Frequently Asked Questions
What’s documentary photography all about?
I work as a Manchester-based documentary wedding photographer, otherwise known as reportage or wedding photojournalism. This approach means I’ll work to naturally document your day by capturing the little moments and quirks that make the experience unique to you. Weddings are full of stories and my job is to find the photos that will tell them; encapsulating the best moments just for you.
My working style is laidback- I’ll take the opportunity for a great photo when it comes. I don’t want to disrupt your day by forcing you into posed set-ups that hold no real meaning to you, I’m here to capture the real moments and real emotions that will occur. There are times at weddings when there seems to be a collective heartbeat- faces light up and everyone lends their attention to a certain subject, e.g. the cutting of the cake, toasts, arrivals and partings, and I find passion in capturing the joy that accompanies this sense of togetherness. All I wish to provide you with are photographs that have meaning of their own; a collection of memories that you can look back on in years to come.
I adore the hustle and bustle atmosphere that weddings bring. I am skilled in blending into the surroundings and adapting to any mishaps that may come along- from rain to hail to gale-force winds. In fact, I welcome chaos with open arms, knowing that as an experienced photographer I can turn it into a story worth sharing.
In a nutshell, my style is to observe the environment and document the moments as they come. The authenticity of an image is something I value highly as a photographer, and I seek to capture this truthfulness through my work for you.
What I don’t do is herd everyone around, line you up, pose you and force you to awkwardly smile on cue, although I will do some posed shots if that’s what you want. What I do is quietly observe and record everything that’s going on around me; when the tears are shed, jokes are shared and even when Uncle Eddie starts stutting his stuff on the dance-floor I’ll be there ready to immortalise the moment.
Do you work as a professional photographer full time?
Yes, I am a full-time professional photographer. However, that’s not to say weddings are the only thing I point my camera at; I earn some of my living as a professional fine art portrait photographer, and street photography is also a particular passion of mine, and has been since the beginning. It has allowed me to experiment with different techniques freely, and this experimentation has been invaluable to me in its role in developing my skills as a documentary photographer.
When working for clients full-time as a photographer, I seek to document the significant moments in people’s lives. I find that the cross-pollination of photographic subjects and events contributes to my ongoing education and as such makes me a better photographer of people. With street photography in particular, staying fresh and shooting a variety of interesting subjects prevents me from falling into a rut of churning out the same formulaic photographs. In amongst the chaos of the moment, I am able to find an inner calm in which life crystallises with light, shadow, movement and emotions.
So, you’re a documentary wedding photographer…does this mean you won’t take formal group portraits?
Of course not. I understand that for many couples who hire me; there is a wish for the traditional group and couple portraits, and I’m more than happy to fulfil these wishes. I try to keep formal shots like these light-hearted and fun, and aim to have them done in around 15-20 minutes at the most. I’d prefer to agree on a designated time slot with you for group portraits like these to be taken, so the flow of the day is not disturbed, and I can be as unobtrusive as possible.
Do you use flash during the wedding ceremony?
I prefer to work with natural light whenever is possible, and will watch the light throughout the day in order to use it to my advantage aesthetically. I will use flash when the natural light has fallen below levels I can use, but I aim to capture my subjects in whatever lighting is available as I feel the lighting can depict the mood of the moment.
Can we meet with you before the wedding?
Of course! You are invited to meet with me at my Manchester based studio or over a coffee in your favourite café near me. For long-distance customers, we can chat on the phone or through emails, and I am available on Skype if you would prefer to talk face to face.
I believe it is important to establish a relationship of trust with my customers, so I can really get a feel for your personalities and wants in a photographer. We don’t have to meet; there are many other ways to communicate, and I feel the most important thing is to be able to talk or chat conveniently. After booking, there will be numerous occassions when we can get in touch and discuss your day. I am easy to be around and will be able to get to know you and your ideas quickly; as you being comfortable and confident in your choice is my main priority.
How do you approach civil ceremonies and gay marriages?
Exactly like any other wedding.
How do we book you?
Just contact me at any time and I will check availability. You are more than welcome to meet me to discuss your wedding further over a coffee.
I require a completed and signed contract and a non-refundable booking fee of £250 to confirm the booking. The retainer fee can be paid by bank transfer or cheque. I can’t hold dates without the form and fee. The full balance will then be due 28 days before the wedding.
Do we need to feed you?
Definitely not. You have enough “on your plate” without having to worry about feeding a hungry photographer! I always bring a packed lunch along with me so I can free myself up for taking more photographs throughout the day. I eat at the same time as you, as this is a time when photographs of half-eaten plates and empty bottles don’t make a great back-drop.
What equipment do you use?
I use Fuji X System cameras, and have streamlined their use to allow me to take shots quickly without having to think about any technical matters in the moment. I have two camera bodies with me for most of the day, both equipped with two prime lenses- a wide angle lens and a close portrait lens. I also keep other spare camera bodies and other lenses in the car.
My equipment is not the bulky intimidating kind favoured by many traditional photographers; I use smaller cameras that have the same professional image quality, but enable me to move comfortably around the wedding and capture interesting shots without the hindrance of heavy equipment.
How far are you willing to travel?
That’s simple, I’m willing to travel anywhere, including weddings abroad.
I do charge for travel and accommodation when going abroad; and for weddings over a 50-mile radius of Manchester, I ask for B&B accommodation to be provided the night before the wedding. This is so I am able to arrive fresh and on time in order to capture every second of your day without having to battle any motorway madness. I can book my own, reasonably-priced B&B; this is usually about £80. I only charge you what I pay, no more, no less. I do not charge for time travelling to and from the wedding, or fuel.
What happens if you get ill?
I’ve worked at hundreds of weddings over my career, and have never missed one yet, but if an extreme circumstance were to occur, there is no cause for worry. I’m a member of various professional communities of like-minded photographers, and would work hard to find you the best possible replacement in time for your wedding.
Are we allowed to print the photographs ourselves?
Yes, you will be provided with a high quality USB drive of the images, all individually edited, and will have full rights to print them for your family and friends, copy them to other devices, share them on social media, etc.