Fantastic Opportunity to work for FREE!

Anyone fancy working for FREE?

But not just ‘anyone’ we are 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 oen 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.

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 is an offer we (the creative community) get often.

After 7 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?

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. To anyone in the creative community, this 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!
Their 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 expect many of you fell off before the final question, 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 FREE. You see this type of ‘pro bono’ ‘fantastic opportunity’ offer has little value or appeal for most photographers once they are established. 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, but funnily enough, no one wants to work THAT hard for FREE … because thats just outrageous!

Payment : Exposure, portfolio images, credit
1. 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.

My response – “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 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’. 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 did their images, find out you were free, but somehow want to pay for your 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. So in reality you are 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 exposure.


PAYMENT – Exposure, Credit, Sandwiches and Drink
2. A Charitable Cause – 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 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!


PAYMENT – Exposure, credit, having a great day / night out

3. 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, people tapping you asking you to get a photo of them, wearing working clothes to the event not heels and a nice dress that I may otherwise wear. My

response “I’m sorry but I can’t be a guest and a photographer and sorry I do not bring out thousands of pounds worth of equipment I use to make my everyday living with, on a night / day out”


PAYMENT – Exposure, portfolio enhancement
4. As above – but it is stressed that these will be great portfolio images, especially 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. 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”.

Lensi Photography


Lensi Photography


Lensi Photography – Guhring Opening

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 a desire to not 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.


PAYMENT – Exposure, credit, seeing your image in print
5. “Can we use your x image for free in perpetuity, across all our platforms with credit to yourself” 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. Some of these usages would literally cost


Thomas Carters

hundreds of pounds, sometimes thousands if there were to pay the going rate for it. But somehow, some people believe that giving away something of this value is not working for free. It 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”.

I am sure there are others, feel free to share your experiences of new guises, new takes, other ways working for free has been pitched to you.

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS WHEN WORKING FOR FREE “CLICK MILEAGE” – 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!


Aaron Burden – RIP Camera

Enough of these free jobs brings it closer to this point, without contributing towards its repair or replacement. If photography is your business, this makes little business sense.

DAMAGED OF BROKEN KIT – Another consideration when doing a free job, if something were to happen on your job, who pays? Who would pay for your kit if something is stolen or damaged at this free job? Would you simply get a sorry and an extra cheese sandwich?


Eaters Collective

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

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

1. Steal it
2. Do without it
3. Restructure your priorities / save for it

I can think of very few cases where I would ask for it for free. 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.

GYM OR FITNESS CLASSES – I would love to have a few months worth of sessions for free to enable me to


Martin Barák

get into shape. I do loads of great work in the community and you would really be helping me out. 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.

PLUMBER – 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.

HAIRDRESSER – 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.


  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


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 frees OFFERS to take part on an enterprise or undertake a task” – see the key difference there?

3. Remember where you came from

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 wil update this article periodically, but as of its publication that last time I was asked to work for free was 8th August 2018.

This is what some other creatives have said about it?


I hope the article reaches some of the people it needs to…
By Lensi Photography. Lensi cover a range of genres including events, corporate, weddings and portraits. w: e:

No Photos in Church Please – Wedding Photography

“No Photos in Church Please” – Wedding Photography


As a wedding photographer this may seem like a crazy statement to see or hear, Wedding Photography is all about taking photos in Church or a Gudwara or any other religious place, but this has literally been what we have ben told in some churches when covering some weddings “No Photos in Church Please”.


You may be reading this with a puzzled look on your face, I certainly thought that the first time I was told this by a Minister.


Some churches (and I find this is common in churches of a certain denomination – naming no names, I have never had this in any other religious ceremony) and I cover all kinds of Weddings in Birmingham and beyond, from Muslim Weddings to Sikh Weddings to Christian Weddings to Hindu Weddings.

This seems to have been a topic in many forums, with wedding photographers firm on each side.



There are photographers who believe that the Minister’s wishes for his / her church are paramount, and will happily sit at the back of a church for the whole ceremony, and only get shots when he bride is walking in, walking out and signing the register, which is what is allowed by that Minister.



There are other photographers who believe that their clients (the Bride and Groom) wishes are paramount, and if they want images of their ceremony, even if that means going against the Minsters wishes, so be it


I genuinely find that many couples do not know that some churches do not allow Wedding Photography or are not friendly to Wedding Photography at their venue. I photograph a lot of Asian Weddings where it is common for at least 4 photographers and cinematographers to be at one wedding, but not uncommon for their to be as many as 8 staff capturing the day.

