Portrait-Brides-Wedding-Photographer_0027 Being a wedding photographer, I almost always work with a team of people and I feel it’s important for people considering hiring a professional photographer to understand why I choose to do this.

I almost always work with a lighting assistant. This is generally a student or trainee – I’m passionate about sharing my knowledge and about helping the next generation of photographers. I’ve had help, support and training from some amazing people along my own journey and am excited that I can help others in the same way. A lighting assistant will hold flashes, umbrellas, diffusers, reflectors… anything that helps me create absolutely optimal lighting conditions to capture your special moments perfectly. There are some circumstances, such as in most churches, where there are particular rules or restrictions on the use of flash photography, and this is something that I always check and am always respectful of. This is also where my skill as a photographer is called upon – that I am able to work in challenging lighting conditions and still produce great images.


Sometimes, especially when covering larger scale events and weddings, I also work with a second photographer. The first thing to understand is that I select my second shooters extremely carefully. These are photographers that shoot in a similar style to me – and most importantly, that shoot to a ssimilar high standard I hold myself to. A second photographer’s job is to offer additional coverage (very useful for anything over 60-80 guests) – with the best possible intentions, it’s simply not possible for me to capture every guest during reportage or indeed to be in two places at once, so perhaps if I’m covering bridal preparations in one place, the second photographer will be with the groom. Similarly, during a wedding breakfast, my focus is on the bridal couple. A second photographer will be working the room, getting photos of your guests enjoying your day and also covering the room while I steal you away for a few moments for those amazing couple shots.

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It’s also valuable to know a little of a photographer’s process to understand why there are wildly different people charging wildly different amounts for photography services. To someone that takes their role in documenting your special event extremely seriously, less than a quarter of the work is done on the day itself. A portion of the work is in the preparation: training – keeping up to date with new technology, learning that technology and knowing how to apply it in the heat of the moment; research – researching your venue, the nature of your event; communication – liaising with you to ensure that I know exactly what you want; preparation – sending my lenses and camera bodies off to Canon for a service (yearly as a minimum), charging batteries, cleaning lenses etc. It sounds silly, but arriving at the venue is not the time to be clearing smears from lenses or to discover that my batteries are flat! My cameras all have dual cards, which means that your images are backed up the moment my finger presses the shutter. And that is only the beginning of my backup process – please ask if you would like to know more. There was a story circulating on social media recently where a couple were left devastated by their photographer ‘losing’ all of their images. My equipment and rigorous processes ensure that this is, as far as possible, not going to happen.


The next section of my work is naturally in taking the images – shooting and shooting and shooting (and then some more shooting) to make sure that I capture all the important moments, to make sure that I tell your story and that I document the essence of your event.

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The final section – and here’s where it’s relevant to working with a second shooter – is in the post processing. Post processing involves sifting through all the images taken on the day, weeding out the ones with people gurning, blinking or otherwise looking less than the perfect versions of themselves, as well as the test shots and setup shots that I take and are of no interest to you. Post processing also involves doing light correction, cropping, and other artistic editing work. As you can see from my images, they are consistent in colour terms in a way that some others are not. I always post process all of the images taken at your special event, whether they were taken by me or by my second shooter, because this is where I put my artistic mark on the images. My style of photography is why you’ve hired me and I never delegate this process. And yes, when there are two photographers, there are going to be many, many, MANY more images to sift through and from which to distil the best unique images.

This process takes me on average 3-5 solid days of work!


Some couples ask whether they can have every image from their wedding – and my answer, quite honestly, is ‘you don’t want every image’. As I mentioned already, you don’t want images where you and your groom are chewing, or ones where you are blinking, or deep in conversation and it looks as though you’re pulling an odd face. Similarly, because I do enjoy getting creative and use lights and diffusers, these require test shots which you will have no interest in. Also, part of the role you hire me to do is to sort this wheat from the chaff and give you the seamless narrative of your day. It isn’t in anyone’s interest for me to give you bad work – but neither is it in anyone’s interest for me to withhold my best work, and I don’t! Typically, for approximately 10 hours shooting you will get more than 500 images which tell the story of your day, and the only complaints I ever get from couples is that they find it difficult to narrow down their album selection.


So there it is. My team, and how I work. In this digital age where anyone can purchase a professional SLR camera, you may wonder why some photographers feel that they can charge what seems like a small fortune for their services. However, the work on the day really is only a small portion of the work we do for your day. Photography is one of the few elements of your special day or event that last beyond last orders – make sure you choose a professional photographer that will do you and your day justice.


I hope you’ve found this blog helpful. If you would like to read more of my blogs, please click here – alternatively feel free to Contact Me today if you would like to discuss photography for your own wedding or special event.

By John Erskine

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