Award winning Cheltenham Wedding Photographer
As a Gloucestershire wedding photographer, I have photographed weddings at various venues and locations throughout the Cotswolds and further afield around the UK, from small family celebrations to larger gatherings, city centre registry offices, church weddings, civil ceremonies to high end country manor house hotels.
Some of the venues I have shot at are stunning, for example, Manor by the Lake, Cheltenham where I am a preferred partner wedding photographer. I do love a great venue to work with, however for me it is all about the people and the emotion on their day. I am also a preferred photographer at The Matara Centre near Tetbury.
On your big day, my job is to get it right for you. Each couple’s priorities are different and every wedding is different. It is so important to chat through your plans with you for your wedding. I capture memories, I want the images that I give to you, to be the ones that you want to recall and treasure. For most of your wedding day I will take pictures naturally, completely blending into the background like one of your guests. Following the ceremony, before or after any formal group pictures you would like, we can go for a stroll together away from your guests to create some wonderful relaxed bride and groom portraits. I will suggest various locations to shoot, a little guidance on composing the pictures and how to stand (pose). This usually only takes around fifteen minutes, then back to your guests for a drink or two.
My “style” of Photography
My style is predominantly natural photography, capturing unscripted moments complemented with portrait photography. This combination will ensure your day flows very naturally and the formal pictures we capture will become treasured memories of your wedding day. My approach is unobtrusive and very relaxed.
I also love to capture images of couples as the sun is going down, these pictures usually have a big WOW factor as we can get a little more creative!
For the vast majority of your wedding day I blend into the background in a documentary/reportage style capturing candid natural moments, anticipating the moment. Most couples feedback is something along the lines of “I didn’t even know you were there!” Even my cameras have a silent shutter, so no constant annoying click-clicks throughout your day.
I pride myself on my attention to detail. After your wedding I will finish all of your pictures individually.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many pictures will we get?
The length of time I spend with you on your big day will reflect on the amount of finished images there will be. On average between 400 & 600 individually finished photographs.
How do we get our pictures?
ALL of your high resolution images will be copied onto USB. I will also put a folder of low resolution images ideal for use on social media on your USB too, the same pictures just in a smaller file size. The USB will be in a presentation box, there are no watermarks on any of your images and there are no copyright restrictions, they are all yours, you can share & print as much as you like. In addition I also produce a slideshow of a selection of your images set to your first dance music this will be on your USB & on DVD. For your security I keep two back up copies of every wedding I photograph.
Do you take Colour and Black & White pictures?
I take all the pictures in colour (in a “RAW” format). This is to ensure as much digital information is captured within each image. When I get them on the computer I will look at each image individually. Some pictures lend themselves to colour some to black & white and others to both. If it is the latter I will duplicate the finished colour image and convert the duplication to black & white, so you have the same image in both formats.
Do you ``Photoshop`` our pictures?
Editing, post processing or “photoshopping” is a very important part of giving you a finished product. I will only edit pictures to enhance them and I do it with great care. Typical edits usually cover the following; exposure, tone and colour adjustment, blemish/spot removal, or the removal of a simple object that does not enhance your image. Please see some before and after examples below.
The two images above are of a model during a workshop not a bride. Above, I have cropped the image a little to adjust composition, adjusted the skin tone, smoothed the skin a little and done some mild blemish removal to give a healthy natural look, much more pleasing on the eye and I think the finished image looks “un-edited”.
Road signs are obviously a critical and important part of road safety. Apart from when there is one on top of the groomsman’s head!!! The sign on the left hand side needed to go too for balance.
The entrance of the bride is one of the most eagerly awaited moments of any wedding day. On this image I have corrected the natural horizon of this old chapel and given the overall image some “punch”
Most great wedding pictures are the natural ones. I feel this is one of them. That is apart from the car that decided to exit the venue just at the wrong time (the car behind the groom, it’s all about the detail for me). A couple of lights to the right of the bride are a slight distraction as well. The overall image I feel vastly improved by their removal. I love this picture!
One of those safety signs behind the brides head is trying to spoil things.
How can our guests see our pictures?
I set up an online password protected gallery for you friends and family to see your pictures. From the same page your guests can also order prints, a canvas and or framed pictures if they would like.
Can we meet with you before we book?
I meet all couples, we must ensure we are right for each other. Your photographer will probably spend more time with you on the day than any other person! As your wedding photographer I need to know what is important to you on your wedding day and any “do’s or don’ts”. Or it may be the case that you just want me to shoot away as the day unfolds. I take what I do incredibly seriously, in saying that, my approach to shooting your wedding is done in a relaxed and unobtrusive way, please check out my testimonial page. I want your pictures to be the best they can be! So in short, yes we’ve gotta meet up.
