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How to choose a photographer for your wedding day - Introducing Marianne Chua

ABOUT YOU........

What is your background?

I’m Marianne, I’m a young (in my head) photographer who specialises in weddings but who occasionally ganders with music photography as well. I’m self-taught through the school of Google, so essentially I learnt everything I know from online resources and trial and erroring during my film photography hobby days… then one day a friend asked me to photograph their wedding so I picked up a digital camera and haven’t stopped since! I still own 16 film cameras and will be using some of them at the weddings.


Tell me a bit about your company and what you have to offer to the wedding industry.

I’m a wedding photographer offering a fun, relaxed, alternative documentary style of photography! I’m based in London but I adventure all over to shoot weddings. I offer a more modern and quirky service, I think the kind of clients that book me want someone friendly who can blend into their day and be a part of it rather than a big obstacle. Mostly I think they want someone human who doesn’t see this as “just another job”. I’d like to think I deliver that, as my main motivation for being a photographer is I love to see new things and meet new people, so I see each couple and wedding as unique and different every time.

What has been your favourite wedding to date and why?

I don’t really have a favourite I think each of my clients have been fun and brilliant in their own way. I guess if I had to say which wedding stayed with me the longest was Chris and Julia’s. They were just really inspirational people and I very much felt “I hope I’m like them in 20 year’s time”. They were one of my older clients and were proper hippyesque rock and roll. Chris said he’d never get married so it was especially moving that Julia was the woman to make him change his mind. They had a Rolling Stones themed wedding because that’s how they met (at a rolling stones gig), and they realised for the past few decades they’d both been going to the same gigs all over the world, it was just a fated situation I think. Their flat was decorated in hundreds of ticket stubs and music memorabilia, so that was pretty cool in itself. They had the perfect attitude where they didn’t give a toss for the norms and they were both so happy just living their life the way they wanted to, and that really resonated with me.

What do you love most about your line of work?

It honestly is all about the new experiences and new people for me. I like that wedding photography has allowed me to camp overnight in a field with a whole wedding party, and that next year I’ll be doing a pre-ceremony hike with the wedding guests. It’s like every wedding I shoot, I’m seeing people who love each other come together in so many different ways, choosing to express themselves in a way that reflects them as a couple. The diversity in this just highlights the beauty of love and life, and I adore being a part of that.

Have you had any experiences that went wrong? And how did you handle this?

Ooh, at one of my earlier weddings, because in central London you don’t really drive anywhere, I took the tube to the bride’s house and then travelled with the bridal party to the ceremony venue. However I was in a different car to the bride and got stuck in traffic and missed the bride going up the aisle. I ran up to the church and just saw two people at the front and thought “hold on a second, that dress looks the same as… ARRGGGHHHHH”. I properly had a mini scream inside my head, but luckily I had a second shooter who I’d sent to the ceremony venue beforehand, and they caught the bridal entrance. The couple were totally fine about it, the bride even took full responsibility as she said she forgot to give her Uncle the shortcut route, but still the moral of the story is 1) NEVER let the bride out of your sight if driving across central London, get in the same car as her 2) It helps to have a second shooter.

What question do you get asked the most by potential customers?

Hmm I’m not sure to be honest, my website is pretty informative, I have an extensive FAQ section ( so usually when I meet clients it’s more that we have an informal chat and they tell me about their wedding. Even if they don’t ask me questions I’ll often let them know things like I’m insured and my contingency plans for if I got ill etc. so they know I’m always fully prepared for all eventualities. One question I do tend to get asked is when people find out I also am finishing my PhD in psychology, they ask what career I want to go into and why I decided to do wedding photography haha!


What questions in your opinion should they be asking?

I think couples should always ask any photographer they’re considering for examples of full weddings, this is so important because shooting indoors, outdoors, during the day, at night time are all completely different things, and I think that distinguishes a good photographer from a bad one, if they can only show you posed images taken in perfect weather conditions it might suggest they’re less confident in other areas. It’s a photographer’s job to work with all situations, and you want to know yours can do that. Also, the pace of a real wedding is really fast, so you want to see a full wedding example so you can see how they handle capturing all the moments, rather than just seeing the photos from the couple shoot where they have plenty of time to get it right.

