"When should I book my wedding photographer?"

The simple answer is to book as soon as you’ve set a date and secured a venue.

Unlike cake makers, florists, suit hire, etc. which can cater for several weddings on a single date, I only cover one wedding per day; therefore, my availability becomes limited – especially during peak wedding season months (May to September).

For example, I’ve had inquiries for weddings 2 years in advance, and had to turn couples away because I’m already booked – in fact, it’s rare that I’ll have a Saturday in July, August, and September without a wedding.

If left until 6-12 months before the wedding, there is the chance you’ll struggle to get the photographer you want or find one whose work you like and that is within budget; possibly having to settle for someone you’re not totally happy with just because they are available.

"Will we meet you before the wedding day?"

Yes, at least twice and I’ll always be available to answer any wedding related questions you may have before the wedding day (either over the phone or via message).

I like to meet couples at the initial booking phase, to get a feel for their wedding day and their specific requirements and expectations from a wedding photographer, as well as at the pre-wedding shoot (normally 2-4 months before the wedding date). Where necessary, I’ll also see the couple at the rehearsal (schedules permitting).

I believe this helps build the bond between you and I, especially since I’ll be spending the whole of the wedding day with you– so that by the time the wedding day is upon us I’ll be familiar with the two of you, making you feel more at ease which I find makes the day go smoother.

"What happens if it rains?"

If it does happen to rain on your wedding day, it’s important that you not let it dampen your spirits, even if you’ve booked your wedding for the middle of Summer and the sun has been shining throughout the week leading up to the wedding day.

I come equipped with umbrellas and always have a plan in place for photos should the weather be at its worse. There’s always indoor portraits or wait for a break in the weather. If you are both ok getting a little wet, I’m more than happy to use creative lighting to get some interesting outdoor shots in the rain (my gear with weather-sealed so it’s not a problem for me).

Best thing to do is not worry, let me do that (I’ve photographed many weddings in all kinds of weather).

"Which part of the country do you cover?"

While the catchment included in my pricing is Teesside focused (extending across to Darlington, north to Peterlee and South towards Saltburn), I’m happy to travel anywhere in the UK for a wedding. If your wedding happens to be outside of my catchment, there’s a nominal out of area fee based on distance – and for weddings with a drive-time of 2 hours or more, an additional cost for overnight accommodation may apply.

"Can I see an album from a wedding you've done from start to finish?"

Yes. When initially visiting a couple, to discuss their wedding day, I bring replicas of albums I've designed for past clients.

By providing them with a complete wedding album gives them a truer feel for my work, as opposed to allowing them to look through a portfolio of my best work from random weddings.

This enables a couple to get a feel for how I structure the images from a complete wedding into a storybook.

"Will you visit my venue before the wedding?"

Yes. When initially visiting a couple, to discuss their wedding day, I bring replicas of albums I've designed for past clients.

By providing them with a complete wedding album gives them a truer feel for my work, as opposed to allowing them to look through a portfolio of my best work from random weddings.

This enables a couple to get a feel for how I structure the images from a complete wedding into a storybook.

Sometimes, I'll combine this with the pre-wedding catch-up and photoshoot, meeting the couple at the venue for a chat about the wedding day and then looking around the venue with the couple to see what appeals to them and how which places work best for photos.

"Do you attend rehearsals?"

Subject to availability, I aim to attend all rehearsals, this gives me a chance to assess the lighting conditions and layout of the church. Attending rehearsals allows me to introduce myself to the officiant conducting the service, to check what rules and restrictions are in place for me to observe on the day.

While there is no charge for attending rehearsals, there may be an occasion where I'm unable to attend a rehearsal due to being unavailable or have prior commitments. Should this be the case, I'd let you know in advance.

"Do you do photobooths?"

No – I believe you should stick to one thing and do it well. Therefore, I only do stills wedding photography, leaving photobooths to others more talented in those fields. Also, my style of photography requires me to always being vigilant for action on the wedding day, so I can’t be spending time at a photobooth, otherwise those often-fleeting moments coupled hire me to capture would go undocumented.

"Will you visit me and my partner to chat about our wedding day?"

Yes – I always like to arrange a face-to-face meeting with the couple before being booked.

For enquiries significantly outside my standard catchment (sometimes it could be a 90-120 minutes’ drive each way from my place to theirs), I’ll usually email the couple all the details about the coverage and my approach to wedding photography, then if I'm within budget (and the couple like my style of wedding photography) I’ll arrange a phone call (or Skype / Facetime call) to chat about their wedding day.

