The story of a (nearly) ruined Wedding Day - Part 2

Nobody needs a wedding album, just stick it on a usb drive which we'll loose in a week..

Mary was a little bit stressed, but knew that she will be able to find a photographer to take photos on her day – even if it is last minute.

“Don’t worry Mary, my friends friend takes good pictures, he only started recently, but he bought a very good camera, I could ask him, it’s even possible he’ll do it for free? Look he has some of the photos on Instagram. And his camera is so good! With a good camera, anybody can do it really..” Karen said.

“Oh, these are quite good” Mary said. “He will do it free you said? That’s excellent… If you give me his number I can call him and ask him myself”.

So Mary called Trevor, the guy with a good and expensive camera:

“Hi Trevor, this is Mary, not sure Karen told you about me, she said you take some good pictures and you recently bought a new camera?”

“Oh hi Mary, yes Karen mentioned something, yes I have a great camera takes professional pictures. I really want to get into paid work and it would be great to take photos of your wedding.”

“This is great Trevor, would you be able to meet with me and my fiancée to discuss the details? The wedding is quite soon, and with all that planning I have quite frankly totally forgotten to book a photographer (*nervous laughter*)”

“Yes, definitely, are you free tomorrow at 6pm?” Trevor asked.

“That’s perfect see you then!”

Mary was super excited. She was sure that Trevor will be the right choice, because she has seen his photos on instagram AND he came highly recommended. And, obviously anybody takes great photos with a professional camera, right?

So Mary met with Trevor to discuss the details. First Mary started to describe her perfect wedding trying to get Trevor excited so he’ll agree to take the photos for free. After all how can anybody decline to photograph such a lavish ceremony. It will be great for his portfolio and Mary will tag him in some Instagram photos she'll post.

“And after the church, we have this beautiful marquee outside, free all night bar which is literally on the beach.. It would be great for pictures. I can’t afford to pay you, because I’m a bit low on the budget, however we are happy to pay for half of your flight, then you just need to cover the cost of your hotel? It’s only coming to around 45 EUR per night… especially if you’re looking to build your portfolio it’s an investment really… and I have such an amazing venue, it will look great on your page!”

Trevor couldn’t show the couple much of his work as he didn’t have a website or a facebook page yet, nor did he have a printed portfolio,  so he only show them few photos on his mobile phone.

Deciding these were good enough for Mary, couple agreed that Trevor will be taking their wedding photos in sunny Italy. “How amazing, a nearly free photographer – this couldn’t go any better!” Mary was jumping up and down with excitement.

Taking into consideration the price of the flight, couple got themselves a bargain. How amazing, all they spent was £159 and he was even covering his own hotel/food/transfers!!

The day of the wedding arrived and enthusiastic Trevor arrived with his one camera and kit lens. (No backup equipment, no insurance, just a single camera and a single lens).  The very good camera in question cost him £400 including 1 slow kit lens. For those who don't know, iit lens is usually a very basic plastic lens which comes with an entry level DSLR cameras. These are great to use on holidays, but do not produce the highest quality images on a professional level. But what does Mary know? It looked like a professional camera, and Karen said everyone can take great photos with it.

Mary was too busy and nervous to notice that Trevor is struggling really and mumbling to himself something under his breath while taking the photos. If Mary paid attention she would hear what was Trevor saying to himself is “I don’t understand why these photos are coming out so blurry… not sure why it is…, this is an expensive camera, it usually takes great photos on AUTO mode..."

Trevor however continued taking photos and didn’t say anything to Mary as not to alarm her. In the church, which was quite dark, he was asked by the priest not to use flash and only stay in the designated spot. This made him a bit nervous because he knew his 18-55mm lens won’t allow him to zoom in very close.

Trevor didn’t understand why the auto mode on his camera kept suggesting he uses flash, and camera refused to take photos for the most of the time. He was getting a bit stressed as most of images were too dark, grainy and blurry. Some of times he couldn't even press the shutter release button, it seemed the camera didn't want to take photos for whatever reason.