Any behind the scenes costs that people don’t normally consider?

For photographers, I guess I’d say check how many photos you get and whether the price includes prints etc. Some photographers offer say 200 edited photos, but then you need to pay a premium to get more photos. It’s horses for courses really, there’s no right or wrong to photography packages, but it’s worth making 100% sure you know what you’re paying for.

Any money saving tips for couples when dealing with your company?

Well actually, I do offer a bucket list discount (which is at the bottom of this page: Essentially I have a list of weird and wacky things I’d just be tickled to see at a wedding, so if you happen to be having them (hey it could happen!) then I would offer you a discount off my services, kind of like a high five and a “kudos to you” gift for coming up with the same ridiculous ideas as me!

Why should people choose you over your competitors?

Well I think more importantly people need to choose a photographer that’s right for them and a good fit for the wedding. I wouldn’t uniformly say I deserve to be chosen over my competitors because some couples will be better suited to me and my services, but other couples might be better suited to someone else. If I feel like I’m not the right person to provide what the couple is looking for, I’ll happily refer them onto one of my peers, because at the end of the day the couple have this one time to get married and I’d hate the idea of them having regrets or not loving their photographic memories of it. To me, that’s not worth it for the sake of securing a booking, I’d rather respect how important that day is to that couple. What I offer is a fun, personable relaxed service, with expressive and quirky documentary style photography, so if people are looking for that then that’s pretty awesome, but if not, that’s also cool.


What is your advice to future brides which will help them to make their decision when deciding which supplier to use?

Try and meet the supplier if you can, not only do you want a good product/service, you also want to feel happy and comfortable with the person. I’ve heard stories of people not meeting their supplier, booking based on seeing that the website looked good, but on the day finding out that they felt a bit uncomfortable with the person which hampered the atmosphere for them a bit.

Which products / services would you advise brides to look at saving their money on?

I would say save money on what is the least important for you, I couldn’t specify a service because what is top priority or bottom of the list will probably be different for each couple.

Which products/services is it extremely important for brides not to be cutting costs?

Again, I think what is important to the couple is entirely dependent on the couple themselves. I think as suppliers we always feel that our service is THE most important, but realistically some couples might not value X, Y or Z, and we should respect that. What I will say is that if you really value having your memories recorded, then obviously invest well in a photographer or videographer. Once the dress has been worn and the cake eaten, the photographs/video footage are the longest lasting product you’ll be buying from your wedding, so it doesn’t hurt to take the due care in choosing the right photographer/videographer.

Why are so many people offering such a wide range of prices?

I think it’s good that people are offering a wide range of prices, because it means that there’s something for every couple with every budget. The suppliers will probably vary in experience, quality, what they offer etc. or their prices could also be dependent on the area they serve as they will probably be pricing themselves in comparison to the local market. That’s not to say that cheaper is worse and pricier is better because I’ve seen the reverse of that in both directions. It’s really worth focusing on the service or product first, seeing whether it’s what you want and that you’re happy with it before worrying about whether it’s cheap or expensive, because the price isn’t always a reliable indicator of what it’s worth.

Any other advice that you feel your knowledge of working as a wedding supplier will help brides? (Words of wisdom)

Always remember that at the end of the day it’s about you and your partner getting married, nothing else truly matters. I see a lot of pre-wedding stress related to the decorations, the guest politics etc. etc. but really don’t stress, because on the day nothing else will matter.

One of the weddings I shot, the groom was nearly 2 hours late because they had lost the wedding rings. He was driving between all the houses trying to find it, and it was very stressful part of the day. In the end they had to give up the search and borrow some rings and he was so worried about it all… but when he was standing at the front and he first saw the bride, he just broke into the most genuine and beautiful smile and I could see that instantly for those two, nothing else mattered and all panic and stress was gone.

Any further information you would like to share?
My contact details!!!

Many thanks to Marianne for being my first guest blog.  I hope all the information she has provided is relevant and will help you out when considering your wedding photographer.

Best Regards
Amy x


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