Why is Wedding Photography so important?

In 2014, the average cost of a wedding in the UK was around £20,000! Some of you are probably thinking “How can you spend so much money on one day?!?” Well quite easily…

How does this relate to why wedding photography is important? Because even though weddings are very expensive, I would like to suggest that you should never compromise on the price of a professional wedding photographer and in this post I would like to explain why..

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You may have heard some horror stories about someone’s wedding photos. They paid their mate with a good camera £100 to take a few snapshots and then let their guests take their own pictures. Then after the wedding and the honeymoon they sit down and look at the record of their special day and they are disappointed because the pictures aren’t the quality or the style they hoped for. Unless you also hire a videographer, your wedding pictures are going to be the one of the only lasting memories you have of your big day so if the pictures aren’t very good there is nothing they can do about it..

Wedding Photographers can spend years mastering their art. Not just the science and technical side of being a photographer, but also the composition and artistry of their work. With those years of experience, they can often predict certain aspects of a wedding down to the last funny detail. I know this from experience. When it comes to the moment where the vicar or registrar asks the guests “Does anyone know of any reason these two cannot marry?” There’s the awkward silence and the bride or groom (or both!) will pull a face of relief! It’s always such a fun moment to capture, and I only know that from experience and practise. There are countless moments like this that wedding photographer’s can predict with ease, where as someone with little or no wedding experience would struggle or completely miss.

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Something often said about photography in general is that it’s an expensive hobby. Yes, that’s very true, and even more so if you’re running a photography business. It’s not just the thousands of pounds worth of cameras and lenses but the insurance, possible premise/studio costs, editing software, just to name a few. The common phrase ‘You get what you pay for’ is certainly true here.

When you are booking a professional wedding photographer, you are booking quality and experience. Quality gear that you can trust to produce high standard images and skill the photographer has gained to know how to use it. My camera is always in manual mode; I know exactly what to do in low light, outdoors with no shade and I can change my camera settings accordingly. I know how to use my flash to bounce off ceilings and walls so whomever I’m photographing doesn’t look completely washed out or blinded by my flash in their face. Again, photographers know these things from experience and knowing you’re gear EXTREMELY well.

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A couple will always want to cherish their wedding day fro years to come. Jasmine Star says “I’m not just a photographer, I’m a curator. I capture a wedding and curate those memories into my images.” I think that’s very true. Your wedding pictures will probably be the only lasting way to remember your special day. When you are scrolling through your newsfeed on Facebook, isn’t is lovely when you come across a really good picture? A picture that actually makes you stop and look. Maybe you liked it for it because it’s funny? Or maybe it’s composition and positioning? Or maybe because you thought “Wow, that’s beautiful.” I truly believe that wedding photographs should do all of that throughout an album. Having that creative eye to spot a great shot and make something so ordinary look so beautiful. You’ll look back in the years to come and know that paying that little bit extra was sooooo worth it.

Wedding Photography, how and why?

I know I’ve been somewhat vague with the title. When approaching what I was going to blog about, when I thought of wedding photography in particular, two questions came into my head:

  • Why is wedding photography important?
  • How has wedding photography changed in the last 10 or so years?

I’m going to do a two part blog series that will be published in the next couple of days. I think these two questions are really important and need answering. Especially if you’re preparing to get married and planning your wedding whether you’ve booked a wedding photographer or not.

 

Confidence in your own ability

As I started to write another post I became aware that I was just ranting and not making sense. That isn’t totally uncommon for me to be honest, as I’m not the best writer; I tend to work better with pictures than words.

Whenever I have writer’s block or lack confidence, I look for inspiration from other bloggers. This time I looked at a photographer’s blog I have been following, Jasmine Star. She is from Orange County, California. She is an incredible photographer and is a very good at motivational speaker and talks at many conferences on photography and blogging and has been voted as one of the best photographers in the world. I decided to read through some of her FAQ blog posts where people email her questions about all different aspects of her business and life. One particular post caught my eye; “Working Through Creative Depression”

So I’m sat here at stupid o’clock in the morning (If I can’t sleep, I will get up and work!) reading Jasmine’s post answering one of her reader’s questions having no motivation to be a photographer. I’m not depressed I know that for sure, but I can sometimes lack confidence and many different things pop into my head. “I’m not good enough” being one of them! Thinking with a clear head, I know I’m good enough, because people wouldn’t be asking to book me and clients and friends and family wouldn’t be recommending my services.

It’s something that I think anyone starting up a business has thought. “But what if I fail?” or “I just don’t think I’m cut out for this.” I found myself repeating these two phrases multiple times in the years I’ve been a photographer. There is always going to be the part of me that thinks I’m not going to succeed, the part of me that thinks that an unhappy client will put me out of business or I will just lose the spark of creativity and it’ll never come back. I have seen many people come through all sorts of battles and trails and they have still had the strength and self-belief to continue! Positivity and self-assurance are both key here. You should know you ARE good enough.

Any creative running a business needs to have confidence in their own ability. So that you know that you have the foundations and the skills to do the job right, and if you don’t or you feel you need a refresh or to learn more; to then be able to sign up for a course or go speak to someone in your field that has more experience and understanding.

