Tuesday, 26 November 2013

All change at Sandra Keddie Photography

Hi, I know that I haven't posted anything here for a while. I have been tremendously busy, working weddings - though not as many as 2012 - training and gaining qualifications. 2013 has seen quite a change. I have now qualified as a Master Photographer with the Master Photographers Association (MPA). I have spent a lot of time working on technique with models and making creative images, and  I now have an office manager/assistant/researcher as my husband Tony has come to work with me full time in the business.

This also has means that I now have a Twitter account @photos_by_SK and a new blog to support Sandra Keddie Photography. You can find that here

Thanks for following


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Monday, 9 September 2013

Stylishly Sexy Boudoir by Sandra Keddie Photography

I am delighted to finally offer Stylish and Sexy Boudoir as part of the studio offering at Sandra Keddie Photography. Until now, I have only ever provided Boudoir photography when I have been asked to, but every time I have done so, my clients have been overwhelmed with the result. I have even been told that my Boudoir sessions are better than therapy for that "feel good" factor!

I believe that every woman is entitled to feel good about herself, and how better to do this than with a professional hair and make-up session to start, a glass of something chilled and sparkling, and images that show a side of you that you may never have seen before.

Boudoir photography, for me, is the art of the implied. Everything should be suggested, left to the imagination of the observer. That does not mean this is fakery, far from it. It involves taking you, a beautiful woman and exaggerating your best attributes with subtle lighting and a suggestive pose that is not revealing ( or not too revealing at least). Props such as chiffon, feather boas and pearls add and distract, creating an image that is stylish and sexy, never smutty or sleazy.

Whether these images are created just for you, or for that special someone, isn't it a fabulous thing to be able to keep this memory of how we are, stylish and sexy!

Ladies, I look forward to hearing from you!!

Book your Stylishly Sexy Boudoir Session now!




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Thursday, 1 August 2013

Frequently Asked Questions

It is possible to ask what appears to be a perfectly reasonable question, and to get an answer that wasn't quite what you expected! Hopefully the questions below will provide answers that help, but if there is anything not covered here, or it just doesn't make sense, then please call or email.


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Q. Who will take my photographs?

I will. Sandra Keddie Photography is all about me and my photography. I never sub-contract and I am not an agency. I always work with an assistant / second shooter for weddings. It is always me in the studio, and I retouch all my own images. Special Day Memories, on the other hand, is a successful wedding video and photography company that I also run and where I work with others in it as a team, but, unless I have otherwise agreed with my client, I will always be present.

Q. Are you a full-time or part-time photographer?

I am a full-time and professional photographer qualified with the SWPP and also The Photographer Academy. Weddings, portraits and commercial photography is where I get my income. By being a full-time photographer I can concentrate exclusively on my customers and their photography. I can promise you will get a personal service.

Q. How many weddings have you photographed?

I stopped counting at 100! I have been in the wedding photography business since 2007. 

Q. Do you have a studio or shop?

I have a residential studio and office (in Scotland) which can take medium sized groups, with the ability to rent larger studio premises if necessary. I travel to South Africa at least once a year, and while I am there I concentrate on wedding and location photography.

Q. How do you dress when working?

For weddings I always wear smart but practical clothes. Please remember I am not a guest. I will look smart and my colours are conservative, but I may need to lie down in the mud or stand in the rain if the perfect image requires it and while we do everything to keep you dry and out of the rain, this does not apply to me or my assistant. We get the best shots, no matter what the weather!  In the studio I like to be casual and comfortable.

Q. Do you have insurance?

Yes, I have very comprehensive business insurance with Towergate, which includes Public Liability insurance.

Q. What happens if it rains on my wedding day?

Umbrellas! But seriously, it does rain in Scotland - so I do carry umbrellas, and I suggest that a good best man/bridesmaid thinks about having a couple of nice white umbrellas available for just in case. Strangely enough it rains in South Africa as well, but not so much and normally not for as long or as cold! When I arrive at the venue on the day of the wedding, I always introduce myself to the coordinator or event manager to discuss the running order of the day, which also includes what happens if the weather is poor. Good venues are used to this, and will have a plan. We will try to get outside, the light is so much better, but I do carry lighting equipment so if we have to we shoot within the available space in your venue. It is always worth asking an event manager where the photographs are taken on bad weather days.

