Behind the lens with Jackson and Co Photography
01 Nov 2016
Blending into the background, Michael and Hannah Jackson of Jackson and Co Photography in Kent are all about those special moments
How would you describe your style of photography?
Our style is very relaxed and unscripted. We’re there to document your wedding day and to fit in around your day rather than for your day to be all about the photos. We’re drawn to the happy stuff, the laughter and smiles, the colour and the fun.
How did you start out in wedding photography?
Five years ago I was in a ridiculously stressful job and used to take my camera up to the Yorkshire coast and take photographs of the landscape as a way of unplugging and chilling out on the weekends. Soon I was taking amateur portraits for friends and my work was published in a few photography magazines. Before I knew it, I was half way through a year-long training academy as well as working alongside an established wedding photographer to gather experience. That was over 200 weddings ago; time just flies….
Who are your ideal clients?
Im not sure we have an 'ideal' client as everyone is different and getting to know people is part of the fun of this job, but both Hannah and I definitely do our best for couples that give us complete trust and have a hands-off approach. We tend to feel uncomfortable with shot lists or exhaustive traditional family photos, so a client that is relaxed and happy to go with the flow is ideal.
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.
Lucy and Matt, mid-way through their ceremony laughing their heads off. It’s a simple frame, it's not especially creative but its pure, concentrated joy in one photograph. They’re tying the knot, their best friend is conducting the ceremony and they’re just having the time of their lives. If everyone could be this relaxed during their wedding vows, it would be incredible.
Photographers seem to inject a lot of their personality into their work… what are your inspirations?
Both Hannah and I have been very lucky over the years to work with people from all walks of life and to make friends all over the country. Our inspiration comes from the simple, ordinary moments in life. A meal with friends, an evening with your family catching up after too long. We’ve never felt especially that life is about these huge bucket list moments, but more a series of smaller, happier, more everyday moments that add up to a positive environment that you can live your life in. It’s these moments during a wedding day that fire us up; it's your grandma knocking back another G&T, your little brother flirting with your waitress, your nephew doing his colouring in during the ceremony. All of these are a reflection of you and your family and will mean the most in years to come.
How far in advance should those interested look to book you? Do people stand a chance of getting you last minute?
We often have late availability for off peak dates or mid-week dates, but we’re normally booked up for peak summer Saturdays a year or sometimes more in advance.
What’s the most challenging part of photographing a wedding?
The obvious answer here is the weather, but it never really phases us; we’re comfortable in any environment. The most challenging aspect of a wedding for us is trying to just be a calming influence, especially on the morning of a wedding when things can get built up beyond control and the bride starts to feel pressure or stress. We do our best to be that level, calming influence at that point because if you start the day calm and happy it’ll only get better from there.
How can couples help to ensure the best work?
Trust us. If we say we need to go for a photo because the light is amazing, then it’ll be worth it and the light changes so quickly that if we don’t go right there and then, it might be gone.
Don’t over-think it. Shot lists aren’t needed; check lists of questions to ask aren’t needed. See lots of our work, check out a full gallery and if you love our work then book us and we’ll give you our all.
What are the three most important questions for couples to ask their photographer, in your opinion?
- Can I see a full wedding please?
- Have you shot in my kind of venue before? (Not the venue exactly as that’s often irrelevant but tipis, marquees, country houses etc all bring their own lighting challenges)
- Are you comfortable working in low light conditions? This is really important. A few photographers work well without additional lighting and achieve amazing results but knowing how, when and why to use it subtly is crucial to achieving brilliant results in difficult environments.
What’s your opinion on the controversial ‘group shots’ – can you give us an example of yours?
In much the same way as the rest of our photography, we prefer to keep these relaxed. I think it makes sense to keep these to what we call 'The Devastated' list which consists of mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, grandparents, bridesmaids and groomsmen. When the list expands to stag dos, aunties and uncles, godparents etc it can really eat into your day and people begin to get face ache.
What’s been your most memorable wedding to photograph, and why?
I think my most memorable wedding is Sarah and Ronnie. In many ways it was the perfect day. I’d met them two years ago at another wedding in Croatia and they’d loved the photos that I had taken for their friends and booked me on the back of those. They gave me complete freedom to do whatever I wanted that day and shoot anything that I felt told their story the best and just put all their trust in me.
It was also a rare blend of very genuine emotion that was on the verge of overwhelming them both; they had tears in their eyes and a little shake in their hands but as soon as they saw one another everything was just washed away in pure joy. They couldn’t stop smiling and were completely relaxed. They were married at a beautiful venue in Shropshire called Walcott Hall which has all kinds of hidden treasure that make for photographic gold and we were blessed with incredible light to work with, both inside and out of the venue.
Can you tell us why you think wedding photography is worth the investment
Easiest question of the day. Wedding photography is worth the investment because when everything is packed away, every last piece of cake eaten and every last tiny ribbon of confetti picked out of the church hedgerow, then it's these photos that you will be left with. They’re a record of the one day in your life that you were surrounded by the people that meant the most in the world to you right there and then and they live on not just for a few years but often for decades and generations.