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Wedding Photographer Somerset Betty Bhandari Photography shoots a wedding at Britton Farm, United Kingdom

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Wedding Photographer : Betty Bhandari Photography  
Couple : Claire + Mike
Wedding Photographer Somerset
Ceremony Location : Holburne Museum Bath
Reception : Britton Farm
Wedding Date : 26th July 2014

Tell us a little about yourself??

Hi, I am Betty. I was born and bred in Germany, but have moved to the UK in 2001. I have trained as an architect and lived in London for 10 years, before quitting my job, moving to Bath, giving birth to our daughter and then starting my business as a wedding and portrait photographer. I love my new job, I spend most of my day thinking and dreaming about photography. I am extremely interested in people and life events (weddings, births, sometimes deaths without wanting to sound morbid but they are an important part of life) so I photograph these with a passion.

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

Honest, creative, hopefully fun. I love sports, growing food and cooking. I have also photographed most of my friends and family at least once.

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Tell us a little bit about the wedding day?

Claire and Mike had their wedding ceremony in the beautiful Brownsword gallery at the Holburne Museum in Bath. A lot of people don’t seem to know that you can get married there. It’s a stunning venue with so many beautiful backdrops. After the wedding ceremony we all returned to Brittons Farm Estate where Claire had gotten ready in the morning. They had a drinks reception in the courtyard including entertainment by a magician, followed by the wedding breakfast in a beautiful marque in the garden. The evening was spent with speeches, dancing and fun with sparklers.

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How did you get into wedding photography?

I think every photographer who loves to take portraits will try out weddings at some point. The first wedding I photographed was for a friend in 2010 and I instantly loved the combination of observant journalism and creative portraiture.

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How long have you been a wedding photographer?

I set up my own business in 2012 but have started photographing weddings in 2010.

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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 started my business when my daughter was 6 months old so for me a lot of the success has been pure hard work as I have very little time. I started with 12 hours of child care per week so I spend all of my evenings and most of my weekends working (shooting, editing, doing business administration or looking for more work). I don’t find it hard though to sit down in the evening with a glass of wine, some good music and do work. When the little one is asleep I can get most of my work done.

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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?

I personally struggle a little bit with clients who are eager to book an absolute minimum of hours in order to save money. It is challenging to capture anything other than the most important must-have-shots when you only have a few hours. Your wedding day is such an extraordinary day full of unpredictable emotions, you should make sure to allow the photographer time. The best photographs are taken when a photographer is given the chance to observe and take in moments.

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

I do some free work for a local magazine and get free advertising space in return, this is a good deal as I spread my name and make contacts. Most other magazine advertising however has not worked for me but wedding fairs are great way to meet potential clients in person.

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Why do you think people hire you?

I think people like me because I’m just a normal person, calm, chatty & interested, rational, but very enthusiastic and creative. I love people and love being a small part of their story. I’m often told that I make people feel relaxed and comfortable.

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How many weddings do you average per year?

Around 25 weddings a year, in addition to around 25 portrait shoots (maternity, newborn, baby or family portraits).

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Whose wedding would you love to shoot?

I am yet to photograph a same sex wedding so that would be awesome. I understand that having only heterosexual weddings on my website is not encouraging for same sex couples which is a little bit of a shame as love is love, no matter what orientation.

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

On a beach, this could be in Cornwall or in the Caribbean.

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What equipment do you have for a typical wedding day?

Two Nikon D750s with Nikon 85mm 1.4, 35mm 1.4, 24-70 2.8, 70—200 2.8, 60mm macro and speed lights. I also bring my Polaroid 110A with either Fuji colour or black & white instant film.

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What is the most challenging thing about a wedding.

Lighting. Capturing moments that last only a few seconds. Being on your toes the entire time. Although I love to chat with people, I feel I cannot allow myself to do so at a wedding as I might miss important moments.

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Do you have an approach to a wedding?

I don’t have a recipe, no. Every wedding is different and I set myself the task to look at each and every wedding with fresh eyes rather than repeating the same shots over and over again.

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Who or what inspires you?

Life inspires me and the fact that it is relatively short (in comparison to our planet). Life is full of important moments that we can easily forget if we don’t photograph them. After a wedding there are only two things left: a wedding dress and the photographs.

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Best & Worst marketing idea so far?

Worst: advertisement on an interactive CD that came with a bridal magazine, biggest waste of money!

Best: befriend a photographer who is similar style & price to you, then refer weddings to each other.

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

Photography is my second career already as I am a fully qualified architect! I gave up architecture to do what I have loved since being a teenager. So I don’t want to be anything else.

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Share your favourite image of the day and why?

My favourite image of the day has to be the shot that shows the Brownsword Gallery in its full beauty (image 013). This is such a beautiful room with exquisite lighting and colours. I can’t help but make advertising for the Holburne Museum as I’d love to photograph many more weddings there in future!

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

n/a

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

Don’t follow a recipe but be there in the moment. Be genuine. Be honest. Be true to yourself and don’t copy other styles. Develop your own style, brand and persona.

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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?

There are too many great wedding photographers to list so I just mention two: I love Ross Harvey and Roland Michels (he is from Hamburn in Germany, photographed my own wedding and massively inspired me to do wedding photography). But I also love Sue Bryce and Annie Leibovitz for their amazing portraits.

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Proudest moment so far. Photography related or otherwise?

Proudest moment in life without a doubt: baking and birthing my daughter. Having a child makes you reassess your life and job. Having Bella made it much clearer to me that I want her to grow up learning that you should do what you are passionate about, even if it involves changing careers, and I am setting a leading example for her.

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