Q. What if you've never worked at the venue before?

If I've never worked at a venue before, I visit the venue before to familiarise myself with the venue. I will discuss timings and space with the event manager and make sure that I have ideas in my mind about where to shoot.

Q. What if your camera kit breaks down?

My equipment is all of a professional level. I have spare everything. I regularly maintain and replace my equipment.

Q. How long does it take to view images?

Wedding proofs are normally turned around within two to three weeks, portrait proofs within 5 working days and for commercial images within a few hours to two days depending on the task.

Q. Do you have an assistant?

Yes, I always have a second shooter / assistant for weddings. I sometimes have an assistant in the studio, if the lighting setup is complex, and mostly on location. Never for boudoir.

Depending on the circumstances or the size of the wedding, I may bring an extra assistant with me, to carry equipment or organise lighting. My assistant helps organise groups and poses, and also takes reportage photography, capturing casual and candid moments. I am currently married to my main assistant!

Q. Do you have a privacy policy?

I keep clients details in a password protected database I have on my admin computer. Your data is completely private and secure at all times and I never pass on or sell personal details or contact information. I firmly believe that passing personal details onto other agencies is both unethical and completely wrong. Like all photographers, the copyright of the images is mine. Even if you purchase the images on disc and reproduction rights, the image remains mine. But I respect peoples right to privacy, so if you state in our contract that you do not wish your images used for marketing or sold then I will not use them.

Q. Why is wedding photography so expensive?

A. Consider first that you are hiring a professional. There are numerous costs involved in providing a quality service, including professional grade equipment, insurance, taxes, travel, training, etc. Then remember, it is not just about the wedding day: We meet at least once, probably twice, before the wedding to discuss your requirements. After the wedding day - which is a long working day - I process the images, present them, retouch selected images, design an album, present the album proof for your approval, adjust if necessary, then meet with you a final time to deliver your album to you.

Lastly, I believe that I am as inexpensive as I can be. I try to keep my costs as low as possible, working from home for example and trying not to charge travelling costs unless absolutely necessary. The main cost in your package will depend upon the type of album you choose. Graphistudio make beautiful albums that I am very happy to present. They are a gorgeous quality product, a truly breathtaking way to present wedding images - but they do attract a premium price. I also offer other albums which may better suit a budget while still being an extremely good product.

Q. Why should we choose you?

A. I believe I offer exceptional value for money. I believe that I present a creative vision that people enjoy, I hope that you enjoy my style of photographic presentation. I will work tirelessly for you, with a sense of humour, to get those images that you want to capture and I will present them just as well as I can to try to delight you.

Q. What should I wear for my portrait photoshoot?

A. Wear whatever you feel suits the image you want to portray. Long sleeves are generally better than short for adults. Try to find outfits that are plain, rather than patterned, and it is normally better for people to wear a similar colour. For a one hour photoshoot I would recommend two outfits.

Q. Will you take my pets portrait?

A. I will come to your home or to a location and we will agree a rate. I cannot bring pets into the studio because of possible allergies. Pets can be unpredictable and sometimes we will not get as many images as I would like. However I have yet to have a dog defeat me, and have always been able to get a portrait that an owner has been happy with.

Q. What do we need to do to book you for our wedding / event?

A. Firstly, please contact us to confirm we are available for your date and advise us of your requirements. Once agreed, we will send out two copies of our standard terms and conditions for you to sign, returning one copy along with the required booking fee. Once we have received these, the booking is confirmed.

Q. If we cancel the booking, do we get our deposit back?

A. Your deposit holds your day for a wedding and means that I cannot take other work on that day. Usually if I can find work on your day after you have cancelled then I will refund, but otherwise I am afraid it should be considered as a fee for the administration and planning involved in preparing for covering your wedding or event, and for my loss of earnings. For portrait and studio work, we can normally come to an arrangement on rescheduling. I may offer services or product to the same value instead of a refund.

