Wedding Photographer Hampshire Mon and Clark Photography shoots a wedding at Marriott Hotel - Bexley Heath, United Kingdom

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Wedding Photographer : Mon and Clark Photography  
Couple : Sara & Tom
Wedding Photographer Hampshire
Ceremony Location : Marriott Hotel - Bexley Heath
Reception : Marriott Hotel - Bexley Heath
Wedding Date : 23rd November 2014

Tell us a little about yourself??

I'm one half of Mon and Clark photography. The other half is my husband, Clark. We live in Farnborough, Hampshire with our ‘boys’ – two big and very lazy cats. In a past life, Clark and I both worked in the IT industry but have always been interested in art and anything that allows us to be creative. Photography is a fantastic mixture or the technical and the artistic. We believe you need both to produce really great images.

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

We always invite our couples to give us a testimonial after they have received their wedding images. Looking back at those, I am often described as "friendly, relaxed, calm, patient and professional". Brides in particular are often quite nervous and anxious on their wedding day and I think they appreciate having a photographer with a calm temperament!

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Tell us a little bit about the wedding day?

I particularly liked photographing this wedding because it was a bit different from the more typical summer weddings. Sara and Tom got married in November last year, at the Marriot Hotel in Bexley Heath. Because of the time of year, we had already decided with them, to do all photos indoors. Although it takes a bit longer and is technically more complicated, I like photographing groups and portraits inside as you have full command of the lighting and can get a bit creative with it. It’s also fun to incorporate indoor features like stairs, sofas, corridors and doorways to add interest to photos.

Sara and Tom were also the coolest and most laid back couple and were happy for us to spend a bit of time with them on their wedding day to get some great images

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How did you get into wedding photography?

My husband, Clark, and I had always enjoyed photography as a hobby but had been getting a bit bored taking the usual photos of landscapes and flowers. We decided to do a 2 year City and Guilds course in photography to stretch ourselves a bit. It was a fantastic experience which took our photography to a whole new level! We then found that friends of friends kept asking us to photograph their weddings and quickly realized how much fun it was and how much enjoyment people got from good photography. We decide to take the leap and start our own wedding photography business and have never looked back!

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How long have you been a wedding photographer?

Clark and I launched the business in January 2012, both then still working part time in our ‘day jobs’. We were delighted at how successful the photography business was, and very quickly gave up the day jobs to work as full-time, professional wedding photographers.

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

We believe that the secret to success is in constant learning and development. A successful business can never stand still! With our photography, we are always researching, trying new ideas for images and developing new techniques. With our business we constantly review our ways of working looking for ways to improve what we do.

And, yes.. we’ve made a few mistakes along the way. Mistakes aren’t all bad, though - they highlight the holes in your ways of working and provide opportunities to make things better!
Probably the biggest mistake we made was when we started out - we would say ‘yes’ to every job that came along. The resulting workload nearly crippled me and I didn’t have a single day or evening off in 6 months – it almost put me off wedding photography for life!

However, I’m pleased to say that we have now learned how to say a polite ‘no’ to some things and have much better control over our work load!

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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?

Photographers all have different styles and I believe that the couple should look very closely at the photographer’s work and choose a photographer whose style appeals to them and whose packages are within their budget.
Couples should also always meet the photographer(s) before deciding to book. We genuinely believe that you get better photos if the couple feel comfortable with the photographer and get on well with them.

The cheapest price, highest number of images delivered and the speed at which the photographs are delivered after the wedding are generally not indicators of quality. There are good reasons why professional photography is expensive and why wedding photographs take time to edit and deliver.

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

We do most of our advertising through Google Adwords. It is very successful for us and generates a steady flow of high-quality enquiries.

Also, with each year we are in business, we see more business coming through Word of Mouth.

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Why do you think people hire you?

I believe that people hire us because they like our photographic style, they like us personally and they can see that what we offer is good value. We both have a professional background that puts customers first and we bring that to our wedding photography business from our past careers.

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How many weddings do you average per year?

About 30. We put a lot of effort into editing our images after the wedding and consequently limit the number of weddings we shoot each year to ensure we can dedicate the required time to the editing process.

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Whose wedding would you love to shoot?

Any couple who love photography.. especially if they are having an unusual, quirky or non-standard wedding.

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

Anywhere unusual or dramatic with fantastic light! Iceland would be good.. that’s where Clark and I got married!

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What equipment do you have for a typical wedding day?

Because there are two of us, we have a lot of kit but we mostly shoot with 2 cameras each and various lenses, speedlite flashes, diffusing umbrellas and reflectors. We work a lot with off-camera flash to add a sprinkling of added drama to our lighting so there is a lot of speedlite juggling that goes on during the course of a wedding day!

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What is the most challenging thing about a wedding.

Always working against the clock! During a traditional wedding, there is always a lot going on and it is always a fine balance for the photographer between allowing the couple space to enjoy their wedding and celebrate with their family and friends, and spending time with them taking great images. For example, sometimes we get just 15 minutes alone with the bride and groom for portraits, and you have to work like mad to produce a good set of beautiful portraits in such a short space of time.

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Do you have an approach to a wedding?

Lots and lots and lots of planning! Everything happens very fast on a wedding day and we like to make sure we are always in the right place, at the right time with the right camera equipment, so we don’t miss anything! We always have a detailed planning meeting with the couple before the wedding to understand the format of their day and discuss what they require from the photography. From this we put together a ‘photographic plan’. It’s flexible and we use it as a guide, so we are very happy to work with last minute changes or spontaneous behavior, but importantly it allows us to be confident that what we plan to do will fit with the bride and groom’s plan for the day and get them the images they want.

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Who or what inspires you?

I love creativity and originality. I have the greatest admiration for anyone who stands up and dares to be different.

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Best & Worst marketing idea so far?

For us, Google Adwords is our most successful form of marketing and generates the most business.

Our worst marketing idea was definitely Facebook Ads.. I never click on those ads down the side of the screen in Facebook, so I’m not sure why I thought anyone else would!

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

Probably still commuting into London every day to work as an IT Project Manager.

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Share your favourite image of the day and why?

I love this image because it’s a great example of working with what’s around you to get a fantastic image. The Marriot hotel is quite a modern hotel which many would assume wouldn’t offer up too many locations for bride and groom portraits. You’ve just got to look around to find the rights spots for photos! We took this photo with Sara and Tom looking down at us in the stairwell. It was quite tricky to light and we have lights set up both in front and behind the bride and groom in this image. There’s also a story behind this photo…both Sara and Tom are massive Beatles fans and this shot is modeled on the cover of the first Beatles album. It’s a very relaxed shot with a retro feel which I think reflects Sara and Tom perfectly.

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

In my (very limited) spare time, I like to create surreal and quirky composite images and have been lucky enough to have had a couple of these displayed in exhibitions. I would love to have more time to develop these further and would love to somehow work them into our wedding photography.

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

Knowing how to run a business and how to work with clients is key. You can be an amazing photographer, but if you don’t know how to run a business you will never be successful.

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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?

Albert Palmer. To me he is the Grand Master of documentary-style wedding photography. At weddings, I often catch myself thinking ‘what would Albert do in this situation?’

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Proudest moment so far. Photography related or otherwise?

Having one of my images selected to be exhibited in the Royal Photographic Society’s Biennial exhibition last year. They received 9000 entries and chose 100 for the exhibition, one of which was mine. They also went on to use my image in one of their marketing campaigns. That’s when I really thought "Wow! I’m a professional photographer"!

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