What is your most memorable wedding?
I feel immensely proud to have followed my dreams and set up FionaMillsArt, thus every job I do I put my heart and soul into..... if I offered less than that I feel I would be doing myself and my clients a disservice.
Describe your style in 5 adjectives.
After the beautiful portraits of the newlyweds?? Definitely a fun shot with the bridal party (preferably after the Champagne) to do a less traditional group shot.
What about your business are you most proud of?
A recent couple had a fairytale themed wedding, her husband was her real-life Prince Charming, so we recreated the Disney scene where the clock strikes midnight and Cinderella loses her glass slipper and the Prince collects it on the steps. A lovely collection of images although with artistic license, it was neither midnight, nor was her dress blue!!
What is your No. 1 wedding planning tip for couples?
Despite always having either a camera or paintbrush in my hands I ended up getting what is known as "a proper job". I still found a way to use my creativity in my work and brandish a camera or paint in my spare time. Over the years I found I was doing more paid camera work and struggling to make time for my "proper job". After exhibiting my work and having one of those epiphany moments I realised I needed to follow my heart and passion. I found a part time job that was sympathetic to my building business (and covered my mortgage!!) and just knuckled down and worked hard to gain experience in a wide variety of settings. I fell into weddings by accident and have never looked back. The challenge and pressure of the day coupled with the ever changing weather and light conditions give me such a buzz....nearly as much as seeing a couple see their collection of wedding images for the first time! Now that's a tearjerker moment!
What is your favourite personal touch you have seen at a wedding?
Communication....we're not all natural planners or list makers, some people prefer to organise their day to the minute, others to let it flow on the day, but whatever you choose, communicating those needs and plans to those in a position to help / serve / work on the day is key to a smooth day (and less panicked interruptions for you!).
Describe your typical process with a couple.
First and foremost I try to meet the couple, preferably face to face, or on the phone/Skype if distance is great. This gives us the chance to get a feel for each other. I think this is vital...you need to be able to connect with your photographer and they you to get the most from the collection of images that will be made. Once we have agreed on the service that is to be provided and for what price, contracts signed and booking fees paid. This is the timeline that follows:
Within 14 Days: Sign and return the contract and booking retainer (this is what makes our arrangement official!)
Between now and your wedding: Book in your mid-week test shoot (Summer, Winter it's up to you!)
4-6 weeks before your wedding: Have our wedding timeline planning session. This can be done at your venue, at home, down the pub etc and is where we hash out what we'll be photographing, who, when and where on your day.
1 Calendar month before your wedding: Final Balance due (sorry about that!!)
0 Days Before: It's your wedding where all these hard worked on plans come together to create your beautiful day!
6-8 weeks after your wedding: This is when you will receive your fully edited image gallery online to look at and download.
Within 6 Months After: My aim is to have all albums designed and signed off to order within 6 months of your wedding. Your album could take 8-12 weeks to be produced & delivered depending on the complexities of the design.
What is the No. 1 photo that you think every couple should take?
Creative, Imaginative, Natural, Candid, Striking
What is the most original photo you’ve been asked to take at a wedding?
White umbrellas and funky wellies, wet reflections and sunny smiles.
What do you recommend for a rainy day wedding?
A couple had made their own mix CD of their favourite songs and left them on each place setting as a wedding favour, coupled with hand made CD cases, with their personally designed typography and stamps and colour matched to the day's theme. Simply a perfect and thoughtful gift. Great song choices too!
Describe how you got into photography.
Such a hard question, they are all so memorable! It would have to be my first though....I was super nervous!! I remember approaching it the way I did my own wedding...with lists!! Lots of them!! The Bride and Groom were so laid back I needn't have worried, the planning and prep paid off and everything went well. I learnt so so much from that opportunity and will always be thankful to the brave friends who let me pop my wedding-photography cherry with them. We are still great friends and I still learn something new at every shoot I do.