Photographer Michelle Mercer is today’s featured UNVEILED Network Member and we just love her classic style and photojournalistic approach. With a mix of traditional portraits and documentary type shots, she’ll capture the magic of your day as it unfolds.
We’ve been chatting all things wedding photography with Michelle, finding out why she’s so passionate about what she does and why knowing that she provides the lasting keepsakes from the big day makes her so happy. Michelle tells us that finding a photographer for your celebration should be like finding a friend and why instinct is so important when it comes to these things.
And the extra good news is that Michelle has early bird prices available for bookings in 2022 and onwards now, and she’s offering an extra 15% off for Brides Up North readers! Read on to find out more!
Briefly introduce yourself and your business?
Hello, I’m Michelle Mercer, and I am a wedding photographer based in North East England. I love meeting people and telling their story; the fun, laughter, tears, of one of the greatest days of anyone’s life. I can’t tell you how lucky I am to do this for a living.
Where did your passion for photography come from – and how did it turn into a career?
I began my career in photography as a young girl in London. Originally, I had planned to pursue a career in IT, but from the moment I bought my first camera, when I became a mum, I then knew I had found a passion that would drive me. I started documenting our lives as a family and then I fell in love with wedding photography. You spend a little bit of time in many different disciplines of photography, and the raw emotion of pure love that cannot be matched by anything else. When you are witnessing and documenting a very special moment for a couple and the best party with their friends and family, it is simply wonderful to be part of.
My style has changed somewhat over the years, but one thing that has remained constant is the friendships that I have built with those with whom I have shared one of the most important days.
I love being a photographer. I love to make people feel confident. Most of my clients, when I first start talking to them, feel slightly uncomfortable in front of the camera. I love building people up and showing them how I see them.
What do you love about capturing a couple’s big day?
I love being a part of something amazing! Wedding days are fantastic occasions and I am there to capture the celebration of a couple’s love. To be part of someone’s most important day is uplifting and very rewarding. They have chosen me to capture the precious moments. It is very rewarding to deliver these photos to my couples with the knowledge that they will view them to help relive one of the most important days in their lives.
How would you describe your style of photography?
My style is definitely closer to the wedding photojournalist approach, but it’s not a completely hands-off observation. I do appreciate the artistry of a traditional camera aware approach. When I take a wedding couple out for portraits, we do a mix of documentary-style images of the couple walking, talking, and naturally interacting. We also make sure that we take a few well-posed traditional images. Fundamentally my approach is to capture striking and memorable images at weddings. I like to observe and really capture the individuality of each wedding. Every bride and groom is different and the images should reflect this in recording their special day.
What’s your approach like on the wedding day?
My instinct as a photographer is to document in a truthful and artistic way. I don’t want to change anything about a wedding day because it’s perfect as it is and for that reason, I spend about 80% of the day itself quietly observing and capturing moments as they take place. There are a few times when I will direct, for group photos and portraits for example, but on the whole, I want to impress as little of me on to your day as possible and authentically document my couples, their friends and family. All weddings are unique and all couples are too. If my clients are quiet and introspective then their photographs will reflect that. Equally, if a couple is outwardly vivacious then that is how I want their wedding story to look. I feel uncomfortable committing to any particular kind of style of wedding photography for this reason; because it’s not about me it’s about you.
How do you build relationships with your couples?
As a photographer that primarily works with people, I love to build relationships with those that I photograph. I always tell my clients before they book with me that choosing a wedding photographer is like choosing a friend. You want someone that helps you relax, and feel comfortable in front of the camera. By being someone that my couples feel comfortable with personally, it helps them relax and for me to get the best possible pictures of them. I try to stay in touch with my couples during the months between the first meeting and their wedding. I try to follow most of our clients on social media, which makes it super easy and fun to keep up with what’s going on in their lives. Instagram is a great tool for building friendships with people you don’t see often. I especially love keeping up with our couples after the wedding.
What sets you apart from other photographers?
I guide and assist my clients through their entire wedding planning journey, I am there to help each couple to avoid all of the pitfalls and really enjoy seeing their dreams come true. Each of my couples receives a fully personalised service meaning you’ll get the very best care and attention from the moment you get in touch.
Do you have a favourite part of the day to capture?
I love the excitement and anticipation as a bride slips into her gown. I love styling pretty details and working with tight-knit groups of friends. Don’t even get me started on the moment a bride and groom see each other for the very first time on their wedding day! You can usually find me misty-eyed behind my camera, and I can’t even help it. There are just so many moments throughout the day that I LOVE so much!
What would be your top three tips for couples searching for a wedding photographer?
- Choosing your photographer is one of the most exciting and important parts of planning your wedding, at least in my opinion anyway! You may think I’m biased but I was a bride long before becoming a photographer, and choosing the right photographer to capture my day was definitely at the top of my list.
- Look for someone whose work you like. Look at the people in the images; Did the photographer capture a feeling or did they just take a photo? Ensure that you get along well together. Aside from the love of your life, the photographer is the person who you will spend most of your wedding day with! So speak to a lot of photographers, and when you find yourself smiling and nodding, and maybe even giggling – well, then you’ve probably found “The One”.
- Book as soon as possible. Wedding photographers often get booked up to a year or more in advance, so when you have found “The One”, don’t leave it too late to book them or you will be disappointed.
And three absolute no-nos?
- Don’t leave everything to the last minute. Winter is the ideal time to get organised with your planning companion.
- Don’t put too much pressure on yourself or your wedding. You are going to be surrounded by your best friends for the party of your life, with the love of your life.
- Don’t wish the planning stage away too much. Whether it is getting a venue to design your personalised cocktails for the big day, or spending time making your wedding playlist, enjoy those moments and savour the thoughts behind them – your actual wedding day will go by in a flash!
What options do you offer when couples are booking you?
I try to keep my pricing as flexible as possible so couples can have exactly what they want. I have a full day, half-day (from morning prep to before dinner speeches), and micro wedding packages to choose from. All packages include pre-wedding shoots. a USB with digital images and a secure online gallery. Albums and wall art are also available.
Early bird prices are available for bookings in 2022 and onwards, and I can offer 15% off for Brides Up North readers who mention this interview when they get in touch!
Is there anything else that you would like to tell us about?
The top piece of advice I can give any couple when planning their wedding is to enjoy it.