Why Your Wedding Photographer Should Be Your Friend
20 Oct 2015
For Cotswolds wedding photographers Chris and Helen Scuffins, emotional honesty is at the forefront of their style
That’s probably why they advise couples to decide whether they could be friends with their wedding photographer before they choose them to shoot a wedding. After all, your photographer will be among loved ones, friends and family all day long, so it’s vital that they fit in and can record heartfelt raw emotion without being too distracting. Without further ado, we go behind the lens with Chris of Scuffins Photography…
How would you describe your style of photography?
We’re not big fans of putting ourselves into a neat little box or particular genre of photography, but our work is probably quite close to being considered fine art style, with a little bit of fun, humour and emotional honesty chucked in. Fine art photography can come across as beautiful but intense, maybe even a little bit serious. But we as photographers and as people are the exact opposite. We don’t take ourselves seriously at all.
How did you start out in wedding photography?
I shot my first wedding in summer 2013, which was followed by a few more later that year. In 2014, I was working full-time in the week and shooting most weekends, so Helen started shooting with me to be an extra pair of hands and so we would actually get chance to see each other. It’s so nice working every weekend with someone you trust implicitly and who you know has got your back. Although Helen sees and photographs very differently to me, our styles complement each other really well. What we do and how we approach photography has gradually developed through experience and lots of hard work to where we are now: we filled up our books with 35 weddings for 2015.
Who are your ideal clients?
I guess people are who quite similar to us, but that’s not easy… we are pretty weird. More than anything, we love working with couples who love each other deeply, think positively, act honestly and maybe, just maybe, enjoy a bit of cool photography.
Can you choose a picture that encapsulates everything you want to achieve in a wedding photograph?
That’s a tough one. Who we are as photographers and what our couples want from their imagery is fluid and always changing. If there was one word that can encapsulate everything we aim for in an image, it would be honesty. A photograph about things that happened, good or bad, creative or clichéd. Just straight up, a memory that matters now, and will matter even more in decades to come. Plus anything we can do to make our couples look super cool, is always good.
Tell us what it is about this image that you love.
This is Anne and Patrick. They had just got married, and this is how they felt. Nothing beats a big squishy hug.
Photographers often inject a lot of their personality into their work. What are your inspirations?
Oh all sorts. These days it’s mostly places, walks in the countryside or trips abroad. I also listen to so much music, it fills the house while I’m working (which is a lot) and I love that I can listen and do other things at the same time. I work best when juggling lots of little things at once, and that’s when I come up with random ideas and inspiration.
How far in advance should those interested look to book you? Do people stand a chance of getting you last minute?
As our little business has progressed, we are starting to get booked up quite far in advance – especially in the months between May and October. We still have a few last minute bookings here or there, and we especially love being involved with little last minute elopements.
What’s the most challenging part of photographing a wedding?
There are very few aspects I don’t love about weddings days and photography. If I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t be doing it. But if had to pick one aspect I like the least, it’s all the time sat in front of a computer processing after a wedding. I would always rather be outside using a camera than stuck inside in front of a screen.
How can couples help to ensure the best work?
It’s all about trust. If you really like the work you’ve seen on the photographer’s website or brochure, then try following their lead and advice; and you should end up with pictures that look just as brilliant.
What are the three most important questions for couples to ask their photographer, in your opinion?
What inspires you? What’s your favourite song? What’s you favourite food? Be nosey. Asking personal questions. Getting to know your photographers is so important because we are people first and it is our personalities and approach that are going to come across most at your wedding with your friends and family. Of course, questions about hours, cameras and prices etc, are all, but only after you’ve figured if you could actually be mates with your photographers.
What’s your opinion on group shots–can you give us an example of yours?
They are so, very very important. There are only a handful of times you will have all of your family all together and dressed up and looking ace. Why wouldn’t you want to take pictures together?
It’s true, too many photos in a row can be mind-numbing, which is why we get our 10 group photos done and dusted in less than 20 minutes. The trick is to not mess about. Our top tips for couples: plan out your group photos well in advance and let your guests know before the day that they will be want for photos. Pop the photo list on the invitation, order of service or even on a sign at your drinks reception. When everyone is on side and knows what’s going down, the group photos are less stressful, way more fun and over quickly so everyone can go back to enjoying themselves.
What’s the most common misconception that you have to correct with couples? The thing you’d most like to communicate to the masses.
There aren’t many, but one bit of advice we always have is to ask for help. For our couples it’s almost always the first time they’ve planned a wedding, and boy it’s pretty tricky. Anything we can do to help out such as advising on timings, helping find suppliers or just being someone to run your awesome wedding day ideas past is fine with us. I think of weddings like Christmas. Whether you are going big and extravagant or a little family-only affair it should be fun, exciting, rewarding and, most of all, about people and family, rather than the “stuff”.
Can you tell us why you think wedding photography is worth the investment?
Absolutely. The thing about wedding photography is that it’s so much more than how many likes your pictures get on Facebook in the days or weeks after the day is over. Great photography should have value, decades and decades later. When you fetch the album out of the attic, or beam your digital images from your whatever-super-cool-technological-device we’ll be using is 2075, your kids, and grandkids will be able to see how it all went down. How two lovely people and two wonderful families came together on one big day, and how darn amazing it all was. It becomes history, it’s becomes a tangible, holdable and sharable memory of one of the biggest days in your life together. It’s kind of a big deal.
Finally, if you weren’t a wedding photographer, what would you be?
Well our journey as wedding photographers is just starting, so it’s hard to think of being anything else. But if there was something that grabs my attention as much as photography, it would probably be teaching. I sometimes do photography mentoring sessions for aspiring photographers. Even while teaching, you are always learning yourself and being open and listening to new viewpoints. It’s so rewarding and lots of fun, and helps you see life from different perspectives.
Scuffins Photography is a fine art photography duo based in the Cotswold countryside. Full day coverage starts from £1495.