In our behind the lens interview series we chat to Hana Laurie, a South East UK based wedding photographer.
How long have you been photographing weddings for and how did you get into it?
I actually had to check, as it feels like forever ago… I shot my first wedding back in 2010, I was in my second year of University and beginning to embark on the career which I was going to fall in love with. I feel very lucky, as gradually over 6 years I’ve managed to leave “traditional” employment, and forge my living with a photobooth and my photography exploits! It’s a long road, but one very worth treading.
What do you particularly like about photographing weddings?
I love the connection, it’s such a privileged position to be with the bride and groom at all points of the day.
I’m also nosey! I love being involved and seeing all of the details and glances which reveal the extent of a relationship. The weeks and months of planning and looking forward to “when we’re married”, the in-jokes and cheeky glances…
It’s such a social job, an important and satisfying job. I’m very lucky.
What is your favourite part of the day?
Oh tough question, all of it! I’m pretty guilty when it comes to welling up in people’s ceremonies… for someone who is outwardly cheeky and always up for the bad behaviour, I get pretty emotional. Don’t tell my friends.
How would you describe your style and approach?
I’m extremely laid back. I’m not the person to come to if you want formal or traditional photography – I’ll do my best to stick to a list you give me, but mostly I follow the day exactly as it happens and try to limit the amount of “posed” images. Even during the couple photos I prefer to get out for a walk and keep things comfortable. It’s an opportunity for some quiet couple time, and if I can I’ll also leave you to amble back yourselves so you can share a “WE DID IT!” moment alone.
I’ll spend the day getting to know your friends and family, and then in the evening I’ll be partying on down with the best of them. The dance floor and the bar are key places to catch some awesome moments, and in my request for details of the day before the wedding I’ll be asking who your main “liabilities” are – it’s good to team up.
Who, or what inspires you?
It’s a funny thing, but I think I’m getting to the point where the idea of “self” inspires me. I’ve been supported and bolstered by friends and peers in the wedding photography industry – it’s a lovely thing where we advise and congratulate each other. I feel encouraged to be 100% myself when speaking to couples and shooting their weddings, and it’s really paying off.
The notion of self is so important when photographing couples too, no wedding is ever the same and I never treat them as such. It’s exciting to see the individuality in weddings, and whatever happens on the day is the real inspiration; believing that I can capture it perfectly is a very powerful thing.
What advice would you give to couples looking for a wedding photographer?
Choose someone you like/want to be your friend. The best photos of your wedding will be slightly tainted if you didn’t like the person who took them. It’s a very personal thing, being photographed. I know that I’m not everyone’s cup of tea, I’m bold and reasonably sarcastic… it works for some!
What tips would you share with couples to help their day go more smoothly?
Oh there are loads of them, and you can check them out on so many blogs across the internet… What I would say is relax! Try to put things in place so that your day runs smoothly, but don’t fret over the intricate details. Let your photographer know as much as possible about the running of the day, we’ll liaise with the other coordinators and get you where you need to be, so try to enjoy it! Make sure you leave enough time for photos, and plan yourselves in some alone time too – it won’t be easy to come by on the day, so give yourselves that gift!
If there was one place in the world you would love to capture a wedding where would it be and why?
I’d absolutely love to photograph a steam train wedding, I’m a total trains loser as I live opposite The Watercress Line in Hampshire and can wave at the gorgeous Cheltenham 925 loco from my desk…
Finally… Whats the best moment you’ve had as a wedding photographer?
I’ve sat here for the last half an hour thinking about this, I looked at the galleries from the past six years and I still don’t know.
Every couple had something special that I feel we now share between us, there’s an anecdote or a funny story from them all… When Jen Walker married Mark Walker and I joked they’d be the Walker-Walkers, all the way through to Stu Aslett walking me around his reception to get photographs with his friends and colleagues and declaring “THIS MAN!” over and over again… There’s something from them all, and I really honestly can’t choose one.
Maybe that’s still to come?