I’m passionate about documentary wedding photography as anyone who has met me will know, so I was delighted when I was asked if I would give a talk at The Photography Show on Sunday 2nd March at the NEC in Birmingham.
My talk was with another well known wedding photographer, Julia Boggio, on our contrasting styles of wedding photography with me taking from the corner of documentary wedding photography and Julia the corner for a more fashion based posed style of wedding photography. This resulted in an interesting discussion on how we both approach wedding photography.
A large crowd started gathering half an hour before we went on stage and it soon became clear we had attracted a large audience for the talk.
The questions started with me asking Julia what style of wedding photographer she was and soon followed on to Julia asking me about the sort of clients I attract. We discussed everything from the equipment we use to our approach to wedding albums.
Julia and I both brought along 15 images each to show examples of how we work, interestingly Julia and I both brought along bath shots which made a good discussion on the differences in our styles, Julia had taken a couple down to a bathroom showroom and had them sat in the bath positioned in the shop window, outside a couple of the wedding guests looked in with shocked expressions. My bath photograph was unposed, I just happened to arrive at a wedding in Devon and found the groom just about to get in the bath. I took a couple of shots and left him to it.
There is room in the wedding photography market for many different styles of wedding photography, my style is pure documentary (I don’t set anything up other than a small handful of family group photographs), after the talk I was asked by a member of the audience if I had ever compromised my style for financial reasons, especially when I first started out because documentary wedding photography was not as popular back then. My answer was that photographers should never compromise what they do for financial gain, fashions come and go in wedding photography and by sticking with what you do best your wedding photography will not date and you can build a brand and reputation around your style. 45 minutes went far too quickly and we had to be almost dragged off at the end.
Some of the photographs I showed during the talk –
This photograph was taken on a wedding in Venice. The couple opted not to have any wedding guests, so it was just the two of them and myself and with me also taking on the role of being the witness to the marriage. I went to the brides hotel in Venice and took photographs of her getting ready, we then took a water taxi to the wedding venue. I wanted to capture an image of the bride deep in her thoughts as she travelled to the ceremony, so I sat up the front of the boat so my presence would not interfere with the scene and waited for the moment.
This is one of my signature wide angle shots, the bride is having her lipstick applied and rather than taking a close up photograph of this I have stepped back and told the story. The light in this room was beautiful and the shape of the ceiling in the attic room adds to the composition. The bride is surrounded on the floor with all of the clutter of getting ready and the three bridesmaids wait patiently.
Not your average wedding photograph. Normally I’d still be tucked up in bed at 8am on a Sunday morning but in this case I was in Bradford for a Sikh wedding. The Sikh temple (Gurdwara) was located on an industrial street opposite a car repair centre, the early morning light cast a shadow of the temple across the street. Wedding guests began to gather sitting on the wall and one couple pointed out the temple to their children, by pure luck they stood at the end of a shaft of light across the road. this photograph was used on the opening page of the wedding album.
This is one of those occasions when colour really works, I was photographing the bride getting ready and one of the bridesmaids brought in a mirror for the bride to look in. At first I thought my photograph would be based around the bride looking in the mirror but as I watched the flower girl looked up at the bride with such a look of excitement that I knew that was my photograph.