Interview: John Hope Photography
How long have you been photographing weddings for and how did you get into it?
I’ve been shooting weddings about 5 years now, 3 years full time. I was approaching the age of 30 and working in the bar / club / music scene in Leeds and having a great time but I think it’s fair to say I was flatlining. My wife and I had plans to start a family and it felt like I was generally at a turning point in life and needed a career change. The industry I was working in was really a young man’s arena with late nights not conducive to family life. What I needed was a job with long term prospects that had potential to earn more money than I was at that time, ideally working for myself. I wanted to still do something artistic and had been getting increasingly into photography. It seemed like a good opportunity to pursue so with blind confidence I threw all my energy at it and the rest is history!
What do you particularly like about photographing weddings?
Weddings are always great fun and are always chock full of emotions, the combination of which really gives me something to get my teeth into. It’s all about the people!! They also give me bags of opportunity to shoot creatively which makes the job massively enjoyable for me.
What is your favourite part of the day?
I like different parts of the day for different reasons but I have to say I always love it when the dancefloor gets going. By that stage of proceedings the pressure’s off – all the ‘must have’ shots are in the bag and it’s a chance to get some awesome, fun (and funny) photos of people cutting loose and getting silly on the dancefloor. It’s an important part of the day for me to cover. I could never imagine being that guy that leaves after the first dance.
How would you describe your style and approach?
A mix of creative documentary and awesome portraits. Maybe that sounds slightly clichéd but I’m driven to capture joy and emotions through how I document the day and I push myself to make sure every couple gets some epic portraits that’ll demand wall space.
Who, or what inspires you?
Like most creative wedding photographers I take inspiration from non-wedding photography and from across the arts. By far my biggest inspiration though are the other wedding photographers I network with. I am lucky to count many of the UK’s best amongst my good friends and the calibre of work they collectively knock out drives me to try and get better and better. I’m kind of competitive I guess!
What advice would you give to couples looking for a wedding photographer?
Firstly – look around as much as you can. There’s a wide range of styles out there and the more you look, the more you’ll get a feel for the sort of thing you’re after. And once you’ve established that make sure you end up with a photographer you get on with as a person. A strong connection between couple and photographer really is massively conducive to getting great photos. I always hope to end up with clients I’d like to go out for a few beers with!
What tips would you share with couples to help their day go more smoothly?
There’s so many! Here’s two.
1. Wedding bands are a great option but if you book one, strongly consider forking out for a proper DJ to play afterwards, even if it’s only for a couple of hours. However good you think your iPod playlist is, it will never be as good as a DJ in terms of keeping that dancefloor rocking. If you want a great dancefloor atmosphere invest in getting someone to look after the music side of things!
2. Think about the overall flow of the day so there’s always something to keep your guests engaged. A two hour lull with nothing going on between the meal and first dance is a sure fire atmosphere killer.
If there was one place in the world you would love to capture a wedding where would it be and why?
There’s no one obvious place per se but I’d go for somewhere unusual and striking with loads of visual interest. Something like a huge abandoned old factory or perhaps amidst some overgrown ancient jungle ruins.
Finally… What’s the best moment you’ve had as a wedding photographer?
Getting fed before the guests…. Jokes! I don’t know… I did a destination wedding in the south of Spain last year. The couple had hired out a whole boutique hotel for it and after the disco at like 3 in the morning all the guests ended up in the pool, including the bride and groom jumping in wearing all the wedding clothes! That was pretty cool…