Frequently Asked Questions

Harlestone Village Institute wedding photography of bride's wedding dress and flowers

You have questions, of course you do. You most probably have lots of questions. It’s your wedding day, after all. You’re going to spend a lot of time, effort and most probably a lot of money on getting it exactly how you want it. So it’s only right and proper you ask all the questions you need to. So to help, here are answers to frequently asked questions I get about my wedding photography. If you can’t find an answer to your question here, then give me a call on +44 (0)7920 422144 or send a message via the form at the end of this page.

What do you mean you’re not a traditional wedding photographer?

London wedding photography of a laughing bride, shot in a wedding photojournalism style

What’s the first that comes to your mind when you think of wedding photography? Lots of set-up portraits and group shots? Lots of people waiting around, getting bored as an increasingly exasperated photographer shouts and yells for people to “look this way” and “say cheese?” Staged moments that clearly didn’t happen or evolve naturally? The same old cutting the cake shots? Portraits of Uncle Bob and Auntie Madge looking all stiff and uncomfortable? Every wedding shot in same photos-by-numbers system as the last wedding?  Exactly! I approach weddings in a different way, that’s been borne out of years shooting photojournalism and candid street photography. I purposefully avoid shooting like a wedding photographer.  Imagine it more like a news photographer covering your wedding.

So what is a storytelling approach then?

Wedding photojournalism of two same sex couples laughing during a LGBT wedding in New Malden. Taken by Surrey documentary wedding photographer, Darren Lehane.

Well, for starters it can also be called wedding photojournalism, documentary wedding photography, wedding reportage photography or even candid wedding photography.  But don’t get too confused by that, it all means the same thing in essence.  Basically it is capturing your wedding day in a natural, candid and unobtrusive manner without the photographer intervening or setting things up. It’s all about documenting the real moments, genuine emotions and true story of your day as it evolves. It’s not about dictating what happens, it’s about reacting to what does.   You can read more about wedding photojournalism here.

So you don’t take traditional portraits on the day?

Colour wedding photography of the bride and groom embracing amongst the vines, during the wedding reception at Highdown Vineyard in Ferring, West Sussex.

Yes, I do. After all, I appreciate that some couples will also want some posed portraits, so I happily undertake a small number of posed portraits and group shots on the day. However, it’s not my main focus and normally only accounts for about 5% at most of what I shoot at wedding.  If you don’t think this is enough or you are wanting a lot more, then I’m might not be the right wedding photographer for you. You can check some of my favourite posed portraits here.

How about all the traditional must have moments?

It goes without saying that I capture all the must have shots like the first kiss, cutting the cake, the first dance, etc., throughout the day. However, I will capture them as creatively as possible without intervening or dictating on how they should be “set up”.

What do you mean when you say you don’t want perfect photos?

For me what matters most is capturing perfect moments that tell your genuine wedding story rather than worrying about technically perfect photos. If I’m constantly fiddling with camera settings or checking and re-checking my camera’s LCD screen to make sure the photo looks technically perfectly, then chances are I am going to miss those special, one-off moments. As a wedding storyteller I definitely don’t want to be doing that! Of course, I’m not saying images shouldn’t be as good as they can be and, given my years of experience, I can generally get them right on instincts, but I’m not going to worry about getting them exactly spot on if it risks missing a moment. You can read more about perfect photos vs perfect moments here.

Why are some of your photos grainy or not always pin sharp?

Aside from the answer I give above about making sure I get the perfect moment rather than the perfect photo, I do from time to time intentionally increase the grain (aka noise) in my photos or shoot with a shallow depth of field where everything is not always in focus. This is usually for artistic reasons and reflects my personal style.  I actually don’t like how digital images are so clean and sterile looking. In the days of film, there was a natural grain caused by the chemical process and that often gives a photo mood, atmosphere and character that is often missing in ultra clean and bland digital images. I love using a shallow depth of field (blurring backgrounds or certain parts of an image) to enhance images.  To be blunt, I don’t want my photos to look like a million other wedding photos. I want them to be individual and distinct.  Think of it like highly produced modern pop stars with every note pitch perfect vs the crackly old imperfect records of some soul great.

