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Wedding Photographer East Sussex FitzGerald Photographic shoots a wedding at Lewes Castle, East Sussex, United Kingdom

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Wedding Photographer : FitzGerald Photographic  
Couple : Dani & Kevin
Wedding Photographer East Sussex
Ceremony Location : Lewes Castle, East Sussex
Reception : Lewes Castle, East Sussex
Wedding Date : August 10th 2013

Tell us a little about yourself??

I’m originally from South Africa, where I studied a Bachelor of Fine-Art Degree, majoring in Photography. 10 years ago, following University, I left SA for London, where I lived for several years, working in a creative role as a Project Manager installing themed sets within visitor attractions. I now live with my husband, beautiful little girl & boy, not forgetting our cheeky chocolate Labrador, on the South Coast of East Sussex. Since moving to the coast I have returned to my passion of photography and enjoy shooting weddings across Sussex, Surrey, Kent & London. When I’m not taking photos I enjoy being a bit crafty with paint & furniture; currently have a collection of various style chairs I class as ‘work in progress!’

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

I say… friendly, relaxed, fun and at times a bit quirky! What they have said (my weddings couples)… ‘A genuine pleasure to have around.’ ‘She was able to make us laugh and smile, helping to make us and all the guests feel at complete ease in front of the camera.’ ‘You were kind, supportive and a friend on the day’ ‘Clare was relaxed and friendly and, rather than feel odd at having a stranger there, it was nice to have her around!’

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Tell us a little bit about the wedding day?

When Dani contacted me about photographing her day and told me about the ideas she had for the wedding at the castle, I was very excited. An English Summer tea party inspired occasion with a Scottish twist; Dani is a Sussex local and Kevin being a Scotsman! From speaking with Dani it was clear that she was keen to be hands on in ensuring that as much as possible she would add that personal touch of detail to the day. So, sit back and enjoy a touch of summer wedding loveliness from back in August!

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How did you get into wedding photography?

Initially I didn’t set out to photograph weddings. Whilst I was working full time in London I also used to shoot corporate/private events and parties in my free time. One of my friends asked if I would like to photograph their big day and well, the rest is history!

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How long have you been a wedding photographer?

5 years in total, 3 full time and 2 part time.

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

There are a lot of wedding photographers out there, with differing styles and pricing and at the same time there are a lot of people getting married, so enough business to go round for all! It’s good to be aware and appreciate other wedding photographers and trends but ultimately I try to ignore these and focus on what I can offer couples in terms of my own style, service & personality. Unfortunately a while ago I had an issue with a third party supplier. They were unable to provide a product I had ordered for a client, and were also very unhelpful! I managed to source and alternative option, resulting in a happy client. I now no longer use the initial supplier and try to limit the number of suppliers I do use; working with ones I trust.

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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?

Having found the style of photography that’s suits them, it’s equally essential that couples find the right personality behind the lens to shoot their day. After all the photographer is going to spend the whole day and share intimate moments with you more than anyone else. That person needs to make you feel at ease and at times laugh! Sometimes budgets can dictate the length of photography coverage or people don’t actually want to have a photographer for the entire occasion. I offer 3 packages based on differing lengths of time, that still cover key aspects of the day. Alternatively if this does not suit then I am happy to put together a bespoke package, as not every wedding has the same requirements.

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

I have advertised in magazines before but it didn’t really work for me. Instead I choose to advertise within suppliers directories on specialist wedding websites. Wedding fairs also work for me, it’s a great to meet people in person, show them albums and have a chat. Social media is important nowadays so I aim to regularly post blogs via Facebook and twitter.

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Why do you think people hire you?

Initially because they love my photography style and then I suppose because they feel I would be good company to have around them on their day.

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How many weddings do you average per year?

I aim to shoot 20 – 30 a year. I have 2 young children so I try to find a balance between work and family life.

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Whose wedding would you love to shoot?

Difficult one, don’t really have a particular couple in mind! I like couples that add a touch of imagination and personal creativity to their day.

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

I like the idea of photographing a rustic Italian wedding full of family hospitality and charm. Alternatively a wedding within a South African game reserve. I got married in the Kruger National Park; it would bring back fond memories as well as being a good opportunity to visit friends and family back in SA at the same time!

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What equipment do you have for a typical wedding day?

I shoot with a Canon 5D MKII and carry 2 backup camera bodies. With a variety of lenses, including 24-105, 70-200 and a macro. Plenty of spare batteries and memory cards as well.

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What is the most challenging thing about a wedding.

Family group photos! They need to be managed properly in advance and on the day, as to how many and the order in which they are taken. Otherwise they can leave little time during the drinks reception for some relaxed couple shots and candid guest shots.

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Do you have an approach to a wedding?

I always make sure my kit is prepared the night before and on the day leave plenty of time to travel. On the way to a wedding I always have a sense of excited anticipation of the day ahead; I’m not just going to work, I’m going to be part of a couple’s special day! I like to inject a sense of calm and fun to the day, so that both couples and their guests can feel at ease with me being around them. When photographing couples on their own, I encourage them to make the most of this short time to be with each other and soak up what has just happened. The day can be full on at times for couple and it’s easy to not take a step back and soak up the occasion. I let them spend 5-10 minutes on their own, whilst I shoot from a distance, as they relax and get used to me being around catching them at their most natural. Once they are at ease I often like having a bit of fun with them and shots. I have been known in the past to go beyond the call of photography duty on the day of a wedding; a shoulder to cry on for the bride, fixing bouquets and re-assembling a cake.

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Who or what inspires you?

On a daily basis, my children! Currently they are 2 years and 7 weeks young; it’s amazing watching them grow up. In the past, I was lucky enough to be taught at university by a well-known South African photographer, Obie Oberholzer. He was a relentless eccentric character who knew a good shot when he saw it and didn’t take a bad image himself!  As he used to say “Could’ve, would’ve, should’ve!”

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Best & Worst marketing idea so far?

-

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

A marine biologist, specialising in the behavior of Whales and Dolphins.

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Share your favourite image of the day and why?

I love the shot of the bride, Dani, with her Father, as having just walked up many steps to the top of the castle; she is seen for the first time by her husband to be and their guests.

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

Continue to develop my style and learn new techniques. I hope to do a styled wedding shoot this year with some fab suppliers I know. Also, find the time to photograph more of my own personal non wedding related work, easier said than done!

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

Realising that just taking quality images is not enough, you need to give couples confidence that they have invested in the right person to capture their day. You need to show them you care about their day through enthusiasm and personality.

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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 recently started following the work of American photographer, Robert J Hill.

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Proudest moment so far. Photography related or otherwise?

Getting married myself! Without my husband, I wouldn’t be where I am today and I wouldn’t have my two beautiful children either. He’s also my rock and always shows enthusiasm for my work.

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