Behind the scenes with Keyhole Studios

Keyhole Studios for the fourth year running are headline sponsors of Bliss Wedding Shows and The Liverpool Wedding Show, and they will be exhibiting at The Liverpool Wedding Show on 10th and 11th September 2016 at Exhibition Centre Liverpool, and at all our venue wedding shows throughout Autumn 2016.  In an open and frank interview with Bliss Wedding Shows, we go behind the scenes with Keyhole Studios.

Behind the scenes with Keyhole Studios

In an open and frank interview with Keyhole Studios, founding members Kris and Eugene tell us who they are, why they are so successful, and what their plans are for the future.

Keyhole Studios are one of Liverpool’s leading photographer and videographers who have built a reputation over the last 10 years of offering quality of service to an extremely high standard.  Keyhole Studios have also been the main sponsors of Bliss Wedding Shows and The Liverpool Wedding Show for the past 4 years and we are delighted they are once again the headline sponsors for the next 12 months.

Q. Can you give us a little background of when and why Keyhole started and who are the founding members?

A. Keyhole Productions is a corporate and broadcast production company that was founded by ourselves, Kris and Eugene McDonald. We started the company working with clients that such as Red Row, BMW, Land Rover, Inchcape and Arriva. We have also completed a two-part documentary with international release called The City That Rocked The World.

To run alongside this business we established Keyhole Studios which main focus was on wedding film and photography. The intention has always been to use our production background in our wedding photographs and videos. We approach a wedding with the exact same attitude, team and equipment as that of a corporate or broadcast production for Keyhole Productions. As such the standard and quality of service we offer is extremely high.

Based in Liverpool City Centre within the arts centre FACT, Keyhole has quickly grown and is currently shooting around 150 weddings per year and we regularly travel abroad for wedding shoots.

The business has continued to grow over the years and a third arm of the company was established last year, Keyhole MotorsKeyhole Motors offers wedding car transport and our fleet include two traditional wedding cars, a Aston Martin DB9, BMW 7 series and Jurassic Park Jeep from the 1994 movie.

We have a strong business ethic in everything we do as we strive to provide the best possible service at a reasonable cost and we were very proud to have this acknowledged as we picked up an award in 2010 at the prestigious business award, The Morgan Foundation.

Q. Keyhole Studios are known for wedding and videography, which is your biggest passion?

A. Both photography and film come hand-in-hand for us. Four members of our team have degrees in Media Professional Studies, plus we have a passion for cinematography which is at the heart of what we do as it very much combines the art of film with the framing and composition of photography.

All our team members are trained to the highest possible standard in technical elements on both film and photography. The cameras that are used to record film and the cameras we use for photography are identical. The only extra element for film-making is audio recording and the special tools we use such as Jibs, Sliders and Electronic Gimbals.

Q. The business is also split between commercial and wedding – what do you prefer?

A. We enjoy working on corporate films through the week and weddings at the weekend, as it keeps us fresh, keen to develop new ideas and push the boundaries of our work.

Working at a professional level in the broadcast and corporate arena is a massive advantage to us. The experience we have gained, plus the standard of our commercial work is filtered down into our wedding offerings.

The revenue created from working on international projects is quickly invested back into the business, allowing us to purchase state of the art 4K film cameras; plus supporting equipment such as drones and electronic gimbals. This investment directly enhances the end product of our offering, plus gives us a unique selling point.

The team who work on your wedding are a team that are trained to a professional standard, with industry experience. We are a full time, professional team, this is what we do.

Q. How many weddings do you cover a year?

A. 150 weddings this year, however with the introduction of Keyhole Motors and our accessories we should double this in 2017.

Q. What do you think is the main reason couples book you, what is unique about Keyhole?

A. We are one of the few full time professional companies in the area and this has a massive influence on our clients. A wedding is one of the most important days in a couples life, so choosing a company to shoot your wedding is difficult. With our scale and reputation we are able to offer satisfaction that we are here to stay and have a safe, creative and professional service offering.