So why don’t you shoot with film cameras?

The immediacy and spontaneous nature of digital cameras suits the way I work, much more than film cameras ever did. But I do admit that I still prefer the organic and less than perfect look that you get with film as opposed to technically perfect digital images. For that very reason, I do edit my digital images with a film look aesthetic that forms part of my signature style. So I like to balance the ease of shooting with digital with giving it a less digital look.

Why are you more expensive than another wedding photographer I’ve seen?

Whilst I appreciate that price is always important and that you will have a certain budget for your wedding day, you should understand that you are paying for a wedding photographer not wedding photography.  It’s a fine line I know, but you are paying for my individually unique way of seeing and shooting a wedding, my approach, my talent and my experience.  Wedding photographers and wedding photography are not born equal – there’s different styles, different approaches and different abilities. So I charge what I believe I’m worth.  Therefore, if you don’t really appreciate photography or that wedding photography is simply a tick box exercise for you then I suspect I’m not the right wedding photographer for you. It it helps, you can read more about why you shouldn’t just focus on price here.

How many hours do you attend for on the day?

Storytelling wedding photography of the groom checking his watch before the wedding ceremony in St Andrew church, Merstham. Documented by one of London's best wedding photographers, Darren Lehane.

As I aim to document your wedding story as fully as possible, I will endeavour to cover as much of your wedding day as I possibly can – but this can depend on location, travel requirements, etc.  As a general rule of thumb I will always attempt to cover from the morning preparations through to just after the first dance in the evening, but as every wedding is different it will vary from wedding to wedding.

Do you shoot half days or ceremony only weddings?

Not usually. I commit to full wedding days and ensuring I get the most complete story of your day as I can.

What areas do you cover?

Whilst I am based in south London, I am happy to shoot weddings throughout the UK and for destination weddings overseas.

Do travel and accommodation costs apply?

Northants wedding photographer documents the wedding reception at the Northampton Marriott Hotel

Yes, in certain circumstances travel and accommodation (if required) expenses may apply for some weddings further afield.  However, I will always a keep these costs to the very minimum possible and they will always be agreed with you well in advance.  For those weddings that may require extensive travel and time away I am more than content to agree an individual package for you.

Do we need to feed you on the day?

I certainly don’t want you to go to the cost and effort of feeding me within the wedding breakfast/meal itself – but if a small snack(s) can be provided this would be appreciated. I also use this time whilst you and your guests are eating to recharge batteries, back up cards, etc.  If food is a problem, then I am more than happy to bring my own sandwiches/snacks – so just let me know.

Do you photograph during the wedding breakfast/meal?

Colour documentary wedding photography of a hogroast being prepared, during the wedding reception in Nether Heyford, Northampton.

The simple answer is no, usually not.  No wants to see Auntie Madge with a mouthful of roast beef or Uncle Fred spilling gravy down his tie.  So it’s the only time of the day I will not be taking photographs – but I will make sure I am there for all the speeches and toasts.

How many photos will I get?

Wedding photojournalism of the ceremony at Woodlands Park Hotel in Stoke D'abernon near Cobham in Surrey

As each and every wedding is different its difficult to ever give an exact number, but on average a minimum of 750 images is usual.

How do I receive my wedding photos?

All images are sent out on a USB stick as high resolution JPG files within 14 days of your wedding date.  You will also received watermarked low res images too, which are handily sized for immediate use on social media – so you can start sharing them straight away.

Do we own the rights to our wedding photos?

The copyright in your images remains with me as the photographer – but I will assign you full non-commercial rights to use them as you please. This means printing, sharing with others, etc.  All you would not be able to do, without my expressed permission, is use them in a commercial sense (i.e. to sell them on, use in the sale, promotion or marketing of products/services, re-editing then etc) You can read more about wedding photography and copyright here.

Can our guests buy files/prints of themselves from our wedding?