Still however, the bride and groom were too nervous about the ceremony, to pay attention to the photographer who was sweating cold sweat. They didn't have any doubt that an expensive camera will do a great job.

After the ceremony, Trevor was happy they’re outside again in the daylight and he took few good shots of the family and the couple. “Phew… at least these will be good” he thought to himself.

When the reception started, he took few more shots, grabbed a drink and put the camera on the table while he helped himself to food several times. As he was placing the plate on the table he knocked a large glass over which spilled wine all over his camera. He frantically jumped up, dragging the camera off the table onto the floor. Plastic on the side of the camera body cracked. A silence erupted throughout the venue while bride and groom stared at him in horror. Trevor picked the camera up, his heart beating like a drum, turning the camera on and announcing with a relief  “all good… still works.. just need a quick wipe.."

The reception returned back to normal, however Trevor stopped taking photos and only done a snap or two every now and then. This was mainly due to the fact that it was getting too dark and he didn't really know what to do in such situations. He started drinking and enjoying himself and had to be frequently asked to take photos of the guests, the cake cutting and the first dance. During these occasions he looked like he was struggling with the camera settings while the posing guests had to wait a long time for the photo to be taken. The photos he took of the first dance only came out as black frames, he didn't understand why.

Still everyone had a great time and Mary didn’t think anything of it. After the wedding they went on a honey moon and couldn’t wait to come back and see all those free professional wedding photos that Trevor took.

In the meantime, Trevor returned from his, nearly free holiday. He didn’t copy the images on the hard drive of his computer right away, because he still had two weeks time until Mary and her husband are back from the holiday. And he's not a professional, so why should he need to edit them? After all this was a free shoot and he done the best he could.

Three days before he was meant to meet the newlyweds, he decided to copy the photos over to his PC. He opened the SD card compartment only to find it slightly wet. Nevertheless, he dried the Sd memory card out and put it into the card reader of his computer.

Error

“Hm… this is strange” Trevor thought to himself. He took out the card, cleaned the contacts and re-inserted.

Error

Slightly surprised, but not overly worried he tried the process few more times only to be shown the same Error message.

So Trevor thought he'll take the card to a specialised store and he was sure they will be able to help him with this. After all, the card looks fine so there must be something wrong with his computer or software he's using.

“Unfortunately we weren’t able to copy the images from the card, there seem to have been a water damage to it and it’s not readable I’m afraid…” Trevor was informed by the specialist.

His heart sunk. What is he going to do now?

 

 

Read the first part of the story here. 

Next week: A package which was too good to be true.


The story of a (nearly) ruined Wedding Day

Wedding Cake is for life... but the photos will be eaten on the day

These stories contain various scenarios of a wedding day and a pre-wedding planning. While I'm no expert on wedding planning, I have seen the clients often making wrong choices when it comes to whom do they book to capture photographs of their special day.  

While the actual story below is made up, just to give us a full picture, the endings are not. Although the names have been changed, the endings are true and they indeed occurred to clients which I have met over the years. Although you can't do anything to change the past, you can indeed learn from other peoples mistakes. 

Once upon a time there was a very nice lady called Mary. Mary dreamt of having a perfect wedding since she was a little girl. She knew what flowers will she have, how will the invitations look like, what sort of venue she wanted to book, how many guests will be enjoying a beautiful meal, and how wonderful will the memories be, which she plans on cherishing for a lifetime. All the ideas were there, written in a book titled “My perfect wedding day”. The book contained all the details, magazine clippings, images, drawings and ideas. The biggest dream however was, to get married on the beach, at sunset.

As the years gone by, she met a perfect partner (in every single way), the one to share life’s moments with – the good ones and the bad too. When the time was right, wedding planning was underway. Mary didn’t want to have an event planner, because this was her special day, and she wanted to have it her own way, she wanted to plan every single aspect of the wedding, and ensure it will be the most perfect day of their lives.

