So one of my new years resolutions of sorts was to start blogging more. So far, I have managed just that one blog post stating that, and I’m not about to let go of what I said I was going to do. The reason for wanting to do more blogging was to free up that almost ‘editorial’ block that I have gotten into.
I also think sometimes it’s a little bit of a shame that wedding photographers don’t blog much in the written word as I have been always intrigued how much interest there is from my couples to find out a bit more about how I work, or indeed why I do what I do. So this isn’t a case of ‘Me and my important thoughts’.
Rather than share knowledge I wanted to give a little bit of background of why I love wedding photography.
It started off as no passion for photography but then I am talking about the eight year old me when I say that. When I got my first camera, the cheapest 35mm point and shoot you could get in the Argos catalogue (almost certainly a £9.99 Hanimex) it was a birthday present. Little did I know that from taking photos of a purple knitted mouse stuffed in a conifer like hedge at the side of my grandad’s house would turn into a career some 25+ years later.
There is a quote from Audrey Hepburn that to plant a garden is to believe in the future, I also believe that is true of love. Love is an expression of hope and belief in the future, regardless of whether you have children or not, it is a commitment and a belief in an uncertain at times world.
The reason I fell in love with wedding photography was simply because I really genuinely love working with people, and couples that are in love are just the best thing ever. There is something very pure about it, but also the chance to really photograph a couple in a special way, to capture their love story and make something extraordinary for each couple.
For many years I dismissed wedding photography as mostly being about awkward grooms leaning inexplicably against trees and brides sat looking uncomfortable nearby harking back to that famous Gainsborough painting, Mr and Mrs Robert Andrews – the wife is his property. That communicated something very unattractive in my eyes about the dynamics that I identify in a relationship – that of being partners and equals.
I also am profoundly proud to live in a country that respects the concept of love and marriage regardless of your gender. This is a hard fought right that I profoundly believe in. But by the same token, I treat every couple the same, it’s not about gay wedding photography or gay marriage – it’s about wedding photography and marriage. End of.
So I dismissed wedding photography as a career choice preferring to concentrate on documentary photography (and believe it or not I very quietly still work on this in the background) but in time I saw that actually wedding photography wasn’t all naff. In fact some of the best photographers I have ever encountered were wedding photographers. I have also had a passion for what I deem good fashion photography too.
It’s long been my aspiration to bring some of that editorial quality to a wedding shoot. Over the years I have moved away from being a pure documentary photographer to becoming much more about still capturing the genuine emotion from events that unfold, but moving more towards blending that with gorgeous detail shots, and styling key elements of the day with that editorial eye. It really has been a journey to get to where I am as a wedding photographer in 2016, and a very exciting one.
It’s these challenges that keep me invigorated with what I do. It excites my imagination to be able to create these situations for my couples to create a beautiful sequence of photos that tell the story of their day. If there is one thing I could change though is that sometimes there are not enough hours in the wedding day, if only there was many more hours of gorgeous light to photograph everything in; or for time to slow down so at least my couples could really enjoy the whirlwind that a wedding day is.
This year is going to be exciting, I have some truly amazing couples to ‘work’ with again. I am blessed. And I cannot wait to see their days come together, the joy, excitement and tears in their eyes – to witness this breadth of human emotion is an incredible thing to experience – it’s one of the few things I genuinely believe in life makes sense amongst all the craziness of the everyday. I’m truly excited to see some of these ideas come to fruition through the year too. My only regret is that I didn’t start becoming a wedding photographer in my early twenties! (I was 27 when I started showing an interest, I’m 33 this year.)
So finishing off, why do I love wedding photography? Because I believe in love.