What made you become a photographer?
Photography has been my hobby all my life, I shared my passion with my father and learned a lot from him. In my late 30’s I began to search for an idea for a business that I could run myself. I knew it would be something centred on people as I have always worked with people and I love them! Then it came to me in a bit of a ‘light-bulb-moment’ – I should be a photographer and my business should be based around people.
What type of equipment / film do you use?
I use all digital equipment for my business. I have 2 digital SLR bodies and a selection of lenses that cover (and double cover) all the focal lengths I might need. I use on camera flash when shooting a wedding and again I have two. It’s really important to have two of everything, equipment will fail and not to be able to get the shots in the way you want would be a disaster. You cannot ask a couple to relive their wedding day because you weren’t prepared.
Why did you choose to do wedding photography?
When I was setting up the business I attended a lot of courses, seminars and other training and I just loved the idea of photographing people’s weddings. I get an access all areas pass to the day, I get to share in so many special moments. I am in a very privileged position.
What’s the most unusual thing you’ve ever had to photograph?
The most unusual thing – um…. Maybe Riley the dog best-man? He was handsome and very well behaved but his speech wasn’t great!
Do you have a favourite wedding theme you’ve photographed?
I’m not sure if I have a favourite wedding theme but I do love Christmas weddings. The venues are always so well decorated and the couples can cleverly tie this in with their own decorations.
What’s easier to take pictures of – pets or babies?
It really depends on the pet, well trained dogs are easier than babies but babies are easier than cats. I love them all! It’s great to get to know them and to work out what will work to get the best shot. With newborn babies of course it’s all about getting them in to a deep sleep which takes practice and a lot of patience.
Have you had any bridezillas? Or mum-of-bridezillas?
I have never had a bridezilla or a mumzilla. Some brides handle stress better than others but I love to help calm their nerves if I can, after all I have been there a few times before so I know the score and what is normal and what is not normal!
Something you’ve never seen at a wedding that you’d like to photograph?
I have never had a horse at a wedding, I love horses and I would love to get a bride on her horse in her dress galloping off – oops maybe with the groom on there too!!!
Have you ever taken a photo then looked back and wished you’d done it slightly differently?
I always, always re-look at work and consider what could have been done differently/better. I look at my early work and my recent work now and I realise that without doing this I would never improve, never develop a style of my own, never move with trends/fashions etc.
How would you describe your photographic style?
I am definitely a traditional wedding photographer with a documentary/story telling angle to my work. My creative flair really comes out with the couple’s portrait pictures, using the location, the light, the plants etc and what I’ve learned about them to the best advantage to get shots for them that I hope they will love looking at for years and year to come.
Do you have a favourite wedding? Ever have a wedding go disastrously wrong?
As for a favourite wedding, I don’t think I can choose one. Not because I don’t want to but I love them all.
There have been problems at weddings, bridesmaids storming off before the pictures were taken, an usher breaking down and the bride’s father and chief bridesmaid going off to rescue him, torrential rain, family feuds etc but nothing that can’t be over come with a smile and a bit of improvisation/flexibility/good humour.
Do you have any tips for brides looking for a photographer?
I have a whole load of tips for brides searching for a photographer but the most important is to make sure you like them as well as their work. They will be around you – at close quarters – all day and there would be nothing worse than picking someone that gets up your nose!
Any tips for the potential bride to look her best in your photo?
I would advise hiring a professional make-up artist BUT making sure you have a trial with them that you are totally happy with before the day. Make sure they get to know you and understand how you like to look and then use this information well. Make up for photographs needs to be a little stronger than normal and a professional make-up artist will know exactly what to do. The other tip is don’t try too hard in the pictures, be your self and relax.
Tell us about yourself, what do you do when you aren’t taking photos? Tell us about your blog too.
When I am not working? Um!!! I enjoy spending time with friends just chatting about life etc. I love to travel and take way too many pictures when I do! It is hard to get a holiday in this business but I do manage to get away every couple of years. As for editing the pictures, I think I would say “must try harder”. I love comedy too, especially live. The last comedian I saw was Andy Parsons in Exeter earlier in the year – he was fab!
I absolutely love doing the blog. I spend so much time at people’s weddings/at wedding shows/ready wedding magazines and so on! It is great to write about what I have seen/heard/experienced etc and I have pictures to go with it too. I am always after ideas and I find lots in magazines/on twitter and also on the many FB ‘wedding’ pages where brides ask each other for help!!! I am never without my pad and pen and any spare 5mins I am jotting down notes.
Huge thank you to Marion for taking the time to answer my questions there.