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James and Katie’s West Sussex Wedding

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James and Katie’s West Sussex Wedding

 

A West Sussex Wedding with an Eco Twist

James and Katie got married in Shipley, near Horsham in West Sussex, in late summer. This West Sussex wedding was a combination of a traditional church service and a marquee on the Knepp Castle Estate. Knepp castle is an interesting venue.  It is a 3,500 acre estate which is slowly being returned to a wild state after generations of dairy and arable farming. They have introduced longhorn cattle, tamworth pigs and well as exmoor ponies and the locally occurring roe deer and rabbits. The animals are all left behave as they would in the wild. Some such as the cattle and pigs are periodically harvested for meat. The aim is to produce a sustainable and economically viable landscape which is at the forefront of environmental conservation.

Shipley itself is known for being where the BBC Series Jonathan Creek was filmed. Luckily no dastardly crimes were discovered on the wedding day!

James and his party were resplendent in Scottish attire as befitted his familial roots. Katie Looked beautiful in a low backed wedding dress with her bridesmaids looking elegant in dark blue. James and Katie travelled in a beautiful classic Rolls Royce whilst the guests were ferried from the church via a vintage bus.

The wedding reception was bathed in September sunshine, and I was able to take some great photos against the beautiful backdrop of the Knepp Castle Estate and the day was rounded off with some traditional Ceilidh dancing as befitted the Scottish theme.

 

 

 

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Why Have a Pre Wedding Shoot?

Pre Wedding Shoot

Pre Wedding Shoot

A Pre-Wedding Shoot a great way of getting to know your photographer, and for him or her to get to know you. (You also get some great pictures!)

‘I don’t like  having my picture taken’. This is the sentence that I hear more than any other when I meet clients. Personally, I think people are actually more concerned that they are ‘bad’ at having their picture taken. They feel awkward, they suddenly lose the ability to stand comfortably, they don’t know where to put their hands. A photographer is not just someone who owns a lot of flashy equipment or knows a lot about lighting and photoshop. The most important skill for any photographer who has wedding clients is people skills. Unless I can make you feel relaxed and happy, and bring out the best in you, no lens, no camera or piece of software is going to help. I have lots of different cameras, from brand new to forty years old. I would say that none of them is better or worse than the other in getting a great portrait – it’s the connection you make with the people you are photographing that counts.

Here is the catch though – there is often not enough time to build a relationship with your clients on their wedding day, or to coach and guide them through the dark arts of posing for photographs well. That’s why a pre-wedding shoot is so useful. I can gauge your personality in front of the camera, are you outgoing or quiet, thoughtful or mischievous. I can experiment with each couple and find out what works for them. I can direct you, shoot and show the pictures back to you. You get to see what works, and with that confidence and trust builds. You can be absolutely sure you are in safe hands. This makes your couple shots on your wedding day easier and quicker, and helps make the most of what will almost certainly be a busy schedule.

I usually book pre-wedding shoots on a Sunday, and try to make the session relaxed and unhurried. I have a great assortment of local locations to shoot at but often couples want to visit their wedding venue and use the engagement shoot to scout ideas for their wedding.

I offer free pre-wedding shoots with all of my packages because I strongly believe they help me do my job better. Every minute I spend with clients before the wedding improves the images they’ll receive on their wedding day. The key to great photography is building relationships with people, and to do that you have to meet with and talk to people. Good old fashioned customer service.

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How to Conquer Wedding Day Stress

Wedding Day StressWeddings are a big deal. That doesn’t mean that your day has to be overwhelmed by wedding day stress. Here are some simple tips to help you enjoy your wedding day to its maximum.

You are not alone.

I get nervous at the beginning of a wedding day. I worry about what could go wrong, what the weather will be like, or a guest straying into the shot at a never to be repeated moment. I worry because I want things to be perfect and you wedding photos to be the best they can be. I’m sure the caterers get nervous, the florist worries and the vicar prays he won’t fluff his sermon. Your wedding photographer, florist and event managers are probably just as emotionally invested as you are that the day goes well, so don’t think the responsibility rests just on your shoulders.  We all care about this stuff as much as you do.

Delegate. Delegate. Delegate.

Try to share the load of organisation with your wedding professionals and your friends and family. The more things that you delegate the easier your day becomes. Remember friends and family members love to be involved and are often flattered to be asked, so take advantage of this and everyone benefits.

Take time for yourself

Weddings can often seem like a never ending stream of people to say hello to and keep happy. Make sure your take five minutes here and there for yourself. Perhaps five minutes on your own before the ceremony or a short stop in the wedding car on the way back from the church.  A quiet moment to pause and appreciate the day can give you that all important inner calm that will stop your day going by in a blur.

