I love photographing weddings. For a long time now I've realised that I'm good at telling visual stories, essentially I'm a people watcher. Weddings are crammed full of narratives, jokes, emotion, beauty, drama and laughter. Each wedding is totally different, despite all the planning and organising, the event itself is quite unpredictable. My job is to capture this story from start to finish, the ceremony, the characters, the details, the tears, the quirkiness, the humour and the love. I don't run about with lots of big flash stands, reflectors or complicated photo props. I don't push people about or shout. I'm six foot five but I manage to blend in. I never look upon weddings as all being the same - I treat them as the unique, individual occasions that they are. Each wedding demands specific requirements and deserves to be documented as the one-off event it really is. There is always a story to be told, I will watch it unfold and endeavour to document every moment. It is all about the feelings...which are far more precious in a decade or two.
Style? I'm uncomplicated. My approach - observant, candid, in with the action, off the cuff, un-posed - but above all truthful. I'm not into special effects or heavy editing. My aim is to create beautiful, uncluttered images. Images that speak for themselves, photographs that narrate, pictures that record and reveal.
It's fair to say that I have been obsessed with photography and image making since an early age. At around 13 or 14 I had two Saturday jobs on the go in order to keep myself supplied with film, cameras, paint, pencils, lenses etc. My photography training started with darkrooms and odorous chemicals. I'm now 43 - the fixation is as strong as ever.
I grew up in a small village in Lancashire, studied Fine Art and Photography at University in the early/mid-nineties, gained a First Class Hons Degree and I've never looked back since. I now live in the North East of England with my beautiful wife and two utterly fantastic kids.
When not taking photographs, drawing, painting or editing images I like to go running (10k's, that kind of thing), visiting the coast, eating fish and chips whilst staring out to sea and playing with gadgets (not at the same time).
Useless trivia: I have a 'thing' for pens and pencils. I have size 13 feet. I've never read any Shakespeare. I can devour several apples in a day. Music - vinyl, CD, MP3 - Abba to Zappa, Folk to Punk, Electro to Classical - I love it all. I have a resting heart rate of 41 bpm. I've been called a 'font freak', I think I may have been a typographer in a former life. Anything below 70% content is not chocolate. I can stare at maps for hours, they fascinate me. I will NEVER buy a SatNav. Chicken Jalfrezi is the best dish in the world. I collect cameras, I've got dozens of them, sometimes I make my own, like I say, I'm obsessed.
SOME FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS...
Over the years I’ve been asked many questions regarding what I do, below are a selection of the most frequently asked. Please feel free to fire away with new ones!
Once we know you’re free on our wedding date what do we do next?
It’s nice to meet up for a coffee, have a chat, talk about weddings and photography, plus you can tell me all your plans and ideas (or we can Skype).
Do we need to pay a deposit?
I ask for a £150 deposit to confirm your date, with the remainder due 4 weeks before the wedding.
Will you travel?
I’m happy to shoot anywhere. Usually a location within 50 miles of Darlington is part of the ‘package,’ if your wedding is further afield we can discuss this over a cuppa, don’t let distance put you off! (plus, my Passport is well within date!).
How many photos will we receive?
It’s hard to give a number as it depends on the agenda and number of hours, however normally it is at least 500+.
What format will the images be?
You will get ALL the images on a USB drive, in different formats:
- One set of full size hi-res 300dpi colour jpegs
- One set of full size hi-res 300dpi B&W jpegs (the same images as above individually re-edited to suit B&W )
- One set of low-res 72dpi colour jpegs (same as above but smaller)
- One set of low-res 72dpi B&W jpegs (same as above but smaller)
Are the images watermarked
No, I hate watermarks!
Are we free to print the images ourselves?
The images are supplied with a print license. Although I still own the copyright you are free to use them in anyway you like.
Do you have insurance?
Yes, I’m fully insured - Public Liability and Professional Indemnity, - if your venue needs any information I can provide details.
What’s in your bag?
Ha, good question! I’m a camera geek so it changes all the time. However, here’s the usual kit:
Canon 6D, Canon 5D mkIII, Canon 1Ds mkII, Canon 17-40mm f4L, Canon 40mm f2.8, Sigma 35mm f1.4 Art, Canon 50mm f1.4, Canon 85mm f1.8, Canon 135mm f2L, Canon 70-200mm f2.8L, Canon Speedlite 580EX II. I also use a Polaroid Land Camera 350, a Fujifilm Polaroid Passport Camera and a Fujifilm Instax Wide. I have quite a large collection of cameras, who knows what else I’ll bring along!
