FAQ

As a woman who has been through the process of getting married, and photographed many weddings myself over the last 15 years, I understand how important it is that you choose not just a creative photographer whose work you like and is a first class storyteller, but also a person you like and feel comfortable with and who will be organised, reliable, respectful, unobtrusive and adaptable on your wedding day.  

Below are some of the most common questions that crop up with my wedding clients, which I hope will be useful and help you decide if I am the right photographer for you. I am always happy to share my knowledge and experience with no commitment to booking me, so get in touch if you would like an informal chat. To read more about my approach to wedding photography and what you can expect from me click here.

Q: How do we book you and will we meet you before the day?

A: To find out if I am available for your date and to have a chat or to book me please contact me (anna@annamccarthy.com or 07811 242266). You will also find reading the info on the home page of this wedding section useful and the info and pricing page.  We can arrange a meeting before you book me, or if you want to secure me for your date, you can book me and then meet. To make a firm booking, I ask you to fill out a simple booking form with Terms and Conditions to read too, and send me a deposit of £500. Whichever you decide we will meet at least once before your wedding day.  I can show you my work and album and print options, and all the details can be discussed.

Q: Will you hold the date for us until we can confirm?

A: I'm afraid I can't hold dates as I receive a lot of enquiries, often for the same dates so to keep things fair I work on a first-to-book basis. If you want to secure me for your wedding date I do need your completed form and deposit.

Q: How much time will planning the photography take for us?

A: Wedding photography requires a very organized and dependable photographer as well as a creative one. We will discuss all the details about your photography prior to the day. This should not take more than one meeting, a few phone calls and exchanges of email, the filling in of one form (which my clients always comment on as being very useful for their general planning and scheduling too), and providing a list of groups if you are having them. All the rest of the planning I take care of. With most of my weddings, unless I have photographed at the venue before or if it is far away from my base in Teddington when I will usually visit the day before the wedding for a recce, I suggest that we meet there too to run through things on location.

Q: How much of our wedding budget is the photography going to cost us?

A: Your wedding photographs are an investment and with me you will be buying my creativity, experience and a dedicated service from start to finish. The photographs will be loved and cherished long after the day and  I truly believe that they are the most important investment in your wedding. My price is £2000 for a full day's coverage and all your images high-resolution and digitally perfected on usb stic. You can then add an album, a box of prints, wedding cards and other lovely display options that I offer in my Wedding Product Range.

Q: What training do you have as a photographer, and what equipment do you use?

A: After various introductory and smaller courses, I trained at the London College of Printing where I obtained a diploma in Professional Photographic Practice in 2002. Since then I have attended many training days but my most valuable training has been 'on the job', learning by experience and thinking and practicing the art photography every day.

As a wedding photographer, you need to be sure of recording those fast-moving but key elements in a wedding and to get it right first time (because there wont be a second time) and you have to be completely technically competent and confident with the camera. This also frees you up to be the best observer you can be and to be creative and inventive with the camera under pressure.

In terms of equipment, I carry 2 up to date professional Nikon digital SLR cameras, the best primes and one or two zoom lenses and some compact portable lighting equipment.

Q: Are you insured?

A: Yes absolutely.  I have both public liability and professional indemnity insurance.

Q: What makes a great wedding photographer?

A: Hopefully you will find the answers in the various answers here and also by reading this but, apart from looking at past work and whole weddings, not just highlights over many weddings, I would say the most important asset apart from creativity is experience.  Wedding photography is very demanding.  To be good at it you have to have photographed lots of weddings and in that process learnt from them. Over the last thirteen years I photographed lots and I am fully confident that I will be able to deliver beautiful and treasured results for you. Check out the kind words section to see some of the responses I have had from wedding couples. I am very happy to give you contact details of couples whose weddings I have photographed too so you can ask them yourselves how they found their pictures and my service.

Q: What is your style of wedding photography?

A: If you look at portfolio and wedding stories and the images generally on my site, I hope this will answer this question visually for you, but essentially I am a photographer who mixes observing, anticipating and capturing (what is commonly called documentary or reportage photography) with classic portraiture which in simple terms means that when I meet someone I am able to connect with them and relax them and at the same time conceive the photograph I want to achieve and execute this very quickly. 

For most of your of your wedding I will be a quiet, largely out of sight obserber for example at your ceremony and capturing your guests naturally at the reception as they mingle and chat, but some of the time I will also be in the thick of it (but unobtrusive in that) - for example when the confetti or bouquet is thrown or recording your friends' moves on the dance floor. The only other times you will be aware of me are for the 15 mins we do your formal group photographs (if you have decided to have them) and 10 or 15 mins walkabout with you for some timeless, relaxed portraits of you as a married couple.

