Common Questions about Elopements and Tiny Weddings

Common Questions about Elopements and Tiny Weddings

Do you photograph family groups?
Do you usually work alone?
How far will you travel?
Can I cancel or Rebook my Wedding?
How long will you spend at our wedding?
What is reportage photography?
Do you photograph in black and white?
Why are there no static galleries on your site?
Do you have any reviews I can read?
Do you photograph same-sex weddings?
Will you share our photographs on social media?
Do you photograph both the bride and groom in the morning?
How can we see your prices?
Will you photograph our ceremony?
Can we print our own photographs?
How can we book you?
Do you photograph anything else?
Can you recommend somebody who can film our day?
What about ‘unplugged’ weddings?


Q. Do you photograph family group photographs?

A. Given that you are reading this because you are having a very small wedding, with perhaps only two people present, it might be less relevant but I will mention it anyway. I suppose this is one of the things people worry about the most when hiring a reportage photographer but there really isn’t anything to be concerned about, and of course I will be more than happy to photograph some family group pictures for you. If, like some people, you wanted no staged shots then I wouldn’t take any however most people are happy to have some. I normally do about 10 and that would take around 15 minutes. There is no particular need to write a list but, if it makes you more comfortable and you have specific ideas about the shots you want, then by all means email one through to me before the wedding so that I can re-order it as required to make the process as swift and painless as possible. I’ll do my best to accommodate requests on the day but it isn’t always possible due to time / weather constraints. If you are the kind of person who will definitely want a picture that you can’t live without then please send a list and I shall do my best to capture them all for you. What I would strongly advise against would be a list of 20+ photographs as it just takes too long and you will get very, very bored… I have included a list of the most popular photographs below – feel free to edit this as you wish. Please note that it is much easier for me if you use “bride’s parents” rather than “Bob and Sue”.

The bride and groom plus:
The bride’s parents
The groom’s parents
The bride’s parents AND the groom’s parents together
The bride’s parents plus brothers, sisters and grandparents
The groom’s parents plus brothers, sisters and grandparents
The bridesmaids and flowergirls
The best man, ushers and groomsmen
The bridesmaids AND the ushers, best man etc.
All the guests (although this is very weather dependent and you need a good vantage point at the venue)

Q. Do you work alone or with another photographer?

A. I work by myself for almost all of my full-sized weddings and I definitely don’t think you would need a second photographer at your micro wedding. If you do have a special requirement, however, please do let me know and I will be very happy to talk about it with you.

Q. Where are you based and how far will you travel?

A. I am based in a small village called Bishopton, about 20 minutes west of Glasgow. Although I am based in the West of Scotland I cover weddings all over the place – in fact very few of my weddings will be in Glasgow with the rest spread throughout Scotland and the North of England. I used to live in Harrogate in North Yorkshire and still enjoy photographing weddings there and absolutely love travelling to photograph Lake District weddings  in Cumbria. I don’t charge for travel within Scotland or the north of England unless I need to take the ferry and if the wedding involves an overnight stay I ask that you cover the cost of that (I have a campervan so the cost is normally for one night in a campsite). The furthest I have been for a wedding is Rhodes in Greece and I had a great time. You can see the results here.

Q. Can I cancel or change my date?

A. There is no easy answer but, simply put, if you really feel like a date change is unavoidable then you can contact me and we can see whether we can make alternative arrangements. I have rebooked nearly 40 weddings in 2020/ 21 so it can be done. If you pick a new date and I am available then your deposit payment will be transferred to the new day and everything will carry on as planned and you can buy me some Green & Black’s chocolate as compensation. If you change to a date that I am not available for then I am afraid the booking will have to be treated as a cancellation and I shall keep the non-refundable deposit payment you paid to retain the date. If you choose to cancel your wedding outright fewer than 20 weeks prior to your wedding date then, as per the contract you will be asked to sign at the time of booking, you are liable to pay 50% of the cost of the booking although in exceptional circumstances I am happy to waive this (see below).

I would like to try and explain why cancellations and date changes are so problematic because I have come to realise that most people don’t really know about the implications of a date change on a wedding business like mine and I thought it might be useful to explain why it isn’t practical and why discouraging people from rebooking is actually a good thing for you as a client of mine.

Weddings involve a lot of different components and they aren’t the sort of event that can be continually rebooked without a huge knock-on effect. Before Coronavirus I would have fewer than one date change or cancellation in a year. If too many people changed their date each year then many suppliers, including myself, simply couldn’t function as a business and here’s why.

