Featured Supplier

Fabulous Photographer: Hannah Dornford May Photography

14th March 2011 | Julia Braime

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Over the weekend Brides Up North caught up with one of my Featured Suppliers, the fabulous photographer Hannah Dornford-May Photography.  Here, Hannah showcases some of her best shots and talks weddings (well, what else?!) with Brides Up North.

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Hannah Dornford-May

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How did you get into wedding photography?

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I first got into photography at film school. Cameras had always been around in my life but I’m not one of those who picked one up as a child and found my calling! I took a bit more of a roundabout route to it.
I went through film school and made some short films and music videos, then in my final year got a digital camera to start documenting the film shoots – and that was it! I fell in love with photography and, after moving to Manchester, became involved in the busy local music scene photographing bands and musicians.

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Then, as I think happens with every photographer out there, I got asked to photograph a wedding. Up until that point I’d thought of wedding photography as fixed smiles, group poses and an old man taking pictures – how wrong I was! I was asked to photograph the wedding in ‘my way’ and approached it as I would a music job with a lot of documentary shots, capturing the day as it happened and spending some time with the bride and groom to get some relaxed photographs of the two of them together. From that day I was hooked (and more tired than I had ever been in my life)!

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Since then I’ve shot weddings both alone and working with other photographers as their second shooter. This gives me a great chance to see how others work and to capture moments that, as a primary photographer, you may sometimes not get chance to.

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Hannah Dornford-May

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Why wedding photography specifically?

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To me wedding photography is everything I love about photography…emotions, people and lots going on to take pictures of!

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Hannah Dornford-May

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What is your favourite thing about being a wedding photographer?

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It’s probably easier to ask me what my least favourite thing is…nothing (or maybe admin)! I honestly feel so lucky to be able to do what I love as a job. I love meeting every couple, getting to know them and seeing how they celebrate their day.

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Hannah Dornford-May

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How do you get couples to relax on the day?

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The great thing about doing a pre-wedding shoot is that I’ve already met, and photographed, the couple before their big day. This gives them a chance to get to know me and how I work, as well as see that having their photograph taken can be a nice and fun experience! On the day itself I’m there capturing the moments as they happen so most of the time the couple will hardly notice that I’m there until we get to the couple’s portraits and any group shots. I try to take the couple’s portraits as soon after the ceremony as we can. This means that the couple have a chance to see each other alone and the ‘scary’ part of the day is over so they are much happier and more relaxed. When it comes to group shots I work with the couple to get these done as quickly as possible. I’ll have had lists of any setups from the couple before the wedding so we can work through them easily, and without making people stand around for too long. I keep these as relaxed and
informal as possible. I’m not there to shout at people and drag them into position, the couple want to see their guests having a good time and I’m not there to stop that!

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Hannah Dornford-May

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Any advice to any brides who don’t like to have their picture taken?

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As my style is predominantly documentary most of the time you won’t even notice that I’m taking your picture so there’s no need to panic about having to pose for hours at a time. The main thing to remember is that on your wedding day you are looking at your happiest and most beautiful and you’re there to get married to the love of your life. You are guaranteed to look beautiful on any photographs from the day – but I’ll just work with you on the portraits to ensure that we are seeing the very best side of you. These are photographs that you want to look at time and time again and I’m there to make sure that you feel that way about them.

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.Hannah Dornford-May

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What sort of makeup should a bride wear to look great in her pictures?

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A bride always looks at her best when she is natural and comfortable in what she is wearing – that goes for both dress and makeup! The main thing to remember is while you will probably wear more makeup on your wedding day than you normally do you still want to look like you (and you want your groom to recognise you as you walk down the aisle)!

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Hannah Dornford-May

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If you were photographer at the Royal Wedding, what advice would you have for the couple?  What would be your "must have" shot?

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My advice would be the same as for any other couple getting married – your day is all about you so relax, be there for each other and remember to have fun!

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I think my must have shot would be any natural moment between the two of them, or them and their families. Nothing posed or too formal as I’m sure they are more than used to them!

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Hannah Dornford-May

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Any memorable weddings that you have captured?

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Cheesy as it sounds every wedding is moving and beautiful for different reasons. I’ve been so lucky in that the couples I work with have all worked hard to have wedding days that are all about who they are, and have been perfect for them for exactly that reason.
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Hannah Dornford-May

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Are you married?

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I’m not married, but living very happily with my boyfriend, Scott and our little cat, Phoebe. One of the great things about being a wedding photographer is I get to experience so many different kinds of weddings so
planning my own should (hopefully) be a lot easier…although that could just be a very naive non-bride talking!

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What sets you apart from other wedding photographers?

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The main thing that sets me apart from other wedding photographers is me. Obvious as it sounds! There are so many fantastic photographers out there, with styles to suit everyone so the main thing for a couple to do is either meet photographers in person, or at least over the phone, so you can be sure you can get on with them on the day. Remember that your photographer is the one person that will be with you throughout the day so you want someone you will be comfortable spending time with.

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Hannah Dornford-May

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What can a couple who book you expect on the day?

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They can expect me, possibly an assistant / second shooter, a whole load of cameras and lenses and a great attitude. I look forward to every wedding as, however much preparation you do before the big day, I’ve found it always pays to go in there expecting the unexpected! Anything can, and does happen. I’m also good at sorting out ties, fluffing out dresses and checking teeth for lipstick! They can expect me to be there for them, capturing all the special moments of their day however big or small – oh and I’m more than likely to shed a small tear during the vows. It’s pretty much guaranteed!

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Hannah Dornford-May

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What is included in your "package" and can you give us an idea on price?

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I try to keep things as simple for the couple so only have a couple of packages – all include a pre-wedding shoot, coverage from bridal prep to first dance and the disc of images. The only thing that differs is the album that the couple can choose from. Prices start from £950. I also do bespoke packages, tailored exactly to what the couple are looking for.

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Hannah Dornford-May

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Can you do anything special for Brides Up North readers?

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I’d love to offer any couples who book me through Brides Up North before May 31 2011 a free, framed print from their wedding or engagement shoot.

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How can Brides Up North get in touch with you/ see more examples of your work?

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Brides Up North readers can find me on my website www.hdmphotography.co.uk or by emailing me at
hannah@hdmphotography.co.uk. My latest work can be found on my blog which is www.hdmphotography.co.uk/blog

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Hannah Dornford-May

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Hannah Dornford May logo

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Hannah Dornford-May Photography

info@hdmphotography.co.uk

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Hannah Dornford-May Photography is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier

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