The balance of the photography is always discussed with you before the day giving you a chance to air any views you may have. This is important because I want to both guide you in your decisions and ensure that you end up with exactly what you want from your wedding photographs.

Q: I'm having a winter wedding and there will only be a few hours of natural light. Also the weather/available light might be low. How do you cope with low light weddings and do you use flash?

A: It is a myth that bad weather or low light equals bad photographs. Some of my best wedding photography has been conducted in near darkness in howling gales and I will be able to show you examples of this when we meet. Don't be persuaded that natural, available light is the only way to shoot a wedding. My rule is always to use natural light when it is available (photography is all about light after all - about looking for it, seeing it and combining great moments with it) and using the minimal amount of flash is definitely the less obtrusive way to photograph, but the trick is to to add some artificial light into the mix when the situation calls for it. That might be when the light is low, or to soften or fill the shadows when it is ultra bright or to provide some light on a dance floor for example. The ability of your photographer to get great results on your wedding day whatever lighting conditions he or she meets with is paramount and what will separate the experienced ones from the amateurs so yes, as long as it doesn't hold things up or become intrusive, I may use flash on your wedding day. There is one exception to this. I rarely if ever use flash during a wedding ceremony.

Q: We want to have photographs during our ceremony. Will our vicar/priest or registrar allow this and how can you help us with this aspect of the preparations?

A: This is an important question and when we meet we will discuss this in detail and the extent of the photography coverage during your ceremony to ensure that both you and your vicar, priest or registrar are happy. Of course I have a great deal of experience with photographing ceremonies in churches and registry offices (and in woods and gardens too!) but I pride myself on ensuring that all this is planned for with respect to all parties ahead of the day.

Q: How flexible are you?

A: Very. I am happy to tailor my services and products to what you specifically want as well as to guide you. I understand that most brides and grooms to be are busy people and often work full time in the run up to their wedding day so  I am flexible about when we have meetings and when we communicate about it right up to the day and beyond it.

On your day I will know the plan for the photography inside out but will be adaptable if things change last minute. This is your day and your pictures and I want them to be everything you hope for – and more.

Q: How should we expect you to behave on the day?

A: Apart from any group and portrait photographs we have planned together, which will involve a little gentle guidance by me, I will be recording your day as it unfolds and you should not have to have very much communication with me at all - unless you want to!

I have the ability and confidence to connect with folk I have never met before but also the diplomacy to make sure I don’t get in people’s way. The best people photographers are not shy and know how to blend into a group of people they don’t know and shoot pictures, but also stand back and quietly observe.

Q: We would like to have some formal group photographs of the key players at our wedding, but have been guests at weddings where the photographer takes over the day rounding up and directing people into long drawn-out line-ups. What will happen if we choose you?

A: I can very confidently say that I have photographed so many weddings over the years that I have this part of the photography (if you decide to have it) down to a fine art.

I am, of course, happy to meet any requirements you have regarding any formals you want, but if you choose me, I will advise you to have no more than 6 of these on your day (less or none is fine too!), taking no more than 15-20 mins for me to accomplish. This will ensure that you come away with a record of the key people without it hijacking time with your other guests.

The key to good formals is being organized prior to the day. We will carefully plan these together; I will rehearse the list of groups so that I am fully prepared  (having it also doubles up as an aid to help me to get to know who’s who and how they relate to each other). At my pre-wedding visit to your reception venue, I will work out the best place to take them and make a plan in case we have rain. By the time your wedding day arrives, this element will be completely sorted and you will not have to give it any thought at all.

Q: Will you do a group photograph of everyone?

A: Yes if the space permits it, I can do this. Usually I ask that a member of each of your families help to gather folk to speed the process up so that on average this takes just 15 mins from starting to gather them to the picture being shot and done. The best shots of this type are taken from an upstairs’ window or aerially but I will work out the possibilities when I visit the venue before your day.

Q: Will you take any portraits of just the two of us and how does this work best in our schedule?

A: If you like the idea, at some point in your day, usually during the reception, we can spend 15 mins away from your guests on a little walkabout taking some relaxed portraits of you together. Almost all my clients choose to do this and usually enjoy this little break away from the throng to have a breather and just be together. I keep direction to a minimum perhaps just moving you into great light or in front of a great backdrop. The idea is for you to just be yourselves and for me to capture the happy togetherness between you naturally.

Q: Do you have an assistant or a 2nd photographer?

