Being a slightly nosey (I mean people centred) person I am always fascinated by how brides go about organising all of their wedding stuff – or wedmin! Some have spreadsheets, some have electronic organisers, many have folders, some have large note books, ipads, phones or piles of loose paper! No matter how things are organised all brides have questions so I thought it would be helpful to have a chat with a real live bride and answer some real questions that might be on your mind!
Bride: How long have you been doing what you do and how did you become a photographer?
Andrew: “Well, I became a photographer professionally in 2003, but I’ve been taking photographs for……… well, I can actually remember the very first photograph I ever took! I remember my parents had a Kodak Instamatic camera and, as a very small child, I took a photograph of the lighthouse at Flamborough. So that was years and years ago, but I trained in 2002 – 2003 and started as a professional photographer then and obviously I’ve been doing it ever since. I think I started really seriously taking photographs maybe when I was 17 or 18 – I did black and white photography and I did all of the processing and all of the printing in my parents bathroom. I converted it into a sort of temporary dark room much to their dismay because it’s quite messy and and the chemicals are smelly! So I suppose I seriously started taking photographs from my late teens and continued into adulthood and then been professionally taking photographs since 2003.”
Bride: What makes you different from all of the other photographers out there?
Andrew: “Me! – I photograph in a way I think that’s very much personal to me and fits in with my view on the world. I’m probably quite down to earth and I think my photography is very open, it’s very honest, it’s authentic and they’re qualities that I like to think I see in myself! I have an interest in longevity and vintage things and that sort of style – so I’m not particularly faddy or fashiony and I think my photography reflects that in that it’s classic, has an authenticity and an individual voice. I’m also quite an emotional person and in my photography I look for the emotion at weddings and for the interactions between people, all things that really fascinate me – that’s what makes my photography unique and different and personal.”
Bride: Who do you work best with?
Andrew: “I really like working with couples who maybe aren’t doing things in a totally traditional way at their wedding. That are happy to be a bit spontaneous, are doing something that reflects them, something that’s personal, possibly a bit quirky, possibly a bit different. I really like working with couples who are – you know – not stressed about if things go slightly wrong, couples who will go with the flow and are just really relaxed, who are madly in love. They are just really wanting to celebrate and have a party. I love photographing weddings where it’s about friends and family and where it’s about having fun and and it becomes about photographing a celebration as well as all of the sort of more formal parts of a wedding. Working with people like that is a great joy – I’ve met some amazing people, photographed some fantastic weddings – days that I still remember years later.”
Bride: How long will you stay for on the day?
Andrew: “I don’t do anything else on a wedding day apart from photograph your wedding so I’m basically available for the whole day really – within reason. I tend to start with the bride’s preparations in the morning and then photograph right the way through the day until first dance in the evening. I don’t really put any time restriction on that because weddings generally run late – it’s too important a day to be clock watching! I’m happy to stay later in the evening if you’re having fireworks or you’re leaving by helicopter or similar (!) – I’m genuinely flexible on timings for the day. The way I photograph is all about sort of the story telling and covering the whole day so it’s important for me to be there from the beginning through to the end.”
Bride: Is travel included?
Andrew: “Yes, within around 2 hours – I’m happy to travel within 2 hours of Cambridge. I also enjoy doing weddings further afield so I’m very happy to quote for travel further than this if needed.”
Bride: How many pictures will we receive?
Andrew: “It varies from wedding to wedding and I’m much more interested in quality than quantity. I see it as part of my job to edit the wedding with as much care and attention to detail as possible. You ‘ll receive a set of pictures that tell the story of the day, reflect everything that happened, but there won’t be duplicates in there, there won’t be any photographs with any odd expressions or closed eyes – there won’t be loads of pictures of the same thing over and over again. So, I do a really tight, high quality edit. It’s difficult to say how many photographs, I generally find around about between 250 and 300 is a really good number. I think there’s a number of photographers that provide more than that, but I really think it’s quite overwhelming to get more. Between 250 and 300 seems to work really well.”
Bride: Do you take formal group photographs?
Andrew: “Yes of course – I think it’s really important to do those. However, my style is very much photographing “as it happens” so I like to keep them to a minimum. The key is to plan them beforehand, work out who’s going to be in them at the planning meeting, work out who’s going to help me find people, when we’re going to do them, where we’re going to do them and what happens if it rains! Then they can be fast and fun – they should be pretty much stress free!”
Bride: When will the photographs be ready to view?
Andrew: “I generally get the photographs online within a couple of weeks or so of each wedding. If I’m doing one wedding on a Saturday and a wedding the Saturday after, I generally work just on that wedding in the week in between and have the pictures ready and online by the next Saturday – hope that makes sense!? That’s the best way for my own peace of mind and workflow. It helps me a lot to do them quickly like that. That’s not a cast-iron guarantee however, but I am genuinely quite quick at editing. I like to edit while the pictures are fresh in my mind and I can remember what happened on the day and the relationships between the people.”
Bride: How long will the album take to be ready?
Andrew: “My albums are individually hand made to order and so take a little time to arrive! They are well worth the wait and, depending on the time of year, are ready 8 to 12 weeks after final approval of the proofs.”
Bride: Will it be you taking the photographs?
Andrew: “Indeed! Yes. I will personally liase with you, photograph your day, edit your photographs and design your album. I have some administrative help but I am the person you will directly work with all the time.”
Bride: What happens if you are ill on the day?
Andrew: “I have never missed a wedding (in fact I photographed one with a fractured elbow) and things would have to be extremely bad for me not to be there. However, unexpected events do happen in which case I know several other photographers and would endeavour to secure a replacement or you would get all your money back. I am fully insured for both public liability and indemnity so this would ensure your financial security. The only real way to avoid this slight risk is to go to a larger studio where there may be several photographers but there you may well miss out on the personal service and quality of brand that I provide.”
Bride: Can we have our pictures in colour or black and white?
Andrew: “No problem. I will make the initial choice of black and white or colour but can change that if you wish. I love black and white and most weddings naturally come out at about 50/50% black and white to colour but I am happy to change that if you prefer.”
Bride: We love you! How do we book?
Andrew: “Oh, you lovely people! Generally it’s a good idea for us to meet first to talk through your ideas for the photography for your day. At this meeting I can show you images from several complete weddings, albums and wall art and answer questions. I will go through the price guide and contract and then leave you to make your decision. To go ahead and finalise the booking I require a signed contract and a booking fee with the remainder of the balance payable one month before the wedding.”