What is your photographic style called?
I specialise in a very naturalistic form of photography which is usually described as “reportage”, capturing the action rather than creating it, documenting the day in fine detail so that in years to come all the images will serve to prompt happy memories of the day. I will also happily try to create fabulous, relaxed group shots – see below. If the groom and all his chaps want to be photographed jumping off a wall, then I’m sure they can organise it themselves and shout across to me the photographer before they jump – but I’m not going to suggest it, or make them do it over and over again until I’ve got my shot. If you want to read more about my wedding photography philisophy & ethos, see my list of articles about wedding photography.
Will you do formal shots?
I generally don’t like doing heavily posed formal shots as it goes against my entire ethos for capturing images of people naturally celebrating their wedding day. However, I will organise small group shots if necessary. Most of the time though, I will liaise with the Best Man and anyone with a camera to achieve this. Usually there are many amateur photographers amongst the guests and the party will naturally break into two groups – the photographers, and those being photographed – with lots of laughter and banter between the two groups! When this happens, of course, I’ll nip in there and photograph it!
Do you just photograph weddings?
No, as well as being a wedding photographer in Brighton, Sussex & the South East of England, I am also a successful art photographer, travel photographer and photojournalist, shooting for a wide range of leading image libraries, publishers, and Camera Press, one of the largest and longest established photojournalism agencies in the world. I also own Southdown Studio, Brighton’s biggest photographic studio for portraits, portfolios, makeovers and commercial photography. So why weddings? Because they’re genuine events in the lives of real human beings, full of all the elements that he loves to photograph – people, places, light, beauty & emotion.
What is the Face-to-Face Meeting for?
I like to get to know my happy couples before the wedding day. I want you to feel at ease with me so you’re totally relaxed with having your photos taken, and you’re fully aware of my way of working. You’ll have enough to occupy your mind on the day itself without meeting a complete stranger who’s going to be taking your photos! I can meet you at my studio so I can show you albums, art-books and prints, or at the wedding venue so we can survey the entire location together – it’s entirely up to you!
What do you photograph at weddings?
I photograph anything that’s worthy of an image – the happy couple, their family and friends and all their emotions; the children; the venue, especially if it’s especially picturesque; the clothes, the rings, the accessories; the cake, the food and drinks; the flowers… it’s a fantastic wealth of photographic material, and above all I enjoy it immensely, which hopefully shows through in my photographs. Look at the galleries & see for yourself!
Do you actually enjoy weddings?
Yes! Definitely! If I didn’t, I wouldn’t photograph them because I’d do no justice to the day. I love working with people, especially at a wedding because they’re all looking their best and dressed in their finest. I even get quite emotional behind the camera at times – but that’s my job, to see and capture the emotion, and I can’t do that if I don’t feel it. The day after a wedding, I’m wiped out – but I have the satisfaction of knowing I’ve worked hard to get everything documented. Then comes the arduous task of editing, preparing the gallery and album, and hand-finishing every image to ensure it’s printed beautifully and can be shown to its best potential. It all takes days of work, but I love it.
“But I Hate Myself in Photos!”
It’s quite simple – in me, you have a photographer who every week takes photos of people who hate having their photos taken, and who loves hearing “actually I really enjoyed that” and “I really love these photos” – which happens almost every time. I specialise in photographing people who may not be quite the size 8-10 with perfect skin and model good-looks. People are beautiful, and never more so than when they’re doing something fundamentally beautiful like getting married. When you have a photographer who photographs your wedding with feeling and emotion, your photos will show it.
How about albums?
Yes I offer a range of albums – not the horrible vinyl-clad, padded ones with “Our Wedding Memories” emblazoned across the front in gold spray-paint – I mean really lovely, tasteful hand-made albums to hold the collection of your favourite images. I can make these up for you with the photographs of your choice, or I can choose for you.
What is the web gallery?
I supply a web gallery with every wedding package. The best photographs are placed on a password-protected gallery on www.southdownstudioshop.co.uk, allowing the couple, their family and friends to view the wedding photographs no matter where in the world they happen to be. You can even use the gallery to order prints.
Digital or Film?
I shoot entirely on professional digital equipment – my workhorses are two Canon EOS 5D bodies and an array of professional lenses, which give brilliant, reliable results. They allow me an incredible shooting rate, ensuring I never miss the action because the equipment isn’t ready!
I shoot “RAW”, meaning that the raw analogue light measurements from the camera’s sensor are recorded in full. Thus the images aren’t really truly digital images until they’re processed back at the studio. In this way, it’s all much closer to the old days of film than you might think. But regardless of the conditions at the time of shooting, I get an enormous choice for my final images – from black and white, to pastel colour, through to the brightest, most vibrant colour pictures.
Colour or B&W?
Using a digital SLR camera I always shoot in colour. However, I shoot carefully, and later select images which will be particularly suited to black and white, and process them accordingly in order to achieve results that look every bit as dramatic as if they were shot on the best black and white film – see above.
I retain all copyrights for all images. I can supply various printing CDs which contain the edited images for unlimited printing for personal use at a given size. I keep the original copies of all images in perpetuity, so that if you come back to me in 20 years wanting reprints, they should be available. In copyright speak, I always own the copyright, but I can grant you various types of license to use the images, which after all is the whole point of me photographing your wedding!
Do we get the negatives?
With some packages you get a CD or DVD ROM included, with edited images in original resolution. You can use this disc to get prints from any high-street outlet or online lab. However, to get the very highest quality prints, order them from me. I do not overcharge for prints – and although they won’t be as cheap as ones from Boots or Asda, they’ll be proper professionally produced prints of the very best quality.
Food & Drink
I work very hard during the day of a wedding, and it would be appreciated if soft drinks could be made available throughout the day (I do not drink alcohol when I’m working for obvious reasons!). Food would also be appreciated, but if this is not going to be possible then please let me know in advance so I can make provisions to bring my own!
I have prepared a simple, standard contract which is designed to ensure that there are no misunderstandings between the happy couple and myself on the agreed terms and conditions. I would recommend that you also obtain wedding insurance and have written contracts with all third parties & suppliers.
Being Britain, we’re at the mercy of the weather – that’s life. If it rains on the day, I’ll try to make the best of it – shoot mostly indoors, and avoid the “drowned rat” look.
Of course the vast majority of weddings are formal affairs, with all the chaps in suits. However, running around hither and thither with heavy equipment whilst dressed in a suit isn’t exactly the best way of doing things. If you would like me to wear a suit, please tell me and I shall dress immaculately. Otherwise I shall dress in smart, casual clothes which are comfortable to work in.
Are you fully insured?
Yes, we are fully covered for public liability and professional indemnity.