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Photography Blog by Lensi Photography, covering thoughts, events and all things related to photography. We also provide photography courses, if you are interested then please feel free to contact, we always provide some tips to our amateur photographers so that they are ready to compete our professional.
Recently we have been involved in various kinds of photography projects, either they are business events, or some wedding occasions. Covering various kinds of wedding occasion means knowing different culture and meeting different people, and learning about, what they like and how they perform it.
We also talk about various types of camera, then whether they are digital camera, SLR or DSLR.
We have created various photography galleries to cover various occasions, you can see them and if needed please let us know if you need to have them on your social channels or website or any where else, so that we can cover the legalities for you, so that you are not in any kind of trouble.
Twenty Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer
Firstly we must say these are not questions we advocate asking your wedding photographer.
But so many of us have come across prospective brides who have read THAT Blog by the wedding magazine … Questions to ask your wedding photographer.
Many of these questions are already in our contract and our wedding leaflets, but here are our answers for anyone who may also come across the same blog.
Your Wedding Photography is going to be a decent sized purchase and you probably want to ensure you are asking the right things. Some of these questions will definately help on your quest to finding the right photographer, and some of them will not, here are our answers to these questions.
#1 What Does Your Package Include
If you met us at a wedding show and have one of our leaflets, this is on the leaflet.
A number of digital images (depending on which package you have), 2 photographers, albums are priced separately. We do not compete on price, but not the quality of our work, if price is a main factor in your consideration there will definitely be cheaper wedding photographers you can commission. If your choice is based on style, someone you can gel with, quality and professionalism, you are int he right place!
#2 How much does it cost?
A basic package starts from £1600, all the various options are shown on our wedding leaflets. These include pre wedding shoots, albums of different sizes, Wedding Magazines, extra photographers, monograms, programme designs and a whole host of things.
#3 When will we receive the images
This is a useful question int he twenty questions to ask your wedding photographer. All of this is listed in your contract with us. We have a turn around of 3 months which also depends on you the clients okaying albums and changes as quickly as possible, or this may delay the timeline. However we also deliver 10 – 15 of our favourite moments from your day within 24 hours (48 if we are shooting the next day). This way, the first images you upload to social media or share with friends via WhatsApp, will be professional ones, not phone ones.
#4 How will we receive the images
On a USB pen OR digital download
#5 Are there videographers you prefer to work with
In some cases yes. The main thing is that everyone is respectful of each other, giving each other the space needed to do the best for the couple. This may include shooting on longer lenses so that both photographers and videographers can get the best images for the couple on the day.
#6 How would you consider your photography style
We would say amazing! But that is for you to judge, your wedding will be a mixture of natural documentary moments, styled shots, groups shots, details. We used natural light, flash and constant light. A full recipe of what is needed to get the job done and we feels makes and amazing set of wedding day images. Unless you understand photography all of that will probably not mean much. So again let our work speak for itself. The link shows a preview of our 24 hour preview.
Another way we would describe our style is ‘clean’, no matter what chaos is going on around the images, your day (through your images) will look calm, serene and full of joy. We are the photographers that will move that bag from beside the chair, tell you that your necklace is not straight or a curl is out of place. We will also produce probably your favourite portrait of yourself … ever!
#7 How many photographers shoot the wedding
All our weddings are shot by two photographers. This was both the bride and groom get full cover from their preparations to ceremony.
There is also no having to sprint down the aisle to get two different shots for the photographer, and as a wedding is generally something people have planned for years , in the event of a photographer say … spraining an ankle on the day, which is unlikely, but not impossible … the wedding will still be covered. It works like an insurance policy.
#8 Would you need a place to keep your equipment
The most expensive equipment will be on me (my cameras) there is usually somewhere safe or within eyesight that it can be kept during the wedding
#9 Who will be shooting my wedding?
We do not give jobs out to other photography companies or farm them out to other photographers. If you hire us your wedding will be shot by us. The only reason the main photographer would not be at your wedding would be the same reason you would have to miss a wedding.
A burst appendix, an accident, a serious illness etc. If this were to happen, just like with any other vendor, we would give you the option of allowing us to find a replacement, or a full refund. This has not happened to date, it is very rare. Just like the bride we know who had to leave her own wedding immediately after the vows due to illness. Its rare, but not impossible.
#10 When will I receive a written contract? What is the cancellation policy
Once you confirm that you would like us to shoot your wedding a contract will be drawn up and sent out, once this is signed and returned along with paying the deposit, your wedding is booked!
The cancellation policy is outlined in the contract, the initial deposit is non refundable.
#11 Have you ever been to our venue?
Do not worry. A lot of brides ask this, but it is not necessary for us to shoot your wedding.
Think about this, does the DJ need to be familiar with that venue before to play well? Does the make up artist need to be familiar with all the faces they make up to make up a good face? The image below was our first wedding at this venue, to a creative photographer it is clear that this area would mae a beautiful photo.
As photographers we have shot all over the world. Venue visits can be arranged if you feel really strongly about this, there is a fee for doing this as it is another day out from shooting.
#12 What camera do you use?
Unless you understand DSLR cameras this is not such a useful question in the twenty questions to ask your wedding photographer.
Most photographers change their cameras at different times, as they do lenses. The cameras have no bearing on how good or not your photos will be. Some photographers have the best equipment but are still learning, and some do not have the latest equipment but are masters of their art.
Examples of the work are a much better way to judge the professionalism of your photographer. That said we do use digital cameras and not film.
#13 Will you work to a list of photos we want
If there is one MUST HAVE photo of the day for you. Such as a photo or your nan, mom and you together, a best friend from your childhood, your new numberplate, let us know.
Other than that, as seasoned wedding photographers we know what we are doing. Look at our previous cover, it is enough o show you that with two photographers, we do not miss anything. As a recent bride, I understand the importance of wanted to see EVERYTHING afterwards, the food, the guests mingling while you were not around , the emotions from family and friends that you were not privy to while you were at the alter … trust us we know what we are doing.
There is no specific timetable as such we work to. It will depend on what package you have booked, along with what time your wedding day/ start and end. When we are close to your wedding date we will go through your timetable with you to ensure enough time has been allowed for your photos and that we start at the right time.
