Jim & Katy’s DIY-Fabulous Whimsical Beach Themed Wedding

I hosted a very special offer from Willow Tree Photography a while ago for free wedding photography to any lucky 2010 couples who maybe hadn’t planned to, or couldn’t afford a professional photographer. While I got a bit of stick on certain photography forums (apparently I was encouraging newbie photographers to undercut the market…well, anyone who read the post I published on Saturday will know this is certainly not the case!) I am over the moon that through running this very special offer I, and photographer Kathryn, were able to offer some awesome couples without the budget to spend on photography, the chance to have professional wedding photographs.

One of the first couples who took up this amazing offer were Jim & Katy. The pair had a whimsical seaside theme which started with an intimate ceremony at Harbour Community Church, Folkestone. “The wedding happened in our local church, its very near the harbour of our little town, its quaint but village-hall like (with a sloping floor) it helped to inspire the bunting and seaside/village fete theme”, the bride told me. “As we and our guests were outside the church after the ceremony doing the photos, a crack team of our friends re-arranged the church into a buffet for the reception, the chairs were moved from rows into circles and it was a very informal reception but with amazing food prepared by members of the church.”

“The church was decorated in hundreds of metres of bunting that was around the front and back of the church, ran down the aisle and spilled out to the rails outside, making everything look very happy and inviting. We then had an evening party downstairs at a local bar, informal, good atmosphere.”

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“Rock n Revolution” – Behind the Scenes Exclusive

I didn’t want to make a huge deal of this post because I don’t want to bore you with more stuff surrounding my shoot in Paris…however it was incredible so maybe just one more little post about it?!

First up, I must say a huge thank you to Love my Dress and The Wedding Chicks for both featuring some images from the shoot on their blogs last week (click the links to see their fab posts!) Also to every single one of you who commented, tweeted and emailed me to tell me how much you loved the shoot thank you SO MUCH! It really does mean the world to me that you all loved what we did.

When David McNeil & I invited photographer Shell De Mar to come along for the ride, I asked her if she wouldn’t mind taking some behind the scenes shots and a little bit of video too. The original plan was to share theese behind the scenes images with you last week and the final images this week…but quite frankly I just couldn’t wait to blog the final results and so I switched them at the last minute. However I wanted to share these backstage aspects of the shoot, because this is the bit you never see…and it just goes to show that it wasn’t all high end glamour!

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A Sunday Kind of Love – Working Together, Rocking Out & Making Love Not War

When you run your own business it’s incredibly easy to become fiercely competitive and secular without even knowing it. I’ve found that especially in the wedding industry there are so many of us trying our hardest to be successful that a lot of the time, it can all get rather bit bitchy and competitive. That sucks.

I’m happy to say that although I’ve had my fair share of niggles with others in the same field as me in the past that I’ve come out the other side and brought a few of my favourite other bloggers (shock horror – shouldn’t they be my competitors!?) along for the Rock n Roll ride. I’m now happy and thrilled to call them my friends and colleagues.

The Photography Parlour does the same thing for photographers here in the UK. In a similar way to other sections of the industry, wedding photographers can often see each other (especially when they work in the same area) as competition. This is why I love The Photography Parlour, a site which brings all these photographers together so they can learn from each other and work together to make something really great.

This particular shoot was set up by some members of The Photography Parlour themselves for those exact reasons. Below is a list of everyone involved with the shoot and all the photographers that took part.

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The Price of Wedding Photography & How Much Should I Expect to Spend?

This is a subject I have wanted to address on the blog for a while, but I’ll be honest, I have been a little afraid of bringing it up. I really do hope I don’t get lynched afterwards for talking about this unspoken subject but I really do think this is something worthy of discussion.

I need to make a few things clear first…

♥ I am a HUGE advocate of helping start up businesses. I often feature the work of brand new and up and coming photographers on the blog and this article is in no way intended to discredit or slag off newbie photographers.
♥ I am a true believer that a fantastic photographer can make even the most budget wedding look kick ass – more than the dress, the decor and the extra details. Seriously, while all these aspects are important it is the photographer that will capture these memories that will last a lifetime and I think this is the one thing that shouldn’t be scrimped on or “DIY-ed”.
♥ Everyone deserves to have a truly fantastic photographer to capture their day. Whatever your budget, I can’t stress enough how much I’d urge you to spend as much money as you are able to in order to get the very best photographer that you can afford.