Remember you can’t control everything.

Try not to worry about things you can’t control. I have photographed weddings in all weathers and rarely has the day been spoiled by a spot of rain or a chilly wind. Weddings are robust occasions and you’ll be surprised by your guests determination to have a good time. Couples often worry about family disharmony, especially if their parents have separated. I have shot dozens of weddings where the bride or groom’s parents have divorced, and there has never been a problem. The people that love you will find a way to call a truce when they now how important the day is to you.

The more you plan, the more stress free the day is.

Having a well worked out schedule can take a lot of the stress out of the wedding day. It might seem counter intuitive, but a well organised day feels more relaxed. Knowing what you are doing and when  is essential. Make sure all your wedding professionals tell you how long things will take , and make sure they are the kind of professional that is honest enough to tell you when things aren’t possible. At the sketchier end of the market suppliers will tell you anything to get your business, and then let you down on the big day. Make sure you have experienced professionals who know how everything works.

Remember your main objective.

As I have said to a lot of nervous brides as they get ready, as long as you finish the day married, the day has been a success. Nothing else really matters that much. So don’t let wedding day stress spoil your day. Enjoy the first day of the rest of your life with the person that you love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Also posted in Chichester photographer, Chichester wedding photographer, Sussex wedding photographer, wedding photographer, Wedding Photographer Chichester, Wedding photographer reportage photojournalist brighton chichester., Wedding Photographer Sussex, wedding photography

Wedding Tip – How to avoid that sinking feeling.

https://www.thesolemates.com/uploads/galleries/How%20It%20Works/IMG_1736.jpgPhotographing Weddings in Sussex means I get to visit a lot of rural venues, either marquees in fields, converted barns or pretty rural churches. Although rain ruining a wedding is a lot rarer than people imagine, often the bride or female guests find themselves sinking into a damp lawn. Sole Mates are little plastic protectors that stop stiletto heels sinking into the ground, getting trapped in grates or decking and offer protection from scratching and scuffing. These things do happen, I once had to saw a brides shoe out of some decking with the multi-tool I keep in my camera bag.  Sole Mates  are a great and inexpensive wedding tip that should be part of any bride’s handbag.

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10 Tips to help your Group Wedding Photos Run Smoothly

Group Wedding Photo

Group wedding photos are one of the potential logistical pitfalls at a wedding. They normally take place between the ceremony and the wedding breakfast, and  involve a lot of different shots compressed into a relatively short time frame. If things don’t run smoothly, guests get bored, caterers start to get anxious, and it can kill the atmosphere of the wedding.

Ideally, all your group shots should be agreed with your photographer at your wedding planning meeting. I usually advise my clients to set aside about 45 minutes for group photographs. Most wedding schedules allow between one and two hours between the ceremony and the wedding breakfast, around an hour and a half would be the average. So if you allow 20 mins after the wedding for everyone to have a drink and congratulate the newlyweds, 5 or 10 minutes or so to corral everyone for a confetti shot you generally have a total of one hour to fit photos into. I don’t like to schedule all of this time as it is important to have a bit of leeway in case people disappear or are just difficult to round up.  I prefer to work pretty quickly and keep things moving. Your guests’ enthusiasm can start to wane as you approach the hour mark. Luckily there are plenty of things you can do to make sure this part of the wedding runs smoothly, and is enjoyable for you and your guests. These are my top ten tips to ensure group photos don’t become a chore that frustrates you and bores your guests.

1.Make Sure You Have a List.

The first step into making sure your group photos run smoothly is to agree a list of photos with your wedding photographer beforehand. Your photographer can guide you as to how long he thinks it will take and advise you if you have missed anything. If you are pressed for time in your wedding schedule the best way to make sure you run to time is to not have too many small variations in your list, or combine related shots into one larger group. For example, shoot bridesmaids and ushers as one group instead of photographing them separately. I always bring two or three hard copies if the list to each wedding. One for me and another for whoever is helping me round people up.

2. Start with large groups and gradually send people away.

It’s usually best to start off with the largest groups as people are easier to round up just after the ceremony, and less likely to have wandered off. Also guests tend to be smartest early on in the wedding, and loosen ties and take off jackets as the day goes on. Things like that can be hard to spot in a group of 120 people! Whittle the groups down so that immediate family and closest friends are last, as they are usually the most invested in having photos taken with you.

wedding photography in west sussex

3. Ushers and Bridesmaids are Best for Rounding People Up.

I like to have someone to round up the the next group of guest while I am concentrating on the current shot. This should be someone who knows who most of the guests are. So if I say I need Auntie Mavis for the next photo, someone who knows what she looks like can go and fetch her. That’s why it is best to get an usher or bridesmaid to be the shot wrangler, it makes things a lot quicker.

