As wedding photographers, we all have our own unique way of capturing the big day. More often than not we will use the same kit, the same combination of lenses, and we will approach each section of the day in a certain way. It's our style and it's something that has evolved over time through trial and error.
This is mostly a positive thing, we develop consistency in our work and confidence in our approach. This consistency helps our customers to choose their wedding photographer. If they see a style and approach that they like, and they see it consistently through our previous work, it helps with their decision-making process when looking to book us to cover their big day.
Once established, it can be quite difficult as a photographer to dramatically change your style and approach. If you are attracting customers based on a certain way of working, it can be unnerving to change and try something different!
I took some time off recently whilst my daughter was on half term, and decided to use this time to fit in a couple of wedding photography workshops (there was a trade-off - I had to pay for lunches and shopping for the girls whilst I was off 'workshop'ing').
I wanted to spend some time with other wedding photographers whose work I admire to see how they approach the wedding day. Musicians often cite other influences in their work, and it's no different for us photographers - we grow, learn and are inspired by other creatives in our field.
Of the sessions I attended, by far the most inspiring for me personally was a workshop held in Islington by the awesome Alan Law. Alan is a wedding photographer whose work I have admired for a long time - his ability to capture the emotion and fun of a wedding day is unique. He is a photographer whose words on his website about his approach match perfectly with the images displayed. For me, that's key.
I'm not going to review the workshop in detail here, other than to say I took a lot away with me in terms of differences in how he approaches the photography on the day, and how he is able to consistency work with the 'right' couples for him in terms of his approach.
As with all of these things, you take certain aspects and ideas away with you and they merge with your own approach to further develop your own unique style. One of the key things I'll take forward with me from Alan's workshop is the benefit of getting close to the key events as they occur...really close!
The temptation as a wedding photographer is to keep a distance between you and the couple as the key moments unfold - to capture them of course, but with a longer lens from a safe distance! What Alan showed me is the difference in the images taken with wider lens, whilst physically very close to the subjects. The resulting images have a realism about them that is sometimes missing when the photographer was removed from the scene by physical distance.
It's certainly something that I will incorporate into my own approach to wedding photography, both getting in really close to the scene as it unfolds, but also using a wider lens in general to give context to the images I take. As with all photography related experimentation, I start by using my friends and family as Guinea pigs!...
So, for the rest of the holiday I limited my kit to my camera with a wide lens only, and had a good few days playing with different distances and perspectives. I really like the look and feel of the images captured with this set up, and it’s certainly something you will see more of in my wedding photography over the next few months.
So that just leaves a big thank you to Alan for an awesome and really worthwhile workshop, and of course to my Guinea Pig's for their patience whilst I just take one more shot... again.
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