Tag Archives: photography

10 reasons why you should ignore list posts about your wedding.

Before I start I should make a bit of a disclaimer. Everybody is entitled to have the wedding they want. To invite who they want, to decorate how they want and to employ (or not) suppliers and entertainment whether they be aspiring, professional or total amateurs.

With that said, this morning I saw a link on Facebook to an article published on the Female First site entitled “10 reasons why people are swapping the wedding photographer for a family friend“. The article attributes these reasons to Sarah Heath, the manager at Heaton House Farm who has been busy vehemently denying any such a link in the blog post’s comment section.

Articles like this are commonplace on social media these days. Click bait posts promising easy to read lists of ways to win the wedding race are everywhere. I’m amazed it didn’t have a tag line that said “You won’t believe number 9!!!”

Let’s look at these 10 reasons and see just how good the advice on offer is…

1.) Instant Results They don’t have to juggle clients so they can set to work on editing your photos straight away, so your wedding album will be ready in no time. What’s more, you can enjoy an informal coffee whilst selecting your favourite shots.

Well I can’t argue with words 3 through 8 but the rest is rubbish. I’m assuming that most of these friends have jobs, possibly partners or children. Why on earth this writer assumes  that editing a set of photos in your spare time will produce results quicker than doing it for a living escapes me. When I shoot a wedding I know I’m going to be editing it after so I make sure I schedule time for this exact purpose following the event. Not only that but a pro photographer is going to be much faster at selecting, editing and finishing your images than a hobbyist and will have a high performance computer set up for exactly this purpose.

2.) Familiarity It’s likely that your friend or family member is already familiar with you and your loved ones, so won’t need to work at building that rapport. You may find that as a result they can easily achieve great shots which really capture individuals’ personalities.

Yes they might be familiar with your loved ones but that doesn’t mean they know how to frame or light a shot. Building rapport is a skill that photographers develop through experience.  It’s also worth considering that sometimes guests can be tricky or bored (or drunk) and can be difficult to wrangle. Having someone independent of the group who can focus solely on the task is a plus, not a drawback.

3.) Convenience If your friend or family member was already a wedding guest, then it’s no extra hassle to have them photographing the event. Just be sure they are happy to be pulled away from socialising in order to get the job done!

This could not be more misleading. Just because someone will be attending it does not mean that it’s no extra hassle for them to be a wedding photographer. They might find it a hassle to scout the venue and research shot locations, to organise pre wedding meetings and draw up a contract (unless you thought a contract wasn’t necessary for the most important photos of your life). It’s possible they won’t be expecting to prepare cameras, lenses, reflectors and lights, co-ordinate assistants and guests, plan the formal and key shots and then when the day is finished, edit hundreds of images before backing them up and delivering the storybook album you wanted.

4.) They Know How to Make You Smile Both literally and in terms of the shots you want. They’ll have the best idea of the kind of photos you’ll love, as a result of their knowledge of you and your partner.

Apart from the fact that I don’t know any other way to smile except literally, finding out about the kind of photos you love is why a professional will meet with the couple, show examples of previous work and make sure they are shooting in the style that you want. Capturing personality is important and a good photographer will be able to do that but technical knowledge is important too. Being friends is nice, but it does not a photographer make.

5.) Cost Using a friend or family member could save you money. However, make sure you’re confident with their previous work, and even get them to carry out some trial shots to make sure they’re up to the job – our research revealed that 1 in 5 couples married in the past three years who didn’t use a professional photographer were disappointed with the results.

There’s no arguing about this one. Paying less or not at all will cost you less…. or nothing, which may be exactly what you get in terms of photos. You’re friend may not have a second camera, or even a full frame camera that can shoot in low light. They may not have wide aperture lenses that create that nice blurry background you like. They probably also lack public liability or professional indemnity insurance so if something goes wrong you’re on your own and your wedding insurance certainly won’t cover it. Yes it’s true. Hiring a professional photographer can be expensive but it’s all relative. You’re paying for someone who will bring thousands of pounds worth of equipment and years of training to your day. Would you consider having a friend make your dress? If so that’s fine but that’s not the right analogy. Instead consider having it made by a friend and them presenting it on the day without seeing the results first because that’s how your photography works. You have to completely trust the person behind the camera.

6.) Get Everyone Involved You don’t need to leave the job down to just one friend or family member, why not create a unique hashtag for the event on social media and encourage anybody sharing photos to use it? You’ll benefit from tons of spontaneous shots which you may never have anticipated.

