1 – Do you take black-and-white photos as well as colour?
Yes. I take all the wedding photos in colour initially and then when I am optimising the photos, I decide which ones will look best in colour and which will look better in black-and-white, based on my many years of experience. If, however, there is a particular shot that I have optimised in black-and-white that you want in colour (or vice versa), I am happy to optimise it in your preferred format.
2 – Do you produce colour/black-and-white combination photos?
Yes, occasionally, but only if the subject lends itself to that style of treatment. I don’t do black-&-white/colour combination photos for every wedding as there are not always subjects that will suit that style, but when I do, I never do more than one or two photos in that style per wedding, as it is a style that can easily be over-done.
3- How many photos will we get of our wedding?
You will typically receive between 200 to 350 photos, depending on the length of coverage, the lighting, the number of guests and any restrictions that may be imposed on me on the day. I have never produced less than 200 photos of a wedding, but I have quite often produced more than 350. Beware of photographers who promise you thousands of photos of your wedding, as most of these will be duplicates of similar shots and lots of photos of people blinking. I will edit out any unusable shots of people blinking etc., and I will choose the best shots of any given sequence of the same subject.
4 – Can we make our own prints from the digital files?
Yes. All my packages include all of the fully-optimised high-resolution digital files of your wedding photos, with full printing rights to allow you to make your own prints, should you so desire. You are more than welcome to buy professional prints or canvas wraps from me, but if you do print your own photos, I recommend that you use a professional laboratory as the quality of prints from most amateur labs is so inconsistent.
5 – Do you shoot in RAW or JPEG format?
I always shoot in RAW format in order to achieve the highest quality photographs possible. They are the digital equivalent to negatives in traditional film photography. As such, they need to be processed and they take longer to download, optimise and to convert to JPEG than if I were to simply shooting direct to JPEG in camera, like many low-budget photographers do. However, the results speak for themselves, making the extra 3 whole days (or often a lot more) spent on optimisation well worth it. When this time is taken into account, my hourly rate is a lot lower than many apparently cheaper photographers, while still allowing me to produce far superior results.
6 – What do you mean by “optimising” our wedding photos?
Uncorrected digital files straight from the camera can often look dull and lifeless, have light or dark areas that need adjusting and also can have dark marks from dust that settles onto the camera’s sensor (regardless of how frequently it is cleaned). In order to get professional quality photographs, these uncorrected digital files must be optimised. Optimisation includes 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. It is worth noting that when I convert photos to black-and-white, I optimise each one individually, so it looks at its best, unlike many photographers who cut corners by batch-processing all the photos into black-and-white in one go or by doing just a simple greyscale conversion which would result in very low-contrast black-and-white photos.
7 – Do you photograph the bride getting ready?
Yes. I prefer to start the day with 45 minutes of bridal preparation as this sets the scene for the day and it helps settle the bride and bridesmaids into having their photographs taken. Needless to say that I leave the room to photograph other people when the bride needs some privacy!
8 – What time will you arrive at the wedding venue?
After the bridal preparations, I like to allow enough time to get to the wedding venue (assuming the bride is not already getting ready there) for 30 minutes before the start of the ceremony so I can meet the vicar or registrar and take some photos of the groom and guests arriving.
9 – Do you photograph the wedding ceremony?
Yes, whenever possible. The most important part of your big day is the wedding ceremony itself, and while most vicars and registrars are happy for me to do my job while they are doing theirs, some can impose very restrictive rules on photographing the ceremony. Some will not allow any photography at all. Some will allow photography, but only from the back (which is useless to me, as I am trying to capture facial expressions and important moments such as the exchange of rings and vows). Some will not allow professional stills photography (with or without flash) but will allow amateur videography. They never explain why they impose such rules, but they are always keen impose them all the same.
For the best coverage, I normally need to stand to one side at the front so I can get a good view of you and your guests (depending on the architecture of the venue). I always stay in one place. I keep very quiet and I don’t use flash. If the venue is so dark that I would need to use flash (which is extremely rare with the equipment I have), I always ask permission of the couple and of the registrar first. I always respect their wishes. I have never had any complaints from any vicar, registrar, guest or couple, about my conduct during the ceremony, as I am very aware that the focus of attention should be on you.
