Each week we chat to a different wedding photographer, finding out about the people behind the camera and giving you a little insight into what they love about their job. This week we catch up with Shropshire wedding photographer Guy Clarke.
How long have you been photographing weddings for and how did you get into it?
After graduating from Falmouth College of Arts in 2003, I set about working as a freelance photographer. I was working for a well known travel company photographing for their brochures, but realised that when the holiday seasons ended, the work went quiet. I started by offering to photograph a couple of friends weddings, and I was still using 35mm and Hasselblad medium format. It’s safe to say, after the first wedding, the wait on the films being developed was pretty tense. As the years went on, word of mouth proved to be an extraordinary marketing tool (and it is free) and recommendations were taking me all across the UK.
What do you particularly like about photographing weddings?
The atmosphere. I’ve been very lucky as every wedding I’ve photographed has been great fun to do. A wedding is one of the happiest days of a persons life, and to be part of it is always a pleasure. I like to spend time with as many of the guests as possible, chatting and having a bit of a laugh with them. I find this tends to put people at ease around me when I’m taking photographs throughout the day.
How would you describe your style and approach?
As I mentioned before, I like to spend the day chatting and having a laugh with the guests as much as possible in between taking photographs. I find this helps to create a relaxed atmosphere, and enables me to get photos of even the least keen. I let people see I’m a person too, and not there to dictate the day. I always have the approach that the wedding day is the couple’s day, it isn’t for anyone else to decide what is going on. I like to have a good mix of imagery, the typical group shots, relaxed informal reportage shots and sneaky candid pictures too, building a visual journal of the day.
What advice would you give to couples looking for a wedding photographer?
I’ve recently taken a booking from a couple, who said they’d ruled out some more local photographers to them, as they had refused to meet up prior to the wedding day. I was amazed. Why would a photographer not want to meet the couple before the big day? Surely it builds a relationship with the couple, and avoids uncertainty on the day. How could anyone have to ask who they are there to photograph? Always look for someone who is accommodating to your needs. At the end of the day, you want everything to be perfect as a bride and groom, and you deserve it to be.
What tips would you share with couples to help their day go more smoothly?
Firstly I would suggest not to worry. Don’t panic if things change a little on the day. You can’t stop and try again tomorrow, everyone is there to support you and enjoy your day, so all you can do is, as the saying goes, ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’. Enjoy the day to the max, have fun and party. To anyone making a speech…… Get the first line done, and you’ll be on a roll. The audience is there to support you, not pick pieces on a performance like a panel of reviewers. Lastly, try to remember as much as possible. Take moments to take it all in. The next morning you’ll wake up and wonder where on earth the day went. With the experience drawn from my own wedding, it was very much a blur and was one of the fastest (and best) days of my life.
Finally… Whats the best moment you’ve had as a wedding photographer?
It would be hard to have a ‘best’ moment I think. There have been numerous great moments, and every wedding ends up having their own highlights. If I really had to narrow it down though, one thing that always sticks in my mind would be the members of a motorcycle club all turning up to a countryside hotel for the wedding of two of its members. You could here them coming way before seeing them, and the car park was full of amazing machines with roaring engines and very shiny chrome. It was a great sight and very interesting to photograph. I don’t think the staff really knew what to expect, and after they all sat through the ceremony in their leathers and denims and club badges, little did the staff know that they would be partying well in to the night to ‘Don’t Fear the Reaper’ by The Blue Oyster Cult and so on. It was certainly different!
Thanks to Guy for talking to us, if you would like to find out more or get in touch with him then check out his profile page here.