Why I Love Photographing Weddings
I have been photographing weddings for over ten years now and despite witnessing so many nuptials exchanged in that time, each and every wedding is unique and beautiful in its own way. A wedding, to many, represents hope for the future, finding happiness and is simply a wonderful symbol of hope. These are just some of the reasons why I adore photographing weddings. I love witnessing the emotion and the laughter, meeting new people and ultimately I am always honoured to capture so many love stories.
Documenting such an important event in these people’s life journey is a huge responsibility. With each click of the shutter I am recording and preserving history and immortalising moments. The images from these moments, will hopefully become part of their lives forever and passed down to future generations. This makes what I do far more than just a job, it is my passion.
My Journey Into Wedding Photography
Wedding photography has often been deemed the uncool choice for budding young professional photographers who dream of carving out a career in the fashion world instead. However, things have come along way in the last few decades and the days of old fashioned posing or cringey gimmicks with extra helpings of cheese eventually gave way to a mix of gritty yet romantic documentary story telling that captured the love, laughter and emotion of the day.
This was how I fell in love with wedding photography. I was fascinated by the concept of the story and would spend hours online looking at images, studying what separated the good from the average and the great from the good. Suitably inspired, my decision to become a ‘documentary wedding photographer’ was born.
There is a common misconception that being a documentary wedding photographer is little to do with skill and that you simply have to point and shoot in the hope of getting a reasonable collection of photos for your clients to enjoy. This gave rise to the commonly known ‘Uncle Bob’ photographer – the guest at the wedding with a reasonably decent camera who would shadow your every move while ‘documenting’ the wedding for the couple alongside you. I wasn’t far off that stereotype myself when first starting out. At a few weddings I was invited to, I would spend my time observing how the photographer worked and would work quietly behind them trying to perfect my own style (no doubt much to the groan of the poor official photographer!) but it was all part of the learning process.
I quickly learned however, that there was much more to documentary photography than pointing and shooting. You had to be technically skilled for starters. Knowing how to compose a shot, being aware of the lighting conditions and working with them to your advantage, as well as being able to act quickly all became part of the challenge. The moments were often fleeting and certainly not ones that could be reconstructed, unlike in portraiture or fashion. If you missed it, it was gone forever. So much of my time was spent studying human behaviour and instinctively waiting for the moments to present themselves, before pressing the shutter.
My Love Affair with Black and White Photography
Black and white photography was also a strong influence. There is something stripped back about it that allows you to feel the moment and see the story without the distraction of colour. Colour of course, plays an important role in my photography too, as some images are simply meant for colour but the same can be said for black and white too. To quote photojournalist Ted Grant; “When you photograph people in colour, you photograph their clothes, but when you photograph them in black and white, you photograph their souls.”
Black and white photography became a strong part of my documentary style as I honed my skills because it lent a timeless quality to the images I was taking.
Taking Things to The Next Level
After years spent honing my craft, learning how to work with natural light, directing and posing couples whilst building a relaxed rapport with them and working on my documentary style, I felt like I had reached a plateau. It was at this point I felt ready to take things to the next level. Luckily for me, I met my very talented photographer partner who was experienced in the realms of lighting and whose guidance gave me the foot up I needed to take my photography to where I wanted it to be. Together we set up a luxury wedding photography business called Beau & Belle London which is going from strength to strength alongside my own wedding photography business Goodyear Photography.
Receiving the honour of being made an ambassador for global lighting accessories company Phottix, really helped push my creativity too, meaning the wedding portraits I was taking had the fashion style I was looking for.
The opportunity to be experimental with lighting further fueled my passion as a wedding photographer but the one thing I had always dreamed of was to photograph a destination wedding. I was lucky enough this year to make that dream a reality not once but twice! In April we flew to New York to photograph the beautiful wedding of Layla and Richard who we then subsequently did post wedding shoots with in Paris and London (!) and last month we flew to Portugal to photograph the stunning evening wedding of Pedro and Yi at Pena Palace in Sintra. Both weddings were incredible experiences and also gave us the opportunity to spend some down time in these two fantastic locations.
In essence, the thing I love most about wedding photography is that it takes you to places you would never normally see and it transports you into the lives of strangers who for a day at least often feel like your friends. You witness their nerves, their tears, their love, happiness as well as pure joy and laughter. I usually always leave a wedding exhausted but grateful to have had witnessed the gathering of friends and loved ones that brings with it a special and unique energy. The biggest reward comes when you are given positive feedback from your clients, many of whom admit to crying tears of joy when they have seen their photographs. This human connection is such an intrinsic factor in why I love photographing weddings!
If you would be interested in us photographing a wedding or special event then please do get in touch as we would love to hear from you!
Anything Can Happen at a Wedding!
Last weekend I photographed the really fun wedding of Kim and Jack. I caught a ride to the ceremony in the limo with Kim, her cousin and bridemaids when they began a spontaneous and very entertaining lip sync to Bruno Mars 24k Magic so I grabbed my phone and started recording! Big applause to Kim for staying so cool, calm and collected on her way to get married!