How do you edit your photographs?
Mainly, I use Adobe Lightroom. When I was growing up, photography editing and processing involved darkrooms and weird smelling chemicals, although things have changed, I still aim to retain as much of a natural and ‘filmy’ look to my images. I’m not into heavy editing, however some images do find themselves in Photoshop from time-to-time.
I hate posing for pictures. Do I have to pose?
I know what you mean, I hate posing for pictures too! Posed shots look like posed shots – I endeavour to avoid this at all times. Occasionally I may ask you to stand in a particular spot or face a certain way, but my style is all about capturing things as they really are.
Do you do group shots, family, friends etc.?
Groups of family and friends make great photographs. I try and keep this part of the day to about 30 minutes. Having a pre-written list of the groups that you would like really speeds things up, I have a ‘generic list’ of shots that I can provide you with if that helps.
How much time should we put aside for photographs of us?
In an ideal world one hour would be great.
We’d like an e-shoot/pre-wedding shoot, is this possible?
Absolutely, no problem. I charge separately for these - £125 – they last about an hour or so and can be anywhere you like, the beach, a park, a forest…
You will get the images supplied in the same way as listed above (see ‘What Format will the Images be?)
Will there be just you or do you have a second photographer?
If it’s a wedding of less than 8 hours then I shoot alone, anything above this and it’s likely I’ll have someone with me – I don’t charge any extra for this.
Shall we feed you?
If I’m covering a wedding of 8 hours or more then I ask that some food be made available, sandwiches and coffee is fine – a proper meal slows me down!
We want you there all day but we are not sure if we need 8 or 10 hours, what would you recommend?
If you’re looking for bridal preparation through to just after the first dance it usually means 10 hours of photographic coverage (or longer). If you are getting married a little later in the afternoon, then this can bring it down to 8 hours. Things vary a lot, I’m pretty flexible, we can discuss it further when we meet up.
How long does it take before we can see the pictures?
It takes about 4-6 weeks from your wedding date before the photos are available. (Although often sooner).
What if we’d like an Album?
Not a problem, I use a company called Folio Albums (http://www.folioalbums.com/), they are beautiful. I don’t include albums in any of my packages simply because I find it hard to sell something that you haven’t seen yet. It’s far easier think about albums and prints after the wedding when you’ve seen the photographs, we can chat about this is the weeks following the event.
Is it OK if my Uncle Bob (who’s a keen amateur photographer) takes some photographs too?
Weddings are wonderful social events, they create many memorable photographic moments, plenty of your guests will have cameras with them, it’s only natural that they would want to take some of their own images.
Things only get problematic when guests get in my way especially during important key moments such as walking down the aisle, throwing the confetti etc. (even more so if they have iPads!). All I ask is that guests are respectful of the fact that you are paying someone to photograph your big day in the style that you want.
The chances are that Uncle Bob and myself will get along marvellously, we’ll end up chatting about focal length, f-stops, shutter speed, ISO and white balance!
When did you get into Photography?
It’s hard to answer this question without resorting to some clichés – the real answer is ever since I was a child. I remember gathering on the lawn of my Nan's house for family photos in the late 70’s or early 80’s and being mesmerised by this ‘thing’ that brought everyone together and demanded that we all stare into it, this ‘thing’ turned out to be a 110 format camera. I was hooked. I’ve been quietly, yet obsessively addicted ever since. I’m now 43.
I shot my first wedding aged 18, one camera, one lens, several rolls of film and one flashgun – they loved the images. I got paid with a crate of Stella Artois! I started shooting weddings seriously in 2007.
What or who inspires you?
Wow, big question! You might expect me to reel off loads of classics like Cartier-Bresson, Bailey, Leibovitz, Avedon or Doisneau – and you’d be right. However, I’ve always felt a strong link between other styles of photography, like music and journalism. I find people like Anton Corbjin, Kevin Cummins, Steve Double, Don McCullin, Salgado and Tim Walker fascinating. But, it’s not only photography that ‘gets me going’, Renaissance painters, surrealism, Graphic Design (the work of Storm Thorgerson and Hipgnosis totally amazes me), Eastern Bloc 80’s furniture, Typography, the films of Tarkovsky and Almodovar… the list goes on.