It is essential that you get permission from your vicar or registrar for such coverage in advance, as it will save any arguments on the day, and it would be such a shame for you not to have photographs of the most important part of your day. If possible, please get this permission in writing (by asking permission via e-mail), or at least get a name of the person who gave permission and make a note of the date of your conversation with them, as it is not unknown for registrars to have forgotten that they previously gave permission. Also, your ceremony may be conducted by a deputy superintendent registrar who has not been informed of the permission given.
I have found that some vicars are quite relaxed about photography, or can be talked around when it is explained that you are having reportage coverage, while others just say “No!” Registrars often work to rules that are peculiar to their individual region. I contacted the Registrar General to clarify the legal position on this. They said that photography (along with music) is classed as an “embellishment” of the civil marriage ceremony, and as such there is no law or rule against it, but that such embellishments were at the sole discretion of the superintendent registrar responsible for your wedding. So if they do not grant such permission, while stating that they are not allowed to grant it, they are not telling the truth! They can grant it, but some choose not to grant it. Please remember: You are the paying customer. If you want it, please insist on it! If they will not allow me to photograph your ceremony, I will have to abide by their wishes (however illogical they are).
10 – How long will you stay?
I can stay for as long as you wish, depending on which package you choose. Every package starts with the bridal preparation. The minimum album package gives coverage up to the start of the meal and the maximum package covers up to the first dance plus 2 hours, although extra time can be added to any package if required, which I am happy to charge by the half-hour. I am most commonly booked for my “all day” packages which cover to the end of the first dance.
11 – What happens if our wedding runs late?
I only ever book one wedding per day, so it is never a problem if your wedding runs late. If you have booked one of my “all day” packages, I will stay until the end of your first dance – whatever time that may be and there will be no extra charge if it is later than planned. If you have booked one of my packages which ends at a specific time and your wedding is running late, you will be given the option of adding extra time, which I am happy to charge by the half-hour. You can pay this after the wedding as I would not expect you to get your cheque book out on the day!
12 – Do you take any posed group photos?
Yes, but only a few as most couples book me for my reportage skills. Many wedding-planning books advise couples to give a long list of posed photographs to their photographer. While this may be relevant for traditional coverage, it is very restrictive for reportage photography as I cannot be doing true reportage if I have to work my way through a long list. I am, of course, happy to take a few posed group shots, but please be aware that group photographs take a long time to set up as it involves rounding up all the relevant people. A long list will guarantee that you and your guests will get bored with all the hanging around. The best reportage coverage is achieved by my being able just to “do my thing” with as few restrictions as possible. Obviously, if there are people you definitely want to be photographed, please point them out to me or have a posed picture taken with them as I cannot guarantee to take reportage pictures of people together. e.g. Many parents (of the bride or groom) will circulate and talk to guests individually, so it can be impossible to get reportage pictures of them together.
13 – Can you guarantee to get a photo of all our guests?
I can’t guarantee to get a reportage photo of every guest, so I strongly recommend having a big group shot of all the guests (weather and venue permitting) as that is the only way to guarantee getting a photo of everyone.
14 – What happens if it rains on our wedding day?
Rain is not a problem as it just means that I will be photographing you enjoying yourselves indoors instead of enjoying yourselves outdoors. The majority of the coverage will be reportage, so rain will not hinder that at all. Most posed group shots can be done indoors too, but some large group shots may be impossible indoors, although it is possible at some venues.
15 – What happens if you are ill?
I have worked in the past whilst having bad colds by dosing myself up and just getting on with it, but in the event I am too ill to work, I have many friends who are excellent professional photographers who I can call on to help me out (as I would help them out in similar circumstances). In 2012, for the first time in 25 years, I was too ill (and far too contagious!) to do a commercial photography job as I had the winter vomiting bug Norovirus, but I was able to find another excellent photographer to do the job for me, with just two hours’ notice. For that to happen just once in 25 years (and thankfully not on a wedding), is not a bad record as I have been lucky enough to be very healthy. In the unlikely event that I am unable to find a suitable replacement photographer, I would give you your money back in full.
The illness issue would be the same, whichever photographer you choose, as if you go for another freelance photographer, they would be in the same position as me and if you chose a large photography company, you wouldn’t know who would be photographing your wedding anyway. You may get their best photographer, or you may get their worst. If you chose a pair of photographers, usually the main photographer is the only good photographer and the second photographer is normally a keen amateur who photographs weddings as a paid hobby, so if the main photographer was ill, would you really want the keen amateur to be the sole photographer for your wedding? I wouldn’t. I would much rather have another full-time professional whose work is respected by my photographer of choice.