I’m in two minds about this. If you don’t mind everybody staring at their phones all day then yes. Absolutely collect their photos as an added extra to your day but don’t expect them to be high quality printable images. Don’t expect them to have accurate colour or be well composed and in focus. On a bright day outdoors, mobile photography can be great. As soon as you get into a candlelit church or on the dance floor the quality is going to drop dramatically.

7.) Different Perspectives There are so many ways to capture a special moment. Why not task your loved one to bring their GoPro along to capture some unusual scenes? Our research into the wedding trends of 2016 highlighted how 1 in 3 couples are planning to use a GoPro to film or photograph their special day

Again, this is a nice idea but should be presented as an addition, not an alternative to a photographer. GoPro images can be fun but they look like what they are. Action cameras just do not produce the kind of images that can replace a DSLR.

8.) Editing is Possible Be prepared that not every photo is guaranteed to turn out brilliantly, however the accessibility of nifty editing apps and tools mean that altering and fine-tuning finished shots is easier than ever.

Editing is possible and maybe it is less difficult now to throw a quick filter on your mobile images but that’s not how editing works. This statement implies that editing apps are a magic wand but they’re not. The images have to be properly shot to get the best results. A professional will shoot in RAW format. I won’t get into it here but it’s a format that most free or consumer level programs will not be able to process. It’s not uncommon for me to return from a wedding with 50-100GB of files so don’t expect to be able to use a ‘nifty’ app to get through them.

9.) Honoured Tasking a loved one to carry out such an important job is guaranteed to flatter them, which is great especially if they aren’t already playing a specific role throughout the day. But beware of how you approach them about the job though – you want them to know it’s because you value their talents and not because you’re looking for a freebie.

This is essentially the same as when people approach me to say “Do you want to shoot my wedding for free, it’ll be great for your portfolio?”. You’re guest may well be honoured but but do you really understand the pressure they’re going to be under? Why would you do that to a friend? Talk to any amateur who has shot a wedding for a favour and I’ll bet they’ll tell you “Never again.” It’s hard work and it’s so much more just the day spent shooting. As suggested you should beware of how you approach a friend to say you value their talents but not enough to actually pay them for it. Try it our before your wedding by asking one of your friends to come and do 1-2 weeks of work around your house without pay. See how it goes.

10.) Value Having the most special moments of your big day captured by someone you love brings a whole new level of value and sentimentality to your photographs. You’ll think of that person each time you look at them and remember them fondly for their help and hard work.

Let’s rewrite this the way it should be:

Having the most special moments of your big day ruined by someone you love brings a whole new level of animosity to your relationship. You’ll curse that person every time you look at your blurry, grainy photos and remember a time when you were still talking to them.


With all this said. Is it possible that a non professional friend can capture your wedding the way you want and produce high quality images in a timely fashion?


It’s possible but it’s not very likely. There’s just too much preparation and experience needed to expect someone to get everything right first time round. I haven’t always been a wedding photographer. When I started out I charged accordingly. I made mistakes, I learned from them and I got better. There are professional photographers available to fit almost any budget and it’s fair to say that you get what you pay for.

The DIY wedding movement is great. I love shooting weddings that are full of personal touches contributed by friends and loved ones but I implore you, I beg of you, don’t let your photography be one of them.

North West pack shot and product photography prices.

Show off your products with high quality images for less than you think.

With a combination of ‘ghost’ mannequin and detailed close up shots we deliver the perfect preview images for your products and optimize them for web or print use as required.

For businesses in the  North West a mobile studio unit can be brought to you so no time or money is wasted sending products back and forth.


Small items up to 30cm – 50+ Items

  • 1 wide and 1 detail shot – £4 per item
  • 2 wide and 1 detail shots – £5 per item
  • 3 wide and 2 detail shots- £6 per item


Small items up to 30cm – Less than 50 items

  • 1 wide and 1 detail shot – £6.50 per item
  • 2 wide and 1 detail shots – £7.50 per item
  • 3 wide and 2 detail shots – £8.50 per item


Clothing on ghosted mannequin – 50+ items

  • 1 front and 1 detail shot – £5 per item
  • 1 front, 1 back and 1 detail shot – £6 per item
  • 1 front, 1 side, 1 back and 2 detail shots – £7.50


Clothing on ghosted mannequin – less than 50 items

  • 1 front and 1 detail shot – £6 per item
  • 1 front, 1 back and 1 detail shot – £8 per item
  • 1 front, 1 side, 1 back and 2 detail shots – £9


Images supplied on a pure white background for maximum impact and compatibility online. Clipping masks and PNG images on transparent backgrounds are available on request.

