All posts in Everyday Life

“I wish I’d asked you and not a friend!”

“I wish I’d asked you and not a friend!” were the words uttered in our local Post Office the other day by an old friend of mine who’d recently tied the knot.

I was in my own world, daydreaming and standing in line to post out one of our SUCH magazines to a recent enquiry when I heard my name called. After a couple of words spoken, she mentioned she’d read something of mine warning of the risks involved with getting a friend/relative to shoot a wedding (one who isn’t experienced with weddings anyway) and now realised I am indeed a wise dude with true words spoken! It’s never a kool thing to hear, as there are no second chances with capturing a wedding, something she now knows only too well having seen what a friend captured for them.

I won’t go too much into detail, but imagine the phrases; I was fighting back tears when I saw them, the only picture of us was signing the register, I wish I’d asked you, I’m just so unhappy with them… etc.

It’s awful to hear these stories (which we do often!) but even worse when it’s an old friend standing in front of you full of regret! Unfortunately it does happen often, and understandably so as shooting a wedding is not as easy as people think, so whilst you’re thinking about letting Uncle Bob shoot your memories as a wedding gift to save you a few quid, think about the end result; if you’re happy with a stack of iPhone pics on Instagram from friends/relatives then Uncle Bob may be for you, if you flick through bridal mags and love the awesome stuff, give the Uncle a miss and grab yourself an experienced wedding ‘tog… I hate hearing stories like these…

Service is everything

Service IS everything right? Agree? You hand over some hard-earned and expect a certain level of service depending on the amount you’ve handed over yeah? You rummage around in your pocket for the fiver to pay for your Scotch Egg and sandwich meal deal lunch in the petrol station and you don’t expect to be asked how your day is going and whether you’d like help in walking back to your car. Now you go and sink a years salary into a wedding and you want to be made to feel special, this is understandable- you want to be asked how your day is going, is there anything that can be done for you, can your drink be topped up? Imagine blending the two extremes and passing over the salary amount and receiving petrol station service levels… yeah, ain’t that a kool sounding idea! It’s the future right, surely this is what you really want? F*** off is it…

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away I had the dubious pleasure of extremes in service levels shooting a double weekend of weddings. Now this is viewed from my perspective as I stand back scoping people in my viewfinder akin to a legendary sniper, all the time listening with bat-like hearing to everything going on around me. I’m in the moment. I see all. I hear all. I am the eyes and ears of all things happening around me. I notice things. I notice when employees/staff attend to the couple and their guests’ needs, asking if they need a hand with their bags or their luggage, I notice them asking if guests need anything, I notice when they are asked if they’d like their drink topped up, I notice smiles and genuine attentive service, I notice no mobile devices on show, I notice shirts tucked in and tidy appearances, I notice when nothing is a problem, “of course Sir/Madam, I will go and find out immediately” I notice when the day is all about the happiness of the couple, everything revolving around them and their guests, I notice no litter, no dirty glasses left laying around, no spare chairs stacked in a corner, rooms hoovered from the day before, mopped dance-floors. I notice these things because I am observant, I am in the moment all day long, I watch everything and take it all in.

I also notice when the above is not present; when the staff are sullen, when timings are more important than the couple’s happiness, when staff stress and huff and rush about with moody looks on their faces, when no one seems to care about the couple and their guests, when bars are left unattended because of staff shortages, when dance-floors are sticky and dirty, when a couple’s day is rushed, when guests are left to fend for themselves, when staff emerge from kitchens still chewing food, when staff lurk in corners glued to a device screen, when everything is seemingly an issue, when money is more important than the customer.

I notice the difference between a venue training it’s staff to be customer-focused and a venue who give zero f**ks about guests and is only interested in rushing through as many weddings as possible to grab as much ££ as possible whilst they still can. Yeah I notice these things and I’m damn sure I’m not the only one. Buck your ideas up sunshine, a couple’s wedding day is important, it’s a big day in their life journey, help make it special or f**k off somewhere else where you’re not affecting someone’s special day…

Is this a smiling happy rant? No it’s not, I put 100% into a couple’s wedding day before, during and after, each and every time, no matter what is thrown at me, I push myself as hard as I can to deliver the best I can in every situation, I work damn hard for our clients, I stress inside at limitations thrust upon us by weather and by venues, all with a smile on our faces because this day is a one-off for a couple, and I expect the same from everyone else taking money from wedding couples. Does everyone live up to my expectations? No they don’t! Thankfully I am surrounded by wedding professionals and wonderful venues who have, and honour, the same exacting standards I expect, fellow professionals who know the couple is the most important aspect of a wedding day, venues who treat each guest as if they were the most important person in the world at that moment.

