The blood, sweat and tears of building a wedding photography website

Well, ok, perhaps I’m exaggerating slightly, but it is bloody hard work.

I’ve chosen to build this site myself because (a) it’s cheaper (b) like most good photographers, I’m a control freak.

Yesterday I created password protected galleries for the couples I shoot weddings for.

This is cool because it allows them to tell me which photos they want in their album more quickly than using bits of paper.

The galleries also look really nice and make it easy to show wedding photos to Uncle Bob and Auntie Gladys who emigrated to Australia.

(For anyone who wants to learn about password protectecting webpages I recommend www.zubrag.com)

Today I created the form couples fill in to tell me which photos they want. It’s not perfect, but it’s a start.

And how long have these major achievements taken me? – I calculate I’ve probably worked about 30 hours in the last two days …

my non-wedding photography and film stuff

A few people have said they would like to see some of my non-wedding photography and film stuff.

The best place to look is www.tomsimone.co.uk/wordpress – this currently has photos from my trip to America and Canada, where I went with Caz and Jac.

My favourite photo from the trip is this one:

newyork-subway

I guess it’s a bit arty-farty for some people’s tastes, but I like the way all the people waiting on the platform are boxed up by the pillars. For me it captures the sense of being alone in a crowd.

I’ve got a third blog at www.heglu.co.uk, which I’ll be updating soon.

There will be an exhibition at the Ucheldre centre in Holyhead from Jan 5 – Feb 5 2010, with a mix of my work, Richard Houghton’s sculptures and the work we did with adults with learning difficulties at Tyddyn Mon on Anglesey.

lighthouse400

This lighthouse was built by Bryn at Tyddyn Mon, and will be used as the main image for promoting the exhibition.

The themes of the project are things on the periphery and of personal narrative, so the lighthouse was the obvious choice to exemplify this.

pre-wedding photography scouting trips

I’ve got a couple of weddings coming up in North Wales.

The first is Clare and Darren’s, who are getting married at the Tabernacle Chapel in Conwy.

I met up with the caretaker Ifor Smart to take a look round and take some test photos.

Also went to the Imperial Hotel in Llandudno where they’re having the reception etc.

conwy church imperial_111109_7538

This angle looks like the best place to photograph the bride walking down the aisle.

Will be a bit easier on the day, because this was early in the morning with sun blowing the highlights on the windows.

shot details: 1/100 f4.5 iso 1250  (iso works a dream 🙂 )conwy church imperial_111109_7542

There’s a ‘balcony’ around the chapel, and this looks like a good vantage point to photograph the ceremony.

My assistant photographer will be positioned here.

shot details: 1/100 f5.6 iso 1250

conwy

The chapel is right next to Conwy’s castle walls, which will look amazing if the weather’s nice, just replace my tripod with the bride and groom (bearing in mind it is on November 28).

shot details: 1/800 f5.6 iso 200

conwy church imperial_111109_7566

There’s plenty of places to do group shots near the Imperial hotel in Llandudno.

Shot details: 1/400 f9 iso 320

The next wedding is Debra and Andy’s, who are getting married in Bethesda down the road from where I live on December 11.

Their reception is at Seiont Manor.

My wife Caroline will be filming their wedding.

I will post some scouting photos next week.

Lots of new wedding gear

I’ve been working hard to put together my company Golau Media, of which weddings will be the main component for the first year at least.

The most fun part of starting a photography and film business is getting lots of new gear.

Here’s what I’ve got so far –

canon 7d

canon 30d

sigma 10-20, 17-70, 70-200

speedlite 580ex and 430exii

canon xha1

rode NT-2 microphone

umbrellas and light stands

I recently received a grant from LLwyddo yng Ngwynedd Mentro Busnes (based in parc Menai, Bangor) to buy a new camera.

I went for the Canon 7d, which was released in September.

It’s quite a beast, and a fairly logical upgrade from the canon 30d I have.

The features that are of most interest to me are:

ISO up to 6400 (the light sensitivity of the sensor), which means I can take photos in dark-ish churches without flash.

18mp – more resolution than I’ll ever need

HD video – can’t wait to try this with my different lenses

It can also take photos at 8 frames per second, which looks really cool but probably won’t be of much use to me.

So far the camera seems very intuitive to use, especially having used the 30d for years.

The canon xha1 is a high end video camera and I’m looking forward to making some awesome wedding videos with it 🙂

I also have a fairly long wish list.

I’m not sure whether to upgrade to some nice prime lenses (no zoom, but sharper picture) or something like the the canon 24-70 2.8.

Edit:  I’m expecting the canon 24-70 2.8 to arrive tomorrow, having been unimpressed by the sigma 17-70.

Thanks for helping me promote my wedding services…

Had this site up and running for a couple of weeks now, and had a fair few hits.

I decided to test it out on all my Facebook friends, and asked them to help me promote this site.

I was taking wedding bookings on literally the same day!

A big thank you to all my friends who  have helped promote me and said lots of nice things!

I guess Facebook is quite a good starting point for me, as a wedding photographer and videographer, because it is populated by young people who are likely to be getting married.

This site needs a bit of tweaking, but I’m finding it hard to get the time to do it, especially as we’re all going to the USA in a few days.

Caroline, myself, and Jac are flying out to Chicago on August 16, which is where my particle physicist friend Mark Williams lives. We will then be driving up lake Michigan, over towards New York via Toronto and Montreal, and back again.

We’ve planned it as honeymoon-cum-travelling adventure, and it should be great fun!

I’m going to keep a blog of our travels, with video and photography, at tomsimone.co.uk/wordpress, so take a look there to see what we’re up to.

We’ll be back in November, and I’ll start shooting weddings in North Wales pretty much straight away.

Caroline’s going to do some filming, so we’ll be able to offer photography and a wedding video as part of one package.

I can’t wait! 🙂

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