Parm & Tej’s Wedding

Parm and Tej’s wedding always brings back a smile. I was second shooting for my friend Matt Badenoch Photography (www.mattbadenoch.com) and was covering the brides side for the day. It was a lovely summers day and the sun was shining bright. I arrived really early for the bridal prep. Had an amazing time with the family being part of their special day. Thank you Parm and Tej for allowing me access. Thank you Matt for the opportunity.

Venue: www.venuesoflondon.co.uk

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How to hire creative artists for your big day ?

Like many brides and grooms, your wedding could be the first time you’ll be hiring a creative professional. You might think that the process of hiring wedding photographer are as simple as writing a cheque. What could be so difficult, right? But just ask any talented pro, and you’ll get a detailed explanation as to why it’s so important to truly understand their creative process.How you manage your relationship with a wedding photographer/videographer can have just as profound of an impact on the images & video as the day unfolding before the camera. Ideally you and your creative artist both want the same outcome; amazing photos & video that capture the true essence of the wedding day.

For me, one of the best things about being a wedding photojournalist is that I capture the day as it unfolds without restraint or interference. It’s the fleeting moments that take place when you least expect it.

What is my approach ?

I take my time to understand the couple and get to know them. For me trust is key. The couple and their families need to feel like they trust me and can allow me access into their lives. Only then can I take pictures that are real and not staged. So for me, it’s about making connections with people in an open and honest way from the onset. If someone doesn’t like my style or approach, I’d rather know from the start so that I can suggest an alternative for them. This allows me to only focus on the people who appreciate and value my approach.

What is the price for professional photography ?

Let’s ignore albums for a minute and just talk about prices for photography and a disk/USB (I know not all photographers sell the files… but let’s assume they do for the minute).

You can spend anything from pretty much zero to £10,000 for a UK wedding photographer – and if you look worldwide you can pay even more! You’ve probably seen some of this already with ads promising high quality coverage both for £395, £995, £1495, £1995 and £2995. Why pay £2995? Or is £395 enough for everyone? It’s down to your choice of what is an acceptable standard for you. 

Why do I charge £1450 for a 10 hour package? My charge is a reflection of my experience over the years. I have over 12 years experience of wedding photography. This enables me to know about handling large crowds. Capturing moments and talking to people in away to get the right photos. It’s also about the equipment I use. I have top of the range camera’s and prime lenses that are super fast for those precious moments. I also know how to creatively light my subjects (even on a dull day) and pose them to get those fine art shots. Why should you pay the extra over a photographer who charges £1000 or £1250?  It’s all in the detail. The final product and how it’s delivered to you. How much post-production work will be done and how much time the photographer spends on the delivery. I take a lot of pride in my work and touch up all the images for brightness, contrast and sharpness. I then further edit the book images to remove and retouch images for a unique look.

Let’s start with an average though. The accepted norm in the UK wedding industry is to spend 10-15% of your wedding budget on your wedding photographer, or 20% if the quality of your memories are particularly important to you. That makes the average spend around the £1200 mark, but that amount is obviously location dependent.

What you will find is that photography mirrors the food industry: for both £5 and £500 you can buy a thing called “a meal”; they are both food, but they are incredibly different. The £5 meal will contain sustenance that your body needs (along with some it doesn’t..), while the £500 meal will be a work of art. The £500 chef knows about aspects of cooking that the £5 cook doesn’t even know exist. The same is true of wedding photographers. The typical price brackets for a full day of photography are as follows. These are average prices for your guidance from across the UK (London being the most expensive).

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How to get the best deal ?

A. Get the ball rolling by making contact. Get your dates, hours and location to a few suppliers and start talking to them. The better they know and understand you, the more likely you’ll get a good deal and outcome you are expecting. Arrange time to go and see and meet them.  A personal face-to-face approach is the best way to see who you will be dealing with. 

B. Get a few like for like quotes. Go though them and list the pro’s and cons for each. Talk to your chosen supplier to see if they can adjust things to suit your requirements and budget.

C. Once you have done your home work. You will be in a better position to negotiate and make a better deal.  Remember the best time of the year to book for a summer wedding is in Dec/Jan.

Which supplier to choose ?

It seems that anyone “with a good camera” is seen as a potential wedding photographer.

There are so many suppliers out there. Everyone with a camera and kit can call themselves professional. So how do you tell the difference between a skilled artist and someone who is masquerading with someone else’s work ?  Naturally, you will be able to distinguish from the chalk and cheese and go with your instinct as to what is quality and what is substandard. Remember that every industry has it’s fair share of beginners, experienced professionals and rogue traders.  Below are a few pointers as to how you can spot the real deal from the time wasters.