"How do we arrange a consultation?"

Sounds obvious, but the first thing you should do is get in touch with me - this can be via a direct email or through my website submission form, a Facebook message or simply give me a call or send me a text.

This first contact should include your wedding date and start time, ceremony and reception locations, and the couples’ names.

I'll then reference my wedding schedule to check I'm not already booked for that date (if I am I'll be straight in touch to let you know), after which I'll send through some dates/times that I'm available to visit – which can take place at your home or the wedding venue itself.

"Can I invite others to meet you for the initial consultation?"

Of course. I’ve arrived to discover a panel of family members who are ready to quiz me about wedding photography. Sometimes a parent will be paying for the photography, so they’ll often want to invite them to the first meeting to see if I meet their approval (i.e. money well spent).

"What happens at the consultation?"

The consultation lasts about 30-40 minutes – it depends on how far ahead you are with the wedding planning. We’ll chat about your wedding day, giving me a feel for what type of day you have planned; during which, you can look through some replica wedding albums. You’ll also get the opportunity to look at how I present DVDs, USBs, parents albums, etc. Once we’ve discussed your wedding day and I have a feel for how much coverage you need and what output you’d like (albums, DVDs, etc.), I’ll then give you a cost for your specific wedding requirements.

"Do we need to book you there and then at the consultation?"

Not really. Your choice of wedding photographer should be considered, as opposed to impulsive. Even if they are set on booking me, I encourage couples to chat among themselves after I’ve left; this helps to ensure they’ve made the correct choice for them. To facilitate this, I hold the date for couples for up to 4 weeks from the initial consultation – this gives them time to chat with friends and family, view the work of other photographers and if necessary, wait for a pay-day to ensure they have the deposit amount available.

"What happens if someone else enquires about my wedding date after we've met, and we secured you as our photographer?"

Occasionally a couple will check my availability for a wedding that is provisionally held for a couple who are yet to pay their deposit.

If within the 4-week timeframe, I’ll get in touch with the couple originally consulted, to give them first refusal on whether to book me or not. If they don’t book me, I’ll arrange a meet-up with the new couple.

If the 4 weeks have elapsed and the original couple hasn’t booked me, it’s the same as the date being available to anyone.

My availability for your wedding is only secured once I’ve received the deposit and completed wedding contract.

"How long do you stay for the wedding?"

I’m happy to stay as long as the couple needs me to. Although, I try to limit a wedding day to a maximum of 10 to 11 hours – after which fatigue begins to set-in and the quality of my work will naturally diminish.

"Why do you have a minimum of 6 hours coverage?"

Based on the many weddings I’ve covered I find that a minimum of 6 hours coverage is sufficient to allow me to capture the key elements of a wedding day. These are the ceremony, formal portraits, family group shots, and speeches; while capturing the candid moments in between, without the day feeling too rushed and still giving the you time with your guests – i.e. you’ll find the wedding day photography less intensive, and more relaxed.

"Do you do pre-bridal coverage?"

Of course, it’s one of my favourite parts of the wedding day because it’s so full of nervous energy and anticipation and everyone is “usually” in good spirits. Pre-bridal coverage for the hours leading up to the wedding is available at an extra cost of £75 and includes coverage for up to 2 hours before the ceremony starts.

"What is included in the pre-bridal coverage?"

The pre-bridal coverage usually consists of detail shots (the dress, the flowers, the jewellery), candid shots of everyone getting their hair and make-up done, finishing off with group shots of everyone ready for the ceremony. Basically, the appeal of the pre-bridal is photographing something the groom doesn’t see and gives the bride a slow and steady start to the day’s photography.

"Do you do photos of the groom the morning of the wedding?"

Pre-ceremony coverage of the groom getting ready can sometimes be included in the pre-bridal time, but may be subject to an additional fee of £35+ for around 30 minutes groomsmen prep coverage. This often depends on where/when things are taking place; if the groom wanted shots of him and his groomsmen playing golf or clay pigeon shooting then more time would be needed, therefore more cost, while other times it may just a be 15-30 minutes at the parents homes getting some candid shots of him getting ready with friends and family. My recommendation for couples wanting groom coverage is to pay the extra and have a me hire a second shooter to be assigned to the wedding.

"Do you do all-day coverage?"