Images are supplied via secure web gallery with protected downloads or via disc depending on your preference.

Packages and prices are examples only. If you have specific requirements get in touch for a chat.


My 2015 in pictures. What I love shooting and why.

Last year I took 55,503 photos.

That’s an average of 152 photos per day or just over 7 photos per hour, which makes me only slightly less trigger happy than the average teenage girl. Considering that much of a photographer’s time is spent prepping, editing and delivering images I can say in all honesty, it’s been a busy year.

As I look back through my 2015 catalog there are some images that jump out at me immediately. Some for their pure form and impact, others because of how they take me right back to the moment they were captured.

This year JonHallPhoto has taken a distinct change in direction and I’ve moved away from weddings and more towards commercial images and video production. It’s a move I’m enjoying and leaves me looking forward to the year ahead.

So in no particular order here are a few of my favourite images and memories from the last year.


JonHallPHoto 2015-7
Andy and Annika – Liverpool Skyline

I love this shot of Andy and Annika at the end of the night. It’s just such a genuine moment. Shot from afar to give them as much privacy as possible, they didn’t disappoint.



JonHallPHoto 2015-18The first of two favourites from the incredible Sophia Carmen. A dancer from the Hammond School. As an ex dancer myself I’m amazed by the strength on show here.

JonHallPHoto 2015-13

A more personal shot here as this is my little nephew Sam. This wasn’t a photo shoot but a family get together and those piercing eyes just found the lens.

JonHallPHoto 2015-12This is the moment a party of Groomsmen decided to attempt their version of The Beatles ‘Abbey Road’album cover. Unfortunately one groomsman just couldn’t march in time. As it turns out that one groomsmen just happens to be the only soldier in the group.

JonHallPHoto 2015-8Here’s a wedding party that knows how to have fun. I became tired with seeing guests queuing up for cramped, automated photo booths to be rewarded with low quality snaps they could have taken themselves. This is how a photo booth should be done. This was a fun night.

JonHallPHoto 2015-16The Little Black Dress shoot – iConquered. The brief was to show the clients of a personal trainer getting ‘Little Black Dress’ ready and these were empowered women at work, in one image. I think we nailed it.

JonHallPHoto 2015-11Another gorgeous image from Sophia, this time with partner Liam. The pure dance shapes they were producing were amazing but lacked an emotional element. After a little direction they pulled out this gem. I think it’s just wonderful.

JonHallPHoto 2015-15Ok so the image may not be all that special but it represents my move into commercial product photography. These ‘ghost’ images look simple but the difference it can make to a professional website is profound. And these are just the still versions…

JonHallPHoto 2015-10This family beach shoot produced a whole series of great images but I love this shot as the boy leads his little sister through the sand.

JonHallPHoto 2015-5I love this shot for the magic of lighting. This was a pretty dull day, windy and a little cold but with a little thought and strategic speedlight placement this sunny summer day was born. Nice.



Liverpool night photography workshops booking now!

Just because it’s dark, that doesn’t mean that we can’t take stunning photographs. Using long exposure and flash techniques we can capture beautiful creative images like these.


Focusing on the docks

If you’re new to photography or looking to expand your skills not join me a night walk along the stunning Liverpool waterfront? This course is designed to be an introduction to the basics of DSLR photography, taking you from auto snapper to manual master in 3 photo filled hours. Learn about exposure modes, when and how to use manual settings and how to get the most out of your DSLR as well as meeting like minded photographers in your area. There’s something for everyone whether you’ve just picked up your first camera or are a more experienced photographer looking to try something new. The walks start with the basics of camera operation and move on to more advanced techniques such as light painting and capturing traffic trails.

Wales in the mist

With over ten years experience in leading and teaching groups, I’m thrilled to be able to share my experience in education and passion for photography. Each walk features group and one-to-one time to help you with any specific questions or image styles you want to achieve.
Walks last for 3 hours per evening with a maximum of 10 per group. All you will require is a DSLR camera (ask if you’re not sure), a tripod (essential) and suitable clothing. For light painting a torch or LED light is required, external flash units can also be used if you have them.

The workshop is hands on, you’ll be snapping continuously and receive constant feedback on your work. The friendly group atmosphere is a perfect setting to make new friends and learn new techniques.