Combined with the ability to offer wedding cars, Photo Booth, LED dance floor, post boxes, DJ, Venue Lighting, LED Love Letters, Ice Cream Cart and Candy Carts, we have probably the best offering in the city.

Q. In your opinion, is picking the photographer/videographer a joint decision for the bride or groom – or does the bride tend to have the final say?

A. Joint. Both the bride and groom need to be comfortable with their photographer and budget.

Q. What is the most unusual wedding you have attended?

A. We wouldn’t describe any wedding as unusual, we think one of the best elements of our job is seeing couples interpretation of wedding receptions and ceremonies. Each wedding has a very similar format, however all the details and sometimes running orders are unique.

One of the most challenging and ‘different’ types of weddings is when we shoot abroad. The heat, harsh light, and climate combined with being in a country we have never been to before poses its own very unique challenges. However, from our point of view this is very exciting, as it allows us to push our limits and exceed our ambitions.

Q. Where is your favourite location you have travelled to for a wedding?

A. Sorrento, Italy is a lovely place to photograph weddings. We have been to this location multiple times now, and we have become accustomed to the area, we have a clear idea of the town and the key places to photograph. We have also been able to establish links with hotels and suppliers allowing us to provide discounts to our customers.

Q. What is the funniest moment that has taken place over the years?

A. One of the most comical moments for us took place while we were shooting a wedding a couple of years ago in the Crown Plaza (Speke) during the Best Man’s speech. A centre-piece was placed to close to a candle which subsequently caught fire. In an overly dramatic fashion one of the guests unloaded the full contents of a nearby fire extinguisher to ensure the small fire posed no immediate danger to the bride and groom. A chain of events that the bride and groom found quite amusing, and lightened the atmosphere for the nervous best man…once the fire extinguisher smoke had settled.

Q. What is your favourite Liverpool venue and why?

A. There are so many fine venues in the city. It’s been amazing to watch the growth of these venues over the past 10 years. Each venue has their very own special offerings. Whether it is city-scape views, amazing gardens, stunning architecture, history, good transport and offerings for guests. Therefore I don’t think we could pick one venue. We also see venues differently than the bride and groom as we look at them for ease of photographing, the most photographic opportunity and best lighting. We can adapt to any location, so we would say this is a personal choice and go with the heart!

Q. Keyhole has now grown the business and moved in to wedding cars, what was the main reason for this?

A. We were restricted with the photography we could get on the day with the wedding cars and we are always looking at different ways to grow the business, so this seemed the ideal additional to the business and Keyhole Motors was established last year..

Q. What cars do you have and if you are taking photos, who drives the cars?

A. All the cars are driven by chauffeurs, experienced drivers with clear guidelines to ensure the bride, groom and photographers all receive the best possible service.

We have the following cars:

The Badsworth Landaulette

This stunning 1930’s design really is the perfect wedding car. Ideal for transporting the bride and groom, there is plenty of leg room in the rear ensuring the dress stays crease free. Plus the rear door openings are large, making the entry with a dress straightforward.

One of the most attractive features of the car is the fact the rear quarter section of the roof folds down, allowing you to arrive in style and the photographer to maximise both light and shot potential. The roof section is very simply to collapse and it can be decided on the day given the weather conditions if you have it up or down. The head room in the rear is also very high. This is important as the bride can semi stand whilst navigating in and out of the vehicle.

The rear seats can comfortably fit two passengers, although a child or additional petite passenger could also be carried. Plus there is a passenger seat in the front of the vehicle. Overall it comfortably seats 3 passengers, 4 maximum.

We have also selected white wall tyres to give the vehicle that extra 1930’s look and feel. There is a rear luggage box which can accommodate small bags, plus we have a klaxon horn to alert any guests that may have missed our arrival.

