How long have you been photographing weddings for and how did you get into it?
I shot my first wedding in 2004. Like many photographers starting out in the industry my first few weddings were for family and friends. I then set up Married to my Camera in 2007 and have been shooting weddings ever since. I went full time in around 2013, after having taught an A-Level in photography.
What do you particularly like about photographing weddings?
My first love in photography was documentary photography. I looked up to photographers such as Eve Arnold and Robert Frank. For a long time I didn’t equate this style of shooting, with wedding photography (when I was at art college wedding photography was considered rather naff) but when I realised I could shoot in a documentary style it all clicked into place for me. What I really like about photographing weddings is that it’s taken for granted that you have permission to take photographs, and there is also so much activity happening all around you. I also really enjoy having a connection with my couples and getting direct feedback after the wedding.
What is your favourite part of the day?
I love every part of the day for different reasons, but what I’ve come to realise is that there are intense moments in the day that often follow on from the traditional parts of the day. The moment, for example, when the bride leaves home after getting ready, or the minute or two after the ceremony when the couple are embraced by family and friends, or the first couple of songs after the first dance when everyone rushes the dance floor.
How would you describe your style and approach?
All the traditional buzz words such as, documentary, reportage and photojournalistic, could apply, but I really like to wait for great moments. I don’t really go in for dramatic/moody lighting, I prefer to see the expressions on peoples’ faces. Recently I’ve also been shooting portraits with a very old fashioned large format film camera.
Who, or what inspires you?
The standard of wedding photography is so high now that there are a lot of other friends in the industry that inspire me. I’ve also built up quite a collection of photo books that continually inspire me, and I try to see exhibitions whenever I can. Photographers working in other genres, such as Nick Knight in fashion, and attending a recent talk by Pete Souza (Obama’s photographer) are also really inspirational. I also find that it inspires me to make work for myself, in addition to the pictures I take for my couples. In the last couple of years I’ve made a series of portraits of the longest married couples at each of my weddings, and I did a series of portraits of engaged couples at a wedding fair I attended.
What advice would you give to couples looking for a wedding photographer?
The main piece of advice I’d give to couples is to look in-depth at a photographer’s work, beyond the home page of their website. Look for consistency throughout their blog posts, and if it’s possible to meet up and look at sample albums then do. You shouldn’t expect a photographer to simply recreate the shots you’ve fallen in love with, but you should expect them to be able to cope with challenging lighting, and work well in pressure situations.
What tips would you share with couples to help their day go more smoothly?
I haven’t witnessed any real wedding disasters, but my tip would be to make sure you’re working with professional suppliers, and put your faith in them. Add your own personal touches, and having friends contribute, can be amazing too. We all love what we do and working with brilliant couples helps everyone to raise their game. Oh wait..now that I think about it I have seen wedding cakes melting in the midday sun, and the polish from a vintage car seat rub off onto the bride’s dress!
If there was one place in the world you would love to capture a wedding where would it be and why?
I love shooting at venues around my home county of Surrey and in London. I’ve done a few destination weddings, but I’d love to do a beach wedding in somewhere like Thailand, and a New York City wedding would be fab!
Finally… Whats the best moment you’ve had as a wedding photographer?
There are so many, they happen at every wedding, it’s addictive! One special memory that really stands out though is a couple that had the Hackney Colliery Band perform at their wedding. They were just incredible!