Interview: Gavin Forster
How long have you been photographing weddings for and how did you get into it?
For the last 7 years weddings has been a significant part of my life. I was previously a commercial and sports photographer working all over the Uk for BUPA and the like. All of a sudden I was being asked by friends and family to shoot their weddings… after a fair bit of persuading…well here we are 7 years down the line and I love it! Being part of people’s special days with all the fun and laughter is way more fun than being stuck on a cherry picker taking photos of runners.
What do you particularly like about photographing weddings?
It’s the opportunities each wedding throws at you and the fact that every single one is different. I love pushing my creative buttons whenever I can and with weddings being such fun affairs, that take place in cool places, it’s great to bring my creativity into it. The hustle and bustle of each day is so much fun to be a part of. Meeting new friends at each wedding.. the list goes on.
What is your favourite part of the day?
That’s such a tough one. There are so many bits that make me smile. I suppose it depends on if I’m looking at it as a photographer or as a person on the day. As a photographer I love the couples portraits as it’s my time to get creative and allow the couple to have some chill out time before the chaos of speeches. But the bit I love most for myself is the unique time I get as a photographer between the bride getting out the car looking nervous and excited… then I rush through to meet the groom at the front of the aisle looking equally as nervous and excited. Then this special moment happens when they look in each others eyes and everyone else in the room disappears. I am fortunate enough to be in a privileged position to see the twinkle in their eyes, that very special moment that few of the guests would ever see. I love it!
How would you describe your style and approach?
I’m a really relaxed person and I always aim to keep couples as relaxed as can be. The best images are always those that are chilled out. I’m really not one of those people who take over and demand things, I’m very much in the background just being a guest but happen to have my camera with me, if that makes sense. I mentioned earlier about the flow of the day and taking things as they come, this is very much how I like to play things – but maybe with a bit of hiding in the trees and lying on the floor. Bringing in the surrounding has always been key to my work, whether that be the trees and grass to the buildings and people.
Who, or what inspires you?
This isn’t easy really. I’ve been influenced by certain photographers that I know in the business from the start of my career. In my early career they guided me and taught me ‘the tricks of the trade’ by allowing me to work alongside them at weddings and encouraging me to develop my own personal style as my career has progressed. Fer Juaristi is one of the ‘big players’ in World wedding photography, his style is really unique and he is incredibly confident in the wedding stories that he captures for his couples. After meeting him and chatting about finding ‘cool cats’ – the right couples who really get my style and who click with me as people – I was definitely inspired. I felt more confident in having my own unique style of creative photography and not worrying about being different to the traditional wedding photographers out there.
What advice would you give to couples looking for a wedding photographer?
Chat! Lots! And not just to the one you think you might want to go with but some others too. You are going to have this person at your wedding for a long time. There are friends and family that won’t have made the list of guests, so you have to make sure you get on! Find images you like and get in touch with the photographer and see how things go. Chat, ask questions and see if you gel. I offer a pre wedding shoot to my couples, basically to have another hour before the wedding to have a chat and a laugh and let them see how I am with a camera. A great relationship between couples and photographer always gets better, more relaxed images! If you don’t get on with someone or don’t feel relaxed around them it will be impossible for them to capture you in the best light.
What tips would you share with couples to help their day go more smoothly?
Plan the day out time-wise beforehand but don’t worry if things change a little on the day, they always will. Relax and enjoy a time when you will have friends from all over the world in the room together – this maybe the only time in your lives that everyone important to you is having fun and celebrating in one place. I’d also say to forget about the little things and have fun.Maybe ask a couple of friends to keep an eye on anything that could spiral and let them know how to resolve things without the couple needing to get involved. The bride and groom should be having fun not getting tea for mother in laws.
If there was one place in the world you would love to capture a wedding where would it be and why?
Having been out to France shooting a wedding in 2015 it made me realise how awesome it would be to be flying round the world shooting weddings! There are so many options even just thinking about places that my wife and I have been on holidays, Up in the Arctic circle? An image with the Aurora in the background would be truly awesome? Or how about in the Austrian Tirol? The glacial valleys and crystal clear waters would make a cool backdrop to a bridal portrait? So many great options it would be very tough to choose one place.
Finally… What’s the best moment you’ve had as a wedding photographer?
Hmm not easy these questions! Every wedding has some awesome moments, whether is be sharing a really personal moment between the couple away from the mayhem of the celebrations or the panic in the eyes of the groom when the best man stands up to start his speech. One of my personal highlights from 2015 though has to be being asked to travel to the South of France for a wedding. I spent a week living in a converted watermill with the groom’s family, getting to know them and enjoying some quality family time with both families in the run up to the big day. This was a really personal time for the families and I felt privileged to share it with them, and capture these memories for them as well as the actual wedding day itself.