Interview: Suzi Ovens
This week we chat with London based wedding photographer Suzi Ovens who captures couples beautiful days all over the UK, in our interview series where we talk to the people behind the camera.
How long have you been photographing weddings for and how did you get into it?
The first wedding I shot was a friend’s wedding two and a half years ago. I had only recently taken up photography and was trying out different areas of photography. I really enjoyed it and offered my services to friends and family. Since then it’s been a steady build up from friends, to friends of friends, recommendations and people seeing my work online and getting in touch.
What do you particularly like about photographing weddings?
It’s quite an honour to be such a big part of someone’s special day, with such an important role. It’s a real privilege to be almost enveloped into the family for the day and seeing such important, personal moments up close. The couple will miss a lot of the small details of their day, and in some ways the day can pass very quickly, so being able to give them lasting documentation of every aspect of their day is a big responsibility, and it’s wonderful to get great feedback when they see their photos for the first time.
How would you describe your style and approach?
I’m quite journalistic in approach, I like to represent the people and the day as it happens. People are usually very uncomfortable if they’re posing for photographs constantly, I think it’s much better if they’re relaxed and enjoying the day. It’s also how you catch the candid and funny moments that most people miss.
What advice would you give to couples looking for a wedding photographer?
Make sure you go through their work, and look at more than one wedding. Find someone who seems comfortable & relaxed and who you can be comfortable around. Besides your future spouse, you’ll probably spend most of the day with them so it’s very important you can be relaxed around them. Ideally you need a photographer who can roll with the punches, and knows what to do if things are less than ideal such as bad weather or bad light. A photographer who can remain calm and happy will make the day all the more fun.
What tips would you share with couples to help their day go more smoothly?
A good best man or chief bridesmaid is one of the most useful assets to a wedding party! Someone who can fetch someone or something and willing to help in anyway can make a day go very smoothly. Make sure they’re equipped with some basics like a small sewing kit, first aid kit and tissues. Even just a couple of safety pins can turn a potential dress mishap into a minor hiccup. A packet of painkillers is also useful, as a headache can put a dampener on a day when it’s a very easy problem to fix. I actually bring all of these things with me when I shoot a wedding, and they’ve proven very useful! Depending on how big the wedding is or the length of the wedding day, it can be useful to have a schedule or plan so everyone in the wedding party knows what and when things happen. I’ve seen a variety of weddings, some go exactly according to plan, whereas others have had things go wrong – to various extents. Some things you can’t control if they go wrong, but what you can control however, is your reaction. Remember the day is about you two as a couple, and no matter what happens it’s about celebrating your love and that is the only thing that matters at the end of the day.
Finally… Whats the best moment you’ve had as a wedding photographer?
As a wedding photographer, you get to see some incredible expressions of love between couples. I’ve seen a groom, as a surprise to his new wife, learn to play the piano for their reception. I’ve also seen a couple’s pet greyhound make an unscheduled appearance in their first dance. But my favourite moment was when I took the wedding photos of a couple who I’m good friends with, a few weeks ago. I was positioned in front of the couple, facing the congregation. I not only got to see my friends exchange beautiful, personally written vows, but the smiling, crying faces of friends and family behind them. It was my best moment as a wedding photographer as it was very personal to me, and seeing the couple so happy and supported by our friends was just incredible to witness from that perspective.