How long will it take to receive our pictures?
The average turn around time is between one week and ten days. During the very busy summer months this can drift to three weeks. There is only one of me, I know how keen you’ll be to see your pictures, so I’ll get them done and ready for you as quickly as possible, without compromising the quality.
Do you do albums?
Yes. Once you have received your images. Give yourselves a period of time to look through them and select the ones you would like in an album. I will put a layout together for you on my computer for you to view as a proof before manufacturing commences. After approval your album will be ready within 7 – 10 days.
How long are you with us on our wedding day?
To get the most complete story of your day all day is best. It is up to you, your the boss. I can be with you all day or half a day. The longer I spend with you the more complete your story will be. If I am with you all day, my coverage will include your first dance, party pictures and evening/sundown bride & groom pictures.
Do you have insurance?
Yes I am fully insured, I have professional indemnity and general liability insurance.
What training have you had and how do you keep up to date?
I am the sort of person who firmly believes that no one has ever made it in life, whatever they do and at whatever level. Whether that be in business, sport, as a photographer or even a surgeon. The medical profession for example continue professional education way after they have qualified. A year or so after getting my diploma in photography I was awarded the qualification LSWPP with the Society of Wedding & Portrait Photographers. I have also listed below some of the photography workshops, seminars and lectures I have recently attended.
Flash & Wedding Photography – Brett Harkness
Studio Lighting & Mastering Flash – Damien Lovegrove
Shooting the Bride and Groom & Studio Flash – Mark Cleghorn
The Digital Photography Show – Joe McNally
Wedding Photography – Kate Hopwell Smith
Effective use of light – Lisa Beaney
Studio Portrait Lighting – Simeon Quarrie
Fashion Photography – Quentin Caffier
The Story of the Wedding Day – Brett Florens
Lighting & Posing the Bride & Groom – David Stanbury
Refine the Pose & Define the Light – Sanjay Jogia
Throughout the year of 2017 I had the privilege of being mentored by Damian McGillicuddy. Damien’s mentoring programme is a very advanced photographic programme specifically designed for professional photographers to further enhance & develop their photography, lighting and creativity skills. I would imagine that everybody reading this (except professional photographers) is asking who is Damian McGillicuddy? Let me tell you a little about Damian.
Damian has over 25 years in the photography industry and has gained a fantastic level of knowledge and experience. Over his long and colourful career he has secured his position as one of the United Kingdom’s best photographers by accruing over 673 international awards, being the only photographer to hold 5 UK Master Photographer of the Year Awards along with 7 Society Photographer of the Year awards, and is the only photographer in the world to be awarded a Grand Master with Bar.
Damian’s hard work and dedication has resulted in him earning 7 international Fellowships, holding the title of Master Photographer with the National Photographic Society (NPS) and the Guild of Photographers, being the ﬁrst photographer to be awarded a Double Masters with the Society of Wedding & Portrait Photographers (SWPP) and standing as one of only 3 individuals to be honoured with the prestigious title of Grand Master.
In 2013, his achievements led to Damian being instated as Olympus UK’s Principal Photographer and Educator – a position that he is extremely proud to hold.
Damian is the the only Grand Master photographer that directly trains other professional photographers. Over the past 8 years Damian’s mentoring has resulted in professional photographers he has mentored achieving countless national and international awards, including 16 Photographer of the Year titles, and has seen a great number of photographers gaining photographic qualifications ranging from licentiate all the way to fellowship.
A couple of Tips/Advice - For your Wedding day
After photographing a great deal of weddings over the years I wanted to share a few tips, maybe a few things to consider and ponder. The information below is a collection of observations and experiences I have gained over the years and wanted to share with you in an effort to try and help you on your wedding day. Most of the points are very small and could seem quite insignificant, things that are not even considered but they could make a big difference to you and your big day. Hope this helps you!
Most florists will pack your flowers with the stems of each bouquet in water, so your flowers look perfect for as long as possible. Suggestion – Ten minutes before you are due to make your way to the ceremony dry off and pat down the stems of the flowers with a hand towel to remove as much water from the bouquet as possible to prevent a damp patch on yours and your bridesmaids dresses.
If you are getting ready away from home take a little emergency kit; Needle and cotton (cotton same colour as your wedding dress and bridesmaids dresses) a couple of safety pins, pair of scissors, headache tablets and couple of plasters for the backs of your heels just in case.