So what are the reasons for this, these have been ‘reasons’ we have been given:

1. Some cite over zealous previous photographers, rolling on the floor etc to take photos, I have never personally seen this, or know any photographers that have personally seen this at a wedding, and I have a lot of photographers in my circles. I have however seen these clips on YouTube

2. The couple need to concentrate on the vows they are making before God. You have to question if having pictures taken make them think any less about what they are undertaking.

3. It distracts the guests / couple. Wedding Photography and Cinematography are now such a normal part of a Wedding Day, again I would question who it distracts. I know that when I photograph weddings, I wear soft loafer shoes (as do my other staff), and dress in all black, a ninja would be hard pressed to be more slight than me. I find guests phones pinging, children crying in church, and guest photographers with iPhones and iPads that need to go right up to the Bride and Groom to get a shot, much more distractive.

4. The couple will remember it better if they concentrate on what is happening. I find that for many brides especially the day goes by in whirlwind, they have been planning their wedding day for years, and before they know it, their wedding day is over. So what do they have to remember their wedding day by? Their Wedding Photography and Wedding Cinematography.

5. It is Gods House and it is disrespectful for be snapping away or moving about the place. Some churches stream church services, some churches have no problem with wedding photography, so it makes you question what is it about the churches that do not see it in this way? We live in a world documented by images, and sharing so many parts of our lives. Imagine one of …if not the biggest day of your life, and whole chunks of it are missing, because the minister was not happy with it? In fact you have more photos from your works trip to Nandos than you do of your wedding ceremony?

6. Data Protection (especially when signing the register). Is the data that is being protected the data of the Bride and Groom whose wedding you are photographing for them? of them signing a register that later becomes a publicly available document that can be looked up in any library or obtained online for a few pounds? This month we photographed a Wedding at the fantastic New Testament Church of God (George Street Church whose Minister suggested a shot where the Bride and Groom hold up their register towards the camera to get a shot.

7. We simply do not allow it! No Photography in Church please! The couple have paid for a photographer to deliver a service. The couple have paid to have their wedding at a church and a Minster deliver a service. If one obstructs the other and stops them delivering that service, are they doing the best for their customer? The Bride and Groom. The guests on the other hand, can snap away at any point, and more than a few with have DSLR cameras …. for all of us at Lensi, the Wedding is always about the Bride and Groom, we will advise  so that they get the best from their day, and always do our best for them.


Now this is not meant to sound like a moan about churches, we have worked with some fantastic Ministers and Churches, in fact most of them have been, but just a short post for you to consider when choosing a church for your Wedding Day. It is something most Brides and Grooms do not know, so its useful information.  This has genuinely only happened at weddings I have photographed a few times, but when it has happened the Bride and Groom were not made aware of this rule about wedding photography.


Their photographer has either had to ignore the Minsters wishes, much to their disdain. Debate with the Minster, again also much to their disdain, or not get any pictures during their ceremony, only images of them coming into church, walking back up the aisle, and signing the register! And thats it!


So when you are looking at a venue for your Wedding Photography, consider all the things you normally would for your wedding day. The sentimental links that church may have to your family, its location, how beautiful it looks, if it can hold all of your weddings guests, how far it is for you to travel….and also if they have problems with photography!


If you are happy with limited images during your ceremony, none of the guests or mom and dad smiling or crying during the service, no close ups of the special moment when a ring is placed on a finger, none of the bride looking into the yes of the groom or vice versa, this is fine.


If not think about asking the question on their approach to photographers in the ceremony! And decide if you want photography or not, it may be such an issue where you have to consider changing your venue (if you want Wedding Photography!)


We are a Photography and Cinematography Company in Birmingham, lead by a Birmingham Female Photographer. We cover a range of genres of Photography. Contact us for a quote if you are getting married and are looking first for a Female Photographer in Birmingham, a Photographer in Birmingham or Photography in other parts of the UK! (We travel!!)


To see some of the weddings  that we have been able to photograph freely, creating lasting memories for the Bride and Groom, see our Weddings Gallery, when we meet of a consultation we will also take you though a whole days coverage of our Wedding Photography.


DJ – Lensi

Press Photography – 10 Tips for Shooting at 10 Downing Street

Press Photography at 10 Downing Street

Lensi Photography offer Press Photography in Birmingham and Nationally.