Yes, if requested. All-day coverage would entail the pre-bridal preparations in the hours leading up to the ceremony, the ceremony itself, formal portraiture, family group shots, meal, speeches, as well as the first dance and early evening reception. Depending on what time you get married depends on how much extra you’ll need to pay for all-day coverage. This is something I’d discuss with you at the initial consultation and give you cost options for various coverage requirements.

"How many photos do you expect to take on the wedding day?"

There is no limit to how many photographs I'll take at a wedding, other than the number of memory cards I carry, and I've yet to run out of cards.

I take thousands of photos on a wedding day. The final number really depends on how long I'm needed, how much is going on and how engaging/animated your guests are. Ultimately, the more photo opportunities there are the more pictures I’ll take.

"How many photos will we see from our wedding day?"

I never promise a minimum number, primarily because that I'd rather deliver 400 great shots than having promised 500 and need to find a further 100 that aren't as good just to make up numbers because I promised to deliver 500 images.

The average number of final images delivered to a client from a wedding I shoot is around the 650 mark; sometimes it may be in the mid 400s (this is usually the case for winter weddings, where daylight is less), other times it could be close or inexcess of 1000 images.

"What happens to the photos after the wedding day?"

What happens to the photos after the wedding day? The first thing I do is back-up the images. Then, within 48 hours of the wedding, I'll upload a teaser preview of some key images from the Big Day. This is usually 50-60 images that will give you a feel for how the final images will look. The teaser is published as a video file on my Facebook page so you can easily share it with family and friends.

Since many thousands of images are taken by me on your wedding day (sometimes multiple images of the same thing), I'll then go through this catalogue of raw images, removing the unnecessary duplicates or shots that just didn’t work, keeping only the best for final consideration. For group shots or formal portraits, I’ll take 3 to 4 of the same image to ensure at least one is a keeper.

Once I've got the image numbers to a manageable level I'll go through and edit them the one at a time; this includes cropping, straightening, colour correcting, removing distracting artefacts, retouching skin blemishes, adjusting exposure, etc. In total it can take around 20 computer hours doing all the post-production necessary from a wedding.

"What software do you use?"

For photo editing, I only use the best commercially available photo editing packages from Adobe. For cataloguing and choosing which images to keep/remove I'll use the latest version Adobe Lightroom, and for editing, I'll use both Lightroom and Photoshop.

"Can we get copies of the raw images from the day that you took?"

The short answer is - No.

I take a lot of images throughout a wedding day and maybe one in four make it to the final suite of images I deliver to a client - sometimes an image doesn’t turn out how I thought, or I already have a good enough shot of that scene.

Also, the raw image is not representative of my final work…it'd be like asking an artist for their raw sketches. If you took the raw images and published them online as my work, it would not be truly representative of my body of work because they haven't been given my post-processing "look".

All those hours hand editing the wedding photos are done for a reason, and (from my own standpoint) the post-production work is just as important as the taking of the photo in the first place.

Also, unless you have specific software (and a powerful enough laptop or PC) to render the raw images, having them would be next to useless.

"Do you do any creative post-production work on the images?"

Creative post-processing includes the application of selective colour to a black and white image or over-exaggerated darkening or lightening of image edges (overwise known as vignette). It can also include compositing or overlaying the couple (or another subject, such as a dinosaur) into a scene.

I find that most post-production techniques date an image and are a fad. My approach is to make the images as timeless as possible, enabling someone to look at the album 20 years’ from now and not know when the image was taken.

Creative post-processing is something I just don't do and I'm upfront with my clients about that from the outset. I use photo presets/actions to give the images a certain look defining my style, but only after each image has been edited manually.

"Will the photos be colour or black and white?"

The straightforward answer is I provide couples with a mix of colour and black and white.

All the digital images I take are colour which can be converted to black and white as necessary. I find black and white to suit scenes like the ceremony or speeches, where both natural and artificial lighting can sometimes give strange colour casts on the images (skin turns orange or green). Where I rely on natural light to capture an image, converting to black and white often hides the noise in the image (from me pushing camera sensor to acceptable limits).

Sometimes a colour image will be converted to black and white for artistic reasons or to mask distracting background features (such as a bright red fire extinguisher). The black and white conversion I do has a slightly warm tone, just to take the edge of the cold look often found in black and white images.

"How soon after the wedding will we get to see out final images?"

While it takes around 20 hours sitting at the computer editing the wedding photos, I also have to fit this around other weddings, pre-wedding shoots, client meetings, and day-to-day management of the business….as well as fitting in some quality family time.