A: In the past I have used assistants but I now prefer to work alone unless you have a very big wedding with a very large number of guests. The reason for this is twofold: firstly I want the photography to be going on in the background of your day, not to be hijacking it, and the best photographs come about 9 times out of 10 when your guests are not too camera-aware and wonderful spontaneous images are captured. I have the ability and experience to see in many directions at a wedding and the confidence that I can tell your story far better working on my own. Secondly, you are buying my creativty and experience, not that of a less experienced second shooter, so unless you are deadset on having a photograph of every one of you guests at your wedding, I don't suggest a second photographer. If the latter is the case however, we can discuss this and I can get a quote for you for a someone I can work with and would recommend.

In terms of help on the day with for example gathering folk up for a big group photograph of everyone, or for the formal group photographs, we will discuss all this in advance of the day and I usually ask you to enlist someone who knows both families well and is reliable to help me to do this on the day to ensure that it is done and dusted quickly so that you can get back to the party!

Q: How far afield will you travel from your base in Teddington for a wedding?

A: I photograph weddings in my local area in the London Borough of Richmond, in London and right across the UK. I am happy to travel anywhere for a wedding and will charge a very reasonble additional fee to cover my travel and accommodation expenses. I love to shoot in different locations and have covered weddings in all sorts of venues and locations in the UK.  Please be in touch for further information.

Q: We are planning to get married abroad. Do you take on destination weddings?

A: Yes, with travel and accommodation expenses added I am happy and love to travel anywhere for a wedding! Please contact me for further details

Q: Do you require food and drink on the day?

A: I do not expect any refreshments on the day. I will bring snacks and water with me and usually I snatch a moment here and there to refuel when appropriate. I will usually take a break when you and your guests sit down to eat so if there is a small meal available from your caterers that I can have with them, this is rarely turned down. I never, ever drink alcohol when I am working but in the hot summer months I am grateful when handed a big glass of water once we reach the reception. 

Q: What happens if you are ill on the day and can't cover our wedding?

A: I am fit and healthy and I have not missed a single wedding I've been booked for since 2002, but of course this could happen. I have regular contacts with other photographers who work in a similar style to me and are crucially experienced wedding photographers and I would do my utmost to get your wedding covered by one of them.

Q: Will the images be in colour or black and white?

A: I started out my career using a film camera and use to shoot all my weddings with a mixture of colour and black and white film, but over the last 10 years have been fully digital. This means I shoot your wedding in colour using high-end professional digital cameras and lenses but in post production I will produce a mix of both colour and black and white.

All digital images need treatment in postproduction and the measure of a good photographer is not just their ability with the camera but also in knowing how to make your images really sing afterwards. Every image you receive will have been personally assessed and retouched by me and will be a mixture of colour or black or white. Black and white conversions and getting this right is a skill in itself and as someone who started out learning this the wet darkroom with film, I really understand what makes a great black and white print. Unless we agree before your wedding day to provide all images in colour or black and white, I ask you to leave the balance for me to decide as part of my skill in postproduction.

Q: How we will see our wedding photographs after the wedding and when will they be ready to view?

A: After your day I will back up all your wedding images when I get back home and start working on the important edit and postproduction processing work. Within 3 weeks (sometimes earlier depending on what time of year your wedding is) I will upload the edited and processed images (approx 500 images for a full day's wedding) onto a private online gallery for you to view and make choices from. You can choose to have them all, or you can create a list of those you want. Once you have made your selection I will then return to each individual image file and make the final finishing touches to them and then they will be delivered to you on USB stick ready to print, share, copy and do as you wish with with a licence giving you full rights to print etc. I can explain more about this important aspect of my wedding service when we meet and show you examples of what I do to ensure stunning results.

Q: Will we have copyright of the final images you give us on the USB stick?

A: I retain the copyright in the images but you will have a Licence to print and use the images - which will include copying, printing, sharing them on social media etc. I also give you guidance notes on backing up the images and archiving them and useful notes on printing them etc. I guarantee to keep your images in my archive for 12 months from the date of your wedding so backing them up yourselves will be important. You will also be able to purchase from me before or at any time after your wedding beautiful albums, prints and other display options.

Q: How do my family and guests order prints from our wedding?

A: Once the postproduction processing stage is complete, your images will be available for viewing in an online gallery on my website. Your family and guests can then order prints and enlargements direct from here. As you will also have the images high-resolution and print-ready on USB you will also be able to give them copies that they can print from too if you wish.

If you have any other questions or would just like to chat to me about your wedding plans and ideas, please get in touch , call me on 07811 242266 or email me at anna@annamccarthy.com.