Wedding Photographers in Ireland FAQ
Is your wedding photographer’s website and portfolio up to date?
We update our website once or twice a year, usually in the Winter when we try to catch up on all the faffy stuff we’ve been putting off over the previous ten or eleven months. For more regular updates couples can keep track of us over on Facebook or Instagram; do people even use Twitter any more? we can’t be bothered. Every January we run a sale offering 10% discounts for couples who follow us on Facebook or Instagram, so do follow us on either platform to take advantage of it. For reviews and testimonials we stick with Google.
Do your wedding photographers know your wedding venue?
We tend to stick to shooting weddings within an hour and a half’s drive from Dublin Airport, sometimes a bit further afield if our interest is tweaked. We can’t say we’ve been to all the wedding venues in Dublin, Kildare, Meath, Wicklow, or the surrounding counties, but we certainly have been to an awful lot of them at least once. If we haven’t been to a wedding venue before we would always visit it at least once before we photograph a wedding there, and preferably with the couple; by the time couples come to a photographer they will have their venue chosen and it’s good to see what appealed to them about a venue. They will always have some thoughts about what they like about their wedding venue, so it’s good to chat about those things and see what sparks joy with them. Obviously, there’s a first time to shoot at any venue, for every wedding photographer, but with proper planning and scouting it’s not something we’d be concerned about.
What wedding photography packages are on offer and what’s included?
Although times and locations might vary there are a reasonably standard number of parts to a wedding day and we base our prices around the most commonly used of those. The Ceremony to the Call to Meal is our standard Day package. Our second package includes 2 hours photography with the bride before she leaves for the ceremony ceremony, and an hour with the groom before he leaves to greet the arriving guests. Our third package begins with the pre-ceremony prep and continues all the way up to the evening’s speeches and entertainment, usually with us finishing by 11pm at the very latest - first dances usually start around 9.30-10pm, sometimes earlier, and we stay for 15-30 minutes depending on how busy the dance-floor is.
- The Preparations -
Jill would normally go to the bride for 2 hours before she’s due to leave for the ceremony in the wedding car, while Mike goes to the Groom an hour before he’s due to leave for the ceremony venue. With the Bride Jill will begin by shooting details of the dress, jewellery, shoes, etc, just so everyone gets used to her being there. It can be hectic, but mostly it’s just a good time with friends and family which Jill looks to capture. She’ll then photograph the Bride in her dress, the bridesmaids, and the bride with any family who might be there if there’s time. Mike generally has less to do with the guys, they tend to leave for the ceremony venue earlier in order to greet guests, and the celebrant, and to look after any last minute details. More and more Grooms are looking to do something different on the wedding day, so if they’re planning to go for a swim, a game of pool, or just a quick drink, it always makes the day a bit more special to be surrounded by friends.
- The Ceremony -
When we’re photographing wedding ceremonies we do our best to be discreet and not draw attention to ourselves. We pay attention to every aspect of the day’s main event so that we can document it properly, which is easier with two photographers as we don’t have to be moving about an awful lot to get different viewpoints. Once the ceremony is over we tend to give couples a break from photography and concentrate on capturing the guests enjoying themselves and chatting. It’s a great time for less formal and natural looking candid wedding photos of people.
- Photographing the Bride and Groom -
The amount of time we spend with couples varies for every single couple. Some couples want to be photographed in different locations because they mean something to them, even if that means a 30 minute drive to a forest or lake. Other couples just want one or two quick portraits and might only want to spend 10 minutes with us, although this is quite rare it does happen. Typically though, we tend to spend just 30 minutes photographing a couple at one or two spots we’ve agreed to with them - hopefully not too far from their guests. It’s all very relaxed and easy going, by this stage we’ve been with couples since the morning so they’re used to us being around, plus, they’re on a high from just being married … and a drink or two might have been taken in good company ;)
- Photographing The Wedding Party -
5 minutes or less with the Bridesmaids and Groomsmen, flower girls and page boys too. These can be pretty straight-forward but we like to have a bit of fun and do something different if we can.