#15 If the Wedding Breakfast goes over time, will we pay extra?
This depends on the package you have. With an unlimited package no, with a 10 hour package yes, this is all outlined in your contract.
#16 Are images retouched?
Most images you see online are retouched in some way. All of our images are edited, which usually includes conversion from RAW to JPEG and may include minor whinges in exposure or white balances, cropping etc. Extensive retouching may be charged as an extra.
For example the bride who wanted the scaffolding taking out of the church because they were having rennovations on the outside. This is specialist work and will be sent to an editor at a cost of £50 per hour. We also will not take out something that you have permanently, so for example if you have a tattoo that you would prefer not to be in the photos, it cannot be taken out of all 500 images for example. We will also not change the shape of your face or body for example. You are beautiful as you are!
#17 What are your payment terms
This is a useful question in the twenty questions to ask your wedding photographer, as everyone knows where they stand. We accept 50% deposit secures your booking, once we have this, we then take that date out of our diaries and we belong to you! (for that day).
The other 50% is due 4 weeks before your date. Similar to most wedding services, the venue, caterer, florists, venue dressers etc all payments are completed before the wedding, this is one less thing for you for worry about.
#18 Do we pay travel costs
This is all outlined in our contract. For weddings within a 50 mile radius no. For weddings outside of this, travel and accommodation may apply. We do not take risks of working for possibly 16 hours then having a 2 hour drive home, or even getting stuck in traffic on our way to you in the morning, this is why in some circumstances accommodation will apply. Again do not worry, although the Ritz is amazing, Premier Inn will do!
#19 Are engagement / pre wedding shoots included in the package?
These are extra. Some couples have them, others do not. Some couples have a whole day shoot abroad, others have a half day shoot, for this reason they are not included as standard.
Our couples can have as much or as little as they would like.
#20 Could you recommend any new trends?
Our style is not to shoot the latest trends, so we do not shoot a dinosaur chasing you, or your husband standing far away as though he is being held in the palm of your hand. You will get a mixture of emotions, natural documentary photography, styled photography, posed group shots and detail shots of your shot.
Now that you have had all of these twenty questions to ask your wedding photographer answered … go ahead and give us a call or email to book us. It will be one the the best decisions you make for your wedding!
Ten Things not to spend on for your Wedding
Ten Things You Do Not Need to Spend Money on for your Wedding
Save Money on Your Wedding
Firstly this advice is not for those who can afford to have everything they want at their wedding. If money is not a worry have a huge cake, designer shoes, ballet dancers while you are walking down the aisle.
You can have your names personalised on everything in sight, a whole room of fresh flowers, everything that weddings now have to offer as the event of a lifetime.
But that IF this is not you; if you do need to save money on your wedding, if you have a budget that cannot stretch to the most lavish of everything, these are a few things we have come across from our experience of covering weddings. Five things you do not need to spend money on for your wedding.
- Wedding Favours
- Weekend Weddings
- Specialist Wedding Shops
- Paper Invites
- Designer shoes
- Fresh Flowers
- Stuff that is only used one for an hour or so
- Wedding Cars
Save Money on Your Wedding #1
1# Leave the Wedding Favours
As much as you may love the idea of the crystal heart with your names and wedding date etched on that your guests can treasure forever. The honest truth is … very few will.
Your wedding date is the most important date to you naturally. Your wedding date however is not the most important date to your guests, no matter how much they love you. The truth is as much as your toil and stress over your favours, in many weddings we shoot; they end up as children’s play things within minutes of your guests sitting at the table.
Save Money on Your Wedding #2
2# Getting Married on a weekday
Saturday is the most expensive day to get married. Yes, the same venues cost different amounts on different days! Sundays and week days cost a lot less. So you may be thinking “but will my guests turn up?”.
No matter what day you hold your wedding on their will be some people who are not able to attend.
Saturdays and Sundays are now working days for many people, so weekends are no longer the free days they used to be.
Lots of couple also get married abroad who do not seem to have problems with their friends and families taking off 2,3 or more days to attend their wedding. Try not to over think it. The people who need to and want to be there will be.
Save Money on Your Wedding #3
3# Shop in Non Specialist Wedding Shops
Wedding Hair Jewellery
Is a wedding tiara massively different to any other tiara? Compare the difference for yourselves. Buy one from a high street shop and compare them to others in bridal shops. The most expensive ones are no doubt of a a superior quality. It is up to you if the difference is enough to warrant the price difference. The average priced bridal ones however are not hugely different.
Everyones favourite High street accessories shop Claire’s has some amazing finds in their ‘Hair Swag’ range. These range from £5 to £20. You would expect to pay £100 – 200 for a tiara or similar accessory in a bridal shop.
Another option is to use other accessories such as necklaces and pendants.
This bride did exactly that with Claire’s Accessories Jewellery. The head piece came to a total of just under £20. If you are a savvy online shopper, stores such as Etsy also have a great range.
Save Money on Your Wedding #4
4# Cut the Paper and Save The World!
Think of the last wedding you attended when if you invite and Save the Date You were given? If you still have this, that is fabulous! If it is in a treasured box of similar items from various years, even better!
However, if you cannot remember when it was left a month after putting the date in your phone diary. Then you have just discovered how quickly your hard earns money that was spent on invites or save the dates, so quickly ends up in the bin.
Consider a digital invite / save the dates instead. Create a private FB group and send out an event, make a video that you WhatsApp to everyone, create a design that to WhatsApp to everyone.
Many people do most things on their phones now, so this is not unusual.
You will also be helping to save the planet as the rate of deforestation is alarming!
Save Money on Your Wedding #5
5# Ditch the designer shoes
Sometimes we are socialised into thinking you have to spend more on everything for your wedding. After all it is a special once in a lifetime day!
Bridal groups and blogs are awash with brides blogging about their dream wedding shoes. You will no doubt have seen quite a few Laboutins in these groups. These designer shoes start from £700. But bridal shoes are often hidden under a long dress … where no one will ever see them.
Brides often ending changing into comfy shoes or flip flops as soon as they get to their reception, if not for their walk around the wedding venue for their couples photos.
