Tommy Blake and Laurene Blake are wedding photographers based in Northern Ireland. We have conducted an interview with them about their initiative Pure Photo N.I.
What is your secret in making your clients looking and feeling amazing in their photographs?
Building trust and rapport with clients is very important, especially with wedding photography. This starts with our first meeting. We build trust by being very honest and upfront about everything we do in terms of how we work, what our pricing structure is and what they can expect from us in terms of what we deliver. We never pressure a client into booking with us, quite the opposite. If we feel at the end of our meeting that the clients seem unsure about anything, we will ask them to take some time to have a think about their options and come back to us when they are ready. If we feel that we aren’t a good fit for what they are looking for we will happily recommend someone else who better suits what they want from their photographer.
During the actual wedding day, we take the time to ensure that our clients are relaxed. We will often share a few jokes and chat with them about how they met, their plans for the honeymoon etc. This helps us get to know our clients a little better and provide them with a unique set of images that fit with their personality. After the ceremony when photographing the bride and groom portraits we make it fun and don’t ask them to do any awkward poses, we keep everything very natural. As an example we might say, “can you walk to the top of the lane and walk back towards us, as you are walking back can the groom hum his favourite song and the bride try to guess what it is.” Little things like this add a little extra fun, put the clients at ease and helps us capture real genuine moments between the couple. For us, real emotions and real interaction provide the best images, the clients that book with us feel the same.
How do you win over camera-shy clients?
The majority of couple’s we book for weddings tell us that they normally don’t like to be photographed. Even in the era of the “selfie” most people are a little uncomfortable when being photographed by someone else and we were no different when we got married ourselves. We have found that pre-wedding engagement sessions are an excellent way for clients to get more confident in front of the camera before their big day. The sessions are fun and relaxed and they can use the images for invitations, signing books etc. for their actual wedding. Being patient and ensuring that the clients are happy, relaxed and enjoying what is going on is also vital.
Do you consider actual wedding day photography pressurising? How do you cope?
Not at all, we genuinely love what we do. We both live for photography, we both enjoy meeting new people and making new friends so wedding photography is a perfect fit for us. Weddings are fun, full of emotion and we really enjoy being a part of it all. Even during the busier periods where we shoot 3/4 weddings a week we still enjoy it. When we first started shooting weddings it was different of course and we put pressure on ourselves, but as we grew more experienced, we also became more confident. Not all photographers enjoy shooting weddings and that is when it becomes more difficult and they may find the pressure difficult. Wedding photography is hard work and not everyone realises that when they first start out. We learned early on that “shoot what you love” is a really powerful message when it comes to a photography business.
What separates you from the other photographers in your area?
There are many wedding photographers in Northern Ireland, we feel that being a married couple that has been there and done it all themselves gives us a unique perspective. Because there is two of us our clients also get two different points of view throughout the day and this helps ensure that nothing is missed. As well as delivering beautiful photographs, customer service is really important to us, we always deliver what we said we would when we say we will. In terms of pricing, we offer affordable wedding photography packages but we also offer the option for clients to create a unique bespoke package to suit their own needs.
What style of photography can you clients who book with you expect for their wedding?
Most of what we do would be described as documentary or reportage style photography. This means that for the majority of the day we shoot what we see. This candid style of photography allows us to create images that are full of real smiles and real emotions. We also, however, understand that most people will want some photographs of their family groups from their wedding so we shoot those as well while keeping them relaxed and fun.
Pure Photo N.I website: https://www.purephotoni.com