This week's Supplier's Speech is from the gorgeous and talented Melanie East. Again, I've known Melanie for a few years and we met at a wedding (strangely, we were both guests!) and I can happily say she's a lovely person so I'm thrilled to feature her. So let's hear from Melanie about her wonderful wedding photography...
Tell me a little bit about your business...
I’m a pro wedding photographer and have been for the last 6 years having previously been a lawyer. Once on maternity leave I realised I didn’t want to go back to the law but wanted to realise my dream of turning pro. I cover Bristol, Bath, Hampshire, Wiltshire, The Cotswolds, Somerset, London and Kent. I also have a base in Southern Spain and am able to carry out weddings throughout Andalucia. I’ve shot weddings in Spain, France and Switzerland and adore destination weddings, but a village hall wedding is just as important to me as a wedding in a castle.
I semi direct my couples. I don’t strictly pose them, but I guide them. I’m not a reportage photographer by any stretch of the imagination but I do shoot in an unobtrusive manner. Brides have often commented to me how at ease I made them feel when being photographed, and that’s part of the skill of a great wedding photographer. I don’t enjoy being photographed and therefore I have the utmost sympathy for those who also don’t love being in front of the camera. I shoot with natural light where at all possible, but I will use my speedlights and my video light depending on the look I am after. I also shoot with the album in mind - I shoot great sequences without the couple being aware of this. Above everything I make sure my images tell a story, with a beginning, a middle and an end. Once the perfect images have been captured I design a totally bespoke wedding album and my clients can be as involved in the design process as they wish. I aim to offer fantastic photography and service to all my clients.
What's so great about working in the wedding industry?
Where to start? The fact that I am part of the happiest days of people’s lives! Being able to capture fabulous memories that will be looked at by generations to come. Seeing that “first look” between bride and groom. I could go on and on. I always feel very privileged when I’m asked to photograph somebody’s wedding, because you’re part of such an important day and it’s a very very responsible job.
In your opinion, what are the most important questions brides should ask when they're booking suppliers?
Experience. Experience. Experience! To see a full portfolio, to be able to be put in touch with previous clients. When booking a photographer - it’s essential to see a couple of complete weddings from start to finish. Make sure they were taken at *real* weddings and not at model shoots, and be sure to check they were the main photographer. Ask yourself do you feel you were at the wedding when you look at the images? Does everybody look happy? What about the print quality and the look and feel of the album? Do the bride and groom look relaxed? What about the black and white photography? Are the blacks black and the whites white as they should be? Or are they a mix of muddy grey tones? Finally, choose a photographer you feel comfortable with - absolutely essential that you gel with your photographer :) A pre wedding shoot, in my view, is a must to really get to know your photographer.
Have you got any great wedding tips you'd like to share?
Plan the day exactly as you’d like it, but don’t stress if things don’t pan out exactly as you had planned. Remember that the point of your day is to celebrate the love between you and your groom - it doesn’t matter if a teeny bit of icing falls of the wedding cake - that’s not what the day is about - and besides the only person who notices these things is you! Your guests certainly won’t! *Don’t* stress about the weather. You can’t control it - and an experienced photographer will still capture fantastic images.
Oh! Have your speeches before the meal! I’ve lost count of the number of father’s of the bride, best men and grooms I’ve seen who don’t enjoy their meal because they are worried about their speeches!
What makes a wedding really fabulous?
A great atmosphere. Lots of fun, love and laughter. The fact that all your friends and family have come together to celebrate two people. Aesthetically speaking, I love detail and individuality when it comes to table settings.
Have you seen anything really unusual or unique at a wedding recently?
I've never come across two weddings the same. I loved the bride who opted for a tower of scones for her Cornish themed wedding instead of a traditional cake. And the bride who went for a rugby theme for her groom's love of the sport.
How do you prepare for a wedding?
With nerves! The day I’m not nervous before a wedding is the day I give it up! Nerves show to me that I care about the job I am doing. I format all my memory cards, do a kit check, charge all the batteries, make sure I’ve got any group shot list, mobile numbers, spare camera, flashes and lenses. And Maltesers - essential driving nibbles!
What are some of your favourite wedding memories?
The bride who was so very calm and in control and the groom who the minute he saw her burst into tears. I love that! The wedding where it hammered down with rain the entire day, but the bride and groom were so happy it didn’t matter.
What do you think the next 'big thing' in weddings will be?
I think couples are becoming more and more inventive with their themes and making their day really individual.
If you could give brides just one piece of advice, what would it be?
Enjoy it! Don’t stress. Remember what the day is all about. Take time out to look around you because the day whizzes past. And don’t skimp on your photographer! Cake Eaten. Dress worn. Venue hired. Photographers? - priceless memories.
If you'd like to find out more about Melanie and her photography...
Melanie East Photography - Exceptional wedding photography. www.melanieeastphotography.co.uk www.melanieeastphotography.co.uk/blog 01761 490412 Twitter: @MelanieEast