N.I Engagement Session | Antrim Castle Gardens | Deborah & Kyle

We recently spent the morning with Deborah & Kyle for their engagement session at Antrim Castle Gardens. Deborah & Kyle will be getting married in December at the Leighinmohr House Hotel in Ballymena. We are really looking forward to being a part of their big day.

The guys are planning on using the gardens during their wedding day for their bridal party photographs so their engagement session gave us a good chance to have a proper look around. We have been here before but our previous visit was a short one and we hadn’t realised just how big an area this is!

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Wedding Insurance, Do you need it?

As professional wedding photographers in Northern Ireland insurance is a must have expense for us and we have comprehensive insurance for both public liability and for our equipment.

Northern Ireland wedding insurance policy

Have you thought about insurance to protect your investment in your wedding though?

When we meet with couples about their wedding they often ask us about our insurance but when we ask them if they have purchased insurance for their wedding many have not been aware that the option is available.

As everyone who has ever been involved in a wedding knows costs can be high so protecting that investment is something that you might want to consider.

wedding insurance northern ireland bride and groom

You should always check the small print but most wedding insurance companies will offer insurance against:

  • Venue cancellations or your venue going bust
  • A wedding vendor letting you down
  • You having to cancel because key people can’t make your wedding due to an accident or illness.
  • Wedding rings being stolen
  • Personal liability

Insurance can be bought 2 years in advance

If you decide to buy insurance for your wedding your insurance cover will start from the day you buy it which means that you would be covered, if for example you or a close family member developed a serious illness 6 months before your wedding and wouldn't be able to attend.

Cost of wedding insurance

Like any insurance policy the cost is based on the value of what is being covered but insurance can start from as little as around £50 depending on the level of cover you decide to choose.

The most common wedding insurance claims include:

  • Wedding dress damage
  • Losing the wedding rings
  • Wedding cars fails to turn up
  • The wedding being cancelled as the venue was double booked
  • Public liability and property damage
  • Stolen or lost wedding presents
  • Suppliers going bust
lost wedding rings northern ireland

Should you buy wedding insurance?

Wedding insurance is an additional expense and it depends on your own circumstances.  If you are  strongly considering wedding insurance talk to a financial advisor or your insurance company and make sure you understand what is on offer.  Websites like money super market etc. are always useful to get a few quotes. Always ask lots of questions about what may or may not be covered as well and read the fine print very carefully.

Belfast Engagement Session | Lady Dixons | Shari & Brendan

We recently met up with Shari & Brendan for their engagement session at Sir. Thomas & Lady Dixon Park in Belfast. Shari & Brendan will be getting married next September at Belfast Castle.

We have photographed quite a few engagement sessions at Lady Dixons, as well as family portrait sessions and a few weddings. We also visit the park ourselves regularly, so it’s somewhere we know quite well and the park is one of our favourite places. Shari & Brendan were really good fun to spend time with and we are sure they will have an amazing wedding day.

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Superhero Themed Wedding | Lusty Beg Island | Kate & Michael

Kate & Michael got married on the 13th of April at Lusty Beg Island in Fermanagh. From the first time we met them to discuss their wedding plans, we knew that this was going to be an epic day. The guys had chosen a comic book theme for their wedding which is something we have wanted to tick of our bucket list for a while and Lusty Beg is a wonderful wedding venue.

Kate & Michael opted to have an outdoor ceremony and as soon as Kate started to make her way to the ceremony it started to rain, by the time it reached half way through the ceremony it was absolutely pouring down. The guys didn’t even seem to notice as they were so wrapped up in each other and in the moment, it was beautiful.

After the ceremony we headed off for a walk around the Island to shoot the Bride & Groom portraits. The guys were really good fun to be around and it’s always nice when our couples are happy for us to try out some new things. We even grabbed a few shots using a prism, to reflect light which is something we have been wanting to try out at one of our weddings for a while. We then headed back to grab some photos of the guys with their bridal party and their family and friends.

After the speeches and once everyone had been fed and watered Kate & Michael kindly agreed to head out with us again so we could try out a technique called the Brenzier method, sometimes called a Bokeh Panarama or panoramic portrait. Without boring you with the technical details this technique involves taking a series of images of a scene and stitching them together later in Photoshop to create a shallow depth of field (a blurry background) with a wide angle point of view. It’s not a difficult technique to master if you have an uncomplicated background and are comfortable with using the manual functions of your camera to meter and focus.

We loved all the little personal details the guys incorporated into their wedding, everything from Kate’s awesome Harley Quinn boots and jacket, the amazing flowers made out of comic books, the Lego superhero figures etc. really added to the day.

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Wedding Traditions: The cutting of the cake

WEDDING CAKE TRADITION

The wedding cake tradition has been around for many hundreds of years and is believed to have started with the Ancient Romans breaking a cake over the bride's head, for good luck. Similarly, in Ireland it was traditional for the groom’s mother to break an oatcake over the head of the Bride as she enters her house after the wedding ceremony to ensure good relations with her new daughter in law. For the new mother in law this was very much seen as the best part of the day! In Medieval England cakes were stacked as high as possible for the bride and groom to kiss over. A successful kiss meant they were guaranteed a prosperous life together.

