Getting the Best out of Your Wedding Photographs
12 Jan 2016
How would you describe your style of photography?
Natural and unobtrusive, simply observing and photographing a wedding day as it unfolds. There is so much love and emotion everywhere you look that in my opinion nothing should ever need to be staged or posed. I like to think of myself as a storyteller, capturing all those unseen moments for a couple to relive once the day is over.
How did you start out in wedding photography?
After attending a few weddings as a guest of family and friends, I kept seeing, more often then I would have liked, folks getting let down by below average photography. Nothing worse in my opinion, as at the end of the day these are the precious memories of your wedding day. It inspired me to get involved and to provide a standard and service that only I would be happy with. It kind of went crazy from there on in basically.
Who are your ideal clients?
Ones who just totally get what I’m about. They contact me, book me and say ‘just do your thing’. It shows their unwavering trust in me and that is a great thing indeed. Come the day I know they’ll be just ultra-relaxed as will I, and being on the same wavelength always without fail comes across in the finished pictures.
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.
I’ve always loved this image. It was from a summer wedding down in Kent a few years ago. The grandmother, whose beautiful cottage hosted the wedding venue, was quietly preparing the wedding cake in the morning and while I was wandering around photographing the bridal prep, I stumbled across this scene. She hadn’t noticed me as she was so absorbed in what she was doing, and so I took a couple of frames from a discreet distance. I didn’t exactly want to put her off.
I love this image simply because of how natural and ‘in the moment’ it was. Added to this, the light, the setting, and even the curlers give the whole thing life, and to me is an equally huge part of a wedding story as a bride is walking down the aisle. No-one else got to see this happening and so to be able to document it for the couple was really special.
Photographers inject their personality into their work… what are your inspirations?
Well certainly photographers such as Jeff Ascough opened my eyes to documentary wedding photography in the first place. It was so refreshing to see weddings captured in a natural and non-staged way and was incredibly inspiring. Great street photography is incredible to look at too, and photographers such as Henri-Cartier-Bresson, Vivian Maier and Alex Webb are particular favourites of mine.
How far in advance should those interested look to book you? Do people stand a chance of getting you last minute?
For popular times of year, pretty much from April to October and then around Christmas time, couples should get in touch at least a 12 to 18 months before their wedding day to check availability. Outside of then there is more of a chance to get me last minute.
What’s the most challenging part of photographing a wedding?
Certainly being organised when it comes to group shots. I always discuss these with couples before the big day and suggest they are kept to as few as possible to allow me to cover the day naturally. To be able to gather and organise the right guests in a timely manner is always a challenge.
How can couples help to ensure the best work?
To keep any requested group shots to the bare minimum. The more there are the less time I have to be getting the natural documentary shots they hired me to do.
What are the three most important questions for couples to ask their photographer, in your opinion?
Are you insured? Do you carry backup equipment? Can I see a full wedding you’ve photographed?
What’s your opinion on group shots – can you give us an example of yours?
Well as mentioned above if they are kept to as few as possible that’s OK. I make it clear when couples first get in touch that I’m happy to do a few as I understand the importance of having a few family shots (I even had some at my own wedding). I like to think I’m pretty efficient at getting them done quickly on the day. There’s nothing worse than having to stand around for ages trying to gather the right folk together. No one enjoys that and so the fewer there are to do the more time everyone has to enjoy 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?
That come the day, I don’t need them to guide me or to worry about me. All the planning and hard work in the lead up falls into place and they can sit back and enjoy it to the full. In the nicest possible way I want them to ignore me.
Can you tell us why you think wedding photography is worth the investment?
Because it is the only lasting memory of the biggest day of your life. So much blood sweat and tears goes into organising this day, for sometimes a couple of years beforehand, that you want an experienced photographer there come the day to document it all in as natural way as possible. Years down the line photos are all you have to show your grandchildren about what an epic day you had.
Finally, if you weren’t a wedding photographer, what would you be?
I love the outdoors and nature, so maybe a park ranger where I could go around looking after everything in a cool Jeep and a fancy hat.