A photographer is one of the key suppliers you will hire for your wedding day. This is the one day of your life that you want to be able to remember forever - and believe me, you need those photographs as a reminder because it really does go by in such a blur. Photographs help cement those memories in time, to be viewed again and again.
Finding the right photographer for you is really important so I have caught up with Lee, the talented photographer who captured our wedding, to ask him for his professional advice…
Firstly, please can you tell us a bit about who you are and how you ended up becoming a wedding photographer?
When I was 11 I was on a family holiday and my Dad had a Kodak 110 film camera with 24 exposures. I remember one day a helicopter was above us so I ran in to grab the camera. My Dad did moan saying its waste as the helicopter was too high. And he was right it was just a black spec! So after that, it made me think and the addiction started.
When couples are looking for a photographer for their wedding day, what advice would you give them to help them choose the right person?
When searching you need to like the images first, then enquire. If the budget fits, you research some more. You need suppliers to reply pretty quick so that you’re not waiting four days for a reply. Meet up with the photographer in person and ask lots of questions. Ask to see all day weddings, not just one image from Instagram. You really need to get along with the photographer because they are with you all day.
How far in advance should couples be booking their photographer?
As soon as they have the date and venue booked you book your photographer. We can only shoot one wedding a day. I’m up to 2024 at the moment.
How did you develop your photography style? Is this something that naturally happened over time?
I don’t have a direct style because every wedding and every couple are so different. I get to know my couples pretty well so I can work out what’s in their comfort zone and how far I can push them. My style, if I do have one is what I call ‘directed photography’, I know where I’m going to shoot the image and what the best background is and light etc is. I then tell you what I want to get, then I leave you to it finish off. The main thing is we have fun, I have an odd sense of humour at times!
What is it about wedding photography that you enjoy most?
Meeting different people, my weddings vary from electricians, teachers, doctors and famous sportsmen. But I’m still the same at all my weddings, within reason!
I do love the challenge and love having fun with the couple, family and friends.
Half of my personal Facebook account is full of my past couples! I’ve met so many amazing people and couples that I now class as friends.
On my wedding day, I remember thinking how creative you were! Can it sometimes be difficult to be creative when there are so many group shots you need to do?
I always call 2-3 weeks before the wedding for a chat and to run through the day. To gain an understanding of the important people to capture and any key requirements from my couples. Groups can be boring but I like to make it fun and quick, I have a way of getting the groups finished quickly without rushing. I will run through all this and give you options on the way in which you want the day to roll out. At the end of the day, my job is to get a really great set of images for you and then get you mingling with your family and friends. Over the years I think I’ve sorted it!
What do you dread most about a wedding day - is it the weather?
Coming down the aisle…Bridesmaids run and look down…Brides can be quick but most do take their time. It’s a shot we can’t do again!
Weather doesn’t bother me unless you have a venue that doesn’t have a plan B option which is photos inside. If your venue is just one room and a small bar then it’s difficult, very difficult. Always look for plan B and a what if? For example, on your wedding day, you did have some rain and we used one of the lounges for a while.
When you have couples that are camera shy, how do you get them to come out of their shell so that you can capture photos they’ll love?
HA! good question! Generally when you are in a wedding dress, pro make-up applied and a hairdresser that has made your hair look lovely, you do feel on top of the world BUT with cameras, it can be a different story. I tend to be quick, we chat and have fun. If it’s not working, which doesn’t happen often, I would say go and have a drink and we will come out again later when the sun is dropping and the light is nicer. By this time they have relaxed more and had a few drinks ;)
What was the first camera you owned and do you still shoot with it today?
A Practica which was a film camera, then a Chinon and then Nikon for many, many years until last year when I switched to Fuji :). I now work with fully digital cameras but I learnt the old fashion way with film.
If you weren’t a photographer, what do you think you’d do instead?
I love working with children, I would have liked to be a child psychologist. But you need a lot of brains for that!
If you're looking for a wedding photographer, I'd highly recommend Lee - he did an amazing job on our wedding day.