Q. Your website mentions the SWPP and CPA - what is that?

A.  I am a licentiate member of the Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers, LSWPP, which means I have displayed a significant level of photographic professionalism  The Society consists mainly of professional photographers and has the aim of improving the standard of photographic services in the UK and abroad. CPA is the qualification of being certified by the Photography Academy run by Mark Cleghorn, one of the UKs most successful photographers

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Is being a wedding photographer the best job in the world?

These beautiful images of LeeAnn were taken at Calderwood Hall, a gorgeous wedding venue near Pietermaritzburg, Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa.

Being a photographer can be quite a hard business. I don't want any sympathy or anything, because I wouldnt swap it for all the world, I love it, but I just want to share some of the pain, the anxiety. First there is the whole business of marketing to attract customers, then there is creating a package of products that the customer likes. Not forgetting the bit about being quite a good photographer, and working on those skills to get fresh ideas. Then there is the wedding day - no pressure there, hey?

And after the wedding there is that moment when you review the images and you see that some of them are not too shabby. Then you show the customer, online, and they seem to like them but they are still small and on a screen. After the customer picks the images, the album design. I love designing albums, probably my favourite bit of the whole process. But, just like painting or any other creative art, what I think is fabulous might not appeal to my customer. Thats okay, I just take one for the team and redesign until I make my customer happier.

Then we go to print. And we wait! Right now Graphistudio, the beautiful Italian album that I offer, is taking about 6 weeks to print and deliver. So, by the time the album arrives, I am so nervous. I review for print and build quality, and then when I'm happy I look at the images properly. Did the design translate onto a page? Is it wow? Did I capture the emotions of a special day?

And then the very worst bit; presenting the album to a customer. This is cold sweat, lip biting, nails stuck into palms terror. Ok maybe that's a bit of exaggeration, but I do so want you to be happy. Actually, no, I want more than just happy, I want you to be over the moon. I want you to be absolutely delighted. I want to give you memories of a special day that will last and last, so that you can look back in years to come and remember how you felt that day.

Some people smile, some cry, some laugh and point and tell a story, some people are more private and just say a quiet thank you and go on their way. The feeling I get from making someone else happy is fabulous. Later, sometimes, I get a little thank you card or an email, and that is just the cherry on the top for me.

"Hi Sandy, Just a wee email to say thanks again. We are so happy with our album and prints and can't wait to show them to our friends and family! Steph x"

And then this is just the best job in the world and for a moment I have no stress or hassle or pressure, and I can't wait for my next wedding ...




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Friday, 24 May 2013

"I'm just going to get a friend to take our wedding photographs ... "

In case you are wondering, in this photograph the orange multi-coloured thing is a kite surfer! This couple were so brave. We went on to the beach after their meal, before their first dance, and just had such a fantastic 20 minutes with them, got some fabulous images.

"I'm just going to get a friend to take our wedding photographs." Because your friend has a really good camera? And that photograph of the sunset he/she took on holiday last year was just fabulous? So yeah, just let them take the photographs of one of the biggest days of your life, right?

I am sure you would expect a professional photographer, whose continued survival in the business depends on people coming to me to take their photographs, to disagree. And I do. For lots of reasons. But it may surprise you to know that the main reason is not about me. Its about the loss of opportunity to capture something special, to create a moment that will be there for a grandchild or on a silver wedding anniversary. I shoot a limited number of weddings a year, and mix my wedding work with studio, landscape and fashion / model work. So this is not about me trying to up my workload. It is about making sure that a couple engage a professional photographer, a proper professional. (Of course, I am not refusing work, so if you like my style please contact me, I may be available for your special day!)

Start by going and reading comments from others. Scottish Wedding Directory has a fantastic range of articles on how to select a wedding photography professional, has a forum where brides to be can exchange information and ideas, and also has a directory of advertisers ( and yes, you will find me in there, along with at least 200 "competitors"!)