Shops like TK Maxx stock a great range of FC UK and Blue By Betsey Johnson Shoes from January of each year leading up to the wedding season. ASOS also stocks Blue by Betsey Johnson at different times of the year. The great thing about these shoes is that if you are superstitious, the bottoms are painted blue, so it covers your “Something Blue”.
These beauties were £29.99.
Save Money on Your Wedding #6
6# Fresh Flowers
There is no doubt real flowers are amazing.
But if you are looking to cut on your budget fake ones will be a fraction of the price, and will have a very similar look. Greenery table runners for these two tables were prices at £1700 for this wedding. These ones came in at £300 for these the head table flowers, top table and aisle / pew end flowers.
The amazing Home Bargains and The Range have a great range of flowers that look a lot more expensive that they are. If you are having a red / autumn theme look to buy their valentines range at Home Bargains at the start of each year.
Save Money on Your Wedding #7
What happens to the flowers used in your ceremony, as aisle ends or to decorate the alter etc?
After the ceremony they are not needed again. But you still need flowers for the reception tables, top table etc. Why not just reuse the same flowers? Yes you will need a trusted friend or coordinator to move these for you, but it makes complete sense.
This top table arrangement started the day as aisle / pew ends for the wedding ceremony, and ended the day here. They too were fake / faux from Home Bargains. Approximately £55 for the top table and pew / aisle ends. Rather than watch them wilt away a few days later after spending thousands, they can be re- gifted or sold on.
Save Money on Your Wedding #8
We can all get influenced by social media, things that look great, sound like a great idea, seem to make sense but are actually quite costly, possibly gimmicky and not have any real value.
Disposable cameras is one of these.
The idea of disposable cameras on each table for guests to capture what is happening on their table.
Amazon sells packs of 5 cameras for around £50.
Say you have 100 people at your wedding thats already a cost of £100. Then their is the cost of developing them approximately £5 each. The quality of these is not great.
Many people struggle with getting great digital images even when they can see the outcome immediately. Imagine images from from a camera where your guests can not see the final photo!
You may end up paying to develop a lot of unusable images.
In actual fact most people carry around a much more powerful and sophicated camera in their hands, that you can get table pictures from for free!
Ask your guests to take photos on their phones and send them you after or sign up to to a wedding sharing app.
Save Money on Your Wedding #9
A wedding car may cost £3 – 500 for 2- 3 hours hire.
A prestige car from your average car hire company can cost you this much for 3 or 4 days hire. This may not work if you want a vintage car; but if you are happy to travel to your wedding in a prestige Jaguar, Mercedes or Range Rover, this could be a huge saving.
It would also mean not having to worry about car is going back before you finish doing your couples photos or if anything runs late.
For example Europa Car is showing a Mercedes C Class at £400 for three days hire. Granted, of course you will not get a driver with that. You may have to rope in that friend or uncle who owes you a favour, but you will also have a prestige car to get home in the next day or drive around in a a couple days after your big day.
Save Money on Your Wedding #10
If you can afford a cake, of course there are some amazing designs. We have shot so many beautiful cakes. But if you are looking at cutting another corner, the famous wedding cake is another way you can save.
The thing most couple want from this is a photo of them cutting the cake, after all its tradition.
We have however shot many a wedding where after this shot was taken, the cake was not cut. The worst cased scenario was a couple who took a 2k cake to the kitchen to be cut, it was never cut and shared out because of running late, it was forgotten about in the venue kitchen, then thrown away the next day.
Some couples are opting to save on their cake with alterntives such as Jelly Towers, Cake Pyramids and Pizza Towers!
In contrast to all these savings. There are also many things we would say are important to spend money on or that you definitely need for a wedding.
See our blog post on Ten Things You DO need to spend money on for your wedding.
Lensi have been full time photographers for 10 years. This blog was written from that experience and also from a personal point of view as a recent bride.
If you want to preserve your quest for bargain hunting during your wedding planning. Consider your very own personalised Wedding Magazine. More than an album, it will document the stories behind the beautiful images, on your wedding planning journey.
Ankara Travelling Dress: How we shot it
Sisterhood of the Travelling Dress
The Travelling Dress. One dress infinite possibilities, proving how differently we all see the world.
The Travelling Dress
The Travelling dress project seemed to originate in the USA with a dress travelling to other countries and being photographed by tens and tens of photographers. Photographers have tulle dresses, colourful dresses, wedding dresses. I loved watching the different travelling dress projects we came across, but one thing was evident about so many of the other projects. They all seemed to be very Eurocentric.
As a minority in the photography world, it is something that some people take for granted, being visible, being included, being part of the discussion, being heard, but for some of us our exclusion is the norm. It is not always a purposeful thing, but sometimes a “oh I never even thought about that” “ oh that didn’t even cross my mind” because its something that hasn’t effected the person viewing that project. But it is something that I see instantly.
This was also picked up by other users on some of the blogs about other Travelling Dress Projects.
So with this in mind, one member suggested we wanted to open up this discussion and shoot a travelling dress project that had not already been done. Photographers and models that seems to be largely missing from many of the other projects would therefore be part of the discussion. We had an Afro Centric garment commissioned by Thea Ayayi of House of Tendai and a group of UK Black Female Photographers created a schedule to shoot the dress as we saw it.
We chose a vibrant bright red ankara print material. It was strong and bold, I wanted a model that matched this feel. So I searched for a bald headed dark skinned model. I visualised a Skunk Annansie, Alek Wek, Lupita N’yongo inspired of model. I found this in Sheleema.
New to modelling but an amazing model none the less. She had already done high fashion and a number of fashion magazines. As a professional creative I always pay other professional creatives … see my blog on working for FREE. As a photographer shooting various genres I have worked with models previously. Some great ones and some not so great ones. From Sheleema’s portfolio, I felt she could carry off what I wanted for the shoot; and she did.
There was very little direction, only for minor tweaks.
I also commissioned Make Up artist Kemeko to do an editorial type look.
We purposefully did not discuss each others ideas, or show each other our finished shoots until way after they were completed. Does this create more competition or fuel you to push yourself even more?
I purposefully wanted to test myself for this shoot. I initially hired a studio and was going to do my normal clean cut portrait photography style.