I don’t want the fact that I have approached the subject of money, business and all that icky stuff to in anyway ostracise any readers of my little blog. However I do think that just how much you’re going to spend on photography is something that should be addressed. It’s something that all couples will talk about when they plan their weddings and budget but it’s a subject that is never spoken about on blogs or in magazines. Why is this? Well, people don’t really like to talk about money do they?

My reasoning behind this post is not in anyway to try and encourage you to spend more than you can afford or are willing to on your wedding photography, however I do want to make you stop and think if the service you are getting for the price you’re paying really is good value.

I have lost count of the number of brides I’ve had email me asking for photographer recommendations for under £500 and I’ve also lost count of the number friends I’ve spoken to who have recoiled at the fact that a lot of the photographers I know are charging £2000 + for “one day’s work” (seriously? do people still think photographers only work one day a week!? I was chatting to a photographer friend of mine about this subject who told me that after everything she has to do, her hourly rate is less than £20 an hour…and she’s not one of the cheaper ones!)

I know weddings are expensive things and that the thought of spending a couple of grand on a photographer is a lot for most people, but I can’t stress enough that I feel photography is really the one thing you should splash out on. If you can only afford £500 for a wedding photographer then great, but just be aware that the results that you get from a photographer who is only charging that much will most certainly be inferior to someone a bit more pricey – even if the talent is there. Someone able to charge more than this, will if anything have a lot more experience than someone still charging around the £500 mark.

If you are happy to pay under £500 for a photographer then fantastic – rock it out, but just be aware that for that price you aren’t going to get Jose Villa/ Jasmine Star/ Jonas Peterson/ Lisa Devlin… I hate to say it, but in this industry, you really do get what you pay for.

This is a subject that us wedding industry folk chat about a lot. The preconception by some brides is that in some way photographers are trying to rip you all off. While I’ll be honest, there are certain photographers out there who I think are ludicrously expensive for what they offer (and no I’m not naming names!) in the majority, the price you pay generally covers the quality of the service you are given. After that it’s just down to personal taste.

When I mentioned on Twitter that I was going to cover this topic, the response was positive if not a little wary…

“depends on your point of view!? Could provoke a witch hunt!”
“having a heated “discussion” with a friend about this very subject.He says price things lower-I’m saying don’t be too cheap!”
“haha brave!”
“wow! You are brave!”
“that should be interesting…”
“oooh sounds controversial”
“hope the amazing pics you blog already help people realise its worth paying for good photography”
“oowww that’s a can of worms on so many levels but i am sure you will do a great job!”

After reading this I hope you will all realise that my intention was not to be controversial or to even spark a debate on this matter – I merely wished to address a subject that I feel affects us all – brides, bloggers and of course photographers.

Therefore I wanted to get the opinion of a photographer and so I asked someone who is greatly respected in the UK wedding industry. Julia Boggio is regarded as one of the UK’s leading wedding photographers and has won many awards for her business acumen as well as her photography. She has had her worked featured in all the major UK wedding magazines and she is a regular columnist for the same photography magazine I write for, Photo Pro – and she was the one who actually got me the job so I owe her a lot! She also openly admits to being at the higher end of the market in terms of her pricing so I thought she would be the perfect candidate to address this matter.

I’d love to hear your thoughts (from photographers AND brides please!) on this subject in the comments section below.

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The Price of Wedding Photography & How Much Should I Expect to Spend?