Therefore, I let clients know that it’ll be around 10 weeks (or 2.5 months) after the wedding before I’m ready to visit the couple to show them their final suite of images. There is the occasion where this may be longer, but I’d liaise with the client if something unexpected crops us and this was the case.

"Do you do high-end retouching of photos?"

Occasionally a client may ask for the removal of a tattoo. If it’s not within my skill-set to photoshop it myself, there is the option to send the image off to a professional retoucher for editing (based in the US). This cost is uaully £5-£10 per image.

"Do we have to feed you?"

Honestly, I don't often eat before or during a wedding (maybe a banana for energy), and I certainly don't expect to be fed at a wedding; I'd rather the couple spent their budget feeding guests than me. However, it is appreciated when a couple does choose to feed me.

"How long will you store the images for after the wedding?"

The raw wedding photos are backed up on two separate hard drives, one of which is an off-site backup.

The final Hi-Res wedding images are kept on a hard drive and DVD for at least 2 years after the wedding. After 2 years only the DVD version is maintained. There are also Mid-Res versions kept on cloud-storage at all times.

"How will you dress when covering my wedding?"

I dress smart-casual and try to blend in with the rest of the wedding guests (as much as I can with a large DLSR and camera bag). Typically, I'll wear smart dark jeans, shirt, shoes and a waistcoat or blazer - often bringing a change of shirt because photography can be hard work and there are times when I need to change.

"Will I be the only wedding you do that day?"

Yes. An average wedding often requires 8-10 hours coverage, with travel time on top of that, it means I can only cover one wedding per day.

"What back-ups do you have in place on the day?"

I have multiple camera bodies and redundancy built into my lens choices – so that if one lens was damaged I would be able to switch to another lens without any disruption or loss of ability to take pictures. Also, using smaller memory cards (16GB each) reduces the risk of major image loss should a memory card fail.

"What happens if we cancel the wedding?"

Unfortunately some weddings don't go ahead, due to couples splitting or realising they can no longer afford to have the wedding they want.

If you've paid your deposit you basically have secured my services for your wedding date and anyone else enquiring about that date is turned away. Therefore, if you've booked me for your wedding and it no longer goes ahead the deposit is non-refundable since I've got to somehow get that date re-booked out. However, if I did manage to get the date filled I would refund the despoit to you.

"How much is the deposit?"

The deposit required to secure my services for your wedding date is £175, which is about a third of my base wedding photography cost.

I understand some photographers ask for only a £50 deposit, but I selected £175 because it requires a significant investment by the couple and it gets a large chunk out of the way in advance; since so much money is paid out in final weeks leading up the big day.

"How do we pay the deposit?"

The deposit can be paid by online bank transfer or by posting me a cheque; if you are local I can visit to collect the cash if preferred, or you can drop it off at a suitable time.

"When do you need the wedding photography balance paying by?"

The wedding photography balance needs clearing 2 weeks before the wedding date. Most couples pay around the time of the pre-wedding shoot or the final pay-day before the wedding. There has been occasion where couples have paid me at the rehearsal or on the day of the wedding itself (in very rare circumstances).

"What discounts do you offer?"

I offer a discount for short notice bookings (less than 4 months is short notice since most couples book me 18 or more months in advance). I also offer discounts for couples where one of them is in the armed forces, emergency services or selected public sector roles. Weddings between November and February (excluding Christmas, New Year and Valentine’s Day) also receive a discount. It should be noted that discounts cannot be combined - e.g. an emergency service worker booking a winter wedding with 2 months notice would not receive 3-times the discount.

"Do you offer a discount for paying me all at once at time of booking?""

No, whether you pay 1 or 2 years before the wedding or 2 weeks before the wedding, it doesn’t affect my production costs or time dedicated to your wedding day, therefore any discount would purely be taken from my profits (which isn’t good business sense).

"How do I book secure your services for my wedding date?"

Once you’ve made the decision to book me as your wedding photography the first thing you should do is get in touch to let me know. You then need to send me your £175 deposit along with a completed version of your wedding contract; once I’ve received these I’ll send you a receipt confirmed the deposit and wedding coverage details, which will also itemise any extras you want, giving a remaining balance to be paid.

Don’t worry if any of the extras change before the wedding – the important thing is securing my services for you wedding date, I can always reissue a receipt if necessary, for anything added or removed.

"Do you do digital only packages?"

While I encourage couples to take an album, I do offer digital packages - if a digital package appeals to you then please get in touch for a bespoke quote.