Fate then took me to fashion season collections on Vogue Magazine, I came across Beyonces front page shoot for Vogue earlier that year, shot by Tyler Mitchell. This inspired me to strip this right back. Go back to nature, a much more deconstructed messy idea and just shoot with whatever I’m presented with on the day.
So I let nature and circumstance drive my vision. I knew however I wanted an edgey editorial look, and something different to how I would normally shoot most of my work.
So with no real plan in place, except for channelling Beyonce, I vowed to adapt to whatever I was presented with, come rain or shine (or being in the UK sleet or snow also)! After all this is what creatives do … create. I also shoot for fashion designers such as Kolchagov Barba and wanted to create something I could imagine designers using in a magazine editorial.
On the day we were blessed with a beautiful sunny, bright, warm day. It was cloudy in parts and bright in parts, but still perfect. I chose to use the natural sunlight with additional outdoor flash, playing with sync speeds to create some other interesting shadows and looks.
The environment was naturally green, this complimented the dress perfectly. I also put up a draped messy backdrop, I initially wanted a heavier cotton material backdrop, looked into buying one, but agin thought, let me work with what I have.
Making a big headpiece similar to Beyonces own was considered, but ended up not having the time. The option to instead use oversized bouquet, which substituted. It meant that the red was sandwiched in between a sea of green, which aesthetically looked amazing.
Ten Favourite Lensi Photography Shots From the Ankara Travelling Dress Project
These are the blogs and contact details of other photographers who took part in the project.
#5 Rele James
IG : @pausepushclick
#6 Toyin Sho
IG : @toyinphotography
IG : @la_creativityportfolio
Fantastic Opportunity to work for FREE!
Anyone fancy working for FREE?
Imagine a job request looking for someone to work for free, but not just ‘anyone’ they specifically looking for someone that is highly skilled, with years of experience, thousands of pounds of high end equipment, an extensive portfolio, ability to work independently and in groups, with their own transport and links to get articles / images / published in international high end publications.
I often come across or are tagged in a ”fantastic opportunity” that arises from someone that needing an “amazing photographer” and professional service but who does not want an amateur and at the same time to pay for professional expertise.
Reserved for Creatives
If you are not in the creative industry (including but not limited to writers, photographers, dancers, graphic designers, web designers, journalists, artists, musicians) you may have read this so far with a raised eyebrow, or a puzzled look. It doesn’t seem to quite make sense? but this offer to work for free , is an offer we (the creative community) get often.
After nearly 10 years of being full time, it kind of grates on you. Having spent all these years perfecting and improving my art (yes there is much more to it than simply buying a camera pressing a button), after having spent a small mortgage on equipment and training, having worked hard to get to the point where I have been published and work internationally, why do people continue to ask photographers (and other creatives) to work for free?
Work for FREE?
So again you may be scratching your head thinking “I’ve never heard anyone ask a photographer to work for free”. But it doesn’t present itself so direct and clearcut, it comes out in other guises, it has pseudonyms and disguises. No one (well not in my experience to date) comes to you and says “Hey professional photographer, can you come and work for free for me” .
To anyone in the creative community, being asked to work for free will not be a new story, but an age old one, rehashed again and again, but the one thing it generally has in common, the thing that does not change about this story is that your payment is usually EXPOSURE, we call it ‘exposure pounds’ in the industry. It doesn’t pay for new cameras, travel, courses or insurance. Some of the things photographers need to pay for to stay in business.
It is not accepted at ASDA when I do my grocery shopping, it is not accepted online when I want to buy a new lens, it is interestingly not accepted as payment terms by the very people offering this as a way of paying you!
The Work for FREE pitch
The sell usually goes along the lines of “everyone will see your work in our newsletter / on our instagram / website / Facebook and naturally this will bring you lots of pain work”.
So lets test this common sell. Ask yourself when was the last time you read an article in a newsletter or on a website and took time to look at who the photographer was?
If you can remember the last time you did this, then when was the last time this lead to you contacting them for business? If you knew they worked x event free, when was the last time this lead to you hiring them for paid work? Facts show that less than 1% of consumers look for the creator or any piece of online content.
I did look up a photographer from an online image a couple times. I saw an amazing image on google, it was one of those images on the holder screen when you are about deciding which Netflix program to watch, I looked up the photographer, flicked through his Instagram, didn’t even actually add him, and carried on with my binge tv day.
Are you still with us?
I expect many of you haven’t even got to this point – looking up a photographer from an image you see online or in print – let alone an image on a company page / bloggers instagram / corporate website, because in my experience, when these same people want a ‘proper’ job doing, they contact the highly paid professional, not the one valuing their work as ZERO being prepared to work for free. You see, this type of ‘pro bono’ ‘fantastic opportunity’ offer has little value or appeal for most photographers, once they are established.
It’s a LOT of work
Six hours shooting a conference could range from an average of £500 – 1000 for many photographers, is this ‘exposure payment’ going to be worth that amount? And what if you end up getting a potential booking for a big paid job on the same day? Do you turn down the paid booking to work for free? Or break your agreement for the non paying client, for a paying one? Now, if someone wants to paint my house in return for a job such as shooting a conference, that may be pro bono I would accept (painting takes so long!), but funnily enough, no one wants to work for free, not THAT hard for FREE … because that’s just outrageous!
SOME OF ITS DISGUISES
In case anyone needs any tips on recognising when someone is asking you to work for free or even when you are asking someone to work for free, here are a few of the forms it takes:
1. PRO BONO
Payment : Exposure, portfolio images, credit
A “pro bono opportunity”
The conversation usually goes along the lines of – we have an event coming up that we would love some amazing images of that we can use across our social media and printed platforms. We have some amazing speakers and we have spent so much on the venue and food that we have no money for a photographer. You will be able to use the images for your portfolio, and we will credit you. Notice no one actually says the words ‘work for free’.
My response – “sorry I do not bring out thousands of pounds worth of equipment I use to make my everyday living with for free”.
Points to note
It is also worth noting that crediting the copyright owner (the photographer) is legal, not something the photographer is being given as part of their payment.
The photographer being able to use their own images in their portfolio is also something that is legal, not something they are given by the organisation/ person they are shooting images for. So this takes the exchange to simply ‘exposure’ and work for free.
