Phrases that no-one had heard of in 2019 but have become commonplace in 2020:
*It’s someone who believes it’s wrong to throw away food while millions of people around the world are hungry. Quite right too.
A couple of weeks ago I photographed my first Covid wedding, and due to the Coronavirus pandemic laying waste to 2020 and everything in it – my first actual wedding of the year. Crazy times indeed.
Luckily it was one of the loveliest, most relaxed weddings I’ve photographed in a while!
Charlotte and Conan were the happy couple, and even though their plans for a larger wedding were put on hold, they decided to work around the current restrictions and tie the knot at Danson House in Bexleyheath.
Here are some of the best images from the day – enjoy!
Oh, and if you’re thinking of getting married during this pandemic, I can heartily recommend opting for a micro wedding. If you’d like some more information about how I can help, please contact me.
There’s nothing quite like the hustle and bustle of a wedding morning! There’s a heady mix of excitement and nervous tension as the wedding party prepares for the momentous day ahead – everyone you cherish is there with you. Your Mum, bridesmaids, Best man / men, best friends, siblings – they’re all sharing in your excitement. The makeup artist arrives, and then the hairdresser – the flowers are delivered, and the excitement and anticipation builds.
For me, it’s one of the best parts of the day, and here’s why.
1. Get used to the camera
If you’ve had an engagement session with me then you’ll know what to expect, but if you haven’t – bridal prep is a fantastic way to see how I work. Of course, you’ll be too busy getting ready to notice what I’m doing, but it’s a brilliant opportunity for us to get to know each other a little better, and for you to see how laid back and non-shouty I am!
I find that people are generally self conscious for the first ten minutes following my arrival, but after that? You won’t even notice I’m there, and you’ll wonder why you ever felt awkward in front of the camera.
Of course, wedding days are emotionally charged events, and getting ready is packed full of them. The excitement of your bridesmaids. The tears of your bridal party when you step into your dress for the first time, and the look on your father’s face when he sees you for a first look. These are all really important, emotionally charged events that are all too easy to forget.
3. It’s all in the details
For me, weddings are all about moments – the first kiss, the first dance, the way you look at your other half during the ceremony…but let’s not forget your beautiful dress, shoes, and jewellery that may have been passed down from generation to generation. These are all important elements of your day, and bridal prep is an ideal time to photograph these things in a creative way that just won’t be possible later in the day.
4. Telling a story
Finally, your wedding isn’t just about walking down the aisle, or the speeches, or the first dance…getting ready photos are an important part of the day for the reasons outlined above, and as such should be photographed to complete your wedding day story.
Hints & Tips!
If you’d like getting ready photos, plan your timeline accordingly. I like to allow a good two hours to capture everything I need – this gives me time to say hello to everyone, photograph hair, makeup and details, and then leave in good time for the ceremony
Also, if you and your partner would both like getting ready photos, you may need a second photographer depending on location and timings
Speaking about location – how large is the room you’ll be getting ready in? If it’s a small hotel room and there are 15 bridesmaids getting ready with you, then a rethink may be needed.
Make sure clutter is kept to a minimum. Of course, once the Prosecco starts to flow you won’t particularly care, but if you don’t want Jaffa Cake boxes or crisp packets in your photos, make sure they’re deposited of accordingly before I arrive…!
A lot of couples often ask me if I offer videography alongside my wedding photography service. My response has always been, “What, that moving image stuff? Why would you want that? AREN’T PHOTOGRAPHS ENOUGH DAMMIT?!”, before locking myself in a darkened room and weeping gently for twenty minutes or so.
Then it occurred to me like a bolt out of the blue. “Why don’t I team up with someone who understands all this video witchcraft malarkey, and offer a combined photography and videography package?! What a great idea! WE’LL RULE THE WORLD I TELL YOU!!”
So that’s what I did.
I’m absolutely thrilled to announce my partnership with Matt from Matt Roper Films, and as you’ll see from this gorgeous wedding video he clearly knows what he’s doing when it comes to the moving image!