I am a full time photographer of 20 years and I need to photograph 40 or 50 weddings each year to ensure that I have enough work, but the bookings are not all just made at random. In a normal (non-Covid) year the bookings are intentionally spread through the 12 month period and organised with great care so that, for example, I don’t have a wedding on the Isle of Skye on Friday and one in Edinburgh on Saturday because it is not practical to travel that distance and be in a good frame of mind for wedding number 2. I also simply cannot physically edit more than 6 or 7 each month so if several people all want to move their date to the same month and I end up with 15 bookings in four weeks there is going to be a huge processing delay (I’m looking at you, September 2021).

Then there is the financial effect on the business to consider. If you decide to rebook two or three months before your date there is very little chance that I will be able to fill that date with a new booking and, from experience, I may very likely have turned away other enquiries whilst I held your date for you. You yourself are likely looking to book a photographer a year before your wedding date, and that’s what most people tend to do so filling a date at short notice is rare. As you hop across my calendar, each date you hold and then change is effectively blocked from any other bookings. Three date changes? That’s three dates I’ve held just for you that are now all inevitably empty. If your wedding involves a lot of travel then I will have even blocked off the dates either side of your wedding to make it possible.

That new empty date in my calendar means that, on average, my month’s income will likely drop by around 1/4 (or much more if it is at a quieter time of the year) and that makes it very hard to run a viable business. Could you afford a 25% pay cut with one month’s notice? If too many people do that then I simply cannot function as a business and if I have to look for a more profitable line of work then I risk jeopardising all my future wedding bookings (I usually have about 40 or more people booked in for weddings at any one time) which is extremely unfair for them.

Hopefully you can see why your wedding photography booking cannot be seen as something that can be booked and rebooked easily and I would definitely discourage it, not least of all to protect all of my other customers. I need to run a good business for you and be able to be there to fulfil all of my future bookings, including yours.

I am not a complete monster and I know that there are circumstances when a date change or cancellation is unavoidable. If a close family member passes away shortly before the wedding date, or your venue burns down (it has happened), or you aren’t legally allowed to marry because of a pandemic (pre-2020 I wouldn’t have dreamed that was possible) I will totally understand. Changing your wedding date because a better option has arisen, a funky new venue has opened, you’re worried about the weather or because you’ve simply changed your mind about your wedding format is not a good reason I am afraid.

Q. How long will you spend at our wedding?

A. Having photographed dozens of elopements and tiny weddings over many years I have found that four hours of coverage seems to suit pretty much every wedding. I am completely flexible with my timings but I usually suggest arriving about 1 hour before the ceremony (although I am almost always early and will start work as soon as I arrive without eating into your 4 hour allowance). I then photograph the ceremony and then work with you to make whatever photographs you’d like afterwards. It depends on the wedding format really and I am always like to encourage people to have a chat over the telephone before their day so that we can work out the best way to go about the photography on the day. I am not going to quibble about having to stay for an extra 30 minutes or so either, especially if there is a cup of tea at the end of it. I truly believe that I shouldn’t add to your stress on the day and I am honestly very relaxed about the timings.

Q. So, what is Reportage and is it the same as Documentary photography?

A. Reportage, documentary and photojournalism are all terms used to describe the same thing. In a nutshell, I will simply turn up in the morning and take photographs continuously throughout the day, largely in an unposed and fuss-free way as and when things happen. It is unobtrusive and captures people at their best. I am good at hunting out and capturing moments that tell the story of your wedding rather than setting up all of the photographs to look like a generic wedding. I will still take as many posed family group shots as you ask me to of course, but that won’t be the focus of the day. I hope that the photographs on my blog will give you a good idea of my style of photography.

Q. I notice you shoot black and white – how does that work?

A. I love black and white. Given the chance I would shoot most of a wedding in monochrome, but I know that most couples wouldn’t appreciate that… On the day itself I photograph everything in colour and then, when I edit the photographs, I decide which will look best in black and white and change them. Typically this results in about 80% staying in colour. I am confident that you will like my choices but, if you want to see one or two changed to black and white or colour then just ask and I will do that for you!

Q. Why are there no static galleries on your website?

A. Rather than show you a few photographs from one or two of my very best weddings I prefer to simply show you my most recent blog posts. There is even a section that only shows my most recent elopements and tiny weddings. They are right up to date and each one has around 80 photographs in it. I am not about creating one or two great standalone images from a wedding – I want to give you a whole set of photographs that reflect the whole day, and a blog format is a perfect way of showing that I can do that for you.

Q. Do you have any client testimonials I can read?

A. Yes! You can see up-to-date recommendations from my past brides and grooms on my site here and also on my business Facebook page here Silver Photography on Facebook.

Q. Do you photograph civil partnerships and same-sex weddings?

A. I have absolutely no problems with that whatsoever and have enjoyed photographing many over the past few years. In fact some of the loveliest weddings I have ever been to were between same-sex couples. I really don’t treat a same-sex wedding any differently to any other wedding and offer the same service to everyone. Take a look at Justin and Danny’s wedding here.

