We chat to Becky Harley, a wedding photographer based in Hertfordshire in our behind the lens feature where we discover how she got into wedding photography and what she loves most about it.
How long have you been photographing weddings for and how did you get into it?
I have been a Hertfordshire Wedding Photographer capturing weddings for a few years now. When I got married myself, I realised just how much I loved them! Being a keen photographer already, and having always liked the idea of running my own business, I began to build a wedding portfolio through undertaking mentoring with some of the top photographers in the UK, and the rest is history!
What do you particularly like about photographing weddings?
I’ve never been one for photographing landscapes or animals particularly. I can certainly appreciate that kind of photography, but for me there’s nothing better than capturing emotion. And there’s plenty of that at weddings! For me, weddings just have everything – joy, love, happiness, sometimes tears, (and of course lots of super pretty details too!). Not only that, but the images are SO important and will last as such a special part of not just a couple’s history, but also their families. I have really fond memories of sitting and looking through my mum’s wedding album, and at my grandparents wedding photos, and I want to capture that for my couples.
What is your favourite part of the day?
It’s hard to pinpoint one part of a wedding day that’s my favourite. Even after having been to many weddings, I do sometimes get quite emotional during ceremonies, particularly when the couple are emotional (and have to hid a bit behind my camera). But then I love the bit of portrait time I get with couples on a wedding day too – it’s so important to me that you get a bit of time to yourselves on the day to take it all in and enjoy each other’s company – obviously I’m there too with my camera. I don’t do any awkward posing though – I much prefer to let you be yourselves and enjoy some time together as the newly married couple!
Also, the dance floor is always a great place to be once the formalities are over and everyone can let loose and enjoy themselves too!
How would you describe your style and approach?
I’m a very relaxed person, and I bring a lot of that to my photography. I won’t be running about like a mad thing on your special day. I much prefer to hide in plain sight and capture the action as it unfolds. I love getting to know my couples in advance of the big day, so that when it comes around, I’m like another guest with a camera, rather than ‘the photographer’.
Who, or what inspires you?
I take my inspiration from the prettiness and awesome couples that I’m privileged to photograph at each and every wedding. One of the reasons I love weddings so much is that they are always so individual to a couple. Even if I’ve worked at a venue several times in the past, no two weddings are ever the same; each one has a couple’s individual stamp on it. It might sound a bit fancy but I also like to let light inspire me, and it’s not uncommon for me to do a little happy dance when I see some cool light pop out from behind the clouds during a portrait session!
What advice would you give to couples looking for a wedding photographer?
It’s really important that you find someone that you feel comfortable with and whose work speaks to you. At the end of the day – the photographs are the things you’ll keep forever from your big day and though you’ll have memories of everything that happened, these will fade with time. Having someone you’re comfortable with will make your photos 100 times better than if you feel stiff and awkward. For me, it’s about capturing natural photographs of you as you are together. It’s really important to me that looking at the photos I take of your big day will transport you back there, not just letting you remember what it looked like, but how it felt.
What tips would you share with couples to help their day go more smoothly?
Plan lots of time. Things like group shots always take longer than you expect, and the last thing you want is to be rushing between the different parts of the day. You want to take it slowly and plan in lots of time to mingle, chat to everyone and just enjoy yourselves. Your wedding day WILL pass by in a flash, so it’s important to take a step back and some time together as a couple to enjoy it all!
If there was one place in the world you would love to capture a wedding where would it be and why?
I absolutely love holidaying in Spain, so I would love to do a wedding there. I love the language, the culture, the food, everything, so that would be an absolute dream for me! I wouldn’t say no to the South of France or Italy either!!
Finally… Whats the best moment you’ve had as a wedding photographer?
I was super proud to win ‘One to Watch’ in the Four Counties Wedding Awards in 2017, and to be shortlisted as a Regional Finalist in the East of England Photography Category in The Wedding Industry Awards 2017. It’s so lovely to get so much awesome feedback from my gorgeous couples. In terms of at a wedding, I’ve had one or two couples thank me personally in their speeches which is always totally unexpected but really lovely!