We catch up and chat with Robin Goodlad, a wedding photographer based in Hampshire. We find out how it all began and what he loves about the job and weddings themselves.
For around 15 years now, it feels like a long time when I look at the numbers, but I love every wedding I photograph, so I don’t really notice! I was first introduced by being asked to photograph family weddings, and then I received great feedback, which spurred me on. I soon realised it was one job where I could work flat out for 12 or more hours, and feel a great sense of achievement, which just made me want to do it even more.
It’s the fact you are always part of such a joyful occasion, it just doesn’t ‘feel’ like an average day at work, or even a day at work! There is so much going on, so much joy, happiness, and emotion, I love to observe people on the most momentous day of their lives, and it is a huge honour and privilege to capture it for them, but of course with that comes a huge responsibility.
I should perhaps say it is that moment when the groom looks over his shoulder, and the bride rounds the corner, and they glimpse each other for the first time. This is an incredible moment, guaranteed to bring a range of emotions, in everyone, including me, but it comes a close second to time spent with the couple away from the guests, in some beautiful afternoon light, or if lucky, the perfect sunset. I like to photograph form afar and let the couple be themselves, and this is often the first time they have together as husband and wife, the first chance to say ‘we did it’, and truly enjoy the moment. As a photographer, this is where some truly memorable moments can be captured.
My style is very unobtrusive, I’m a big believer in capturing what I see, and not trying to influence the day, or create moments that aren’t real. For the majority of the day I am quietly observing, anticipating moments, and positioning myself waiting for them to occur, which only comes with experience. At other times I will gently encourage, and suggest places that would work for beautiful photographs, but even then once I know I have a composition in mind, I still want the couple to be themselves, it is just so important. I learned over the years that the photos my clients truly love are the ones they aren’t expecting, where they are naturally at their best. There is a delicate art to being a wedding photographer, and it is part of the thrill of the job that you never know what photographs you will come home with at the start of the day.
Most of my inspiration comes subconsciously, from films or art. It is perhaps easy to be inspired by other photographers, but then there is the danger of copying what has been done before. When I see a brilliant film, I am captivated by the cinematography, and how the light is so carefully used to add drama and dimensions. Everyone loves a good film, even if they may not specifically notice the cinematography, and the work that goes in to it, never by accident. It is this subconscious magic I am always looking for, as well as the flow of telling a story of a wedding day, with its various interweaving chapters.
The one most important thing is to choose one whose style you really connect with. Look at complete weddings, and you really have to go with your heart, because they are likely to create very similar work for you. The most important thing is to know that you are going to love your wedding photos, any doubt and you might never look at them again. It is a tough decision to make as there are so many different photographers out there to suit all budgets, and this is one area where perhaps budget should take second place to instinct, as the photos really are the one true lasting record of the day. Follow your instinct, and talk to your shortlisted options in detail, and the decision will follow, perhaps more easily than you might think.
Enjoy the day! That’s it. The planning is done, the hard work has paid off, now comes the day itself, which passes with the blink of an eye. There is no more you can do, it is time to enjoy all your hard work with celebration. There is nothing you can do about the weather or other minor hiccups, the day still carries on, and all your guests and suppliers will always rally around to make sure that if anything doesn’t go quite to plan, you probably won’t even notice. Seize the day, you’ve earned it!
A difficult question, there are many, perhaps the stunning Luskentyre beach in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, or the wilds of Iceland, under the northern lights perhaps, I am a real sucker for some stunning wild landscapes, and I think for me it would be anywhere where the couple have had such a drive to do something really different, and completely out there, to make their day truly unique, and memorable. You literally can get married anywhere, and anyhow, it’s all about how far your imagination will take you.
It has to be any moment where I see real emotion and happiness combined, and it is a real privilege to capture it. One moment that really stays in my mind is when the highly decorated hero pilot of Search and Rescue helicopter received a surprise visit from his team in the helicopter, which then performed a bow for him in the air over the lake, and he saluted back, with immense pride, with a delicate touch of support from his wife. The energy, the emotion, the moment, and the pride was immense, and I still feel all those emotions when I see the photograph, it was an honour to capture it, and I hope to see many more moments such as this. This is the power of photography, it will always take you back to that moment in time.