Do you believe in destiny? I certainly do and so does our international wedding photographer that I am delighted to introduce you to today, welcome Claire Penn. In just 3 short years, Claire has taken her love of photography that was heightened during her honeymoon, and is taking the wedding world by storm, winning the prestigious ‘Rising Star’ Award and photographing weddings all over the world.
But before I hand over the blog so that you can meet Claire, here are some lesser know facts about the lady behind the lens, she loves – gin, Polaroid cameras, Nathan Fillion, stationery, pretty much anything turquoise/Tiffany blue, shortbread, Italy, NYC, cheese, US tv shows (esp. with Nathan Fillion), Christmas, her dog Badger, snow days, carousels, ranunculus, and prosecco.
It is a thrill to welcome a fellow Nathan Fillion fan to the blog, so come and meet Claire.
How did you become wedding photographer?
“Fate/destiny… whatever you want to call it… that’s what got me into this. I fell in love with photography on my honeymoon in Italy and when we got back I decided I wanted to take it up as a hobby (as I no longer had a wedding to plan!). I sold my wedding dress to pay for my first dSLR camera… and the rest is history.
If you had told me then that in 3 years time I would be shooting absolutely beautiful weddings, all over the world and would win a prestigious worldwide ‘Rising Stars’ award… I would have laughed. A LOT. And gone back to photographing the cat!
Even now, there are days when I can’t quite believe I’m lucky enough to call this work.”
What skills do you think that it takes to be a fabulous wedding photographer?
“You have to love people. Yes you also need to take beautiful photographs, know where to find the light and be able to predict the future in many cases (to capture all those little moments) but you are there with a couple and their loved ones all day – they want someone around who is personable, friendly and at ease talking to all kinds of people. Someone they feel comfortable with and who will blend in with the guests so they can simply relax and enjoy their day. I often get mistaken for a friend of the couple who’s doubling up as their photographer – this is always a good sign!”
How did you choose a photographer for your wedding day?
“I chose the cheapest.
You might also ask me what was my biggest regret about my wedding. And you would get the same answer. I have a couple of the photos in a frame but the rest never even made it into an album.
Let this be a lesson! I am not saying you have to spend a months salary on photography alone but please do your research… look on wedding blogs and see the different styles. My advice would be to spend the MOST you can on someone whose style you truly love… once the day has gone the photographs are all you have. Especially if, like me, you sell your frock!”
What type and locations of weddings do you shoot?
“They are all so different! Some have a vintage/retro vibe, others are more boho, some are super elegant and some are brilliantly quirky. I guess the common theme tends to be the couples themselves… relaxed, non traditional, don’t take themselves too seriously and just want to have a wonderful day with their nearest and dearest, done their way.
I’ve been lucky enough to photograph weddings all over the world… a riverboat on the Thames, a beach in Wales, castle in Scotland, stately home in Ireland, various châteaux in France, a private ranch in Spain and even a yacht in New York City! I have always loved to travel so to get the opportunity to do both is wonderful.”
What is your favourite part of the photography process for a couple getting married in France?
“I think overall French weddings tend to just be that bit more relaxed… there’s less attention paid to the ‘timetable’ and things just seem to flow. Quite a few of my couples choose to get married later in the day to avoid the midday heat a little and then have a first look before the ceremony. I LOVE this. It means I get some really intimate photos of the two of them at that moment they first set eyes on one another (there have been tears, theirs and mine).
We get a good chunk of uninterrupted time together to get some beautiful couple shots and when their drink reception comes around it means they can simply enjoy time with their guests whilst I’m busy capturing everyone having a rather lovely time. Of course… the stunning venues, beautiful surroundings, amazing light and incredible food certainly are also a huge bonus! I also love that party only gets going around midnight.”
What is the best thing about being a wedding photographer?
“Everything. Maybe it’s because I was really unhappy in my old day job and that’s still a reasonably fresh memory but as I said, there are days I still cannot believe it’s how I make a living. I am thankful every day that I get to do something I love with wonderful people and never ever take for granted the trust that my couples place in me. I can’t imagine doing anything else.”
Tell me about your services
“I shoot weddings, pre-wedding/engagement or couple shoots anywhere in the world but typically find myself in the UK or France. I’ve recently done my first Paris engagement shoot over two days and I absolutely loved it but we still didn’t have enough time! (There’s never seems to be enough time in Paris)
For weddings I offer full day coverage because I want to tell the couple’s story from start to finish. One price, one package. It includes a minimum of 300 high resolution images – usually MANY more! – that the couple can print as they wish, watermarked web ready images for sharing on social media sites, a web and mobile friendly password protected gallery/slideshow to share with friends and family and a few frames of Polaroid film photography from the day. Pre-wedding shoots and fine art albums can then be added if required.”
Claire Penn is available for photography services throughout France be sure to view more of her work on her website