Dress & Veil
Make sure your dress shop gives you (and mum, bridesmaid/s) a thorough run through on fastening your dress and in particular your veil. I have seen so many veils discarded as fitting them securely just before the bride leaves for the ceremony was an issue.
Remember to have a list of telephone numbers with you for your providers for your wedding day, Photographer, Make up, Hairdresser, Flower supplier, Cake maker, DJ, Car/Chauffeur company, Dress and Suit provider.
If you are going away somewhere hot on your hen do or are out in the sun before your wedding day spare a thought for strap marks on your shoulders for your wedding day.
Keep hydrated for a good few days before your wedding, lots of water will keep your eyes looking fresh.
Make sure you put your engagement ring on another finger before the ceremony.
Walking down the aisle
When you walk down the aisle with your escort be sure to keep your head up. Your pictures look so much better when you are looking ahead.
Seats for Bridesmaids
Prior to your ceremony ensure your bridesmaids, flower girls and page boys have had their seats reserved for them by the ushers to ensure there is somewhere for them to sit when they arrive into the church/ceremony room.
Entrance into the Ceremony
Are your bridesmaids coming in before or after you? It is entirely up to you. If they are coming in after you, pictures of them will be limited as they walk in as they will be behind you. If they come in before you make sure you leave a good space for your bridesmaids to walk down the aisle and find their seats (which have been reserved for them) before you enter. This will ensure you get great pictures of you making your entrance with your escort.
If you would like formal/group, family pictures after your ceremony I would advise putting together a list of what you would like so nothing is missed. You should also be mindful that group pictures can be time very consuming. I am more than happy to do group pictures, but just make sure it does not take too much time out of your day. As a suggestion or a starting point;
Bride & Groom with the brides parents.
Bride & Groom with the grooms parents.
Bride & Groom with the both sets of parents.
Bride & Groom with the bridesmaids.
Bride & Groom with the groomsmen.
Bride & Groom with the brides immediate family.
Bride & Groom with the grooms immediate family.
Bride & Groom with the everyone.
Bride & Groom portraits in various locations, daytime and evening.
Before or after the wedding breakfast? Again this is your choice. Most venues prefer you to do the speeches after the wedding breakfast as they can be certain of the timings for sitting down and serving each course. However if you want the speeches before you eat discuss this with your wedding co-ordinator at the venue.
Some Ministers/Vicars will not allow any photography during the ceremony at all and I mean none whatsoever!!. If you are having a church wedding please, please check this out with whoever will be conducting your service. I, as your photographer will always attend a rehearsal to ensure I can have a conversation with the Vicar to go through photography on the day. This always works well and I think is a must for a church wedding. I switch my cameras onto silent shooting mode for the ceremony so no annoying clicks. Modern high end professional cameras can cope with taking pictures in low light very well, so this will negate the need for flash.
An engagement shoot or pre wedding shoot is such a great way of getting used to being in front of the camera and most importantly feeling comfortable, something you should really consider. You will also get some great images!
You may be considering having your wedding day professionally captured on video. As with photographers, each videographer has his or her own style and way of working. I have worked with several videographers over the years, the vast majority of whom have an ethic and a way of working which is very compatible with mine, which I would suggest lends itself to a better result on both sides.
If you employ a videographer, we will both be capturing similar moments potentially composed slightly differently. It is inevitable that your videographer and or their camera equipment will appear in some of your pictures. I make every effort to ensure that this is kept to a minimum. If you are having a video of your wedding it would be invaluable to know this before the big day. I am also very happy to share recommendations of videographers.
This section may be worth sharing with your guests, entirely up to you, it is YOUR day and your decision. As a professional wedding photographer I see so many different things at weddings, most of them utterly fantastic full of emotion, love and tears. The moments that really make wedding days special. Weddings are truly the best things to be involved in. One thing I will guarantee you; your wedding day will be, without doubt one of the best days of your life!! Just ponder that for a second….
When I am booked to photograph a wedding I always give every wedding 100% without exception to ensure couples’ pictures are as good as they possibly can be. Every bride and groom receive all of the edited images I take, the images are yours to share with friends and family and print (the only restriction is commercial use) . I also create a password protected page on my website for friends and family to view all of the images, there are also download options.
If I were planning a wedding I would without doubt send an e mail, letter and or text message to every guest attending the ceremony politely asking them not to take pictures at any point during the entrance of the bridal party, the ceremony and the exit of the bride and groom. If they do take pictures they will potentially ruin the official pictures. So many images are spoilt due to camera phones being used during the ceremony.
As a guest you will honestly enjoy the ceremony so much more if you watch the day through your eyes and not through the back of a camera phone.