The organisation thinks everyone will see these amazing images of a regular event like a conference (of which you probably have tons of examples already in your portfolio), contact the organisation to see who shot their images, find out you were free, but somehow want to pay for your services.
An amazing image or two
(Here are a couple of our conference / event images by the way, we do cover them, if you are blown away by this image, please feel free to contact us for our services).
I have on previous occasions suggested £600 worth of their services or products in return, which would be the cost of an average conference, but that is usually seen as an outrageous exchange.
Please shoot my line for free
I was contacted by a blogger / influencer / insta model who had a clothing line with Pretty Little Thing or Asos I can’t quite remember which one it was now, but to have a line on either of these multi million pound businesses is pretty major in my book
She wanted me to shoot this – for FREE. It would of course be an amazing opportunity to get my images on such a huge platform (which shows no credit to photographers anyway), and her instagram (which does credit photographers) that has thousands of followers. I suggested £600 worth of clothes, but this was so ridiculous to her, I could literally hear the laugh through the text message.
So in reality you are well …working for free.
It is also worth noting that a 6 hour conference would also accrue a couple hours of kit preparation at home, maybe 1.5 hours travel there and back, another 5 hours of image culling, editing, storage and delivery; so you have in fact done near on two days work for free.
PAYMENT – Exposure, Credit, Sandwiches and Drink (sometimes a free bag for life with the charity logo printed on it)
A Charitable Cause
It’s for the poor
The conversation is usually along the lines of – we work for x charity, and do some amazing work with x community. We are looking for someone to come along to shoot our event and support our cause, we will credit you on all out social media platforms and there will be drinks and sandwiches at the event that you are also welcome to have.
My response – “I respect your charitable organisation, I am a for profit business and sorry I do not bring out thousands of pounds worth of equipment I use to make my everyday living with, for free”. It is also worth noting here that many of these charities have bosses with 6 figure salaries, millions in the business bank account and not doing too bad at all. They may not be ‘for profit’ but many are in heck of a better financial situation than myself or most photographers I know!
3. AN INVITE
PAYMENT – Exposure, credit, having a great day / night out
Just come along … and bring your camera.
This conversation usually goes along the lines of – I’m having a birthday party / launch event / christening / wedding, I would love you to come if you can make it. Can you also bring your camera and “grab a few shots while you are here”.
This actually means you are the event photographer, organising groups, individual shots, wearing working clothes to the event not heels and a nice dress that I may otherwise wear, with the responsibility of making sure everything is covered.
Your work for free soon becomes very professional when the person that made the request comes back to you and ask why there is not a photo of x person, or when x spoke, or when x cut the cake – even though you were supposed to be just “grabbing a few shots”.
My response “I’m sorry but I can’t be a guest and your photographer at the same time, as a guest I do not bring out thousands of pounds worth of equipment I use to make my everyday living with, on a night / day out”
4. PORTFOLIO BUILDING
PAYMENT – Exposure, portfolio enhancement
As above – but it is stressed that these will be great portfolio images
This is especially so, if it is an event there may be some celebrities there. If it is a wedding it will be an amazing wedding, with a beautiful couple in an amazing venue. If a fashion show, there will be some amazing new talent showing.
You will be able to use the images for you portfolio as they will be so amazing. My response “Have you had a chance to take a look at my website, I have quite an extensive and varied portfolio” – having shot amazing weddings in the UK and as far
afield as Rwanda; public figures such as Barak Obama and celebrities such as Jamie Fox. I also shoot London Fashion Week and The Diamond League athletics – just to highlight some of my diverse work. So to date, I am pretty happy with my portfolio, and dare I say, I have some amazing content.
My response “I already have an extensive portfolio that I use to show clients the quality of my work. I am also sorry but I do not bring out thousands of pounds worth of equipment I use to make my everyday living with, for free”.
It is worth noting here that they rely on you being so blown away by the idea of shooting a celebrity, that that will suddenly mean you have no desire to get paid for your job.
If a wedding they rely on the idea that because they are a beautiful couple or are booking a nice venue, you don’t already have beautiful couples and great venues in your portfolio; Or that conventional stereotypical beauty is worth more. All established photographers will already have experience and a portfolio.
5. JUST GIVING A FREE IMAGE
PAYMENT – Exposure, credit, seeing your image in print / or a popular platform
“Can we use your x image for free in perpetuity, across all our platforms with credit to yourself”
This is usually line from newspapers and magazines, if you scroll through twitter you will often see tweets from newspapers asking to use images they find online.
It is also common with wedding and such venues after you have covered an event in their venue. Some of these usages would literally cost hundreds of pounds, sometimes thousands if there were to pay the going rate for it. I often get this after fashion shows from models, or events from the people present.
It’s just a photo, its not worth anything
Somehow, some people believe that giving away something of this value is not working for free. There is also a huge misconception that because they feature in the image, they have a right to it. This may come as a surprise to many but being the subject of an image gives you no more right over than image than not being in it. Celebrities do not own the images thousands of photographers take of them, royalty do not own the images taken of them. I also remember my mom having to pay for images that featured me when I was at school. Whats the difference?
The image was created because of the equipment and education you invested thousands in to be able to create it. If you are not compensated for this investment, you are again …working for free. My response to this type of request is “I am a full time photographer, as such all of my images are licensed, as part of my income, I can send you my licensing rates if you would like / the price is x”.
6. SPEAKING TO OUR GROUP
PAYMENT – A thank you
“We would like you to come and talk to our group of up and coming photographers, share some of your knowledge and tips”
I have spent a lot of money on education to get to my position; some of that money was spent with other photographers imparting their knowledge to me. I paid for their expertise.
I paid for the shortcut to know how to do particular things, because they had already put years into perfecting that thing. Knowledge has a value. Students pay thousands of pounds to go University …to gain knowledge.
That’s a little stingy of you, not everyone can afford to pay
This is the way of the world. We would not question BMW for not having their cars at a price everyone can afford. No one would complain to Apple for not making their iPhones at a price we can all afford.
A small business is no different.
My response to this type of request is “I am a full time photographer, as such my time and knowledge has a value, this is my income and I do not work for free”.
PAYMENT – Amazing images you can use for your portfolio to gain exposure and experience from
“Do you collaborate with other businesses / do you do collaboration shoots?”