Full day of shooting alongside Dan
Highlights Film (approx 3 mins)
Extended Highlights Film (approx 5-15 mins)
Full Feature Film
all day coverage (until late!)
around 400 full resolution digital files in an online gallery
USB presentation box & 10 prints
25% album credit
Tears of joy guaranteed!
For more information about this fab videography and photography package, please click the big shiny button below and drop me a line!
Hurrah – congrats on your engagement! These may well be challenging times, but let’s not forget you’re engaged and that’s a great excuse to celebrate!
In the last week or two it’s become important to book your wedding photographer asap, because Coronavirus has meant that many of this year’s weddings have been postponed until next year. This means most photographers have fewer slots available next year than normal.
So, to help out and to keep busy in this quiet period I’m offering a free engagement session and a free enlargement print to 3 couples getting married from October 2020 onwards.
It’ll be a fun and creative engagement session outside in the summer, and / or when all of this craziness has calmed down and it’s safe to venture out once again.
There’s no obligation to hire me for your wedding, but if you do you’ll also receive all the digital files from the engagement session. It’s the perfect way to trial your potential wedding photographer to see if they’re a good fit!
To enter the competition, enter your details in the form below before 31st March 2020 at 11.59pm. The winners will be contacted during the following week.
Rules for entering!
Must be an engaged couple
Must be getting married in or after October 2020
Must be willing to travel to London or Kent for the photo session
Let’s face it, weddings are expensive affairs. From the venue, flowers, makeup artist, cake, dress, shoes, buttonholes, details, food, drink…it all adds up very very quickly.
To add insult to injury, wedding photography is perceived to be yet another dent in the wedding budget, when all us photographers are doing is pressing a button (how dare you!) 😉
So I’d like to dispel a few myths, and explain why wedding photography can be a sizable investment (and is worth every penny!)
The whole process of booking clients, photographing weddings and processing photos takes a lot of time. It may look like we’re only spending 8-12 hours working at your wedding, but that’s just the beginning. To explain it more clearly, here’s a list of tasks the average wedding photographer undertakes for each wedding:
Marketing my business to attract couples (ongoing)
Meeting the couple (2 hours) or speaking on the phone (15 – 30 minutes)
Photographing the wedding (8-12 hours)
Downloading, backing up, culling and editing the photos (between 12 – 36 hours)
Designing and ordering the album (2 – 4 hours)
Ordering USB box and prints (30 minutes)
Popping to the Post Office to send the album / USB box (between 30 minutes and 1.5 hours, depending on the queue!)
A wedding is a dynamic, constantly changing event, and the best photographers don’t just capture what’s happening; they use their creative eye to elevate a simple moment into something much more beautiful. They observe the light, and ensure you and your guests are captured in the most flattering way possible. They pay heed to (and sometimes break) the rules of composition. They’re always on the lookout for great light, reflections, shapes, lines, shadows and highlights.
Anyone can capture a photograph, but it takes years of watching and learning the craft of photography to take a photograph that captures the imagination. Not just once, but throughout the entire duration of your wedding day.
Getting “the shot”
Us wedding photographers have to wear many hats (not literally of course – I avoid wearing any type of headgear because when I do, I look like someone with an IQ struggling to reach double figures). What I mean is we have to be masters of a wide variety of photography disciplines.
For example, we have to be able to capture a beautiful portrait. A fleeting moment. A landscape or architecture photo. A first kiss. A tear from the father of the bride. A child’s laughter. These are moments we have to be alert for and can’t be recreated.
We also have to do all of this whilst putting up with the British weather. And bad light. And dark churches and wedding venues. And be able to use a flash. And harness natural light. And we have to make sure that all the fabulous moments that happen at every wedding are photographed. All of this takes skill and experience.
I’m not going to lie – weddings can be stressful affairs. They don’t always run on time. A key member of the wedding party will disappear (usually at the bar) during the group photos. Emotions will run high (usually from spending too much time at the bar). As a wedding photographer, not only do I have to capture all the amazing moments in a creative way, I also have to manage around 100 people at various times during the day.
