I work alone. A lone photographer is more discreet and more in keeping with a candid documentary approach. I shoot digitally using fast professional prime lenses on the whole. Whenever possible I use the available light to retain the atmosphere of the event rather than blasting it to kingdom come with flash, and using silent, mirrorless Sony A9 cameras, allows me to work this way – often shooting a whole wedding without using a flashgun. I am after ‘atmosphere’ and being as unobtrusive as possible. Neither do I turn the couple shots into fashion shoots. I favour quiet, classic images of a couple who have just made their commitment to each other, shot quickly in the best light available. If group shots are wanted, I recommend keeping these to a minimum – just some of the immediate families only. I often only get asked to do two or three as couples hire me for the reportage photography instead. A list and an usher as ‘shepherd’ are very useful. If there are particular people that you want photographed (or even people that you don’t!), then it is good to have these pointed out. But these groups always take longer than you imagine, so it does mean less time for the natural photos and means that as a couple you stand around rather than enjoying mixing with your friends. More about group shots here...
A completely honest answer? Yes, it can. The idea of the documentary/photojournalistic approach is to create a narrative of the day. To do this well requires having the freedom to roam, to seek out angles and capture moments. This can be seriously compromised by a videographer (and worse, two or three of them) blocking views and locations with big tripods and their gimmicky sliders. Some locations mean there are limited angles. It can be particularly problematic during the ceremony, when a videographer grabs the best position (and sometimes there is just one perfect angle) while I am busy shooting the reportage of the bride arriving, etc. In the past few years I have shot several weddings for filmmakers, who did not hire a videographer. Working for the BBC, National Geographic – they understood the impact it can have on the photography. But I am happy to send you some names of excellent videographers that I've worked well with in the past.
Every full package gets a minimum of 400 high resolution images from your wedding, in both colour and B&W. Usually more. These have all been individually processed to a high standard (not just straight from the camera, which does not get the best from digital files) and are ready to print from. I provide a printed license with these, asserting your right to use and print from these files for your personal use, as big, as small and as often as you like. These images will also be posted to a password-protect online gallery for you to view, and for friends and family to order prints from. There is information about albums here.
Every image is shot in colour and therefore there is always both a colour and a B&W version available. Left to myself, I would work mainly in B&W. For me, it is more timeless, more flattering, and can get past many problems such as poor or dull light (it often is in the UK) and nasty artificial mixed light that even the best digital camera sensors struggle with. Not every wedding is bathed in the golden evening sun, where certainly colour comes into its own. B&W also reflects the history of photojournalism/documentary photography, giving a more ‘authentic’ fly-on-the-wall look. Even on a bright day, the tonal range of B&W can look stunning. I’ve shot many weddings solely in B&W. But there is always an individually processed colour version of each and every image.
Simple answer, yes! Frankly I am not the kind of wedding photographer who delights in shooting at the same local venues week after week, and for this reason I don’t seek to be on any recommended lists at venues. That’s not to say I don’t have my favourite venues, but as a photojournalist, one of the best aspects of the job is to go to new places and see new people. So yes, I will travel, as I love to work at new venues. Within the UK, I have shot weddings from Cumbria to Devon, from West Wales to Norfolk, North Yorkshire to the Isle of Wight. I do charge for travel past 50 miles in total – the cost is agreed before the wedding day, to cover petrol or train fares. If the venue is far away, the cost of overnight accommodation would be added, usually for the night before to avoid the lottery of traffic jams on this island, and possibly for the night after as well. Usually the extra cost is not significant. For weddings abroad, the costs charged (or paid direct by the client) would include such things as the flights, airport transfers, taxis, accommodation, car rental if needed, and meals. But this isn’t as expensive as it may sound, if cheap flights are booked well in advance. I have shot weddings in various parts of France, Mallorca, Denmark, North Cyprus and Portugal, and am very open to further destinations.
My standard coverage is from getting ready shots until after the first dance. Up to nine hours coverage. I would say that this covers 95% of wedding days. If no getting ready shots are wanted, that opens up more space in the coverage for other aspects of the day. Similarly, I don’t run off into the night once the first dance is over, but try to get a flavour of any further partying to finish the coverage off. If extra hours of coverage really are needed – in the past I’ve covered a revue being performed, and several grooms jamming with their own bands – then these would be charged at £300 an hour/part thereof. I find most couples do organize a meal for me, but if not, just let me know so I can bring some sandwiches. Not a problem.
Now there’s the real question! What can I say? There’s no photography assignment that matters more to the client than a wedding. It’s deeply personal – one of the most significant days in their lives. For the photographer, there’s no second chance, no margin for error. And that’s where experience counts. Hire me if you want someone with twenty years+ of experience as an award-winning professional photographer. A natural eye combined with experience is the best formula. Hire me if my photography, my eye, my way of seeing, hits the mark for you. Look at what I shoot – would this tell the story of your wedding well? But don’t hire me if you want traditional, cheesy, gimmicky, by-the-numbers traditional images. My aim is to capture honest, classic images of your day. I try to keep both the creation and presentation of the images simple but effective. My style has many labels – documentary, unobtrusive, informal, reportage, observational, photojournalism. A good wedding photojournalist observes and captures, while keeping direction to a minimum. Above all, they have the ‘eye’ and the ability to respond to changing situations, to adapt and create away from the formulaic. My goal: to raise some smiles and with them some tears, and to enrich your memories of your day.
As part of the paperwork, I ask you to fill in an info sheet outlining the who, what, where and when of the wedding day. If we don’t meet or talk before, we will certainly talk in the week prior to the wedding to discuss the timings and logistics of the day – usually when we have a reasonable idea of the weather forecast. I am happy to help with any questions before this though, as a photographer’s perspective can help with layouts, timings, etc that venues aren’t aware of. Another option is the engagement or pre-wedding shoot. Not everyone wants one of these, or even has the time, but they can provide a nice set of relaxed couple shots. We would set up a convenient time and location – usually during the week and in spring/summer, a nice sunny evening. The result of this shoot is a selection of high-res images for you to keep and print how you like.