Round Chapel Hackney

Hackney Picturehouse Wedding and The Hackney Round Chapel
Jojo & Joe

Hackney Round Chapel Wedding

Jojo and Joe had their ceremony at the Hackney Picturehouse in London with their reception at The Round Chapel nearby.

By all accounts it was a very cool affair and this wedding was filled with many personal touches. All the guys had different lego button holes for their suits, all the table favours were unique and everyone received a small note in a glass bottle with a personal message just for them.

Hackney Round Chapel Wedding

On arrival at the cinema there was popcorn for everyone and just before the ceremony began there was a short movie clip played before Jojo and her entourage danced down the cinema steps to meet with Joe.

Afterwards we took some pictures in the Cinema (the eclectic decor was very good for photos) and with a few formal ones on the steps of Hackney Town Hall.

From here we went to the Round Chapel where the party began. There was plenty to entertain the guests with a football table, giant Jenga, Connect 4, Air Hockey and a photo booth.

The Round Chapel is a very big space with a great, imposing upper level and there was plenty of space to move around in. After dinner the evening kicked off, lots of dancing, a bouquet toss, several cakes were cut and burritos were served.
Hackney Round Chapel Wedding

I like to be taken out of my comfort zone from time to time when shooting a wedding and there are many ways to do this. Photographing a wedding in a Cinema is one of them.

I know how to shoot in low light but working in a Cinema is something else. It’s essentially a big dark box and I had to think on my feet, manually adjusting everything as I went. The saving grace though was the massive cinema screen behind me (being white) allowed me to use it as a super duper bounce card.

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Amberley Castle couples shoot

An Engagement Shoot at Amberley Castle
Kate & James

Amberley Castle WeddingHere’s Kate and James, these two live in Phoenix, Arizona and are getting married in the UK this year.

When they were last over we had a catch up and Engagement shoot in and around Amberley Castle near Arundel in West Sussex.

Amberley Castle WeddingIt was a bit windy but the sun was out and it was nice to have some dedicated time with them both.

I enjoy engagement shoots because it allows you to do practice runs and to see how things work in preparation for the main event. Not essential, but fun nonetheless.
Amberley Castle Wedding

When at a wedding everything runs at 100 miles an hour, but when there is just the three of us and no real restrictions on time things can be slowed down and considered more. You can walk, talk and get to know each other better.

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Brighton Bandstand Wedding

Great Gatsby Inspired Wedding
Hazel & James’s Roaring 20’s Wedding in Brighton

1920s-brighton-wedding-24Here is Hazel and James who were married in Brighton.

They had a Great Gatsby inspired wedding with multiple locations (in fact a record number of locations for me this year).

Bridal prep was in the Penthouse suite of Hotel Du Vin, complete with pinball table (on freeplay woot)!. All of the fascinators worn by the bridesmaids and Hazel were made by Hazel herself. The flowers were put together by the bridesmaids too.

Hazel and James tied the knot at destination number two which was St Mary Magdalene’s church in Upper North Street Brighton. A lovely, well lit church which was great for photos.

1920s-brighton-wedding-17From there we all walked to the Brighton Bandstand stopping briefly at a beautiful Art Deco doorway for a quick snap of them together (further down).

At the bandstand there was a drinks reception and photos before myself and the couple went in the wedding car to Brighton Royal Pavilion for photos in and around the grounds before some final shots in a nearby pub.

Havana Restaurant and Bar was our final port of call for the day where the party really kicked off.
1920s-brighton-wedding-33

Once at Havana there was dinner, speeches and in the upper mezzanine level a mobile casino was arranged for them before all the girls danced a 20’s routine and Hazel and James had their first dance.

Their day was a unique and creative one with lots of thought and detail put into it. Even James’s suit was an exact replica of the worn in the film Great Gatsby.

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Skibo Castle

Skibo Castle Weddings

Skibo Castle Wedding

Skibo Castle

There are many venues I’d love to shoot at, one of which is Skibo Castle. This fantastic and exclusive wedding venue can be found to the west of Dornoch in the Highland county of Sutherland, Scotland overlooking the Dornoch Firth. It is operated as The Carnegie Club, a members-only residential club, offering members and their guests accommodation in both the castle and estate lodges, and hosts a number of weddings per year.

Skibo Castle is on my bucket list of wedding venues to cover. If you’d like me to be there for your wedding please get in touch.

 

Kingscote Barn Wedding

Kingscote Barn
Sarah & Adam

Kingscote Barn WeddingAnd so I’ve arrived at Kingscote Barn.