Mary’s partner loved simpler things in life, while Mary wanted a lavish ceremony with all the trimmings. Her partner decided not to get involved much in the planning, and left it all to Mary who was enjoying every part of it.

Mary had quite a healthy wedding budget at her disposal, which was great as it meant she will have the wedding she always wanted to. Part of it came from her own savings, (her being very smart and saved most of her adult life); other part (as a backup funding source) came from parents as a gift – to make the transition into her adult life easier, and something to give their daughter to remember them by. This was quite a helpful sum.

"Budgeting for a wedding won’t be so difficult" Mary thought to herself, knowing she has more than she needs. Or did she?

£££££

The first, and the largest proportion of the event was securing a wedding venue, hotels & flights abroad. She decided that she will pay for hotel for her wedding guests, as she wanted to ensure they can all afford to come. It also seemed to her that the venue gave her a reasonable discount. She was determined that her perfect day can only be perfect if the wedding is on the beach, at sunset. That way, it’s highly unlikely a bad weather would spoil it. Not sure how did a sunset play a role in this, but this is Mary's story not mine so I won't interfere.

££££

Flights for herself and her partner had to be 1st class, because after all this is a wedding not a budget holiday or a cheap last minute break.

£££££

Next thing on the list was a wedding dress and outfits for bridesmaids. Nothing less than a designer gown was acceptable, so the amount of money needed was quite significant (not even including jewellery and shoes, this was a huge chunk of the entire budget). But nobody will stop Mary from looking like a princess, queen and a fairy at the same time.

££££

Mary got a bit of a shoch when she got informed that the costs of a wedding venue and hotel, didn’t actually include the food/drink and service on the day. Luckily she knew that there still is her large backup funding source, so why not to choose the best tier and a wedding reception package? Caviar/lobster and champagne, you name it - Mary got it.

££££

‘Oh yes! I need a beautiful designer wedding cake, like they bake in Fortnum & Mason for example, can you imagine I would just have a basic one for fifty quid??  That would be so embarrassing!’ Mary thought to herself. Luckily there was a very good baker she found abroad who could do this for a fraction of a price - but it was still little over £50. How wonderful!

Then came the important bookings for the day, car, band, flowers and smaller expenses such as stationery - wedding invitations, guest book, wedding card box; and extras such as flip flops, decorations and other bits. It was all perfect and how excellent, there was still a little bit money in the budget. ‘This is perfect, I have extra for emergency expenses’ Mary was convinced, this was the case.

Showing off to her friends and family, that she managed to organise and plan her entire event herself, without minimum outside help, Mary was extremely excited and couldn’t wait for their big day to come.

Few weeks before the event, she had a hen do with her friends, which was also kept classy and in style. Gorgeous champagne brunch and a spa break, which she paid for her and her bridesmaids herself. Why not? ‘I can splash out on things, there is still money in the budget – yay!’ Mary said to Karen as she was enjoying a bottomless bubbly in the worlds renowned brunch place-  Posh & Richie.

“I’m so happy for you Mary, can’t wait for the wedding! Oh btw… who did you book as your photographer?”

Mary’s eyes widened and jaw fell to the close proximity of the table. “OH NO! I completely forgot about that!!” Mary bellowed.

Now I offer you three alternate endings of this story. Which one would YOU choose?

NEXT WEEK: I'll provide you with the first version of ending - A Friend with a Professional Camera.


Wanderlust Photo Exhibition

My first photo Exhibition, Ostermundigen, Switzerland

I have been visiting Switzerland for over 10 years now. It is always a jointed trip to work and visit my sister. But it hasn't always been this way.

I can recall the first time I have travelled to Switzerland - I was as a 9 year old boy. We had some acquaintances there, family friends from my fathers side. I remember the times he used to spend on the phone speaking French to our friends, but it wouldn't be until later on when we'd actually meet them in person.

