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Susan & Phil’s Grantchester Meadows Cambridge Pre Wedding Shoot

Susan & Phil unwittingly chose one of the hottest days of the year for their Cambridge pre wedding shoot, and it also happened to be the afternoon of the Wimbledon final. I guess when we booked it, we never really thought, like most of the country, that Murray would really do it, but at least the final kept some of the hoards of folk away who usually grace Grantchester Meadows on sunny afternoons. The meadows were still fairly busy with revellers basking in the heat but generally we were able to find some quieter spots.

Our couple were a bit shy at first so we hung back for a while, but, like many of our couples, they soon realised that it was actually quite pleasant to have to just kiss and cuddle your partner for an hour or so, and soon got into it! We took refuge in a wooded area as we were concerned for our fair couple in the sun, and the glare of the sunshine through the trees provided a fantastic backdrop for their images. Susan and Phil are great fun but also so relaxed, no wedding stress for these two, it’s quite clear they are really excited about their Childerley Hall wedding and we are delighted to be able to celebrate it with them tomorrow!

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Annabel & Lewis’ Cambridge Pre Wedding Shoot at Rectory Farm and Hardwick Wood

The lovely Annabel & Lewis are another fantastic couple we met in the dying minutes of a wedding fair. We always believe in not packing up early, because those people who pop in late deserve a full selection of suppliers, and some of most positive bookings have come from this time of day, not to mention couples we end up having a real connection with, because we gave them time (and had a good natter) when everyone else just wanted to get home for their tea!

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Are cheap weddings really the trend for 2013?

Those lovely folk at BBC Radio Cambridgeshire invited me to speak on the breakfast show last week, as new figures show couples are apparently opting for more registry office weddings so they can marry cheaply and then just have a big party. Their roaming reporter out on the street found this was the case and also that people didn’t want to marry in 2013.

Well, somewhat awkwardly I couldn’t confirm these findings as we have not really had these trends in our Cambridgeshire wedding photography bookings! We’ve been busier than ever in 2013 and have had a great mix of church weddings, registry office weddings and civil weddings at venues.

The discussion has got me thinking about the words used to describe certain choices though, and on the programme they were exploring the idea of ‘cheap’ weddings and how cheap you can do things. When it comes to weddings there are two words I really dislike: ‘cheap’ and ‘expensive.’ This is because they have connotations which just don’t reflect  what you can and can’t achieve or how personal the day will be to you for example.

Let’s look at ‘cheap.’ Cheap doesn’t necessarily mean DIY and DIY doesn’t necessarily mean cheap. Everything is relative to the couple. You can definitely have a fantastic wedding on a low budget, the key is making sure you prioritise in the right places. Ask yourself what is going to last a lifetime; what needs to be of quality to make sure you have a great day or if it lasts your marriage?  Getting Nan to make a version of her amazing Christmas cake into a wedding cake for you can save in the budget, but maybe give that wedding photographer charging £295 for all day coverage a miss. These types of savings were talked about by wedding planner Anna Lee-Munroe who was also interviewed earlier in the programme. Anna also made the point where people are having less guests, and there is definitely a viable option to have less for the meal (where the bulk of the cost comes) and then more evening guests for the party.

You only have to look at Pinterest to see the DIY look is a huge wedding trend right now, and I have seen some real weddings in wedding magazines of late that had the whole craft/vintage trend going on, and they definitely were not cheap to create! Personally I think individual touches made by yourself, family and friends are a really lovely addition to any wedding, and can stop your wedding looking like you just stuck pins in to a wedding magazine and said ‘I’ll have that, that and that.’

I also dislike the word ‘expensive.’ I don’t like it because people tend to use it with no real connection to what they may be paying for.  Fees are about context. Yes a £3000 wedding dress may be described as expensive because it is something that is only worn once, but, if you really take a look at the craftsmanship that goes into those dresses (and I have seen a lot of dresses of all different price ranges) then the price tag I believe is justified. Same goes for photography, and I have to talk about it as it’s what we know. Our pricing is based on how hard and for how long we work on your images. There are things we add in that other photographers may not. We shoot for longer on average for example. Our albums are bigger than average. Our travel is included in a 50 mile radius (when many others do 25.) Above all, and this is a controversial one with other photographers, we process every single image, rather than what just goes in your album. I’ve been told we shouldn’t but we want to. And this takes time. Above all, you are buying a huge amount of passion, expertise and a genuine love to give you amazing wedding photos.