Kingscote has been on my wedding venue wannabe hit list for some time now. A change of scenery for me and somewhere new to get creative. I’ve known Adam since we met at a catwalk show some years ago and we caught up again on a mini engagement shoot a few weeks before the wedding day.

Adam is an accomplished photographer himself so it was quite flattering, albeit slightly daunting to shoot for someone else in the same profession….I don’t know why, I guess it just is!

Kingscote Barn WeddingThe decorations, table layouts, flowers and food on the day were quite honestly some of the best I’ve ever experienced. I’ve really not seen much better, not in combination like this.

THIS was the place to be on Sunday the 22nd of September this year and if you weren’t here, I feel for you, really, I do.

A successful wedding isn’t just made up out of a great venue and supporting staff. It’s primarily about the people attending. (Although special mention goes to LA Wedding and Event Styling , Strawberry Field catering and Sorori Design Florist for being just cracking to work with… if you’re reading this, you guys were so nice to me, thank you. It’s really nice when people consider me).

Kingscote Barn WeddingThis was a wedding full of actors, performers, singers and sheep. So everything was in place for a kicking wedding, which it was. Make no mistake about it THIS was the place to be on Sunday the 22nd of September this year and if you weren’t here, I feel for you, really, I do.

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Old Finsbury Town Hall Wedding

Old Finsbury Town Hall London
Rachel & Zach

Old Finsbury Town Hall
Years ago when I first started shooting weddings I found that each time I rolled up to a venue I had a twinge in the belly and a case of the butterflies.This was because I knew that if there’s one thing I couldn’t do…I can’t mess around with someones wedding or screw up…like, ever.

This is one of the most important days in someones life, the beginning of their journey and they’ve entrusted you to shoot it. That knowledge can run through you like a blade and boy does it keep you on your toes.

As the years rolled by it went away….until Rachel and Zachs wedding in December. You see, it was our first Jewish Wedding so I had to treat it like my first time all over again.

Sure I have more experience and confidence now and I can easily reassure myself in the knowledge that in general, everyone is going to be looking where you should be shooting. But still, a lot of things were new to me that had to be observed and recorded. Not just snapped but also in a way that conveys the journey two souls have made together up until this point and to reflect the feelings and emotions of the family too.

Old Finsbury Town HallOur day started at the Rookery hotel in Cowcross Street, London. I covered Rachel’s prep and Laura was at the Old Finsbury Town Hall (The Urdang Academy) awaiting Zach’s arrival and checking out points of interest for photos later in the day.

The order of things were different in that the formal photos were pre ceremony and in advance of the other guests arriving. Honestly, I’d do it this way at every wedding if I could do, it worked so well!

Then there was the Bedeken. This is a small ceremony in which the Groom checks the bride (to make sure it’s her) but only after signing and talking about the Ketubah. The Ketubah is a special type of prenuptial agreement and is considered an integral part of a traditional Jewish marriage and outlines the rights and responsibilities of the groom, in relation to the bride.

After the Bedeken the main ceremony started upstairs. I did a lot of research about this and was expecting Zach to be walked down the aisle by both fathers and Rachel by both mothers but this wasn’t the case.

I’ve realised that as with all weddings, each one can have slight variations to the proceedings.

Old Finsbury Town HallThe ceremony was beautiful, the prayers and the singing were enchanting leading up to the end with the braking of the glass and cries of ‘Mazeltov!’

From this point it all went crazy and everyone ran in to meet and congratulate them. It was an immense thing to be a part of.

After this the couple were danced downstairs to a private room for something to eat together alone, I took some more post ceremony photos and after a short reception everyone hit the dance floor for Simcha (Jewish dancing) before dinner.

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Duke of Cumberland Arms Wedding

St Margarets Church Fernhurst and The Duke of Cumberland Arms Henley
Mimi & Joe

Duke of Cumberland Arms WeddingAck, well what can I say… last year I shot a lot of weddings and one of my favourites was Mimi and Joe’s.

They tied the knot in St Margaret’s Church (Fernhurst, West Sussex) last July with their reception being at the beautiful Duke of Cumberland Arms which is a beautiful 15th Century pub just down the road.

The lovely thing with the Duke of Cumberland is the views and the food. Joe has known the Head Chef Simon Goodman for many years so knew the food was going to be amazing (and it was). Each of the 65 guests could choose their starter and main which was then followed by an Assiette of Summer Desserts.