My father is a great driver and always been obsessed with cars, obviously there wouldn't be another way to get there, but by car :) These sort of family trips were scarce and this is one of very first one, from what I can remember.

I don't remember that much from the actual trip, I did find Switzerland very organised, clean and fresh. The country looked wealthy, that little I could see even then. But even when I visited Bern and threw carrots to the city Bears (no pun intended), or when I was eating a cake in Victoria Jungrau hotel, dressed in horrible colorful sports set, I had no idea that one day, when I grow up, I will be hosting a photo exhibition there :)

I have met Stefanie, the owner of Stef's Kultur Bistro few years ago, as she is a friend of my sister. She owns this nice restaurant which gives local (and international) artists the opportunity to demonstrate (and sell) their art. So we put a date in the diary and discussed to display my images there as well...

I didn't have a clear idea (at first) on what to exhibit. I wanted to give this exhibition a theme, and display the images which for a long time only  slept on my hard drive, with a minimal exposure to the outside world. In the recent years I have taken some great shots in Malta & Gozo and wanted to display those, as well as my black and white London work and few photos from my trips abroad, so we named the exhibition "Wanderlust"

Wanderlust mainly featured photos from London, Gozo, Malta & smaller selection from Switzerland, Florida & Spain.

I had some great ideas for the exhibition and big hopes too, the hopes of exposure and hopes of selling some pieces to lovely homes.

As a self-learner photographer, I learn as I go. There is a room for error, as in with everything you do and sometimes the only way to achieve anything is by "trial and error". This is probably how I would describe Wanderlust. When you're a sole trader, with the minimal help from the outside world, you do things your own way and sometimes don't always count with the possibility the things may go wrong, OR not exactly according to your expectations.

The shipments of photographs arrived damaged as well as some breakages when I was framing my mounted prints in Switzerland, larger format photographs weren't ordered enough in advance, so they basically arrived to Switzerland one day before the event. The turnaround on the event wasn't according to my expectations, neither did the sales. But I was still happy, because putting Wanderlust together, was a bit of an achievement. It was my first larger project and regardless, I was very proud of it.

There is so much to think about that, looking back now I would have probably spent bit longer on the exhibition and the event itself. Sometimes you just hope the things will work out for the best, but it is not always be the case. But it is okay. It is okay to try and not succeed, because if you do it next time, you would have learned from your own mistakes. There will always be times, when you simply don't get back, what you have put into the event but this is also okay. Because, it enables you to learn and grow.

Would it be amazing if my exhibition was a great success, I would have hundreds of visitors and literally would be sending them away due to the lack of space? Would it be amazing if I sold all the pieces on the night, and had to print more due to the high demand? YES it would ! But in every failure there is a hope and a lesson that the next one will be totally different.

So as I'm looking back at the event, and the photographs below, I am proud of what have I achieved. I will be looking forward to hosting another exhibition, and learning from my own mistakes in the past :)

 

 

 

 


Coiffeur Soleil (Hairsalon in Switzerland)

Fantastic hairstyles, not just for brides to be

Although I try to keep my posts relevant to the wedding topic that my website is following, I really wanted to share this project with you, as it has occupied me for few months.

Just because I'm a wedding photographer in London, it doesn't mean I don't travel around for more exciting photography opportunities :)

Hairsalon Soleil is based in a small village Jegenstorf in Switzerland. The main attraction seems to be Schloss Jegenstorf, where this shoot took place.

Over the course of two days we have photographed 24 models, displaying different hairstyles from bridal to retro. The versatility of the shoot required complete styling, make-up, outfits and a location which would allow us to "put it all together"

To be completely honest I didn't really know what to expect. I'm currently in the stage of my career where I don't say no to a photography job - I enjoy all sorts and with shooting lots of versatile things I can develop my style over the next few years. Photography is a learning curve, and as with any job you never stop learning.

Focusing on portraits was something I wanted to try for a while now, I am in a category of photographers who enjoy shooting natural light and candid shots, natural expressions - rather than posed ones.