The cake was originally intended to be distributed among the guests by only the bride, because it was believed that consuming the cake would ensure fertility. As weddings grew and the number of guests increased this task became a joint venture, bigger multi-tiered cakes became the norm so the groom needed to help cut the growing cake and distribute it among their guests. Layers of cakes began to pile up and the icing would need to support the weight of the cake making is very difficult for one person to cut. Once this tradition began the bride and groom would share a piece of cake each before distributing it to the guests to symbolize their union and their promise to forever provide for each other. This image below was taken by us at a reenactment of a traditional Irish wedding a couple of years ago at the Ulster American Folk Park.

irish traditional wedding

TYPES OF WEDDING CAKES

In the U.K, the traditional wedding cake is still mainly made from a rich fruitcake using ingredients that are long lasting. This allows the top tier to be stored after the wedding, to be eaten at the christening of the couple’s first child. Popular alternatives these days include wedding cakes made up from stacked doughnuts and cupcakes or naked cakes with no icing.

traditional wedding cake
cupcake wedding cake
wedding cake tiers

WEDDING CAKE TOPPERS

Traditionally wedding cake toppers are of the couple in formal wedding attire and are often the only part of the cake which can be kept over the years, apart from the photographs of course. Today there are many more designs available. You can use specific ones for the style and theme of the wedding, for instance, traditional toppers for a very formal wedding, or for less formal ones, many couples use comical wedding cake toppers sometimes based on the couple's hobbies.

wedding cake toppers

STILL RELEVANT TODAY

Customs have evolved with the times, and today the ceremonial cutting of the cake has become one of the classic elements of most couple’s wedding receptions. In addition to providing an opportunity for photographs, it is still symbolic as the first task the newlywed couple complete together as man and wife.

bride and groom cutting the wedding cake

The average cost of a U.K Wedding

We have just received the results from one of the largest surveys conducted on the U.K wedding industry in recent years. This is bang up to date information that has only been made available from today.

With social media and technology creeping into all of our daily lives, how U.K couples plan and budget for their wedding is evolving quicker than ever before.

● On average couples in the U.K are engaged for 20 months.

● The average U.K wedding size is 78 guests for the ceremony, 77 guests for the wedding meal and 83 guests for the evening entertainment.

● As you would expect the most popular wedding season is Summer with 49% of all U.K weddings taking place in the summer months followed by Spring at 27% and Autumn at 15%.

● The most popular month of the year to get married in the U.K is August at 18% followed by July at 16% and September at 14%. The least popular months for weddings are January at 1%, February at 3% and November at 3%. This matches up nearly exactly with our own wedding bookings for this year.

● The most popular day of the week to get married on is still a Saturday at 54%, however many couples are now choosing alternative days for their wedding due to the discounts offered by wedding venue’s. Friday’s earned 17% of the vote, Sunday’s 11% and Thursday’s 8%.

BUDGET PLANNING

Wedding Budget Planning

A massive 39% of couples spend over and above their planned budget. Of those who overspend, most go over by 30% of the cost. 

If you are in the middle of planning your wedding be sure to download our wedding budget planner to help keep a track of your costs.

Most couples who go over their budget spend more than originally planned on food and drink for their guests, the honeymoon and the bride's wedding gown.

CONTACTING WEDDING VENDORS

84% of couples make initial contact with their wedding vendors by email, we can attest to this ourselves, the vast majority of couples that contact us do so by email via the contact us section of our website. From our point of view, email contact is fine but we actually prefer when couples contact us by telephone as it's easier for us to get a sense of their personality.

88% of couples prefer email for ongoing contact with their wedding suppliers. This is a huge number. Email does have it's advantages, as there is a record of everything said there is less chance of any misunderstandings later on down the line.

CHOOSING A WEDDING VENDOR

72% of couples choose a wedding vendor based on recommendations from family and friends. This is also true for ourselves, the majority of our wedding bookings have came from couples who have had a family member or friend recommend us.

More and more couples are using online digital tools to find vendors and plan their wedding. According to the survey 41% of couples are using a wedding website and 29% have used online supplier directories.

U.K WEDDING COST

The current average cost of a U.K wedding excluding the cost of the honeymoon is £26,989. The average cost of booking a wedding photographer is £1,211 which means that we are way too cheap! 

the average cost of a northern ireland wedding

Many couples are trying to find ways of keeping their costs down. 59% of ceremonies now take place at the reception venue. Hotel weddings are now very much the new normal with venues that have in house catering accounting for 70% of all U.K weddings. As mentioned above many couples are also taking advantage of the reduced rates offered by venue's for weekday weddings.

Another popular way couples are trying to reduce costs is by hiring a wedding D.J rather than a live band. The average price for a D.J is £513, booking a band has an average cost of £1411. Partly due to the cost implications 71% now choose a D.J over a band for their wedding.

The costs above may not seem affordable for many. We feel it’s worth pointing out though that your wedding is about you as a couple making a lifelong commitment to each other and enjoying the occasion with your family and friends. We have photographed plenty of weddings that have cost no were near the average costs mentioned above, those couples still had an amazing day and so did we.

Northern Ireland Wedding Photography | Leighinmohr House Hotel | Karen & Garnet

We photographed Karen and Garnet’s wedding on the 18th of February at The Leighinmohr House Hotel in Ballymena. This was our first visit to this hotel, but we will be back again soon as we have a few other weddings booked for here, both this year and next year.