I once had an email conversation with a bride who told me we were top of her photographer choices but we were ‘too expensive.’ I couldn’t get my head round this. Surely we were top of her list for a reason, because she saw the extra quality and passion we put into our work, but no, she insisted we were expensive, and I felt like she was accusing us of being greedy. I think this is a common train of thought about the wedding industry. Yes of course there is a ‘wedding premium’ for some services (I for one have never understood a DJ’s pricing being different from a birthday party to a wedding reception,) but for a full time wedding photographer, we have to make the job pay our bills and it is in line with how much time and effort we spend on the job. I can completely appreciate being out of someone’s budget, which is fine, but expensive suggests you are charging too much for the quality, which is almost insulting…

The most important thing here is that you have the wedding you want; not what mum and dad want, your sister or what Brides magazine tells you the new trend is. Sit down together and ask yourselves what you love and what the day needs to achieve. As long as you get married with the people you want around you, and then have the type of celebration you want, this is what matters. Medieval fancy dress? Go for  it! Vintage afternoon tea party in the village hall? Go start on the bunting. Lavish London hotel affair? Start saving… 😉

You know I always love to hear your thoughts and experiences so do comment below 🙂

 

You can hear me on the breakfast show by listening to this link

 

You can also look back at my previous BBC Cambs interview on brides giving wedding speeches

 

 

Lina x

 

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Kate and Arthur’s Medieval Dorton House Wedding Buckinghamshire – Taster!

We had a fantastic day with Kate and Arthur yesterday at their medieval wedding! It was wonderful to see so much colour which included Kate’s amazing bespoke purple and black wedding dress! A Dorton House wedding was perfect for their guests in their fantastic medieval outfits, and we thought this moment on the old staircase encompassed their day beautifully. Huge congratulations to this super couple for giving us the privilege of being their wedding photographers – and for having the wedding they wanted!

Dorton House Wedding Medieval

and if you are wondering… yes we did dress for the occasion!

(Thanks to the lovely guest who took this on our phone for us!)

 

Medieval Wedding – Dorton House Wedding Photography – Buckinghamshire wedding photography by LinaandTom.com

 

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Kate and Arthur’s Sunny Buckinghamshire Pre Wedding Shoot

When we met Kate and Arthur at the Knebworth wedding fair in January, we knew within one sentence of conversation that we wanted to shoot their wedding – one word in fact – ‘Medieval.’ Kate has described them as ‘big kids’ (apparent in some of the images below!) so they decided on a medieval themed wedding to move away from the formalities of a traditional wedding, and really allow their guests to have some fun and enjoy it with them.

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Great British Bake Off is back – will you have an afternoon tea wedding?

Ah the Great British Bake Off was back tonight. It’s the food show that it’s cool to love, with just as many guys loving it as women, and according to Twitter everyone was watching. For the record, Rob the scientist was our early favourite, seems such a nice chap.

The start of the new series is timely, as I am currently thinking about cake and afternoon tea weddings a lot as the delectable Miss Sue Flay and I are preparing to talk at The Vintage and Alternative Wedding Fair on the 15th September at the Cambridge Union on the subject ‘Is Afternoon Tea Right for Your Wedding?’ I’ll be covering the key points about how it can be done and what other considerations you will need to make for your wedding as a whole if you do go for it, and Miss Sue Flay will then take you through how to properly do it if you do!

Afternoon Tea Wedding

We photographed our first afternoon tea wedding back in 2010 and since then the foregoing of the traditional wedding breakfast for afternoon tea has steadily been growing. If you love afternoon tea and all things baked, this can be a great way to have more informal food you love at your wedding, with many couples opting for something more substantial such as a hog roast or bbq for the evening meal. There are things you need to consider though such as the ‘heaviness’ of this gluten-fest of a meal, especially if you are serving it as the main meal of the day. Of course, it also looks absolutely delightful and will certainly provide a talking point for all your guests.

Afternoon Tea Wedding

Don’t want to do the full afternoon tea wedding but love cake? Other options could be to serve an afternoon tea style buffet in place of canapés during your reception drinks or to forgo desert and have a cake buffet. Why not go one step further and ask friends to provide the cakes, and then have your own Bake Off style competition judged by you with some bar vouchers for the winner?

