I love weddings!
I have been taking photographs for over 40 years, professionally for around 5 but, up until a couple of years ago, I always avoided wedding photography. Let me explain why, and why I now love it.
I suspect, like many professional photographers, I viewed weddings as not particularly creative; a mixture of crowd control and trying to get all eyes looking down my lens, rather the lenses of the 40 or so other digital cameras being wielded by guests pointing and shooting from every available viewpoint. I then began to think about it; why can’t wedding photography be creative? Clearly a new mindset was required here. I decided I would treat each wedding as a separate project, maximise the locations, shoot the bride as if it were a fashion shoot, use lighting techniques that I use for commercial magazine work and aim to produce images that I am proud to put in my portfolio or enter in competitions, from each wedding.
So that’s my approach to weddings now, but it takes thorough preparation. In order to focus completely on the job in hand, I only ever shoot one wedding on a day and normally only one a week. From the start, it’s important that the couple feel comfortable with me, have a chance to brief me on their particular requirements and know exactly what I will deliver. That means meeting and getting to know them before the big day. I also have to scout the venues in advance and plan exactly how I am going to shoot everything. Apart from the day of the wedding, I allow up to a day for location scouting; not only where the ceremony and reception will take place, but also a quiet, romantic spot where I can photograph the bride and groom alone. Then there’s a half day allocated to preparing all the equipment and briefing my assistants. When it’s all over, I spend at least a day sorting the images and making selections for proofs. Once that is done and the pair are back from their honeymoon, I arrange to meet and to go through the proofs with them, before putting the images on a web gallery for friends and family to view.
The next stage is to create an album, story book or DVD. Sometimes wheels are put in motion immediately, sometimes a year later – no problem, it’s a busy time for the newly weds and the images will be there when they are ready to make their final decision on presentation.
Wedding photography is one of the most challenging and rewarding aspects of my business; there are no second chances – it is arguably the most important day in the couple’s life and the responsibility for me as a photographer to record that in a creative way is enormous, but I love it. The best bit? Seeing the bride’s face when she views the images for the first time. I love my job.