Wedding Photographer Merseyside Ian MacMichael shoots a wedding at Rivington Hall Barn, United Kingdom

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Wedding Photographer : Ian MacMichael  
Couple : Chris & Sam
Wedding Photographer Merseyside
Ceremony Location : Rivington Parish Church
Reception : Rivington Hall Barn
Wedding Date : 20th April 2013

Tell us a little about yourself??

I'm 45, married with 3 children. Hazel and I shoot weddings as a husband and wife team. I studied for a PhD, sponsored by the Ministry of Defence, in advanced polymer science after a chemistry degree. I then became a teacher in secondary school and, up until 3 years ago was combining my role as Head of Science with my photography business. I'm delighted to say my passion has become my profession. I still teach A level photography for a few hours a week

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

I have recently been described as patient, artistic, polite and funny, so am happy with that!

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Tell us a little bit about the wedding day?

We travelled up to Rivington on the morning of the wedding. We knew the way as we had met Chris and Sam there for their pre wedding shoot.

Hazel went to Sam’s mum and dad’s house to cover all the bridal prep and I went up to a hotel where Chris and lots of the guests we staying. I then travelled to the church on the Routemaster with the groom’s party and the guests and Hazel travelled with Sam and her dad in the wedding car! This was great and made for some great images on the way to the church.

The church was lovely and the weather was great. There after the vows, a group of Sam and Chris’s friends sang a couple of pieces and they were fabulous, led by the best man who is a music teacher…it was so good. We then all made the short journey to Rivington Hall Barn for the reception. We managed a couple of portrait sessions, one of which was in the woods immediately behind the venue, stunning location and gorgeous evening light. After the meal, the speeches were finished off with a rap by the best man set to the Fresh Prince tune, brilliant! We were then into the evening reception which was led off by a brilliant ceilidh band. After some shots of the dancing, we headed off, tired but delighted to have part of such a brilliant day.

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How did you get into wedding photography?

Like lots of others I guess. I shot a few friend's weddings in the late 80s and early 90s.... I can remember shooting a wedding, maybe 20+ years ago, and the groom's dad (I think it was) gave me 6 rolls of 36 exposure Kodak colour 100...after the wedding, I simply handed him the exposed film and thought job done! Can you imagine today getting a couple of CF or SD cards off a client and just giving them the full cards back afterwards? No, nor can I!! I did this for about half a dozen friends when I was around 20-25, then, about 5 years ago, a work colleague knew I was into photography and asked if I would consider shooting her best friend's wedding and she was prepared to pay me. When I first considered it, I remember thinking that I really didn't want to gt into shooting weddings, too much pressure and too much hassle. I was a little nervous but I took the plunge. To my surprise, I loved the experience, the pressure, the demand and the reaction of the couple when I provided the images. I was hooked, and, 50+ weddings later, I still love it!

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How long have you been a wedding photographer?

(see above)

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

Lots of mistakes, lots still to learn. My definition of success is not primarily a financial one. It is more personal I think. I believe we have succeeded when the couple have put their complete trust in us and we exceed their expectations when they see the final images. When a bride, and sometimes a groom, are moved to tears by our images then I consider that to be a success. I still have so much learning to do and it is that that motivates me to keep improving and to keep going forward.

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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 have written about this before (for a site called theweddingvine) and I believe the single most important factor to look for is chemistry between the couple and the photographer. The skills of the artist are probably already established via a website or friends or even experience at another wedding. So, let's take the fact that the photographer knows what they are doing for granted for now. The couple should definitely look for someone they connect with. This leads to a trust and emotional investment which then leads to great, emotive and powerful images.

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

I have done some advertising none of which I can say has worked. What has worked is doing the best job I can for each couple and then having them recommend us.

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Why do you think people hire you?

Because we are easy to get on with, friendly and good at what we do. We are passionate about our work and also about the service we provide. I think we get hired for the quality of our work above the financial cost, which is what we would choose to happen.

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How many weddings do you average per year?

Around 20

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Whose wedding would you love to shoot?

My own, then my kids'!

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

Lake Louise, Canada

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What equipment do you have for a typical wedding day?

Nikon D3s, 2 D700s, lenses..35mm f2, 24-70 2.8, 70-200 2.8, 105 f 2. However, more recently I have been using a Fuji X Pro 1 with 35mm f 1.4 and the X100s for an increasing amount of the coverage. I also shoot film, both 35mm and medium format, and offer this to clients.

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What is the most challenging thing about a wedding.

Staying “on it” for the whole time.

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Do you have an approach to a wedding?

Almost purely documentary with some artistic and elegant portraits of the bride and groom.

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Who or what inspires you?

The painter Caravaggio, Don McCullin, Tim Wallace, Vermeer, anyone really who is passionate and creative about what they do.

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Best & Worst marketing idea so far?

Best, excellent customer relations and service, worst, advertising with a company called Renrows...I don't want to talk about it, I'm still angry!

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

An F1 driver please

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Share your favourite image of the day and why?

This is WAY too hard.

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

I'd like to be keep developing my skills, to develop the film side of our business and to own a medium format digital system! Personal photography is also becoming increasingly important and something I love doing.

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

If only it were that easy! Not in any particular order.... 1: Be a nice person 2. Offer excellent service. 3. Be creative. 4. Be an expert at your craft. 5. Don't be a know all. 6. Don't be negative about competitors. 7. Be honest. 8. Be original. 9. Be yourself, don't act.

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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 tend to look to photographers/ artists not in the wedding industry for inspiration...Tim Wallace, Darren Heath, Don McCullin, Ryan Muirhead, Jan Scholtz, Joey Lawrence, Jonas Pererson.

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Proudest moment so far. Photography related or otherwise?

Being accepted into the ISPWP and winning one of their coveted awards.

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