Thank you for joining me for Part 3 of my blog series of Wedding Suppliers through the eyes of a story telling Photographer! After getting to know Holly from Holly Robinson Jewellery it was a no brainer for me to ask her to write this blog on my behalf. She’s a lady full of personality, fun and incredibly articulate. With Photography booked early on in the planning process I wanted to give you a little insight into my world as a Wedding Photographer.
So Holly, over to you! Thank you for listening to me ramble on for so long :-D!!
How to introduce a lady that requires no introduction! Sally-Anne not only is the brains behind this wonderful wedding blog, she also owns and runs the fabulous ‘Photography By Sally-Anne.’
Your photographer should be able to wear many hats and Sally-Anne does exactly that! Previous experience includes; getting cheeky groomsmen to focus on the shot and not their beers, reminding a venue that their room may be a little too warm for the Wedding Cake, negotiating with a hotel on the bride’s behalf regarding room allocation and finally, a great cake taster when it comes to that Lemon Drizzle (Watch out Cakes by Mrs F!)
Back in 2014 Sally-Anne lived the corporate lifestyle travelling around the country from dawn until dusk! Focussed on software consultancy and a lot of customer service, she knew there had to be more to life than that. She knew that she was missing her true passion; creating a fun photography environment for people and capturing that moment of happiness!
At the beginning of 2015 Sally-Anne was over the moon to be made redundant from the Corporate world. After celebrating (she was a little bit happy!!) she realised that her new path was to be a Photography business. She began to focus all her energy and time on her photography and putting all the other bits in place like website and business cards. After quite a few weddings with other photographers she started taking bookings of her own. She tells me how she was practically skipping back to her car after taking her own very first booking, “that was a very proud moment for me”.
That first year in business was challenging. She laughs how she learnt so much yet looking back on it also made a few rubbish decisions, particularly marketing decisions,or made things really hard for herself. It was her first year, let’s face it, we have all done that Sally, don’t be too hard on yourself now!
Sally-Anne’s work is quite unique. In each photograph you can see the foundations of Sally-Anne’s style; a natural documentary of the couple’s personality and joy. Upon reading some of Sally-Anne’s reviews clients have written
‘Sally was more like my sister on the day’
‘she never once asked us to smile, her personality was enough to get us grinning’
My biggest question to Sally-Anne was how do you take a good photo of a bride that insists she hates having her photo taken? (I was obviously asking this for our readers benefit – and definitely not for my own 😉). Sally-Anne immediately put me at ease, she said:
“I’ve come across many people who don’t like their photo being taken. I find that as soon as you make someone laugh or be silly, they relax instantly. If you watch people change from being serious to laughing, you see what I mean Holly, you are not alone in that feeling. When I capture a styled, posed feel, I gently give guidance how to stand and look which might involve them having a sneaky kiss and cuddle!”
For me, the most reassuring offering Sally-Anne has is the pre-wedding/engagement shoot. The photos Sally-Anne shared with me were so dreamy! There was a vibe of a photo journalistic approach teamed with a natural romance that immediately made me think – hmmm I would like her to take my photo!
Next, I wanted to ask Sally-Anne about her timeline for a wedding day and how she prepares to interact with the bride and groom and the wedding party. But first, I had a big gulp of tea, played a little more with Sally-Anne’s gorgeous doggie Ted, a Dogs Trust adoptee, and snuggled up with my pen and pad next to her log burning fire.
Sally-Anne began by giving me an insight into the various parts of the day, the highlights and must haves. First comes scene setting followed by the girly moments during the bridal preparations, the dreamy ceremony, the first kiss, her fabulous confetti shot, group shots, the romantic couple only moments, wedding reception, the creative speeches, outside evening shots, cutting that marvelous cake and finally before she retires to her much earned G&T, the couple’s first dance.
Setting the scene means arriving at the bridal suite and grooms’ room at the right time. Making informal, friendly introductions to the bride and grooms’ entourage and put on the hat of ‘general helper and time watcher’. Sally-Anne goes out of her way to ensure a wedding day runs as smoothly as possible and if that means pulling some strings behind the scenes that is what she will do. She laughs and says
‘the last thing she wants is to see is a stressed bride, she’s been looking forward to this day forever’.
In the bridal suite Sally-Anne focusses on ‘the dress’, all the bridesmaids getting ready, makeup and hair sessions and of course the jewellery (don’t forget the rings 😉). Searching for creative backdrops to extenuate the beauty and fine details of all the items you have chosen to be part of such a special day is what really makes Sally-Anne tick ensuring your photos are just as you imagined.
