What is your most memorable wedding?
I remember all of my weddings - every special little detail, and all of the things that made them unique - but - if I had to pick just one, I would pick a wedding that I shot in the summer of 2017. The bride and groom chose a beautiful country venue with a lake - it was picturesque - but that's not why I chose it. During the speeches, the brides daughter presented the groom with an envelope, he opened it up and instantly started crying. We were all left wondering why, then he stood up and read it out to the room. The young girl had given him an application form to officially adopt her as his daughter. I don't think there was a dry eye in the room, mine certainly wasn't. It was the most beautiful wedding present I've ever witnessed being given, and the young girl and the bride erupted into tears when he said yes. They later had a big party and the bride kicked off her shoes and climbed through a bouncy castle obstacle course in her huge dress - that was certainly another memorable moment from that wedding - I've never seen anything like it - it was fabulous!
Describe your style in 5 adjectives.
Creative, Modern, Timeless, Candid & Relaxed.
What about your business are you most proud of?
I would have to say first and foremost - my photos. I've spent many, many years perfecting my style and technique to get to where I am now, and I take great pride in my work and my editing skills. I have always aspired to become a photographer, and I absolutely love my job. It's a lot more than a job to me - it's a way of life. My camera is always in my hand, even when I'm not working. I'd also have to say that I'm so proud of the feedback that I get from my clients - there's nothing quite as amazing as the reaction you get when a couple fall in love with their wedding album, and you get that huge sense of satisfaction from giving them a lifetime of beautiful memories to cherish. That feeling is addictive - it's one of the reasons that I love my job so much.
Secondly, my luxury and bespoke hand editing service. I don't outsource my editing and I don't use "shortcuts", "filters" or batch editing techniques. Because I'm selective about which weddings I shoot each year, I ensure that each client gets 1-3 weeks of my undivided attention depending on the package they go for, to perfect their wedding photos by hand. When I say they are hand edited, I really mean that. Each photo is painstakingly tweaked to perfection, no matter how long it takes me, and no matter how much work each one needs. I offer a truly luxury and bespoke creative service to ensure that all of my clients get the most magical and beautiful wedding album they could have ever imagined - read some of my fantastic feedback from my clients to see how much they loved my service - https://www.sarahbrooksby.com/kindwords.html
Hand editing is about so much more than just clicking a few buttons to make the photo look a little better, it's about spending half an hour, an hour, a day - on one photo - to tweak, perfect and create the magical look that I've become so well known for. My signature style takes a lot of work, and that's partly why I charge a little more than most, but it means that your wedding album is as amazing as it can be and that you get a truly luxury and bespoke service, right from the very first email, to the very last, when your album has long been delivered and I'm checking up on my clients to make sure that they got their online album and received their media in the post.
What is your No. 1 wedding planning tip for couples?
Get a great photographer. No matter how amazing your wedding is, how good your friends digital cameras or mobile phones are, all the magic and beauty in the world will soon be forgotten without the magical touch of a professionals fingers. A consumer grade camera or mobile phone just can't keep up with the heavy demands and lighting conditions throughout a whole wedding day, and it's so much more than just having good equipment - it's knowing how to use it, how to get the most out of your bride and groom, and how to create magical photos that will last a lifetime and be cherished by everyone. Uncle Bob may have a good camera, but does Uncle Bob know how to shoot a wedding? Doe's he know how to direct couples to look their best? Does he know how to keep up with the demands of different shooting conditions throughout a day, from dawn until dusk, in darkness and light, in slow settings and fast settings? Always book a professional. For more information about why you should always get a wedding photographer, head over to https://www.sarahbrooksby.com/photographer.html to read about why you need one, and head to https://www.sarahbrooksby.com/amateurs.html to see why you should always get a proper professional.
Wedding planning doesn't need to be stressful, that's why websites like Bridebook were born - there are some wonderful places where you can gather together all of your suppliers and make sure that everything is all together in once place, and ensure that you are sticking to your budget. My no.2 wedding planning tip would be to use a service like Bridebook to ensure that you know that everything is booked, planned, perfected and budgeted correctly. Arranging everything separately can get complicated when you have to keep track of so many different suppliers, emails, phone calls and messages, so a service like this makes your wedding planning so much more simple than the traditional way.
What is your favourite personal touch you have seen at a wedding?
I photographed a wedding recently where a bride had taken on the huge task of decorating the entire venue by herself - with no help from family, friends or professionals. She was a fashion blogger, and she did a fantastic job - the before and after of the venue was incredible, you wouldn't even believe it was the same place. She decorated an empty barn with a shabby chic theme, with fairy lights draped around the walls and ceiling in the most magical and beautiful way you can imagine, with an array of shabby chic decorations throughout, she did a fantastic job and the venue looked absolutely incredible. I don't think many people could have taken on that task without a mental break down - it was a plain empty barn before she got her hands on it, but afterwards, it was a proper fairy tale venue that was fit for a modern fashion princess.
