“ Type: Photography / picture-proud.co.uk „
Picture Proud are photographers based at Elsecar Heritage Centre in South Yorkshire - a convenient location just 5 minutes from Junction 36 of the M1.
They were formed in 2007 with a vision of providing affordable studio photography. Most of us know that a lot of studio's lure people in with offers of free photo shoots and a free print and then hit you with the reality that they may chose the free print and it could be a print you didn't like, and if you want any additional prints, then you have to pay a fortune. Me and my sisters had this experience several years ago when we wanted a professional photo for my parents - we had our free shoot and then had to pay £400 for one frame and a further £25 for an A4 sized print!
Picture Proud are a revelation to the photography business, not only do they provide affordable studio time, but they don't retain full copywrite over the images that they produce, you get them ALL to take away on a disc in colour and black and white - you can upload them to social networking sites, print them off as many times as you like etc, all for no additional cost.
Their basic studio sitting is £160 for a 45 minute photoshoot and all the images on CD. You don't pay for the shoot upfront, the shoot is free - it is only once you have viewed the images that they take any money from you - if you don't like the images, you are under no obligation to pay and they don't have any pressure tactics.
Along with the basic photoshoot, they also offer a range of other services which include the following:
Bumps and babies - This is a 15 minute photoshoot, with every image provided in colour and black and white and costs £60. They also do a bumps and babies pack for £160 which is 3 15 minute sessions taken over a 15 month period - with every image provided on disc and in a 6"X4" print.
Pets - They offer pet photoshoots and pets can also be incorporated into a normal shoot.
Weddings - They have a 3 tiered wedding service depending on how long you want their time for. All of the packages include a free studio sitting before the big day, all images on disc in black and white and between 30 and 50 pages/prints in an album. They also offer a mobile studio for wedding receptions.
Parties - Provide parties for children, where the birthday girl/boy can bring along 5 friends and have a photoshoot for 45 minutes and then spend 45 minutes viewing the pictures and picking which ones they like. All the guests get a copy of the images on CD and also get prints from the day as well.
As well as doing the actual photoshoot, they do offer prints and various products such as canvas's which are at very reasonable prices, far cheaper than other studio's I have visited, and they don't compromise on the quality either.
I used Picture Proud for my wedding, the owner is the husband of an ex colleague of mine, and when I was discussing my wedding photography with a current colleague, she happened to mention Picture Proud, and the fact that they offered full copywrite to the images, which is something I insisted on, so I decided to look further into it.
Booking an appointment to go and see them was easy, a quick call to arrange a time, and that was that. When we got down to the studio, we were provided with drinks, whilst Steve, the owner, talked us through what they could offer, and then showed us the kind of images that they took on the wedding day. They offer a more contemporary style of photographs, whilst still doing the traditional shots that you would expect to see in a wedding album. After seeing the photo's, we knew that they were the photographers for us, and the only decision we had to make was how long we wanted them for, as for weddings, you pay for their time.
We ended up deciding on 3 hours, to cover before the ceremony, during the ceremony and then pictures at the church afterwards. The cost for this was £750 and it included the pre wedding photoshoot, digital enhancements in respect of the photos taken and 40 pages/prints in an album. Whilst you can get cheaper photographers, most do not offer the copywrite to the photos which was one of the main factors for us.
On booking, we paid a 50% deposit and booked in for our pre wedding photoshoot which we took around 4 weeks before the wedding. This was to get us used to the camera (can take earlier if you want to use the photos for invites etc), the shoot lasted around 20 minutes and was a fantastic experience and we got some really nice photos out of it. We were made to feel at ease during our time in the studio, and came out very relaxed, especially given that my husband doesn't like having his photo taken.
We were also given forms to fill in, naming people in the bridal party etc, and outlining any specific shots we wanted on the day, and also letting them know of any family politics etc and anything they should avoid. We chatted this through at the pre wedding shoot and they informed us that they would also be in touch with the vicar to talk about taking shots in church and they would also visit the venue to ensure they knew where it was and to check out the setting, lighting etc.
When they big day arrived, there were 2 photographers who covered the day, and they both had top of the range camera's that backed images up to two separate memory cards, and they both took the same shots so each image was saved 4 times ensuring that should anything go wrong with one camera, or one memory card, we would still get photo's which was reassuring.
During the ceremony, one was based at the front of the church and one was based at the rear, they took photos throughout but they were not intrusive, and didn't ask us to pose for any shots aside from when we were signing the registrar so all the shots were natural shots which turned out fantastic.
They did a fantastic job after the ceremony, I have a huge family so organisation was key and they got it spot on, especially given that the weather was very hot and most people wanted to get to the reception to get a drink and cool down. The photo's after the ceremony lasted no longer than 90 minutes, with a lot of the shots of me and my husband coming at the end of this to allow others time to get to the reception venue before us. Despite us paying for 3 hours of their time, they arrived before the time we had booked them and left afterwards, so it wasn't as if they suddenly said 'right your 3 hours are up that is it, we are off'.
Before we went on honeymoon, we booked in a session to go back and view the photos. We could have got the disc before we went on honeymoon, however, it was a tight turnaround and we didn't want to rush them. When we went back we viewed every single image, including those from the pre wedding shoot and it was a fantastic experience, especially for me, as obviously I had not seen everyone arriving at the church so it was a nice surprise. They had taken a wonderful selection of pictures and we were very impressed.
They sent us away with our disc to pick the pictures we wanted, we had 222 images in all, in both black and white and colour, so narrowing this down from 444 to approx 60 was a tough choice which took a good few months. Having the images on CD meant that we could show family and friends all the images rather than just those that ended up in the final album.
We chose to have a contemporary album, which was a hardbacked book with the photos printed onto the page, we could have between 1 and 3 prints per page and upto 40 pages. We chose this because it was different, and also more hardwearing - meaning that we could leave it out and people could flick through it and it wouldn't get ruined.
We filled in a form stating which pictures we would like and emailed this to the studio, who then produced a mock up of the album, which they emailed back before it went to print. This was done within the space of a few days despite it being a busy period in the run up to Christmas, they went beyond the call of duty by emailing me the mock up quite late at night, clearly putting the hours in!
With the pictures they had made some enhancements, and changed layouts slightly from what I had requested, but their suggestions looked far better in all cases, they really have an eye for putting the albums together. We agreed the final mock up, and the albums were ready to pick up within 10 days - we had 3 printed, one came within the package and the other 2 cost £50 each which is very reasonable.
The reaction to the albums has been fantastic, everyone has commented on how beautiful and different they are, and they are a definite conversation starter when people come and visit. I really couldn't have asked for much more.
Consequently, whenever anyone mentions having professional photos done, I cannot help but gush over the service we received, and always recommend Picture Proud. They are unique in the service that they offer, have fantastic prices, and don't compromise on service or quality.
As you can tell from this view, I have nothing buy praise for the guys down at Picture Proud and I will definitely be using them again in the future!