Karen and her lovely bridesmaids had stayed at the hotel the night before so we met up with them at the Leighinmohr first thing in the morning to photograph the ladies getting ready.

After the wedding ceremony Karen & Garnet decided that they preferred to stay at the hotel for their portraits so that they could spend as much time as possible with their family and friends.

The speeches were funny and original and we got a mention, which is always nice. The evening itself went all too quickly, the D.J had the guys up doing party games and Karen even treated us to a bit of karaoke.

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Wedding Tips: What happens if it rains?

The weather in Northern Ireland can best be described as unpredictable and even in the summer months there is always the chance that on the day you have chosen to get married there may be a little rain. Don’t panic if it does, with some planning beforehand a little bit of rain really isn’t that big of a deal.

rain on wedding day

Brides especially can get really worried about what happens if it rains. They get concerned about their dress, their shoes, their makeup, their hair and that of course is understandable. If it rains on your wedding day we will always be happy to proceed how you want too. If you are the sort of couple that is happy to just go with it and make the most of it, so are we! If you are the sort of couple that prefers to move indoors if it rains, then we are okay with that too. It’s worth pointing out though that dresses and shoes can be cleaned, make-up can be touched up, hair can be fixed, but you only have the opportunity to have your wedding photos taken once.

Don't worry about us

We are more than happy to get a little wet, all of our equipment is weather sealed and it wouldn't be the first time that one of us has held an umbrella over the other while we work.

bride arrives at church in the rain

Choosing your wedding venue

If you have chosen to have an outdoor ceremony, is there a back up plan to allow for poor weather? Many wedding venues that have the option of an outdoor ceremony will also offer you the option to choose a room to have your ceremony in just in case the weather isn't so good come the big day. To be on the safe side though, speak to your wedding venue about what options are available.

outdoor wedding ceremony northern ireland

Accessories

Before the big day stock up on some matching umbrellas and wellies for the wedding party. We always bring a few umbrellas with us as well just in case.

wedding wellie boots rain

Allow extra time / Choose your location carefully

When working out your wedding timeline allow a little extra time for your portraits after the ceremony so that if there is a light rain shower you can wait it out. Where possible try and choose a location where you won't have to walk to far from your transport or that has a sheltered area where you can wait out the rain if needs must. For example we had to wait around 30 minutes for some heavy rain to ease off during this wedding a few months ago, however there was some shelter from the rain close by. There was still some light rain when we took this photograph, can you tell? We don't think so.

groom groomsmen wet wedding

Keep on smiling

Accept the weather and embrace the day, no one can change it, so don’t worry about it. Think about what really matters. It's not going to be a disaster if everything doesn't go according to plan and you do end up with some rain on your wedding day. This is about you as a couple sharing your love for each other with your family and friends and nothing including the weather can spoil that!

bride and groom rain umbrella

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Download our free wedding budget planner

Staying within your budget can be one of the most difficult parts of planning your wedding. It can be difficult because there so many things to remember and possibly quite a few that you hadn’t initially considered.

Some of the most commonly forgotten wedding costs include:

THE STAG AND HEN

When you agree your budget you may need to consider whether if you will include your Hen and Stag dos. If for example you want to celebrate with friends and relatives abroad this could have a large impact on your budget before you have even got married.

STATIONARY & POSTAGE

When you send out the save the date cards and invitations you will need to budget for printing and postage. The cost of a first class stamp is currently 63p so postage alone could be surprisingly expensive if you are having a large wedding.

wedding invitation

LEGAL COSTS

You are going to need to pay fees for giving notice of your intent to marry (currently this costs £35) and for legally registering your marriage (this currently £46 in a registry office but will vary at other venues), your marriage certificate will also need to be paid for.

wedding legal registration

DON'T FORGET TO INCLUDE YOURSELVES

Caterers usually charge on a per head basis and although this sounds like a really obvious one, you would be surprised just how many couples forget to include themselves in the head count.

HAVING YOUR OUTFIT ALTERED

Costs for ensuring sure your clothes fit perfectly can vary and can be more expensive than you might think. Plan to pay for any alterations closer to the big day. There is no point in getting your clothes made to fit perfectly months before but do book your appointment well in advance because good seamstresses and tailors are often in high demand.

wedding dress alterations

OTHER BEAUTY TREATMENTS

Hair and makeup costs are always remembered but other beauty treatments can often be overlooked. For example, teeth whitening, hair extensions, eyebrow shaping, facials etc. They all add up and you will need to include them in your budget.

wedding beauty treatment

GIFTS

Some couples like to buy each other a wedding gift, favours for your guests, possibly cash tips for staff and thank you gifts for helping out are all costs you will need to include in your budget.

wedding gift

BOOKING ACCOMMODATION

Costs for hotel rooms before and the night of your wedding will need to be paid for on check out. Some hotels may require a deposit upfront when booking.

ADDITIONAL VENUE CHARGES AFTER YOUR WEDDING

Some wedding venues have additional costs for things like delivery fees and corkage etc. These usually won’t be upfront costs so you can pay after your wedding but make sure you check if there are likely to be any.

TO HELP YOU WITH THE TRICKY TASK OF STICKING TO YOUR BUDGET DOWNLOAD OUR FREE WEDDING BUDGET PLANNER.