Another favourite touch was a wedding I covered only a few days before updating this - the bride had her father and her stepfather walk her down the aisle - it was a very beautiful and unique moment that you don't see very often - it was the blending of two families together - two fathers uniting to walk their daughter down the aisle in unison and ensure that they were both there for her special moment. It was magical, beautiful and very touching - and it made the brides day to have both of her fathers there with her on her fairy tale day.
Describe your typical process with a couple.
My bespoke process starts when a couple first gets in touch with me, either via email, social media or by phone. We start with a consultation about what they need from their photographer on their big day, and then we talk about what package of mine would fit their day best, or set about creating a tailored one specially for their day - as no two weddings are the same, and some weddings need a little more or less than others.
I work closely with my couples to plan the photography right up to the day itself, and that's all a part of my luxury and bespoke service.
On the day itself, I work closely with the couple, the venue staff, wedding planners and any other officials to ensure that the bride and grooms day goes perfectly and that the photography doesn't overlap any other important events.
After the wedding, I start he editing process straight away and I keep my couples updated on the progress of their wedding album, giving them previews of the luxury hand edited photos as I work on them, to whet their appetites for the full album. I spend up to three weeks in the office hand editing each clients photos, ensuring that each album is edited to a luxury professional standard and to each couples personal taste:
Don't like black and white? No problem.
Don't like colour? No problem.
Want a mix of colour and black and white? No problem.
Do you want your photos edited in a high fashion look? No problem.
Do you want a mix of creative and natural photos? No problem.
Do you want an entire album of creative hand edited masterpieces? No problem.
Do you want to be airbrushed? No problem.
Do you want to have a digital nip and tuck? No problem.
I work closely with my couples to ensure that they get exactly what they want, every time.
Once the editing process is complete, I like to talk through the photos with the couple and make sure that they have received their albums, physical media and online downloads.
That feeling when a couple fall in love with their photos is the best and most addictive part of my job.
What is the No. 1 photo that you think every couple should take?
A 30 minute intimate shoot with just the bride and groom.
I usually advise that this should be taken soon after the ceremony - while the couple are still on a "just married" love high - you get some of the best photos of the couple at this point, and some of the most natural, as emotions are always running high.
These are almost always the couples favourite photos from the day, and are almost always the ones that they want printed out to go on the wall! This is one of my signature looks and part of my creative service - my intimate shoots are what I have become known for - scouting out the most beautiful locations and helping to direct my couples to pose creatively whilst still keeping the photos natural and candid - it's a skill that's hard to master - most photographers either work in a posed or candid manor, but over the years I have perfected the art of giving my couples subtle directions whilst still keeping the photos candid and natural - ensuring that my photos always have that sparkle of raw passion and emotion.
What is the most original photo you’ve been asked to take at a wedding?
There was a bride who had made her own flowers from her favourite book - she'd used pages that were touching and personal to her, and they were a fantastic way to get a bit of her passion into their day. I've only ever photographed one wedding where this was done, and I thought it was a beautifully original idea, and it made some beautiful photos too!
I was also asked to take two photos of a bride - one with her wig on, and one with her wig off - to show her true self and her public self. The bride had a condition known as Trich - she pulled her hair out in her sleep without knowing she was doing so until she ended up with bald spots, so she started wearing wigs to cover it up, and she wanted her true self to be reflected in her wedding photos, which I thought was not only unique, but incredibly brave, personal and touching as she was willing to reveal her true self to the people that mattered in her world.
What do you recommend for a rainy day wedding?
Umbrellas, and lots of them! If the weather is against you on your wedding day, my best advise is to explore the inside of the venue to find some beauty spots and maybe work with the rain and some umbrellas to get some really creative shots in the rain. I've photographed a few rainy day weddings and you can always find some perfect spots inside to get those wall worthy bride and groom shots. Rain isn't the end of the world - almost all venues have some beautiful locations inside to take amazing photos, and it's said to be good luck!
Describe how you got into photography.
My father was into photography when I was a child, so my interest was sparked at a very young age. I went on to study art at school and I spent my youth being an amateur photographer, until I decided to change careers during my early 20's to become a full time professional photographer. As soon as I got my first professional camera, even though I was overwhelmed with how different it was to the simple consumer grade cameras I had used throughout my life, I was instantly hooked on how incredibly different it was to using amateur equipment and how much more you could do with the photos it created, and how I could edit photos in such a creative way with a professional camera. The skill and expertise that was required to get the shots that I wanted fascinated me and I mastered the art of using it in no time at all because it became a 24/7 obsession. I was truly hooked. I went through 2 degrees & a diploma - A degree in photography, and a degree in photo editing, and then I went on to do a diploma in wedding photography when I decided that I wanted to specialise in capturing love stories as they unfold. I enjoy photographing everything, but there's nothing as amazing as photographing love and capturing a couples story by recording their love story as it unfolds for them to cherish for a lifetime, and editing it in the most beautiful way possible. Weddings are my absolute passion and I cannot imagine a life without capturing and editing weddings!