Lacking in confidence is something I have begun to deal with. It’s the artist and perfectionist in me telling me “It’s not going to look like the idea you had in your head” But that voice is slowly getting smaller and smaller. The more clients that come up to me telling me that they love my work, or even just seeing how many likes and positive comments my pictures get on Facebook helps me a lot to reaffirm my belief that I’m good enough! And I can do this!

A quote I tell myself a lot is “I’ve got a long way to go, but I need to remember where I’ve come from” This is sooo true! Not just for me but for anyone who starts a business or project. I’ve looked back on the past two and a half years, at first thinking I’ve not made much progress, but that’s just wrong. I know I’ve come on heaps and bounds since I started and that in the following months and years, I will continue to grow.

 

 

 

 

Details

One of the things I value most as a photographer, is detail. So much goes into a wedding day; from the flowers, to the decorations, to the beading on a dress. Sometimes people don’t even notice, but finding and capturing the details is something I take great pride in. They can add so much creativity, happiness and even humour to a wedding album. I know that hours and hours of preparation goes into a wedding. By choosing the right photographer, you should never have to worry that all that work won’t go unnoticed or unappreciated.

What Inspires Me: Part 4

 Visiting Shows and Exhibitions

As I said before, Manchester is one of the most cultural cities in Europe and there’s a reason for that! But I won’t just narrow down my cultural inspiration to Manchester city centre. Summerseat Players is one of my favourite amateur theatre groups based in Ramsbottom. They’re put on 6/7 productions  every season & I aim to visit each one! Each show is thought provoking, funny and the quality of acting is always incredible! I am also a frequent visitor of Royal Exchange in St Ann’s Square, another brilliant venue for amazing theatre. I often visit Bury and Manchester Art Gallery as both exhibit some amazing pieces of art that I always enjoy studying and gathering inspiration from.

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Love the Royal Exchange!

If you haven’t noticed, I am very visual person when it comes to inspiration and productive. Using my eyes and looking beyond what many people won’t think about, is part of what I do not only as my job as a photographer but also as something I love doing to keep my creative process alive. Whenever I feel stuck creatively, I will always do one of the 4 things I have mentioned in this series. I really hope you’ve enjoyed an insight into my different channels of inspiration. These are just a few of the things that keep me going as an artist and I hope you feel inspired as well.

What Inspires Me: Part 3

Interacting with other creative people and photographers!

I’ll be honest, this is something I have to remind myself to do every now and again, not because I don’t want to but because in the chaos that can sometime be day-to-day life, I can forget! But for me, it’s well worth doing. I thrive off people’s creativity and energy and one of my closest friends is very involved in the theatre and has a degree in Music Production. We often have really great conversations about music, theatre and art and every single time we do, I always feel inspired to create something magnificent. He is very imaginative and creative and we bounce ideas and concepts off of each other.

I work close with other photographers for different fields of work. Sport Photography to other Wedding Photographers to Photojournalists and it doesn’t matter if I don’t specialise in their line of work because we all have something in common, we all love taking photos and have that passion to succeed! Having a chat or catching up via emails to other photographers keeps me in line with my work as I have people to talk about the pros and cons of the industry. Also, you don’t know what work could come your way; I’ve been recommended by other photographer many times so it’s well worth it to stay connected! 

When you’re starting out as a photographer, it can often feel very lonely if you don’t have other photographers or artists to turn to for advice or inspiration. I know this from personal experience & I learnt a lot from knowing that I had to communicate with other photographers just as you would if you needed help in an office job. I thought that to be a photographer you ‘have to work alone and do it your own way’…boy was I wrong?! If anybody is reading this and they feel like they want help, I would advice you either join up with a local photographer to learn from (I’m sure they’ll appreciate a helping hand) or even just a photography group on facebook where you can bounce off ideas and ask advice!

What Inspires Me: Part 2

Manchester City Centre

This may sound really strange but bare with me. I love the city. I’m fortunate enough to live within 5 miles of one of the UK’s ‘second capital‘ and one of Europe’s most cultural cities, MANCHESTER! If you haven’t guessed I love Manchester and I adore spending time in the city centre. I often get up stupidly early at 5am (I am not a morning person!) and travel into the centre to watch the city awaken. It’s one of my favourite things to photograph that doesn’t exclusively involve people. I walk around the different landmarks such as: Manchester Cathedral, Albert Square, St Ann’s Square just to name a few. Because Manchester is nearly always packed, getting there early, I can capture the city in all it’s glory! I do photograph it during the day as well but I adore those early morning shots when barely anyone else is around!

After taking photos for a couple of hours, I’ll go and sit in a coffee shop (if I had a preference, it would be Manchester Coffee Co. – best cappuccino ever!) and I’ll brainstorm ideas for shoots, plan meetings etc. The buzz and energy I get off being in the city, always makes me productive and inspires me to be more creative with my business.

What Inspires Me: Part 1

Well, I’m back! Sorry for not posting in the past couple of weeks, it’s been absolutely crazy! But I’ve finally managed to sit down and write a few blog posts for you!

