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We've been in Redlynch the other weekend, 20 minutes from Salisbury. We were photographing the wedding of Becky & Simon at a gorgeous venue Newhouse Estate, where I had a chance to fly my drone again. Although the strong wind wasn't really in my favor this time, but still could pull off some nice aerial footage.
Experimenting with this as an assistant gives me a fantastic opportunity to practice what works the best and what doesn't, so next year when I'll be a full fledged wedding photographer/videographer, I'll have the experience to make the most out of this little bird.
This time I also made a few shots in my idle time with my camera too on the ground, again just to practice a bit as a videographer.
Maybe on the next one I'll be solely making videos instead of practicing photos, which I am already good at after a year's practicing (and boy, that was a steep learning curve, thanks to Dave).
I can't wait to do weddings on my own, wedding photography is such a fun! :)
I'd like to thanks again to Dave for showing me all the insights, and thanks Becky & Simon for being a patient and cheerful couple I absolutely enjoyed to work with! Thanks to Newhouse Estate in Redlynch and it's staff for being patient with us for we had many great ideas to make happen, and I hope I can come back here to Newhouse in the future again!
I made this video below of my drone flying at Newhouse, Redlynch on the wedding of Becky and Simon. The wedding photographer in the video is Dave, and the ninja turtle (that's what they said I looked like with the drone's backpack) showing up in some scenes is me.
We came up with this idea after seeing a really great work of someone, that hey, I have a drone. Let's see a different perspective!
We were at Barford Park in Downton, Salisbury and made a cool bird's eye view of a wedding.
As a wedding photographer I feel really happy to share these moments of the wedding couple's day at Barford Farm in Downton, Salisbury.
Working with happy people and making them eternal memories is the single most exciting thing about our job as a photographer.
This was my third time going back to Barford Farm for a wedding (and the 10th time for my master), but the first time ever someone has flew a drone there at this venue on a wedding. I was there with Dave Trevor Guest at Barford Park that day to develop my skills as a wedding photographer, and to experiment with new ideas.
Nowadays couples have a seemingly unlimited choice of suppliers to pick from, but all of them the photographer is the single most important. He has the power to freeze a moment in your life and create art you'd happily look back on forever. And this is what you want on your wedding day, isn't it? But how can you find someone who's the perfect match for you? What are the qualities of a good wedding photographer?
Let me share a few tips to help find the right person for you!
How many wedding do you do a year?
Many people look on the prices first, but what you really should focus on is value. You wouldn't want to compromise the quality of your wedding photos and would fairly expect your photographer to focus on you. If your photographer did 3 weddings in a row before yours, there's just no way they can put as much attention into the details as let's say someone who's been preparing to your wedding all week. That being said if your photographer does a hundred weddings a year, that is never a good sign. This usually means shortcuts here and there, or maybe outsourcing the work to someone else. (Which is not necessarily a bad thing, but would you rather buy a great photographer's signature looking work, or someone else's you never met who produces images on a conveyor belt?)
For this reason the best photographers do no more than 20-30 weddings a year, in full time - which leads to the next question.
Are you a full time photographer?
This one is the extension of the previous question, so not much more to elaborate on this really. What to consider here that if your photographer has a day job, then how can they ensure to put up with all the duties, plus working on your photos in their free time? Not to speak against myself - as pretty much everyone starts out like this - or anyone who's living a busy family life and working day and night to provide to them. But it might worth a question if they specify a deadline in their contract. Heard many stories that wedding photos or videos were delayed for months. Hell, I still know of an instance where the videographer hasn't delivered after almost a year, yet!
Do you work alone or with a second photographer?
This one is a huge deal when it comes to quality. Not uncommon that photographers take on an assistant or team up with a second shooter. They usually specify this in their contract, or provide an option for a second shooter in their packages.
I cannot exaggerate enough how important this is! A photographer who works alone simply can't be everywhere, can't possibly cover all aspects of your day. Imagine if there's a photographer duo, they can cover different angles for a greater variety of pictures, or split up and share the work.
It is very common that the couple get prepared in different locations, so one of them can stay with you, while the other takes pictures of your partner. Or at the ceremony and reception, one can focus on the couple and the formal shots, while the other can capture those candid moments of the guests. It is also beneficial to have a hand when doing the creative shooting, as an assistant there carrying gear and putting up lights can vastly improve the quality of your photos. Again this is not necessarily a bad thing if someone works alone - as pretty much every photographer starts out like that -, but as you go up in the price range you'd expect to see the option for a second shooter more and more as a standard.
What happens if it rains on your wedding day?
This is a good one, as it will separate the seasoned photographers from the newbies.
An experienced photographer is easily adaptable and can make intriguing pictures in the rain. They can use the lights creatively to produce interesting imagery that really stands out, and they offer interesting solutions for the different weather conditions.
Also this one really depends on the willingness of the subjects, as not many would risk getting soaking wet on the same day, but it is a great opportunity for something unusual in the "trash the dress" sessions after the wedding.
Can we see your portfolio after the dark parts of the wedding day?
Most of the couples never ask this as it never really comes in their minds, but it is an important one to ask.
A lot of fun and activities take place at the reception party, so can they demonstrate a beautiful nighttime portfolio?
