Behind the Lens with Warwickshire wedding photography business S2 Images
13 Apr 2018
Wedding photography team Sonia and Simon of S2 Images answer our most insightful questions
How would you describe your style of photography?
We shoot in a documentary style for the majority of the day. There are certain elements of the day where we like to get as creative as possible, usually during the couple shoot. As we are a husband and wife team, naturally we shoot in different styles between us, but we feel they truly complement each other. During the couple shoot, Simon thrives off getting creative with off camera flash. Usually while Simon is setting up, Sonia takes over with chit chat and more documentary style. Here she will work with natural light to capture genuine moments that appear as a result of the couple's chemistry.
How did you start out in wedding photography?
Sonia did work experience in a wedding photography studio when she was 16. This sparked her interest through first-hand experience. From there she studied at college, followed by university, working towards her degree in fashion photography. She switched to documentary photography in her final year.
Simon has always been creative, with his favourite subject at school being art. His friend first introduced him to a DSLR camera, which is where Simon got his passion. From that moment he purchased his own camera and started taking pictures. He worked for music artists, jewellery shops and did all sorts of portraiture and documentary work.
Wedding photography allows you to mix different genres of photography together in one day, that is what makes it so exciting. We both actually met through photography and shot a wedding together one week after our own wedding day. From then, it just made sense to set up a business dedicated to weddings, as we are truly in our element when working alongside each other.
Who are your ideal clients?
We love working with fun and easy going couples, especially when their chemistry is apparent. We mostly enjoy more rural weddings, such as barns and tipi venues. The countryside is where we feel most at home.
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.
This is such a hard decision to make and as there are two of us, so we will have to choose one each.
For Simon, it would be this image:
It had been pouring with rain throughout the whole couple shoot. The bride and groom were soldiers and just embraced the rain. We got some beautiful images of them having fun and playing around. As we were walking in the sun came out, with the rain on the lens, this is how the image turned out. Photography is about taking advantage of the moment, as it happens. You can only plan so much but the day is just about being in the moment and just rocking it.
For Sonia, it would be this image:
This is purely for the fact that aside of all of the camera tricks and creativity, the most important thing is the bride and groom. Capturing their emotions on the day and telling a story showcasing their love for each other is key. In years to come, looking back over the images, the photographs with genuine emotion mean so much more than anything else.
Photographers seem to inject a lot of their personality into their work… what are your inspirations?
Our peers in the industry give us a lot of inspiration. We want to be the best that we can be, so having a good network around us, which is filled with creative people is key. Aside from that, we gain the most inspiration from each other. We absolutely live for weddings. Having that mutual passion keeps us buzzing from day to day. After all these years we still high-five for every job booking.
How far in advance should those interested look to book you? Do people stand a chance of getting you last minute?
It’s always worth getting in contact, as we can often have gaps, especially across the winter months. We do recommend contacting us as soon as possible to check availability. We can occasionally get bookings for peak wedding season up to two years in advance.
What’s the most challenging part of photographing a wedding?
We would probably say trying to remain unnoticed. Some people naturally want to pose when they see a camera. Our favourite images are when everyone is ignoring us and just being in the moment. Aside from that, the biggest challenge is phones/cameras. Everyone wants to take pictures on such a special occasion, but sometimes this can hinder the special moments that are happening before their eyes.
How can couples help to ensure the best work?
We would say that good natural light is the biggest key to a successful photograph. Good window light for the venue and preparation is often the most flattering.
What are the two most important questions for couples to ask their photographer, in your opinion?
- Ask to see a full gallery of images that has been delivered to a couple, rather than viewing just the best photographs on their website. This is so important, as you need to see how the photographer captures the day as a whole.
- Ask who will actually be shooting. It is so important for you to get on with the person/people that will be shooting your day. They will be the vendor that spends the most time with you, alongside you every step of the way.
What’s your opinion on the controversial ‘group shots’ – can you give us an example of yours?
We personally feel it is down to the couple and what they want on their day. Some couples feel that they are important, after all, it’s often the only time both sides of the family will be together. We have couples that have loved ones fly in from all over, so it’s nice to get a formal shot. However, we feel it’s important to keep group shots to a minimum. The last thing you want is for tedious group shots to be taking over your day. We usually recommend no more than 10 groups, if you want them. We also suggest trying to make them fun, however you wish to. There is the possibility of combining groups as well, to save time.
In terms of trends, what do you think is the most interesting at the moment?
We find elopements to be really intriguing. We love the idea of just the couple and/or one or two guests heading somewhere really remote to say their wedding vows. We’ve seen weddings in woods, on mountains and on beaches. This would be a dream for us to photograph. We love nature, so getting to combine the intimacy of an elopement with a beautiful backdrop, is really exciting. We have photographed weddings with 800 guests and weddings with eight. We have to say that we really enjoy the smaller weddings, as we get to know everyone really well, which allows us to make the most out of the photography.
What’s the most common misconception that you have to correct with couples? The thing you’d most like to communicate to the masses.
A couple shoot doesn’t have to be posey. When we work with couples on their day, it is about their chemistry. We want their personalities to show in the images. Some of our couples love to pose, some like to keep it natural. We work with how our couples come together naturally. We want it to be fun. Often our couples love to take this moment away from guests, to just let it sink in that they are now legally married, while having a few images taken along the way.
What’s been your most memorable wedding to photograph, and why?
We have had the honour of photographing some truly special days, with some amazing couples. If we had to pick one, it would be Nadhrah and Aaron’s wedding. We worked with Nadhrah’s sister, Diyanah, a few years ago. Last year, Nadhrah and Diyanah decided that they loved our work so much, they wanted to fly us out to Malaysia for Nadhrah and Aaron’s wedding celebrations. We absolutely love to travel, so getting to combine both travel and wedding photography was a dream. We learnt so much from this trip, especially working in such a humid, unpredictable climate. It was simply amazing. Not only did we shoot a pre-wedding shoot near the Petronas Twin Towers, we shot their main wedding day at their family home, followed by a reception day at the Grand Hyatt in Kuala Lumpur city centre. We then got to photograph their UK reception at a stunning AirBnb, Casterne Hall, in the Peak District. They truly made the most of our services and we absolutely loved that they trusted in our work and creativity every step of the way.
Can you tell us why you think wedding photography is worth the investment?
We have got married ourselves and our biggest regret is not hiring a professional. Sonia had just finished university and with funds being super tight, we asked a friend from her course to shoot the wedding. Although lots of lovely moments were captured, we missed out on certain moments that a professional would look for. In particular, we have no image of just the two of us, showcasing our outfits. We didn’t know to have a couple shoot which often delivers the images which couples treasure the most, also known as the ‘wow’ shots. That day can not be brought back. After the venue door is closed, the food and cake eaten, the only thing you have to treasure is the photographs. That is how important of a decision it is to make in hiring the right wedding photographer.
Finally, if you weren’t a wedding photographer, what would you be?
This is such a tough one, as we would hate to be doing anything but wedding photography. Simon worked in insurance before and as a manager on a farm. Sonia worked in admin/HR. It would be our worst nightmare to still be in these roles. Sonia deals with all communication and organisation in our business, so we think she would probably work best as a wedding planner. Working in wedding photography, you are often asked for recommendations - working out schedules and all sorts, so it makes sense with her organisation that wedding planning would work for her. Simon absolutely loves animals, so he would probably enjoy some kind of job role that involved working with them one way or another. His favourite weddings are ones that incorporate animals.