises of a beautiful grade II listed manor house (for the bridal suite, drinks reception and wedding ceremony room) adjoined by an ultra-stylish modern building for the wedding breakfast, all surrounded by 35 acres of beautiful grounds.  I enjoy photographing weddings there as you the character of the old building and great light from the new building.


As usual, I will have lots of sample wedding albums (both modern storybook albums and traditional matted albums).  If you are planning a wedding, it would be great to see you there.

The Grey Lady Wedding Photography: Philippa & Martin's Wedding in Newtown Linford, Leicestershire

Monday, 12th August 2013

Please CLICK HERE to view a selection of photos of Philippa and Martin's wedding at All Saints Church, Newtown Linford, Leicestershire and reception at The Grey Lady restaurant in the same village, which overlooks the very picturesque Bradgate Park.

Look out for their very impressive wedding cake which was made by Dominic of David North.


Prestwold Hall Wedding Photography: Rachael & Rahul's Wedding

Tuesday, 30th July 2013


Please CLICK HERE to view a selection of photos of Rachael and Rahul's wedding at top Leicestershire wedding venue Prestwold Hall, near Loughborough.


Two wedding suppliers that helped make the big day go so well were Rachel Liney who did Rachael's hair and make-up and Elegance Chair Covers who dressed the the dining room.  Everthing else, from the cake, the flowers, the briedesmaid dresses, the favours and programme for the day were made by Rachel and Rahul themselves.  Talented, or what?!!



Prestwold Hall Wedding Photography: Sharon & Darren's Wedding

Sunday, 30th June 2013

Here are a few photos of Sharon and Darren's wedding at Prestwold Hall near Loughbrough, Leicestershire:




D2288-033-The_bride_is_ready_in the_Silver_Room_at_Prestwold_Hall_near_Loughborough_in_Leicestershire


D2288-042-the-brides_mother_helps_the bride get ready_for_her_wedding_at Prestwold_Hall

D2288-043-groom_talks_to guests



D2288-070-the groom_puts_ring_on his_brides_finger_at_Prestwold_Hall

D2288-077-the brides_parents_look_on_proudly






D2288-104-the_happy_couple_enjoy_a celebratory_drink


D2288-110-The bride_and_her_sister

D2288-124-bridal_party_run_towards_the camera











D2288-254the-grooms_speech_at_his_wedding_at_Prestwold Hall

D2288-255-wedding_guests_enjoy_the speeches




D2288-278-the first_dance





Here are some of the other wedding suppliers that made the day so special:

Wedding flowers: Flowers by Sarah

Chair covers: Nobilty Chair Covers

Wedding sationery: Olive Weddings

Wedding cake: Sue Eggleston of Eggleston Cakes and Flowers

Wedding dress: Emma Hunt

Bridal hair & make-up: Rachel Liney

Bridal hair accessories: Gillian Million

Pianist: Robert Cromwell

Disco DJ: Guy Morris of Mojito Discotheques & Events

Band: Analogue Haze

Wedding suit hire: Hugh Harris

My Stand at Prestwold Hall Wedding Fair

Wednesday, 26th June 2013

Here's a photo of me and my stand at Prestwold Hall Wedding Fair on Sunday.


Plenty of couples braved the blustery weather to come to the wedding fair.  It was a pleasure to meet them and to show them some of my work.


Prestwold Hall Wedding Fair

Tuesday, 18th June 2013

I will be exhibiting at Prestwold Hall wedding fair on (Sunday 23rd June) from 11am until 3pm.  I photograph many weddings at Prestwold Hall and it is one of the finest wedding venues in Leicestershire.  Their wedding fairs are usually held in the main house, but they have just converted their cow sheds into a superb function venue which lend itself to less formal weddings, so this time, the wedding fair will be held there in order to promote the venue.


This will be the first wedding fair where I will be able to proudly show off my posh new branding.  The new roller banners have just arrived and more goodies are arriving tomorrow.  It's so exciting!  I will also be displaying lots of top-of-the-range wedding albums and loads of photographs.  Oh, and I'll be there, so if you are planning a wedding, it would be great to have a chat.


Here's the address: The Cowsheds at Prestwold Hall, Prestwold, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE12 5SQ.


Welcome to My New Website and Blog

Friday, 14th June 2013

Welcome to my posh new website.  I hope you like it.

All new blog posts will appear here, but if you wish to see older blog posts, please CLICK HERE to view my old wedding photography blog.

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