Capturing the emotions of your family and friends is not an easy task and requires precise timing and almost a hidden camera. Nothing screams love and happiness like that one stray tear rolling down Dad’s cheek and Granny dabbing the corner of her eye occasionally with a lacey hanky. Sally goes on to tell me how children are always fun to watch at a wedding ceremony as they are always busy doing something else and not watching or listening, very sweet.
Liaising with the venue is another important task to ensure Sally-Anne is prepared for the timings of the day so she can ensure that whilst the wedding party is enjoying those magical moments, she can make sure she is not running over on time!
Over to the ceremony room, Sally-Anne heads to meet up with her second shooter. She often shoots with a good friend of hers who is also a Wedding Photographer and as she says “a bubbly lady who understands weddings too, we make a fab team. Laura from Laura Anderson Photography, she’s just fab and a good friend”. Laura will have been shooting with the boys in the morning of the wedding; taking candid shots and watching them fumbling around with cufflinks and their button holes. She would have also covered the venue and started to capture guests arriving.
Sally-Anne prepares for the bride’s entrance by positioning herself in the ceremony location ready to catch the bride walking down the aisle with her bridesmaids and Laura at the back of the room ready to catch that moment of joy on the grooms face when he sees his bride for the first time.
She talks about all the gorgeous bits of the ceremony from the carefully worded vows to exchange of rings and first kiss, it can all be a bit emotional for some. With Sally-Anne’s gentle non-invasive approach to photography you wont even notice she is there! Until you receive your beautiful images and find she didn’t miss a bit!
Now the confetti shots and champagne moments, Sally-Anne will arrange your guests to create the perfect exit from the ceremony for the bride and groom in order to get ‘that’ photo. She might also ask if you would like to do a tunnel shot with sparklers in the evening too.
Next up are the group shots from a list prepared earlier! Sally-Anne will work with the groomsmen to gather groups of family and friends making sure nobody has disappeared off for a sneaky beer!! She again makes sure that these shots don’t over-run in time, she doesn’t want to upset the chef by making everyone late to the reception meal.
After Sally-Anne has captured all your group shots making sure she has everyone she will whisk the bride and groom away for a few minutes for their romantic couples photography, normally lasting about 20-30 minutes tops. She tells me this is a great opportunity for the bride and groom to have a little down time before their wedding reception giving them a moment to themselves, with Sally sneaking a few shots in of course! These are the photos you plan to keep forever and can be taken anywhere within your venue; top choices are usually gardens, balconies and private rooms away from the rest of the wedding party.
Sally knows intimately how each wedding reception, speech, cutting of the cake and first dance are uniquely different and often happen in a different order. She says
“no two weddings are ever the same, timings are different, style,weather. They all have their own personality and vibe which just has to be caught on camera, this is the ‘wedding story’”
As a female wedding photographer with so much experience of weddings, I had to ask Sally-Anne her top tip for a bride to be, she replied with a big smile on her face saying:
“always have a hair grip with you. Random I know but whilst they can be perfect for pinning back that pesky bit of hair, they can also be used to help button up the back of the wedding dress, especially when all the girls have new nails on”
So of course, I couldn’t leave my interview with Sally-Anne without viewing her photography and whilst she offers a variety of creative shots; your guests in a heart formation, sparklers in the evening and catching the brides shocked face during the best man’s speech, I couldn’t help but notice her tender approach to both couple and close family photographs. These images oozed elegance and sophiscation whilst still being completely real to life and natural.
Sally-Anne is such a character, whilst chatting I felt completely comfortable and relaxed with her. She is so accommodating to a bride’s wishes and is sure to provide a service beyond your expectations before, during and after your big day.
Q – Tell us something nobody else knows about you Sally-Anne!
A – I’m a little bit of a pyromaniac! Safely I have to say!! I will be the one that lights the garden bonfire or log burner in our house! Sorry Mark but you have to admit it, I’m good at it 😀
Q – If you were a car what would you be?
A – Oh that’s easy 🙂 I would be a Jaguar F-Pace! Comfy and a little bit sporty but not afraid of getting slightly muddy.
Q – I know you love cake, what is your favourite one?
A – Again, no contest, it has to be a lemon drizzle …….ummmm cake!!
Thank you Holly x