“Creative Brides Make Ideal Clients”: Behind the Lens with Surrey Photographer, David Weightman
25 Sep 2015
Surrey-based reportage wedding photographer David Weightman of Married to My Camera, has a vast knowledge of creative brides with resolute style.
We go behind the lens to discover more about his signature style and some of the steps you can take to get the most from your photographer for a stress-free big day.
How would you describe your style of photography?
I’d describe my style as reportage photography, sometimes with a touch of humour. I’m inspired by photographers such as Eve Arnold, Martin Parr and Garry Winogrand. I look for real connections between people and genuine expressions of love and joy, but also the quieter moments of reflection during the day. I’m not interesting in simply taking pictures to attract likes on Facebook but aim instead to create images that will still stir the emotions in years to come.
How did you start out in wedding photography?
I did my degree in photography from 1996-99, but I didn’t shoot my first wedding until 2004 when my sister got married and asked me to take the pictures. I shot a few more weddings after that to make sure it was something I really wanted to do, before asking a friend to design my website.
Who are your ideal clients?
My approach seems to attract couples rather like myself, which is great. I love working with creative brides who are easygoing but also know their own style. The process of booking a photographer is more than just a box ticking exercise for them. It’s also really important that they know how to have a good time. Having a live band in the evening really helps with that last part.
How far in advance should those interested look to book you? Do people stand a chance of getting you last minute?
It’s quite normal for me to take bookings a year or more in advance of the wedding date, but having said that, a bride once called me up the week before her wedding. It was a lovely day, surrounded by just close family. I offer all my couples a no-obligation meeting over a cup of coffee or tea at their venue or elsewhere.
What’s the most challenging part of photographing a wedding?
That’s a great question, and a difficult one to answer. There are so many challenges during the day and the most challenging part is always different. Sometimes the weather is against you and you have to think on your feet and sometimes light levels and space are an issue. Part of hiring a professional photographer is about knowing that they’ll have the equipment and experience to cope in any situation without panicking, they might even thrive in it. What’s strange is that my favourite pictures of the day often come from the most challenging situations.
How can couples help to ensure the best work?
I give all my couples a page of photo tips to help them with their planning. I hate to see the groom’s phone or wallet ruin the silhouette of his suit or the bride’s hairdo collapse before she's even walked down the aisle. But the best thing couples can do to ensure great pictures is to forget all about the months of planning and just enjoy themselves. It’s my job to capture them at their very best.
What are the three most important questions for couples to ask their photographer?
While I don’t think it’s necessary to choose a photographer that has shot at your venue before, I do think it’s important to search out a wedding on their blog from a similar type of venue, be it a barn, marquee or city centre venue. It’s also important that you ask how much they will pose you. Many of the couples I meet tell me horror stories about their friend’s wedding that was ruined by the photographer posing shots for hours on end. It’s also really important to ask your photographer what they’d like to eat and drink. Photographers like me are absolutely passionate about what we do, but shooting reportage for between 6-12 hours can be exhausting. Providing your photographer with a proper meal creates a good feeling all round and might even mean that they stay an extra half hour if the first dance overruns.
What’s your opinion on the controversial group shots?
I totally get how important a family heirloom the group shots are, and I do enjoy the process of posing them when I get the opportunity. All too often though couples don’t leave enough time, and I remember one memorable occasion when I missed the entire drinks reception because the couple wanted so many groups. I now encourage my couples to let me bring a second photographer if they want lots of groups. One of my favourite group shots of all time has to be this one, taken in the evening just before the couples’first dance. The alcohol consumption up until this point and the boys cheering from behind the camera, both helped get the shot.
In terms of trends, what do you think is the most interesting at the moment?
Without a doubt the most creative things I see happening at the moment are in film-making and videography. The video technology has now caught up with digital photography and is accessible to anyone starting out in the industry. I recently set up a Facebook group to bring together the best film makers and photographers in the UK and get us working together more collaboratively.
What’s the most common misconception that you have to correct with couples?
The most common misconception I find is in couples’understanding of terms like reportage, documentary and photojournalism. This isn’t helped by photographers who use these definitions but then show very different work on their own websites.
Finally, if you weren’t a wedding photographer, what would you be?
I taught an A-level in photography for many years, so if I wasn’t a wedding photographer I’d probably still be doing that. It was a great experience and so rewarding to be in a position to inspire young people discovering the medium for the first time. Many of my students went on to art college and are now beginning to build successful careers for themselves.