16 – Do you ever work with a second photographer?
Not normally. My aim is to be as unobtrusive as possible in order to let you enjoy your big day with your guests without feeling you have been invaded by the paparazzi! If I were to bring a second photographer along, that would make us twice as conspicuous. In any case, if a photographer feels so unsure of their abilities that they can’t cover a wedding sufficiently on their own, what does that tell you about them?
17 – Will you work alongside a videographer?
Yes, although some inconsiderate videographers can get in the way of shots or just get the best position for a shot, meaning that I am unable to get it. I am happy to recommend some excellent wedding videographers I have worked with in the past, who are great to work with – one of which I am now offering joint packages with.
18 – Do you have back-up equipment?
Yes. I always have two cameras on me all the time, so if one fails, I have another to hand immediately and I a spare of all my lenses, flashguns and camera bodies in my car too.
19 – Are you insured?
Yes. I have public liability and professional indemnity insurance as well as insurance for my equipment of course.
20 – Do you do pre-wedding shoots?
I can do a pre-wedding shoot as an optional extra, although I am rarely asked to do them. I can’t see the point of them really. Some photographers use them as a way of selling you more prints or as an extra just to get a booking that they would not have got by their own merit. They say it helps you to get to know each other and to practice some poses that you will be doing on the day, but that is all irrelevant for true reportage wedding photography as you would be doing very little posing anyway.
21 – Will you be smartly dressed for our wedding?
Absolutely! I always wear a dark suit for weddings as not only is it respectful to my clients, it helps me to blend in with the guests. I never cease to be amazed when I am told of scruffy photographers wearing jeans and sweatshirts to weddings.
22 – Do we need to feed you on our wedding day?
I would be grateful if you could please provide non-alcoholic drinks for me throughout the day – water is fine. Also, if you require coverage of longer than 5 hours, I would be grateful for a cooked meal please. I am not vegetarian and I am happy to eat anything. I don’t mind if I eat with the guests or in a separate room as long as I am fed at the same time as your guests as that is the time when I can take the least number of photos, so it will minimise my down-time. I can take photos between courses, but when people have food in front of them (especially the main course), they just have their heads down and they stop talking, so I don’t attempt to take any photos then. I sometimes find that if I eat in a separate room, the staff forget about me and I can end up eating later than planned, which means I am prevented from working during that time, so if I am in a separate room please stress to the hotel the importance of the timing of my meal to maximise the number of photos I can take.
23 – Do you take photos during the wedding breakfast?
Yes, I can get some great shots of your guests during the meal – especially between courses when they are chatting. As stated in my answer to the previous question, I can’t take many photos during the main course, as that is when most guests will have their heads down while they eat.
24 – Does it matter if you haven’t photographed a wedding at our venue before?
No, not at all. It is important for traditional wedding photographers to know the venue well as they would be taking lots of posed photos and would need to know all the locations for such shots, but as the number of posed shots I take is minimal, I can easily find a good location for them when I arrive at the venue. If you are getting ready at the wedding venue, I usually arrive early to have a quick look around anyway. As most of my coverage will be reportage, I will be following you and your guests on the day, whereas traditional wedding photographers would have the guests following them.
25 – Should we inform our guests about your style of photography?
Yes please! Many guests will not know what reportage photography is, as they will be used to more traditional wedding photographers organising endless group shots, which require them to look at the camera at all times. This can be a disadvantage to me when I am taking candid photographs as guests can spoil them by looking straight into the camera (thinking they are being helpful!). It will be a great help to me if you could inform your guests (either verbally or with a written paragraph on an information sheet in with your invitations or order of service sheets) which explain that I am mainly taking candid photographs and kindly request that they do not to look at the camera unless asked to do so by me.
26 – Do we have to buy a wedding album from you?
No. You can just have my “All Day Files-only” package if you wish to make your own album. However, for many couples, life takes over after their wedding and they never get around to designing an album. You can always buy one of my fantastic storybook or traditional matted wedding albums at a later date, but if you know you definitely want one, it is much cheaper to opt for one of my album packages.
27 – How far will you travel?