Every single moment at every single wedding only occurs once. That means that if I miss the photo of you walking down the aisle, that moment has gone forever. If I miss the first kiss, I can’t ask you to recreate it (well I can, but I’m sure you’ll tell me where to go). Over the years I’ve learned to love the melting-pot pressure of weddings, and I thrive under those conditions.
Speaking about pressure, I have a confession. I’m actually quite shy and introverted, so spending a large amount of time being sociable with a group of people I barely know can be extremely tiring. Don’t get me wrong – I love meeting people, photographing them and having a laugh with them, but I’m happier once all the photos are in the bag and I’m back home with a drink in my hand.
When it comes to weddings, what would I consider as “must-haves”? Well, after much deliberation, here’s my answer:
A couple who love each other and want to spend the rest of their lives together
A building / gazebo / pavilion / arbour / some sort of structure to get married under (this applies if you’re getting married in England or Wales)
Someone who can legally marry said couple
Er, that’s it!
Notice I didn’t mention a huge dress? Or a massive bouquet of flowers? Or a ring you can see your reflection in? Or a Michelin star three course meal? Or…a photographer?? (gasp!)
As much as I’d like to consider what I do essential, let’s face it, it isn’t. Breathing is essential. As is eating. Drinking too. Having warmth and shelter is also recommended, along with some sort of social network (no, I’m not talking about Facebook, duh).
Wedding photography, as desirable as it is, is a luxury. You don’t need wedding photographs to get married. You’ll have your memories of the day, after all?
A luxury is defined as something you really want but don’t actually need. I really want an Aston Martin so I can visit friends and family in style. I don’t need one, and my twelve year old Astra will have to do for now.
My point is this – good wedding photography is a luxury. Knowing you’ll receive beautiful photos of your wedding, no matter what the weather conditions are on the day, is a luxury. And it’s a luxury I believe is very much worth paying for.
Solving a problem
My brother has worked in car sales for a while now, and something he said a few years back resonated deeply with me. He said, “Sales isn’t tricking somebody into buying something. It’s finding out what their problem is and then solving it.”
That’s always been my approach to my wedding photography business. For example, one problem a lot of couples have is they detest having their photo taken (as do most people, myself included). To solve that problem, I reassure them by showing them photos of other couples who also thought they hated having their photo taken, but were absolutely thrilled with their wedding photos.
Or I mention how I like to have an engagement / pre-wedding session with some couples, which helps them relax in front of the camera before the big day.
Or I talk about how most couples forget I’m even at their wedding, because I’m very discreet and merge into the background. This means people can relax and be themselves, which results in brilliant photos.
Gear is expensive
Of all the reasons I’ve talked about here, this is possibly (in my eyes) the least valid. Why? Because you shouldn’t have to foot the bill to compensate for my spending habits.
To photograph a wedding successfully, you obviously need to know what you’re doing. You also need equipment that’s up to the task of what you’re trying to achieve. The equipment I use, for example, isn’t brand new. It’s not the latest kit. It certainly isn’t top of the range. However, it’s professional quality, I know how to use it with my eyes closed and I can capture some brilliant photos with it.
I could upgrade to Hasselblad or Phase one cameras for £50k+ each, and then increase my prices tenfold. Would the photos be ten times better? Of course they wouldn’t!
Professional gear is essential, for a myriad of reasons – resolution, low light capability, durability…I could go on, and that’s another subject for another time. However, even though all this kit needs to be paid for, I don’t believe my clients should cough up for my gear choices.
Possibly the most important reason of all. I’ve no idea who originally uttered the following, but this quote perhaps sums up the thrust of this article best of all:
Photos are the only part of your wedding that INCREASE in value over time
A while ago I was looking through some of my Mum and Dad’s wedding photos, and it struck me how many people in those photos are no longer with us. My Dad’s parents. My Mum’s parents. My Dad’s sister-in-law and brother, who sadly passed away recently. These very special people have been preserved in time by the wedding photographer.