We have captured some of the major news events we all see on front pages of the worlds medisAs press photographers we though it may be useful to offer tips for those wanting to do more press photography, and what more iconic press photography is there than photography at one of the most famous streets in the UK. Number 10 Downing Street, the Home of the Uk Prime Minister.

Press Photography – Number 10 Downing Street

We have all seen those iconic images shot in one of the UK’s most iconic and well known streets, Lady Margaret Thatcher leaving number 10 with a tear in her eye after three consecutive terms in office.

Gordon Brown walking out of Downing Street with his family.

The Chancellor of each Parliament preparing to deliver the budget.

You may be wondering how you get to shoot at the famous number ten?

Here are ten tips for this :

1 – you must have an NUJ (National Union of Journalists) Press Card. It proves you are an official journalist, nothing else will be excepted. See the NUJ website on acquiring one of these if you do not already have one.

2 – Be prepared for an airport style search and scan of all your equipment. The street was gated in during the time that the IRA were very active; so everyone will be searched.

3 – The Press Pen is about 30 feet away from the door, a 70-200mm on a full frame camera is an ideal length. Some photographers also bring something longer, most will also have a wide angle with them too.

4 – Getting a Good Spot – the prime spot is smack bang opposite number 10. Most photographers will pile around this area, you may need to get there early to get this spot.

Downing Street

Downing Street

5 – Bring a ladder – as everyone wants the central spot, there will be a clump of photographers around this area, on varying height ladders; with those at the back being on 6ft and above sized ladders. As always be prepared to not be precious over personal space, photographers pack in tight!




ladder press photography

ladder press photography

6 – Wear / bring something warm – Even on a hot day the press pit is in the shade, so gets none of the natural sunlight. You will often be waiting for hours to ensure you get a good spot before your shoot begins. It’s no fun being cold when you are shooting.

7 – Be prepared – although you may have been waiting for hours, your shooting time will literally be minutes, even seconds in some cases. The Prime Minster or an official guest leaving or arriving, and not even really posing for the cameras. I recently shot the US first family the Obamas, Michelle waved as the entered and left number 10, her daughters and mother who accompanied her literally did not look at the camera. Be aware that not all guests will pose. Know who you are there to shoot and what they look like, again if that person steps out of a car that you do not expect, you want to be ready to get the shot that you need to get

8 – Commit to how you are going to shoot before hand – what do you need from the arrival? what is the money shot? Will you use flash or not? I was shooting with a 24-105 and 70-200 on one occasion, and int he seconds it took me to lift one camera from my strap and drop the other (still also attached to my harness – don’t worry) I missed a crucial wave by David Cameron and his guests. Lesson learnt, shoot with whatever you have in your hand at the time, a no perfect shot is better than non at all.

9 – Speed – most people will be shooting for agencies or publications, as soon as the main event is over, a myriad of photographers will drop to the floor or retire to ‘the wall’ with coats over their heads to see the screen and begin to file their images. If you have a 4Gee Internet dongle it works in double speed in Downing Street, so this is the best place to file your images.

10 – These are some images, copyright of Lensi Photography of The First Lady Michelle Obama’s visit to David Cameron at number 10 Downing Street. We were working for two photo agencies in delivering these images, which were filed and online within minutes. This type of press photography or event photography is not for for everyone, but it does harness you with excellent skills for other types of photography, such as speed in getting images edited, shooting in a fashion where only minimal editing is needed, and planning your shots beforehand.

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.



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.


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.



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.

Grace Jones performing live on stage at Parklife 2015 in Manchester, true to her usual form Grace appears on stage bare chested wearing only body paint.

Grace Jones performing live on stage at Parklife 2015 in Manchester, true to her usual form Grace appears on stage bare chested wearing only body paint.

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.



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.



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)







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.



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.

House DJ Duo Disclosure close Day one of Parklife 2015 performing live on stage

House DJ Duo Disclosure close Day one of Parklife 2015 performing live on stage

Manchester, UK, 06 June 2015 Stage Crowdsshots at The Parklife two day festival 2015 at Heaton Park in Manchester © Denise Maxwell/ Alamy Live News

Stage Crowdsshots at The Parklife two day festival 2015 at Heaton Park in Manchester

Manchester, UK, 06 June 2015 Stage Crowdsshots at The Parklife two day festival 2015 at Heaton Park in Manchester © Denise Maxwell/ Alamy Live News

Stage Crowdsshots at The Parklife two day festival 2015 at Heaton Park in Manchester










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!



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!