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Belfast Wedding Photography | Ten Square Hotel | Ashlee & Matthew

Ashlee and Matthew got married on the 26th of November at Ten Square Hotel in Belfast. After the ceremony we visited the Belfast Continental Christmas Market with the bridal party before heading back to the hotel for the reception.

We started the morning with a trip to Ashlee and Matthew’s home in Belfast to meet up with Ashlee, her bridesmaids and her awesome Grandad. It was a fun morning and everyone was excited to get to the hotel for the ceremony.

After the ceremony we went with the bridal party to the Christmas market. It was absolute bedlam, there was tens of thousands of people crammed into the market, we have never seen it so busy. Many thanks to the guys there for letting us jump the very long queue at the snow globe. Ashlee had also wanted a to get a few shots of the bridal party on the Carousel but due to the sheer amount of people we had to abandon that idea and head back to the hotel. On the way out of the market we thought we had lost our groom, but Matthew turned up a couple of minutes later. (He had sneaked off to get some dinky donuts.)

After we got back to the hotel the guys did their speeches and we had a lovely meal. Ashlee and Matthew had left out scratch cards as favours for both ourselves and the wedding guests and I believe we were the only winners! 

ten square hotel wedding getting ready shoes dress
ten square hotel wedding getting ready brides flowers
ten square hotel wedding getting ready bridesmaids dress
ten square hotel wedding getting ready brides tiara
ten square hotel wedding getting ready bride with veil
ten square hotel wedding getting ready bridal hair
ten square hotel wedding getting ready bride hair
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ten square hotel wedding getting ready flower girls
ten square hotel wedding getting ready flower girl bridesmaid
ten square hotel wedding getting ready bridesmaids
ten square hotel wedding getting ready bride with bridesmaid
ten square hotel wedding getting ready flowergirl outside the house
ten square hotel wedding getting ready flowergirl outside house
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ten square hotel wedding ceremony belfast groom before
ten square hotel wedding ceremony belfast bride car
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ten square hotel wedding ceremony belfast bride
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ten square hotel wedding ceremony belfast groom bride
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ten square hotel wedding ceremony belfast groom bride together after kiss
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ten square hotel wedding ceremony belfast city hall groom bride portrait
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wedding ceremony belfast christmas market
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wedding photographer belfast ten square hotel grandad speech
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wedding photographer belfast ten square hotel groom speech
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wedding photographer belfast ten square speech bestman
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wedding photographer belfast ten square gift
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wedding photographer belfast ten square hotel bride and groom first dance
wedding photographer belfast ten square hotel first dance
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wedding photographer belfast ten square hotel first dance bride granda
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wedding photographer belfast ten square hotel dancing everyone laughing

 

 

What should you wear for an engagement or portrait session?

The most common question we get asked when couples book us for an engagement or family portrait session is “What clothes should we wear for our session?”

Firstly, and most importantly only wear clothes that you are comfortable in. Don’t buy a new outfit that you haven’t worn before, because if you don’t feel confident wearing it, there is always the chance that this will show in the photographs from your session. Conversely, if you are wearing clothes that you are comfortable in, you will feel much more confident about your session, this will really show in your photographs and you will find the whole experience much more enjoyable.

lady dixons engagement session

Match your outfit to the location for your session. For example, if you have chosen to have your session at a local park that has lots of tree’s, don’t wear predominantly green coloured clothes. If your session is taking place in an upscale location, make sure your outfit matches that and it may be time to, suit up! If you have chosen a beach or forest area, casual clothes will be a much better fit.

engagement photos belfast

Don’t match up your clothing. Thankfully the days of everyone wearing matching jumpers for their photo shoot are long behind us. Having contrasting outfits will add interest to your photographs.

engagement session belfast

Avoid wearing clothes with large complex patterns, large logo’s and branding and overly busy patterns, these will look distracting in your photographs.

engagement photography northern ireland

N.I Wedding Photography | Tullyglass House Hotel | Emma & Thomas

Emma and Thomas got married on the 4th of November at Hannahstown Parish in Belfast. After the ceremony we headed off to the Tullyglass House Hotel in Ballymena for the reception.

We met up with Emma and her lovely bridesmaids at their new home in Glenavy to photograph the ladies getting ready. The couple's young daughter Hannah was a huge amount of fun and the morning went really quickly. After the ceremony along with the bridal party we headed for Thomas’s mum and dad's house, as that is where they had chosen to shoot their portraits. Unfortunately, as we left the ceremony the heavens opened and it rained very heavily so Emma and Thomas decided that they preferred to wait until we reached Tullyglass House.

Tullyglass House is a beautiful venue and they have a few areas that can work really well for wedding photographs. The heavy rain never really eased of for any length of time though, so we ended up using the inside of the hotel instead. However, we did manage to talk the guys into letting us grab a few shots outside in the hotel grounds in between the heavy showers.