What a year it’s been! I’m not normally a gushy person, but I feel this post may contain a certain amount of…well…gush, for want of a better word?!
When I first picked up a camera in anger just over ten years ago, I never dreamed I’d be photographing weddings, visiting so many amazing locations and photographing lots of gorgeous couples. Fast forward a decade and it’s been a year packed full of wonderful wedding moments, some of which are featured below.
Before that, I’d just like to say a few thanks. First (and most) of all, to each and every couple whose wedding I photographed this year. I’m not exaggerating when I say that all of you were utterly brilliant. You made my job much easier – no fuss, no drama, just genuine couples who were all up for relaxing and having a great time on their wedding day. I can’t thank you enough.
Secondly, to all the amazing suppliers and vendors I worked with in 2019. From wedding planners, to hair and makeup artists, to cake makers, florists, videographers, dressmakers…I’ve worked with some insanely talented people over the last 12 months.
Lastly, I’d like to thank my regular assistant Sian. Not only is she a brilliant photographer, she’s also great company and ridiculously easy to get on with. She’s also a calming influence when stressful moments arise, so I’d like to thank her from the bottom of my heart. A big thanks must go to Terry as well for his help and support this year – cheers fella!
One of the great things about weddings is that you get to spend lots of quality time with family and friends.
In fact, some of them you may not have seen for a long time, possibly years, which makes your wedding day extra special.
At Louise and Graeme’s wedding at the Stoke By Nayland Hotel, Essex, that was especially true for me, because Graeme’s my cousin!
I’m not going to embarrass him by telling tales of how we used to watch Raiders of the Lost Ark as kids, and then attempt to reenact some of the scenes from the film by lashing ourselves to my Auntie’s stair banister with a piece of cord (it’s Indiana Jones’ whip, you see).
Erm, I think I might have said a bit too much there…:)
Anyway, I have loads of other brilliant memories of growing up with Graeme. For example, watching Blazing Saddles and laughing far too hard at the campfire scene. Cheering on Jimmy White while he lost yet another Snooker World Championship to Stephen Hendry. Oh Jimmy, how you broke our hearts. Playing cricket on Frinton Beach. The list literally goes on and on.
So to photograph his wedding to the lovely Louise was indeed a pleasure, an honour and a privilege.
Also, it gave my parents who were also guests lots of opportunity to embarrass me while I was working (I’m joking folks, love you really! ♥️)
So huge congrats to both Louise and Graeme, and here’s to a lifetime of married bliss!
Time for another guest post, this time from Matt @ Matt Roper Films!
More and more of my clients these days ask for videographer recommendations, and I’ve worked with some extremely talented people over the past few years. Of course, you just can’t beat the still image, but I can see the appeal of video I suppose 😉
(I’m joking, before I start receiving sackfuls of hate mail from irate videographers!)
I recently worked on a wedding assisting Sian from SJC Photography, and Matt was the videographer. I thought it would be nice to ask him for his top three tips in choosing a wedding videographer, and these were his responses.
Take it away Matt!
1) What are your top 3 tips for anyone choosing a videographer?
i) Watch examples
Choose someone with the style and flow that connects with you. I’ve been told my examples have made prospective brides cry, which is why they booked me.
ii) Don’t leave booking a videographer until the last minute
Why? Because you’ll end up paying a lot more! We all have aspirations to earn a decent living, and as we get better with experience our prices naturally rise £1-200 per year. So book as early as possible, you could save £3-500 by booking 2 years in advance.
iii) Don’t worry about finding a local videographer
We’re all happy to travel!
2) What’s the biggest mistake people make when choosing their videographer?
Not sure I can answer that, but I’ll try!
When it comes to wedding videography, the biggest mistake couples make is not prioritising it as high as photography for example.
It’s a given that if your planning your wedding, you will 100% book a venue, buy a dress and book a professional photographer, but video is still considered a nice to have.
But, it’s also widely known that the thing couples regret most about their wedding is not having a video to relive their day.
3) What’s the best or most unique thing about your service?
