What is ‘Cheeky Reportage’ Wedding Photography? Find Out Here
11 Jun 2015
We go behind the lens of Cheshire-based wedding photographer, Adam Riley
A bride recently described Adam Riley’s photography as “cheeky reportage”, which “I liked”, he admits. “I document the day, without direction, always trying to look for the real moments and humour that might not fit with the fairytale view of a wedding.” He explains of the approach. Taking a closer look at the approach, the style and the results of this modern-day approach to photography, we took a look at the Cheshire-based photographer, whose “aim is to capture the story of the day, so the bride and groom remember exactly how they felt.”
How did you start out in wedding photography?
I was a full time forensic scientist and photography was a hobby. A friend asked me to shoot his wedding and in return he would plaster my house. After much thought, I agreed... it quickly snowballed and I was a full time wedding photographer one year later!
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.
I love this image (above) of Karen and Tom entering the wedding breakfast as husband and wife. I like how it shows the joy and happiness of all the family and friends from their perspective ‐ allowing them to remember exactly what they saw ‐ and felt, at that moment. I want my images to be completely natural, allowing couples to re‐live their wedding day through my photographs.
Photographers seem to inject a lot of their personality into their work... does that make you cheeky? What are your inspirations?
I’m a fairly laid back and quiet person, on the day I don’t want to impose myself on the couple. I am really inspired by street photography, amazing artists such as Alex Webb and Elliot Erwitt capture un-posed moments on the street, moments that make you think and connect emotionally. Cinema is also a huge influence, and I’m a big film fan!
How far in advance should those interested look to book you? Do people stand a chance of getting you last minute?
I don’t take bookings more than two years in advance, most people book me 18‐24 months before their big day. I sometimes have last minute availability for less popular dates, but weekends in summer get booked up fast.
What’s the most challenging part of photographing a wedding?
Often it’s the physical aspect. Shooting is a wedding is surprisingly demanding, often 2 hours of travel on the day, plus 10 ‐ 12 hours of shooting. During that time I’m always working and looking for shots ‐ you never know when a special moment might happen. I drink too much Lucozade, and eat lots of chocolate/cereal bars to keep me going!
How can couples help to ensure the best work?
It’s easy, relax and enjoy the day. It’s the only time you are likely to have all your friends and family on one place so celebrate with them! Don’t worry about me or the photoraphs, I’ll do all the work in the background.
What are the 3 most important questions for couples to ask their photographer?
1. Can I see a complete wedding you have shot (ideally at the same type of venue/time of year as your own)?
2. How do you shoot on the day? You want to get an idea if the photographer’s style will match your own expectations. For example, will they direct you during the day i.e. some will ask you to “pretend” to put on makeup to get a specific shot.
3. What exactly is included in the price? Double check things like travel costs and how the images will be presented to you.
What’s your opinion on the controversial ‘group shots’ – can you give us an example of yours?
I’m more than happy to do group shots, and don’t limit the number that I take. Most weddings I shoot 5-6 small groups, and this takes me ten minutes. Often the images before or after the “group shot” are my favourites. I advise all my couples that the more group shots I take, the less natural photography I can capture.
What’s been your most memorable wedding to photograph, and why?
Weddings are so varied. They can be large events at grand castles, or small celebrations in a parents back garden. The thing that has become clear to me is they are all about the people involved. The wedding that stands out for me is one of the first I ever shot, after a long day shooting I knew I wanted to do this for a living. An RAF pilot marrying his Canadian fiancé, it included an RAF flyby and stunning firework display over the lake. But the thing I remember most is the string quartet that were over an hour late for the ceremony, and everything was delayed ‐Steph the bride was nice and chilled, and just went with the flow (my kind of bride).
Can you tell us why you think wedding photography is worth the investment?
It’s the one day in your lives you are both surround by your friends and family, the day is so amazing and is over in a flash (as I know from my own wedding!). I’ve lost count of the number of times couples say to me at the end of the night how quickly the whole day went. When you wake up in the morning it feels like a dream. Quality storytelling images allow you to re‐live every aspect of the day. Not only that, but relive it with your children in years to come.
Finally, if you weren’t a wedding photographer, what would you be?
I grew up wanting to be a footballer, but I was nowhere near good enough! I’d be happy doing almost anything, but ideally always want to work for myself. Since self employment I’ve become accustomed to skipping the hectic morning commute, and love the flexibility which allows me to spend quality time with my young son. Whatever job I had, I’d still be doing some form of photography in my spare time… it’s a passion!
Prices from £1700
Adam Riley Photography, Cheshire.