Today we take time out to catch up with Andy and Catherine of White Stag Wedding Photography. They are based in Kent but cover the whole of the UK and Europe.
How long have you been photographing weddings for and how did you get into it?
Andy: Catherine had her first experience of photographing a wedding when she was 16, and through school her work experiences were always in photography studios or shadowing local wedding photographers. I did film photography as a hobby growing up – originally from Germany, I spent a lot of time camping and hiking in the Alps which provided me with plenty of inspiration!
We’ve been running the business for 5 years this November – we set it up as soon as we graduated. We knew we wanted to predominantly shoot weddings, as they’re so varied – they combine portraiture, reportage, still life and we love working with people of all ages. After our first few weddings we started to get bookings through lovely recommendations and word of mouth, and things snowballed from there!
What do you particularly like about photographing weddings?
Catherine: I love the full spectrum of emotions you witness in a wedding day – not just from the couple, but their family and friends too! From the excitement and anxiety in the morning when the preparations start, to the elation once they’re officially married. Quite often I glance around to see the reactions on people’s faces during key points of the day, and I love to capture the teary eyes or the big, heartfelt smiles.
I also particularly enjoy capturing the beauty in the details, whether it’s the lace on a bride’s dress or beautiful textures in the floristry – it’s so important to preserve these details!
Andy: I think the thing I like most is being able to produce something that only increases in value over time – we love to think of couples sharing their images with their children and grandchildren, and reliving the magic of their day. Weddings are such a happy occasion – seeing family & friends that haven’t seen each other in years or decades being reunited always puts a smile on my face!
What is your favourite part of the day?
Couple portrait sessions are always one of the highlights for us – creating beautiful, natural images of blissfully happy newlyweds. In the hustle and bustle of the day these little windows are sometimes the only time the couple will get to spend together. We like to take a step back, and with minimal guidance capture the precious expressions and love they share. This is what we work towards right from the beginning, before the couple have even booked us – getting to know them and them getting to know us, so they can be completely relaxed in our company.
How would you describe your style and approach?
Our style could be defined as light, airy, fine art wedding photography. We have a very relaxed approach on the day, and we love shooting natural images and moments for the most part. This is interspersed with a few minutes of more formal photography for the families and bridal party, but we like to make this as brief and enjoyable as we can!
There are two of us, which allows us to capture the day from two perspectives – starting with the boys and girls getting ready in the morning. It’s lovely for them to each be able to see what the other was up to when they were apart on their wedding day! All of the key events are captured from two angles too, so it allows us to create a more varied view of the day.
Who, or what inspires you?
Good light inspires us above all else. When we are deciding where to shoot we are looking for light before we are looking for backdrops, and when the light is just right it’s magical – we get so excited, clicking away! We are also inspired by couples that are completely in love and just bursting with joy – it’s the most precious thing in the world to capture.
The photographers we look up to are mostly based in California and Italy – the creamy, soft, pastel palettes and tones inspire our look heavily. We like to create dreamy images that look like memories.
What advice would you give to couples looking for a wedding photographer?
First and foremost – get to know your photographers! Find someone who’s style you love, then meet them and make sure you get along well and feel at ease in their company. They will be there all day for one of the most important days of your life! Being relaxed around your photographers and being able to trust them whole-heartedly is really important, as it will show in your pictures. Relaxed couples makes for wonderful, natural photographs!
What tips would you share with couples to help their day go more smoothly?
That’s an interesting one, there are so many! The first one is easy – delegate! If something needs doing, anything at all from checking the cake has arrived to finding the track for the first dance, ask someone to do it for you. Don’t try to be everywhere at once – you’ve done all of the hard work in the run up, on the day you need to relax and enjoy every minute of what you have put together. Trust everyone around you to take care of things on the day, they will be happy to help.
Second, and very importantly – allocate more time for each part of the day than you would think. Plan to be in the dress 20 minutes before you have to, plan at least 90 minutes plus travel in between the end of ceremony and beginning of sit-down. The more time you have here the more time you have to mingle, enjoy a drink and some canapes and have your photographs taken without feeling rushed. When drawing up their timeline a lot of couples worry about guests getting bored or waiting around, but time absolutely flies by! Everywhere you go people will want to give you a kiss and a cuddle and congratulate you, which can take a lot of time – especially if you have a large wedding party of 100 people plus.
Put together a wedding day survival kit – painkillers, antihistamines, plasters, safety pins, tissues etc. Catherine always carries a few of these essentials in her camera bag, and it’s surprising how often she gives out to the bridal party and family! 🙂 Having a sewing kit around (and someone who knows how to use it!) is also a massive plus. Over the years we’ve seen some real disasters averted with a needle and thread!
Lastly, whatever happens on the day just embrace it. Things might happen that are out of your control (the weather being a big one), but it will still be one of the happiest days of your life! If you go with the flow and keep smiling your guests will feed off your mood and love every minute too.
If there was one place in the world you would love to capture a wedding where would it be and why?
Andy: An outdoor ceremony nestled in the Swiss or Italian Alps. A reception anywhere with plenty of natural light, huge windows and high ceilings!
Catherine: Tuscany would be incredible. I would love to shoot in an olive grove! I love anywhere with lots of natural light. I also love a sense of faded grandeur – there’s so much beauty in imperfection.
Finally… Whats the best moment you’ve had as a wedding photographer?
Andy: It’s a specific day for me. I captured a wedding in a small village church where the bride was 79 years old and the groom was in his 80s. He was terminally ill, so he proposed and they planned the wedding in just two weeks.
It was simultaneously heartbreaking and beautiful as they said their wedding vows – it was like being a part of a wedding that had been boiled down to its most important element, the love between two people. They were holding hands so tightly and I could tell they were just cherishing every second. I was invited to the funeral not long after the wedding. It was devastatingly sad but I really felt as though I had been a part of something special.
Catherine: For me it’s simply the privilege of having a front row seat for one of the most important milestones in a couple’s lifetime. Seeing and capturing the raw emotion never gets old, and being part of a wedding still feels like an honour every single time!