In a recent issue (SWD, October 2012) Natasha Rademehr spent a day with a professional photographer, and came up with just some reasons why you should choose a professional, rather than ask your Uncle with the good camera:
  • Photographers have an artist's eye. They instinctively know which angles and poses are most flattering and will make sure you look as amazing in your pictures as you do in person.
  • A broken camera is a photographer's worst nightmare - and yours if its your wedding day. But if you hire a professional, they will always have at least one back-up (tip: ask your photographer how many camera bodies they carry on a shoot. I carry 4, or rather my assistant does. tip: make sure your photographer works with an assistant.)
  • You might worry about the weather on the day and how it will affect the photographs, but a pro won't. They are incredibly resourceful and will research the venue beforehand so that they can come up with a plan for both good and unfavourable weather. (I carry studio lights so if we have to we can setup indoors, this is not ideal but sometimes necessary, this is Scotland after all.)
  • Most photographers do a combination of reportage-style photos (candid shots) and portraits/formals. But if the idea of posing for a photo gives you the fear, don't worry; a skilled professional will be able to gently direct you to produce shots look really natural, rather than stiff ( I regularly get asked if I can just take some relaxed informal shots like the one in a sample album. I almost always reply "that was set up, thats a pose, but it was fun!")
I have shot a lot of weddings, coped with a couple of crises, have a bit of experience about what works and what doesn't. I will turn up prepared and ready to work all day for you, with spare equipment, endless enthusiasm and good humour, professional indemnity insurance and ideas I have discussed with you beforehand. Please, please, please choose a professional photographer, and have a wonderful day with memories that last a lifetime.


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Monday, 13 May 2013

The importance of properly presented images

I have mentioned before that I really don't like presenting disc only packages. I do present the disc with an album, very happy to, and I am more than happy to supply low res images for Facebook, Iphones etc. I am also really happy to share my poses and setups with guests that have a camera with them (but please let me get my shot first, and dont try to take over, I am on a schedule!).

I work with an Italian company called Graphistudio, who make beautiful albums. I have never been disappointed or let down by them, their customer care is exceptional, there packaging superb, and if I can I can literally call them up and ask a question about an order.

But people still ask if they can buy the disc and print themselves. An article from the Huffington Post has gone viral in the photography community. Kathleen Trenske puts the case why getting a quality album is a the best option, rather than printing your images at home on paper that will curl and fade over time. Thank you Kathleen for so eloquently expressing what I agree with entirely.


"Your memories are worth more than that. And your wedding images? They are worth TONS more than that. These aren't snapshots from a vacation. They aren't pictures from your iPhone.

You cared enough about these moments to hire a professional to photograph them. Follow that through by having a professional print them. Have that professional print the pictures you put into frames and have them design you a high-quality wedding album that you will cherish for decades.

If you purchase an album through your photographer, you can see a sample in person. You can touch and feel it and make sure it is worth every penny.

I know that albums are expensive. That's for good reason. They are custom-designed books, usually hand-stitched and hand assembled and made just for you.

But of all the things you spend money on for your wedding, your wedding photographs are the ONLY thing that will increase in value over time. As the years pass, you'll be more and more glad that you have them. Especially, if you can experience looking through them by flipping through a gorgeous custom-designed album instead of sitting in front of your computer and clicking "next" with your mouse.

So, figure out a way to make it happen. Figure out a way to afford that album. Forgo a centerpiece. Cut back on your guest list. Opt out of the vintage car you'll drive in for all of 20 minutes.

Don't just do it for you. Do it for your children. Do it for your grandchildren. Because when they root around in your attic in 2075, they will have no idea what do with a USB key anymore than they would with a laser disc player."

The full article can be found here

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Digital graphic art

A long, long time ago I nearly went to art school. Instead I ended up training as an electrical engineer (which was a strange thing for a woman to do back then). In retrospect I believe I should have been an architect but ended up a photograper - if none of this makes sense please read my first blog entry with the quote by William W. Purkey.

