Five Important Things to Know When Choosing Your Photographer

Five Important Things to Know When Choosing Your Photographer

This post is hopefully a helpful one that will help you to make more considered decisions when choosing your photographer. You are trusting one person to capture that special day, one person to seek out beautiful emotion and fleeting moments. I don’t mean to fluster you at all, I am here to help, so hopefully the below will 🙂 

1. Meet your potential photographer. This is absolutely the most important part of finding your DREAM wedding photographer. Not only do you trust your photographer to capture your wedding perfectly, but you are intimately involving them in every part of your day. From being with you as you get ready to organising and being with your closest family members, your photographer is with you directly at least 90% of the time. So you need to make sure that you like them and can imagine them ‘fitting in’ with those closest to you. This is the most important part in my booking process because I like to know that my brides have not just chosen me because they like my work but because they like and trust me. Get in touch and I will send you my beautiful e-brochure and we can schedule a completely informal and fun chat over a cup of tea/coffee.

2. Beautiful Dreamy Styled Shoot Imagery How many times have you seen a STUNNINGLY gorgeous image on Style Me Pretty or Wedding Sparrow and almost gasped at how bloody beautiful the flowers are, or how perfect the table looked full with intrinsict and creative detail? More likely than not, this will be a styled shoot. A styled shoot is where wedding industry professionals come together to create something dreamy and aspirational that their brides will just adore. The shoot is styled to perfection with multiple chances for re-takes. These are fab ways to get inspiration for your own wedding, however styled shoots require a completely different skill set to photographing a wedding where every moment is fleeting and then gone forever. Many photographers get involved in styled shoots as they can put their heart and soul into creating something they love. I do, and as a creative it’s wonderful. It means I can create imagery and pretty detail that I LOVE in the hope that the imagery will attract brides planning similar weddings or who have similar tastes to me. Photographing a lovely couple who I get on with so well AND have equal loves and tastes makes me adore photographing their wedding even more. I mean, why wouldn’t everyone want to go to work everyday and feel completely overwhelmed with excitement and passion because everything they are doing there truly resonates with them emotionally and creatively? I know I certainly do, which is why many of us will create styled shoots, which leads me onto point number 3….

3. Portfolio.
Ensure to ask to see a full wedding gallery of a recent wedding they photographed. Remember, a photographer’s website showcases their best work; work they are proud of, weddings they loved and want to shoot more of, and aspirational imagery that they know their bride’s will love. This is exactly how I present my website and my work as will many others. However it is advisable to ask your photographer to see a full gallery of a recent wedding, not because you don’t trust they can do it, but to see how they cover a wedding so you are fully aware of what to expect from their service. If a photographer says they have a reportage and documentary style, then allow them to show you exactly how that looks. Links to my portfolio can be found here but do get in touch if you want to see a full wedding and i can send you a private link and password to view one.

4. You get what you pay for.
I am not going to go on too much about this point (as I can sense a whole blog post coming soon!) but as with anything in this world, you get what you pay for. With a wedding, it is widely assumed that everyone ‘bumps the price up’ just because it’s a wedding. I can in fact tell you that this is just not true, from personal experience of getting married to working in the industry. Weddings ARE an expense. They don’t have to be crazy, but a venue is not ‘having you on’ with the £7K hire fee, and a wedding florist isn’t coning you because your bouquet is going to cost £125. There is so much behind the scenes the people don’t realise but the costs are the costs, it’s as simple as that. When you are spending a lot of money on your wedding, whether a lot of money to you is £7K total or £35K total, why would you risk that one and only chance for the day to be captured perfectly and professionally by scrimping on your wedding photography? Photographs are memories and will be more important to you after your day than you realise.
Of course, there are different price brackets for services in the wedding industry, and with photography this certainly is an area where prices vary. There is so much to say about this and I will write a post on the breakdown of the cost but I’ll leave you with this thought, if it sounds too good to be true, then it WILL be too good to be true. Cheap may mean poor service, poor quality, no insurance, unprofessional equipment, lack of experience or what I call ‘a wedding factory’. INVEST IN YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY! Please read my wedding investment page to understand how I feel about this.

