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Wedding Photographer Manchester James Tracey Photography shoots a wedding at Briarfields Hotel, Titchwell, Norfolk, United Kingdom

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Wedding Photographer : James Tracey Photography  
Couple : Tor + Damien
Wedding Photographer Manchester
Ceremony Location : Our Lady Star Of The Sea Church, Norfolk
Reception : Briarfields Hotel, Titchwell, Norfolk
Wedding Date : 6th September 2014

Tell us a little about yourself??

I'm a full time wedding photographer covering Manchester, the rest of the UK and international weddings. I had a pretty drastic career change as I was a police officer in Manchester. After 10 years I decided I wanted a change and wanted to get back to my creative roots (I studied graphic design and photography) I decided to hang up the body armour and I took up wedding photography.

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How do you think or would like people to describe you?

Chatty, relaxed and informal.

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Tell us a little bit about the wedding day?

This was a brilliant wedding, probably my favourite of 2014 (and I got flown out to Ibiza for one wedding so that sums up how good it was). Damien is from the Gold Coast in Australia and met Tor when she was travelling the world at a wedding in Bali. They now live in Brisbane but came back to Tor's home to get married. Tor used to live with my wife at Uni and she's a proper character, incredibly positive and up for anything! The day was a huge party, with a hilarious priest, amazing couple photos on Brancaster Beach, a super up for it Aussie/Norfolk crowd and THE best speeches I've ever witnessed. As I knew Tor, it made it extra special to be asked to shoot their day.

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How did you get into wedding photography?

I studied graphic design and photography back in the 1990's then ended up in image editing before I joined the police. When digital became affordable I got a Nikon DSLR and took it to all my friends weddings. Then people started to ask for my shots for their albums and thank you cards. I'd had a good 10 years in the police but I was looking for a change so I shot a few weddings part time. The enquiries started to come in and at it seemed the right move to go full time into wedding photography.

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How long have you been a wedding photographer?

I started part time 2012 and went full time at the end of 2013.

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Can you share how you've made your wedding photography business a success? Any mistakes you made along the way?

I aim for amazing customer service from the initial enquiry to the finished USB or album and my work is all about what the couple want. On the day, I leave the couple to enjoy the day, taking only 20 minutes to get the ‘wow' shots. It's the couples day to enjoy, not stand and pose for hours on end. As for mistakes, nothing too serious, but I've wasted money on bad print and online advertising. I soon learnt where to spend my money to get better results.

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What do you think a bride or groom should be looking for and not looking for in terms of wedding photography packages?

Couples should only ever book a photographer that gives them the images on a USB or digitally, not holding them to ransom for their photos after the day. They also need to think about the style of photos they like and book a photographer who works in the style they like.

What couples don't need to worry about is has the photographer has worked at their venue before. Awesome photographers can work anywhere.

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How do you advertise yourself and what for you has really worked?

As I'm new I've had to do a bit of paid advertising, but this year the majority of enquiries has come though organic Google searches and mainly through referrals from previous clients or people who see my stuff on Facebook.

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Why do you think people hire you?

It seems to be a combination of my photographic style and my easy going personality. Plus I love weddings and clients tend to say my enthusiasm really made a difference.

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How many weddings do you average per year?

In 2014 I shot just short of 50 and I've booked over 40 for 2015 so far. So 45!

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Whose wedding would you love to shoot?

I'm a huge Formula One fan so Lewis Hamilton's would be top of my list. I was gutted to have missed out on Jenson Button's recent wedding in Hawaii!

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If you were asked to shoot a destination wedding, where would you hope it would be?

Until this year I would have said New York, but I've been booked to shoot a wedding in Central Park later this year so I my new destination would be Singapore or Hong Kong. Both are amazing places.

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What equipment do you have for a typical wedding day?

I shoot with Nikon kit and this year will be running a D800 and the new D750 bodies. I shoot with a combination of pro zoom lenses (the 24-70 2.8 and the 70 to 200 2.8) alongside some amazing primes lenses. I take a little bit of off camera flash with me and I have just taken delivery of 50 smoke grenades.

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What is the most challenging thing about a wedding.

For me it's not knowing what's going to happen next but being able to pre-empt it or to react. 10 years in the police was good training for this though as I never knew what was going to happen next yet I had to be calm and in control no matter what. Weddings are very similar and I love the buzz of having to be prepared.

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Do you have an approach to a wedding?

Don't interfere, let the day play out and just capture it as it happens. Then do 20 minutes of amazing couple photos. And smile, all day. People like happy people.

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Who or what inspires you?

My wife Laura backed me 100% when I wanted to leave the police and worked her backside off to make it happen, so she's a huge inspiration. I'm inspired by people who work harder than anyone else, no matter how much talent they have, to be the best in their field, be it in photography, sport or business.

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Best & Worst marketing idea so far?

Best, getting a free 3 page feature in Bride magazine. It was a cheeky email that got me 10 bookings. Worst: Trying to get people to refer me with a cash back incentive. I totally over thought that one and it yielded nothing. I spent ages meeting hairdressers trying to get them to refer me to their newly engaged clients. We'll chalk that one down to experience.

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If you weren't a photographer, what would you be?

I always wanted to be a TV or film director. Or an F1 driver :o)

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Share your favourite image of the day and why?

I wanted to use smoke grenades on the beach I knew that there would be rules on flares from my police days. I contacted the Coastguard who were really helpful and got permission in advance to create this shot. On the day I got a window of half an hour and I knew Tor would be up for something a little different. Both Damo and Tor loved messing about with the smoke grenade and it's a unique wedding shot.

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Do you have any goals for the future photography related or otherwise?

To become the best wedding photographer out there. It's a lofty ambition but if I set myself tough challenges I'll keep working hard to try and achieve them. I know it's all a bit cheesy but I don't want to get complacent.

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What do you think is key to being a successful wedding photographer?

Being personable, listening to what the couple wants, taking great photos and answering emails within a couple of hours at the latest.

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Are there any other wedding photographers whose work inspires you, can be a well know photographer or somebody you've stumbled across?

I love Jeff Ascough's work, Matt Parry in London is awesome along with Ross Harvey. Although he's not a photographer, cinematographer Jeff Wood creates the best wedding video's I've ever seen.

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Proudest moment so far. Photography related or otherwise?

Getting an email from a wedding client saying she was in tears looking though her wedding photos as she was so happy with them. That's why I got into photography. Better than any award.

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