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 :

Festival stickers3 circle






Not one to be in the spotlight Award winning DJ EZ DJ's in no lights focussing on him at the main stage

Not one to be in the spotlight Award winning DJ EZ DJ’s in no lights focussing on him at the main stage

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Crowds enjoying the Parklife 2015 Festival held annually at Heaton Park in Manchester

Crowds enjoying the Parklife 2015 Festival held annually at Heaton Park in Manchester

Crowds enjoying the Parklife 2015 Festival held annually at Heaton Park in Manchester

Crowds enjoying the Parklife 2015 Festival held annually at Heaton Park in Manchester

Crowds enjoying the Parklife 2015 Festival held annually at Heaton Park in Manchester

Crowds enjoying the Parklife 2015 Festival held annually at Heaton Park in Manchester

Crowds enjoying the Parklife 2015 Festival held annually at Heaton Park in Manchester

Crowds enjoying the Parklife 2015 Festival held annually at Heaton Park in Manchester

2015 evicted Big Brother Housemates spotted at Parklife 2015

2015 evicted Big Brother Housemates spotted at Parklife 2015

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Crowds enjoying the Parklife 2015 Festival held annually at Heaton Park in Manchester

Crowds enjoying the Parklife 2015 Festival held annually at Heaton Park in Manchester

Jessie Ware performing live on stage at Parklife 2015 Festival in Manchester, UK

Jessie Ware performing live on stage at Parklife 2015 Festival in Manchester, UK

Crowds enjoying the Parklife 2015 Festival held annually at Heaton Park in Manchester

Crowds enjoying the Parklife 2015 Festival held annually at Heaton Park in Manchester


Manchester, UK, 06 June 2015 George Ezra performing live on stage at The Parklife two day festival 2015 at Heaton Park in Manchester © Denise Maxwell/ Alamy Live News

George Ezra performing live on stage at The Parklife two day festival 2015Nas performing live on stage as the headline act at Parklife 2015 Festival in ManchesterNas performing live on stage as the at Parklife 2015 FestivalRudimental Performing Live on stage at Parklife 2015 Festival in Heaton Park, Manchester, UK


Rudimental Performing Live on stage at Parklife 2015 Festival in Heaton Park, Manchester, UK


Rudimental Performing Live on stage at Parklife 2015 Festival in Heaton Park, Manchester, UK

Rudimental Performing Live on stage at Parklife 2015 Festival

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Grace Jones performing live on stage at Parklife 2015 in Manchester, true to her usual form Grace appears on stage bare chested wearing only body paint.

Grace Jones performing live on stage at Parklife 2015Grace Jones performing live on stage at Parklife 2015 in Manchester, true to her usual form Grace appears on stage bare chested wearing only body paint. Grace Jones performing live on stage at Parklife 2015 in Manchester

How To Choose Your Wedding Photographer – 10 Tips for Brides-to-be

How to Choose Your Wedding Photographer



So he (or she) has popped the questions which sets all the plans in place. You have a lot to arrange, with one of the important things being your photography and video / cinematography and how to Choose Your Wedding Photographer.


Before the pessimism sets in with thoughts of “you are only saying that because you are a photographer” I have always understood the importance of photography. I have images of events that have long since passed in many people’s memories, events where people spends a lot of time and effort arranging, but did not see images as important at the time. Events dating back decades. Keeping that in mind, on a day that you only plan to do once. A day that you have spent thousands on. A day that you have planned for months of even years. A day where you will be surrounded by everyone that means anything to you, choosing a wedding photographer  is hugely important. Why would your images that preserve that day (both moving and still images) not be one of the most important things to plan.


I advise brides (as I mostly work with brides when booking) of the following, when deciding how to Choose your Wedding Photographer.


Your wedding photographer will be with you during some very personal and private moments, not only between you and your other half. But also while you are getting dressed in the morning, during some very emotional moments etc. So it is important that although they are there to do a job, that you get on with them. You will create better images together if you are all at ease with each other


In some cultures it is important that elders are involved in your choices of wedding photographers. If that is important to you, bring them along to any meetings that you need to before decisions are made. It can be a very stressful situation for all involved if a photographer is chosen for their style, and it is a style that the parent do not like. Which may be the case with more contemporary type wedding photography. Be prepared for the difficulties of you and your partner liking one type of wedding photography and your parents / grandparents liking another; and what you will do if that situation arises. Is it more important to please your parents, or to have images that you will love now and in years to come?



