Saturday, 26 February 2011

The Supplier's Speech - Brown Box Photography

For the first in my new series of interviews with wedding suppliers, I'm talking to the lovely Claire Baggott of Brown Box Photography...

Tell me a little bit about your business (where you operate, how long you’ve been operating, maybe a bit about your style etc)
My name is Claire Baggott and I have been working as a professional wedding photographer for four years. My company, Brown Box Photography, is based in Reading, and I cover weddings in Berkshire and surrounding areas. I often get asked why the company is called Brown Box, and to tell you in a nutshell, it is named after a very shabby and gorgeous brown box which contains a diamond and sapphire ring left to me by my Grandmother – I thought it had a nice ring to it (excuse the pun!), and it has great meaning to me. With a real passion for all things wedding, I strive to capture the true story and emotion of a couple's wedding day, delivering stunning images and excellent customer service. My style combines a mix of classic, contemporary and reportage photography, tailored to the needs of each couple that I work with.

What’s so great about working in the wedding industry?
For me, it is fantastic to be able to do a job that matters so much to someone. Nothing beats the look on a bride's face as she sees her wedding photographs for the first time, it's priceless. Weddings are such fun and happy occasions; it's a privilege to be able to do this job.

In your opinion, what are the most important questions brides should ask when they’re booking suppliers?
I know this might sound a little negative, but be sure to ask about the worst case scenario. It is easy to ignore this as we don't want to think about it, but all your suppliers are human, and it is possible that due to illness or injury they may not be able to honour their agreements with you. But a good supplier, where possible, will have a back up plan for if the worst should happen. Ask your suppliers what would happen if they were unexpectedly unavailable for your wedding day, and think about whether this provides you with the level of assurance you are looking for. I always tell the couples I meet with about my contingency plans, and so many of them say that they would never have thought to ask about it.
Another good tip is to check that all the things you are expecting or wanting to get for your money are included in the price quoted. In terms of wedding photography, I always tailor my quotes to reflect exactly what my couples are looking for – this way they are not paying for anything they don't want or need, and everything they do want is included in their package.

Have you got any great wedding tips you’d like to share?
A little bit of forward planning goes a long way to make your day run smoothly. In terms of your photography, always provide your photographer a list of the formal group shots you would like ahead of your wedding day so that no one is missed. Think about timing; if you have a tight schedule, try to prioritise the shots that you want. After all, this is your day to enjoy, you don't want to be rushing around trying to squeeze in a huge number of group shots into a ten minute window. Even if you do have plenty of time, it is still important to prioritise what shots you want, as you don't want to be having your photo taken for too long and miss out on mingling with your lovely guests. Plus, the time you spend having a nice glass of bubbly and chatting to your friends and family is perfect for some wonderful reportage shots.
I am finding more and more couples enquiring about having engagement or pre-wedding shoots. Not only is it a fantastic way to get some photographs of the two of you together (so many couples tell me that they have hardly any nice pictures of just the two of them), but it is perfect for those couples who don't feel at ease in front of the camera – it's like a practice run and does wonders to boost your confidence and helps you to relax on your big day.

What makes a wedding really fabulous?
The most fabulous weddings I have photographed are the ones that are a true expression of the couple and their affection for one another. And the great thing about this, is that it doesn't matter if you are on a shoestring budget, or have all the money in the world. As soppy as it sounds, a really fabulous wedding is one that is all about love, and this always comes across in your photographs. Also, the finer details also make a wedding day what it is. Whether it is the flowers, the table decorations, the shoes...all those little touches that are the result of so much time and effort are a real favourite for me when it comes to photographs.

Have you seen anything really unusual or unique at a wedding recently?
I photographed a wedding last summer that was really unique, and was a great reflection of the bride and groom's personalities. The marriage ceremony was an intimate affair in a gorgeous town hall, and then everyone continued on to a 'festival' themed reception. The groom's parents had a paddock to the side of their home, and it was there that the bride and groom hosted their guests in a brightly coloured marquee filled with sunflowers and bails of hay. As well as a dance floor, there was also a corner with huge scatter cushions for sitting and relaxing... I can still picture the bride sitting on the floor with her two bridesmaids with a glass of bubbly, it really was lovely.

How do you prepare for a wedding?
Photographing a couple's wedding is a very big responsibility, and so preparation is really important. For me, the preparation starts from the first time I meet with a couple. Getting a good understanding of what a bride and groom are looking for from their photography, means that from that point on – everything is tailored to their needs and expectations. I will always go to the wedding venue a few weeks before the wedding to have a look around, and if the couple can join me that's even better. The day before a wedding all my equipment is prepared, packed, triple-checked and ready to go for the following day. I then make sure I have my schedule for the day, as well as the list of photographs from the bride and groom printed out to bring with me. I also have a fantastic little SOS pack in my bag for the bride – tissues, wet wipes, safety pins, lip gloss... perfect!

What are some of your favourite wedding memories?
My favourite memory from my own wedding, is the very last dance of the night. I was adamant that I did not want a slow soppy song, so my husband and I went crazy to Queen's Don't Stop Me Now for the last few minutes of our wedding day. We spun around and jumped and laughed – it was magic, and I really didn't want to stop.
My favourite memories from weddings I shoot always come from the more informal reportage photographs, where the bride and groom are just enjoying their day and you capture a beaming smile, a laugh or loving look when they have no idea you are there. These are the photos that always make me smile when I come to edit a couple's images.

What do you think the next ‘big thing’ in weddings will be?
Without a doubt, a lot of brides will be taking some fantastic inspiration from Kate and William's upcoming wedding... that is definitely one to watch. Wouldn't it be great if they had giant jenga out on the royal lawn?!!!

If you could give brides just one piece of advice, what would it be?
Your wedding day will go so fast; there are lots of people to speak to and so much fun to be had. My biggest tip, is to make sure that you and your brand new husband try and find just a few minutes to take a walk together, have some quiet time just the two of you to truly take in the magic of your day and the realisation that you are now Mr & Mrs. This is also one of the biggest reasons I love wedding photography, as your wedding images allow you to transform that one day into a beautiful album that will continue to tell the story for years to come.

If you'd like to find out more about Brown Box Photography...
Contact Claire on 07585 218 627 or
Follow Claire on twitter
And obviously all images in this post are courtesy of Brown Box Photography!

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