While I adore wedding photography - and all the associated stress of knowing that if I mess up I have ruined a bride's wedding day and broken a promise - I really enjoy working with people in the studio and location, creating portraits and unique moments in time. And I have a real soft spot for taking an image and turning it into digital graphic art - its the girl that never went to art school in me. I have a pet project that I keep coming back to called "put yourself in the picture". Take a famous image, with figures in it, then substitute yourself for one of the figures, maybe a friend or loved one if there is more than one. Or play all the characters yourself. This is a fun reproduction of Banksy's flower thrower, who also reproduced it from a news image from the 1960's Paris student protests.

(with grateful thanks to my stepson, Ross).




Sunday, 5 May 2013

Contemporary wedding images for wall art

Weddings are wonderful life events. They bring together families both far flung and familiar, friends that see each other every weekend and havent seen each other since high school, college whenever.depending on the couple that can place a strain on the photographer. Formals and family groups are important but cant go on for ages; reportage captures the day, but not everyone appreciates sometimes not being warned about the shot. It is all about providing what the couple want, while having your own style.

A mix of formal and informal, casual and formal, with the necessary amount of posing can give a lifetime of fond memories. I do not subscribe to the "just take some pictures, get what you can" school of reportage, but I do like to work with a second shooter who can capture a stolen kiss or quiet moment from a discrete distance. Neither do I like to be a bully, taking over a bride's day. For me the couple should be relaxed, happy, enjoy the photographic experience as part of the overall day and be left with images to treasure. And I believe those images should include some formal, some casual, some posed and some captured. I also like to get one or two images which will look good on a wall. not everyone will want to hang a large image in a piblic space in their home, less so if it is a stiffly posed, traditional wedding photograph.

The correct image can make for stunning wall art, a fantastic reminder of a special day, while being contemporary and adding to a home. This image, taken at Providence, near Nottingham Road, is one of my favourite examples.


Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Vintage fashion is such fun!!!

There has been a real revival in interest in the fashions of the 1940's and 50's. I am sure we are looking back with rose tinted spectacles and seeing only what is best and most glamourous, but there was something about those times which is now seen as very special, quite sexy and cool. There is a growing trend in burlesque shows such as Club Noir in Glasgow, a fabulous night out for the adventurous among you!

I recently organised a pinup shoot with Kayleigh, as part of a makeover project. Supplying hair styling, makeup and vintage dress Kayleigh was transformed, and looked every inch the part. I love the look, and really enjoyed creating these images. Thanks to Nicola and Caroline at FairytaleFaces. And a special thank you darling and "mwah!" to Kayleigh.

Sandy xx

Friday, 5 April 2013

One day you'll be very old and wise, and you'll wish you had photographic evidence of yourself as you are, right now, today, this second.

It is part of the photographer's art to relax people in front of the camera, and to know about light, angles, poses and all of that. However, it is difficult to overcome what Gemma Burgess calls "cameraphobias". In a very amusing article in the March 2013 edition of Tatler (which I read while having my hair done recently by the lovely Douglas, at Douglas and Lee on Bath Street, Glasgow) Ms Burgess discusses all those personal issues we all carry about why we just don't take a very good photograph. Mostly as a result of thoughtless comments by so called friends.

Luckily she also provides a few tips on how to overcome this problem - strike a pose - with reference to a few of today's better known celebs and catwalk types:

" Paris Hilton, whatever you think of her, knows exactly how to pose. If she's photographed alone, she arches her back, crosses one leg over the other, puts her hand on her hip, and - and this is key - turns her upper body 90 degrees to the camera. Then she tilts her chin to right down, swivels her eyes up and around to the lens, and smirks. (You just tried to do all that while reading this, didn't you?).

Knowingly or unknowingly, Poppy Delevingne took the petrifying Tyra Bank's advice to heart and 'smizes' (smiling with her eyes) her heart out: no eye-crunchingly huge grins here. poppy also knows exactly what angle to twist her head to show off her devine profile to best advantage, and rather than the paris cross-leg, she likes to keep her ankles together but force her knees as far apart as possible to make her already gamine legs look Moss-like.