5. Recognition and Recommendation.
I think there can be very mixed opinions on this as I’ve heard some people say that being ‘award winning’ doesn’t mean anything anymore. I also know photographers who have not won an award that are INCREDIBLE who I would refer enquiries to in a second If I was already booked!
When you are looking for a photographer, and they claim to be ‘award winning’, let me explain what this can mean 🙂
There are different types of awards photographers can win, some are solely judged on a submitted image, and others are judged on the service of that photographer as voted by their clients. You may or may not have heard of ‘Fearless Photographers’ or even the ‘MPA’ where awards can be won for submitted imagery. Some of the work that’s submitted to these is unbelievable, so you can bet that if your photographer has won an award of this type that they absolutely LOVE what they do and want to shout about it by submitting work whenever they can. Choosing a photographer that is proud and passionate about what they do is a great quality.
Other awards, for example The Wedding Industry Awards, of which I was a 2016 finalist for Best Photographer, are truly wonderful because the finalists and winners are selected based on what their real clients have said about them. A huge testimonial rolled into a meaningful recognition, you can read some of my testimonials here.
If you like the style of a photographer that hasn’t won an award, this absolutely does NOT mean that they are no good. It also doesn’t guarantee that those with awards will be the right photographer for you. Go back to points number 1 and 3, meet them and ask to see their full portfolio, If you love what you see and think you’ll get along with them, then you’ll soon forget about what awards they haven’t yet won 🙂

Top 5 Gifts Mum Will ADORE

Top 5 Gifts Mum Will ADORE

Mother’s Day:the celebration honoring one’s mother, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society. What have you got planned for your mum this mothers day? My family and I have developed an accidental tradition of going for lunch or dinner at Lussmans in St Albans. We absolutely LOVE it there (despite the fact they took my favourite dish off the menu last year; tomatoe linguine with chicken snitzal!) The service is always excellent, as is the food. James, my hubby has been joining our mothers day for as long as we’ve been together. His mum tragically passed away from cancer when he was only eleven. Really really awful 🙁 Every Mother’s Day for anyone who’s lost their mum, must feel sad but I hope that joining our family outing helps James’ think positively so that he can celebrate the memory of his amazing mum instead. That being said, and with Mother’s Day looming, I thought I’d share my top 5 treats that all mums will LOVE:1. A family lifestyle photoshoot with me 🙂 If you are truly stuck for ideas and want something a little more personal, then this is something mum will LOVE. A lifestyle shoot with me starts from £145 – the PERFECT treat! More details can be found here.

2. Candles candles and more candles! A beautiful scented candle is an absolute easy win! I am in LOVE with the Diptique Bailes candle at the moment, which you can buy here from Selfridges.

3. Cowshed spa visit and treatment. Every mum deserves some r&r and this place in central London is perfect for that. The new ‘Sleepy Cow Body Treatment’ sounds heavenly. Have a look at their gorgeous site and get your mum booked in!

4. Monica Vinader Fiji Bracelet.
These gorgeous bracelets are simple yet super stylish. My fave that i’ve been coveting for a while is this gorgeous rose gold one and your mum would love it too.

5. Gorgeous gorgeous flowers from a wedding florist, and NOT ordered online. The love care and attention that goes in to a florists bouquet is so noticeable when you order directly. The bouquets will be the prettiest you’ve seen and mum will notice the difference too. If you are surrey based, please visit my FAVOURITE florist in the world, Caroline from Cherfold Cottage Flowers. Her flowers are perfect and she has brigts and pastel tones available. Small bouquet £25, medium £35 and large (definitely go large!) £50. Last orders by next Wednesday so get yours in sharpish 🙂

