Today we chat with Caroline Lyall of Bristol Wedding Photographic in our wedding photographer interview feature.
How long have you been photographing weddings for and how did you get into it?
I have been photographing weddings for 5 years now. It was a wonderful hobby which I wanted to turn in to a career so I started off by photographing friends weddings to build up a portfolio. When I started my business, I was completely honest with clients, telling them that it was all new to me and my prices reflected my abilities and experience. A few couples decided to take a chance on me and I kind of owe them everything. If it wasn’t for them then I would have never been able to call myself a professional photographer and build on the experience I needed to get my business off the ground.
What do you particularly like about photographing weddings?
I love the fact that I get to give the couple lasting memories of their wedding day. I strive on capturing the real emotions and all those lovely details that they put in to decorating and making it extra special. These things will only last for one wonderful day, but the photographs will stay with them forever. It’s a little piece of history! I love to get creative with different locations and backgrounds too. No two weddings are ever the same, so it’s always new and exciting and I get to work the couples own individual style and personalities in to my photography.
How would you describe your style and approach?
My style and approach is really natural and unobtrusive. I don’t want to take control of a wedding day, that’s not my job! I want to be there to capture it as it happens naturally. When I photograph couples, I like to get those close, intimate moments where it doesn’t look too staged but much more candid and relaxed, like a window in to their own little world.
What advice would you give to couples looking for a wedding photographer?
Choose a photographer you like, not just their photography style but their personality too. You will be spending quite a lot of time with them on your wedding day so you need someone who is going to make you feel relaxed and comfortable, and not anxious and stressed! I’ve heard nightmare stories about how some photographers shout and boss people around way too much. You don’t want this! Don’t be afraid to bombard them with questions, they should know their stuff! Ask to see a full real wedding, naturally photographers will only display the very best of their work on their website, so this will give you a good idea of exactly what you’re going to get. A good photographer will offer you an engagement shoot, where possible, a visit to the venue and explain to you how the photography will fit in to your wedding day. They should give you lots of helpful advice, there are often things you probably won’t even think of. For example, will the registrar/vicar allow photographs from any position? Will they allow the use of flash photography? What is the schedule for your day? Will you have time for many group shots? I often advise couples that if you have the speeches after the wedding breakfast, there will be around 2 hours where there is not a lot the photographer can do, so perhaps consider saving money by having the speeches beforehand. Finally, don’t cut costs when it comes to booking a photographer, they will know exactly what they’re doing. Your friend may have a decent camera but they are far from a professional and like I said, your photographs will be with you forever and it’s worth getting them right.
What tips would you share with couples to help their day go more smoothly?
Get a schedule in place so everyone, including you, knows where they need to be and at what time. Give yourself plenty of time to get ready, if you’re rushing around, you will start to panic! Make sure you choose a manageable and realistic amount of group photographs. While the group shots are an important documentation of who was there, you don’t want to be standing and smiling in front of a camera the whole day. Relax, you’ve spent ages planning and everything will be fine! Oh, and don’t worry about getting your dress a little dirty, you’re only going to wear it once so enjoy it!
Finally… Whats the best moment you’ve had as a wedding photographer?
The best moment I had as a wedding photographer was photographing my brother’s wedding. I was a bridesmaid too so it was a busy day! Luckily I managed to get in some of the photographs myself! It was a wonderful gift to be able to give to him. There was also a great moment during a wedding when I realised that I was doing my dream job and how lucky I am! I love it!
You can find out more about Caroline Lyall and Bristol Wedding Photographic on there profile here, or website at www.bristolweddingphotographic.co.uk.
If you would like to be featured then do get in touch.