The Ultimate Leeds Wedding Photographer Guide For 2017
Updated version with new tips for you the couple and also Leeds Wedding Photographer friends.
You have probably come here because you are looking for an affordable Leeds wedding photographer. Go you! I think you have come to the right place so grab yourself a brew, sit back and have a good read. The photographs on this page and the rest of my website will speak for themselves. But I feel it is important to understand more about the photographer at this stage in the planning process. After all, you can get yourself a photographer whose photos are even better than mine because there are thousands out there. But, can they do certain things on the wedding day which I can? Well this is why I have made this helpful post to help you decide on choosing your Leeds wedding photographer. If you are looking to see some Devonshire Arms wedding photography then there is a page for that too.
How did you start getting into wedding photography?
Let me be honest. Wedding photography was something that I fell into. When my eldest, nearly 11, was born I used that as an excuse to get myself a new gadget. If you know anything about me then you will know that I am obsessive about learning things. So that was it, I went off and learnt as much as I could. Yes, there was the trial and error but I also sought to learn as much as I possibly could. Photographing our children was the start of this adventure. Through it I was asked to photograph a couple of birthday parties for kids and then eventually I got the call….
The call was to photograph the most important day of someones life. Obviously I had never done this before. It was a thought that I had but I will be completely honest, I never picked up a camera to think “I want to be a wedding photographer!” At that moment in time I had no idea what to even expect as a wedding guest. However, the couple knew my situation and we agreed for me to photograph their wedding. I bought new equipment and quickly learnt how to use this as best as I could. From this obsessive learning came a very strong set of images for a first wedding.
After this first wedding came more requests and bookings. “This is serious” I thought. Then came the financial commitment, it was time to throw my savings into a new camera for £2,000 and various lenses. Ahhh, the fun I could have had buying a little MX-5 for the winding roads. But, the wedding call got to me. And I took it head on!
One of the funniest things I have ready on a photographers website was that “I knew I have always wanted to do weddings!” But yet not so long back said photographer would say “I don’t do weddings, but here is someone who does!” Just be honest about it. I wouldn’t dream about NOT doing wedding photography now. It is that rewarding!
Leeds Wedding Venues:
Here are some of the venues I have either shot a wedding at or am booked to do so soon. Just a handful to give you an idea:
Building my Leeds wedding photographer business has been a steady one for myself. My first year was spent covering the bookings I had, which weren’t all that many. The little profit that came back from these was pumped back into the following:
new camera equipment
computers editing software
learning and eductation
There was points early on where I though to myself: “is this even worth it” as I counted up the costs and it was apparent that paid employment was so much more stable and profitable. However, the drive to become one of the best in my area was the next obsession.
How did you become so in love with wedding photography:
The hook of weddings got me very early on. When you attend the most important day of someones lives you get to meet all their friends and family. Everyone is happy!! It is this love and happiness which lifts you and propels you further. For some people it may sound strange but these positive vibes really do help get you through a long wedding day. Nowadays I love nothing more than the thrill of a wedding. There isn’t much that I haven’t come across and I can confidently tell you that I walk into each wedding with my head held high knowing I am on top of my game. Yes, a little big headed but when you believe in yourself it really does show.
What equipment do you bring to weddings:
Firstly, it is very, very important that your Leeds wedding photographer has back ups of all their equipment. This is crucial because what will happen if a camera was to malfunction or a lens break? Or a light suddenly go too hot and decide it’s had enough. It will eventually happen to all wedding photographers. On every wedding I bring the following:
2 main full frame professional camera bodies. Both of these are on me during the day and are both used constantly.
2 further full frame professional camera back up bodies.
5 main prime lenses covering a variety of focal lengths. Prime lenses are consider sharper and are much better in low light conditions.
Back up lenses which cover the focal lengths of my main lenses.
4 flashes, 2 main ones and 2 as back ups or the occasional 3rd light source.
Various light stands and light accessories to control the light.
A ridiculous amount of batteries and memory cards.
There is one chance to get a couples wedding right so you really do have to be on top of your game.
Is that what makes wedding photography so expensive?
Partly yes. There is also the fact that wedding photographers can only work so many days during the year. You also have to factor in that on top of these expenses above there are other expenses such as software licenses, accounting fees, website costs, branding and so on. There are a lot of posts on the internet out there which can best describe the cost of wedding photography. Maybe that is something I will go into another day.
Can you outline a typical wedding day?
Yeah of course. I’ll try and break it down stage by stage.
a. Arrive to get photos of the venue, the dress, shoes and any other accessories
b. Be there to photograph the bridal preparations or maybe one of the couple, depends on who is the boss
c. Capture all the laughs and emotions as the build up begins.
d. If you are not running late then some photos of you all ready to go
i. I’ll likely need a quick chat with whoever is conducting the service
ii. On to see your significant other and get shots of them before the ceremony commences
iii. Capture the emotions before you walk down the ailse
iv. Shoot the ceremony in the most discreet way as possible
v. Photograph the fake signing of the register
vi. Get some shots of you both walking out as a new married couple!
Canopes and drinks reception:
⦁ This is where the fun begins and I’ll be there to capture the mingling.
⦁ During this part of the day I typically look to get the group shots completed. If you have been married in a church then I tend to complete the group shots outside of the church before everyone goes to hit the bar and party hard.
