wedding photographer

Jon & Emilie

Jon and Emilie are colleagues of my wife and good friends of ours. Their beautiful wedding took place near Paris in the gorgeous town of Triel-sur-Seine.

The weather was beautiful and the people so warm and friendly (even though I’ve forgotten pretty much all the French I learned in school!) The reception itself took place in an amazing old distillery in the countryside. The French countryside in August? Yes please!

All the best to the happy couple!

Neil & Hannah

On the 21st of August I had photographed the wedding of Neil & Hannah as a second shooter, in the amazing location of Castle Headingham in Essex, it's not every day you get to shoot in a genuine Norman keep! Congratulations to the happy couple! 

Twinelle and Jamie

A few weeks ago I had a great time shooting with Twinelle and Jamie in the very picturesque Crown Lakes country park. I'm very pleased with how these photos came out! Engagement sessions are a lot of fun, it's really rewarding to capture those pre-wedding feelings for posterity.

Nikita and Andrew

Even though the weather wasn't the best, I had a lovely shoot with Nikita and Andrew this week at Grafham Water. I love doing engagement shoots like these, you can really see the strength of the connection that the couple shares. I'm very fortunate that I get to work in such a great field with such great people, it really is my dream.

Here are some tips for getting the most out of your engagement shoot:

1.) Be yourselves

If you're typically quite awkward in front of the camera, that's ok, your photographer knows how to bring out your best side, so don't fret. It usually takes awhile to get warmed up and in the swing of things, so give yourself time to get used to being photographed and loosen up! Most importantly, don't stress!

2.) Be prepared

Photos take planning, so make sure you know what sort of thing you want and communicate that clearly to your photographer. We're all an experienced bunch, so don't worry if you're not sure - your photographer can always come up with suggestions if you don't know what to do next.
The best locations are rarely right next to a car park, so be ready to do a bit of walking to get to the right spot. Bring a bag with some water and some snacks (you can leave this out of shot when it's picture time, don't worry) to keep you going if it's hot or you get hungry.

3.) Location

Picking a good location can be difficult. If you have a favourite place that means something to you as a couple, that's always a good place to start. Otherwise, country parks, reservoirs, beaches, even fields all work very well.

4.) Outfits.

There's no need to be super-formal for an engagement session (it's not your wedding, no need for a wedding dress and tuxedo!). Stay comfortable and dress appropriately for the weather. If you make sure to dress with complimentary colours, the photos will definitely look cohesive and form a pleasing whole..

The most important thing is that you feel comfortable in your outfits, this shows up in the photos and can accentuate your style and personality. It also helps to not carry anything around that might distract you, so leaving bags and other things you don't need in the car is a good idea. 
I don't recommend wearing black for photos, colours that complement each other and clothes in common shades look best for couples, while loud print patterns or big logos can be distracting.

Wedding Photography - Purchase or Investment?

I know people often wonder how Wedding Photographers work, what goes into creating the perfect wedding coverage, and what goes on behind-the-scenes.  
I found this interesting infographic while trawling the web the other day, that might be interesting to anyone with an interest in wedding photography.

What To Look For In A Photographer – Wedding Edition

Weddings are awesome, fun-filled events where you can proclaim your love to the whole world, surrounded by those you love the most. Wedding planning, however, is synonymous with stress. When you're planning one of the biggest days of your life it can be very easy to become overwhelmed by all the vendors competing for your time and custom. 

There are many different types of wedding vendors but because I am a wedding photographer, I'm going to talk about photographers specifically. What should you look for when you want to hire a photographer? What are the pitfalls that await the unsuspecting bride and groom? Read on, and I'll go through five questions you should ask yourself, and of any potential photographer, before you put your money down.

Do I like their style?

If you don't like the style of photographs that a particular photographer produces, it's a bad idea to hire them. This is probably obvious, but it bears repeating. If you don't like their style, you won't be happy with hiring a particular photographer. 

  • How do they use colour, are the photos vibrant or more restrained?
  • Are they very modern or does their style have more of a retro feel to it?
  • Do they use a lot of shallow depth of field/blurry backgrounds, and do I like that?

What type of photographer are they?

There are plenty of different types of wedding photographer, but two broad methods among them. Pay close attention when you talk to a wedding photographer or visit their website to their use of terms. Reportage refers specifically to a more journalistic style (hence reportage - reporter) with a focus on candid photos of people enjoying themselves with the photographer generally trying to stay out of the way as much as possible. Traditional wedding photography is generally more nebulous, but generally has emphasis on posed portraiture.

Lots of photographers (myself included) do a mixture of these, but there are some photographers who will only really do one or the other, so be careful when you book. If you want fabulous bridal portraits you may be disappointed if you hired a reportage photographer. Likewise, if you want special candid moments you might not want to choose a more traditional photographer. 

What type of person are they?

This is one you might miss, but it can have an impact. If you're a very energetic group then a photographer who is quite low-key and reserved might struggle to provide what you're looking for. On the other hand, if your group is quite restrained and conservative, a photographer who's the human equivalent of a bouncy ball might grate on you.
This one is only particularly useful if you met the photographer at a wedding fair; it's hard to tell someone's personality solely through text on a website, so bear that in mind.

Are they equipped for what I'm asking of them?

Wedding photography is a tough field to work in, and while I'm definitely not interested in being a gear prescriptivist, there are a few things you should look out for. Their main work camera ought to be a DSLR or a Mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses. There are of course other cameras that fall outside of this particular rule (Fuji X100's, for example). 
They should realistically have two DSLRs, or a DSLR and a mirrorless/high end compact as a back-up. If their camera goes kaput during your wedding if they don't have something to fall back on, you'll get no pictures and be rather peeved. It doesn't happen often, but why take that chance?
If you want portraits with off-camera lighting you should ask them whether they're capable of providing that before it comes to the big day.