The Badsworth Landaulette has been finished in a Burgundy and Cream. Creating a very unique wedding car that photographs beautifully. We wanted a car that stands out in wedding images, giving the photographs high contrast whilst remaining classic.

The Bride and Groom will receive a complimentary bottle of champagne courtesy of Keyhole when booking this vehicle.

The Daimler DS420

Our Daimler DS420 is a true royal affair. Buckingham Palace run a number of Daimler DS420’s in their vast fleet and it is believed to have been a firm favourite of the late Queen Mother. This car also played a part in the wedding of Prince William and Kate in 2011.

Royalty aside, the main reason for us having this vehicle in our fleet is that of practicality and appeal.

Whilst the Daimler looks very traditional, it is also extremely practical. With the option of carrying up to 7 passengers this car is very versatile. The Daimler gives you the option to transport all your bridal party, just the bride and groom or both in separate journeys. It also makes a perfect combination when booked with the Badsworth Landaulette, as they are in matching colours.

The Aston Martin DB9

6 litre V12 engine….not a lot else needs to be said about this car, except of course James Bond drives one!

This car is a real head turner, combined with the roar of the engine, it really is a special vehicle. We decided to invest in this car with the groom in mind. It’s the perfect partner to collect the nervous groom in the morning of the wedding and ensure he is at the ceremony on time!

The Aston Martin DB9 will look very stylish sat outside your ceremony and reception, offering your guests a chance to get a photograph with a top of the range high performance car. The car adds something different to your special day and will most certainly grab your guests’ attention.

The BMW 7 Series  

The BMW 7 series is the most luxurious BMW within their range. Offering a very comfortable ride and an elegant appearance.

This car can be used to transport the bride and groom, or the bridesmaids or both in separate journeys. It is also available for the transport of special guests at the wedding, grand parents, groomsmen etc.

There are 3 comfortable seats in the rear, plus a passenger seat in the front. The car has a large boot, useful for any luggage that needs carrying between venues on the day.

Overall this is a very comfortable and modern wedding car, or an additional vehicle for transporting VIPs between locations on the wedding day.

The Jurassic Park Jeep

From the icon 1993 movie Jurassic Park, our Jeep Wrangler is the perfect grooms car, or bridal car with a difference.

We haven’t official launched this vehicle yet, so we will have more info shortly. But for now, we can say we are very excited about this vehicle and can’t wait to shoot the promo material for it!

Q. You also offer photo booths and ‘love letters’ – do you have plans to turn Keyhole in to a one-stop wedding house?

A. Our business was built on fairness, quality and passion. Combined with our hunger for development and ambitions we do have a very clear business plan for the coming 5 years.  Our expansion will guarantee to continue to offer the best possible service at a reasonable cost, however at this time there’s not that much we can say…. =-)

Q. Keyhole recently had your own wedding – what was it like being on the other side of the lens?

A. Very special.  Getting married is a unique event in a person’s life. Being the other side of the lens really gave the two of us a new appreciation for the images and film that we capture on a wedding day.

Q. Has this changed how you will cover future weddings?

A. Not at all, it’s only given us more confidence in the service we supply and the approach we take. It has sealed the standards and ethics we have as a company and what better way to test the service you offer, than actually employing the team to shoot your own wedding.

Q. What are your plans for the next 5 years for Keyhole Studios?

A. We are looking to grow substantially in the coming years, our services offerings will grow, allowing us to offer the best possible deals to our clients.

Although we can’t reveal everything we intend to offer in the immediate future, we will say that the main target it to acquire a venue where we can host events.

There is a very clear setting we have in mind which would offer a location perfect from the wedding photographers point of view. Keyhole Manor is far in the distance, but as a family we are working to get there.

Keyhole Studios and Keyhole Motors will be exhibiting at The Liverpool Wedding Show at the Exhibition Centre Liverpool, 10th and 11th September 2016.  Click here to buy your tickets for the region’s biggest wedding show.

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