Interview with Westlake Photography

Published by Sam, Editor -
Interview with Westlake Photography

In our behind the lens interview series we chat with Devon based wedding photographer, Charles Westlake of Westlake Photography.

How long have you been photographing weddings for and how did you get into it?

The first wedding I photographed was back in 2016 shortly after stepping off a plane from Hawaii. This was an incredibly last minute wedding that had been thrown together for a couple in need. I think I received a call on the Thursday evening and by early Saturday morning I was driving very nervously to the venue!

It was only some 6 months before that, that I had first picked up a camera ahead of my trip to Hawaii. Going so far afield and to a place so renowned for its beauty, I felt I needed to learn to take a good photograph. So I took the plunge, spent more money than I had on a reasonable camera and thus taught myself to shoot… I’ve been blagging my way ever since.

What do you particularly like about photographing weddings?

I love capturing people and I love capturing stories. In my mind there is no better place to see the culmination of both of these factors than a wedding day! Weddings full of emotions, fun, energy and celebration. It’s humanity at its best.

I’m also a creative, so I’m especially excited when I get to capture designer dresses, sharp cut suits, beautiful venues etc.

What is your favourite part of the day?

That’s an interesting question, I enjoy the times that I’m allowed to be most creative and not having to watch the clock, so probably times like the getting ready shots or the definitely the couples portraits. Wedding days are always so fast paced, these are few moments where time briefly stands still and I get to spend precious time with my clients.

How would you describe your style and approach?

I like to think of my style as romantic. It’s artistic, fine art and editorial whilst also maintaining a natural, authentic and documentary approach.

I’m very relaxed and easy, I’m constantly watching to capture natural moments whilst also thinking how can I capture the mood and atmosphere in front of me.

When it comes to portraits I love to experiment but what matters most to me is reading how at ease my clients are. Sometimes my clients like to experiment, other times they’d rather be positioned and given direction. I’m comfortable with both. I ultimately try to keep things chill.

For couples most of their day is jam packed with welcoming guests, getting into position or generally being pushed around from pillar to post, so I’m very aware that my brief hour or so with them, is one of the only times within the day that they are afforded a chance to catch their breath and soak up the atmosphere.

When I edit my photos I try to edit them through the eyes of nostalgia, keeping true to how things were on the day whilst also adding a touch of magic to the memory.

Who, or what inspires you?

The short answer is… so much! I’m always being inspired, whether that’s by other photographers, artists or creatives. Ultimately I suppose my biggest inspiration comes from Fashion and Editorial Photography. I think this comes across in my work. Strong sharp images that speak for themselves. A realistic but flattering light, a pop of colour and a good angle, ultimately allowing my subjects to speak for themselves.

What advice would you give to couples looking for a wedding photographer?

Find someone that appreciates their art. This way you really get those photos that Wow!

Find someone that’s genuine. Genuine as a person, but also in their work, stay clear of fussy and formal photos, it’s painful in the moment and especially when you look back at two dimensional shots absent of memory. Candid documentary style photography is non intrusive and a sure fire way to capture those precious moments that last a life time.

There are tons of excellent photographers out there, some are brilliant at big dramatic shots, some at capturing candid moments, one thing I often find in this industry is that there is a considerable lack of authentic photography, and by that I mean photos that accurately capture their subject. It’s all well and good when having a great landscape behind you but when the photo doesn’t look like you… that is really disconcerting.

As a photographer my number one mission is to capture that person for all their natural and authentic beauty. Choose someone that you can see that truly appreciates the natural. Photoshop is the downfall of many great photographers!

What tips would you share with couples to help their day go more smoothly?

Firstly, it’s all in the planning. If you can hire a planner, absolutely do it! They do this for a living. It takes all the stress out of the day, as well as the months of planning before hand. The misconception with having a wedding planner is that it will cost you more and afford you less choices. More often than not their connections within the industry actually cause you make savings, and they are definitely more aware of ways to personalise your big day!

Secondly, when it comes to the day itself, take it easy, relax and enjoy. No wedding goes entirely according to plan. They almost all overrun on the planned timeline, but that’s ok. Your wedding is only ever gonna happen once, so take the time to enjoy it and be present. If things get missed its ok!

If there was one place in the world you would love to capture a wedding where would it be and why?

Is there one place in particular? I’m not sure if there is, I’ve been extremely privileged in shooting all over the globe. Perhaps an African safari wedding?

I love Europe! The Mediterranean especially, whether that be Italy, Greece, France or Spain… I love European weddings. Cultural saturated weddings are the best.

Finally… What’s the best moment you’ve had as a wedding photographer?

I’m a romantic at heart, so I think in all honesty the best moments I have experienced to date, are often the moments when you truly see how much one person means to another.

I’ve always struggled to be in touch with my own emotions so when you see a groom break down into tears during his speech or watch his wife walk down the aisle… that trumps all of the others, even the drunk uncles!

Studio Westlake

South West England | Will Travel | From: £2300

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