- Family Group Photographs -
This is where any momentum in the day can come to a grinding halt, no one wants to be standing around waiting for Uncle Dumbledark to extricate himself from the bar. As a rough guide assume that any photo with a group of people is going to take 2-4 minutes, by the time people are found, come to where the photographer is, get in position, stop talking, smile without blinking, smile without blinking while looking at the camera, smile without blinking while looking at the same camera as everyone else, smile without blinking while looking at the same camera as everyone else at the same time. Which is why we have a suggested list of 8 or so formal shots at most, and strongly suggest that you let people know that they need to come when we send the Bridesmaids or Groomsmen to find them. We leave the consequences of not doing so to each couple to determine for themselves. Properly organised these 8 or so photos take no longer than 15 minutes. We once had a couple who gave us a list of 34 group photos to be taken, although we let them know it couldn’t be done in less than an hour they insisted it was doable in 30 minutes at most - it was just a case of swapping people in and out. The venue had 3 bars. After 35 minutes the couple had enough of standing around missing their party. We took a group shot of everyone like we and the hotel had originally suggested. Yay!
- The Drinks Reception -
We like to get plenty of photographs of people enjoying themselves at the drinks reception, chatting with friends and catching up with relatives they haven’t seen in ages. Aside from the candid photos of people naturally being themselves, we also take quite a few informally posed photos - just grab one of us if you with someone and want a photo taken to remember the day, we’re well used to it and know how much they mean to people. If you want to get silly and do something daft, all the better, that’s what makes days like these so unique: the people who are there.
- The Call to Meal -
Once the call-to-meal is made the guests will make their way to the dining room to be seated and have their orders taken. This can take some time, from 15-30 minutes depending on numbers and the venue, so couples can at last have some time to themselves at last. Mike might take one or two more photographs of the couple just by themselves, if they wish, while Jill will go into the dining room and work the tables to see if people want photographs with whomever they will be sharing the meal with. Once everyone has had their order taken the Bride and Groom will make their entrance, and we’ll photograph that from both points of view until everyone is seated. This is usually when we finish if we’re not booked to carry on working into the evening. At this point we’ll say our goodbyes and leave everyone to enjoy the evening’s entertainment.
- Speeches -
Speeches can be before or after a meal, it’s really up to each couple. Some venues prefer the speeches to be after the meal so there’s no delay, other prefer them to be before the meal, so do check. If anyone is nervous about giving a speech it will probably help them enjoy the evening more if the speeches are before the meal so they can relax and enjoy their meal afterwards. We’ve heard some fabulous speeches over the years - we have been known to tear up - and by heck there are some really funny people out there too. We’ve heard a few less than terrific speeches too, the ones where too much drink has been taken and the orator has an over-inflated sense of their capacity to hold a room and an under-inflated sense of how long they’ve been yakking. It doesn’t happen very often, but we can remember 3 distinct speeches that over-stepped the boundaries of good taste to the point where people were visibly cringing. Unless you’re the Bride or Groom, don’t make the day about you.
More and more Bride’s are giving speeches, especially over the last year or two…and mums too. We take far more photos of speeches than we use, just to be sure we get a few good ones of each speaker as well as some good reactions photos.
- Evening Entertainment -
There’s usually a band or DJ, or both, lined up for the main evening’s entertainment. But we’ve also seen warm up three man bands perform before the meal, magicians, fire-eaters, dancers, drummers, opera singers, etc, all of which can add something truly memorable to an evening. One of the most memorable for us was seeing Eugene Ginty perform as a singing chef at Tinakilly, absolutely rip-roaring performance that lit the whole place up and will stay in our minds for a long time to come. Whatever you have planned just let us know beforehand so that we can cover it, especially it’s it’s meant to be a surprise. Usually we’re close by in a room adjacent to the main dining hall, so ask the Best Man or Bridesmaid to come find us if something good is happening.
When the first dances start we’ll both work the floor, keeping our distance at first but eventually moving in closer for one or two shots. Then, when everyone else joins in, Mike is in his element photographing people as they let loose and bust out their best moves. We’ve seen some fantastic nights with some terrific bands, but hands down the best dancer we ever saw was in her 70s and danced tirelessly around anyone who thought they could outlast her pace and style. People are brilliant. We usually stay for at least 15 minutes of dances, but if it’s a good night and the floor is heaving we can stay for 20-30 before saying our goodbyes.
Does your wedding photographer retouch images, are there costs involved?
We do get some couples who are conscious enough about how they look to make a self-deprecating comment or two. It’s natural, and we get it, which is why we work behind the lens and not in front of it. Not everyone can be a movie star with a rockstar attitude in front of the lens, well, not without a drink or two. We don’t retouch wedding photos other than fix up minor scratches for guys who might shave a bit too closely in the mornings, or get rid of a spot because someone had a bit too much sugar the day before. Honestly, we fix guys’ jackets and ties far more often than we do retouching work on any Bride, ever! That said, if there’s something you’re particularly conscious of do mention it before your wedding day and we’ll suggest whatever approach we think might work best.