They probably won't be as equipped as this cosmonaut!

They probably won't be as equipped as this cosmonaut!

How are they going to provide me with my pictures?

This varies quite a bit from photographer to photographer. Some photographers are perfectly happy to hand over printable digital files on a USB stick or DVD as part of their package (this is what I do), whilst others might hold back their digital files as an added extra. If you get digital files of your wedding coverage and intend to print them, ask the photographer if they will be in a hi-res 300dpi format. If they aren't you will struggle to print them any larger than a beermat.

Likewise, if you intend to print them you should ensure that your photographer will provide you with a print license. You might think that you can just pop down to Boots and get photos printed however you like, but with wedding photos the staff will sometimes ask you to provide proof that you're legally entitled to print the pictures you want. This is because by copyright law, photographers retain all rights to the images they make, even when working for a client. 

Other photographers will prefer to give you a printed product after your wedding, an album for example (I do this as well!), with additional prints/canvases/wall art available to buy direct from the photographer. This has its pros in that photographers who are willing to sell you prints after will often charge less to cover a wedding in the first place, and the quality will be higher as we have access to professional print labs and suppliers. The cons of this model is that photographers will expect you to buy something and therefore be very keen in selling to you.

Some photographers will not provide digital files at all, some photographers will only provide digital files, make sure you know which one you want before you commit to a deposit.

Those are my five questions couples need to ask themselves when it comes to booking a photographer for their wedding. I hope they prove useful to you when it comes to making this difficult decision, and makes planning your wedding just a little bit easier.

If you have any questions for me,  please don't hesitate to drop me a line at oliver@okealeyphoto.co.uk or call 07413 008100

Is Portrait Photography Still Relevant?

Everyone has a camera these days” is something we hear often in this business, usually from fellow photographers frustrated with their friends and relatives. Camera ownership is an almost ubiquitous feature of our modern lives, and they're here to stay. Consumer cameras have been available in some form or another since the Kodak Brownie, but the flood of mobile phones containing integrated cameras has caused an explosion in photographic enthusiasm amongst people who wouldn't consider themselves photographers. All five of the most popular cameras used to take photos for Flickr are mobile phone cameras, and this lead is only increasing.


The reasons for this are manifold and have been discussed at length for years: Everyone carries a phone nowadays and so everyone also carries with them a compact camera; the film that was so expensive, difficult to use is no longer necessary; pictures taken with mobile phones can be shared immediately via Twitter, Instagram, or other social networks. Surely the proliferation of amateur photography spells doom for the professional? Actually, though much diminished from its heyday, I believe that professional portrait photography is still relevant in the modern world.

 

Permanence

Although it may seem contradictory while we are taking more photos than ever, the market for photo prints is in sharp decline, tumbling 20% between 2013 and 2015. This reluctance to print photos for display and preservation rather than viewing on a screen can cause problems. I don't know about you, but whereas my parents still have almost all the printed photos they took over their lifetimes, a lot of the photos they took during the dawn of digital photography are lost. Stored on memory cards that are no longer readable, or on computer hard-drives that have since ceased to function and been thrown away.
Surely the solution is just to print more photos, right? Well, not really. Phone camera photos are (relatively) small, so despite what you might read online, they don't necessarily bear the brunt of printing very well. For example, a photo from Instagram will only print at around 2 ½” (smaller than a credit card) without severe degradation of quality.

The negative is comparable to the composer’s score and the print to its performance.
— Ansel Adams

 


 

Quality

Speaking of quality, professional portrait photography charges ahead in what can be achieved. The professional photographer community stakes its reputation on the ability to consistently produce high quality photographs. A talented professional photographer can shape light to create dynamism and use techniques to maximise sharpness and detail. Prints from professional cameras (and skilled photographers!) can be wall-sized with outstanding clarity and quality. A bit ambitious? Well, perhaps, but nothing beats a camera in the hands of a professional when it comes to quality. When you employ a professional for your portraits, you're not just hiring a fancy camera but also the benefit of thousands upon thousands of hours spent honing and perfecting the craft.



 

My Sister's Wedding

My sister got married a few years ago in the U.S. state of New Jersey on a scorching August day. As a wedding present I'd offered to photograph their wedding (my first wedding). In this post are some personal reflections on the anxiety and excitement of wedding photography.
Every photographer's first wedding is poised to be a nightmare, and mine was no different. The sense of dread on the day before quickly ballooned among the excitement. I did what I could, made sure I read everything available, charged all the batteries, bought new memory cards, cleaned lenses, and tried to do some visualisation. My biggest fear was running out of battery in both my primary and spare, there'd be no coming back from that.
In preparation for this I repeatedly asked myself these questions: “What could go wrong?”, “How can I make sure that doesn't happen?”, and “What will I do if it does happen?”

The day itself was a sweltering and completely still 27 degrees. Being used to temperatures in the mid-to-high teens I was out of my element, sweating before I'd even begun. The pattern of the day (and my schedule) had been decided in advance the evening before: Go to the groom's house and photograph the men preparing, and then to the bride's hotel room and her preparation. To the church, from there to the country park for portraits, and finally the reception. All in all, my day would end up as 14 hours from start to finish, almost all of it on my feet in uncomfortable rented shoes.

All this build-up, all this pressure and tension was finally coming to a head. In a foreign country, shooting a one-time thing for my beloved family, with scant room for error. The deep breath before the plunge.
Despite the mounting adrenaline, as soon as the shooting started and I had something to focus on, the anxiety melted away. A deafening roar diminished to a mere whisper.
Maybe I do know what I'm doing after all.