This week we chat with Courtney Louise, a wedding photographer based in Cotswolds, finding out how she entered the world of wedding photography and what she loves about it.
How long have you been photographing weddings for and how did you get into it?
I first started shooting weddings five years ago. I was photographing fashion at the time and fell into the weddings when I was asked to photograph my cousins wedding! It all started there.. Once i had done one, the ball started rolling and I was getting more work; I am still loving it over 100 weddings later.
It excited me how the day unfolded and the fact there are so many different situations to photograph at a wedding. It was a challenge to shoot natural shots from the posed fashion images I was used to, but I loved the idea of searching for a photograph to take rather than creating one from my own vision with a team around me.
What do you particularly like about photographing weddings?
Weddings are a really happy place to be- full of excitement, some nerves, laughter and love. I thoroughly enjoy being a part of a couples day, documenting everything from start to finish. I even take joy in all the after work, such as the retouching and presenting the images back to my clients. I feel privileged to have documented so many best days of people’s lives.
How would you describe your style and approach?
I shoot a mix of reportage and contemporary! I love to photograph the day un-obtrusively; I am not one for interrupting the day to get a shot. I will usually allow 30 minutes for the “posed” shots on the day to do the group shots (if the couple request) and also the romantic, couple shots! Even then, I still get candid shots out of the posed ones which are always my favourite.
What advice would you give to couples who are looking for their photographer?
I would always advise to meet the photographer first! I have heard a few stories where the photographer insists on charging for a meeting or not actually meeting the couple at all. I find this really odd, a connection with the couple is key to getting good photographs.
I always meet with my couples twice before the wedding; first time when they book me and the second to go over details and have another good chat. This connection really helps on the day; I am seen as more of a guest than a photographer and the whole atmosphere is completely relaxed (and good fun!) It’s very common that the bride will refer to me as her extra bridesmaid or a guest will say “How long have you known (the couple)” which is lovely, and a great compliment!
What tips would you share with couples to help their day go more smoothly?
I always say to just relax and enjoy the day. Couples spend so long in the planning stages of their wedding that the day seems to go so fast. So i always say just have fun and enjoy it!
There are so many suppliers and people involved in the big day, that the couples may feel a little overwhelmed. It is common that I see a bride whittling in the morning that things are going to go wrong.. flowers wont turn up, registrar wont turn up etc. If you have selected professionals who do this full time and have a great track record, then you have to remember that they have done this time and time again and they will always do their job on time and in the correct manner.
Finally… whats the best moment you have had as a wedding photographer?
A tricky one! Its hard to put it down to one moment, I have had some fantastic experiences as a wedding photographer. I would probably say the best moment for every wedding I shoot is the lovely thank you’s i get. Handwritten cards, gifts and emails are all a pleasure to receive. Knowing that I have produced images for such a big day which the couples are thrilled with and get joy from for many years to come, is a huge compliment!