My girlfriend is a big Beyonce fan. So naturally, this makes me one too (insert eye-roll emoticon). We’re also both fans of her sports brand, Ivy Park, so jumped at the chance to put together this video with their latest collection.

We shot over two days in various locations in Mexico City and the small, colonial town of San Miguel de Allende.

The team consisted of myself, Diana and… yeh, just us two. Haha. Which kept us both rather busy, but jokes aside, I always favour on a small production over one with too many cooks.

Everything was filmed on a Canon 5d Mark 3 with either a fixed 50mm f1.2, or a 70-200mm f2.8. All handheld. We recorded the voice over in Garage Band on my laptop using just the built in mic, and edited in Premier Pro.

  • August 11, 2017 - 7:04 pm

    Charley Smith - Hi Anastasia, Sounds great! Thanks of reaching out. I’ll message you now. Best wishes, Charley

  • August 11, 2017 - 1:07 pm

    Anastasia - Hi, Charley!

    My name is Anastasia – I’m a blog editor at Poptop Event Planning Concierge Service (

    I’ve recently found your website and was really impressed with the quality of your work! Do you think you could share your professional advice with some of the photographers, who read our blog?

    I’m currently working on an article, dedicated to how event photographers can improve their service at weddings and guarantee stress-free and enjoyable experience both for guests and themselves. I’d be really happy to include your expert opinion on an essential rule to smooth work at private events. Would you be able to send me 3-4 sentences on this topic till Tuesday?

    A few quick facts about our company:
    25 000 people read our blog every month.
    We help more than 10 000 event planners to find their perfect event supplier every month
    More than 5000 event suppliers in our roster

    Looking forward to hearing from you,


In these five ‘MARKETING YOUR BUSINESS’ posts I am sharing the 5 places where almost all of my wedding bookings come from, and tips for how you can make them can work for your business as well.

The last of these 5 is Word of mouth.

Your best source of new business is referrals from happy clients. You cannot have a more motivated prospect arrive on your website than someone sent there by a raving fan.

According to a recent Small Business market Research Sales and Marketing report, 72 percent of new business comes from referrals and word of mouth.

This has certainly been true for my business. While more initial enquires may come from other sources, like Google, referrals by a couple who have already worked with you are by far hottest leads, with the majority converting to bookings.

Some summers, almost all of my weddings are from referrals. I’ll be photographing the wedding of the best friend of a bride from the year before, another member of a family getting married, and so on.

By my 3rd year of photographing weddings I was able to completely stop promotion, marketing or advertising. I just kept my website updated with my latest work and relevant information, then used that time and money instead to improve the service I was offering.

How do you create a business worthy of referral? How do you provide a service that people want to tell others about?
Simple! Create a fantastic service with outstanding results. Haha.

While this is easier said than done, I have two guiding principles that help me in both areas:

1. Do exactly what you say. People never like feeling they’re not receiving the service they signed up for, so I am very clear about what I do and what is included. There’s a number of ways that help achieve this:

  • Standardise the wording in your emails. I don’t want to miss out any important information when replying to the initial enquiry, so I have a standard reply, and a pricing and details PDF that I attach. This includes precise numbers and accurate descriptions of exactly what the client will receive.
  • Really understand what it is you offer. You want to find yourself agreeing to produce something that you may not be able to, and creating an expectation that may not be fulfilled, leading to the client being disappointed.
  • Have the important information and examples of your work on your website. Allow potential clients to get a clear understanding of what you offer before they enquire, so they can decide that you are definitely what they are looking for.
  • Have terms and conditions document. This will clarify everything they can expect of you and avoid complications down the line. You can download mine here.
  • Under promise, over deliver. For example, I will arrive before the time I suggested I would, I will stay longer, hand over more photographs, and edit and send them before expected. I want my client to be impressed with my service, as well as loving their photographs.

2. Take the most amazing wedding photographs the client has ever seen. After more than 10 years photographing weddings, I have a vast portfolio I can choose from for the gallery on my website. Potential clients see this gallery, and this is the calibre of photography they will expect. So this has to be surpassed. So I am going all out at every wedding I take on, to create the most amazing wedding photographs they have ever seen. I say to myself when I start each wedding, but it doesn’t mean that this is easily achieved…

I don’t believe that great photography happens by accident. Well, not for me. I am not the sort of photographer who can just show up, shoot from the hip, and expect it to look world class. My images are created through careful planning. I want to guarantee the success of each and every wedding I photograph without leaving anything to chance. And it’s this technique that I want to demonstrate over the next few posts. I will attempt to deconstruct and explain my approach to photographing weddings, so you may be able to do the same, and become a better and more successful wedding photographer. Stay tuned!

