This month I would like to introduce you to Sophie Duckworth, who in my opinion is one of the best wedding photographers out there- thats a pretty strong statement isn't it!
I have had the pleasure of working with Sophie several times now and I am always bowled over by her professionalism, calmness on a job and skill of always getting the shots no matter the situation.
We asked Sophie to write us a blog piece about what she is often asked by her clients. I then received what you are about to read, which in my opinion is full of passion and love for what she does, so pretty fitting for the month of February. I hope you fall in love with her like we have............
"Having been in this business for close to six years, I’ve been asked a number of questions from my couples, but the one that stands out is ‘what do you need from us in terms of the photography?’. The answer is simple, and always the same. Be yourselves. A wedding is not a photo shoot, it will probably be the most important day of your life so far, it marks the start of a marriage. Yes, it’s a brilliant excuse to bring together your closest friends and family and to have a right good knees up, it’s the perfect opportunity to find your dream wedding outfit, be it a dress from that designer you’ve been cooing over since you started your wed min research, or a bespoke suit from those ever exclusive tailors. For flower lovers like myself, it’s probably the only time you’re going to blow a large sum on the most beautiful bouquets and centrepieces, go big or go home I think is the phrase?
When you begin to add up what’s involved in creating your dream day it all gets a bit overwhelming. It’s hard to stick to budgets when suddenly you discover that Marryoke is possibly the best thing since sliced bread, as well having that precious five-minute wedding video to reminisce over.
And who doesn’t have a photo booth these days? I don’t know if my life would ever be as complete as the day I witnessed a guest mounting a horse last minute…
And all of this is before you’ve even thought about FOOD. Glorious food, wedding catering has become a huge deal in recent years, after all the wedding breakfast is an enormous tradition, so it’s only fitting that your guests dine on the finest the industry has to offer. And what to put on the tables? Endless themes have adorned weddings across the years, I’ve seen some incredible tables capes recently with copper, concrete and of course candles, candles and more candles interlaced with beautiful, rustic, loosely placed foliage.
So, once you’ve figured out the above, and spent a considerable amount of time, effort and of course cash, how do you find a photographer who’s going to capture it all the way you’ve envisioned? I count myself unbelievably lucky in that in the 200 odd weddings I’ve photographed, I’ve cried at each and every one of them, hugged my couples hard before leaving and known that I’ve given them memories which will last a lifetime.
I didn’t create those memories; I was invited in to become a part of them.
I have a bit of a ‘rule’ when it comes to booking weddings. I only take on 25-30 a year, and this is so I can make sure the people I’m working with become friends and trust me. Trust is absolutely key here. I will be with my couples for roughly 9 hours, I’ll be there when you’re in your smalls getting dressed, I’ll be picking confetti out of your hair, stitching up bridesmaids dresses when they suddenly just don’t fit properly with the underwear they’ve brought with them, I’ll be comforting grooms waiting anxiously at the end of the aisle for what seems like a lifetime, I’ll be making sure we get that shot with you and your grandparents before they leave early, and sometimes just taking you off on your own for five minutes to have a chat and calm down when it all gets a bit too much.
I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been called a ‘fifth bridesmaid’ or been told that I was everywhere and no-where at the same time, never bossy, always calm (Ha, I am a swan, all wedding photographers get panicked, we just never show it!) and a solid part of the team. Every time I hear feedback like this my heart swells and I just can’t thank my couples enough, but the reason I am treated this way, is because I’m booking MY people. We all have our kindred spirits. Sure, the photographs themselves have to be what you’re after, personally I focus on moments and capturing how you and your guests felt, rather than beautifully composed portraits or quirky, award winning images. But being able to attract people who just get me is the most important factor. I love each and every one of my couples so ruddy hard, and hopefully they know they can ask me anything, and be assured that I’ll be as flexible as I can be, so long as they have the best possible day.
So back to the first point, ‘what do you need from us?’ - Nothing bar being 100% you, in all your glory, being in the moment, and trusting the suppliers you’ve employed to make everything as wonderful as you’ve ever imagined. Most suppliers are individuals, we all care, we all want the best for you, so make sure you use them, trust them and build a little wedding family to help you on your planning journey. Coming from a supplier perspective, there is nothing more satisfying than knowing you’ve enjoyed the day that you’ve worked so hard on, and being able to provide images that will take your couples straight back to the moment. This simply wouldn’t be possible if I didn’t gel with my couples or if I treated them as a business transaction, or numbers on a calendar. 2017 saw me shoot seven weddings in one month, this was a record for me, and I was worried I’d not be able to give my couples the best I could offer, but I told myself the same thing I tell my couples, ‘be here now’, don’t worry about yesterday, or tomorrow, or the next wedding. Immerse yourself in the day and you will smash it. And thankfully I’ve been told I did just that on each of those seven, and I couldn’t be more grateful to my couples for putting their faith in me.
If you’ve recently got engaged then you’re no doubt high as a kite and buzzing with excitement, take some time to enjoy that moment, then make a plan. Find your feet, choose your key parts, then ask for help! Whoever you employ, share your thoughts with them, let them guide you, and when you feel overwhelmed, ease up and take a break. Wedding planning is often like a second job, and often comes at a time in your life where you’re busy moving jobs or homes too (why do we always do this to ourselves eh?) and there are oodles of wedding professionals out there just desperate to make your dreams come true. Good luck!!"