Choose a wedding photographer whose style you like! Photography is the same as any other type of art. It is not viable to choose a wedding photographer then ask them to shoot in the style of a photographer that you did not book. After all, would you hire break-dancers to perform at your reception and then ask them to dance in the style of ballroom?


I know it may sound cheesy when photographers talk about investments; however this is what your photography is. I always find it strange that people will spend £500 on cars they have for three hours, £1000 on a cake that will be cut apart and eaten after a few hours, thousands on a venue that they will have for a few hours…..and then scrimp on their photography, something that they will not only have for a lifetime, but your photographer will often spend weeks on your wedding, so what is the actual cost, when you break down the hours. I advise brides and couples to spend as much as they can afford to on three things. Their dress – it is important to feel a million dollars on your day, this will reflect in your images and how you are for the whole day. Their make-up – the wonders a good make-up artist can make are sometimes unbelievable. Having your make up professionally done and done well, again helps you to feel the best you can feel on such an important day, this will keep you glowing throughout the day. Sorry guys but I have never heard anyone every say about a wedding “did you see the guys suits, they were amazing” or “didn’t the groom look amazing”…have you? And of course your photography and video / cinema. If you have a budget and have to cut something short, look at other things….. sorry to suppliers of these other things that I am about to name, its not a dig, but ….. I have shot weddings many times where everything is so rushed that the wedding photographer does not even have time to images of the car, so all that money is spent for a few hours and that is it. Most people will have someone among their family or friendship network that have a lovely car that can be used. The food, a good feed is always lovely, of course it is. But again have you ever heard anyone say about a wedding “did you taste how amazing that food was?” and remember it for years to come. Are the the images people will want to put on Facebook ?These are just a couple things to think about, if you have tight budgets, rather than booking cheaper photography.



Do not simply consider the final price when booking a photography package. Look at what you will actually be getting for what you are paying. This may sound simple, but people get sidetracked by and end price without understanding what they will be getting. I remember quoting an amount for one wedding. The quote included full day coverage, two photographers, a set of digital images and album. The couple eventually decided to book someone who was £200 cheaper.

They did not take into account that for that £200 they were only getting one photographer, part day coverage, no digital images….and not to mention the photography was miles apart.

Another example from another couple who booked a photographer much cheaper than us, the photographer booked stood at the back of the church for the whole ceremony and only offered one photographer, all the exchanging or rings, first kiss and walking down the aisle images were taken from the back of the church. Our previous coverage in the same church has images from different angles. He also used an entry level camera (which there is nothing wrong with) however he had to use a tripod to capture all of the images, due to lacking ISO, which much of effected his creativity. Although it is NEVER just about the camera, when you decide how to choose your wedding photographer, the equipment used is also important.


The price of your photographer will be based on a few things.

The equipment they use – as a non photographer it may seem that a camera is a camera, but it really is not. And this is not to say that the camera creates the image, as it does not, but it makes some situations possible and also adds extra security in others. For example some cameras do not have great low light capabilities, so if your photographer has one of these and you plan to have a ceremony in a very dark environment or a reception with low lighting and mood lighting, this may pose a problem or they would have to use more flash than ideal.

Some pro cameras can also make an instant copy / backup of an image onto a second card. Memory card have been known to fail, so imagine the extra peace of mind knowing that your photographer has two copies of your images instantly.

Higher end photographers will also use a range of lenses to achieve different looks throughout your wedding. Yes believe it or not, having a camera is only the start! They may use a range of lenses, different lights etc. over your whole day.

Experience and style also counts for a lot. If you look, really look at photography you will see that some wedding photographers create images, some capture them, some create wow images, some ‘snap’ the more creative and experienced your photographer the more the investments will probably be. Another analogy to use here would be going to the hair dressers. The Senior and Junior stylist will give you a similar outcome in terms of your hair, but you will be paying more for the Senior stylist to do it, these are just a few simple differences.

Using the car analogy, consider there are photographers that are the full range, Ford Focuses, BMWs, Range Rovers, and Bentleys. Then within that some may come as the basic car, while others will have electric windows, parking sensors, heated seats and so on. Decide what is important to you? Some people are not too bothered about a nice car and simply want something that functions, whereas other people like to get from A to B in a bit more style.


Using the shoes analogy you will get very similar looking shoes that are in New Look, River Island, Kurt Geiger or Louboutin, but there will be differences in the quality, materials, brand and so on. Take these into account when deciding how to choose your photographer.

(these two analogies are not meant to support gender stereotypes *Disclaimer)



Your images and album creation should take time. You would not expect to wait the same time for your food in a restaurant the same amount of time as you would in McDonalds. Ask yourself why this is?


