Trends Come and Go: Behind the Lens with Dorset Wedding Photographer Linus Moran
19 Nov 2015
Dorset-based documentary wedding photographer Linus Moran talks about ignoring trends, adrenaline-fuelled wedding days and what it takes to achieve classic, candid photography.
How would you describe your style of photography?
Emotional documentary wedding photography would be the best description of my style. I know it’s a small adaption of a classic genre, but it’s what I naturally hone in to. Much of the documentary style seems to go for the wider picture, contextualising a scene. Although I love this and often do this, I find a natural pull back into a scene looking to go close in on a couple, capturing the raw emotion of my subjects.
How did you start out in wedding photography?
I embarked into the world of wedding photography when I returned to the UK back in 2009. I had previously worked freelance for the top Fleet Street titles for around 12 years, before heading to Eastern Europe for around five years working the Balkan area and running my own news and pictures agency.
I focused on weddings as it gave me a great chance to use the journalistic skill set I had been used to in covering the wedding day, along with a creative license to develop my work further. The challenge of creating my own website, marketing and being self-reliant was also an important aspect in making this career move.
Who are your ideal clients?
Young professionals who trust my judgment in capturing a truthful depiction of their day as it happens. The greatest thing they can bring to the day is their natural selves, unafraid to be captured, often at sensitive times, when they are opening up in front of family and friends showing the often private nature of their shared emotional connection.
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.
A photo that encapsulates everything would probably be this image. It was taken at a recent wedding after the groom made a very emotional speech paying tribute to his new wife: a beautiful testimony of their love and sharing a new life with each other. Their respective children both came together into a group family hug, with all having tears rolling down their cheeks. A highly-emotional moment: a split second to capture, but probably the defining moment within their wedding day.
Photographers inject their own personality into their work. What are your inspirations?
My inspirations are simply what lies in my own heart, an understanding of love and what it means, a wish to encapsulate this within a frame that I capture. I’m always looking for these moments, but as a character I am also very sarcastic and love healthy, quick-witted humour. When I work with couples sharing a similar balance, it always seems to produce an abundance of great photographic opportunities that keep me hooked in there, wanting to capture.
How far in advance should those interested look to book you? Do people stand a chance of getting you last minute?
Some couples are booking me a year to 18 months in advance and certain prime weekends are always in demand. That’s one of the reasons why I have changed the structure of the business and am now working with two other photographers under my brand, each having shot alongside me and knowing my style. Yes, there is a chance of booking me or us last minute. We do have some availability over the winter/spring 2016 season.
What’s the most challenging part of photographing a wedding?
Probably getting a good night’s sleep the night before. I’m as excited as the couple – of course my excitement is a creative energy, but it’s still one that I take very seriously. But no matter the amount of good sleeping hours I get, the adrenaline flows on the day and once I’m in place and the day’s shooting has begun, everything slips into place without fuss.
How can couples help to ensure the best work?
Most important is just to relax with the knowledge that they have booked a professional. No matter what presents: rain or shine, forgotten bouquets, broken zips on bridal dresses (I did find myself advising on the repair of one this season) – it will all work and flow perfectly.
If you want creative portraits, just allow the option of time to allow for these, possibly 20 minutes in the afternoon as well as another chance in the early evening when the light is softer. Also, take out any unnecessary clutter from bridal preparation rooms, or on the top table at the wedding breakfast. Empty bags, dirty washing, empty bottles, all clutter images and detract the eye in photography.
In terms of trends, what do you think is the most interesting at the moment?
I’m not aware of any. Trends come and go, so why wish to acknowledge or emulate such things? Wedding ‘story-telling’ is no longer the job of a ‘pure’ photographer in my opinion. Having such easy access to various technology and media from stills, video and audio, I wish to work between all formats. Utilising all in the art of story telling, my particular blend, is my style, my art form.
What’s the most common misconception that you have to correct with couples? The thing you’d most like to communicate to the masses.
If you have taken the time to research thoroughly your choice of professional photographer and hired them, please don’t follow any article advising you to present a list of photographs you may want from them. You have chosen them according to their style and abilities, both being attributes developed over years of training. Capturing the day should be a natural second nature to them. Lists stop the flow, create mental blocks and undermine that important element of trust that you should already be sharing in them. By all means, a small list of group shots is expected, and the co-operation of ushers in arranging these can help significantly. But don’t make it exhaustive, as these shots are done at the detriment of natural candid shots of guests relaxing and partaking in the day. They can also lead to guests leaving a wedding complaining of boredom should they have to wait and observe all this unfolding.
What’s been your most memorable wedding to photograph, and why?
Many of the weddings we cover are highly memorable for us. Sharing in the day, witnessing the shared connection, vibrancy and hearing tributes and collective stories publicly shared on the day.
You get a feel for the people, the lives they have led and the strength of characters, be it tender, dynamic, humorous or driven. Each couple is a unique mix of character traits, so each wedding has a different energy. This is what makes the job of capturing their story fun as well as a rewarding challenge, each and every time.
Why you think wedding photography is worth the investment?
It’s the biggest day in anyone’s life. The joining of two families, a day of celebration – so of course using a professional is worth every penny spent. Photographs taken by a professional photographer will lead to a collection of images that will bring back the great memories. They will see things you were never aware of on the day and capture these, along with taking images that capture you at your best.
A concise story will be presented to you, one you are at liberty to display selectively or not to friends and family. Just remember that you can always edit out an image, but if the image was never taken, you will not have the choice. This choice is something often missing when you use a family friend to capture your day as they are balancing the fact that they are their as part-guest and part-photographer and the environment isn’t theirs to know. The last wedding they attended could have been five years ago.
Finally, if you weren’t a wedding photographer, what would you be?
I would still be creative, but I would use my skills more in supporting my partner in her work. She is a creative therapist working with children who have suffered abuse. Highlighting the story of abuse and repair, along with how we as a society can change the systems currently in place.
Linus Moran Photography, Dorchester, Dorset.
Price range: Associates prices from £675-£1395 / Lead Photographers £1495 to £3,650