Alexa Chung invariably crosses one leg in front of the other - and it doesn't look as though she needs to wee. She also uses props to vary her poses: she'll slip her hand into her pocket, or hold her handbag in front of her body. the result is casual, cool and chic. and it makes her arms look thinner. Like she needs that.

Verdict? The secret to the perfect pose  - and saying adieu to cameraphobia - is to appear completely unaffected whilst actually working your Spanx off. Build a repertoire of poses that you can pull out automatically everytime someone says 'cheese', like the Little Teapot: put one hand on your waist, hold your purse/drink/friend with the other, twist your shoulders slightly, press your tongue against the roof of your mouth, point your chin down, look up to the camera, exhale through your nose and smile.

If that doesn't work, just remember this: one day you'll be very old and wise, and you'll wish you had photographic evidence of yourself as you are, right now, today, this second. "

Other advice is available elsewhere on the Internet, and from your friendly, professional photographer.

The full article 'I'm ready for my close-up' How to look good in photographs, by Gemma Burgess, is published in the March 2013 edition of Tatler.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Art and Architecture

Architecture, for me, is art. It is sculpture on a large scale and can be appreciated for its beauty.

Glasgow has a fantastic heritage, which prospered greatly from the trade over all over the world. While there has been some deterioration and decay, what remains is some of Britain's grandest buildings. In the spaces that have been created from some of the old buildings being removed modern structures have emerged. I love that the Clydeside is now being invested in and the new architecture is inspirational, especially in the evening when these structures are thoughtfully lit for photographers. But the imposing buildings in and around George Square, including the City Chambers are also very impressive. Add a model and the images can be stunning.

I hope you agree.


Winter Weddings in Scotland

Photographers are obsessed with light and so they should be, but they do complain about it constantly; too much, not enough, in the wrong place, wrong colour. In Scotland we are blessed with beautiful long summer evenings (sometimes, one or two) and I have shot late into the evening in July under only natural light. The flip side of that is winter weddings. More and more couples are choosing to be married in December and January, for a whole host of reasons. Natural light is at a premium, with the sun setting as early as 3.30pm.  Understanding how to overcome prevailing conditions - harsh sun light, fluorescent or tungsten indoors, a heavily shadowed doorway - is what makes a competent photographer, the minmum one would expect from a paid professional contracted to provide a service. The manipulation of light is what creates that stunning image. It is that subtle alteration or addition that a dedicated artist adds.

Speak from the heart to be heard ...

“You've got to dance like there's nobody watching,

love like you'll never hurt,

sing like there's nobody listening,

live like it's heaven on earth,

and speak from the heart to be heard”

William W. Purkey

There are lots of different versions of this quote. It has found its way into popular culture and song lyrics. William W. Purkey is a Professor of Education. During a varied career he has also been a park ranger and bomb disposal expert in the United States Air Force. He uses this quote to end speeches. I like it for lots of reasons - it sort of sums up what I want to do with my art, my photography, the people I meet and share my life with.

Like Purkey I have had quite a varied career, which has allowed me to travel widely and to have some truly memorable experiences. Along the way I have developed a few skills. I was very fortunate in 2006 to be given the chance to completely change paths. I have always had an interest in art and photography, and it seemed like the most obvious, thrilling, challenging and scary thing to pursue an ambition to create beautiful images and delight some people along the way. Since that time I have steadily developed a successful photography studio and have been certified by both the Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers (SWPP) and The Photographer Academy, run by Mark Cleghorn. More importantly I have had a wonderful time with some fantastic people. It is a genuine privilege to share someone's wedding day or to capture pictures of a new baby. It is also so exciting to capture something totally unique, producing digital fine art from concept to framed print.I work throughout Scotland, where life's journey has pitched me for just now with a wonderful husband and a boisterous dog, and in my native South Africa. I am always happy to discuss ideas - coffee, biscuits and no obligation - whether about weddings, portraits or fine art.

I look forward to hearing from you.


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