This is a subject I have wanted to address on the blog for a while, but I'll be honest, I have been a little afraid of bringing it up. I need to make a few things clear first. ♥ I am a HUGE advocate of helping start up businesses. I often feature the work of brand new and up and coming photographers on the blog ♥ I am a true believer that a fantastic photographer can make even the most budget wedding look kick ass - more than the dress, the decor and the extra details. Seriously, while all these aspects are important it is the photographer that will capture these memories that will last a lifetime ♥ Everyone deserves to have a truly fantastic photographer to capture their day. Whatever your budget, I can't stress enough how much I'd urge you to spend as much money as you are able to in order to get the very best photographer that you can afford I don't want the fact that I have approached the subject of money, business and all that icky stuff to in anyway ostracise any readers of my little blog. However I do think that just how much you're going to spend on photography is something that should be addressed. It's something that all couples will talk about when they plan their weddings and talk about budget but it's a subject that is never spoken about on blogs or in magazines. Why is this? Well, people don't really like to talk about money do they? My reasoning behind this post is not in anyway to try and encourage you to spend more than you can afford or are willing to on your wedding photography, however I do want to make you stop and think if the service you are getting for the price you're paying really is good value. I have lost count of the number of brides I've had email me asking for photographer recommendations for under £500 and I've also lost count of the number friends I've spoken to who have recoiled at the fact that a lot of the photographers I know are charging £2000 + for "one day's work" (seriously? do people still think photographers only work one day a week!?) I know weddings are expensive things and that this sort of money is a lot for most people, but I can't stress enough that I feel photography is really the one thing you should splash out on. If you can only afford £500 for a wedding photographer then great, but just be aware that the results that you get from a photographer who is only charging that much will most certainly be inferior to someone a bit more pricey. Even if the talent is there, someone able to charge more than this, will if anything have a lot more experience than someone still charging around the £500 mark. If you are happy to pay under £500 for a photographer then fantastic - rock it out, but just be aware that for that price you aren't going to get Jose Villa/Jasmine Star/Jonas Peterson/Jeff Ascough... I hate to say it, but in this industry, you really do get what you pay for.

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Rachael & Tony’s Land of Make Believe Wedding

“The theme of our wedding was inspired by us being big kids and my love for make believe, colour & Alice In Wonderland,” Rachael & Tony told me. “The garden (which was right next to the reception – which was held at Brett’s Wharf on Kingsford Smith Drive Hamilton, Brisbane) was filled with toadstools, moss and over-sized cartoon style colourful flowers. We had ‘floating’ windows and a door hanging in the entrance with a ‘Welcome’ sign on wood tied in a tree.”

“There was a lolly bar. Huge jars filled with caramel fudge and coconut ice. Mismatched furniture with colourful cushions. Once it became night all the lighting throughout the gardens came alive. Pink and blue shrubs, a psychedelic oil pattern lighting up a huge tree. Black chandeliers hung from a fairy light tree. A star hung outside throwing different light patterns over the garden.”

“Inside, the ivory drapes that hung on the wall were lit up by pink floor lights. Our Best Man has a lighting companyand made something really beautiful for us. It just looked incredible. I felt although we were in a fairytale, but a really cool one.”

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Sarah & James’ Rockin’ Rockabilly Wedding

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Sarah & James’ 1950’s rockabilly wedding was inspired by Sarah’s Grandparents who got married on September 12th 1953. “We wanted to get married as close to this date as we possibly could, hence the choice of 11th September 2010,” Sarah told me.  “My Grandparents celebrated their 57th Wedding anniversary the day after our wedding – the rose tattoo’s on my feet (by Sam Ricketts) have their names ‘Alice’ and ‘Mervyn’ in recognition of how special they are to me.”

“We were keen for the day to reflect our personalities,” continued the bride. “We chose a civil ceremony which was held at Pittville Pump Room, a Grade one listed building, as it is a big part of Cheltenham’s history, pumping the famous ‘spa water’ to the town (and it makes for some pretty awesome pictures!)  There was a ‘swallow’ theme running throughout (as I have swallow tattoos on my stomach) – As James is a Graphic Designer, he designed all of the wedding stationary for us – from invites, to place settings.  As wedding favours we decided on plectrums (which we ordered from the internet) as James is a guitarist, with the ‘swallow’ design and our names and the date on the back.”

“There was also a colour theme of red, black and white running throughout the day (as these are our favourite colours!) Rather than ‘table names’ we identified the tables with movie stars and singers from the era. From Marilyn Monroe, to Audrey Hepburn and Frank Sinatra.”

Sarah wore a ivory 1950’s style swing dress from Vivien of Holloway (her bridesmaid’s wore the same dresses in black or polkadots) and the new Vivienne Westwood Melissa shoes (eeek cherries!) Her hair was done in a rockabilly style, adorned with Diablo Jo’s handmade rockabilly accessories.

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