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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…

Rhinefield House wedding show

Yesterdays Rhinefield House wedding show was interesting; I’ve been shooting weddings for 20 years now (20 years!!) and I’ve never shot at Rhinefield House. It’s one of a few very well known and local wedding venues that I’ve not had the pleasure of shooting at. It’s always amazed me that these venues seem to elude my shooting prowess, perhaps they only allow their recommended suppliers to shoot there (which would be very strange behaviour indeed) who knows, but anyway, it’s stuuuuuuunniiiiiing… oh maaan I want to shoot a wedding there now!!!!

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… 🙂

New Graphistudio album range designed finally!

HOLY SH*TBALLS, my grey matter is frazzled today after a mind-numbing frenzy putting the final creative touches to our next album range to be introduced from our amazing suppliers Graphistudio. Not that I’ve been meaning to do this for 6 months, but I finally had a bit of ‘spare’ time in between wedding edits and sat down for a few days to get it designed.

These things have to be very carefully thought about, one cannot simply sling these together with whichever images one is drawn towards; each page or double-page spread has to be thought out and designed with an overall theme that runs for the complete album.  An album has to flow, the design has to tell a story, the theme has to work, the pages have to follow on from each other, the typefaces and fonts have to work together, the borders and colours and backgrounds have to match, the images need to be complimentary to the others on the page.

Damn there’s so much more than throwing down a client’s choice of images on a page and being done with it, I’ll leave that to the cheap/lazy photographers out there who give zero f**ks about design and unique album layouts for their clientele, or who don’t care about presentation, or [heaven forbid] those who use templates and auto-design software!!! These things are supposed to special and unique!

Display albums on the other hand, are equally taxing; yeah OK, I get to choose the images to tell the story however I like, which is easier in some ways, but I have to choose so carefully as the story has to inspire others, not a couple looking at memories of their day with their friends and family on the pages- double hard bas***d task that is!!

Well, that was an unintentional rant! I only started out to wax on about a new album concept range we’re introducing in the next couple of weeks! Although technically, we’re introducing two new album ranges, I’ve only designed the album set for one; I have worked out the package options for one range and designed the album layout and ordered the other, so kinda halfway there!

I will be shouting a bit more about all this stuff when the other design has been created and sent off, and the package options for both have been finalised- until then… tata 🙂

Service tweak aka ‘Arse-Kicking Incentive’

All-new arse-kicking incentive option..

I’m always thinking about ways to improve how we do things, or the products we offer, or our service to you lot- it’s a constant internal monologue chatting away at the back of my mind (does my head in if I wake up at 3am with my brain spinning I tell ya!)

So Sarah and I took a break the other day, grabbed Archie’s lead and coat, and headed outdoor to give him a long walk and us some fresh air to clear the mind-fog so we could chat ideas about improvements we could make.  Now you lot know from my mini-rants, that I’m super-passionate about folk having printed products, proper stuff that is going to last and be treasured, stuff to show off not only now, but in years to come, y’know stuff to get out and giggle at.  You all know this as I go on about it enough!

Now, I am as guilty as the next person when it comes to to-do-lists, priority-lists and ‘get-around-to-it-eventually’ lists, I live in the real world too y’know and I always joke about having my to-do-list written out on a loo roll- I roll it out and keep adding to this impossibly long list!  And sometimes I just need a good ol’fashioned kick in the rear to get sh*t done (Sarah is good at this!) and this is where our idea has sprung from.

I’ve always dug our flexible approach with separate photography and separate products afterwards, it’s what sets us apart from the standard stuff out there, and I plan to keep doing this!  And we never pressure anyone to choose a particular option or product, it’s always been and will remain to be, “you order what you want, when you want.”  Simple and flexible.

I’m always looking at ways to work more efficiently and to try and minimise the bottlenecks that sometimes happen with workflow at certain peak times of the year.  With this in mind we have come up with a tweak to the way we offer stuff to streamline our workload and help to spread things out over the year more effectively for us.

I pinged out our newsletter the other day with all the options on this, so if you’d like a digital copy, email me at chris@chrissuch.co.uk and I’ll buzz a copy over

We’ve cheekily called it ‘Arse Kicking Incentive’ which I think has a certain ring to it and I may well adopt this moniker in future correspondence #arsekickingincentive..

Anyway, enough for today, I need another cuppa…

Big hugs from Chris and Sarah  🙂 x

Another wedding show at Old Thorns Manor Hotel, Liphook, Hampshire

Another wedding show at Old Thorns yesterday. Always busy. Thank you….

*Dramatic pause to go fetch another cuppa*

Another crazy-busy wedding show at Old Thorns yesterday with loads of couples chatted to and contact details taken to bombard with information today! Thank you to everyone who came and chatted to Sarah and I, we have a load of details to input and pester now. Watch those junk folders for stuff you don’t think you need but you’re going to receive anyway, and then realise how useful they really are, and then commission us to shoot your magical day. You know it makes sense!!  TTFN 🙂 x

Server woes update

Yup still experiencing server woes, but I think our emails are working (had to use a bit of creativity) for now, although not fixed properly.  Have a backlog of editing to do and blog posts of recent weddings, portraits and corporate shoots to upload, but priorities first!

Tech. can suck sometimes but I’ll keep smiling, we will win this battle 🙂