Tullyglass House Hotel wedding dress in window
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tullyglass house hotel wedding dress
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Tullyglass House Hotel wedding bride channel
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tullyglass house hotel wedding bridal make up
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Tullyglass House Hotel wedding bridal hairstyling
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tullyglass house hotel wedding hair bridal
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tullyglass house hotel wedding daughter of the groom ready
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tullyglass house hotel wedding bride finished getting ready
tullyglass house hotel wedding groom before the ceremony
Tullyglass House Hotel Wedding bridesmaids arrival
Tullyglass House Hotel Wedding ceremony groom groomsmen
Tullyglass House Hotel Wedding ceremony bride with father in wedding car
Tullyglass House Hotel Wedding ceremony bride and father in wedding car
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Tullyglass House Hotel Wedding ceremony brides arrival
Tullyglass House Hotel Wedding ceremony brides sees groom
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Tullyglass House Hotel Wedding start of ceremony
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Tullyglass House Hotel Wedding ceremony flower girl
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Tullyglass House Hotel Wedding ceremony bride groom
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Tullyglass House Hotel wedding ceremony outside the church
Tullyglass House Hotel wedding sign
Tullyglass House Hotel wedding bride and groom
Tullyglass House Hotel wedding groom and bride
Tullyglass House Hotel wedding bride with the groom
Tullyglass House Hotel wedding bride and flowers
Tullyglass House Hotel wedding bride and bridesmaids
Tullyglass House Hotel wedding bridesmaids and groomsmen
Tullyglass House Hotel wedding groom and groomsmen
Tullyglass House Hotel wedding groom and brothers
Tullyglass House Hotel wedding groom bride portrait
Tullyglass House Hotel wedding groom bride cutting the cake

Belfast Engagement Session | Botanic Gardens | An-tonia & Joe

A couple of weeks ago we met up with An-tonia and Joe for their engagement session at Belfast’s Botanic Gardens, these guys are getting married next summer at Mount Stewart.

Engagement sessions are always good craic and the drizzling rain didn’t stop us from enjoying the walk around the park and chatting with An-tonia and Joe about their wedding plans.

It has been a while since we last visited Botanic Gardens and we had forgotten how beautiful it can be. Even at this time of the year while most of the flowers have disappeared until the summer, the park was full of Autumn colour. An-tonia and Joe were really good fun to spend the morning with and it was plain to see that they just can’t wait to get married.

Botanic Gardens Belfast Engagement Session Palm House
Botanic Gardens Belfast Engagement Session engagement ring
Botanic Gardens Belfast Engagement Session Palm House Antonia and Joe
Botanic Gardens Belfast Engagement Session outside the palm house
Botanic Gardens Belfast Engagement Session An-tonia and Joe
Botanic Gardens Belfast Engagement Session Joe and An-tonia
Pure Photo N.I engagement session at botanic gardens in Belfast
Pure Photo N.I engagement session botanic gardens in Belfast
Pure Photo N.I botanic gardens engagement session in Belfast
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engagement session botanic gardens belfast
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palm house botanic gardens belfast engagement shoot

Tips to help you find your wedding photographer

So you have visited the various wedding blogs, read all the wedding magazines and are ready to make the decision on who you are going to choose to photograph your wedding. This is easy, right? All you have to do is visit a few websites or maybe go to a few wedding fayres, find someone whose photographs you like and if they are in your budget contact them and arrange to book. Seems like a simple enough process. But how do you know what you see is what you get? Is it really that simple?

We are going to share a few tips to help you find the wedding photographers that are right for you and your wedding. There are many ways to find someone to photograph your wedding and there is a huge amount of wedding photographers in Northern Ireland, and it can be difficult to choose between them.


SETTING YOUR BUDGET

If you read the wedding magazines and blog’s you will often see statements like:

  • Your wedding photographer must cost a minimum of £XXXX
  • You should budget 15% of your wedding budget for photography
  • Blah, blah, blah….

Ignore this, it is your wedding not theirs, you should decide how much you spend on your wedding photography based on how important it is to you. Only you should make that decision. Setting a budget is important though as there is no point spending time looking at photographers who have a starting price of £2000 if you have a maximum budget of £1500 for photography and an album.


WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER ONLINE REVIEWS

Pure Photo N.I reviews

In our opinion the best source of online reviews when you are trying to find a wedding photographer is Google’s own review system. Facebook as an alternative is largely flawed with many fake reviews and businesses can easily purchase fake reviews for Facebook. Google have very stringent guidelines that they work too when it comes to reviews and if a review looks suspicious at all they will remove it.


CHOOSING A WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER BASED ON STYLE OF WORK

When you start to look for a wedding photographer you are going to come across a range of “buzzwords” used by photographers to define the style of how they work. Some of the most commonly used one’s are:

  • TraditionalA traditional wedding photographer doesn’t capture candid moments. They usually concentrate on the key moments of the day, group shots and usually stick to the same set list of photographs for every wedding. This style involves a great deal of intervention from the photographer and a significant amount of time spent on the formal setup of each photograph.
  • Contemporary – This style of wedding photography is inspired by editorial fashion photography. Although the photographer will set up a lot of the shots they will usually be less rigid than the traditional wedding photography style. Images are generally heavily edited in Photoshop.
  • Reportage/Documentary – This is a more natural style of photography with the focus being on capturing your wedding in an unobtrusive way and producing more natural looking photographs that document your wedding day.
  • Fine Art – The goal of fine art wedding photography is to render a work of art. The photographer will be heavily involved in setting up photographs taken. True fine art photography can be beautiful but very abstract. This is one of the most commonly misused “buzzwords” used by photographers to describe how they work at the moment.

