WEDDING FAQs

Why should we choose you to photograph our wedding?

 

I have photographed over 1200 weddings, and have established myself as one of the UK’s leading professionals. I am recommended by many leading hotels, toastmasters and wedding coordinators.

I am just as passionate now about my work as I’ve ever been; I have never copied what other photographers do, preferring to create my own style and set my own high standards. My background in advertising, architectural and fashion photography has been the best possible grounding for my imaginative, colourful and dramatic style of wedding photography. I am always looking for exciting new ways to take photographs without resorting to over-staged or artificial poses.

 

Equally important to me is to understand your requirements, whilst combining people skills and working quickly and unobtrusively.

All photographs are taken by me, and I only do one wedding per day.

What makes your work different from other photographers?

Clarity: All of my images are crystal clear with very vibrant colours and no deep shadows on faces. This is achieved through precise manipulation of varying lighting conditions at the time of taking your photographs. As a specialist outdoor family portrait photographer, I have vast experience in coping with extreme lighting conditions. Should you wish to visit my studio I will show you before and after examples of how I manipulate and soften lighting conditions for the most flattering effect.

Choice of background: The background is of equal importance to my style of photography as the people, whether it is the beautiful gardens or the architectural features of your reception venue.You have probably paid a lot of money for your reception venue, so I maximise the use of as many backdrops as possible to tell a story of your day and to enhance your images. I have a true appreciation of beautiful buildings and the experience to include their stunning features in a dramatic and creative way into your wedding images. I am always incorporating striking perspectives and symmetry in my images to achieve these special effects. Many examples can be seen in my portfolio.

Night time photography: I carry floodlighting to all weddings, allowing me to capture sensational night-time images of you with your venue illuminated. I believe I was the first UK wedding photographer to carry floodlighting on assignments, after 20 years of capturing these dramatic shots there are still only a few other UK photographers that have attempted to copy my signature pictures - they are very difficult to get right. You'll see these spectacular results throughout my website and portfolio.

What is your style and approach?

My style tends to be a mix between classic poses and a more relaxed reportage storybook style. I also capture beautiful detail images of the dress, bouquet, table decorations, room layout and the cake etc. I am always looking for the more dramatic and unusual angles for my photographs, whilst working in an organised, quick yet friendly manner

I promise you will never see me take any over-staged or contrived pictures, i.e. images taken on a 45 degree sloping angle, couples jumping in the air or artificial rainbows digitally dropped into the background, etc. Your images will be captured in an imaginative and creative style without gimmicky poses.

How can we guarantee the quality of your work?

Only the deposit is paid up front; the remainder is not payable until you approve the photographs on return from honeymoon. This is my guarantee to you of the quality of my work. I have total confidence in my work; this is why I want you to approve your photographs before making your final balance payment. Many photographers require full payment up front – before you’ve approved the images.

Can we view albums of complete weddings?

I strongly advise every couple when choosing a photographer to ensure that you see complete albums of recent weddings, not just compilations of favourite pictures in order to give you a more accurate and consistent guide. As standard, I will always show complete albums.

Do you have a pre-wedding meeting with us at the venue?

This is very important. I like to meet you a few weeks before your wedding to have a run-through of timings, types of photographs, specific groups and your precise requirements. It also helps to walk around the various backdrops with you to discuss both your and my ideas. This meeting also allows me to build up a good rapport with you before the big day. Most photographers do not offer this service. This meeting is offered as standard if booking me on any of my packages of 6 hours or above.

Do you have any testimonials from previous weddings?

Yes. Click on the Testimonials heading within the banner at the top of the Wedding page. The original copies of these letters can be viewed at my studio. You can also see customer feedback on my blog plus also on Google reviews, just Google Mark Sisley Chesham.

How long will the photographs take?

I work very quickly in conjunction with your ushers. Allow typically 10 - 15 minutes at the church, and 25 – 40 minutes at the reception for artistic poses of the couple and group photographs. I usually photograph a minimal number of group pictures at the church. I encourage the larger photographs to be taken at the reception with the biggest groups first; this allows the majority of your guests to relax while we complete the photographs.

How many photographs do you take?

This is dependent on the package you choose. My style is more about quality rather than quantity – every picture is carefully composed and lit to the highest standards. I would rather you had 200 to 600 beautifully composed and lit photographs than 1500 images that are rushed, i.e. backs of heads on bad reportage shots or messy composition.

What happens if you have equipment failure?

I carry at least two back-ups for every piece of equipment I use. That means that if any part of the camera develops a fault, I can immediately switch to the back-up piece of equipment. I use them rarely, but they are always there just in case!

How do we book your services?

You’ll need to complete a booking form and pay a securing deposit. Please contact me and I will email a copy of the booking form to you. Once I’ve received the completed booking form and deposit, a confirmation letter will be sent to you by return of post.

Are there any travel expenses? And how far will you travel?

I travel throughout the UK and further afield to attend many of my weddings. All weddings within a 75 mile radius of my Chesham studio incur no travel expense; further distances incur a 40p / mile expense and weddings more than 150 miles away may include overnight accommodation and any flights at cost.

What happens if you’re ill or unable to attend?

In nearly 23 years of wedding photography I have never missed a wedding! I do not do any dangerous sports i.e. skiing, rugby, paragliding etc! I’m also one of those lucky people who doesn’t pick up coughs, colds or flu. However, in case of something more sinister, I have the back-up of my former business partner. He now specialises in commercial photography, but we trained together and worked together closely on weddings for many years. In the case of an emergency he would step in. He is a superb wedding photographer; as my reputation is on the line, it is not in my interest to let anyone down. I have never needed to call on his services.