Q. Will you use our photographs on social media after the wedding?

A. A lot of people are worried about this. These days marketing on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc.) is very important and my simply business would’t exist without it. You yourself most likely found me via the internet. However, the privacy of my clients of also of the utmost importance to me and I understand that not everyone wants their pictures on the web. For this reason I always make a point of asking your permission before adding your photographs to my website or social media – if you say no then I might be disappointed but I can promise that I won’t use them. The majority of my clients are delighted to have their photographs on display but I have also photographed some outstanding weddings for more private couples who have asked me not to publish their images and nobody, other than their close friends, will ever be able to see them.

Q. Can you photograph both the bride and the groom in the morning before the wedding?

A. Sometimes, yes… Normally the focus is on the bride but if the bride and groom are both getting ready in the same hotel then I will definitely be able to flit between the two of you. At the very least I will be at the ceremony location before the bride and I can get a few shots of the groom looking nervous and shuffling about.

Q. How can I see your prices?

A.  My prices for elopements and small weddings vary a little depending upon the location (and therefore the amount of time I am traveling) so the best thing to do would be to contact me with the date and location of your wedding and I can check my availability for you and send over the most accurate cost. I usually reply within an hour or so and if you haven’t heard from me within a working day it is possible that my email has gone into your spam folder – it’s worth checking 🙂

Q. Will you take photographs of our wedding ceremony?

A. In my eyes the wedding ceremony is the key part of the day and is something I love to photograph. I am very aware of the importance and potential sensitivity of that time of the day and I work accordingly, being as quiet and unobtrusive as I possibly can. People always say to me that they had no idea that I was taking pictures – for me this is great! I am almost always permitted to take pictures, however there are a very small handful of churches (and celebrants) that won’t allow it and I have to abide by the rules. If you would like pictures of your wedding ceremony I would urge you to clarify exactly what the situation is with your celebrant / minister / priest to save disappointment – in my experience it sadly isn’t something that is usually ever made clear to the bride and groom unless specifically asked. They might say yes, but then it turns out that they mean only before and after the actual ceremony, which isn’t terribly useful – if you are keen on having pictures then you should make sure…

Q. Can I print the photographic files you give us?

A. Absolutely. All of the packages I offer include a USB drive containing every one of your edited photographs. They are all at full resolution and do not have any watermarks or ‘copyright’ emblazoned across the middle. I will also give you a letter giving you permission to print from the disk so that you don’t get into trouble in Boots.

Q. How do we book you?

A. Before booking you might like to arrange to have a chat over the phone or via video conferencing such as Zoom or perhaps, if I have been recommended to you, you aren’t bothered and just want to book anyway. It is useful, but not essential by any means. When it gets to the point in time that you want to proceed with a booking I will give you a booking form and you fill it out and pay a £100 deposit to secure the date. You don’t even have to tell me which package you want if you can’t decide at that time, you only need to reserve the date and everything else can be worked out later.

Q. Do you photograph anything other than weddings?

A. I do, yes. I started wedding photography because I could turn my hobby into a business (lucky me!) and I still take pictures of all sorts of things. The best place to see them is on my personal website trevorwilsonphotography.com or on instagram @trevormwilson.

Q. What do you think about ‘Unplugged’ weddings where the guests aren’t allowed to take pictures?

A. When guests take their own pictures it generally doesn’t bother me too much. I photograph dozens of weddings and rarely does it cause me a problem. Potential issues (for me as a photographer) are if people step out in front of you when you are walking up the aisle to get that action shot and, most commonly, when I am taking group photographs and one of you looks at your friend with a camera instead of me. I can work around these without too much difficulty. From your point of view, as a couple, do you want 5 iPads recording your ceremony and spoiling the view for other guests? That is up to you entirely, but I know it has caused many of my clients problems in the past. If you don’t want your guests to go crazy with their cameras / iPads / phones then it is common for couples to ask their celebrant to make a little announcement at the start of the ceremony, so don’t feel to guilty about it.

Q. Can you recommend a good videographer who can film our day?

A. Absolutely. If you are considering hiring someone to film your day for you there are a few videographers that I have worked with in the past that will do a great job for you. Let me know I will email you back their details. I cannot stress this enough but you really should take care to find a videographer who works with a similar style to your photographer. There is no point hiring me because you like my laidback natural documentary style and then choosing a videographer who is really cheesy and into weird poses from the 1980s. I have worked with all of the people I will recommend to you and can promise that they aren’t at all like that!

Q. My question isn’t on here!

A. Wedding photography is my full-time occupation and you should feel that you can call, text, email or Facebook me at any time during office hours and I will always be delighted to help. If it is a good question I might even add it to this list…