Charlotte Balbier

the best intentions: amateur vs pro wedding photography

April 20th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

Best Intentions (c) Jonny Draper (7)

Here at Brides Up North HQ, we’re huge advocates of choosing a wedding photographer that’s right for you and your big day. But in order to get perfect results, it’s not just about picking your favourite style of photography, but also someone who has the professional experience, skills and equipment to capture your day without fault. After all, you only get one shot.

As the cost of a wedding can easily stack up, we appreciate the temptation to take up a ‘mates rate’ offer from your relative or friend that has a flashy camera, but an ‘all the gear and no idea’ approach is a sure recipe for disappointment.

Best Intentions (c) Jonny Draper (1)

In a bid to demonstrate the difference between images taken by a professional versus a have-a-go snapper with a DSLR camera, our Sponsor and award-winning photographer Jonny Draper, teamed up with some of the team at Lancashire wedding venue Ashfield House, and a number of other North West suppliers, to showcase how the results of each vary.

Lighting, focus and composition are just a few of the issues to look out for, but it’s certainly easy to spot the difference between the pro and amateur pics.

Here to explain more about the concept and results of the comparison shoot is Ashfield House co-owner and wedding coordinator, Katie Street.

Best Intentions (c) Jonny Draper (11)

Best Intentions (c) Jonny Draper (30)

katie says: With the average UK wedding costing £26,989* it’s no surprise that couples are faced with tough cost-saving decisions when their budgets creep up and up. It’s heartbreaking however, to hear from couples who are disappointed with their photographs after the wedding because they chose the slash their photography budget. That friend with a decent DSLR camera may have the best of intentions but will the results be good enough?

With the help of our friend and award-winning wedding photographer Jonny Draper, we decided to conduct our own side-by-side, like-for-like wedding photography experiment.

Jonny, armed with his high-end equipment and years of experience was pitched against Karen, our assistant general manager, complete with her ‘decent’ DSLR camera, and our makeup artist Kerry Baker was on hand to snap away with her camera phone too.

Best Intentions (c) Jonny Draper (22)

Best Intentions (c) Jonny Draper (46)

Your friends and family, or the hobbyist, will have incredible intentions yet, if they haven’t got the equipment or the technical expertise and continued learning, then there really is no comparison. Most of the work in photographing a wedding is before and after, hours of painstaking editing, which our average enthusiast doesn’t have the ability to get right.

Years ago, taking the actual photographs was the easy part. The processing in the dark room and time spent with chemicals could go on for days. Photography was reserved for those elite professionals who had invested in their cameras, lenses, lights and film, plus the need for a dedicated dark room. It was big business! Every high street had a celebrated photography studio and you needed to book weeks in advance to arrange your sitting for family portraits, and months in advance to secure your wedding day photography.

Best Intentions (c) Jonny Draper (10)

Best Intentions (c) Jonny Draper (27)

This day and age, you can teach yourself the necessary skills from the comfort of your own laptop, and, if you have the money, invest in the world’s best kit. But – as these images show – that doesn’t replace the skill, expertise and experience of a dedicated wedding photographer.

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love & laughter. mori lee for a blush pink wedding at ashfield house – debbie & darran

November 14th, 2016 | Julia Braime

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Today’s wedding is a stunning example of how a wedding can be both lavish and relaxed.

Working around an elegant blush pink and dove grey colour scheme, Debbie and Darran went all out with the wedding styling choosing striking floral decorations and an abundance of candles to enhance their already stunning venue.

The wedding party looked extra glam too, with the bridesmaids in shimmering grey dresses and Debbie in a stunning fish-tail style gown.

Keen not to overdo the formalities though, the bride and groom opted for relaxed bowl-food style dining, lots of sweet treats and enjoyable live entertainment. A winning combination we say!

With images by Jonny Draper Photography.

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debbie says: Our love story began on 25th February 2012. Darran and I had known each other for over ten years, our youngest children went through school together. We had both become single and Darran took the opportunity to ask me to go for a drink with him. Little did I know that 1,527 days later he would become my husband.

