You have selected your venue and booked the date – the initial stage of wedding planning is complete! However, the next stage can be slightly overwhelming, selecting your photographer – how do you pick – who is the best – do they have substantial experience?
Northern Ireland is such a tiny hub when it comes to photographers, which is incredible, as we have so many talented people to choose from. However, you need to ensure that you do your research, just to be sure that the photographer you choose is just right for your special day. I got a chance to have a coffee with one of my absolute favourite photographers, Mark Barnes. To get an insight into his style and whats important to consider when it comes to photography and your wedding day.
I got to know Mark about a year ago when he started to shoot more and more of my weddings, and the photographs always stuck with me as they were so incredible!
Mark has been in the industry for years. His friend was a DJ, so Mark would join him at evening receptions and just snap away throughout the night, and as there were no decent iPhone cameras or Instagram, everyone wanted a copy of the images. He then shot his first wedding when he was 14 years old – yes I also choked on my coffee! By 15 years of age he had 10 weddings to his name, imagine letting a 15 year old shoot your wedding today, crazy! He has since shot 600 weddings since 2004, which basically sums up how talented he is.
What are your favourite moments of the wedding day?
My favourite moment is definitely the morning hype of the bridal party getting ready – everyone is always in a great mood, with the slight hint of nerves, which adds to the excitement. I’ve also become a tad soppy since becoming a dad to little Scarlett, so I can really connect with the father of the bride seeing his daughter in wedding dress.
How would you describe your style and approach & what inspires you?
This is always a tricky one. I think outside the box and like to capture natural yet classical moments. I provide the slightest bit of guidance and direction to my couples, but nothing is posed. I pride myself on continously delivering a great service. From the initial enquiry, I like to build a relationship with my couples, which makes the wedding journey personal, and the couples feel a lot more comfortable with me on the day. It’s also important to continue the service after the wedding. I always ensure that my couples receive their photos within a 4 week turnaround.
What advice do you give couples looking for a wedding photographer?
Research is key – check out their websites, social media and reviews – you will be able to get an insight into their experience and style. Make sure to meet with the photographer to build a rapport, you need to make sure you click with them from day one and you are seeing the same goals and he/she understands your expectations. Ask questions, such as album details, number of photographs included, how long will the photographer be there on the wedding day, and of course the photograph turnaround time after the wedding – you do not want to be waiting 6 months to see your photos! If you are both a little nervous in front of the camera, arrange for a pre-wedding shoot, as this will give you the opportunity to gain confidence and work closely with your photographer as a bit of a trial run.
Do you have any advice to ensure the day runs smoothly?
Timings are key – a lot of couples underestimate the time necessary for photographs. Now you should never be away from your guests for 2 hours, but this is your one opportunity to build your everlasting wedding album – so photo time is important! I tend to get all of the key family photos after the ceremony – it’s always useful to provide a suggested photo list for this to ensure nobody is missed. After this it’s the bridal party, which is always a bit of fun! I then take the bride and groom away on their own, as this is the one chance you get to spend with one another as husband and wife on your wedding day.
What does your standard wedding package usually consist of?
I absolutely love this sparkler shot with my previous couple Stef & Rab – such a perfect photo to finish off your wedding album! They were an absolute joy to work with and unfortunately were not graced with the best of days weather wise – however Mark certainly delivered the goods!
Do you have a favourite wedding venue in Northern Ireland to shoot at?
My top 3 would probably be Drenagh Estate, Galgorm Resort & Spa & Ballygally Castle. Each of these venues are completely different for photographing, which makes it difficult to choose just one. Most couples choose venues because of their photo opportunities which is great, as it saves a lot of time on the day not having to travel to a location.
What is your opinion on an unplugged ceremony?
I think they are a great idea for the ceremony, you are paying a photographer to capture all of those special once in a lifetime moments. So it’s slightly frustrating when I’m about to get the perfect shot of the bride and groom walking up the aisle as husband and wife and an uncle decides to stand out onto the aisle with his iPad! A moment you will never get back, so its important to advise guests of this.
And that’s a wrap! Have a browse through his Instagram to see even more of his wonderful work! I can’t wait to work alongside Mark in the near future to create something extra special for Jade Alexandra.
Love, Jade x