We all have our different channels of inspiration. Whether it’s for your own personal growth, or your work. I know that my parents love being inspired by nature and the outdoors. They’ll go on walks and come back feeling really refreshed and creatively inspired. I am completely different. Don’t get me wrong I love the outdoors and going on walks but it’s not something that will inspire me, but more tire me out! I’m gonna share my channels of inspiration in a four part series over the next week.

1. Pinterest and Vogue Magazine

Pinterest is one of my ultimate inspiration platforms. Pinterest is a visual bookmarking tool that helps you discover and save creative ideas. You can create different boards to suit different topics such as ‘Fashion’ or ‘Food’ etc. I often find good recipes and meal plans, great outfit ideas and amazing wedding photos or gorgeous shots that make me think ‘hmm, yeah I could use that!’ I absolutely love it!

With Vogue, its slightly different. Not only do I love high-end fashion and the gorgeous clothes, but also the artistry that goes into each shoot. There’s a concept and a story behind every picture and that is often something I want to get across in my work. I’ve had my magazine subscription for just under a year now and it’s well worth it! Every time it arrives in the post, I will try and find a spare half an hour to look through all the glossy pages and read the articles. It’s even better when they give you free samples!!

Feel free to follow me on Pinterest here!

Get your Vogue magazine subscription here!

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Rambottom Festival

Well, what a weekend! 3 days of brilliant music and entertainment and I’m incredibly proud to have been apart of it. Ramsbottom Festival is an award winning weekend featuring over fifty amazing artists and musicians including international acts, emerging UK talent and local heroes. I was the photographer for the Chameleon Stage which is run by the music promoting company Chameleon Productions. Over the weekend I saw some incredible acts here are some of the highlights:

We had over 25 acts performing through the weekend on the Chameleon Stage as well as our Silent Discos in the evenings whilst the Headlining act performed on the Main Stage and every single night we had people queuing out the door and round the corner which was brilliant!

If I had to choose my favourite act/s, (and usually I can’t because I love all genres of music and loads of different artists!) I would have to say Shauna Mackin (who was apart of the Irwell Sessions on Sunday afternoon. Her voice had incredible tone, and I was so impressed!) and Joseph Lofthouse. I’ve seen Joe play a couple of gigs now but this was the first time with his full band and it was utterly incredible!

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Shauna Mackin absolutely rocking the Chameleon Stage on Sunday afternoon

When it comes to photography, live performance photography is in a league of its own! You cannot predict where the light is going to fall and how much your subject is going to move. But because of this, you can end up with some very dynamic and bold shots. You also have unpredictability of a smoke machine. If there’s too much smoke, you cant focus on your subject and the pictures come out really faded but just the right amount and you get the lovely creative effect that makes your pictures even more awesome!

Our Chameleon photo frame!
Our Chameleon photo frame!

I am proud to say that throughout the weekend, the only time I had to use my flash unit was when I was outside the tent taking pictures of people with our Chameleon Stage photo frame! I managed to get away with no flash when photographing the acts on stage by having my ISO set to 400 during the day (thanks to the positioning of the tent, we had great natural light all day every day!) and 1600 during the evenings! I also shot in RAW which made all the difference!! (Highly recommend it if you’re shooting in low light situations and you don’t want overlynoisy images)

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Beautiful sunset on the Friday night over the main stage!

Overall, I can safely say this year’s Ramsbottom Festival was amazing! Between a few of the acts, I managed to see Jesca Hoop and Idlewild perform and both acts were outstanding! The weather also held out for us this year and it didn’t rain at all and we had some beautiful sunshine! A BIG thank you to Chameleon Productions for asking me to photograph the Chameleon Stage this year! Bring on Rammy Fest ’16!!  

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The best team ever!

Keep Smiling!

What a busy few days! Thank you for all the brilliant comments about the blog as well as all the new follows, I always love having feedback and connecting with my online audience so it’s much appreciated! On Saturday night, I had a great time at the BIG for Mental Health charity event which was Bollywood themed. Great food and company as I was apart of the Annabelle’s Challenge team. I had a brilliant watching some of them busting moves on the dance floor!

I had the pleasure of photographing a charming and lovely family last weekend. Matty, Leanne, little Lily-Rose and baby Henry came to my studio and they were an absolutely delight! I couldn’t help but smile all day after this shoot! I have been friends with Matty and Leanne since high school and it was lovely to catch up with them both.

This weekend is gonna be a busy one for Meg Thornton Photography! Ramsbottom Festival fast approaches and I am covering the Chameleon Stage all weekend, as well as photographing all the fans at Bury Fc for their match against Port Vale! I love keeping busy and these two events are certainly going to bring some good photo opportunities. Don’t worry, I’ll explain more and share some pictures on Saturday’s post!

The reason for the title of this blog post comes from something I say quite often to my friends and family. Here’s a quote I adore:

“Remember even though the outside world might be raining, if you keep on smiling the sun will soon show its face and smile back at you.” – Anna Lee.

A smile always makes me happy and it’s something I like to reflect in my work. Whether it’s a big cheesy grin or sweet and simple, a smile (I believe) has the power to make everyone happy and change lives… or just make that Monday morning that little bit easier!

Keep smiling guys!

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