Do we need to feed you?

If you are booking me on the six-hour package or above, I would really appreciate refreshments on the day. I would not have time to eat the full cooked meal; I would be delighted with sandwiches and soft drinks whilst you’re having your wedding breakfast. If booking me for the entire day, additional sandwiches or a selection from your evening buffet would be welcomed.

Who owns the copyright?

The copyright always belongs to your photographer, but I include a high-resolution CD as standard on every package of all the images taken. This enables you to print unlimited photographs and enlargements. The photographs are for your personal use; if they are to be published commercially then my permission would be required.

I also provide you with details of my professional laboratory, which enables you to deal directly with them to achieve optimal printing results at trade prices.

When are the photographs ready to view?

Please allow two weeks after your wedding for me to prepare your online gallery. Please contact me on return from your honeymoon to arrange activation of your viewing gallery.

How long will our finished album take to prepare?

Please allow 6 – 8 weeks for me to produce your finished album. This time is necessary for me to achieve the exacting standard for which I am renowned. Many of your images for the album will be colour, contrast and crop adjusted etc before I am satisfied with the final quality.

What method of payment do you accept?

Cash, cheque, debit or credit cards.

How do you dress on the wedding day?

Always in very smart dark suits, black tie or morning suits by request depending on your dress code. I like to blend in on the day, and look as smart as the rest of your guests. I promise you will not see me with an open-necked shirt or without a jacket on the day if it's below 30c!

What happens if it rains?

I am accustomed to working in the most difficult lighting conditions. The churches provide a fantastic backdrop inside for group pictures, as do many of the reception venues I attend. Often interiors of old buildings appear quite dark; I use a method of lighting that enables me to keep both foreground and background crystal clear. I use the architectural features of the building as the principal backdrop. Even in the simplest of venues, stunning window light portraits can be achieved with dramatic effects.

How do you cope in harsh sunny conditions?

You’ll notice in my photographs that all of my pictures are crystal clear without unflattering shadows. Many photographers will struggle in these difficult conditions; I use a combination of softening the harsh sunlight with the help of diffusion screens and precision fill-in lighting to remove shadows. If you look closely at my work, you’ll notice there are no deep shadows under hats or across faces, even in the sunniest of conditions. Before and after examples can be seen at my studio.

Are there any specific challenges with winter weddings?

Winter sunshine is the softest, most flattering light and a pleasure to work with for any photographer. Unfortunately the British climate is not always so accommodating. I attend many winter weddings in extreme conditions. No matter what the weather is doing, I’m experienced in capturing stunning results. My winter images will capture the warmth, flickering fireplaces and cosy ambience of your surroundings. I also use outdoor floodlighting to illuminate your reception venue.

Are you a member of any photographic trade associations?

No!!!!  I choose not to be a member of any of these associations, as I believe their qualification requirements are far too relaxed. Ultimately, a photographer’s membership does not guarantee quality.  I believe you can be the best judge of craftsmanship by meeting various photographers and viewing their portfolios. I prefer to display beautiful pictures on my studio walls rather than certificates.

Are you an "Award Winning Photographer" ?
 
No!!!!  There are several thousand "awards" made each year in the UK, many prizes are given out when there has been less than a handful of entrants. Amazingly at any given time there are dozens of UK photographers claiming to be the 'Wedding Photographer of the Year'! There are so many organisations handing out meaningless national and local awards to anyone and everyone, so like most professional photographers I decide to have nothing to do with any of these competitions - my diary is busy and that's what's most important to me. Please do your research, everything is not always as it seems.
 

Our package includes an online viewing gallery. How long do we have to make our selection?

Your images will be available to view online for a period of six months. When you are ready to place your album order, please contact us.

How much time should we allow between the ceremony and the wedding breakfast?

From the time you arrive at the reception from the church, or from the time the civil ceremony finishes, I personally suggest you allow one and a half hours before the start of either the receiving line or the wedding breakfast itself. This is also what most reception venues and toastmasters recommend. This allows plenty of relaxing time for you and your guests, as well as completion of the family photographs and classic poses.

Are there any tips you’d suggest to us for a real ‘WOW’ factor in our photographs?

Personally, I would always suggest that you are brave in your choice of colour schemes. You’ll notice on my website some of the most dramatic pictures are those where the brides have chosen vibrant flowers or colourful bridesmaid outfits. Especially on a dull, overcast or winter’s day, when many of your guests will possibly wear darker, more sombre outfits in true British tradition, it’s even more important that your bridal party provides a splash of colour. Other means of bringing in vivid colours are outfits chosen for the mothers of bride and groom, or waistcoats and cravats worn by the groom and ushers.

I don’t like having my photograph taken. Any suggestions?

Many couples tell me they don’t like having their photographs taken. In these circumstances I recommend that the pictures are as relaxed as possible; even for group pictures I can have you all looking away from the camera in a much more informal manner. With this approach, the feedback I get from camera-shy couples is that the experience was much less painful than they’d anticipated, and that they’re delighted with the results.

Do you offer many different styles of albums?

There are so many choices of albums, from the more traditional to the very contemporary glossy coffee table book styles. I offer all of these different styles of albums to suit your requirements.

How long do you store our wedding images for?

All of the digital images I now shoot are backed up and stored in two separate locations many miles apart in case of fire/flood/theft etc. They are also backed up online too for added security and peace of mind! I still ask all of my customers to back up my wedding images as soon as they receive them, I can only guarantee to store your images for a maximum of ten years. Replacement/duplicate  USBs can be supplied at £50 each.   As for all of my weddings from back in the day when I shot film, I only keep the negatives on file for a maximum ten years.