Get to Know Me


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.

5 THINGS I love

Cats, cats and more cats!

I’m happily married to my wife, Marie and we both love cats. We have 3 adopted cats – 2 live next door, while the 3rd lives near by, 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.

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

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!

Jaffa Cakes!

If you want me eating out of your hand just offer me jaffa cakes and I’ll do whatever you ask!!
I’ve even had a few brides gift me some to nibble on during their wedding day (hint, hint!!)

Coffee and Red wine!

I love a good mug of coffee in the morning to get me up and ready for the day ahead. This is essential for me as I’m not a morning person! – As for tea? – Yuk!! Can’t stand the stuff!!
My other favourite drink is red wine, especially with a lovely meal!

More about me

photo by evergreen shoots

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.

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.

Awards

Over the years, I’ve been a Wedding Photographer of the Year twice – scrub that… 3 times (latest award: The Great British Wedding Award 2022: Outstanding Wedding Photographer of the Year), and still winning awards as you can see below.
I’m listed Top 3 in West Midlands by WPJA and Top 100 in UK by Your Perfect Wedding Photographer.

24 WPJA Awards

I’ve been featured in bridal magazines such as Your West Midlands Wedding Magazine. Some of my nuptial events are also featured on wedding blogs, such as Boho WeddingsLove Our Wedding and The English Wedding Blog.

My Equipment

Not that it’s going to matter to 99% of my customers, but I know some photographers are interested and a small % of couples who are into knowing exactly how I work. So here’s a brief history of my camera gear.

When I started shooting weddings in 1987, in preparation for dipping my toes into to the world of professional wedding photography, I bought my very first “professional” camera, a Yashicat Mat 124G, as back then medium format film was the preferred choice of most professionals. Since then I’ve used the Bronica SQa, ETRSi and Mamiya 645 Super.

I dipped my toes into digital in 2000 with my first DSLR, the Fujifilm FinePix S1 Pro, advancing to Nikon D1X and D2X. Then I jumped ship to Canon which I used for several years while using 1D MkII, 5D MkII and 5D MkIII.

In 2015 mirrorless cameras started to appear and it seemed the way forward, so I started shooting again with the incredible Fujifilm cameras. I’ve since used the X-E2, X-T1, X-Pro2 and X-T4 cameras.

I still have my XT4, but my wedding camera system is now based around the Sony AIV.

FAQ

Are You Insured?

Yes I have full professional indemnity and public liability insurance.

Do you shoot weddings all year round?

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.

Can I see the photographs from a full wedding day?

Sure, no problem! Just let me know by emailing me at clive@cliveblair.co.uk and I’ll be happy to show you.

Who will be my photographer?

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.

How do you work during the wedding day?

I break it all down for you in my portfolio.

Here’s a summary:
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.

Do you work alone or with an assistant?

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.

What if I hate posing for photographs?

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.

Do we have to provide a meal for you?

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.

How long do you stay at a wedding?

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.

What happens after our wedding?

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 you’ve ordered a USB containing all the high resolution files of the photos in your gallery, it 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.

Do we get the copyright for our digital photos?

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.

Do you offer albums?

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.

How many photographs will we get?

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.

Will family and friends get to see our photographs online?

Yes. Your images are available to view in your secure, password-protected online gallery, which also allows orders from anywhere in the world.

Do you edit all of our images?

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.

Are my digital files supplied in colour or black and white?

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!

Can we get the RAW or unedited photos?
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.

Got more questions?

I’ve got plenty more answers!