This week we chat with Manchester based Wedding Photographer Tim Simpson, in our interview series where we find out about the people behind the camera.
How long have you been photographing weddings for and how did you get into it?
I’ve been shooting weddings on and off for over 20 years now. Starting as a teenager when people could see I knew my way around a camera they asked me to informally cover their day. Then after I qualified as a Photographer I started at a local general photographers who did weddings, portraits and commercial work. I would be sent out with a Hasselblad and 2 backs (24 frames) to cover a whole wedding, the bride and groom would pick 20 images for their album. Often I would do 2 wedding a day. To be completely honest weddings back then were not what I wanted to do, it was very formulaic, just line ups like a firing squad no artistry at all really, people just wanted group shots.
I got back into weddings about 7 years ago, you could see a real change in the whole industry, weddings started to have their own personality and people wanted their day documented in an informal artistic way. Before that I’d still been shooting weddings mainly on film, but just for friends and that was a case of ‘ I’ll do it but I’ll do it informally and artistically andI’ll have fun’ and that seemed to go down really well. So we (with my wife Amanda who has been a massive driving force) formed a plan 7 years ago to build up a portfolio and open a studio and its working very well.
What do you particularly like about photographing weddings?
I love the fact that we are producing something that will last for many generations. Our albums and images will mean so much to people that haven’t even been born yet, I love that. With the internet and things like Pinterest people really know what a good image is now. Its great to work with our couples and collaborate with them to produce art that they will never tire of looking at, art that will remind them of their day. It attaches a unique special meaning to an image that you don’t get from other types of photography.
How would you describe your style and approach?
Our approach on the day is informal, we like to act like a guest, that way we can get right into the action without people being conscious of us. I always have a good look round the venue and the surrounding area before the wedding. I ask for 30-40 mins of the bride and grooms time later in the day to take some styled images, I already know most of the images I’m going to take in this time. Its not long so you have to be well prepared. I have spoken in depth to the clients about what kind of images they like so I’m not going to ask them do something they are not comfortable with or else this shows in the images.
I draw my influences from fashion and art and try to incorporate this into my styled wedding images.
What advice would you give to couples looking for a wedding photographer?
Have really good look at lots of photographers work and meet them face to face. Don’t be fooled by a funky looking website because at the end of the day, although its nice, it doesn’t matter, its the images and how the photographer is on your day that counts. Look at whole weddings not just 10 of the best images from a wedding and make sure that most of their images are from actual weddings and not styled shoots.
Styled shoots are fine but you get all day to light and style a model like a fashion shoot (or a rock the frock), in the real world of a wedding with a real bride the pressure is on and you need someone who you feel at ease with. Its very important to feel comfortable around your photographers(s), you are inviting them right into the centre of a special day you have been planning for a long time, you don’t want someone taking up all your time and creating an uncomfortable atmosphere.
Also, and we would say this wouldn’t we, spend as much as you can on your photographer, your images are all that left in the future. Compromise on other things but not the photographer.
What tips would you share with couples to help their day go more smoothly?
Be aware that your day will fly by, its a whirlwind ! It really will be the best day of your life with so much good feeling aimed at you but it will go by in a flash. Having a relatively early ceremony helps give you more time on the day and not having a long journey between the ceremony and venue helps. Don’t have loads of group shots, if your photographers not experienced this can take such a long time. Your guests want to be catching up with friends and family and enjoying themselves. We say if you do want group shots make sure someone who is good at organisation and who knows everyone can help and only put 10 minutes aside for this.
Also trust the people you have chosen, if you have employed good professionals you can forget about them and concentrate on having the best day of your life.
Finally… Whats the best moment you’ve had as a wedding photographer?
Thats a vey difficult question to answer. Every single wedding is the best to the bride and groom and I try to make every wedding my best. I just love being creative and those are always great moments. I usually feel my last wedding was my best,I always try something new. My last wedding was for Nathan and Victoria who were such a great couple, really fun and stylish, we really connected. It was at The Inn at Whitewell which is one of our favourite venues and it was my birthday too. So its a bit of a cop out but my best moment was at my last wedding.
Thanks for Tim for chatting with us, if you would like to find out more and get in touch with him then do head over to this profile page here: Tim Simpson Photography