Behind the Lens with Bristol wedding photographer Martin Dabek

22 Mar 2017

Making memories out of special moments, we meet the man behind the lens... Martin Dabek

How would you describe your style of photography?

Relaxed, passionate and creative are the words I would use to describe my style. I love capturing candid moments, it is really important to me just allow the day to unfold naturally and record those special moments as they occur. I also love artistic and dramatic images with bold colours, but also timeless black and white images. My couples love my low-light/evening portaits, so that’s probably the reason why I shoot quite a lot winter weddings too.


How did you start out in wedding photography?

I photographed my first wedding for friends of mine, which happened to be in Mexico. I was backpacking in South America when I received an email that their wedding is in two weeks time. My friend asked me to photograph her wedding in exchange for my airfare. I couldn’t say no. The Mexican wedding was so much fun that I decided to look deeper into wedding photography and here I am today.

Who are your ideal clients?

The ideal clients would be the ones who value photography, understand the importance of wedding albums, easy-going, and who are open to trying something new.


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.

That’s a tough one. OK in this picture is everything that I want to achieve: first of all the light is gorgeous, secondly I love how happy there are together and thirdly the tipis behind give hints about their wedding venue, style, etc.


Photographers seem to inject a lot of their personality into their work… what are your inspirations?

I’m inspired by landscape, light, architecture and my couples, obviously – their ideas and stories.

How far in advance should those interested look to book you? Do people stand a chance of getting you last minute?

I always advise couples to book my services as soon as they confirm their wedding date and venue. I take bookings up to two years in advance, but I have booked a couple of last minute weddings before too.


What’s the most challenging part of photographing a wedding?

Aside from the weather, which you cannot control, I think the most challenging part of the wedding is how quickly the day goes by.

How can couples help to ensure the best work?

Right from the initial meeting with clients, we are working together to ensure that I get a real understanding of the photographs they would like captured for their special day.


What are the 3 most important questions for couples to ask their photographer, in your opinion?

  1. Could you show us some sample wedding albums?
  2. Have you got a back up camera?
  3. Do you like cake?

What’s your opinion on the controversial ‘group shots’ – can you give us an example of yours?

I think group shots have their place in a wedding and it’s a way to ensure you’re definitely getting a picture of particular people on the day. They also don’t have to be the stereotypical boring images we’re used to seeing. I always try to add my twist into them.


In terms of trends, what do you think is the most interesting at the moment?

I have found over the past few years my clients are going back to wanting a wedding album and have seen the importance of having a product they can touch and feel and, of course, also one they can share with friends and family. I provide my wedding clients with GraphiStudio wedding albums from Italy, which I believe are first class albums.

What’s the most common misconception that you have to correct with couples? The thing you’d most like to communicate to the masses.

Sometimes it is difficult for couples to appreciate how challenging being a wedding photographer is, how hard a wedding photographer works, and how important part of their special day the photographer is. Also couples think that formal portraits take ages to do and that I will take them away from the guests for hours. In reality, I need 10 minutes after the ceremony (when guests are sitting down for a meal), and another 10 minutes after speeches (softer light and a relaxed groom) and 5 minutes for the evening shots just after the sunset.


Can you tell us why you think wedding photography is worth the investment?

The wedding photos are the thing that truly stand the test of time and trigger those memories of one of the most amazing days of your life.

There is nothing more exciting for a bride and groom than to get back from their honeymoon and view their wedding photographs. The day is so special and goes by so quickly and the photographs bring back such happy memories. The wedding album is something they will treasure for a lifetime.

The photographs live on way beyond the day, even the lifetimes of the individuals… so why not invest well in them?


Finally, if you weren’t a wedding photographer, what would you be?

To be honest, I cannot imagine doing anything else. This is my passion. All I want to do is travel and shoot weddings for the rest of my life.


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