If I come up with a crazy idea that I would like try out to test my artistic genes, this is a collaboration. A business contacting you for commercial images they need to market their business, is a commercial shoot, not a collaboration.
That’s a little stingy of you, not everyone can afford to pay
Yes some people can’t, they may be a small business like Lensi, and will have to do without some things they need.
Sometimes they are a huge business who wants to give shareholders extra money rather than paying a small business. Sometimes they see no value in photography, therefore just don’t want to pay for it.
But you do not need to take only these few thought out examples as gospel, the internet is littered with websites exposing the same.
Photographers also need to make a living too.
My response to this type of request is “I am a full time photographer, this is a commercial shoot not a collaboration, the cost would be x ”.
GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS WHEN WORKING FOR FREE
Just like a car, a camera has what I call “click mileage” a certain number of actuations and wear and tear, before it needs a major costly service, then before it dies altogether.
Yes camera’s has a life expectancy! They do not go on forever.
Enough of these free jobs brings it closer to this point, without contributing towards its repair or replacement. If photography is your business, your living, this makes little business sense. To keep using something, building up the wear and tear and click mileage, without any payment to replace that very thing. Imagine and Uber driver giving away free rides to charities, or for exposure because they are carrying celebrities and such. There then comes a day when they actually have a huge fare, someone that wants to travel from London to Birmingham for example, a nice payday … but unfortunately they cannot take up the offer because …their car has broken down due to the extensive free rides! Now working for free has actually ended up costing you the loss of real money!
DAMAGED OR BROKEN KIT
Another consideration when doing a free job, if something were to happen on this job, who pays? Who would pay for your kit if something is stolen or damaged at this free job?
You are already working for free, so is this organisation / person going to then say “I know we were not paying you for this gig, but here is £2000 for your stolen camera / here is £500 to repair the lens your dropped while covering our event” …
Would you simply get a sorry and an extra ham sandwich?
An insurance claim may cost you an excess of at least £250, so on top of the costs of working for free, this could cost the photographer quite a lot, all with any payment.
If the worst were to happen, and you had a paid job the next day, it would be irritating in the least, having to pay to hire a lens for a paid job, because the lens you own was damaged or stolen on a FREE JOB
WHAT USALLY HAPPENS WHEN YOU CANNOT AFFORD A SERVICE OR PRODUCT?
My last general consideration here is where I ask you to question what happens if you want a service or product you cant afford.
You have a few options:
- Steal it
- Do without it
- Buy a cheaper version
- Restructure your priorities / save for it
I can think of very few cases where I would ask for it for free, or steal it. So just for fun, I have given you a few examples of putting the same exposure requests that creatives get to other businesses and services.
WORKING FOR FREE REQUESTS
GYM OR FITNESS CLASSES
I would love to have a few months worth of sessions for free to enable me to get into shape.
I do loads of great work in the community and you would really be helping me out. Unfortunately, I don’t have the money to pay for this … but … I will credit you on social media every time I am at a class, naming the gym and instructor. I will also bring extra water with me to class for you to hydrate yourself with.
I need a new bathroom plumbing in. It is a lovely modern home which would be amazing on your website. A real show piece. I cannot afford to pay for the plumbing because I have already paid an electrician so much. I have also invested in some great designer artwork for the walls. You will be able to use images of my bathroom on your leaflets and website to show the quality of your work. I will also give you a great review.
Come along to my BBQ that I am having on Sunday, while you are here can you just bring your hair kit and give me a quick wash and blow dry! It is going to be a great day, great music and my famous BBQ spare ribs. It shouldn’t take you long.
SOME OF MY PERSONAL FAVOURITES OFFERS
(yes I have been personally approached with all these amazing opportunities)
1. A local council that had had their budgets cut during austerity. They were putting on a conference, but didn’t have the money to pay for this conference, so were asking everyone involved to work for free. Interestingly though, the council workers were being paid as it was part of their day job, so it was actually only small businesses that were being asked to work for free. The bigger businesses such as the one where the event was being held had been paid. I have a policy to never ‘help’ established multi million pound organisations or companies with FREE WORK.
2. A magazine who contacted me for an image they did not want to pay for (i.e free), to accompany an article about people not wanting to pay photographers. (I kid you not).
3. A very high end fashion house (think dresses in excess of 15k), think A list celebs, contacting me to use an image for free, not sure why as they had their own paid photographer at the event, maybe they did not capture the image that i did … who knows.
I have a policy of not giving free stuff to companies who have dresses that cost more than my car or what some people earn in a year.
4. This was was experienced by a colleague. He had shot a wedding a venue, the venue approached him to use a photo from this wedding. He was willing to do this and asked if in return he would use the venue for a styled shoot. The venues response “there would be an applicable hire charge for this, as a commercial venue for hire”.
So yes … we will happily have your work for for FREE, but please do not be so ridiculous as to ask to use our venue for free.
BEFORE I GO
Before all the critics rolls in, let me also clear up a few things I am expecting.
1. Everyone was new to the business once
People who are just starting in the business, with entry level kit and little experience will take up these opportunities; I did myself; but these are not the types of photographers the people who pay with ‘exposure pounds’ are looking for. Your value increases with the more experience (and kit) you accrue.
Think about how much you may pay a newly qualified solicitor compared to a Barrister. How much a Newly qualified teacher may get paid, compared to a year Head or Principal; an Actress with decades of Hollywood Blockbusters under her belt compared to someone just getting into the business. A consultant compared to a newly qualified doctor.
2. Lots of people do voluntary work.
Volunteer – “a person who OFFERS to take part on an enterprise or undertake a task” – see the key difference there?
3. Remember where you came from or started
I do. I remember starting at the bottom and spending thousands of pounds on courses, training and equipment, and investing thousands upon thousands of hours gaining the expertise that allows me to shoot and capture images the way I currently do. But I see no correlation between remembering your humble beginnings and being asked to work for free.
Just like some of the professions I have named above, I have done my ‘internship’ of FREE WORK. If you were asked to earn the same in your job that you have been in for many years, the same as someone who is not even qualified in it yet, would it slightly raise the irritation levels?