Duke of Cumberland Arms WeddingMimi wanted the Wedding to be romantic, but simple and elegant with beautiful flowers, alongside  beautiful scented Jo Malone candles and large vases…….pale apricots, creams and pink avalanche roses were on the tabletops and beautiful glass candlesticks with tall candles lighting up the dining marquees. You could smell the delicate scent of the candles everywhere and one guest commented… ‘it smells like Mimi’s home here’ – Mission Acomplished!

These days I’m haunting Pinterest, I love it there and now when I take bookings I’ll always ask if the couple are on Pinterest as it’s good to see their pins. It’s also great to get a feel for their wedding and the inspiration behind it.

Pictures can convey so much more that words and Mimi was great in having an active wedding board I could lend ideas from.

Mimi and Joe didn’t have any Bridesmaids as such but instead their daughter Evie and niece, Holly, 6 were flower girls, and wore beautiful silk chiffon dresses from Ilovegorgeous, which had a dusky pink satin ribbon tie and hand embroidered roses.
They had four pageboys – their son, Harry and their nephews, Tom, Charlie and Zak. They wore Ralph Lauren chino’s and white linen shirts and tank tops from Little Linens and little white converse!

Duke of Cumberland Arms WeddingI asked Mimi about her flowers and she said ‘The Flowers were from The Floral Emporium at Secrets, Milford. The flowers had a ‘hand -picked’ vintage and country feel about them, soft and pastel colours, and Karen and Vicky were absolutely incredible filling hundred of vases for me as well as doing large displays and made my amazing day beautiful and full of love!’

Other bits and pieces… Mimi got ready at the Spread Eagle Hotel, her dress was made by her Mother based on the combination of a few Philippa Lepley designs, the Band was the Alex and Phil Extravaganza, the cake was made by Joe based on a Peggy Porschen Cake which Kate Moss had at her Wedding – (a pyramid of 5 cakes) and I ran a photo booth in the evening!

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Weding Photography Advertising Pt1

Advertising for the Wedding Photographer Part 1 – Wedding Magazines

Lets talk ADVERTISING.

I’ve wanted to write this post for a while. But I wanted to make sure I’d exhausted all possible avenues before releasing it because what I’ve learned about the figures used to sell it, how it is sold, the perceptions people have about it, the mistakes people have made as well as the successes are worthy of not just a single blog post but several.

This is a chronicle of my (mis)adventures in advertising, It should save you money and if you’re in the position to spend out, it’ll help you make it go further.

Years in the making, you might want to put the kettle on

 

First, some caveats before we continue:

1. This is based on my experience and mine alone. Everyone is different, everyone has a niche. Any information given is from my own personal experience. I’ll quote actual real statistical figures publicly available.

2. I’m not here to bitch. Seriously, I’m not. I’ve thought long and hard about mentioning names and companies involved and I’ve decided to do so when required. So if you’re reading this and your name is mentioned then sorry about that, please read point number 1.

3. I’m a firm believer in paying it forward. This whole photographer section of my blog is because when I started out people fell over backwards to help and assist me. So here I am, telling you about my mistakes so you can get to where you want to be quicker or at least with less financial grief. That’s all. Nothing more, nothing less.

4. This is something that nobody appears to talk about or more importantly….and I quite seriously believe…..are scared to. You don’t need to be and I want comments and interactions on this post. I want to believe that what I’ve experienced isn’t the norm. Prove me wrong.mo

5. These posts are subject to change. Young and old we’re always learning. I’m happy to be wrong and will adjust this post to suit.

Chapters:

Chapter 1: Wedding Magazines (You are here)
Chapter 2: Directories, Google and Facebook cold calls
Chapter 3: Google Adwords and Facebook Ads
Chapter 4: Social Media
Chapter 5: Wedding Blogs
Chapter 6: Facebook Groups and Wedding Forums
Chapter 7: Wedding Fairs and Bridal Shows
Chapter 8: What works for me

Advertising in Wedding Magazines, leaflets and printed media to promote your wedding photography. Spend: £2238. Ad cost per booking: £1119

As we all know, cold calls aren’t usually the bringers of good news.

If a service is worth having you wouldn’t normally expect people to jump out from bushes without warning selling you ‘widget x’.

That’s the first point. If something was really that good at generating business it would be talked about all over the place, Facebook groups, forums, Twitter and it would be talked about yesterday and already be over sold.

