Describe your approach?
I'd describe my approach as relaxed, very relaxed. Some people call it documentary, reportage, photojournalistic - really though from a photography perspective it's street photography with a bit of the others mixed in. During the day I mingle, chat and fit in. Part of my unique selling point is I don't act like a photographer, I don't blend into the background like a lot of people -I don't feel as a photographer you can tell an emotive story from the outside looking in, plus people tend to notice someone creeping around in the background like they don't really belong there. So I'm right in the middle of it, like I belong at your wedding - which I do. I've found this approach brings far more acceptance, relaxes people a lot more and allows them to be themselves.
Left to my own devices I'll photograph a wedding 100% documentary style, nothing will be orchestrated, no interruptions, nothing set up. Don't get me wrong though, if people do want 2% worth of informal couple portraits I'll do that
I'm perfect for people who don't like the idea of having their picture taken.
How long do you stay at a wedding?
I don't set a time limit for your wedding day, every wedding is unique and I hate the thought of you having to shuffle things along at pace or thinking about getting your first dance done so you're not stung with an 'extra hours' bill after your wedding. As a photographer who's there to tell the full story of your day it's not right if I start forcing you to hurry that story up, so I want your day to be relaxed and stress free. I stay as long as there are things to photograph. My day typically starts early morning for the preparation and continues until your party fizzles out, you'll probably have noticed a few pictures on my website of empty venues with randomly scattered remnants of your party - yes I'm often the last man standing. That can be anything up to 17 hours or more, so don't worry I've got your full day and night covered.
Why don't I pose people or tell them what to do?
Why should I, why would I? The advantage of being a good reportage wedding photographer is that I notice things, an awful lot of things. There's absolutely no need to tell you to smile on your wedding day is there??? I 'could' put you in poses but we both know you'll feel unnatural, awkward - and because of that you'll be stiff and not you. You want your wedding pictures to be you don't you?
That's the beauty of documentary, you get pictures of you at your most relaxed and natural, genuine smiles, no feeling of awkwardness, 100% you not a made up version of you.
Don't get me wrong, if you absolutely want a 2 minute portrait that's not a portrait session that's fine, but don't expect it to take up that time you should be spending enjoying yourselves. The biggest regrets people have over their wedding pictures are:
1. We spent too long on staged stuff, we only used 1 of those pictures. We wished we had spent more time with our family and guests
2. We wish we had more pictures of the 'atmosphere', people enjoying our day with us, not avoiding eye contact with a photographer or being herded around for pictures.
Where are you based?
I live in Cheshire, UK and have done for the last 18 years. I was born and grew up in Wales.
Will you travel for weddings?
Of course. I'm rather niche so people who want what I offer can't find anything similar locally, couples tend to find me from all over the UK & Europe. I'm asked to travel a lot, which I'm more than happy to do. Most of my weddings are away from home, so yes I can and do travel extensively across the UK, Ireland, Europe and Internationally.
Do you photograph weddings alone?
For the most part, yes. Two photographers aren't better than one. Having more than one photographer at a wedding can be rather intrusive for you and your guests. Most of the weddings you see are photographed by myself only. I'm a firm believer in letting you enjoy your day, rather than having numerous people taking your picture constantly - for my low key approach there's a perfect balance between taking the right amount of pictures and getting on your nerves, that works best if I'm on my own.
The only exception to this would be if you're having a huge wedding with 250+ guests where sometimes a second photographer may be required to provide enough discreet coverage. For anything larger than that I can provide a team of photographers / videographers.
What equipment do you use?
Someone asked me this so I'll answer it. I use a Fujifilm X-pro 2 camera and a single prime 18mm lens. That's it. It looks like a small film camera, does very well at visually saying "I'm not a photographer" but is very good at taking pictures (actually it's me who takes the pictures not the camera).
I also carry a Ricoh GR II camera with me in my pocket, it's as small as a mobile phone yet produces the same quality of pictures as the Fujifilm one. There's a bunch of backup equipment in a bag too, but that stays out of sight - it's just there in case something happens to either of my main cameras. I carry a small camera to fit in with your guests, my whole approach at a wedding is for people to feel comfortable, be relaxed and be themselves - I don’t want people seeing me as the wedding photographer, more just as one of them. This enables me to capture the most natural images of people enjoying your day.
How will we receive our pictures?
I use a beautiful online gallery system to share your images with you. From this private gallery you can share images to friends and family or to social media. You can also print good quality images through my print partner, or download individual images or the full gallery so you can store it on your hard drive at home. The images are guaranteed to be on the site for at least a year.
When can I expect my wedding pictures back?
I usually say around 6 - 8 weeks during busy periods. I do bust my ass to get you your pictures as soon as possible, so I'll happily stay up way into the early hours editing to make sure you get them as fast as possible (without sacrificing quality of course!!!). I don't release a gallery until I'm perfectly happy with it, I’m very proud of the work I produce and the editing process is a big part of that. Each and every picture gets my undivided attention.
Have you photographed at my venue before?
I travel so far and wide I rarely shoot the same venue more than once. Is it relevant? absolutely not. There is no such thing as needing to be familiar with a venue once you go past the 'keen amateur' status of being a photographer. The great thing about seeing a new venue at every wedding is the creativity that brings to the photographic process. As a photographer I’ve been offered a number of ‘residential’ positions at venues, while that’s lovely I feel that visiting the same venue on a regular basis leads to a certain amount of complacency, new places encourage creativity and excitement.
Do I offer albums?
Yes I do. The truth is not many people want them these days, we live in a digital age I guess. I do like printed pictures though, so I always have the option. One thing I don't do is 'free albums' because ultimately they aren't free. There's a mark-up applied to albums on top of the cost price, if you plump for a free album package you're paying for it, it just means you're probably not aware you are. That doesn't sit well with me, you pay the price for photography - that's the value of a decent photographer. If you choose to buy an album it should be a choice, not forced on you as a hidden cost. My albums can all be purchased after your wedding, no rush, no pressure and no mark-up - yes that's right, you get them at cost price.
Do I offer prints?
Of course, I much prefer framed prints over albums to be honest, pictures should be on walls if you ask me. Framed prints can be ordered through your online gallery in various sizes and styles, again it's entirely your choice. When I deliver your wedding pictures I'll also send you a discount code for prints if you wish to order any, they are made by Loxley colour (the best lab in the UK) in case you were wondering. Don't forget though - the pictures I make for you are yours, there's absolutely nothing stopping you from downloading your favourite ones and having them printed yourself if you want, it's entirely your choice.
Am I insured?
Yes of course. I'm not a nincompoop. Some venues ask me to show insurance before your wedding just in case I demolish the place I guess.
Why should we pick you?
I’m different (and so says everyone else!). Really though, my approach is unique. I’m actually like a guest, not a photographer unsettling people with a couple of huge cameras. I’m also a genuine specialist at documentary work, I’m very good at what I do, which from your perspective is photographing the feeling of your day. Consistency, all the pictures you see are random selections from real wedding galleries - I don’t just show my ‘oh WOW look at these’ pictures, I show a full spectrum chosen at random, every picture you get is quality, will have meaning to you and isn’t simply a filler to pad out a finished gallery. I stay all day and night so you get a full story, not just one up to the first dance. Really though, you have to decide the answer to that question - I could be telling you anything !