Behind the Lens with West Sussex wedding photographer Martin Beddall
29 Apr 2019
Martin Beddall details the benefits of his photojournalism background and how this can bring about the best results in his wedding photography
How would you describe your style of photography?
It’s a hands off, natural and above all, honest, approach to capturing the day. An eyewitness to the day, with the intention of capturing the narrative of the day, as it happened. No needless set-ups. Let a couple just enjoy the day and the photography will capture that, rather than impose upon it.
How did you start out in wedding photography?
I was working as a photojournalist at The Times in London and both readers and journalists started to ask me to photograph their weddings in this way. It’s this background that shapes how I photograph a wedding; not traditional nor a fashion shoot but natural, honest, reportage.
Who are your ideal clients?
Whether I am a minor part of the overall budget or a major part, it is that they fully embrace my style of wedding photography and my approach. A large percentage of my couples are creatives themselves. I had one couple change the date of the wedding, so I was available - they were photography/art teachers and photography mattered to them.
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.
This image of Sophie was taken as she she waited in the cab outside St Paul’s Cathedral. It’s an image that makes you want to look at it closer, to try and read what is happening - how are the reflections there in the taxi window. An image should hold your attention, then you know you have a good shot.
Photographers seem to inject a lot of their personality into their work… what are your inspirations?
My inspiration has always come from photojournalism, rather than wedding photography. I’ve never been interested in fashion photography but, like real storytelling, whether a single image can encapsulate a story or a series of images draws a narrative.
How far in advance should those interested look to book you? Do people stand a chance of getting you last minute?
Most people who book me about 6-12 months before the wedding day. Last minute bookings can happen, but it’s more about this being the style they want rather than having left it too late.
What’s the most challenging part of photographing a wedding?
Light and time. As well as countering the perceived ‘way of doing things’ at some venues.
How can couples help to ensure the best work?
For some, it is by setting their choices such as the venue. For others, it’s really taking onboard any advice I can give beforehand then just letting me do what I do. Don't worry about the photography on the day; just enjoy yourselves and the images will reflect that.
In terms of trends, what do you think is the most interesting at the moment?
Couples not letting others dictate how the day should be, many traditions are no longer key. Also, creating a relaxed atmosphere is the most important aspect of the day - even during the ceremony.
What’s the most common misconception that you have to correct with couples? The thing you’d most like to communicate to the masses.
Don’t ask a photographer to shoot in a way they don’t normally. If you want to spend the wedding reception doing a long list of group shots, I’m not your photographer. If you want to just enjoy the day with family and friends and let the images tell that story - I am. A good reportage photographer doesn’t need to have shot at a certain venue every week for the last three years - they will adapt. This is where my photojournalism background comes in.
Can you tell us why you think wedding photography is worth the investment?
The wedding photographer is not working for the day itself - like the flowers or the food, etc. The value comes later. Not just at that first viewing of the images but by capturing a story for you to enjoy for years henceforth. Not a series of set-ups but images that show just how individual your wedding day was.