I don’t up-sell after weddings, so don’t sell directly to any of your family, friends or other guests.  However, I am more than happy for you to share digital files with your friends and family who can arrange to print them themselves.  Of course, the same rights as above apply to those shared onwards.

Do you use our wedding photos elsewhere?

Surrey reportage wedding photography of two young guests playing at being brides, on the steps of Gatton Hall in Surrey. Taken by one of London's best wedding reportage photographers.

It is really helpful for me to share some of the fabulous photos from your wedding day. This will typically be on my website and on social media. I may also submit to other wedding blogs or use the photos to submit to photography competitions.  This is only ever for promotional reasons and I am always very grateful for you allowing me this privilege. However, if you would prefer I don’t use your photos for promotion just let me know.

Do you offer wedding albums?

Yes, I can offer you either affordable coffee table story books or more traditional wedding albums. Given the number of different combinations I can quote you a price on these based on your personal requirements.

Do you edit the images you provided?

I will undertake a basic edit to enhance the images, such as adjusting brightness, contrast and colour correction – as well as applying my signature film look. I do not undertake “photoshopping” or “airbrushing” of images such as cloning out parts of the image, changing someone’s appearance etc.  As a documentary wedding photography my approach is to catch things as they are.

Do I get colour or black & white images?

My passion has always been black & white photography but I will provide an equal mix of colour and b&w images.  I will generally decided during the editing process which images work best as colour and which work best as black and white – based on my experience and what I had in mind at the time of shooting.

Can we have the unedited RAW files so we can edit our photos ourselves?

The look, mood and feel of the final images I produce for you are all part of my overall service.  The look of those images is central to who I am as a wedding photographer.  I often know in my head, as I take a shot, whether it will be colour or b&w.  It’s why I do all the editing myself and never outsource like other photographers – the editing is a personal thing intrinsically linked to the image itself.  That’s why I never give RAW or unedited images. It’s very much akin to walking into a restaurant, ordering something from the menu and then asking the chef to provide all the ingredients so you can cook the meal yourselves. Ultimately, if you don’t like how my work is edited it’s highly unlikely I’m the right wedding photographer for you.

Are you insured?

Most definitely! Even if you decide not to book me I would advise you to find a wedding photography who is fully insured. I have a specialist wedding photography policy with Aaduki. Not only does this cover my equipment, but it also provides for Public Liability and Professional Indemnity cover. You will many wedding venues now request your wedding photographer who is insured for public liability cover.

How else do you reduce the risk of things going wrong on the day?

It’s important to understand that nothing can ever 100% guarantee something won’t go awry on the day itself, but aside from being fully insured, I also take the following measures to reduce the risk of anything going badly wrong:

  • I shoot with 3 camera bodies, so if one breaks down I still have two to work with. (Post edit – I have now added a 4th camera body that is used during certain parts of the day!)
  • I carry at least 10 lenses on the day, again meaning if one breaks I still have more than plenty to fall back on.
  • I only use professional SD cards.
  • I shoot with Olympus cameras, which are renowned for their toughness and durability.
  • All photos are then further backed up to 3 hard drives, 1 of which is kept in a separate location.

Do you belong to any professional bodies?

I am honoured and privileged to have qualified for admission to the prestigious Wedding Photojournalist Association (WPJA) and the Artistic Guild of the WPJA (AGWPJA). I am also a member of the highly renowned Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers (SWPP) and the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International (WPPI). I am also delighted to say I am part of the respected Fearless Photographers directory too.

Do you shoot other kinds of photography?

Street photography of a couple kissing and a man jumping over them, on the beach in Brighton

Yes. I shoot photojournalism and stock photography for Getty Images, Alamy, Demotix and Corbis Images. My work has been licensed by the likes of British Airways, Channel 4, Saatchi & Saatchi, Olympics 2012 and countless others. In my personal work I am passionate about shooting candid street photography.

Who are your influences?

London engagement shoot of the couple beneath Waterloo Bridge on the South Bank in London. Taken by one the leading award winning wedding photographers in London Darren Lehane.