In reality in most cases these “buzzwords” mean absolutely nothing. There isn’t that many photographers that work to one set style. The reason these “buzzwords” are used is mainly down to branding and how they want their brand to be perceived by prospective clients. These words are also used as significant keywords for Google search, which for a wedding photographer is extremely important in terms of marketing. For example, if you search “fine art wedding photographer Northern Ireland” on google it will return over 800,00 results. We had a quick look through the first 5 pages on Google before we got bored and none of the photographers listed, work to a set fine art style. However as this is an often searched for term photographers will describe themselves as being a fine art photographer even when they are not so that they show up on Google for this search term. The same applies for all of the buzzwords used. Most wedding photographers will use a mixture of styles.

Using ourselves as an example we mainly shoot in a documentary or reportage style we try and keep posed photographs to a minimum as we feel that style fits best with how we like to work and we also feel it’s a more relaxing and enjoyable experience for our clients. However, we do still shoot some loosely posed and set up photographs like when we are photographing the bridal party after the ceremony. When you are choosing your wedding photographer based on a style of work it is vital that you actually look at the work rather than relying on the description of their style provided by the photographer as the description and the reality can often be very different.

Example of documentary or reportage style photography

Example of documentary or reportage style photography

Example of posed set-up photography

Example of posed set-up photography


WHY DO SOME PHOTOGRAPHERS DISPLAY THEIR PRICES AND OTHERS DON'T?

There are many reasons for this, we are members of many online photography communities and this is a subject often discussed by photographers, especially wedding photographers. While it may ruffle a few feathers with some of our colleagues we are going to be very upfront and honest here and explain some of the reasons why. We decided to display our prices on our website as it seemed an easy choice for us, it saves us from getting a stream of emails and phone calls everyday asking only about prices, although we still get quite a few. The reason for this is that most wedding photographers decide not to make prices easily available or only quote prices starting from, couples getting married are used to having to contact photographers for a quote. Some of the reasons for this are:

  • Competition - Wedding photographers do not want other wedding photographers to know how much they charge as they are concerned that they will use this information to undercut their prices.
  • The Venue matters! - Not displaying prices means that you can offer flexible prices. As an example a couple contacts a photographer to ask for prices. The photographer asks them where they are getting married and it’s a locally well known, premium venue that the photographer would like to work at. Couples are more likely to book a photographer who has already worked at the venue they have chosen. Photographers will always want to book weddings at high end venues as they will then be more likely to book weddings for those venue’s again. This gives the photographer the opportunity to offer a more competitive than normal price to secure the booking.
  • The Date matters! - A couple contacts a photographer to ask about prices as they are not available on their website. Based on the date and how much other work the photographer has booked in he or she may offer a more competitive than normal price to secure the booking. The reverse is also true, the date falls on an extremely busy period this means the photographer can quote a more expensive price than normal as they do not necessarily need the booking. If the couple books at the more expensive than normal price great, if not it doesn’t matter they have already booked a lot of work for that month.
  • Under counter offers and promotions – This is a sales tactic used by wedding photographers. A couple contacts them requesting a quotation. The photographer replies with a set list of prices but includes at the bottom of their price list a special promotional discount or an offer of some kind that is only available if you book before the end of that month or before a specific date. In reality the discounted rate was always the real price, but it adds a little pressure on the couple to book immediately.
  • Portfolio building – Some wedding photographers are very busy. They will always book out every available date and this means that they can be very selective of which weddings they book and the prices they charge. As they are so busy they will check out prospective couples online before providing them with a quote. If it is an attractive couple they will offer their normal prices, if in their eyes the couple is not attractive or is getting married at a wedding venue they don’t want to associate themselves with they will provide a more expensive quote as they won’t want to use the images in their portfolio. 

BEWARE THE FAUXTOGRAPHER

Fauxtographer is a term that was originally coined in America and is used to describe a photographer who doesn’t know what they are doing but portrays themselves as a professional or an expert when that isn’t the case. There are guys out there advertising themselves as wedding photographers who have never photographed a wedding other than as a guest. There are guys out there advertising themselves as a photographer who don’t know how to use even basic camera equipment and photograph everything in auto modes and hope for the best. It is harder than you might think to avoid these guys and girls. Most couples when booking a photographer for their wedding don’t know much about photography. They will base their choice on price and maybe a few images the photographer has chosen to show them. It used to be the case that it was easier to split the good from the bad. The fauxtographer’s didn’t have Facebook business pages or websites and it was obvious that photography was a part time pursuit for them but not anymore, now they do have websites and they do have Facebook pages with thousands of likes and reviews. Some important things to look for:

  • Website – It’s fairly easy now to set up a basic website for not much cost. Companies like Wix offer a basic template based website for very little money that can be up in running as a fully functional website in under 30 minutes and looks reasonably professional. Having a website is no longer an indicator of how good, bad or indifferent your photographer is. The content on the site though is. Don’t just have a quick scan through images, look at them closely. Do all the images seem to be from one or two weddings? If so avoid, we have seen this locally ourselves recently. Someone advertising as a wedding photographer and claiming years of experience but only displaying images from one wedding. A close look at the images indicates that they were taken by a guest at the wedding rather than the photographer. In most of the images the couple and bridal party where not looking directly at the camera it was obvious that they were taken by either a wedding guest or someone working as an assistant to the real photographer.
  • Facebook Business Page – There are literally thousands of Facebook business pages advertising wedding photography services in Northern Ireland. These should never be taken as any sort of indicator as to how many weddings a photographer has photographed or the quality of their work. They are simply too easily faked. You can purchase 10,000 likes for a Facebook business page online for £20. Reviews for business pages can also be purchased in the same way. It is a fairly common occurrence for guys just starting out to download images from other photographer’s websites and use them on their own websites and Facebook pages pretending that it is their own work. Before you make a decision on booking a photographer make sure you view several real weddings so that you can get a real idea of the type of work they produce.

