We take time out to chat with Michael Clement, a Surrey based wedding photographer and owner of Clemmy Photographer.
How long have you been photographing weddings for and how did you get into it?
I have been photographing weddings since 2009. Before that, photography was a great hobby of mine and I’m now delighted to be able to be doing it full time! I started by working for free, and after learning what worked and what didn’t, I felt comfortable enough to begin charging for my services. I’m now so pleased to say I have built up a great reputation and am a trusted wedding photographer.
What do you particularly like about photographing weddings?
I love being a part of such a happy experience for people! It’s such an important day in two people’s lives (and their family’s too!) and I consider it an honour to be entrusted with documenting their day and enabling them to relive the memories of it over and over again with images they can cherish for a lifetime. Also; no wedding is ever the same, and it’s so interesting to see what couple’s come up with for their wedding day, and to meet the all the lovely people involved!
What is your favourite part of the day?
Every wedding is unique and special in it’s own way, so you never know what’s going to be my favourite part! Generally, I’m torn between the moment the couple first see each other at the ceremony venue, and the dancing later on in the evening! Both are very special moments for different reasons – when they first see each other at the aisle you can see on their faces that all they’ve worked for, all they’ve been through together has led up to this moment, and I love photographing just how perfect this moment is for them. Later in the evening when they dance (and when their guests join them too), it’s awesome to see just how much they do love each other in such a public yet also intimate setting, as well as how much more relaxed they seem now their day has progressed and there’s nothing to worry about!
How would you describe your style and approach?
I like to say I shoot in a contemporary style, mixing a mostly reportage style with some semi-formal elements. I aim to truly capture the atmosphere of the big day, from the biggest moments down to the smaller details and I feel this provides my clients with an accurate record of how it actually felt to be at their wedding, enabling them to actively recall forgotten memories of the day every time they look over their wedding photos in years to come. Formality is generally kept to the group photos and a few couple’s shots – but I always promise I won’t boss anyone about and try to keep the atmosphere during any posed shots relaxed and fun! The rest of the time, I try to keep a low profile and capture the events of the day without intruding too much so that it keeps flowing smoothly.
Who, or what inspires you?
I guess the idea that a photo I once took, years from now, could still be taking pride of place in this couple’s home – commemorating the special day forever.
What advice would you give to couples looking for a wedding photographer?
I would always advise couples to meet with photographers first before booking, both to discuss ideas and also to see if you like them! Also, ask to see examples of complete weddings by the photographer they are meeting to ensure their style is consistent with what you want for all the different parts of the wedding. Maybe meet more than one too, and try to do this well in advance – the best photographers will be booked up early!
What tips would you share with couples to help their day go more smoothly?
Definitely take a few moments throughout the day to spend just together! Weddings are normally constant activity so you may find that you barely spend any time with your new husband or wife alone to just take it all in. It’s an amazing day for both of you but it’s still nice to relax, enjoy each other’s company, and savour the wedding together even if for just a few moments.
If there was one place in the world you would love to capture a wedding where would it be and why?
Possibly a (safe) abandoned building in London. The city is so rich with history it would be so interesting to photograph some new history being made in a formally forgotten space!
Finally… Whats the best moment you’ve had as a wedding photographer?
Too many to choose from! If I have to narrow it down a little, it’s when I hear from my clients how much they love their photos! It always means so much to me to know that they like them, and the things they say always make me feel immensely happy. If I hear that I’ve taken shots they’ll love for a lifetime it honestly means the world to me.
If I had to pick a particular moment, one that stands out to me is during a summer wedding last year when we had permission to use a hotel’s grand staircase for a confetti shot. It was quite late in the evenings and the 100 or so guests had been well refreshed by then, but I still managed to position all of them into shot on the staircase. The noise that came out of them when they threw that confetti was deafening and will stay with me for a long time – Was a great shot too!