Unsurprisingly my main photographic influences are photojournalists and street photographers, such as: Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Doisneu, Robert Frank, Garry Winogrand, Don McCullin, Jane Bown, Tony Ray Jones, Saul Leiter, Elliott Erwitt, Ernst Haas, the Magnum agency and others. Another massive influence is music photographer (and now film director) Anton Corbijn whose style and approach really inspired me to start shooting photography seriously in the mid-1980s.

So what kit do you shoot with?

Black and white wedding reportage photography of male wedding guests enjoying a game of boule, in the grounds at Highdown Vineyard in Ferring, West Sussex.

I have always shot with Olympus cameras, since I first picked up a camera back in the 1980s. The current model I shoot with is the Olympus OMD EM1 MK2 – which is their current top of the range. I also shoot with a couple of Olympu OMD EM5’s which given their lightness and size I carry and shoot with 2 of these camera bodies on the wedding day, This means I have to change lenses less and can shoot with 3 different prime (fixed length rather than “zoom”) lenses. Not having to change lenses so much means I capture more of your wedding day and it reduces the risk of dirt/dust getting into the camera. Olympus are renowned for their innovation and rugged cameras – perfect for the rigors of a wedding day!

Why do you shoot only with prime lenses?

Because prime lenses are fixed length (unlike zoom lenses) they have less glass elements within them that usually means you get a much better image quality than shooting with a zoom lens. In addition, they are usually lighter and smaller than zoom lenses which is ideal for a wedding photojournalist. The other cool thing about prime lenses is that they are usually “faster” lenses than zoom lenses. Basically, without getting too technical, this means they let more light in and therefore make it easier to shoot in low light situations – like dimly lit churches – without needed to resort to flash photography. You can read more about why I shoot with prime lenses here. Post edit – since Olympus introduced a number of pro zoom lenses, I have started including these now at weddings.

So do you not use a flash on your camera?

Colour documentary wedding photography of wedding guests dancing, during the wedding reception in Nether Heyford, Northampton.

Wherever possible I prefer to shoot with available light – simply because it is more natural and flattering. Also, it is quite common for flash photography to not be allowed during the wedding ceremony. However, there are some occasions, such as night, or in very dark interiors where there is no natural light to use. In these circumstances, I will use flash – especially during the dancefloor action in the evening, where I love to use a slow flash to capture all the motion and streaking lights.

Do you shoot same sex marriages or non Christian weddings?

LGBT wedding photography of the signing of the wedding registers at Kingston Old Court House. Taken by Surrey same sex wedding photographer Darren Lehane.

I do and I have! Though I prefer not to categorise my weddings in any kind of way – whether it be the  type of religious service or the sexual orientation of the couple. Whilst there may be a small number of different considerations to take into account, ultimately a wedding is simply a celebration of two people joining together and anything else is irrelevant. Given my storytelling approach to wedding photography I simply document the story in front of me.

Didn’t you used to be called Daz Shoots Weddings?

Meon Valley Marriott Hotel wedding photography of a silhouetted bride and groon sharing a kiss.

Yes, that’s right, I did operate under the business name of Daz Shoots Weddings.  However, of February 2016 I changed the name and rebranded the business to Lehane Wedding Photojournalism. You can read more about the reasons here.

So how do we book you?

Old Ship Inn Brighton wedding photography of the groom's daughter listening to his speech, in the wine cellar

I always recommend we meet first before you book anything – this gives us an opportunity to get to know one another first. If we cannot meet, then I recommend we at least speak on the phone first (or Skype if preferred.)  I would normally suggest a local coffee shop for our meeting.  Once you have decided you would like to book me, a £100 non-refundable deposit is required along with a completed wedding photography agreement – this will then fully secure your wedding date.  The final remaining balance is due 1 calendar month before your wedding date.

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Rowton Castle Wedding Photography of the bride's tiara on the bed in the bridal suite

If you have a question that’s not covered here then please ask below call me on 07920 422144. I’ll be delighted to hear from you (no matter how silly you think your question might be!) and will happily give an answer as best I can. You never know…your question could end up as one of my FAQs in future!

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