Q&A with fashion photographer, Max Montgomery
06 Jan 2017
British fashion photographer, Max Montgomery, details how the worlds of wedding and fashion photography overlap
Max Montgomery is a 27-year-old British fashion photographer who recently won a competition to shoot the front cover of BRIDES magazine. Selected from 14,000 entries submitted from more than 150 countries, Max's talent, passion and enthusiasm for his trade is clear to see. Here, he offers his expert advice to budding wedding photographers and those just starting out.
How do the worlds of fashion and wedding photography overlap?
In the past, there didn’t seem to be an overlap in fashion and wedding photography but that has changed. Nowadays, more people have started to stray away from traditional wedding photos by taking some liberties with their looks. Rather than posed portraits, there is an openness to including candid shots as well as photos that have a real editorial sensibility to them. A wedding is supposed to be the most glamorous day of a bride’s life and that should be celebrated.
What advice would you give to a wedding photographer starting out?
You need to make your clients feel confident in the work that you deliver to them. Have a great website that you can show a portfolio of your work; they’re so easy to make these days with websites like Wix. I’m not a wedding photographer per se but with anything, it's about preparation. For example, with a wedding, you have just one moment to capture it; there are no opportunities to shoot it again so you need to be aware of that and get the shot. Have a clear idea about what you want to do and make sure you shoot more than less.
Who are your influencers?
David Montgomery, Helmet Newton, Richard Avedon, Irving Penn and Glen Luchford.
Where do you look for inspiration?
I live in New York and the city is pretty special. Visually, it's very stimulating and there is always something that can inspire. I also watch a lot of movies from the '90s.
What has been your favourite commission to date?
Shooting the Kings of Leon for Q Magazine was special. I was a huge fan of their music prior and an even bigger fan after meeting them. Of course, winning the Wix Condé Nast Photography competition and shooting the cover of BRIDES magazine was a huge moment as well, as I was selected as a winner from over 14,000 photographers. It was an amazing opportunity and a truly great experience.
How should photographers keep up with the constant changes in technology?
Cameras have basically been the same for 50 years. Learn how to use one of them properly and you can pretty much use all of them. Also, a good assistant is key.
What are your top tips for photographers to create a rapport with their subjects?
Make it a comfortable environment by playing good music and serving delicious food on set. Connect with your subject as a person beyond the lens by talking to them and, more importantly, listen to them. Be kind. Researching people prior can help too so you’re already a bit familiar with them. Putting people at ease behind the camera goes a long way in front of it.
If you could tell your younger self one thing, what would it be?
Keep the faith. Good things come if you really focus on what you want and are smart about seizing opportunities when they present themselves, even if they do so subtly. You can slack and rest on your laurels, but you will be the one that suffers for it.