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER BEFORE YOU BOOK WITH THEM

  • Do you have liability insurance and can I see a copy of your insurance documentation?
  • Can you talk me through how you work during a normal wedding day?
  • Do you have an online portfolio I can view that shows images taken throughout a wedding day?
  • What packages do you offer and can they be personalised to our needs?
  • Can we discuss in detail what we will be provided with after you have photographed our wedding?
  • How long after the wedding will it be until we receive our Digital Images/Album?
  • How much is your deposit and when does the balance need to be paid?

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF AFTER YOU HAVE SPOKEN WITH A WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER

  • Do you feel a connection with the photographer as well as their photographs?
  • Are you happy with the way the photographer communicates with you?
  • Has the photographer listened to any concerns you may have had and answered all of your questions?

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

 

Is price an indicator of the quality of work produced by a wedding photographer?

This is a difficult question to answer. In most cases yes more expensive will mean better as with most things you pay for what you get, but there are always exceptions to the rule. Running a wedding photography business legitimately has high costs. Like any other business a wedding photographer has overheads that must be paid. Income tax, national insurance, equipment, advertising, liability insurance, equipment insurance etc. it all adds up and those costs need to be covered. So if you see a photographer advertising wedding photography at a very cheap price there has to be a reason why. In some instances, they may be cutting costs somewhere, like operating without insurance or using inferior equipment. The reason the guys at the very top of their game can be so expensive is not always just down to providing better photography, but is also due to their level of experience, they have been there, done it and got the t-shirt and can cope with any situation that might happen at a wedding. Also on the flip side of the coin there are photographers out there with little skill level who are excellent at marketing their business via wedding fayres etc. and can book 50-60 weddings a year at high prices, but produce low quality images and deliver poor service. There are also guys out there offering really low prices because they are just starting out or because they only do photography part time and use their real job to subsidise their wedding business but can produce good  work and offer a high level of service. So while yes price can be an indicator all of the other factors should be looked at as well. Do you like the photographer’s images? Are you happy that they can repeat the same level of work at your wedding? Are they someone you can easily get along with? Do you trust them to deliver what they say they will after your wedding?

When should I book our wedding photographer?

As soon as possible, like any of your wedding vendor’s dates can sometimes be booked a long time in advance. Don’t leave it too late to confirm a booking with your photographer just in case you miss out. We regularly get contacted by couples who are interested in booking with us and don’t hear from them again for some time. Then out of the blue they get in touch a few weeks or a month later but unfortunately in between times we have already booked the date with another couple.

Do all wedding photographers use real wedding photographs for advertising?

We only use images from real weddings, but not everyone does. Many wedding photographers use images from fake styled wedding shoots with models. Many also use images taken at workshops under instruction and in very controlled conditions. These can provide a wow factor but it can be difficult for them to replicate that same level of work at a real wedding. There is a big difference having all day to set up a couple of shots with a team of hair stylists, make-up artists etc. always at hand and having maybe 45 minutes for portraits with a bride and groom after their wedding ceremony. When looking at a photographers work on their website the best option is to ignore all of the images on the front page of the website and instead visit their blog and look for images from real weddings which show a complete range of photographs from a typical wedding day. If their blog posts from a real wedding only show a few images be dubious and request a full set of images from a wedding from them.

Should I ask to see a sample album?

Yes, absolutely. A sample album will at the very least allow you to view what you will get if you book a package that includes an album. However, always ask if the photographs in the sample album are their own and if the album was designed by them. Many album manufacturers supply free or heavily discounted sample albums for photographers to use to show potential clients and some of these use stock images rather than the photographer's own. Don’t only base your decision on if their work is a good fit for you from the images from a sample album.

 Should I ask to meet the photographer before the wedding?

In our opinion yes. While arranging a wedding can be difficult and time consuming your wedding photographer is likely to be the only one of your wedding vendors that you are going to spend all day with. In an ideal world you want this to be someone that you are going to find it easy to get along with and enjoy spending your day with. It is going to be more difficult to be sure of this if you have not met them before the day of the wedding.

Do all wedding photographers provide the same thing in terms of product after the wedding?

A lot depends on which package option you choose when you book your photographer and is something you should discuss with them in detail. Using ourselves as an example we provide every client with a full resolution copy of all of the edited photographs. Some photographers only provide low resolution photographs not suitable for printing or photographs which are heavily watermarked. Depending on the photographer you may only be able to buy prints from them and copies of digital images which don’t have a watermark may involve additional cost. Always confirm what you will receive after your wedding, before you confirm your booking.

Please feel free to ask any further questions we haven't covered using the comments section below and we will do our best to answer them.

