I am a very experienced Observational Wedding Photographer. I shoot with film and digital cameras, I have been shooting weddings for many years all over the world.
I started as a kid with an old camera
When I was a very little boy, I was given a really old film camera – a Box Brownie. I got the bug, and I can’t remember a time where I did not have a camera. I literally have always been a photographer!
In the 1970’s and 1980’s, I started shooting seriously. Pretty much anything and everything – Bands, portraits, christenings, baptisms, sports, events and even products for catalogues. I was exposed to all sorts of cameras – professional large format, medium format, press cameras, and SLR’s. It was film only then. About then my love affair with Nikon cameras was formed, when I started shooting with a Nikon F6, I still shoot with professional Nikon cameras today.
Towards the end of the 1980’s I took the plunge and studied photography at college, where I took the course and passed the Photography City & Guilds 1, 2 & 3 exams. My interest in light, lenses, and vision was unquenched, so I went on to study Optics and Lens Design at City University in London.
How I started with wedding photography
I begged a local wedding photographer in Swindon to let me tag along with him, carrying bags and learning. before long, I was shooting. That was way back in 1989. That was a massive learning curve for me – responsibility, getting things right in the camera first time every time, how to deal with people, the tools, and tricks of the trade. I have not looked back since.
In the main, whilst I learned a lot about wedding photography, I also learned what I did not like about wedding photography. Photography in the UK in the 1980’s was very traditional, formal, and rigid. Photographers worked through a routine.
Did you know… That back in the day we shot several weddings a day, often back to back at the same church or registry office. We would then drive around all of the venues later to take a few shots at the evening venues. We would wind back the film, and reload the same roll in the evening, winding it forwards to the next empty frame. Unlike today where I shoot 1000’s of wedding photographs in a day, we shot single rolls of 12 or 34 or 36 film and delivered albums with 12, 24 or 36 photographs in them.
What about documentary wedding photography?
Back in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, I started to realise that traditional wedding photography had a place, but it was not where my heart was. In the USA, they twigged this a lot earlier when back in the 1950’s a young photographer called Lisa Larsen, shot the wedding of JF Kennedy and Jackie Onassis in 1953… Lisa’s way of working was so much more photojournalistic and documentary, liberal and free of the traditional straitjacket.
At last, wedding photography with emotions and feelings – I was hooked. I changed the way I worked, I had realised that whilst I was really good at it, traditional wedding photography was not for me.
I met a lot of resistance, I was told that I was mad, but importantly, my Brides and Grooms loved me, they came and sought me out. I was shooting in a loose photojournalistic way. For a while, I shot the traditional 12 or 24 photographs on a medium format film camera, and then at the same time, slipped in a couple of rolls of 35mm film through, with the observational documentary approach. Couples loved it, the rest is history.
Lenses, light, art, photography, and optics have been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember. The process of photography and lighting is very natural to me, it is part of the way I think and do things. I do not have to think about how to shoot, instead, I can just concentrate on what to shoot. I can’t explain it, I see things in terms of photographs and light.
I am not “In the box” with wedding photography, I don’t do stale or the same thing over and over again. I love pulling elements from other photographic disciplines into my work – nature, landscapes, still life, portraiture etc. I see the wedding as a whole – the people, the buildings, location, colours, weather, sky, shapes, emotions, and feelings. I then tie them all together in a story.
Photography is all about light, which is why I have a magic box (or the whole of the back of a car nowadays) full of different types of lighting, reflectors, torches. I have even used car headlights; although more often I use professional studio flashes on radio triggers. My car is pretty much packed full of cameras and lighting goodies to cover any sort of shot.
Me? In a photograph? No way, my pet hate!
I asked a bunch of wedding photographers, and they all are the same – we hate being photographed.
For me, it sculpts the very way I shoot. I am starting off with an understanding that unless you are a model or a public figure, you will not be used to having a photographer about, and will probably feel uncomfortable being photographed.
To counter this, I have learned how to shoot naturally and blend into the background. I am working hard, but most of the time it will almost feel like I am not there I have learned how to observe what is going on, and then place myself in the right place, I have an excellent anticipation as to what will happen next, and seek out feelings and emotions.
I am a perfectionist
It is easy to carry on with what works and never improve. I actively take the time to look at what I do and for ways to improve things. That might be the service, the wedding photography or the way I process and deliver the final product. This constant process of refinement is essential to keep me at the top of my game.
I get a comment about how hard I work at pretty much every wedding I have ever shot. I am 100% devoted to you and your wedding day. I want you to have the very best in wedding photography, and an experience to match.
I offer a very personal service, you are booking me for your wedding day, you will have my 100% attention for the whole day too. Every wedding couple I have ever worked with is like family; you will get the service that I would want for my family.
Wedding photography that is timeless photography is an important aspect of the way I work. I purposefully don’t aim to be vintage or quirky, or over stylised.
I hope that your children, grandchildren and even your great grandchildren will enjoy and see your wedding photographs. I don’t use this year’s Instagram filters and call it a wedding photography style. I look for materials and products that last, I purposefully use acid-free materials that will last many lifetimes. Your wedding photographs, if looked after will look as good in 100 years time as they will on the day your first see them.
What else makes me tick…
Well, I’m absolutely music nuts… Especially jazz, world music, classical music and most other music. I always have music on in the office. Send me a playlist, or aks me for a playlist!
I really enjoy cooking and the odd glass of wine.
I am the sort of person that does not ever stop… If I am not shooting and editing photographs, I’m walking the dog, shooting for pleasure, getting outdoors, or doing practical things like DIY or fixing cars.
Do I sound like your sort of photographer? if so, drop me a line. I am based in Cyprus, and shoot weddings all over Cyprus, the UK and worldwide.