Keep up the outstanding work, fellow professionals and venues who care, and a huge f**k you to those who could not give a flying f**k…

Old Thorns wedding show

Another day spent at Old Thorns for a wedding show yesterday, seems like second home shooting numerous weddings every year for the past 11 years and two, sometimes three wedding shows a year plus a couple of supplier showcase each year also. Always kool to return [second]home… yesterday I was asked by another exhibitor (first timer) if I’d been to Old Thorns before, to which a fellow regular laughed and piped up, “haha, he’s part of the furniture here!” I’ll take that as a compliment 🙂

A slow start as downstairs was full, so it took visitors an hour before they started to trickle upstairs to where we were in the Gatsby and then it was mental for the rest of the day. Doors closed at 3pm but visitors were still flooding in to the Gatsby at that time, I didn’t start packing down until 3.30!

Anyway, a fab show and thank you to all the wonderful people I chatted to, Old Thorns for hosting and PMN for putting on yet another awesome show…

Where the **** did 2018 go?

Holy s**t, where did 2018 disappear to? Can anyone explain how time is accelerating? Are we flying through the universe faster and if so how come the clocks are speeding up? Any wise sages among us?

So, 2018 kicked my a**e completely, well not the first half, but oh my oh my, the second half well and truly beat the hell out of me!! Learned a few lessons, changing a few things, not going through that again…

And with last years trials and tribulations a savage memory burned upon my consciousness, we move forward with lessons learned toward a brighter future in a jolly and enthusiastic mood, looking forward to what this year will bring, the kool stuff we’re going to shoot, the awesome people we’re going to meet and of course you lot as always! Some of you are new to the gang (welcome/aloha/howdy to you), some of you are recent (hello again) and some of you are regulars (word up m*********ers), but of course you are all awesome!

I know it’s been a few months since I last penned one of these to you lot (blame the a**e-kicking second half of last year for that) so figured I best wish you all a Happy New Year an’all that as we’re already one week deep into 2019 already- we’ve all survived so far, only another fifty one of them remaining…

So what exciting stuff have you got happening this year? I know a stack of you have weddings to continue planning, some of you have albums to help design, some of you are way past that and just reading this on a tea break, maybe there are small ones due, small ones already here, small ones not quite as small, small things or families or pets (fur babies?) that you are looking forward to having a shoot with this year, who knows eh? Obviously if there’s anything non-wedding related to shoot that is on your to-do-list for 2019 then you know to holler at me or Sarah (Sarah is waaay better at the squidgy or furry portraiture than I am) and it’s always nice to see your faces again.

Right, my coffee is now cold so I best crack on with the next task. I still have weddings to edit so I can compile a best of 2018 (we shot some amazing stuff last year), albums to design, some of you to email and a Product Guide to go through for a 2019 refresh; we’re binning off some products, changing suppliers for our wall-hanging options (the wonderful and amazing Graphistudio are now offering awesome wall stuff) and generally trying to minimise and simplify stuff which is really bloody hard!!!

Go have an awesome day, be chill and sending out big hugs to you lot from Sarah and I.. until next time you lot…

Guest blog for Old Thorns Manor Hotel

Yeah… I did a spot of writing for an Old Thorns blog. It’s an amazing wedding venue we’re a preferred supplier for (wedding photography) and one of our fave places to shoot a wedding, so it’s been great to jot a few words down for them based around some images they really loved.

We’ve been shooting weddings at OT for the past decade and seen soooo many changes and it’s been wonderful having a working relationship with a venue for this length of time even through those changes- we must be doing something right!

So yeah, a cracking venue to host a wedding and a fabulous team there to help wedding couples, so here’s the blog we featured in (click the link below)

6 of our Chris Such Favourites

Hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s off to the NEC we go..