We officially got engaged on Sunday 22nd February 2015, Darran got down on one knee on the Sunday morning not long after we had woken up, and he was wearing just his undies! So romantic.  The following day we had a surprise 40th lunch to attend. After we left the lunch I suggested we take a drive over to Ashfield House, unbeknown to him I had secretly popped in their six months previously to pick up a brochure. We rocked up unannounced on the off chance that we could get a proper look around. Fortunately for us Katie Street was more than accommodating. From the moment I walked through Ashfield’s front door I knew that this was where I wanted to get married.

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To get the ball rolling we made an appointment for the following Saturday to visit Prestons of Bolton to pick out my engagement ring. We had an amazing experience at Preston’s of Bolton, being served with Veuve Clicquot champagne whilst we looked at various diamonds. I had pretty much made up my mind beforehand that I would like a pear cut solitaire, as Darran had bought me pear cut earrings a few years previously.

We set the date of the wedding for Sunday 1st May 2016. We knew that by picking a bank holiday weekend that it would give our travelling guests the opportunity to make a full weekend of it.

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Ashfield House was such a perfect venue for the wedding. The building, in our opinion, is stunning with so much character and history. We loved the bright airy feel to the recently revamped Langtree Suite, which is where our ceremony took place.

The grounds at Ashfield House are simply stunning too. Unfortunately for us the weather was wet and temperamental, and although we did manage to get outside to get some fantastic shots, the fact that there are so many places inside for your photographer to shoot some cool original shots is a massive bonus. We also loved the fact that Ashfield House is an exclusive wedding venue Monday to Saturday. On a Sunday they do serve Sunday lunch. This didn’t cause us any problems though as we knew that the lunchtime guests would have left by the time our ceremony took place.

The icing on the cake was that Ashfield House has 15 ensuite rooms with a handful of suites that are competitively priced. This meant that our travelling guests had the beauty of staying over at the wedding venue too.

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when in Rome. sophia tolli for an italian themed wedding at ashfield house hotel – michelle & gary

February 22nd, 2016 | Julia Braime

An Italian Themed Wedding at Ashfield House Hotel (c) Teresa C Photography (42)

Taking inspiration from one of their favourite countries, today’s bride and groom decided to do as the Italians would do on their wedding day by enjoying a relaxed celebration, complete with excellent company and delicious food.

From the pretty, natural colour scheme and elegant décor to the bespoke menu and dreamy cake, Michelle and Gary executed their italian vision to perfection!

With images by Teresa C Photography.

An Italian Themed Wedding at Ashfield House Hotel (c) Teresa C Photography (11)

michelle says: We got engaged while in Budapest for my 30th birthday. We went on a lovely walking tour, seeing the sights over Budapest from Fisherman’s Bastion, then had lunch at Gerbeaud’s, the inventor of cake and oldest confectioner in Budapest. After, we spent the afternoon in the Szechenyi Baths before heading back to the hotel. The proposal took place at the hotel, just before we were heading out for dinner at a little Italian restaurant right on the River Danube.

We decided on for 28th November 2015 for the wedding. Our anniversary is in November and a winter wedding was always the preferred choice.

An Italian Themed Wedding at Ashfield House Hotel (c) Teresa C Photography (36)

We got married at Ashfield House Hotel, in Standish, Wigan. Gary was extremely keen to keep the wedding local and we wanted an intimate wedding. Ashfield ticked all the boxes as it had the stunning restaurant with wooden floors, chandeliers and neutral décor whilst also having a cosy and masculine feel in the library bar, so it suited us both. As a bonus, they also offered the option to design our own menu, which was a big selling point for us.

We decided on an Italian theme for our wedding. We didn’t want to go over the top with a theme but wanted the overall feel of an Italian wedding – very relaxed with natural décor and all about the food and company. Although we have travelled quite a bit, Italy is the place we feel most at home.

The colour scheme was a blush pink and nude. We wanted something quite timeless so went with blush pink for the bridesmaids and charcoal grey tails for the men.

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