I have truly enjoyed this shoot, although it has been very dynamic and challenging. We roughly had about 20 minutes for each model (who were not experienced models but normal people like you and me). Some of them were confident others more shy in front of the camera.

I only had a french frisseur book as a reference to see what sort of photos will I be shooting (and what does the owner Jsa König expects from each session). The Soleil team of 6 hair stylists and hair dressers had their say in which part of the hairstyle will we be showing on the photograph, however the rest was totally up to me. Yikes!

The weather was more than perfect, the large castle and grounds provided all sorts of possibilities, and even with blasting sunlight we always managed to find a nice shade. My kind sister and assistant Zuzana Solothurnamnn was my light and couldn't do this without her.

If you're looking for a fantastic versatile hairstylist and hairdresser while you're in Switzerland make sure you visit.

Coiffeur Soleil,  Jegenstorf, Oberdorfstrasse 1, 3303, Switzerland

https://www.facebook.com/coiffeursoleiljegenstorf/

https://www.coiffeursoleil.ch


Malta & Gozo - Perfect Wedding Destinations

I have visited Malta first time in 2015. It was one of my first destination weddings. I have been officially a guest, but I couldn't resist taking my camera as I was sure the wedding will be extremely beautiful. I was not disappointed.

Are you looking for something different?

Weddings here have been getting more popular in the recent years. Whether you're after a beach wedding or a garden ceremony overlooking the sea, you're sure to find something to suit your needs. With the sun shining all year around, the wedding here will be perfect even off season.

Malta, Gozo & Comino are Southern European Islands located in the Mediterranean sea, located 80km South of Italy. The country covers just over 316 km2, which makes it one of world's smallest and most densely populated countries. The capital of Malta is Valletta, rich in history, containing buildings from 16th century onwards.

There are more churches in Malta, than there are days of the year. The parish churches are usually large and beautiful decorated with statues and some very impressive works of art & paintings.

One of the most famous churches are St. John's Co-Cathedral, The Church of St Francis of Assisi, St Augustine Church and Our Lady of Victories.

When I was travelling to Malta for the first time, I have heard mixed reviews about the island. My friends either said it was boring, mainly suitable for seniors and some believed that Gozo is an island where you'll be bored after a day or two. Don't let anybody discourage you as there is plenty to do there; whether you're traveling solo or with your loved one.

Maltese love their weddings. With plenty of wedding packages going, it's a perfect wedding destination for locals and tourists. While the selection of photographers in Malta might not be as vast as in the UK for instance, there's nothing stopping you from hiring a London Wedding Photographer who offers destination packages.

One of the most popular wedding Hotels in Malta are: Mellieha Bay Hotel, Le Meridien St. Julians, The Palace Hotel, Radisson Blu Resort and Hilton Malta. These hotels offer great standard and a selection of rooms, to ensure your guests will never be too far away from your wedding and at the same time, they are within a walking distance to the beaches, city centers and hundreds of restaurant/cafes.

What to do in Malta & Gozo?

Maltese waters are clear, beautiful and warm in Summer months (and especially around September when the season begins) for snorkeling & scuba diving. Gozo is especially popular for diving with tens of diving centers spread around the coast.

Malta offers some of the best diving in the Mediterranean, with around 50 000 divers visiting every year.

Valletta is easily accessible by bus and ferry from Sliema,  is a definite must-see with plenty of historical buildings, gardens, churches & museums. The Three Cities are within a short ferry ride away.

Nightlife in Malta can be very vibrant. Especially around Paceville and St. Julian's where you'll find plenty of bars, clubs & disco's. I prefer the quiet side of the island, therefore I mainly stay around the Sliema area, which offers the best of both worlds. It is located within a walking distance from St. Julian's (although saying that, nowhere in Malta is too far away).

There you have it; a rich cultural island, easily accessible from the UK, offering plenty of wedding packages, beautiful weather and things to do and see for just about anybody. A photographer, anyone?