Behind the Lens with Staffordshire wedding photographer Cris Lowis
19 Sep 2018
Cris Lowis of Lowis Photography - based in Stafford - answers our questions and simultaneously offers insight into his creative world
How would you describe your style of photography?
My style of photography is based upon documentary photography; For the vast majority of the day I’m not posing anything and seeking out the mini stories that occur throughout the wedding. Documentary photography is different to what most people think; it isn’t just taking photos of people when they are not looking, it’s about building a series of connected pictures that form the story of the wedding. I do still take group photos and creative portraits of the couples. I don’t think a set would be complete without them.
How did you start out in wedding photography?
My background is in management. I was bored of my day job so decided to set up a hobby business from my existing hobby of photography. Before I knew it, the weddings were getting too busy and I was at the point where either the day job or the weddings had to go... bye bye day job.
Who are your ideal clients?
My ideal clients are relaxed couples who value good photography. They don’t take themselves too seriously and their wedding is more about having a great time with the people they love than about the glamour and show.
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.
One of my favourites is the signing the register photo. l love how the bride, groom and family members are all smiling as the marriage is made official.
Photographers seem to inject a lot of their personality into their work… what are your inspirations?
One of the reasons I shoot documentary is because the photos are real; the moments are real and you can’t recreate moments. Documentary photography isn’t just about the bride and groom but about the other guests at the wedding too. Often one of the favourite photos from the set will be where I’ve captured a loved one’s personality, like this groom's grandad enjoying a quiet beer.
How far in advance should those interested look to book you? Do people stand a chance of getting you last minute?
Generally people book 12-18 months in advance, but each year I take a few short notice bookings.
What’s the most challenging part of photographing a wedding?
I think the challenging part is making sure you book the right clients in the first place, that way expectations are matched. I give a lot of information ahead of booking to make sure what I offer matches what the client is looking for.
How can couples help to ensure the best work?
To get the best from me I just want the couple to have a great day and forget about photography.
What are the 3 most important questions for couples to ask their photographer, in your opinion?
I think it’s a good idea to ask your photographer what is important to them about wedding photography and why they shoot the way they do. Make sure this style matches what you’re looking for at your wedding. It’s also worth checking that they have the necessary insurance and ensure there is a back-up plan if the photographer falls ill on the day. Although these are basics, all professionals should have them covered anyway and will be happy to share the details.
What’s your opinion on the controversial ‘group shots’ – can you give us an example of yours?
I’ve absolutely no problem with group photos and I sometimes think photographers shy away from them because they don’t have the people skills to organise the groups. What I do advise is for couples not to go overboard with the group list or they spend too long posing and not enough time enjoying the day.
What’s the most common misconception that you have to correct with couples? The thing you’d most like to communicate to the masses.
Weddings are not about flowers, dresses and suits; those are just the fun things to enjoy when planning the wedding. The day itself is about the joining of two people and the commitment they make. It's about being surrounded by their loved ones on one of the most important days of their lives. Don’t let yourself get bogged down with Pinterest, trends, tradition or what your friend had at her wedding. Some of the best weddings I’ve been to have been the most simple and unique.
Can you tell us why you think wedding photography is worth the investment?
Once the cake has been eaten, the flowers have died and dress put in storage, all that you have left is each other, the rings and the photographs. Photos are something that increases in emotional value as the years go on and, in many ways, your wedding album isn’t for you but for your future generations.