GET TO KNOW YOUR WEST MIDLANDS WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER CLIVE BLAIR
So where do I start. Do you want to know about my personal life or my business life?
Let’s start with getting to know a bit about me as a person.
I’m happily married to my wife, Marie and we both love cats. We have 2 adopted cats – they actually live next door, but they’re round our place so often, it’s as if they live here. Which is ideal as we often cat-sit for our neighbours when they’re away.
I love silly jokes. My current favourite comedian is Tim Vine with his silly puns like: “I’ve decided to sell my Hoover – it was just collecting dust.” or “My mate’s motto was: “Always leave the theatre with them wanting more!” Great guy, but terrible anaesthetist”
I love languages. I loved learning French at school and picked up a few German and Spanish words from my school friends who chose those languages. Latin wasn’t my favourite, but it has come in useful, as many English words/languages have a Latin root.
A friend at school taught me how to write my name in Urdu. Then several years later I had the opportunity to learn to speak and read the language, which I jumped at!! So now I can also speak and read Urdu, but I’m rubbish at spelling so don’t ask me to write anything, unless it’s my name! 😀
I love jaffa cakes. If you want me eating out of your hand just offer me jaffa cakes and I’ll do whatever you ask!!
I hate tea (yuk!) but love coffee. My other favourite drink is red wine.
My passion for photography started at a young age when I was given a box brownie camera. I must have been about 7 or 8 years old at the time. I taught myself the fundamentals of photography, built my own darkroom to develop and print my own black and white photos, then progressed to colour.
It’s funny how those same skills and understanding of how to colour balance photos are still useful in the digital era. In fact many of the tools and names found in Photoshop are actually carried over from the darkroom era. For example dodge and burn means to lighten or darken a part of an image, which was a technique we used to use back in the day.
This is me during a recent wedding during the covid pandemic. Since shooting my first wedding back in August 1987, (which make me one of the most experienced wedding photographers in the region.) I’ve become an award-winning wedding photographer based in the West Midlands, capturing weddings throughout the UK and even abroad.
I like to work in a natural, unobtrusive reportage manner. This means you can enjoy your day without me asking you to pose for endless photographs. I’d much rather capture your inner spirit and personality instead of me forcing you to pose in an un-natural manner.
AS FEATURED IN
I’ve won a few awards over the years. These include being the “Wedding Photographer of the Year” for two years in a row.
18 WPJA Awards
Few Favourite West Midlands Wedding Venues
Yes I have full professional indemnity and public liability insurance.
I began photographing weddings in 1987 making me one of the most experienced wedding photographers in the region. Since then I’ve been Wedding Photographer of the Year twice and won various awards for my photography.
Yes. I know some photographers for various reasons don’t shoot winter weddings or during certain months of the year. I find the light during winter months has its own attraction that stimulates creativity when shooting a winter wedding in a different way to a summer wedding. So I love the flexibility and the challenge to shoot all year round.
Over the many years I’ve been working there aren’t many venues I’ve not worked at in the Midlands area. But on the off chance your venue is new to me and you feel it would be advantageous to visit, I find that the pre-wedding session is an ideal time to plan it at your venue so I can have a recce. But also remember that as a documentary photographer, the emphasis will be on telling your story, where ever it happens, rather than knowing the venue like the back of my hand. The only time I’d utilise the venue would be during the time we spend for your photos together away from the crowds. Having shot in so many varied venues over the years, I’ve always been able to adapt quickly to use what is available, never having been there before.
Sure, no problem! Just let me know by emailing me at [email protected] and I’ll be happy to show you.
Distance is no object. Although I’m is based in the West Midlands, I have covered weddings the length and breadth of the UK, including weddings abroad.
Depending on your package, the only extra to my prices are for weddings beyond the range stated on my pricing page, for overnight accommodation if required, or for weddings abroad. Just ask for further details.
I do like the personal touch, so if you live near by I’d love to pay you a visit to get to know you better and vice-versa. After all we’ll be spending a whole day together, so you’d better know if you like me first of all. 😉
But because of distance, not everyone can meet up face-to-face. In that case Skype/Zoom/WhatsApp etc calls are the next best thing.
Failing that, if we’ve already met, perhaps at at another wedding, or you’ve studied my website carefully and you just trust your gut instinct based on what you’ve read and seen, or through a recommendation, then you can just book me over the phone.
That’s awesome!! I look forward to working with you both.
Just to make sure I’m available for your date, first ring/e-mail to check my availability, then you can either reserve your date over the phone and then later send in your Booking Form, or you can arrange for me to visit you.
£250 is required to secure the exclusive use of my services for your wedding date, as I only ever photograph one wedding per day.
Your final balance will then be due 2 weeks before your wedding. Please note that only a signed booking form along with the retainer fee can fully guarantee your date.
I will be. Over the years experience has taught me that people like to have one point of contact before, during and after their wedding. So when you meet and book me, I will be your photographer and sole point of contact for your wedding.
To date I’ve never missed a wedding! It would have to be an extremely severe illness or family problem for me not to turn up for your wedding day, the type of illness/problem that would prevent you from being at your own wedding!
But just in case, I have actively networked with many professional photographers who I know personally, to form a reserve of photographers that I’m able to draw from at short notice to cover for me should the worst scenario happen. This, together with indemnity and liability insurance will guarantee your day is not ruined.
I usually start off with attending the morning preparations, usually for the bride. I’m simply documenting what goes in without too much interference from myself. I always say “Just ignore me. I’m not here really” That way I get people to quickly relax as they won’t feel the need to always be posing for a photo. If the bride and groom are getting ready at the same venue, I like to visit both rooms to get some of the grooms pre-wedding preparation too.