Does your wedding photographer process the images or just farm them out to a third party?
We like to keep total control over how our photos are presented so we process everything ourselves. It can be time consuming, perhaps 2-3 days work, or even 4 (if we’re taking it easy), after the wedding shoot for editing and processing and sequencing - it’s a myth that wedding photographers get paid a huge amount for a day’s work simply because it’s never ever just a day’s work.
How many weddings have your wedding photographers shot?
We met in college while doing our degrees in Visual Communication, both of us majored in Photography and Design, and since then we’ve always been the ones which family and friends turned to as photographers when they were getting married. It really was a no-brainer in 2014 when Mike decided to be a wedding photographer full-time; Jill has always been primarily a commercial photographer with her own studio, while Mike had a background in design and photo-retouching. We shoot between 30 and 40 weddings a year, so we’ve easily shot a couple of hundred at this stage and I can’t think of one we really didn’t enjoy being a part of. Because of that number we have a wealth of experience as wedding photographers in Ireland, there’s very little that we haven’t seen and we never get flustered. We’re there not just to photograph couples but also to make sure they and their families feel relaxed, especially in the morning sessions, if there’s anything we can do to help we’ll pitch in. There’s really nothing to get stressed about on wedding days, everyone is working to make sure you enjoy yourselves and everything really does come together - even if sometimes it can be at the last minute.
Do your wedding photographers work from a shot list?
We prefer not to. We do require a list of family group shots to be taken, we suggest 8-10 at most, and the individuals necessary for each family group. On wedding days we like this bit to be organised so that any formal photos can be done quickly with as little faffing about as necessary - no one, including us, likes standing around waiting for photos longer than necessary because it will suck the momentum out of the day. Other than that, having a list of photos to take means we would not be free to look about and see what’s happening in the moment, we’re too busy making sure we have everything on a list - which is nuts. There’s nothing that kills creativity and spontaneity faster that ticking boxes and working to a long list of shots we’d mostly probably take anyway. If you have one or two shots in particular that you’d like us to do, by all means let us know.
Does your wedding photographer work alone or use a second shooter?
While we have photographed weddings before as single shooters, for family and friends, we prefer to work commercially as a couple. We find it gives us much more freedom to try ideas out, and a lot less stress not having to try and be in two places at the same time. It allows us to shoot more options faster, which can get couples back to friends and family sooner - some couples want more wedding portraits than others, some couples want us to focus more on guests and celebrations, so we tend to play things by ear to suit the people we’re working for. Having two wedding photographers means there’s always going to be two viewpoints to every set up, when couples are looking at Jill it means that Mike can capture the same scene from a different angle which looks more natural - this is especially useful for people who may be camera shy. It also means we always have back up available if we need it, or someone to bounce ideas off, or to help organise people while the other set things up. Because we’re married we can communicate a lot with a simple look, even if we’d rather not be on the receiving end of it!
What equipment will your wedding photographers be bringing?
We always bring four Canon 5D camera bodies, mkiii and mkiv versions, one each for working with and another for back-up - just in case. We shoot about 750 to 3,000 images each per wedding, depending on the hours worked, so the cameras get a lot of use - we buy a new one each every 2 years. Jill carries 2 f2.8L zooms - 24-70mm and a 70-200mm. Mike carries a 16-35mm, a fast 35mm, 50mm and 85mm. We also have two on camera flashes, one a Canon 600 EX and the other a Profoto A1. In case it rains and we have to shoot indoors, which is far rarer a thing than you might think, we bring 2 studio lights with us and all the associated tripods and cables. Mostly we use these solely for any formal group photos that have to be taken indoors, with everything else indoors lit by on camera flashes or available light. We always shoot onto two cards in each camera, in RAW and JPG format. JPGs are great for quick previews, but RAW gives us so many more options when processing.
Do your wedding photographers cover both the Bride and Groom’s preparations?
If they’re reasonably close by we can split between the Bride and Groom. Jill will spend two hours with the Bride before she leaves for her wedding ceremony. Mike will spend an hour with the Groom before he and the Groomsmen leave to go to the ceremony venue. Some Grooms don’t want photography before the ceremony, in which case Mike will be with Jill and be extra cover for Jill.