I hope this is helpful!

Next week I will post the first of ‘Planning for Success’. If you would like to receive these articles direct to your inbox, please sign up to my blog on the left of this page.

I would love to get your comments on this article or topic in the comments below. If you have any questions, or feel there’s something I missed out, please do ask!

Ok, so it’s not wedding photography, but there’s a tenuous link…

Every Second Counts is a really exciting sportswear brand based in London. It was founded by Sally Dixon, who I’d met several years early, when she produced an editorial we shot tother for You & Your Wedding Magazine.

I really loved the brand she was creating, and jumped at the chance to produce and direct this film with my girlfriend, Diana Vizcaya, out here in Mexico.

It was amazing to work on the project together. I obviously lack a little objectivity, but Diana is amazing!



Over the next five ‘MARKETING YOUR BUSINESS’ posts I am going to share with you the 5 places where almost all of my wedding bookings come from, and tips for how you can make them can work for your business as well.

The fourth of these 5 is Wedding Planners.

In many ways building a relationship with a wedding planner/ coordinator is similar to building a relationship with a venue. The main difference being that an independent planner is not tied to a specific venue, so the location of the venues potentially could be anywhere.

Every wedding I shoot in the US or Mexico is with a planner, whilst in Europe it is still a lot less common. It’s customary to pass 10% of your fee to the planner for the referral. Another thing that is very different to Europe, although I see this beginning to happen and as the wedding industry continues it’s growth, I am sure this will become the norm. But I am more than happy to do this. The planners I am lucky enough to work with are amazing, and the difference it makes to ne working with at an event I know is going to be expertly planned and coordinated, makes it worth its weight in gold.

A few years ago I decided I wanted to start photographing weddings in a town called San Miguel de Allende in Mexico and stared working with a planner, Guadalupe, head honcho at Penzi Bodas. I now do about 10 a year with her, and her weddings are so fantastic and well organised that I work almost exclusively with her in Mexico.

I’m not sure that this could be replicated in the UK right now. I work a lot with Quintessentially events, but it’s still only one or two weddings each summer. It is still worth building a relationship with a least one or two planners, if not more.

If you are on a list of recommended suppliers for a planner, it really says great things about the service you offer. The planner will no doubt come into contact with countless photographers each season, so if they are prepared to put your name forward, then you are doing something right!

If you are just starting out, it may be a great help to your business to contact specific planners and ask them to recommend you. This is the first things I will do when looking to work in a new area. When I decided that I would like to photograph weddings in San Miguel de Allende in Mexico, this is exactly how I did it:

  • Google ‘Wedding Planners area you want to work in‘.
  • Make a list of 10 planners you feel may suit your style of photography and you would like to work with.
  • Send an email to each planner asking if it may be possible to come and show them your work.
  • Take a presentation of your work for them to see. I generally take a presentation of my recent work on my laptop.
  • Leave them with some of your business cards.

When I work with a planner, I try to do and consider a number of things:

  • If I would like help or information about the wedding, I make sure it has been arranged before hand, and not left to the actual wedding day.
  • On the wedding day, I always remember that the planner is under as much pressure as I am to make the day a success. If there are timings to keep to, I always make sure I leave plenty of time, so the wedding is not forced to run late.
  • Before I leave at the end of the wedding day,  I make sure that I thank everyone I have worked with.
  • When I have finished the pictures I email the planner to thank him or her for her help on the wedding day and attach a link to the photographs. I offer to send them a link to download all of the images for their marketing and promotion.
  • If I blog the wedding, I put a mention and a link to the planner.
  • When ever I get the chance I will recommend the planner to couples.

I hope this is helpful! If you enjoyed this article, please ‘Like’ it, so that it will reach others.

I would love to get your comments on this article or topic in the comments below. If you have any questions, or feel there’s something I missed out, please do ask!

Next week I will post the fifth and final ‘The Top 5 ways I get my Wedding Bookings’. If you would like to receive these articles direct to your inbox, please sign up to my blog on the left of this page.

S u b s c r i b e   t o   B l o g