Interview: Emma Stoner
We love chatting to wedding photographers and finding out how it all began, and what they love about what they do, today we cant with Emma Stoner as we go behind the camera.
How long have you been photographing weddings for and how did you get into it?
I shot my first wedding for a friend back in 2009. After that I worked as a second shooter for a couple of years… that was really interesting as I worked with different photographers, covering all types of weddings including Hindu, Muslim & Jewish weddings. At the time I was working as a picture editor for Greenpeace and I was looking to branch out as a full time freelance photographer. I started looking at wedding photographing and was really pleasantly surprised as wedding photography had always made me cringe a bit before!
There were some brilliant photographers out there and I was inspired. I also really liked the idea of working for myself and having the freedom to live in the countryside. A lot of my work was very London centred at the time. Roll on a few years and I was working as a press photographer and occasional wedding photographer. I grew to love shooting weddings more than anything else as there was always so much scope to be creative and a wedding is a dream for a documentary photographer! I later moved West and decided to go for it full time with my wedding photography business. I’m so glad I did that now as I’m enjoying every aspect of it. People talk about the long gone ‘golden age of photojournalism’ and I really believe that we are seeing a golden age of wedding photography now. It has come on leaps and bounds since I was a teenager studying photography at art college… long may it continue!
What do you particularly like about photographing weddings?
There is never a dull moment! I really go into ‘the zone’ and it’s a bit of a high to create lovely pictures for people. I really enjoy the day 🙂 It’s also great to be able to give them their pictures at the end as I know they will look back on them for many years to come.
What is your favourite part of the day?
The past year I have really been enjoying portrait shoots with my couples. It’s nice to have a quiet moment with them and to explore different angles and ideas for their photos.
How would you describe your style and approach?
Relaxed, unobtrusive and friendly. I like to blend in with the crowd and this helps me get more intimate photos as people forget I am there!
Who, or what inspires you?
I am always inspired and humbled by photojournalists who capture important real life stories. Photography which tells a story and captures something of the essence of being human, moments we can all relate to. Some favourite photographers include Leonard McCombe, Don McCullin, Martin Parr, Venetia Deaden, Jonas Bendiksen & Liz Hingley. I also draw a lot of inspiration from nature, as you can probably see in my work. I love living in Devon and am always inspired by the landscape and gorgeous wedding venues local to me.
What advice would you give to couples looking for a wedding photographer?
Find someone who’s work you really connect with and arrange and meeting or chat before booking. It’s important to feel comfortable and at ease with your wedding photographer. Prioritise photography in your budget plan as you’ll be looking back on your wedding photos for the rest of your life.
What tips would you share with couples to help their day go more smoothly?
Relax and enjoy yourself… you are surrounded by people who love you so what can go wrong?!
If there was one place in the world you would love to capture a wedding where would it be and why?
I’d love to photograph a wedding at Glastonbury Festival and it looks like it may happen this year so fingers crossed!
Finally… Whats the best moment you’ve had as a wedding photographer?
There are so many amazing moments all the time but what comes to mind is a wedding at St Pancras Renaissance Hotel in London. The bride was the niece of David Goldblatt, who is a legendary South African photojournalist. He was there so it was super scary on the day… I was too shy to even say hello! I do always feel very honoured to be chosen by my couples to document their special day but I felt especially honoured that one of his relations had picked me.