I am happy to travel anywhere in the World to photograph your wedding, however, my standard prices allow for travelling time and a total mileage of up to 100 miles (50 miles radius by road of my home in Stoney Stanton, Leicestershire). Any travelling time and mileage over a total of 100 miles will incur a further charge. Please contact me for a quote. For venues in excess of 150 miles from Stoney Stanton (300 miles return), or for particularly early starts or late finishes, hotel accommodation may be charged to enable me to be at my best, ready to photograph your big day.
28 – How much deposit do you require?
A non-refundable deposit of £300.00 is required to reserve the date in my diary.
29 – When do we have to pay the balance?
If you opt for my All Day Files-only package, the full balance is payable one month before your wedding. If you opt for an album package, the interim payment (full balance, less £300.00) is payable one month before your wedding and the final £300.00 balance is due when you give me your list of album photos.
30 – Do we have to meet up again before our wedding?
No (although you are welcome to meet if you wish), a telephone call is perfectly fine. I should be grateful if you would get in touch at least two weeks before your wedding to discuss your agenda for the day and any special requests. Please try to make the timings not too tight as I need time to take reportage photographs, even though I will not be setting up lots of posed pictures. If you need any help or advice concerning the timings for your wedding, please do not hesitate to contact me at any time.
31 – How soon do we get to see our wedding photos?
Most couples can’t wait to see their wedding photos, so I normally put a few photos up on Facebook and on my blog a few days after the wedding to give them a taste of what’s to come. If you do not want me to do this please let me know. If you haven’t already befriended me on Facebook, please send me a friend request so I can tag you on your photos. That way, you and your friends will be notified as soon as I upload the photos.
I normally put all the optimised wedding photos up on my password-protected web-gallery within 2-3 weeks of the wedding, although all photographers can have backlogs at particularly busy times, so it can occasionally take longer. I would also send you the high-resolution digital files (if you opt for the All Day Files-only package) or the slideshow (if you opt for an album package) at the same time as the web-gallery going live. If you opt for an album package, you will receive the high-resolution digital files with your album.
32 – Can our guests buy photos direct from you?
Yes. You may wish to let your guests know that your all your wedding photographs can be viewed on my web-gallery on the Client Area page of this website. They can then click on the link to your wedding. The password is normally the groom’s surname (in lower-case and without punctuation or spaces). Prints can be ordered directly from this web-gallery. This facility is popular with guests as I take lots of close-up photographs of them as well as of the bride and groom.
33 – Who decides which photos go in our wedding album?
You do. You can use the slideshow and web-gallery to help you decide which photos you wish to put in your wedding album. I can also send you contact sheets (20 low-resolution photos per sheet) too which can be printed onto A4 paper. You can then highlight your favourite photos on the contact sheets while watching the slideshow.
34 – How many photos can we put in our album?
You can have as many photos in your album as you like, but for a balanced album, I recommend 3.5 photos per double-page spread (2 pages) for storybook albums and 4 to 5 photos per double-page spread for traditional matted albums. So a typical 40-page storybook album would have 70 photos and a 40-page matted album would have 80 to 100 photos, although for an extra fee, extra pages can be purchased or extra photos can be added. I don’t recommend adding too many extra photos per page as the album could end up looking too crowded and the photos would have to be used a lot smaller.
35 – How long does it take to get our wedding album?
Once you have given me your list of photos for your wedding album, it normally takes me around two weeks to design your album, although if your order arrives at a particularly busy time, it can take longer and in such circumstances, I would keep you fully informed of your place in the work queue. I will then send you a PDF preview of your album layout for your approval. Once approved, the albums normally take 6 to 8 weeks to arrive.
36 – Do your prices include VAT?
No VAT is chargeable. All prices relating to my wedding photography services and products are fully inclusive, so there will be nothing extra to pay on top of the prices quoted.
37 – Is it true that you photographed the Queen inside Buckingham Palace?
Yes, I have been commissioned twice by the Royal Life Saving Society to photograph Her Majesty the Queen in the Buckingham Palace music room, along with Prince Phillip and Prince Michael of Kent. Unlike the many occasions that I have photographed royal visits as part of the press pack when I was a press photographer, I was the sole photographer on both occasions so they were extremely high-pressure and prestigious assignments. This sort of experience cannot be bought or learnt, so if you book me to photograph your wedding, you will be in VERY safe hands!