NEC bound today as we headed up to Birmingham, to the annual ‘The Photography Show’ (the big one for UK) to check out new stuff, chat to people, and to see the product ranges from our wonderful album suppliers Graphistudio, who just so happen to sponsor the show! In the pro’s only lounge (run by Graphi) we slurped coffee, chatted to the gang and touched up the sexy new stuff they are introducing! Oh and did I mention Graphi are using one of our albums in their display, both at the show and also at the UKHQ? Nice touch eh! Bit of kudos there.. tasty!

That was worth the drive alone to find that out!

Sarah bought some props for the studio, we listened in on a couple of seminars, chatted to some interesting suppliers and signed up for a couple of things, and then drove home.

I’m tired now, so going to have an early night..

TTFN.. 🙂

You may think I’m a lazy git

OK, OK, it’s nearly March and I’m only just posting about how fab our 2017 wedding season was! Whilst other ‘togs were talking about this in December last year, I thought I’d be different and wait until the rush was over…

…nope, we’ve just been busy doing stuff like designing client albums, a couple of new display albums, our first wedding and wedding show of 2018, a bit of an upgrade to our working space (why does a weekend job always take longer than planned eh?) and all that exciting stuff of meeting new couples fresh on their wedding planning journey; this year is going to be rather hectic!!!

And y’know what? Creating a slideshow from my favourite memories of last year is not a 5min job either- it was soooo tricky trying to narrow it down to a sensible number and even though I had to be ruthless in the end and cull a load out (otherwise the slideshow would’ve been 10mins long and you’d have fallen asleep/switched tabs to that cat video on FaceBook you’ve been tagged in) I still ended up keeping too many for a sensible length slideshow!

Oh well, moving on, my fave moments of 2017; each one triggers a kool memory for me from being in the moment with the people involved, so if you fancy taking a gander click here and chill out for 3mins.. (click HD option if it doesn’t automatically do so as fuzzy images are rubbish!) It is a touch too fast for my liking but it won’t take up too much of your time to check it out either!

Enjoy… 🙂

SUCH at Old Thorns Manor Hotel

Hello you beautiful ones on a beautiful morning sat here in the Captain’s Chair taking a rather expeditious break from this stockpile of wedding edits and album designs to bring you a request for images we’ve shot recently at one of our favourite venues, the ever-awesome Old Thorns. We’ve had a few of these lately after a veritably hustling wedding show there last Sunday where Sarah and I chatted to many new couples (and bumped into current clients also, which is always kool!) and got a few on-board with us too already; Old Thorns will be getting visited by us even more in 2018/19!!

So anyway, onto this Such at Old Thorns Manor Hotel request, yeah, we’ve had a few couple’s request to see examples of what we shoot up there, so I figured (in my expeditious way) the quickest and easiest course, was to throw a few together into a blog and ping a link. So, yeah, have some of this… 🙂

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Another amazing wedding show at Old Thorns

Yesterday saw us rock another amazing wedding show at Old Thorns #secondhome with it being the biggest one yet- 80 exhibitors and 1000 brides through the door!!!!  Crazy times!!!!

We had current clients rock up and say hi also as they continued their journey of wedding planning, and a couple of friends surprise hi as they check out Old Thorns as their wedding venue; always lovely to see and say hi again.

Cuppa is calling and I have a stack of emails to ping out now… I’ll try harder next time to write something worth reading- this one is proper sh*t 🙂

Hello again Old Thorns

Oh hello again Old Thorns, you are such the #secondhome to us, but it’s OK, we totally dig shooting you!

Phew.. back to #teamwork shooting with Sarah again for Saturday’s wedding of James and Emma up at our fave Old Thorns- another chilled one as they were both up there, so no crazy driving needed by me to cover 2x prep. locations… “relax Such, no logistics to sweat over!”

It did absolutely p*ss down with rain most of the day but they were a kool couple who worked with us and even bought wellies to tromp about outside and we always carry umbrellas so all was groovy. We nailed it… of course! That’s because we know what we’re doing and are #weddingexperts, so no panicking by us as we’re the absolute b*****ks and we damn well know what we’re doing.

Did I mention how f***ing awesome we are and how calm and collected we are when faced with photographic obstacles? No? Well, we are f***ing awesome… 🙂

P.S. I only profane here at CSiHQ and not at a wedding, I’ve already told ya we’re complete professionals at this shizzle…

P.P.S. Usual follow up ‘proper’ blog will appear soon with accompanying imagery.. 10-4