Click here to see examples shot by previous workshop attendees.

Learn light painting techniques

Last years night walks proved very popular and workshops have limited availability. Register now to avoid disappointment. To keep up to date with all the latest info ‘like’ and follow the jonhallphoto facebook page now.

Evening night walks cost £75 for a 3 hour session.Here’s what previous clients had to say about the walks:


Thanks for the course last night on Night Photography, it was a great boost to my confidence at getting to grips with using my DSLR outside of the “green” automatic mode.  I have always been interested in the Light trail photos and I am please with my first attempts.  I can’t wait to get out on my next evening photography walk!  –  Alan D

Despite the weather (on the nightwalk) I found it terrifically interesting and it made me aware of the kind of images that I could get even from my humble G9. I learned a lot, enjoyed it and thought you did a cracking job of informing and teaching without being in your face or stand-off ish. Thanks again for a great course and giving me the enthusiasm to learn more and keep exploring my camera. Cheers! – Jim R

Many thanks for the course last night. I thought the course was great and I really liked your teaching style, which gave just the right amount of information without being over technical. I really enjoyed the lighting effects you showed us with the torches / mobile phones.  Please keep me informed of any other courses you run.  –  Helen D

Just a note to say how much I enjoyed the recent Liverpool Night walk course. I wasn’t sure if I’d be out of my depth but as a beginner I found it very helpful and feel much more confident about the use of my Camera. I thought you did a great job to guide everyone whilst providing individual attention where needed. The 3 hours flew by and it was nice to experience the Albert Dock area on such a lovely night. I will look out for other courses as I can now appreciate the benefit that these may bring. – James H

Just thought that I would say how useful the course you ran last night was for me, and I believe the other people who attended. My son and I both picked up a lot of information and the way you put it over was very simple and easy to understand. Considering the weather was so cold it was down to you that everyone stayed to the end. Hopefully you will run some other courses in the future as it is obvious to me that you have plenty to teach us. Once again thank you for your assistance.  –  Keith C

The perfect wedding present for a comic book crazy couple.

If you’ve seen Kev and Jen’s wedding in an earlier post you know that this geek chíc wedding was full of creative ideas and little nods to their favourite pastimes and shared hobbies. With many elements based in comic books I knew before I started editing their images that I could create something a little bit special for this unique couple.

With a little research and patience ‘Serjenity’ was born. I surprised them with this comic book version of their big day, named for a prominent space ship in Joss Whedon’s Firefly series (and one of their table centrepieces). Serjenity-1

Serjenity-2 Serjenity-3 Serjenity-4 Serjenity-5 Serjenity-6 Serjenity-7 Serjenity-8

It’s not going to be to everyone’s taste but that’s the nature of the ‘bespoke’ in Jonhallphoto Bespoke Photography. Each package or service is designed with the client in mind. In this case that meant creating this suprise book layout for the couple to print as thank you comics.

They love them and so do I and that’s all that really matters.

Lightroom 5 Tutorial Video – Getting started with the basic adjustment panel

So this is a bit of a new thing for me. I’ve decided to start a video tutorial series to accompany my DSLR for beginners workshops.

This youtube series should take care of your basic editing needs behind the camera and allow you to get started in the awesome but sometimes confusing world of Adobe Lightroom.

I’m using Lightroom 5 but the general principles apply to the earlier versions.

I’d love to hear your feedback on this new development.. Do you like it? Am I easy to understand? What am I missing?

If you have an opinion don’t stay silent. Leave a comment here or on the video page and if you’d like to request a tutorial on any aspect of post production and editing just ask!

A Cheshire village engagement shoot, just a walk in the country.

Usually, people look better in photographs than they do in real life. Occasionally a couple come along who defy that rule and just look stunning all the time. Krystina and Nana are such a couple.

They approached me about shooting their wedding and after an initial consultation we found ourselves headed for a quiet little Cheshire village to embark on our first photo shoot together.Krystine and Nana - JonHallPhoto-23

I always advise that couples take the time for a pre wedding or engagement shoot. It’s a great opportunity to get to know your photographer and get used to relaxing in front of the lens.

Over the course of the shoot I learned more about Krystina and Nana and their lives together. Their look favoured an editorial feel and I used more off camera lighting than usual. This created some truly dramatic shots as the sun fell lower. Krystine and Nana - JonHallPhoto-63

I love the ‘model’ look this couple have. I can’t wait to shoot their wedding..