 4. Can People get Refreshments while they are Waiting?

Whenever possible it is better to shoot groups at the wedding reception where guests can get refreshments while waiting to be photographed. If I shoot group photos at the church I tend to work to a fairly short list and then complete them at the reception venue, especially in the height of the summer when people can be waiting around in the hot sun without access to water. This is especially true if you have older guests or small children in the wedding party.

wedding photographer in west sussex

5. Prioritise Older Guests.

If you have elderly family members at your wedding make sure they are photographed quickly and are not left standing around for obvious reasons. If you can make sure there is a place to sit nearby, so much the better.

6. Keep your Shooting Location close to the Wedding Guests.

This can be a real time saver. If the groups are shot even two minutes from where everyone is gathering it will take a minimum of four minutes to find that missing person or go and get a missing bouquet. This time can really add up if you are shooting 20 groups. Always make sure that your shooting location makes logistical sense as well as being nice to look at.

sussex wedding photographer

7. Make allowances for complicated family situations.

It is sometimes the case that a bride or grooms parents might be divorced or remarried. Often both birth and step parents are attending the wedding. In situations like this make sure your photographer knows exactly who is who so he or she doesn’t inadvertently cause offense or embarrassment. Sometimes this means shooting extra groups so that everyone feels valued and included, other times it just means carefully arranging individuals so no one feels uncomfortable.

 

8. If your list is too long – split it up.

There is nothing that says you have to shoot all of your group photos in one long session. You can just as easily break the list down and shoot groups at different times during the day. Groom and Bridal parties before the ceremony, family after the ceremony, and friends after the meal can work well. Breaking group sessions down into 10 minute chunks can make the a lot more manageable.

9. Make sure you have a plan for bad weather.

If you are unlucky and it rains on your wedding day, having a contingency plan will worth its weight in gold. You might be able to use an indoor space or have a decent supply of umbrellas, but having a plan will put your mind at ease. Nothing guarantees that it won’t rain on your wedding day like buying half a dozen white umbrellas!

10. Enjoy Yourself

I often tell my clients it’s my job to worry and your job to enjoy yourself. Do all your planning beforehand and then let the professionals at your wedding look after you, that’s what we’re all here for. From my point of view the happier the wedding party is, the easier it is to take great photos of them. Keeping you happy makes my job much easier!

 

Tobias Key is a wedding photographer in Chichester, West Sussex. My dedicated wedding photography website is wedding.tobiaskey.com

 

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Wedding Photography Styles Explained

Wedding Photography in Bosham

You’ve chosen your date, booked your venue and started shopping for dresses. Now you’re looking for a wedding photographer. There are a lot of styles of wedding photography out there, and while people in the industry might know these styles inside out they be confusing for couples.  Remember as well that not only are you picking a style of photography, but different types of wedding photography can make different demands on your time on your wedding day.

When picking the style of photography you want at your wedding your choice boils down to three things. What style of images you want, how long you want to spend with a photographer on your wedding day, and most importantly of all your own personality and comfort in front of the camera.

There are plenty of different photography buzzwords out there. Vintage, editorial, artistic or contemporary are just a few. Perhaps more confusingly they are used by different photographers in different ways. Ultimately it is up to couples to ask plenty of questions and do plenty of research before picking a photographer, and to rely on seeing full set of photos from completed weddings Do  not  rely on the  best five or six shots from several weddings to make a choice.

Wedding photography styles are a compromise between producing fantastic work and keeping to a timetable. A photographer might produce brilliant photos, but if he takes too long to produce them you probably won’t enjoy the experience.

Traditional (or Posed) Wedding Photography

Upwaltham Barns 2

A lot of people think of traditional wedding photography as endless stuffy group photos where everyone looks stiff as a board. Worse still, the different collections of people seem to go on forever. I think there is a fashion to be down on traditional wedding photography, but the actual working framework is still the same for most wedding photographers. The photographs may be more stylish but the actual experience on the day for the bride and groom is very similar.

There is always a trade off between the type of work a photographer does and the time it takes to shoot it. More formal posed photographs will take longer to set up and achieve. Any photographer who produces artistic posed work will need a certain amount of time to produce his best work. It is important that you find out how much time he will need, and work out how it will fit into your day. There are photographers who spend a couple of hours on formal shots. Make sure you are happy with giving over that amount of time on your wedding day. If you are not that comfortable in front of the camera you may find this type of photography more difficult. A good photographer should be able to help you and put you at your ease but for many individuals it can still seem a bit daunting.

