Wedding Photographer North Yorkshire Firehorse Photography shoots a wedding at Marquee, Thirsk, North Yorkshire, United Kingdom

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Wedding Photographer : Firehorse Photography  
Couple : Francesca + Joel
Wedding Photographer North Yorkshire
Ceremony Location : Church, Thirsk, North Yorkshire
Reception : Marquee, Thirsk, North Yorkshire
Wedding Date : 22nd August 2015

Tell us a little about yourself??

I'm a husband, father, photographer, runner & cyclist and enjoy travel. I'm pragmatic, organised and not a huge fan of surprises or negativity.

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

Passionate & professional, someone that can be relied on.

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Tell us a little bit about the wedding day?

Well I wasn't sure what to expect with this one as the info I had was a little 'thin' and although I meet 99% of my clients before their wedding day, less than 10% prior to them booking and I only met Francesca & Joel approx 1 week prior. At that stage, the vicar had not given permission for any photography in the church. Between us, we worked on Joel's father who was the vicar and he relented, the sun shone until into the drinks reception when the thunder rolled and the heavens opened and it was brilliant. OK, the bonfire & whiskey didn't happen, but the rest was great!

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How did you get into wedding photography?

I studied photography as part of my mixed media degree at the Kent Institute of Art & Design in the 90's but got out of anything creative for too long. In 1999 I joined a night school course in order to use their darkroom facilities (back in the days of film, I'm from that era when it was a necessity not a fad) and met a wedding photographer there who encouraged me to give it a go. I never intended to make it a career, but it turned into one quite quickly and I've not looked back since.

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How long have you been a wedding photographer?

15 years full-time and counting. Halfway I reckon.

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

A success by having goals, working out how to achieve those goals and being relentless yet ethical (sometimes at my own expense) in achieving them. Also by not trying to be all things to all people. Mistakes? Ha, where to start! No major blunders (other than one year switching to a purely disc based offering that nearly killed my business) but we learn from mistakes, providing we do learn from them.

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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?

Not looking purely on price as IMO the risk is it becomes an expense rather than an investment. By spending a little less doesn't mean you save anything but might/probably lose everything. Similarly, the most expensive doesn't necessarily equate to best. I'd recommend any/every couple to first look at the work and make sure it's what they imagine and would like their wedding to look like. Then it is important to engage with the photographer on a personal level and make sure you are both on the same page, that relationship will make the biggest difference in regard to what they end up with.

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

I don't advertise anywhere and haven't in a paid sense for years. Simply good SEO, good venue relationships and good word of mouth.

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Why do you think people hire you?

Honesty, integrity, experience, pretty decent work which hopefully stands out a bit.

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How many weddings do you average per year?

25-30 capped.

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Whose wedding would you love to shoot?

No particular person but a few places with a proper 'Indian' wedding in Rajasthan top of the list. In regard to people though, rich or poor I don't much care but rather nice people who appreciate what I do and want it.

That's what floats my boat more than anything. Look at Fran & Joel's wedding, it's well done but not a big budget job by any means with a massive amount of DIY. What made that day for me was them, their family, their friends and the relationship we formed.

That is where the results came from and many couples either do not get that or do not care. If box-ticking photographer on a list of services is as simple as that, it's probably never going to be great because it did not matter enough (to them) in the first place.

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

Been there, done that and other than a few exceptions, bored with it and not interested! India as above, but otherwise again, if a really nice couple came along and wanted me to specifically shoot it, great.

If they came along and said, 'we are enormously rich but otherwise don't give a toss', it's unlikely I'd be free/available. I just had one recently and when the planner said, 'money is no object', I immediately lost interest. That was then followed by zero interest on the couples part. I became permanently unavailable because life is too short and it's far too frustrating dealing with people and situations like that. It would be too easy to take the money, but then I wouldn't be being true to myself and where would the job satisfaction, never mind the self-esteem be in that?

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What equipment do you have for a typical wedding day?

Minimal. 3 primes, 2 bodies, occasional on board flash and ditto off. Small, light, discrete.

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What is the most challenging thing about a wedding.

People, People, People. I'm fortunate that I get booked by clients who want specifically what I do, say 80%, near enough approx 15% and maybe 5% who I have no idea why they did book me. So clients are rarely an issue. It's other people that tend to make anything go awry if it's going to go awry and that could be anyone or any combination of; make up artists, toastmasters, celebrants/vicars, Uncle Bob. Anyone with an agenda that is not the B&G's.

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Do you have an approach to a wedding?

Same for all and that is 110%. Always over-deliver.

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Who or what inspires you?

Nothing specifically I can think of, but I am inspired all the time by people, movies, design, ads, could be anything. Anything just about except wedding photography because I've stopped looking at what anyone else does as much as possible.

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Best & Worst marketing idea so far?

Best developing relationships with venues and clients. Worst, probably magazine & brochure ads, but that was many years back.

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

A chef probably as other than the hours, there are a lot of similarities, we both take the same raw ingredients most have access to but it's what we do with them that makes the difference. And I like cooking, so that would help. I think I'd probably run a coffee shop in the morning and tea room in the afternoon with maybe a B&B in the evening.

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Share your favourite image of the day and why?

Don't have one. I never have single favourite image but believe every body of work is a whole. Sometimes that whole is better. And sometimes less so. Depends on those people!

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

Nothing specific, more a case of refining everything each step of the way.

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

Doing what you do for the right reasons, because you genuinely enjoy it not because you think you are going to make lots of money and have an easy life (as you will have neither as a wedding photographer) and being a nice guy.

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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 stopped looking early 2015 mainly because so many people's work looks the same as everyone else's because everyone is copying or at least being 'influenced' by. I don't think that's particularly healthy for this industry and quite frankly, a bit boring.

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Proudest moment so far. Photography related or otherwise?

Still being in business after 15 years when I've seen a lot come and go. Just need to manage another 15 and then I can retire just above the poverty line.

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