I think the best thing about my service is the way I work:
I’m really easy to work with.
I’m responsive to messages.
When it comes to the shoot I try to build a working relationship with the photographers and become a team to ensure both the pictures and video are the best they can be.
I also blend into the background to capture those candid moments that couples miss…
I’m also told I’m a good story teller which comes across in the final edit. ?
Some really helpful tips from Matt there, and here’s where you can find out more about him and his work:
I know what it’s like – you’ve recently become engaged and wedding planning has begun in earnest. However, you soon realise there’s a billion and one things to organise and think about, including photography (obviously), the venue, flowers and a makeup artist.
Luckily for you I’ve interviewed Sam from SJB Hair and Makeup (that’s her in action up there) to find out her top tips for choosing a makeup artist for your wedding day!
Here’s what she had to say:
1) What are your top 3 tips for anyone choosing a hair and makeup artist?
i. Do your research
Unless you’re one of the lucky few and you’re 100% sure about what kind of hair and make-up you want for your big day, you need to do some research. Start by researching online at websites like Pinterest and in wedding magazines to gather ideas of the look you hope to achieve for your wedding day. Once you have an fair idea then you can start to look for your hairstylist and makeup artist in your local area.
Most professional artists use social media platforms to showcase their work like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter…start following those artists you like, look at their galleries on their websites. Focus on their “real life brides”. Models are models for a reason, and are easy to make look good. The best way to judge someone’s work and get a feel for their style is to look at their work on real brides, so you can see the actual hairstyles they have created to last all day – not just for a photo shoot – and make-up that makes us “normal” folk look amazing. Ask yourself – do you like their work? Do the pictures show a variety of styles? Don’t forget to check out their testimonials!
ii. Choose whose work you love and someone you click with
It’s super important that you “connect” and feel at ease with your chosen artist as you are placing a lot of trust in this person on the day. Your chosen hair and makeup artist will be spending most of the morning with you on your big day, so it’s important you get on with them. It’s more than likely you’re going to feel nervous, anxious and excited, so you need to feel relaxed and at ease with the person you choose. Call them before you book anything to have a chat; are they friendly? Do they make a good impression on the phone? Are they willing to give you their time and come across as flexible and open? Do they listen to your ideas about hair and make-up? When you find the right one, book them!
iii. Book early.
Remember, like all your suppliers there is only one of them and if you like them and find you have a connection to them and their work, get them booked in and your wedding date saved in their diary.
2) What’s the biggest mistake people make when choosing their hair and makeup artist?
Not doing their research to see if the artists is the right fit and offers the right service to you the client….that includes style as well as cost.
3) What’s the best or most unique thing about your service?
At SJB hair and makeup, I like to offer a full and comprehensive service to all my clients, and I’m extremely passionate about what I do. For me it’s about creating a hair and makeup style that works for each individual, so I consider the clients wedding dress, personal style, venue and personality as a whole, to ensure the hair and makeup we go for works for every aspect of them and wedding their day. I develop a strong bond with my clients, and for that moment in time we become friends – I never forget that for most my clients it’s their first experience of a wedding day, and its important I make their experience a positive one. One bride I worked with recently said, “When we met you said you look after your brides and you do 100%!” This is and will always be my aim for every bride I work with.
Thanks Sam – fantastic advice! You can find out more about the brilliant service she offers here:
There are a few things you must never do when meeting someone who plays rugby:
Say, “Rugby? Nah, football’s more my thing!”
Crack the old gag about rugby being played by men with funny shaped balls, and
Mention anything that may upset them in any way shape or form, because they’re generally fitter, younger and bigger / stronger than you.
When I first met Demi and Sean to chat about their wedding, I thankfully managed to avoid all of those things (phew!) They were absolutely lovely, had just adopted a couple of cats (that automatically makes them wonderful people in my book), and were looking for relaxed, natural wedding photographs. Sorted.
This is the second wedding I’ve photographed at the magnificent Christ Church in Erith, and I’d like to thank Demi & Sean and all their family and friends for being great fun during the day!