Can your photographer produce quality photos after the sun has set or in poor indoor ambient lighting? The best photographers can make real art with off-camera lighting, and they love doing it! As opposed to that if someone says they don't use lights, that is usually never a good sign, be it a photographer or videographer.
How do they interact with you on your big day?
Choosing someone you like is as important as their portfolio.
You’re going to spend a significant amount of time with your photographer on your wedding day and they are the person that you are trusting to capture priceless moments and memories.
This is why it is important you get to know each other a bit, preferably beforehand - on the engagement shoot session or on the consultation - and make sure they're compatible with you as a couple.
There are two different approaches here you may want to consider. If you're looking for someone non-invasive who doesn't approach you too often during your wedding, you should try to hire someone more of a documentary-style.
Or if you like the idea of being able to chat with, and creating a good working relationship with your wedding photographer, pick one who is more of a people person.
Also consider what are your quests are like you invite? You don't want a shy photographer if you have a young and rowdy crowd.
And you probably don't want a noisy extrovert if you're having a quiet, intimate wedding.
Do they have the people skills?
On weddings there are a few occasions when stepping up as a leader is crucial to achieve the desired effect. Like when you do the formal family photos, the group shots, or the confetti throwing / sparkles in the evening. This is when the guests tend to be scattered and it is just so much easier if you don't have to wait long to gather all the people you want in your photos. It is just better for everyone if things stay in motion.
But who that person should be ensuring all this goes smoothly? Usually it is your photographer. Or your wedding planner, if you have one. Or rarely I meet couples who are not afraid to be loud. :)
One note here I can't say enough times that is I always ask the couple to communicate to the quests loud and proud what do they expect from them at any part of the day. For example everybody should get the message before leaving the church, that we're having a confetti throw outside and everybody is expected to line up on the sides. Rather than catching every individual on the way out...
So these are the tips I highly recommend asking from your photographer before hiring them. Hope it helps picking the best one for you!
One of the challenges of a wedding is the reception. That is the definition of "you have to work with what you get" and make the best out of it. Let it be the poor indoor lighting or the tight space in-between the tables to maneuver around while trying not to block anyone's view and try to avoid the obstructions between you and the subject. Also if find an empty corner for your light stand which happens to be in an ideal position, now that's a miracle most of the time. :)
But today what I'd like to share with you should be useful for you when making decoration choices.
Let's have a look on the image below, what is the first thing comes in mind?
Well as it may be indeed, for a photographer a man tall flower on every table could easily be a nightmare.
If you have a look on the next one, I show you why.
It isn't only a nice addition to the photos, but it also serves as a huge challenge when precious moments arise and you are on the other side of the flower not being able to capture it.
It can be tricky enough to steer around people, throw some tall decoration in there too, and you can make sure your photographer will break a sweat. :D
Also these can make awkward conversations if your guests can't see each other on the opposite seats.
Nicely decorated head table, yet you can see everyone, no view is blocked.
This was a really good example how a well organised and decorated place should be like.
No obstruction anywhere, the photographer can move freely even when people are seated. Everybody can see everybody. :)
So my final saying here if couples take my word for it, that things should be kept simple and clean.
I never thought becoming a photographer until recently. As a child I was told you need to be a doctor or lawyer or engineer to earn a decent life, so I studied engineering. Photography was just one of my hobbies in my teen years and it wasn't until recently that I had this wild idea to make a living out of it. After school and a couple years in my profession as a production technician I moved to the UK to re-unite with my childhood friends. I got to know many many good people here, one among them told me about his life as a wedding photographer. This was a few years back, not long after I moved here, that I met with friends for a drink and had been introduced to this guy Dave Trevor Quest - who is my mentor now. I found his lifestyle interesting, it sounded like as a wedding photographer one might "work" only once a week and make a living. Now I know it just sounded cool, but there's much more into it than just one workday a week. Backstage work can keep you busy for days if not weeks, but more of this later... :)
I remember how impressed I was with this, but didn't really give it a second thought. Was just thinking that Dave is just a lucky dude who is able to do what he loves and earn a good life. Pretty much a dream job, isn't it? Not all of us is that lucky to make his fortune, so that time I just kept on living my nine to fiver life.
Earlier this year I went on a holiday in Iceland and wanted to capture it. So I surprised myself with a fancy camera and a drone for Xmas and practiced with them for months before my trip. When I arrived back I made a music video out of the footage I recorded there, and I realized I enjoyed this way more than I expected.
I figured I'd love to learn making videos and photos and then I had that light bulb moment: why not work in this? So I'm looking into this, what does it take to be a photographer/videographer. I knew I know someone who is able to help, or at least push me in the right direction. Then I approached Dave with this idea to be an assistant to him on his weddings for you know, learning the basics.
Luckily he was happy to give me a go, so the next thing I knew I was on my very first wedding with Dave and a camera in my hands...
It wasn't really like what I expected, it was way better than that thanks to the amazing people there and the most cheerful couple Ali & John, in one of the most beautiful places around: Stourhead Garden & House.
Thank you Dave (at www.skyblueweddingphotography.com) for this opportunity and looking forward to our work together! :)