Belfast Wedding Photography | Balmoral Hotel | Maura & John

Maura and John got married on the 8th of October at St. Pauls in Belfast. After the ceremony we stopped off with the bridal party at Sir Thomas & Lady Dixons Park, before making our way to the Balmoral Hotel for the reception.

We met up in the morning with Maura and her bridesmaids at her mum’s house in Belfast. The house as you would expect was buzzing with excitement, nerves and activity. Maura still made time, to make sure we were well looked after and to help her mum tidy up after breakfast.

We arrived at St. Pauls with Maura not far behind us. Maura, is probably the first of our brides to arrive for the ceremony early. St. Pauls is a very traditional building with its own unique atmosphere and proved to be the perfect backdrop for Maura and John’s wedding ceremony.

Sir Thomas & Lady Dixon Park is awesome for wedding photography, we have worked there many times before and from a photography point of view there are so many different little areas to use that it must be one of the best parks in Northern Ireland to go for wedding photographs. It is well known and popular though, so John had made arrangements for the use of the park many months ago.

The staff at the Balmoral Hotel were very friendly and the room looked perfect, the food was lovely too. John’s speech was great both funny and emotional, we even got a mention, many thanks John! 

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Balmoral Hotel Belfast wedding photographer Pure Photo N.I guests bride dancing

Northern Ireland Wedding Photography | Bushtown Hotel | Davina & Linsey

Davina and Linsey got married on the 7th of October at Christ Church in Limavady. After the ceremony we stopped of at the beautiful Roe Valley Country Park with the bridal party, before making our way to the Bushtown Hotel in Coleraine for the reception.

The ladies where good fun to be around all morning and there was hardly a hint of any sort of nerves from Davina before the ceremony. The ladies had a very chilled out morning.

Upon arriving at the church we got to meet Davina and Linsey’s godson William, a real wee character, who had everyone giggling throughout the ceremony. The weather can be a bit unpredictable at this time of the year and it was pouring down with rain by the time Davina and her bridesmaids arrived at the church.

The rain eased of just long enough for us to spend some time with the bridal party at Roe Valley Country Park before we headed off to the wedding reception at the Bushtown Hotel. During dinner we were seated next to Linsey’s great-aunts who kept us entertained throughout.

Davina and Linsey where really good fun to spend the day with, a very chilled out fun loving couple with an awesome set of family and friends. We loved all the little details the guys had incorporated into their wedding including cake toppers featuring Linsey in his rugby kit.

Limavady Wedding Pure Photo N.I Dress Shoes Flowers
Limavady Wedding Pure Photo N.I Rings
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Limavady Wedding Pure Photo N.I congratulations card
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Christ Church Limavady wedding photographer Pure Photo N.I piper
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Roe Park Wedding Photographer Pure Photo N.I Groomsmen
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Bushtown Hotel Wedding Photographer Pure Photo N.I family portraits
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New website launch

We loved the design of our old website’s front page but the new updated version combines the minimalist look of our old website with much better functionality.

Our web designer has created a whole new front page for the site keeping the clean look that we wanted but making it much easier for people visiting the site to find the information they are looking for. Visitors to our new website can now view our wedding photography packages, wedding gallery and our latest blog posts all from the main front page of the site.

We are still making some small amendments so if you notice anything that doesn’t look as it should please let us know. www.purephotoni.com

new pure photo n.i website

Wedding Photography | Why we shoot the details

When it comes to photographing a wedding, every little detail is important. At every wedding we photograph, we always make sure to try and photograph all of the little details of your day. This includes photographing jewellery, flowers and your little keepsakes that you are using on your wedding day.

For our couples, their wedding day can often seem to go very quickly. By making sure to photograph all of the elements of their special day, the things they may easily forget about can be enjoyed and remembered for years to come.

Top Tip for Brides

It’s always nice when we turn up at our brides getting ready address on the morning of the wedding to find all of these items set aside ready for us to photograph. While we won’t necessarily photograph them in the area you have put them, having everything bundled together makes our job easier as we are not having to spend time tracking them down.

While it’s common to have your rings, dresses, shoes and the bride and bridesmaid’s bouquets photographed we also like to include other items too. 

Mother of the bride survival kit Lisburn Wedding
Brides handbag Belfast Wedding
Invitation for a Belfast Wedding
Wedding Candle Lusty Beg Island
Lisburn Wedding Groom's buttonhole
Bracelet Belfast Wedding

While photograph’s of items like these won’t be as important to our couples as their portraits, candid’s and the normal wedding details, we know that in years to come they will be appreciated for the memories they provide.

Belfast Wedding Photography | Malone House | Lorraine & James

It took 16 years for James to pluck up the courage to ask Lorraine to become his wife, but we are sure everyone that was part of their wedding day would agree, it was well worth the wait.

We started the morning with a trip to Bangor to photograph the ladies getting ready at Lorraine's mum and Dad's house, the rest of the day was spent at the beautiful Malone House in Belfast. We were absolutely delighted that the rain stayed away until late evening so that Lorraine and James could have the amazing outdoor wedding ceremony they really wanted.  

Belfast wedding photographer Pure Photo N.I Malone House Getting ready Dress Shoes Bracelet
Belfast wedding photographer Pure Photo N.I Malone House Getting ready Flowers
Belfast wedding photographer Pure Photo N.I Malone House Getting ready bridesmaids dress shoes handbag
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