Behind the Lens with Tonja Fritz-Johnson of Wallingford Portraits & Weddings
07 Feb 2018
Photographer Tonja Fritz-Johnson of Wallingford Portraits & Weddings shares examples of her best work and answers our most insightful questions
What geographic area do you cover?
Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinhghamshire.
How would you describe your style of photography?
Tailored to suit the couple, but typically combining formal shots with lots of fun candids.
How did you start out in wedding photography?
It’s been my career choice and I have been a photographer since I finished my degree in 1990. I have worked in a range of disciplines, but people (and animals) have always been my great love.
Who are your ideal clients?
Those that just want to enjoy their day, but are after a comprehensive, caring and skilled photographer to ensure they have something to look back upon and remember the fantastic event.
Can you choose a picture that encapsulates everything you want to achieve in a wedding photograph? Tell us what it is about this image that you love.
The confetti shot; it captures the happiness and emotion, people wishing the new couple all the best for their future straight after the ceremony, a great tradition typically showing great smiles.
Photographers seem to inject a lot of their personality into their work… what are your inspirations?
The people themselves and what I observe them doing on and with their day. Though weddings are traditional and follow a certain pattern, each is individual due to the couples and their personal touches.
How far in advance should those interested look to book you? Do people stand a chance of getting you last minute?
It’s best to book no later than 10 months in advance, but short notice is possible; it’s then just luck when it comes to my availability.
What’s the most challenging part of photographing a wedding?
Remaining unobtrusive while fulfilling the couple's wishes and producing true artwork they will cherish.
How can couples help to ensure the best work?
Be on time. I meet the couple to plan for the day, so the photography runs nice and smoothly and positively contributes to the enjoyment of the wedding day. Sometimes things don’t go to plan, but it helps me if I don’t have to miss out certain things the couple wanted.
What are the 3 most important questions for couples to ask their photographer, in your opinion?
Make sure you like the photographers’ personality and their work:
- What is your track record? Show me examples of work (full weddings).
- Make sure they have the right kit and know how to use it when the going gets tough: What will you do when something does not go to plan?
- Make sure that they are professional and you won’t end up without a photographer on the day: What contingency do you have, should you not be available at short notice?
What’s your opinion on the controversial ‘group shots’?
Sometimes the grooms don’t necessarily buy into the photography as much as the brides, so I was pleased to be asked for a fun group shot of the groom and his friends carrying him. Not controversial, just fun and not asked for that often.
In terms of trends, what do you think is the most interesting at the moment?
Having had years of documentary/candid photography, there is a strong demand for more staged shots with very impactive lighting. I love it, but couples need to know that the set up of those might require a bit of time.
What’s the most common misconception that you have to correct with couples? The thing you’d most like to communicate to the masses.
Photography should both be an integral part of the day, but most of all should be fun. It should not centre around the bride, but should pay attention to the groom just as much.
What’s been your most memorable wedding to photograph, and why?
All weddings I have done are memorable for their individual aspects – people are just fascinating.
Can you tell us why you think wedding photography is worth the investment?
The photographs are the one item that will allow couples to look back on a fabulous and joyous event in their lives when they cemented their relationship by a public declaration of their devotion for one another. I love seeing my work displayed in homes or cherished in albums and couples' smiles when they look at it.
Finally, if you weren’t a wedding photographer, what would you be?
I would be working in the animal charity sector, most likely with dogs.