Interview: Harmit Kambo
Each week we chat to a wedding photographer to find out a bit more about the person behind the lens. This week we talk to South London based wedding photographer Harmit Kambo of The Snapper. A Contemporary documentary reportage photography with a vintage/retro finish.
How long have you been photographing weddings for and how did you get into it?
About five years ago. I had just that week started my MA in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the London College of Communication. I was out in Brixton, completing my very first photographic assignment. A woman approached me and said she was chatting to her friend just 10 yard away, explaining how she was still hadn’t booked photographer for her impending wedding. Her friend had pointed me out and said ‘What about him, he’s got an impressive looking camera?!”. She asked me there and then to photograph her wedding! At that stage I didn’t even have a wedding photography portfolio so it was just as well she made her decision so instinctively! I had so much fun photographing their wedding, and now I had the start of a wedding photography portfolio, so it all started there.
What do you particularly like about photographing weddings?
I love the fun, garrulous, buzzy atmosphere of weddings, and it feels really good to have the responsibility of capturing it. I love knowing that my images are something that will act as a lasting and sentimental reminder of one of the biggest days in two people’s lives. It’s a fantastic feeling when couples tell me they’ve framed one of my pictures and hung it on their wall.
How would you describe your style and approach?
I shoot in a very much reportage/documentary style. But as weddings bring families and friends together, sometimes from all over the world, I think it’s also important to do formal (but fun!) group shots. I will sometimes contrive some images (like getting a couple whose reception is at a posh Golf Club to play a round of golf so that I can photograph them!) but even when I do this, I try to ensure they don’t look cheesy! I never get couples to run through corn fields together! One of my recent clients described my photographic style as ‘soulful’.
While the role of a wedding photographer is to be unobtrusive, you can’t be a ninja! To get the best photographs you have to interact with people in a gentle, relaxed unassuming way and be able to have a bit of banter with them.
What advice would you give to couples looking for a wedding photographer?
I actually provide lots of advice on my website. But I think the main thing I would say is that while the quality of the photographer’s portfolio and the fee they are charging are essential considerations, make sure you hire a photographer you feel a rapport with. The photographer will be around you and your friends and family all day, so if you get even an inkling that s/he might be bossy/overbearing/obnoxious etc steer clear!
What tips would you share with couples to help their day go more smoothly?
Plan meticulously, but be totally relaxed about it when none of it quite goes to plan!
I would also say make sure you make time for the photographs. Couples often tell me that one of the highlights of the day is when I take them away to take photographs of them. It’s the most intimate part of the day for them (despite me being there!) and even the camera shy ones tend to enjoy their photo shoot. It’s just a shame for them when we only have five minutes for this bit. If you can, try to allow for 15-30 minutes for this.
Finally… Whats the best moment you’ve had as a wedding photographer?
This summer I had the opportunity to photograph a wedding in Paris. The couple were lovely too, as were there friends and family, so it was a brilliant (although very long) day all round.
Many thanks for Harmit for taking time out to speak with us, if you would like to find out more or get in touch with him then you can do so via his profile page.