Today we chat with Sarah Wayte a wedding photographer based in East Hanningfield, Chelmsford, Essex.
How long have you been photographing weddings for and how did you get into it?
I have been photographing weddings for just over 2 years now – I know, a relative newbie! As with just about everything else in my life, I fell into it after 2 friends, who were getting married with practically no budget to speak of, asked me to photograph their day. Up until that point I had been a strict hobbyist, photographing landscapes and architecture – never people! I initially said no to them, knowing how much of a responsibility it would be to photograph their wedding day and not wanting to disappoint them but let’s just say they… persuaded me, and I never looked back! Shooting their wedding really was trial by fire – I made so many mistakes, looking back, but I found I really loved it too. I was completely bitten by the bug and now I couldn’t imagine doing anything else!
What do you particularly like about photographing weddings?
Up until 2 months ago I was planning my own wedding so what I particularly liked was seeing what each couple had planned for their day and getting ideas for my own day! Since then, the way I look at weddings from a photographers point of view has definitely changed. I still love seeing the details each couple has chosen, the venues they’ve picked and all the other bits and pieces from their day, but I’m definitely more into watching the relationships and emotions around me – between the couple, of course, but also between them and their families and friends. I love the emotion of a wedding day – it is really one of the happiest places on earth to be and it leaves me grinning from ear to ear for days afterward. I can’t get enough of it!
How would you describe your style and approach?
My style is very much like me – informal, friendly and unconventional. I like to photograph a wedding from a guest’s perspective so that means I like to blend into the crowd, photographing what happens in front of me in a natural and fluid way. I find this works well with my clients as most of them are quite self-conscious in front of the camera and would rather not know that their photograph is being taken and nearly all of them have commented on how much they like this about me! Of course, I know formal photographs are a big part of wedding photography so I try and achieve the required photographs quickly and in as painless a manner as possible, chatting with the bride and groom and their families while I work, aiming for more natural group photographs instead of the stiffly posed photos of generations past.
What advice would you give to couples looking for a wedding photographer?
Your photographs are going to be the constant reminder of your wedding day for the rest of your lives. They are what you will look back on when the memories start fading so who you choose to capture those memories is an important decision. Treat choosing your photographer with as much importance as choosing the venue and the wedding dress. Really think about what photographs are important to you and your families and then research, research, research! Look at lots of photographers websites, look through their portfolios and read their ‘About Me’ pages. You should base your choice of photographer as much on their personalities as their work because you’re inviting them in to witness one of the most important days of your life! I knew I wouldn’t invite someone to my wedding that I didn’t like, so the same goes for my photographer!
What tips would you share with couples to help their day go more smoothly?
As soon as you have a good idea of a timeline of your day, share it with all your vendors – photographer, caterers, florists… everyone! The more people that know, the better.
More importantly though, it’s good to remember that things don’t always go perfectly to plan, even on this most important day. What you should remember, though, is what is at the heart of it all – you are getting married to the man or woman that you love, so really, nothing else matters. If you wind up married by the end of the day then it’s a day that has gone well, in my eyes. And for anything else, hire a toastmaster – they’re great at dealing with everything and not letting you know anything about it!
Finally… What’s the best moment you’ve had as a wedding photographer?
The best (and worst!) moment, for me, is always when I go to show my clients their finished photographs a few weeks after the wedding. I say the worst because, like any artist, I am my own worst critic and I’m always nervous about how the photographs will be received. But it’s the best feeling when I see a big smile on the bride and groom’s faces and know that I’ve done a good job. For me, my job is all about my clients and keeping them happy so, as long as I achieve this, nothing else matters!