Reportage Wedding Photography (Wedding Photojournalism)

Wedding Photography

If traditional is all about posed photographs, then reportage wedding photography is the opposite. It relies on capturing moments as they happen, and is more like a fly on the wall documentary. This form of wedding photography means that the photographer spends most of his time in the background, and so has become increasingly popular with couples. Weddings are also increasingly less formal than they used to be. Documentary wedding photography demands a different skill set from traditional wedding photography so you have to make sure that your photographer has the correct photographic background and can show you full weddings to back this up. Wedding photojournalism is more about a complete set of pictures from the whole day than a set of a dozen highlights. There are photographers out there who will jump on the latest bandwagon to gain business, but still use the same old style they always have. Wedding photojournalism is all about anticipation and being in the right place at the right time. It is not about closely directing people, so it puts many traditional wedding photographers outside of their skill set. There are some less ethical photographers who will use the latest buzzwords to improve their search engine presence, but still shoot the same tired old pictures.

If you are reticent about having your photo taken, wedding photojournalism is probably your best choice. The photography happens without you really realizing and you’ll look your natural best.

Although these two approaches might appear polar opposites, in reality most wedding photographers will offer a blend of these two styles. There are not many wedding photojournalists who don’t shoot at least some formal photographs and traditional wedding photographers will shoot informal pictures as well.  Find out what proportion of each a photographer likes to shoot, and better still ask them what they like to shoot the most – chances are this is what they are best at.

Vintage Wedding Photography

Vintage wedding photography is a style that has been coming into vogue recently, but in lots of ways its a hard one one to quantify. Vintage can mean anything from using old film cameras during some of the wedding to just a different approach to post production to produce ‘vintage’ looking digital files. There are some great photographers out there, but bear in mind that if you are receiving files that are heavily edited in a certain style, you run the risk of your photos looking rather dated a few years later. If I was hiring a vintage style photographer, I personally would want at least some of the wedding shot on film, I’m not a huge fan of faking things. As always ask questions, see examples and make an informed decision.

Editorial Wedding Photography

This wedding genre is inspired by the fashion editorials of glossy magazines, at it’s best it can produce fantastic high-end images. To produce this successfully on a wedding day the photographer needs to be highly organised, and would probably need an assistant to help set up some of the shots in advance, although that would depend on his or her style. Do your research to make sure that the time requirements for this type of shoot fit in with your plans. If you really like this type of photography but don’t want to devote too much time to it on your wedding day, consider booking a separate photo session after the wedding. Often describes as a trash or cherish the dress shoot, a separate photo session might be the best way to get the wedding day you want and the photographs you’ll love without losing a huge chunk of your wedding day. It also means that you and your photographer can pick the ideal time of day for the right light and you have scope for rescheduling if it’s pouring with rain. In many countries, particularly the US, high end wedding photography is evolving towards three shoots: the engagement shoot, the wedding day, and an editorial session. Don’t necessarily think that it all has to be done in one day.

Artistic or Fine Art Wedding Photography

Essentially an evolution of traditional wedding photography, this type of photography offers a contemporary take on the traditional set of posed photographs, although these are both terms that have been somewhat over used by the photographic community, so again do your research. At its best this genre can produce moving romantic images, but some photographers can over use the same poses, so it can feel a bit impersonal. Ask to see lots of shoots and don’t be afraid to input your own ideas at your pre-wedding meeting.

 

Conclusions

There are lot of styles of photographer out there, but the main thing is to look beyond the catchy buzzwords and look long and hard at portfolios. Ultimately it is the competence of the photographer you are hiring that really matters. Experience, personal service and professionalism are what ensure a consistent standard of photography from wedding to wedding, and the consistency and ability to deal with the different shooting conditions that present themselves throughout a wedding day. Their portfolio should show a good balance of shots from bridal preparations to the first dance. Ask questions about how much time they will need to complete those all important formal and couples shots, and work out how much time you are happy to give. Even with more observational styles, planning and communication before the wedding is vital to get the best results and to get them efficiently. Keep to the guidelines and you are sure to have a memorable wedding day with photos to match.

 

About my Wedding Photography Style

I work as a Wedding Photographer in Sussex, Hampshire and Surrey.

I predominantly work in the reportage style, but pride myself on being able to produce great formal pictures as well. I talk to couples and try to work with them so they get the right balance of photos they need, so sometimes I shoot hardly any formals while other times I’ll shoot an extra session of couples shots after the wedding breakfast. I’ve always found this to be a good way of breaking up the more formal pictures into manageable chunks of time, and the light is a lot better then anyway. I have had a lot of experience in both weddings and editorial/commercial work which has helped me gain a more flexible style, and to get the perfect balance between great results and the time taken to get them.

You can read more about my wedding packages or check out my portfolio.

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