4. I would be overjoyed to have my image in print / on the instagram page of x organisation / x celebrity
Thats fine, and your choice. I would rather be paid with real money.
I will update this article periodically, but as of its publication that last time I was asked to work for free was August 2019.
5. I cannot see the big deal, what are photographers going on about, it is just a picture.
Try saying this to Karen Anvil who is rumoured to have made £50,000 from a photo she took on her phone of The young Royals on their Christmas walk.
Photos are how I pay my bills. Yes in todays world they have become so accessible. But each photo is worth something to a photographer, especially full time ones. Imagine being asked to come into work for one month for free …would you be jumping for joy at the opportunity or working for no pay.
My free work offers so far in 2019 total to £7,000 (August 2019)
I would be interested to see which other average everyday people give this amount to charity in a year.
This is what some other creatives have said about it?
My hope for this article.
I hope the article reaches some of the people it needs to…
We (creatives) hope those who ask people to work for free understand their request.
I wish that professionals that work for free understand what they are giving away.
Thanks to all my clients for the respect of paying me in real recognised currencies!!
Follow us on instagram to view some of our working for pay jobs!
Book Your Pre Wedding Photoshoot in London, Paris or Vegas
Pre Wedding Photoshoot in London
Many couples now choose to do pre wedding photoshoot in London and other major cities across the world. Paris, Las Vegas, Venice and so on.
The demand for a particular type of scenic backdrop that is recognised by all drives couples to travel across the world for this.
Some couples do their couples photoshoots in London by getting up very early in the morning to be part of an eerily quiet London backdrop before the work commuters kick in.
Others climb up mountains after driving hours to again get a particular type of backdrop.
Others brave the stares from crowds bemused at wedding photography taking place away from the wedding on Tower Bridge or in front of Big Ben or St Paul’s Cathedral which are all favourites for pre and post wedding couples photo shoots with Chinese or Asian Couples.
In some cultures, such as with Asian (if you are reading this from the US or other countries around the world) or Chinese (if you are reading this from the UK) couples, the traditions is to have pre wedding photos before the wedding, often wearing the wedding dress and suit, with many couples having pre wedding photoshoots in multiple cities across the world; or even to have a couples photoshoot in your wedding attires months after your wedding has taken place.
Other couples do this as a post wedding shoot after the wedding.
Whether you call it a pre wedding photoshoot in London or post wedding photoshoot? You may ask what is a pre wedding shoot? It has been described as a couples photoshoot but on steroids! It shows the couple looking their best, their most loving, it shows a fairytale, scenic backdrops, hollywood lifestyles, suits and cocktail dresses, fun laughter ….all with a professional editorial photoshoot edge. It shows the couple as people they have seeing celeb lifestyle magazines; and creates that memory of them that they can preserve forever.
Brides also often have Rock The Frock Shoots alone with a chance to get to wear their dress once more, without all the stress and time restraints of the big day!
With excellent knowledge of these cities Lensi Photography regularly shoot pre wedding photoshoots in London and post wedding shoots, creating a very personal piece of art for the couples. We are booked by Bride and Grooms from the UK, as well as by Bride and Grooms abroad. We also travel and shoot all over the world.
We also have a fashion background and are one of the photographers for London Fashion Week which influences our Pre Wedding Photoshoot Photography.
Contact us via the website or our Facebook Page for more information about creating art for your pre wedding photoshoot.
Or see more of our work featured in this blog here :
Your Perfect Wedding Photographer
Jago / Jaago Ceremony Photography – Sikh Punjabi Wedding Tradition
As a Female Wedding Photographer in Birmingham, who also covers Asian Weddings, even though I am not Asian, I often have anxious photographer colleagues who are covering their first Asian Wedding approach me for advice and information; knowing that as I too shoot Weddings from Culture’s and Religion’s different to my own, I would have at some point been in the same position.
After having to have done this a few times, it made sense to write a few blog posts on aspects of Asian Wedding and Asian Wedding Photography.
Jago / Jaago Ceremony Photography – Sikh Punjabi Wedding Tradition
This is a ceremony that happens before the main wedding, often part of a pre wedding party. Often held in a hall, but lower key than the main wedding.
Jaago means “wake up”. Before the days of Wedding Invites and Interactive Wedding Invites relative of the Bride and Groom used to go around their village the night before the wedding days carrying candle lit pots – before the days of electricity on their heads singing songs as a way of telling everyone that a wedding would be taking place the following day and as an open invitation to attend.
The traditional folk song is “jaago”, so they would encourage people to wake-up and join in the festivities.
The modern day conversation of this will see the family gather at a venue before the wedding, for a pre wedding party. At some point during the evening the main family members will disappear to another room and re enter the main room carrying Jaagos (pots with decorated lights) and Jaago sticks (decorated sticks) , which will be passed from person to person, who will carry them for a little while.
Traditional songs will be sung …and then …its time to PARTY! During the Jago / Jaago – Sikh Punjabi Wedding Tradition people will also share a meal, but then hit the dance floor (and also bar) hard. It is a reason to celebrate and people will do. As a Wedding Photographer, photographing a pre-wedding party, you will be expected to capture
- Guest entering and being greeted by the family
- Group shots of as many people at the event as possible
- Roaming shots of what is going on
- Venue Shots
- The procession coming into the main room for the Jago, close ups of the pots and sticks
- Shots of each person that has the Jago on their head
- Shots of all the close family members (siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents)
- Then Party Shots, stopping people on the dance floor periodically to get a shot of them posing for the camera.
Photographing a Wedding or Pre Wedding Party or event such as a Jago / Jaago from Cultures and Religions different to what you are familiar with does not need to be daunting, its simply about the familiarity. There are no restrictions on photography, after having done a few you will look back and wonder what al the anxiety was about!
If you are looking for a Wedding Photographer in Birmingham to cover your Wedding or Pre Wedding Party such as your Mendhi, Maiyan or Jago, contact us for a quote
Event Photography for Festivals – Ten Tips on How to Photograph a Festival
Event Photography for Festivals – Ten Tips on How to Photograph a Festival
Lensi Photography offer event photography for festivals and all types of events, from conferences to corporate events to personal events.
