So, did you always want to be a wedding photographer?
Years ago, my parents held a summer barbecue, during the afternoon the neighbours' young son had borrowed their camera and used up the entire roll of film taking pictures of everyone. I think he got a clip round the ear (!) but the photos he'd taken were brilliant - and it is probably these pictures more than any others which have influenced the way in which I take photos of people and events. He was like a photo ninja! Because he was just a young lad nobody was taking any notice of him, the photos didn’t have anyone posing awkwardly or looking self-conscious, they just showed everyone chatting, eating, laughing, having a great time and looking completely natural – just as everyone had been on the day – he’d documented it perfectly. It was here that my interest in photography began.
What’s a normal day like for you?
That’s a tricky one – because all my days are so varied! I may be editing shots of a recent wedding, meeting clients for a consultation, designing a wedding album, scouting out a new venue, preparing for a wedding fayre, updating my blog… oh, or I might actually be behind the camera taking photos at a wedding!
What should people look for when choosing their wedding photographer?
Obviously, take a look through the photographer’s work on their website or social media and make sure that you actually like their style. But after that, I think it’s important that you really get on with your photographer. They are going to be present at some really intimate parts of a hugely emotional day, so it really helps if you are relaxed and comfortable around each other.
Have you ever dealt with any Bridezillas?
A wedding photographer never tells! In truth, most brides have been planning some aspects of their wedding day since they were small girls, so it’s only natural that there are high expectations. I always try and see things from their perspective – they want to have the best day imaginable for them and their guests and so if demands are high it’s because they are trying to create something beautiful and I’ll always do my best to accommodate that. I did have someone once who posted me a ring binder with specific details outlining about 200 posed formal portraits… and let me know we’d have about 20 minutes to fit them all in. That’s one every 6 seconds! You don’t want to tread on anyone’s dream but occasionally it’s necessary to manage expectations!
What are your favourite parts of the wedding day?
There are a couple… the excitement of the bridal preparations is great – the bride will have her bridesmaids buzzing around her and everyone is grinning from ear to ear, the crackle of anticipation is almost palpable. Probably my favourite part though, is when the bride is walking down the aisle and the bride and groom lock eyes for the first time and you see this recognition between the two of them “we’re actually doing this… we’re about to get married!” You never get bored of seeing that.
Are you married? How did you do it?
My wife and I did a runner to Lake Como in Italy with just close family and a couple of friends. We organised everything via three emails, I think it was! It was great as we didn’t really know what we were going to get, so every part of the day was a surprise. We all took a water taxi over to Bellagio and climbed the steps up to the Library of the Town Hall where we got married. Next, we wandered down to a beautiful, small lakeside hotel where we had a huge lunch. We then hopped back on a boat and sailed around the lake for the afternoon whilst seeing off a few bottles of Campari. Finally we went back to our villa where we had an early evening diving competition in the swimming pool judged by my father-in-law. He didn’t give me a single 10. Even on my wedding day!
Any general advice for the Happy Couple?
Just go with it! Whatever the day throws at you, just embrace it. Even if things don’t go exactly to plan – just enjoy it, it’s your wedding day!
Although based in Herefordshire and the Midlands, Paul undertakes work across London and the UK and has shot weddings at some of the capital’s most iconic venues such as Temple Church and Kenwood House. For more information visit his website: photodesign.co.uk
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