When most people find out I'm a photographer, the first thing they always say is, 'Oh wow, that must be so much fun', or 'I've always wanted my photo taken, but never got around to it'.
Sadly, the other comment I get a lot is "We had our photo taken once, and we were really disappointed'
I feel really sad for people that have a bad experience. I know from personal experience, how weird it can feel to have your photo taken, especially when you’re a little camera shy, or lacking in confidence,
One thing I make sure I do before I photograph anyone, is get to know them. Get to know who they are, and what they enjoy. I like to ensure all my clients are completely comfortable with me, and happy for me to document their life in some way.
After chatting to many couples about their wedding photos over the years, it occurred to me that quite a few people I spoke to were disappointed with their photos from their special day. This I find too upsetting.
Your wedding day is your special day, never to be recreated, so it is vital you have a good photographer, that you are happy and comfortable with, to document all those special moments throughout the day, that in years to come you can look back on with the fondest of memories.
Whilst thinking of directions I could take the business in, I came up with a plan...how about offering to RETAKE couples Wedding Photos?
I don't mean go back to the church and reception venue to recreate the whole day...I mean take the couple to a new, different scenic location and take some different style relaxed wedding photos.
Get couples to dress up in their finest wedding gear, and feel special again.
I really didn't know how this idea would be received, but I was certainly surprised.
The last thing I want to do is step on anyone's toes, and I certainly won't be naming and shaming photographers, as everyone works differently. What suites you, just may not suit another.
How many of you can say you've been given a chance to wear your dress again, and have another series of photos taken?
Sometimes things go wrong on Wedding days, for couples, photographers, caterers...It's just one of those things.
Whilst you're there enjoying your moment, you just shrug it off, and put it down to the experience of the day, as you know there won't be a chance to do it again.
I created RETAKE. A blogging project whereby I invite couples to come and have a new batch of wedding photos taken.
Couples agree to the session, knowing full well that all their images will be used publicly by me, to showcase my work. I blog about the whole process, and hope the couple feel more fulfilled at the end.
The couple get to keep all photos taken, and I get the satisfaction in knowing I have helped a couple in some way.
After advertising RETAKE for all of 2 hours, my social media went mad! So many ladies (yep no men..ha) got in touch telling me how bad their photos were, and how certain things happened on their day, so they were not happy with their photos.
After a couple of months of planning, I had my first couple lined up....and what a couple they were! I couldn't of asked for a nicer, friendlier, happier couple to kick off the project.
Meet Laura & Lee Caffrey
Laura & Lee met in the queue of Flares nightclub (now Popworld) in Guildford in October 2007, a few days before Lee's 27th birthday (he's 7yrs older than Laura). This year marks their ten-year anniversary of being together. They got married two and a half years ago on 28th March 2015 when Laura was 11 weeks pregnant with their second child.
They got married at St Luke's church in Burpham nr Guildford, not far from where Laura was born and raised, and then had their reception at Gorse Hill in Woking.
Sadly their photographer did not live up to expectations, and they were left very disappointed with their wedding photographs.
Laura had always thought about doing a reshoot but thought she was just being silly. And didn't think it would ever be possible.
'I'm super excited to be doing this reshoot and can't wait to see the end result'
I wanted to take them both to somewhere special, and completely different from their original venue. The idea is to recreate their couple's shots, and give them a new batch to show the family.
I took them to Waverley Abbey Ruins just outside Farnham, Surrey. It's a beautiful venue, and I've longed for many years to shoot wedding photos there. So, I had no hesitation in taking them there for my first ever RETAKE session.
It would be special for all of us.
As they got out of the car, followed by their 2 beautiful girls, and Laura's sister, I could see they were ready for it.
Lee was ready to go. Suited and booted, and ready for action...
Laura was 90% ready, beautiful hair, subtle makeup, and looking just a tad nervous...exactly like the real day...ha!
Laura and I had already discussed that it would be easier to change into her dress once in position...So we took the 3 minute walk down to the ruins.
At this stage the sun was shining.... but believe me when I say...it didn't last long..Ha!
With the help of Laura's sister, we got her into her sensational dress. I am always blown away by the transformation of a lady, the minute they step into a wedding dress. It is always a highlight for me, and this was no different.
Whilst Laura was sorting the final touches, I chatted to them both, and reiterated that this was a fun and chilled out shoot. It would be really relaxed, and just a chance to feel special again, have some fun, and smile.
Laura positively beamed throughout the shoot, and it made me happy to know I was going some way to extend those happy memories of their Wedding day.
A special moment for Laura was that she got to wear her veil. On their wedding day, her veil just wouldn't stay in her hair, so after many attempts, she made the sad decision to not wear it.
Well on this occasion she could, and you could tell it made her very happy.
We then made a start. We worked our way around the various areas of the ruins to ensure we got a whole variety of shots in different locations.
I had them climbing on walls, wading through knee high grass, and just generally rocking it!
I would like to say at this point, that the sun had disappeared and the rain had started!! But it didn't dampen our spirits. Laura & Lee were up for anything, and were certainly not fazed by the rain, in fact they embraced it, and it became part of the day.
Living in Britain you can't escape our erratic weather, and sadly enough, it rains on a lot of wedding days.
But it doesn't have to ruin the day. Make it part of the day. Use the opportunity to get some different shots that other couples won't have.
Laura & Lee were brilliant, and they were more than happy to get wet for the cause.
Due to the rain, the initially quiet ruins suddenly became a haven for walkers sheltering from the rain, and we now had an audience.
I smile when I think of it, as they were all wrapped up, with coats, hoods up and even umbrella's, and there is Laura out in the open, slowing drowning...ha!
We got a few waves, and congratulation comments, and it all just helped to raise our spirits even more.
We let most people believe L & L had just got married, it just added to the fantasy.
One of my goals for the day was to ensure Lee felt just as comfortable and relaxed as Laura did. And I certainly didn't want him to feel left out. So often the men are a second thought at Weddings, and it can very easily become all about the Bride. I didn't want this. I wanted Lee to feel special too, and to go away with memories of his own to treasure. Whether he wanted them or not, I made him pose for a few photos..ha!
It was lovely to watch him whilst I photographed Laura...he was always there ready to help, and to take those all important behind the scenes phone shots
We spent a good, 90 minutes shooting different photos, and by the end, we were all buzzing.
Laura & Lee's 2 girls had been so good that we thought it was only fair, they had the chance to get a photo with Mummy & Daddy, so we allowed them to jump in for one.
I could of carried on all day, but soggy, muddy and a tad chilly, we decided to call time on the shoot. I had everything I needed, and Laura & Lee were just about wet enough...ha!
Thank goodness Laura wore sensible boots under her dress!
Back under the cover of the main ruin, we got Laura out of her dress, and packed it away back into its box, the best we could. It was pretty muddy, so I think a trip to the dry cleaners was needed.
We made our way back to the car, in the sunshine!!! And said our goodbyes.
The whole experience for me was a joy. It was everything I wanted it to be. Relaxed, Fun, Memorable. A great couple and a great venue.
I was nervous as to how RETAKE would be perceived...I don't want it to be a dig at other photographers, I want it to be a new chapter in couples lives for them to celebrate.
I came away with a heart full of love.
Thank You Lee & Laura...You totally rocked it!
'From the moment we met Caroline, she made us feel at ease and made the retake experience so much fun! We had such a good time and the photos reflect that! Thank you so much for the experience and memories Caroline' Laura Caffrey
If you would like to take part in a RETAKE session, please contact me for a discussion.