I always plan for about 2 hours preparation photography before leaving for the ceremony. Once at the ceremony, after a quick photo of the groom and perhaps best man and ushers, I’ll be moving around to photograph guests arriving, ushers doing their job, the groom looking nervous. Whatever happens, I aim to document it. The same goes for when the bride arrives and during the ceremony. After the ceremony, I prefer the couple to again ignore me and go and say hello to their guests. Here again story telling images are made, as guests greet the newly married couple.
If required, group photos are then covered, followed by a quick informal photo session, or “walk-about” as I like to call it, for the bride and groom. Again the emphasis isn’t on camera-aware photos – looking at the camera and smiling. It’s an opportunity for the couple to walk in a field or nice area near by, and simply talk to each other about how each other is enjoying the day so far, while I discreetly capture those precious moments of them together.
Before everyone has sat down for the wedding breakfast, I’ll take a few detail shots of the room layout. I don’t take photos during the meal as no one like to have their photo taken with a mouth full of food, so it’s at this point that I’ll down tools, catch something to eat and wait for the speeches and first dance.
Time and weather permitting I may get the bride and groom outside for one last brief photo session before I leave.
I don’t work with an assistant, as I generally work alone. During the day I’ll be blending into the background, and I find being a solo worker makes it easier to work that way. That way I can move here, there and everywhere without being concerned where’s my assistant, or how to avoid them being seen in the background of my images. Plus, you’ll be less aware of my presence if there’s only 1 person instead of 2.
I know how you feel, as I feel the same. I hate posing. I feel awkward and can’t wait till it’s over. So I’m totally on your side.
How I work to minimise that feeling is to concentrate on natural, un-posed photos that better capture your natural smile and personality.
Especially during the couples session, I never concentrate on getting posey-looking-at-the-camera-with-a cheesy-smile type of photos. Instead I look for natural, moment-led photos. It’s more about you two being together while I take camera-un-aware photos to tell a story.
I don’t insist on you feeding me, as you have enough to worry about with feeding your guests. But if you still wish to provide a meal, then something in a nearby room/area so I’m not too far away from the wedding breakfast area in case something unexpected happens, would be gratefully accepted.
You choose how long you’d like me there. Most have me for the whole day from the morning preparations until the first dance and after, but I also offer half day options either from the morning till the wedding breakfast or from the ceremony until the speeches.
In fact you can tailor-make your own coverage if one of my set packages doesn’t suit you.
Within 3 weeks your images are posted online in your gallery to view along with a link to download the high resolution versions. If included in your package, you’ll also get your wedding slideshow highlights.
Then shortly after that, if ordered your USB containing all the high resolution files of the photos in your gallery will be posted to you.
You’ll get a few weeks to choose your favourites for your album. Once your choice has been returned, an online link to view the draft layout of your album will be sent within 2 weeks, so you can fully approve the whole album, or if you wish make some amendments. If there are any amendments, another draft layout with your changes will be again be sent. This will be done until you fully approve the whole album.
Once I receive full approval, your album will be sent off to be made and will take about 6 weeks to complete and be returned to you. If your order arrives during September – October it typically take up to 8 weeks to be returned, as this is peak season for album manufacturers.
If you mean “Are we allowed to print, copy and distribute our images?” Then the answer is “Yes, you sure do!”
Technically speaking “Copyright” refers to the legal ownership of the images. The law in the UK assigns that to the photographer. This allows me, with my clients full permission to display images on my website, in sample albums etc.
Yes I have a variety of wedding albums to choose from. Just ask for further details.
Once you’ve chosen an album there are two choices for making your album:
1) You choose the images for your wedding album which will then be designed by me. You get to preview and change the layout before it goes to print.
2) Allow me to choose the images for you. This choice gives you the best option as, not only will your wedding album be finished more quickly, I will choose the perfect balance of images to reflect your wedding day as presented in an album of your choice. You still have the option to preview the layout and make any changes you wish.
I don’t limit the number of photograph you receive. But on average I’m supplying over 500 images, and guarantee at least 450 for an all day wedding. If there are many things happening at your wedding then naturally it’ll all be faithfully recorded and supplied for you.
Yes. Your images are available to view in your secure, password-protected online gallery, which also allows orders from anywhere in the world.
Yes, every photo is edited inline with the style you’ll see on my website and social media. This involves adjustment to exposure where needed and colour adjustment to match my style. I don’t retouch body shapes, skin, hair, clothes or background features, as I want your images to look as authentic as possible.
Everything you get will be supplied in my trademark colour processing. That way you have the option to make your own black and white images.
When designing albums I often make a few black and white, but as you get to approve the album before it goes to print, if you want to change those images to colour, no problem!
I don’t provide RAW or unedited photos, much like your caterer won’t give you the off-cuts of food not used for your wedding breakfast. Everything delivered is the best of all the images taken. I only ever remove duplicate images where someone may have unexpectedly walked in front of the camera, ruining my photo. Or ones where the person has their eyes closed, or has an unflattering expression etc. You can be assured that no worthy images from any set of photo taken will be missing.
Another reason I don’t provide the RAW, unedited images is that oftentimes I’ll capture an image with a particular post-processing in mind, that won’t be apparent from the unedited image. But having the unedited image can lead to confusion and perhaps disappointment. Eg. I’ll take a photo knowing I’ll be cropping it in a certain way with my initial vision in mind. Another time, I’ll deliberately under-expose an image to preserve the highlights, knowing how far I can recover the shadow details. Other times, I’ll take several photos of each group knowing If someone blinks I can usually Photoshop their opened eyes from another photo in the set, to make the perfect photo which you’ll get.
Ultimately you’ll get the best of what’s available with nothing missing, so there’s no need for the RAW images.