Frequently Asked Questions

To save you time, here's answers to some of the most common questions I receive.

If you have any questions not covered here, contact me!

Do You Shoot Weddings?

My strengths are in portrait photography rather than event photography, so I don't really market myself as a "full" wedding photographer.

If your focus is on portraits, or you are on a tight budget, or time is running short to organise a photographer (the best are booked many months in advance) you are welcome to contact me and we can discuss.

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What Costs are involved with Hiring a Photographer?

There are many factors that go into photography, and not all of them are obvious.

When you hire a photographer, you get someone who has a range of experience, a set of equipment, artistic skills, and a network of other industry professionals that they can call upon if required. Each photographer will have a different combination of these attributes, and attaining them doesn't happen overnight.

The job of the photographer doesn't begin and end with taking photos. There will usually be some time spent planning the shoot, and there will be work done after the shoot editing the photos. It's not uncommon for (much) more time to be spent editing photos than taking them!

All of these factor into the cost of hiring a photographer.

These days there are many budding professional photographers due to the relatively low barrier of entry compared to the days of film (full disclosure: I have not used film for serious photography).

Many less experienced photographers will charge much less than their more established counterparts, so for the customer there is a wide range of pricing options out there. Just be aware that, as with any other profession, less experience will often mean a greater chance of things going wrong.

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How do I Choose a Photographer?

Choosing a photographer isn't as straightforward as seeing if they have taken nice pictures. Obviously this is an important factor, as is price, but let's take a look at some of the less obvious factors that can help decide if a photographer is right for you.

Personality

If you are after portraits, or a wedding photographer, an important factor will be the photographer's personality. Photographers are people; there's some people out there that you will get along with and some that you won't. Picking a photographer who you are comfortable with will help you feel more at ease with the shoot.

Portfolios

Remember that a photographer will always have their very best shots in their portfolios. Make note of what you don't see as this might be something they don't do so well. For example, most wedding photos on portfolios focus on the portraits of the bridal party (and rightly so) but it may be worth asking to see example photos of the ceremony and reception as well.

Photographers' portfolios often contain pictures of models, who not only have good looks, but are accustomed to posing. Take it from me, working with a model (even amateur models) is far easier than working with someone who is feeling a bit self conscious in front of the camera. Pictures of regular people in a portfolio can give you confidence that a photographer can produce great results when working with non-models.

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Do You Photoshop Your Images?

A yes/no answer doesn't really make sense for this question; let me explain why.

Photoshopping (using software to edit images) has gotten some fairly bad press recently: there was some botched "thigh gaps" added to a brochure, and some high profile celebrities calling out overenthusiastic retouchers.

This has become a hot issue due to the implications of body image and self esteem issues that arise when people are bombarded with images of artificial perfection.

It's really easy to say something is bad if you are only shown outrageous examples of it. Photoshop (and similar software) is a tool, and like any other tool it can be misused in the wrong hands.

A competent Photoshop user can adjust the lighting and colour balance, remove litter from a picture of a park, remove food from between someone's teeth, composite a group photo where everybody's eyes are open, patch up cracks in a building's wall, smooth out someone's complexion, remove wrinkles or change a person's body shape or facial structure. There is a whole spectrum of what can be done, from the innocuous to the extreme, and everybody has their own opinion on how far is too far.

I do usually use Photoshop, with a goal of softening (rather than removing) imperfections and removing transient blemishes (like pimples, cuts and bruises). I try to make the subject look their best, while still looking like themselves. I do not like the "plasticky" look that people usually associate with Photoshopping.

So, the short answer is: Yes, in moderation, unless you request otherwise.

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How can I Describe What I'm Looking For?

It can be difficult to describe what you're looking for in terms of visual style, so I've made up a Visual Glossary of Photography Terms to help you find the right words.

In addition to using the industry jargon, it's always useful to use images as a reference. Just be aware that it can be difficult to exactly replicate images.

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How Big are Your Images?

Usually the images I produce are approximately 5000 × 3300 pixels, which can comfortably be printed at around 50 × 33cm while retaining detail for close viewing.

Here is an example showing an overall image compared to a 100% crop to give you an idea of the sort of detail that I can achieve:

Note that this is a guide only. The level of detail you see depends on the screen that you're using; don't try to measure the 100% version with a ruler, because a full size print will be a different size!

Images taken in more challenging situations (e.g. in low light or in dynamic environments) may be less sharp, and less suitable for large prints.

Images may be scaled up to much larger sizes (such as posters), though usually the minimum (or typical) viewing distance should increase as well. If you are after large prints that have enough clarity for close viewing, please let me know well before the shoot. Additional charges will apply.

File sizes (for JPGs) are typically between 10 and 15 megabytes.

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Do You do TFP (Time for Photos) Shoots?

Yes! TFP is a fairly common exchange between professional and aspiring creatives in photography. Often photographers, models, makeup artists, hair dressers and stylists will collaborate on passion projects in order to gain experience, network and build their portfolios.

TFP can be a wonderful thing for all those involved, and allows them to try things that they wouldn't usually be able to do for a paying customer.

I am happy to do TFP work, provided that there is something that excites me about it. As a rule of thumb I am more likely do TFP if it's something I haven't done before, if it's for a good cause or if I find the concept interesting. Feel free to contact me if you have something in mind.

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What are the Splashes on Your Website?

It's mango nectar, and it was good, messy fun to shoot it!

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