This afternoon we chat with Isle of Wight wedding photographer, Chris Cowley.
Hi Chris, so firstly how long have you been photographing weddings for and how did you get into it?
I live on the Isle of Wight and we have some pretty amazing music festivals each summer which I’ve been lucky enough to have been able to photograph professionally! Whenever I shared my festival photos online I would keep getting requests to turn my hand to weddings. Whilst flattered, I sadly declined them at first for some reason thinking that I wouldn’t enjoy it in the same way I did a festival. How wrong was I?! At a music festival the emotion I love capturing is spread throughout the weekend, whereas a wedding has it all and much, much more in that one special day! I started off by assisting at a few weddings a couple of years ago and then spread my wings and flew solo last year and have loved every moment of it since!
What do you particularly like about photographing weddings?
I love capturing emotion in my images and a wedding tends to have a lot of opportunities to photograph this! I’m a massive fan of candid photography and tend not to take too many formal portraits. A wedding gives me plenty of opportunity to do this and I always walk away with lots of natural looking images that tend to capture the subject’s personality which I much prefer to the traditional static poses the more traditional photographers tend to go for.
One of the best parts of my job comes after the wedding when I see the joy of a couple as they browse through their beautiful wedding day images for the very first time. It’s really satisfying knowing they can re-live that feeling over and over again through their album and whilst it’s pretty emotional experience, it makes it so worthwhile.
How would you describe your style and approach?
Natural and relaxed. I work unobtrusively recording events as you live them, feelings as you feel them and tears of happiness as you shed them. The aim for me is that each image should tell the story of your day from start to finish, projecting the love and devotion that you share with your family and friends in my unique style.
What advice would you give to couples looking for a wedding photographer?
Good question! I wrote a blog post recently on exactly this subject titled ‘how to choose a wedding photographer’. The post boils down to three main pieces of advice:
- Style – Have a good look around online and in magazines to get a feel for the style of photography you like. Don’t get distracted by the latest trends and buzzwords floating around and just concentrate on photos you really love.
- Research – Once you know the style of photography you love then ask friends for recommendations, spend some time on Google and on websites like Your Perfect Wedding Photographer to see what photographers are around and if they fit your budget
- Meet some photographers – You’re going to spend a lot of time with this person throughout your wedding day and so once you’ve found some photographers you like arrange to meet up. You’ll know from the offset if you’re with someone who makes you feel comfortable and relaxed, and this is the key to looking great in your photos. Choosing a photographer whose work you think is great but you don’t get on with is never going to work. If you want those relaxed smiley images where you REALLY smile then you need to book the photographer who can get the best out of you.
What tips would you share with couples to help their day go more smoothly?
If you’re employing wedding professionals then don’t be afraid to ask them for advice. Take it all in and use it to help you plan and organise things but just remember that it’s YOUR day so don’t be railroaded to do something just because someone has suggested it.
Finally… What is the best moment you’ve had as a wedding photographer?
Every wedding is special for its own reasons but a personal highlight for me was when I photographed 48 weddings in 72 hours at Bestival last year. Each ‘wedding’ took place in an inflatable church right in the middle of the festival. I’m hoping things like this will inspire couples to do something a bit different for their big day so give me a shout if you’re planning a garden, outdoor of festival themed wedding!
Thank you to Chris for chatting with us, you can find out more about him on his profile, or just tweet him at @CowleyPhoto.
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