 Image via Cherfold Cottage Flowers
Why I love an intimate wedding

Why I love an intimate wedding

This weekend I had the pleasure of photographing a truly intimate wedding in London. I have photographed Asian weddings with 600 people, to weddings of around 80, but this was certainly a new type of intimate for me.
Intimate and small but no less emotional, romantic and absolutely perfect; this couple celebrated their day with just 10 guests. 
The lovely Helen got in touch with me only a few weeks ago because the photographer that they had booked had fallen through. Their loss was my gain because Helen & Reagan were the sweetest of couples.
Both from New Zealand, they celebrated their day with their closest friends. We whatsapped a photo of them both to their parents who were expectantly waiting to receive an update from the bride and groom.
There is just something so beautiful about a small wedding. Every guest was there for a real reason. I’m not saying that if you have a large wedding that you haven’t put thought into your guest list, but if you do choose to have a small wedding, every guests counts.
Every guest at Helen & Reagan’s wedding was there because they mattered, in more personal ways than I will ever know. Instead of searching for emotion to photograph in a ceremony room full of faces of extended family and plus ones, here I could see that emotion and that love on EVERY single face. It was so wonderful and I’d love to do it again 🙂
Here is a small sneak peek from their wedding…

It’s OK To Be Nice

It’s OK To Be Nice

I am going to be honest – I have got writers block.
I’ve got some great things that I want to talk to you all about, but I’m saving them for another time. I really wanted to talk about something more personal this week – and I can’t. Find. The words! WHY? Honestly, I am not sure.
Normally, I would say ‘the fear’ or perhaps ‘excuses’ to not stick to my 90 day personal goal I set myself of blogging twice a week and opening up my heart.
But I don’t feel that it’s that… so what is it? HONESTLY… I think it’s writers block… but truthfully, maybe it is because I have all these great topics and things I want to write about where I’ll happily give my thoughts, advice and opinion. But what about me? What about something personal? Something that lets YOU know a bit more about who I am.
My friends will tell you, that I am extremely open and wear my heart on my sleeve. I am instantly trusting, chatty, friendly, empathetic.  So why can I not begin to even think of something to write about?
This week, for some reason, while I sit here, planning to write a ‘personal blog piece about me’, I am freezing. I am literally frozen.
So perhaps I’ll start with some basic descriptive words about me and I’ll see where I go with this… Right? Ok, here it goes…
My name is Philippa. My middle name is Sian… Sian as in the Welsh ‘Sharn’, NOT
See-ann. I am loyal to everyone I care about. 100%. I never falter. This, however, is probably one of my biggest personality traits that also cause me my hang ups. I am loyal. I trust. I will do anything for anyone and I would never ever cause upset to a single soul. I feel incredibly passionate about this…
Which is why I struggle to let go of things. I feel so strongly about this, that when this sense of loyalty isn’t reciprocal, I crumble, I get hurt, and I cry (a lot).  I am and have always been, ‘lovely, friendly Philippa who really is THAT nice, that she won’t mind if we XYZ, or if I ABC’. I assume, this is what those who have come and gone in my life have thought at the time. My closest friends, who have been through it all and been there at my most hurt, will have seen all of this, and probably know this about me, although it’s never been spoken about. Treating people how you would like to be treated is a great thing to follow and live by. But when you  are ‘that literal’, it definitely hits you harder when others don’t follow the same way of thought.
I am not proud, I am just sensitive. I am not a push over, I am strong because I will let go. I actually AM that nice. I am, I will proudly say it. It’s taken me YEARS to understand that not everyone is like me. And do you know what… that is O.K.
I am not perfect, and although I have always felt that my loyal, friendly and trusting nature has been what’s caused me trouble, I can see now that it’s not.
EVERYONE else, perhaps by different means, have people come in and out of their lives. Learning from all of those situations helps define who we are. I am not alone in this.
Throughout it all, what I ‘think’ I am trying to say (after having absolutely NOTHING to write about!!!!) Is I am happy with who I am. I am in a place in my life where I DO have people around me who are like ME. I know so many loyal, trusting and beautiful people. We may show it differently, but that doesn’t mean our values don’t match. It’s taken time to get to the here and now. People have come and gone, but those who remain, who have been there ALL ALONG – they were always there!!! Always. No matter what.
So I guess, this is what I may call an acceptance letter to myself – accepting me for who I am – It’s ok to be nice, it’s OK to be sensitive and cry, and its ok to put yourself out there for others. And also, this is a love letter to my friends and family – we ARE the same.
I love you xx
PLEASE feed your photographer