1) Very Cheap Pricing

Rogue traders will attempt to lure you in by offering supremely cheap rates. It could also be the mark of an inexperienced or amateur trader, who doesn’t know how services should be priced. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. This is why it is important to do your research to determine the market price range for similar job. We recommend getting at least three quotes from a range of suppliers so you can be sure their prices are appropriate. Be sure to get a like for like comparison. The variable include date,  duration of cover, number of photographers. What you get at the end. The skills and experience of the people shooting the wedding. The equipment used to shoot and process the work after the big day.  Once you’ve looked at a few peoples work. Quality is something you can often judge by looking at the product and talking to the suppliers. Go with your instinct!

What we do ?

Our prices are not the cheapest nor are we at the high end of the market. We know where we are with regards to our own work and where it sits in the industry. We have taken the time to research and understand the market to see what is out there. So when someone says ‘you are too expensive’ or the price is too ‘high’, our usual response is ‘compared to what?’. For the hours and time that is involved, we are confident that our prices are very competitive. As a business there are so many costs that are not visible such as overheads and what happens after the images have been captured i.e the editing stage. We don’t like cutting corners or compromising on quality. For this reason, our prices are what they are. We really don’t mind price comparisons or people who genuinely are looking for a deal. We are happy to discuss prices and explain why our prices are what they are.

2) Unwilling to provide a written quote

Legitimate suppliers are happy to provide written quotes for work. Rogue traders are unwilling to put costs in writing because they do not want to commit to anything, usually because they do not intend to do what they have promised. Many couples do not realise there is a difference between quotes and estimates. A quote is an offer to do the work for a set amount and once agreed, that offer must be adhered to. An estimate is a best guess at how much a job will cost. Some rogue traders will only offer estimates. While there may be legal recourse if the estimate turns out to be unrealistic, the safest thing to do is to get an actual fixed quote in writing before you commit to having work done.

We provide a full written quote up front once we get the date, hours and location. The quote outlines all costs to include things that you might want after the wedding. For instance this could be bigger story books or perhaps additional pages or edited images.

3) Can’t provide references

Most reputable traders will have a string of good references that they would be happy to share with a prospective client. You wouldn’t apply for a job without references to support your application; if a trader is not able to supply you with a single positive recommendation from a former client, this should be a major cause for concern.

We have a string of clients who would be happy for you to make contact with them. Simply ask and we will give you details of people you can contact.

4) Overly keen to start the job

Rogue traders are often keen to start a job quickly because they are already planning on moving to a new area, or are concerned about the authorities catching up with them. Reputable traders will work with you to find a time that is mutually convenient. We work with you to produce a time-line that reflects your events. We will then plan our level of involvement. We also understand your expectations on how involved you would like to be from the start.

5) Will not provide any contact or business information

A reputable business will have a landline and a registered business address. Many will also have a website or some form of online presence. If a tradesperson is reluctant to share details about their company, it could be because they are not a legitimate tradesperson. A trader might also be reluctant to share details because their reputation is so poor. For both of these reasons, it is important you obtain as much information as you can from a trader about their business. If in doubt, ask to visit their premises and request proof of credentials and qualifications.

We will provide our business details from the start. This includes our address, website details and social media details. We meet all of our couples before we take the booking. 

6) Lies about credentials

Many couples assume that if a trader has a website or a social media presence they must be professional. Anyone can create a website and it’s not unknown that images can be grabbed from google to create fake profiles. Ask to see the artist’s current work looks like and details about who the clients are. A full wedding from start to finish shows the style and what you can expect. We have been in business for over 12 years and have lots of work from start to finish to show you.

7) Only accepts cash or demands full payment up-front

Many rogue suppliers will ask for a full payment upfront without any written plans, making it easy for them to leave without finishing the job and leaving you with little negotiating power if the work is poor. Avoid this by ensuring your contract with the supplier states payment terms and what goods you will receive with a clear time-line for when you can expect goods.

What do we do ?

For us. The most important thing is about being on the same page as our clients with regards to what they want and what we can deliver. So we arrange a free consultation first of all. We then provide a clear breakdown of costs and an agreement with everything written down. Once this is signed, we request the deposit be paid with a payment plan that is suitable for the client. Dates are locked and we talk to our couples before the main day to plan and support the process.

Jo & Mike’s wedding

Jo & Mike’s Wedding |Alrewas Hayes|  Staffordshire

I was asked to second shoot for a good friend of mine ( Ben Pollard Photographer :www.benjaminthephotographer.co.uk) The wedding was for Mike and Jo whose second shooter was pulled away sick. So I covered last minute. I covered the groom prep and followed the ceremony though out the day. Had a smashing time with Mike and the boys. Thank you to the lovely couple and their family and friends for allowing me to be part of something so special. Thank you Ben for giving me the space to do what I love.

Venue: http://alrewashayes.com/

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Jo & Mikes