Not via a cold call at 9.45 whilst you’re signing for a parcel at the front door and your dog’s howling the place down to let me know someone is there.

And rest assured. In five years I’ve never had a call that was worth my while. Never.

Yet, they call, they grind you down and you think ‘I’ll give it a go’ and boom you’re in ‘Guides for Brides’ for a year. I believe in going hard or going home (sorry Will) in respect to advertising. I know how I look at magazines, (small ads will never catch my eye) so I paid £234 for a half page ad in Guides for Brides. Below is the ad I used:

Let's be honest, it's not a bad advertisement

 

As you can see, nice couple, not too busy or distracting. Details are clearly there and I had two enquiries from it (which would be ace if it wasn’t from other photographers wanting to assist me).

I get so, so many emails from togs starting out wanting to assist. This isn’t me beingshowy either. EVERYONE get’s them if they’re visible enough.

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Wedding Photography Advertising Pt2

Advertising for the Wedding Photographer Part 2
Directories and ‘We’re from Google / Facebook / Some alien planet where reason doesn’t exist’

In this section I’m going to talk about my experience with cold calling Google / Facebook companies and Directories. In a way this section is in two parts but they do share some similar aspects worthy of one classification.

Chapter 1: Wedding Magazines and Print Advertising
Chapter 2: Directories and Cold Calls (You are here)
Chapter 3: Google Adwords and Facebook Ads
Chapter 4: Social Media
Chapter 5: Wedding Blogs
Chapter 6: Facebook Groups and Wedding Forums
Chapter 7: Wedding Fairs and Bridal Shows
Chapter 8: What works for me

 

Advertising in Directories:

My definition is a site or entity that lists you amongst others of the same business and location somewhere that is part of your target niche, like a wedding forum or business directory.

Two immediately spring to mind, Freeindex and UK Bride. There is a clear distinction between these two. One is free, the other costs you money. Starting with free, because free is fun. I have a listing on Freeindex and whilst it hasn’t netted me any enquiries it has helped me establish a presence outside of my main website.

This searchable visibility is generally good because it shows you aren’t just someone with a website and a mobile number. Sometime people can leave reviews on and that’s even better.

Free is good

 

Free web presence is good. Don’t forget that, (just as long as the company you’re keeping is reputable too). As with everything free there tends to be a catch or financial incentive somewhere. Freeindex likes to try and up-sell you premium services which you don’t need and leads you don’t want. There is another problem….there’s hundreds of directories out there. Which is why you should pick a couple and walk away from them. Their value is limited.

This practice is carried along with other directories like the rude maniacs that are Yell who once you have a free listing try their utmost to get you to upgrade. I was called 4 times in a week and they were so persistent I had to hang up on them. Don’t use Yell. Like, everrrrr. Other directories will take your details and

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Wedding Photography Advertising Pt3

Advertising for the Wedding Photographer Part 3
Google Adwords and Bipolar Facebook advertising

The face I pull whenever I use Adwords

 

Chapter 1: Wedding Magazines and Print Advertising
Chapter 2: Directories, Google and Facebook cold calls
Chapter 3: Google Adwords and Bipolar Facebook advertising (You are here)
Chapter 4: Social Media
Chapter 5: Wedding Blogs
Chapter 6: Facebook Groups and Wedding Forums
Chapter 7: Wedding Fairs and Bridal Shows
Chapter 8: What works for me

Advertising using Adwords and Facebook

Over 4 Grand.

That’s a lot of money. If you were buying Mars Bars in multipacks that would be 16,000 mars bars. Which is 3 million, 920 thousand calories. For an average male that’s enough energy to last him 1568 days, which is 4 years and 108 days.

That’s how much I spent on Adwords.

When I first started out and nobody knew who I was in relation to photography. Google Adwords was a golden ticket to exposure. Admittedly my work wasn’t at the standard it is today but I was charging between £400-800 per wedding. A far cry from the £1450 starting price I’m at now.

What work that I had though was still very good for the price point and yes, I got work from Adwords.

But boy oh boy was it expensive. Tax deductable, but still.

You can target keywords with Google Adwords and to some extent the audience yet, at approvimately £1.50 per click it’s a crazy amount to pay when it could be someone who might not have the budget for my services, might not like my work and might be getting married on a date I’m already booked for.

The Google Adwords user interface yesterday

 

It’s also quite complicated to use PROPERLY. I’ve not used Adwords for a couple of years now. I’ve not really felt the need but it was exceptionally hit and miss.

I was constantly fighting a bidding war between

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