Most pro photographers that shoot weddings will shoot in a format called RAW. Which means similar to a negative film images all have to be processed after the wedding, what you see on the back of the camera is just a preview shown in the camera. So thinking “why are they taking so long, all the images have already been done” is not necessarily true. Think about how much time your photographer is investing if this is the case.


  • If it is possible, have a pre wedding shoot with your photographer. Not only is it a great way of bonding, and knowing how you work together before the big day, but many couples now use these images for their signing in books or have a slideshow of their images playing upon their entrance, or during the drinks reception.


  • Have your photographer take you through a whole wedding of images. It is not impossible for people to ‘fluke ‘ a great image or two, looking at a whole wedding gives you a good idea of how they really shoot.



  • Do not underestimate the value of two photographers. We always shoot wedding with two photographers, so that one person can be with the groom and the other with the bride. This also offers extra insurance on such a big day. What if your photographer (god forbid) falls over on the day and injures their ankle, what happens to the rest of your images? What if their camera is damaged? I have had a lens fall and break during a wedding, our second photographer was able to continue shooting allowing me to go to the car to get a back up.

There are many more, but these are things I always talk to brides about. Use your photographers as a resource, they have done this many times over and can probably really easily answer anything you’re unsure about regarding your wedding.


Either way enjoy the journey and make informed decisions when deciding How To Choose Your Wedding Photographer.


Lensi – DJ

To Commission #LensiPhotography as your #WeddingPhotographer to #Photograph your #wedding in the uk or a #DestinationWedding contact us via our contact sheet, we will be happy to discuss your #WeddingDay needs.








Shooting Wildlife – Gorilla’s in the Mist

Shooting Wildlife

Gorillas in the Mist

I remember seeing Gorilla’s in the Mist in the 1980’s, I actually half did not believe that it was possible to see humans so close to wild Gorillas and them live to tell the tale. It was amazing to imagine a person being able to do this. The film tells the story of Dian Fossey zoologist and anthrapologist who dedicated her life to studying the mountain gorillas of Rwanda, Africa.


However, on a wedding commission to Kigali in Rwanda, we got to experience this for ourselves first hand.


The National Conservation Trust runs Gorilla treks to see actual wild Gorilla families, this is actually the same place that the film was made, and where Dian Fossey on who the film was based, devoted her life to the study of primates.



First you must obtain a license authorising you to do so. There are a limited number of license available each day, so this needs to be planned well in advance. The licenses do not come cheap, although there is a local price for Rwandans.


The day starts very early, 7am meet, where you will meet with other ‘hopefuls’, we have to use this words because not everyone is capable of completing their mission!



After a briefing, and introduction to the small group (8 people) that you will be trekking with, do’s and dont’s, you start your trek up a step mountain towards the heavy forested area where they live. This is not an easy feat… even relatively fit people will find themselves stopping for water or a rest, and this trek can continue for any length of time from an hour onwards, depending on how far your family of Gorillas are on that day.

Some of us found ourselves ready to give up, with legs no longer to lift to climb the steep mountain, and as the air gets thinner, an inability to get enough oxygen into your lungs.



When we finally reach the edge of their habitat, again briefings were reiterated, and suddenly you are filled with such excitement and anticipation that the adrenalin takes away all of the fatigue! We trekked for a further 30 minutes to find out small family, the TITUS family, we came across an adult female, Silverback male, and infant Gorilla.

It is difficult to describe the feeling, you are in the presence of real Gorilla’s!! You are humbled into submission at the greatness of these animals sitting only feet away from you.

Contrary to their depiction in many films, they seem placid, happy to just sit and eat, with the exception of the infant who runs around playing, even curiously touching the leg of one of us. As long as you do not impinge on them, and show them the respect they command in their own environment, they allow the temporary trespass of these strangers on their territory.

We follow them around for a while, in true jungle environments, the guides using machetes to cut trees and branches and other foliage to clear some sort of path for us, each new member of the family that we come across is as exciting as the last.

It is a true once in a lifetime experience.



I would have loved to bring every lens I had and could possibly use, however, practicalities. The trek is gruelling, if I could have done without carrying water I would have, just for the additional loss of weight. I carried one camera body and two lenses, and in the end, I wish I had carried just the one! A great range telephoto zoom is all you need. I carried one of the less expensive bodies for fear of a Gorilla taking my camera and me not being able to do anything about it!