PLEASE feed your photographer

Did any of you see that article recently in Brides magazine written by wedding planner Sandy Malone? The one that I cannot find ANYWHERE on the internet anymore, assumedly due to the outrage it caused among many wedding industry professionals.
In the article, ‘Which vendors do you have to feed at your wedding’, Sandy basically advises brides to not feed anyone, apart from the wedding planner – Errr HELLO! How about the other people who have been secretly ninja-ing around the wedding to make the couple’s day perfect and importantly, have also been on their feet all day?
The article had many industry professionals going nuts over twitter, and reading some of the quote’s from the article now (as that’s all I can find!) I can see why.
Here’s a link to the only information on the article that I can find that offers a few quotes, but I am going to explain why you should feed your photographer, by giving you a brief glimpse into what we do on the day…
I absolutely, whole-heartedly LOVE photographing weddings. The emotion, the excitement, the uniqueness and even the nerves.
The night before your wedding, I will have packed and re-packed my kit, honestly… about three times! Batteries will be charged or charging and I will be at home, getting a good nights sleep and eating a home cooked meal. I usually then check my kit AGAIN before I go to sleep. My wedding outfit is ready, and I am going through the couples session poses in my head and the general logistics of your day. What lenses to use and when.
The morning of the wedding, I get up early. I try to eat as big a breakfast as I can but normally my jitteriness gets the better of me and I cannot eat quite as much as I planned. The jitters, aka the nerves. Yes, that’s right, I get nervous (not to confuse with feeling unconfident)!!
If I didn’t care so much about you and your wedding, then there definitely wouldn’t be any nerves, so I see it as a positive thing as it proves to me how much I love what I do and how much I care. Not forgetting, it shows JUST how much effort goes into every. Single. Wedding. Even with another five years experience, I doubt the nerves will ever go away though I may get used to them and be able to eat a better breakfast!
I leave my home, with at least an extra half an hour of extra time to get me to my first location.
Once I arrive with my lovely bride, the nerves go instantly, and I immediately get into action. Photographing every detail and the natural happenings of the morning. It goes quickly and if I am very lucky, I may have time for a swig of tea/coffee that some very kind father of the bride or bridesmaid makes. Before I know it, I am heading off to the Church/Venue ahead of the bridal party, photographing the boys together, guests as they arrive. Meeting and greeting family that I haven’t yet met and co-ordinating with your vicar/registrar. The ceremony begins where I photograph throughout, sometimes I am crouched or hiding away in extremely awkward angles to get the PERFECT shot but to also be as inconspicuous and unobtrusive as possible. I don’t want you to know I am there.
After the service, there are the group photographs, either at the ceremony venue or back at the reception venue and any gorgeous details. During this time I aim to photograph natural candids, the reception room and take my lovely couple away to create some beautiful and romantic natural portraits.
Next, the guests and the bride and groom begin to make their way into the reception room where I photograph the B&G entering.
At this stage in the day, I leave my couples for the first time to enjoy their meal with friends and family. Who actually wants photographs of them eating? Not me!
About now, I have been on my feet (possibly bar 30ish minutes in a car) for at least SIX HOURS, wearing two heavy cameras and carrying a REALLY heavy suitcase full of equipment around with me. I am physically and emotionally exhasted (due to all the excitement for one thing!).
Don’t forget, that we still have speeches, first dance and dancing to get through, around another 2-3 hours…
Again, PLEASE do not think I am complaining at all about the job, I am simply giving you an insight into the work that goes into photographing a wedding.
So, if any of you lovelies were also wondering what suppliers you should feed, then hopefully the above gives an indication that your lovely photographer will love you FOREVER when you feed them a hot meal. More than anything, they will really truly need to be fed, and fed properly. We need the energy to get through the rest of the evening.
Please also bear in mind that any other supplier who is on their feet all day/evening should be fed; videographers, DJ/Band and planners.
So much work goes into photographing a wedding, I love every minute of it but my gosh is it exhausting. So please feed me 🙂
P xxx