A Photograph Should Tell a Story: Behind the Lens with London Wedding Photographer, Kristian Leven
02 Nov 2015
How would you describe your style of photography?
I’d say it’s very honest and real – a result of many, many hours spent observing and anticipating for moments, and aiming to capture them in as natural and creative a way as possible. I’d also say there’s a pretty large street photography element to it –a good street photograph should tell a story in one image, and on a wedding day that’s precisely what I set out to do.
Who are your ideal clients?
Anyone who loves what they see on my website and connects with it. I’m a firm believer in like-attracts-like, and everything on the website is geared towards attracting couples who love the same kind of weddings I love to be a part of.
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.
So hard, but this one really gets to me, and it’s probably because I can imagine being in a similar situation later on in my life. It’s actually photos like this that got me into photography in the first place. The chance to capture something special, and show a side to ourselves which is honest and real, and sometimes hidden.
How far in advance should those interested look to book you? Do people stand a chance of getting you last minute?
On average I book a year in advance, but there are occasions when I have a free weekend here and there, but it’s unlikely to be the case for peak summer dates. My advice is to get in touch sooner rather than later.
How can couples help to ensure the best work?
Completely forget about me, and just enjoy the day. I was at a wedding recently where some of the guests weren’t really familiar with reportage photography, and every time I came close to photograph a beautifully natural moment that was happening, they’d spot me, stop what they were doing, and pose for the camera. That’s extremely rare though, and most guests understand the concept of documentary photography, and ignore me and carry on with what they were doing.
What’s your opinion on group shots–can you give us an example of yours?
It’s no biggie for me. I understand that parents, particularly, like to have that picture on the wall, so I don’t mind spending 10-15 minutes getting those kind of shots. I always ask the couple beforehand to provide a list of about five or six that they really want so on the day we’re organised and can get through them quickly.
In terms of trends, what do you think is the most interesting at the moment?
I think it’s best not to pay too much attention to trends, because trends, by their very nature, fall in and out of fashion and ultimately I’d like the images to have a timeless feel to them. So I concentrate on the emotions and connections the guests have with one another.
What’s the most common misconception that you have to correct with couples? The thing you’d most like to communicate to the masses.
Venue visits aren’t needed. Really they aren’t. I think it was something that was done back in the day when wedding photography was all about bride and groom portraits, and they wanted to scout out places for the two hour session they had planned. But now it’s come back to being about the people at the wedding, and so a quick walk around on the day to familiarise myself with the layout is all that’s needed.
What’s been your most memorable wedding to photograph, and why?
So, so tough. Every one of them I’ve had a connection to, but in terms of experiences, I’d have to go with my first international wedding in Argentina last year. For me it had everything –the emotion, the location, and two absolutely beautiful people at its heart.
Can you tell us why you think wedding photography is worth the investment?
Because you’ll most likely never have another day where all your family and friends are in the same room together, so having a photographer who understands that and can capture the relationships you have with all these people that mean so much to you, is priceless.
Finally, if you weren’t a wedding photographer, what would you be?
Doing whatever I could to make a living from being a photographer. There really is nothing I’d much rather do than take pictures and capture the life of the people I meet along the way.
Kristian Leven Photography
Weddings starting from £2.000