This year Lensi Photography were one of the event photographers for The Parklife Festival in Manchester. As always The Parklife Festival 2015 did not disappoint, a great mixture of Artists and DJ’s, a myriad of tents and stages that festival goers would be entertained by, great security and planning, all in all a great festival.
If you are a photographer, and are covering a festival for the first time, this blog may be of use.
HOW TO COVER A FESTIVAL
1 – GET THERE IN PLENTY TIME BEFORE THE FIRST ACT YOU WANT TO PHOTOGRAPH
Photographers will all give you stories of no one knowing how to direct them to the press room, confirmed passes not being where they should be, having to drag heavy kit across a field of drunk revellers or the press room simply being miles away.
So if the first act you plan to shoot is on at 1, get there at at least 12, especially on the first day.
2 – FOOTWEAR AND CLOTHING
As a photographer, although it is hard work covering a festival (wear the most comfy footwear you have) and don’t be fooled by there being no rain, the festival WILL be muddy, wear your your wellies to be safe. Also bring a number of layers to pile on as it gets colder in the evening, I started out in shorts and a top, built up to a sweater, then a hoody on top of that, then changed shorts for leggings, and finally added a coat … once the sun drops it gets pretty cold, and although it may look and feel great in the day to be in your summer festival clothes, many women looked on at me envious by the time night came.
3 – ACTS PERFORMING
Know your acts!! There will be a host of celebrities and public figuresThe highlight of this years festival for me was Grace Jones, what a legend! What an honour to be able to shoot (photograph in none photographer speak) someone like her, the trail blazer for artists like Lady Gaga, and even at age 67, she still has it, and all minus cosmetic surgery! The press pit was full for her performance, which shows this was the shot that everyone wanted.
It will be impossible to cover everything, so work out who you want to cover beforehand or at the start of the day so that you have a plan. This will depend on who you are shooting for, some photographers need lots of crowd shots, some only need main stage acts and so on, you just need to be clear on what you need to shoot.
4 – EQUIPMENT
I carry two bodies on a Black Rapid Double Strap to a festival like this. Two Canon 5d3’s a wide angle and a telephoto zoom, one body would be lighter, but I prefer to carry two for speed when a shot appears and you need to suddenly have a different angle. Carrying my camera around my neck simply does not work for me, its painful and uncomfortable, being able to carry my equipment on my body is much more comfortable.
Some photographers also bring a 300mm (or above) in case we have a shoot from the mixer. Others also bring a super wide angle (if we are really close to the stage) or a fish eye (for those fun type shots), but this is just too much to carry around for me.
5 – WALKING, GETTING TO AND FROM STAGES
Most photographers will be filing back to their respective agencies / magazines / publications, so there will be a lot of time spent doing and fringe getting to the various stages, then heading back to the press room to upload your images. A plus for this year was that we were transported via buggy a few times, which really saved on the legs! (image courtesy of fellow tog and Friend Paul Torode)
6 – HAVE AN IDEA OF WHAT TYPES OF IMAGES YOU WANT
Research images from pervious events, it will give you an idea of what kind of spaces and backdrops you will be working with. From an image point of view images taken at night or in the various tents look amazing as the lighting is always well put together.
The more you photograph these events the more you learn and know what to look out for, for example Rudimental who have won awards for their festival performances always enter stage with a jump from their front guy, going out into the crowd to shot the main stage from far away once your press pit time is over also may get you some exclusives as well as a great full stage shots, such as the ‘Disclosure’ shot in this set.
I also shoot video snippets (which can be found on our YouTube Channel) as it adds a little more life to your coverage, and is great for most agencies and publications.
7 – SHOOT WIDE AND TIGHT, NEAR AND FAR, USE YOUR 15 MINS / THREE SONGS WISELY
You will get the first three songs or 15 minutes of a DJ set in the pit. Use this time effectively. Resist any temptation you may have to let go and enjoy the music, you are not there to party! Get your shots, and then you may relax for a bit …until you have to head to the next stage.
It can be tempting to get close up shots of some of your favourite artists, shots where they can clearly be seen, but be sure to also get wide ones, where they form a tiny part of the image. Some of my favourite shots from this year are shot way away from the stage, after your time has finished in the pit, don’t be scared to walk into the crowd to get a different angle. I shot these once our 15 mins were finished in the pit.
8 – MAKE FRIENDS!
Your first time at a festival can be daunting! The pros will know where to go for what time, the quickest way to the different tents and so on. I remember my first festival I fought my way through crowds many times to get to a particular stage, to then find out that photographers can take a backstage route!
Festivals are generally friendly places, (not all photography environments are!) and I have made some really good friends who are also fellow photographers there. I have helped people out with batteries and memory cards and shooting, as they have me. It’s also nice to be able to work and have someone to talk to and laugh with. It is most definitely still work, but it is great fun too!
9 – EARPLUGS
Bring some unless you wish to sacrifice your hearing for the sake of getting your shots! The speakers are designed to project to thousands of people in front of a stage, and you are standing next to them ….figure that one out!
10 – TOILETS
Bring sanitiser and tissue, these are festival toilets, need I say more?!! Unless you have VIP tickets, which have assigned cleaners who monitor the tissue, cleanliness etc.
Roll on next year, and more festivals!
To book #LensiPhotography to #photograph and #event (#EventPhotographer, #EventPhotographerBirmingham) or #festival (#FestivalPhotography) contact us via our contact sheet or :
Lensi Photography offer sports photography coverage in Birmingham and beyond. Providing outstanding images for your sporting event.
See our blog post on The Sainsbury’s Diamond League here :
And the page for British Athletics Meets here :
To know more about, which all events we have covered in past, and what we are doing at the moment, please follow us on our various social channels. Links are listed below the left menu. We are looking forward to share some interesting facts and news with you always.
This is not the only event we cover, we cover all the corporate events, whether it is new product launch event, services providers event, conferencing, board meetings coverage, re-launching of organisations with new looks and ambiences, model photography, still-life photography, coverage of a complete business process.
Lensi Photography specialise in live music and concert photography in Birmingham and beyond.
We have photographed some of the worlds leading music artists including Mary J Blige, Snoop Dogg, Disclosure, Jay Z and Pharrell Williams.
See our blog post on photographing one of our lifelong idols Mary J. Blige here :