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Why You Need To Hire A Professional Wedding Photographer

I often get asked is it really necessary to have a professional wedding photographer these days when smartphones have such good cameras and apps that can make your pictures look awesome. Or maybe Uncle Bob has offered to take some snaps for you on the day with his fancy new camera. Friends and family offer their services in good faith,  but wedding photography is more than having a  decent camera and an ability to take a good shot. It’s about having an eye  to capture those special moments, to tell the story of your day – as well a s all the technical expertise.

When I am booked by clients to shoot their wedding, I am as invested in their day as much as they are. I can’t wait to take pictures of the preparations, capture that moment when family see the bride in her dress for the first time or catch the groom wiping a tear from his eye as his wife-to-be walks down the aisle. A professional will have scouted out the best places to take photographs and where the best light will be at a certain point in the day. The pictures that usually get the biggest reaction are candid moments I’ve spotted, when the bridal party or guests didn’t even realise they were being snapped. This is where a professional makes all the difference, we already know what shots we are looking for and make sure we get them. It’s why I love what I do.

Being a wedding photographer isn’t just about knowing how to compose great shots or make the best of the light and location. There are moments when I have to take control and organise lots of people for group shots, get guests to relax whilst they have their picture taken, even show people how to pose! Being able to communicate and get the best out of people so you have the best wedding photographs possible is a real skill that Uncle Bob may not be able to pull off. (Sorry Uncle Bob!)

I’m lucky that I’ve never had a wedding where equipment has failed but should the worst happen on your wedding day and a camera stops working, or a memory card crashes, I always have a Plan B. I carry extra equipment and have contacts I can call on in a real emergency.

Imagine walking down the aisle, the special music you chose is playing, the flowers adorn your venue, your husband-to-be is waiting nervously and everything looks perfect – but all you can see is a sea of people holding up their smartphones, looking into their screens and not at you! Smartphones are a blessing in our modern world, but can be a curse on your wedding day. You want your guests to be fully present in this once-in-a-lifetime moment. A professional photographer will know exactly where to stand to get the best shots as you make your way to your groom and capture people’s reactions on seeing you in all your finery.

I know couples who have been upset when guests take photos during the ceremony. It’s the most intimate and important part of the day, full of emotions, and can be ruined with well-meaning people who just want to get a picture of you both. Many brides and grooms ask their vicar, registrar or celebrant to ask guests to refrain from taking any pictures so that they can take in every moment of the ceremony they’ve been invited to attend.

Having a professional photographer at your wedding is a big investment, but it’s an investment that will give dividends forever, and be one that you will look back on without regret… And Uncle Bob can relax and enjoy the occasion without worrying he left the lens cap on!

Happy Tears at Manley Mere!

As I made my way along the drive into Manley Mere I was beginning to think I was there on the wrong day. The lake was busy with people on paddleboards and in kayaks, the grassy areas full of families enjoying a summer picnic in the sunshine and lots of people bouncing and splashing around on a huge inflatable aquapark. I couldn’t imagine how someone was able to hold their wedding at such a busy venue.

Katie Woodfine & Grant Critchley

Katie & Grant

My worries soon disappeared though as I was shown to where the wedding party was going to be held. Kate and Alistair from Manley Mere were so friendly, helpful and accommodating I was soon at ease. At the back of the main building is a secret hidden gem of a garden. It was so unexpected but made the perfect location for photographs, like an oasis of calm. In fact, wherever I pointed my camera made the perfect location! Getting a shot of the swans that are lucky enough to call the mere their home, was a lovely moment, they looked so serene and romantic.

A wedding day can sometimes feel a little overwhelming, and what was so fantastic about Katie and Grant’s wedding was how organised they were. The bride got ready at home in Helsby and she had Dawn from Elizabeth Arnold Sewing Studio on hand to help her get into her dress, leaving mum and the bridesmaids time to relax and enjoy this precious time together.

Katie arrived in style in a vintage cream Volkswagen Camper-van, it was such a fun way to arrive for your big day!

Grant, meanwhile, was awaiting his bride – and just about managing to keep it all together. I think he is the most emotional groom I have ever seen, which was so lovely. In fact, Grant’s brother was really emotional too and I loved being able to capture their feelings forever in the photographs. Being on the other side of the camera meant I was able to hide my emotions too, as I confess I had a little tear or two.

Everything about the day was gorgeous. Seeing how happy the bride and groom were together, how much Grant obviously adores Katie, how lovely both sides of the family were and all set in an amazing location made this wedding pretty much perfect.

A Little Announcement

It’s been so busy over the last few months with weddings all over the place, from family farms in Frodsham to stunning Scottish settings, and who can forget THAT owl, but I’m delighted to share that some of my photographs have been chosen for awards!

My most recent award is so very special to me. Being named as the Regional Welsh Photographer of the Year by The Wedding Awards. It’s incredibly humbling to have won this as it’s a very prestigious award and the other photographers involved are truly talented photographers too.

And who can forget the owl that stole the show and sent me viral across the internet! I’m so pleased this image has been chosen by Masters of Wedding Photography, as the entries are judged by some of the top international wedding photographers, which means a lot to me.

Three images have also been recognised by The Weddison Awards. This is an International Wedding Photography Contest that holds wedding photography competitions every month. Thousands of photographers enter, and the ones chosen to go in a Collection, which is published every month on their Website and Instagram page. Less than 10% of all photographs are chosen, so I’m thrilled that three of mine made it into the Collections. At the end of each competition year, Weddison publishes the List of the Best International Wedding Photographers – I’ve got my fingers crossed I’ll be on it!

Sadly, it rained for most of the day for this couple. But as I was getting ready to leave Thornton Hall Hotel and Spa, I could see the sky changing colour and it was just stunning, so I quickly ran back into the venue to get the couple back out again. I’m so glad I did……

You may recognise this one from the Frodsham Marquee Wedding I blogged about a few weeks ago.  This image was taken when I was packing away my gear in the marquee and I could see the bride and groom having a moment in the distance. The light was just stunning, and I love how they are framed with the river in the distance too.

This image was taken at Peckforton Castle set in beautiful grounds within Cheshire. It was snowing, and the bride wasn’t keen on many shots outside. This was taken in the great hall and the light was shining through the windows and I asked the couple to stand in the bright sunlight. I just think it’s perfect light and the bride looks stunning.

I absolutely love my job, and if you like my style of photography, then let’s talk soon about your wedding.