Does your wedding photographer charge extra for a second shooter?
We’re married, so as a team it all goes into the same pot and there’s no extra fees involved. We have our own shorthand way of communicating and we know what parts of the day each of us enjoys, so we play to those strengths - something a hired hand, no matter how good, would not understand immediately. We’ve only ever had to bring in another shooter once, when one of us was too ill to work and we covered that cost ourselves. We don’t like hidden fees that pop up out of nowhere, so we avoid them. When you make a booking with us the price we give you will be the price you pay for whatever package you’ve chosen.
How will your wedding photographer help you organise your wedding day?
From the experience we have of shooting hundreds of weddings we have developed a simple form that we ask couples to fill out a couple of weeks in advance of their wedding date. We go through that and if there’s anything that needs to be clarified we’ll talk to each couple. Once everything is agreed we’ll work with the couple to put together a suggested shooting schedule for their wedding day, which will break down the day into easily digested chunks that outline what we expect to be shooting and the sequence of the day’s expected events. Couples are free to make any edits and change things around to suit their plans, it’s more of a guideline for the day’s wedding photography than something set in stone. If you need help at any point during the day, just ask. We want everything to go smoothly for you so that you can be relaxed and stress free because that’s what makes for great looking and natural wedding photos.
What will your wedding photographer do if it rains?
While it doesn’t rain as often as people think it might in Ireland, it does happen now and again. Really, if we can get 20 minutes outside without rain for the main wedding photography we’re happy. Even on days that start off wet there’s usually a break at some point in the afternoon or evening that we can take advantage of. If not, we work off of Plan B and utilise whatever is available - this is why we like to visit new venues we haven’t worked at before, so we can see potential locations for inside work if needed. If there’s a large window, we’ll utilise the natural light whether it’s direct or indirect. Most venues have at least one feature that can be made to work, whether it’s a stairway, a fireplace, a drawing room, a hall, or even a bedroom. Do ask you wedding photographer what their plan is at your venue, every location has different possibilities.
How long will your wedding photographers stay?
Our first time to finish up is at the call-to-meal when everyone is seated. If the speeches are before the meal we can, if requested, stay to cover those with an additional fee. Our other exit time would be 11pm at the very latest, though we usually finish earlier, around 10pm, after about 15-30 minutes of dancing. There’s no point in us staying longer than that, it’s already been a long working day for us and there’s only so many photos of people dancing that anyone wants to look at.
How much will it cost if your wedding photographers are asked to stay later than agreed?
We have an hourly surcharge rate of €100ph, and we’ve only ever had to use it on a couple of occasions when we’ve been asked on the wedding day to stay on to cover speeches before the meal. If it’s the Day plus Evening then the speeches would be included in the price.
Do couples get all the photos taken on their wedding day or just a selection?
The vast majority of wedding photographers out there will simply provide you with an edited down selection of photos from the hundreds or thousands that they will shoot of your wedding day. To be honest, we’ve never understood this approach - who knows what gems couples might find on files where they know everyone the photographer has barely met. We wouldn’t know your Auntie Womble from your Uncle Pugwash, so while we do edit everything down to a select number of images that we process to a professional standard, we also give you all the camera JPGs and RAW files too - we haven’t met any other wedding photographers who do that. Of course, you’ll see all the rubbish shots we didn’t select for processing - the ones slightly out of focus, the blurry ones, the test ones we shoot when taking light readings or working out compositions, not to mention the multitude of near duplicates in every sequence we shoot of a similar set up. But what’s our trash might be your hidden gem, and where’s the sense in throwing away something someone else might treasure - it doesn’t cost us anything extra, and maybe you’ll learn something from the way we shoot…there’s a lot of coverage, so have a bottle or two of wine handy.
Do you get the camera RAW files, or just processed JPGs?
We supply all camera JPGs and RAW files for couples to do with as they please as long as it’s for personal use. While we will always be the creator of the images and the ultimate copyright holders, as owners we automatically assign couples the rights to use the images for non-commercial purposes. If you want to process the RAW files yourselves and alter them, feel free - we not overly protective about wedding photography as it has such limited commercial possibilities. We understand that your wedding photographs are to be treasured as personal memories, but to us they are only valuable as a means to show others what we can do. Some couples are very private and we respect that, so if you don’t want us to use your wedding online as examples then just let us know and we’ll flag your files accordingly.
Does your wedding photographer have Public Liability Insurance?
Duh! Obvs like.