Cake Buffet at Wedding

Come and see us on the 15th to talk to us further. Tom will also be around on the day and we are both happy to talk to any couples who need advice from straying from tradition in general, as we are big advocates of you having the wedding you want!

Afternoon Tea Wedding

Afternoon Tea Wedding

 

Afternoon tea wedding advice by Cambridge Wedding Photographers LinaandTom.com

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Joanne and Ben – Hertfordshire Pre-Wedding Shoot- Stanborough Lakes Welwyn

The lovely Jo and Ben are great for our ego 🙂 After our seminar on getting the most from your wedding photography at The Wedding Show Knebworth in January, they came straight up to our stand after to ask if they could book us! Unfortunately, we had booked their date a mere two days earlier, cue disappointment all round as we felt so honoured to have made such an impact and they seemed so lovely!

Imagine our happiness then when they got in touch, saying if they changed their venue, when were we available?! They booked themselves in for the gorgeous Cranford Hall a week later, and secured our only remaining August date too, hurrah!

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Breaking with tradition – the rise of the Bride speech and women speaking at weddings

This morning those lovely folk at BBC Radio Cambridgeshire asked me to participate in a discussion about the rise in brides giving speeches at weddings. They’d noted that it was a rising trend on the Andie Harper show, a discussion-based programme which invites a high level of listener participation, and wanted to know whether their listeners thought it was a good new trend or that we should stick with tradition. I was invited to give my perspective on the trend, and wanted to extend the conversation here.

The most important point to get across is that it is YOUR wedding so you make the rules! Once the actual legalities are covered, you can decide which traditions to stick with or you can break them all. I don’t think this is a feminist issue by the way, more one of the couple going with what feels right to them. As I mentioned in the interview, the ONS states that around only 30% of wedding ceremonies are now religious and we find this tends to dictate whether couple’s tend to stick with tradition, not exclusively, but certainly in most cases.

There’s nothing wrong with tradition. Personally, I wouldn’t want anyone but my dad to walk me up the aisle if he was there, but actually in weddings anything goes for this, church or otherwise. We’ve seen mothers, brothers and even the chief bridesmaid walk a bride up the aisle, sometimes due to circumstance, sometimes due to pure choice.

 

The same should go with the speeches. We’ve heard some wonderful speeches from brides who wanted to have their say – if you want to ladies then go for it! Sometimes a bride just wants to say her own thanks or make a tribute to someone dear to her who is no longer around. Occasionally we meet a Groom who is so shy he can’t bear to get up and speak, so why shouldn’t the bride then speak on their behalf? You could even do the speech together which makes for a really lovely touch and can be even more emotional.

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Jasmina and David – Wrest Park Pre-Wedding shoot – Bedfordshire Wedding Photography

As we prepare to photograph their Hertfordshire wedding this Saturday, we take a look back at a gloriously sunny day we spent with Jasmina and David at the English Heritage site of Wrest Park for their pre-wedding shoot. Surprisingly, these two changed roles during the shoot; the laid back and quiet David completely took being photographed in his stride, yet the usually confident and chatty Jasmina became all shy! We took it slow with them and let them enjoy the quiet time together, even on a busy summer’s day, and the results speak for themselves – this shoot is so romantic! We’ve really enjoyed getting to know these two, and can’t wait to celebrate with them at Springfield House in Stevenage on Saturday.

Jasmine_and_Dave_-_IMG_0467

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Do people still value high quality wedding photography by professionals?

I usually start my mornings in the office in the same way, with a large coffee and a catch up on social media. This morning Tom picked up on a blog post that had been posted on Find a Wedding Photographer and it has been on my mind all day. As well as commenting on the post, I felt I needed to get some thoughts out here, and would love to hear your thoughts in return.

The blog post is by a north west wedding photographer of some 20 years experience, who says he is giving up on the industry this summer. He essentially says people don’t want to pay for quality photography any more, that they are happy for uncles and friends to take the job, or they want him to drop his prices (which he did) and he has had enough. He says he doesn’t enjoy weddings enough to bother with them.

