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Wedding Photographer Staffordshire Andrew Billington Photography shoots a wedding at Axnoller Farm Beaminster, Dorset, United Kingdom

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Wedding Photographer : Andrew Billington Photography  
Couple : Azar + Dillon
Wedding Photographer Staffordshire
Ceremony Location : Axnoller Farm Beaminster, Dorset
Reception : Axnoller Farm Beaminster, Dorset
Wedding Date : September 6th 2014

Tell us a little about yourself??

Hello. I'm a documentary wedding photographer working throughout the UK and Europe. I live in Staffordshire with my wife and two lovely dogs and worked in theatre before becoming a full time photographer 5 years ago. As well as photographing weddings I still photograph live theatre throughout the year.

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

Hopefully people would describe me as affable, kind and thoughtful.

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Tell us a little bit about the wedding day?

This was a terrific wedding day down in a beautiful part of the Dorset countryside. Azar and Dill both live in Australia but were coming back to marry and share the day with their family and friends.

They'd hired the Farmhouse and all the attached accommodation so that everyone could enjoy a full weekend of fun. Azar's mum had trained to be a celebrant for the day so that she could conduct the service – which made it really special.


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How did you get into wedding photography?

8 years in total – 5 full time.

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How long have you been a wedding photographer?

I started taking photographs around the theatre I was working in and soon started photographing for the Arts Council – working in a documentary style. Soon people asked if I photographed weddings and my instinct was that I would but only if it were in a relaxed, reportage style. It's a style that feels natural to me and was something that I'd looked for when I married Rachel.


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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 think that finding a style and approach to photographing weddings and sticking to it was very important. Not following the whims of fashion in photography but finding an approach that worked for me and seeking to improve at every wedding (still trying).

Mistakes? Print advertising.

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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 want couples that are not shopping for price but photography.

That said when looking at the differences between what photographers offer I think they should look to see if the price offered will cover their wedding photography (or if there is additional costs for running late etc.), whether they can get shorter coverage if they want it, and if they can get their photographs printed by the photographer. Albums can look fantastic but a lot of couples don't think they want them from the outset. I don't think it's simply extra money for the photographer when buying an album but it gives you an analogue version of the day that is future-proofed against advances in technology.



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

Pretty much all of my booking came firstly through social media. Then as I photographed more weddings I get referrals from couples I've worked with in the past. Then finally referrals with other similar photographers are a very useful way of couples finding me.

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Why do you think people hire you?

Hopefully they see the kind of photography and approach they want for their day. Hands off, story-telling photography that allows the day to flow.
I get a lot of couples who say to me in their initial email – 'we've looked at so many photographers websites then happened across yours and it felt very different and just what we were looking for'.

As professionals in the industry we understand the descriptive words like 'Documentary', 'Photojournalist' or 'Reportage' but couples don't search in this way. They generally react emotional to the photographs they see and it's this reaction that gets me a fair few booking I think.


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How many weddings do you average per year?

40

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Whose wedding would you love to shoot?

I like animated, emotional and honest people. Those are the days when the story of the wedding come through strongest and those are the days I love.

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

California would be nice – the light is lovely.

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What equipment do you have for a typical wedding day?

For the last year I've photographed exclusively on the smaller Fuji mirrorless camera system. The smaller cameras are less for me to carry around, less imposing when getting in close to people and I love the results.

I have two X-T1s & a X100T with 10-24mm, 23mm & 56mm lenses.


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What is the most challenging thing about a wedding.

Keeping ahead of the action and trying to tell the story without compromising people's enjoyment of the 'moment'. There are no repeats on the day so getting the moment is paramount and photographing it in a visually appealing way is the challenge.

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Do you have an approach to a wedding?

Yes. I try to stay relaxed, never interfere and try to look at everything with fresh eye every time.

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Who or what inspires you?

I get inspired by other photographers I talk to and privilege of being asked to be a part of the biggest day in a couples life.

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Best & Worst marketing idea so far?

Worst – paying for print. Best – fostering relationships with other photographers rather than viewing them as 'rivals'.

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

Working in the theatre.

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Share your favourite image of the day and why?

It's always hard to pin a day down to a single image because all of them together make up the story but I love this moment of Azar getting ready. There is joy, laughter, it's clear what's happening and what time of day it is plus it's great having Azar's sister in the background sharing the joy and the inclusion of the dress/shoes on the right hand side make the photograph for me.

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

I think to sustain a successful photography business can be goal enough – I'd like my work to continue to get better and for couples to still want me to capture their big day.

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

Being interested in people.

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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 some outstanding photographers working in the wedding field – I love the work of Paul Rogers, Steven Carter Hewson, early Marcus Bell. But also non-wedding photographers like Elliott Erwitt, Sally Mann and Guy Bourdin.

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Proudest moment so far. Photography related or otherwise?

Marrying Rachel.

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