⦁ Your couple portraits will also be done in this time, unless the weather doesn’t look so great. In which case we shall look to do this a bit later. Of course, I will communicate with you.
⦁ Ideally I would get some impromptu group shots of couples or families so they have a nice keepsake should they wish
1. Here I shall get shots of people mingling and having fun
2. When it comes to the speeches I will be there to capture them from various angles
3. If there is a fake cake cutting at this point then I will help get it set up
Before the evening reception:
i. At this point people will be used to me and a little merry, so I can get shots of them without them realising.
ii. There is likely going to be some time for me to get some shots of you both as the sun starts to go down. Or at least in golden hour!
iii. Your wedding guests are likely to approach me for some shots with their other halves or families, bring it on! I love it when people want photos.
The evening reception:
a. As your guests await your first dance I’ll be there to capture the antics from your crazy aunt. Love it!
b. When you have your cake cut and first dance I’ll be about
c. After the first dance if that dance floor is rocking then I ain’t going nowhere!
When it is dark:
⦁ Depending on when it is dark I would love to take you both outside for some epic night portraits.
⦁ Usually I shall have the short mostly set up but if we do multiple shots at different night locations then don’t worry. As I have done so many weddings I have my go to settings in my head and can get results very quickly. Remember my obsessive personality? That helps haha!
What are you like with organising wedding guests?
Fantastic! No really I am! That is a confident statement from me but I am a confident person. Your wedding day shouldn’t be a big long group shot bonanza. But you definitely need to get some group shots! There is this growing trend of “I don’t dictate your wedding day, so that is why I only shoot minimal group shots.” No one dictates a wedding day. Yet that comment is likely from a photographer who doesn’t like doing group shots. This statement is likely going to cause controversy with other photographers but I see it in forums where photographers don’t enjoy that part of the day. If you were to request so many group shots that there wasn’t enough time and day to get them done then of course I would say so. But I wouldn’t pitch the idea of you having few group shots unless that is your own choice.
But you being good with guests is just your opinion, surely?
Well I have a lot of fun with the wedding guests when I am asking them to stand out in the cold and wind. Especially because said guests have really put an effort in to look their best. Why should they have to suffer from a shy photographer. So we have fun! I have people heckle me during the group shots and it is all in the name of good fun. Weddings are not a dull event, so let’s not make them dull! Also, some of my regular venues and wedding coordinators actually comment on how good I am at this point. Often I am told how other photographers just don’t quite have the same style with people. Some photographers have asked the venue staff to organise people for them. My favourite comments have been when they say to me “ahhhh, we won’t need to fret about potentially being late with the food today!” Oh and if you have a bit of a rowdy nan then great. I’ll likely have a bit of fun with her and get the giggles flowing.
Tips for other wedding photographers:
I’m a big believer in people developing and giving back. I am no means the best Leeds wedding photographer out there but I certainly have a strong set of skills. Here are some tips to help you stay on form during the wedding and also stay in business:
1. Learn to take your flash off camera.
2. Consider prime lenses if you are using too high an ISO at key points.
3. Shoot wide open if your lenses allow it.
4. Back up equipment!
There is likely more detailed guides online and some of this may well be teaching you how to suck eggs. However, from a business point of view there is much more to consider.
From a business side:
1. Keep your memory cards on you and not in your camera bag when used. If your bag gets stolen you still have the photos and a business.
2. Be fully insured. Not just your gear but professional liability and indemnity insurance. Our industry is not regulated but I really wish it would be.
3. Further yourself by learning. Obsess over learning new skills and techniques.
4. Looks after the cash flow. Couples will cancel their weddings due to relationship breakdowns.
5. Put aside income for when number 4 happens. Can you really afford to take a thousand pound or more hit every now and then? It is hard to get that date booked again, often cancellations are such short notice. How will you pay your mortgage or rent that month?
6. Save income for your tax bill. So many photographers don’t, it’s madness!!!
Back up plan:
Back up your photos immediately! Seriously, I have heard of photographers who lose photos two weeks after shooting the wedding and they haven’t been backed up. External storage is cheap! Personally I have 2 external back ups and the cloud. One of my external back ups gets stored somewhere outside where it should be fire proof. If the house went up in flames then I will likely have that back up. But if a meteor hit the house and garden then there is still the cloud back up.
If any couples are reading this and thinking this is OCD, trust me, photographers do turn up in the forums and have lost wedding photographs due to not having a solid back up plan in place.
Finally. A photographer referral network.
Ok fellow professionals. I will tell you this now. As a Leeds wedding photographer one of the things which has helped me is having a good referral network. If you are ill, what would you do? How can you get last minute cover for a wedding? Also, if you are booked for a wedding date pass it on to someone in your network. They will likely do the same for you and you then get a booking you otherwise would not have got!
From a personal perspective in the past year I have passed on solid referrals, which would have made enough income to put a fellow Leeds wedding photographer through a full year of business. Think about that for a second. Also, have a think about how you approach other photographers too. Vendors talk. There are wedding photographers local to me who have a closed and negative attitude towards other photographers. We are not competition, we are colleagues. Would I pass on a thousand pound booking to this type of photographer. No. And I do have a naughty list.
Leeds Wedding Photographer – Paul Chantrey – look around the site for more images
Looking for a Leeds wedding photographer who is affordable? Take a look here