I find this really sad, but it is a common attitude I have read on various blogs and forums from many older wedding photographers of late. The industry has changed massively in 20 years, from different shooting styles such as reportage and a move away from portraiture; to the introduction of full resolution disks and coffee table books, not to mention the fact that your marketing strategy now has to include a load of social media and blogging rather than an advert in your local paper. It is all really time consuming and requires a certain commitment. And yes, he is correct, there is a lot more competition now from friends or uncles with good cameras to consider when choosing a wedding photographer, or the smaller budgets that may have come out of the economic downturn. This means us wedding photographers have to work a bit harder to find our clients, sure, we need to identify the right people for us, yes those with the right budgets to some degree but more importantly, those the value what we do and have photography high in the priority list.

Being a wedding photographer is not a one day job. It is also possibly the job with the highest stakes on the day. We’re not just getting up and snapping away so you have a few pics to put on your wall. You are also purchasing our expertise; we know weddings inside out, what will happen, what to look for and what to do when things go wrong. We are securing your memories, the only real lasting reminder of your day. When you choose us as your wedding photographer, you are genuinely investing in your future and it always surprises me when I say it, and people say, wow I didn’t think of it like that. Tom and I genuinely love everything about weddings, from the details to the party and especially when you say ‘I do.’ Our eyes will water when the groom cracks his voice in the speech with the rest of your guests, because we completely appreciate how amazing this day is for you, and do you know what? You deserve wedding photographers that want your day to be as awesome as it should be, and then to hand the evidence back to you when it has all finished for you to look back on.

Yes people have budget constraints and they need to work to them. But you should allocate around 10-15% for your photography whatever your budget, trust me, more than ever in the saturated world of wedding photographers you get what you pay for. Attendees of the Knebworth and Hatfield wedding fairs this year would have heard me give a seminar on the subject. Personally, I cannot see how any photographer  can afford to provide wedding photography for under £1000. It makes me question two things; firstly, how long exactly are they spending on your precious images, perfecting them etc, and secondly, is that how they value their own work? We’re immensely proud of what we do and our pricing reflects the sheer level of passion, skill and effort that goes in to our work. We also have to pay our bills too!

Do you really want to put the trust of your lifelong memories in someone who says they will spend the day with you, process the images, create a beautiful album and be passionate about you and your day, when they are earning four hundred quid from it? What exactly would you expect from them?

Recently, one of our clients said to us that they had seen a wedding photographer at a wedding fair who charged under half of our fee and then looking at our work comparatively, they could see the difference. This means a lot to us; I regularly get emails from people that request a price list first and foremost and don’t even engage you in a conversation. This approach really is all wrong and missing the point. You need to meet the photographers you are considering and sense their passion – do they actually care about you and your wedding, will your guests like them? Putting the effort in here will really pay off on the day – if your guests like us as well as you you’ll get a whole set of photos of happy people having a great time.

Of course, one of the other lessons we have learnt over the years, is that we won’t be the right photographer for everyone, and that is ok too. For some couples, it is just not high enough on the priority and they need to find what is right for them and their budget/wedding plans. If people love our work but our packages don’t reflect the wedding they are having, they just need to tell us more about it and I will give them a bespoke quote. Of course we’re not likely to charge 2k to shoot a wedding of 20 people – but if you don’t tell me I won’t know! Disappointingly I have regularly received messages from friends on facebook about our work too, and of course I’d consider our pricing structure if they tell me more about their wedding so I can work out a proper quote, but what usually happens is they just ask for a price list and then disappear.

We will continue to do what we do and love it, and find the right clients. Despite all the industry hoohah about the curse of 2013 this is our busiest year yet and 2014 is currently looking even better. It’s no coincidence we do very well at wedding fairs when many photographers moan they are a waste of time, because we spend time chatting to people, we have a mini-consultation there and then and we start getting excited about your wedding immediately. The passion we have only really comes through when you meet us. We hear so many stories of couples going with cheaper options to get bog-standard images back or worse still, a photographer who just bossed people about all day, and it really does make us so sad.

I think it is good the blogger is moving on in his career, not because it’s less competition (he’s not in our area), but because couples deserve a wedding photographer who is as passionate about their day being awesome as they are. And you know what? Tom and I really are. We love this job, and thank all our lovely clients who give us this huge honour, because that is how we see it.

Lina x

 

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