We chat with wedding photographer Fiona Kelly in our behind the camera interview series.
How long have you been photographing weddings for and how did you get into it?
I have been photographing weddings for 9 years. I was pregnant with my son when the business really started so I can easily keep track! My journey into photography was a round-about route. I started my career as a graphic designer and photographic art director for fashion and lifestyle brands. The experience I gained as an art director proved so helpful when I was starting out as a photographer. It felt like a sideways step, rather than a complete change.
Things changed after getting married myself. We got married in Las Vegas (it was totally planned and the most amazing experience!) Part of our wedding package included a photographer to take photos during the ceremony. One of my best friends, who came with us and happened to be a photographer, took ones of the time before the ceremony and of the party time after. When we looked at the official photos we were happy enough, they were what we expected. But the ones my friend had taken were so full of life and captured much more than just the events. It was a real eye opener and a bit of a eureka moment. I loved the idea of being able to do photos like this for a whole wedding. It wasn’t long after that I photographed my first wedding and that was it….I was totally hooked!
What do you particularly like about photographing weddings?
I loved being able to tell the stories that happen during the day. Watching everyone so you can capture the interactions and little moments. Creating a record of the day and all the details that are carefully chosen and designed. Capturing beautiful, natural photos of the couple that they will treasure. I enjoy the whole process, from the initial planning and wedding chat, to the excitement of the day, through to working on the images after.
What is your favourite part of the day?
My favourite part of the day is the couples photos. Taking a little time out from the drink reception for a few moments alone. Its a perfect opportunity to capture some natural, relaxed portraits and for the couple to have a breather and take it all in. Its often the first time they have had the chance to be together and go ‘Wow, we did it!’.
How would you describe your style and approach?
My style is relaxed and informal, capturing beautiful, natural and vibrantly modern images that have a touch of romance and lots of fun. I approach the day wanting to capture the joy, laughter, emotion and beauty of the wedding day. I like to create a relaxed atmosphere so my couples often don’t even know they are having their photo taken…even when it’s time for photos of the two of them!
Who, or what inspires you?
My couples, the venue, the decor, the light…I am inspired by so many things on a day. That is what I love about weddings. The core of the day centres around the ceremony, which is a constant, yet every wedding is so different. I love to find out what is important to my couples, as that gives me inspiration for photos on the day. The light on the day massively inspires me. I am a big fan of backlighting and soft beautiful light, so sunsets rock my world! Seeing the creativity of each couple and the venue, design and decor they choose is also wonderfully inspiring.
What advice would you give to couples looking for a wedding photographer?
Find someone who’s photography you love, but also someone you like and get on with. Im around my couples for a big part of the day so it’s really important we get on and my couples are comfortable with me. This way they relax, we can have fun and the photos reflect this.
What tips would you share with couples to help their day go more smoothly?
Make sure you have enough time to do all the things you want to do. From the morning prep, to the reception, to how long the speeches might take. It’s always worth overestimating.
I chat through timings with all my couples to make sure they will get everything they want in terms of the photography, and have plenty of time to have fun with their guests, relax and enjoy themselves. I have also written a couple of articles that I share to help with time planning and organising group photos…
If there was one place in the world you would love to capture a wedding where would it be and why?
Ever since I was a child I have wanted to go on a safari in Africa. I haven’t made it yet (its on the bucket list!) If I could photograph a wedding combined with a safari that would be the most amazing thing ever!
Finally… Whats the best moment you’ve had as a wedding photographer?
The best thing is being able to capture photos that are going to be loved and treasured. Knowing they will bring back amazing memories of a wonderful time with the most special people. I get emails and cards from my couples saying how much the photos mean to them, how much they laughed and cried reliving the their wedding day. These are my best moments.