What is most important to you about your wedding photographer? Is it the style, i.e. documentary or traditional or maybe unique, or is it whether or not you get on with them as a person? Maybe its location or price? In actual fact it really needs to be all of those things! However, there is a part of wedding photography that a lot of people may not have thought about and it’s really, really important when you’re looking for a wedding photographer for your bid day.
Down The Lens: your definitive guide to spectacular wedding photography
Does the photographer capture the true moment that is the emotion of those in the photograph or is it just a snapshot of a moment in time?
Now this might sound like a silly or even strange thing to say but lets be honest, anyone can pick up a camera and click, in fact anyone can pick up a camera, read a lot of books and then say they’re a photographer but they’re missing the most important element of photography, that intangible element that makes great photography that you just can not teach in books.
The intangible element of photography
This element when missing makes the difference between photos that sink or swim and when we talk about wedding photography in particular, this element is the crucial part of your legacy because without it, you have snap shots, a click in time.
So what is this missing element? It’s not about capturing a smile or ‘a look’, it’s way more than that! It’s the the ability to capture emotion, sometimes hidden from reality and transfer it through a photograph straight onto the viewer. This is what you call the ‘moment’! And your wedding day is your moment right? So you want to ensure you get those moments held in time because your wedding photography is your legacy.
This essential element of photography is vital when we look at photos of people, like the portraits and close-ups of you and Hubby. It’s an element that great photographers innately do and one which cannot be taught in books. I may be controversial in saying this but I believe it with all my heart and it’s this element that I am so attracted to when I look at wedding photography. It’s hard to explain it because I just feel it!
And this missing element is what I loved about wedding photographer Olivia Shaw. With an impeccable ability to capture people, I was captivated by her photography and sat in silence with my tea cup loosely tipping in my hand, astonished at her ability to capture the missing element that I love so much: that emotion in photos that I feel and love to see! And now that Olivia is doing wedding photography, her experience of shooting that missing element with celebrities has transferred directly into her wedding photography!
What struck me most about Olivias work is her ability to capture ‘that missing element – that emotion’ and when viewing her celebrity work it was an Olly Murs photo that struck me the most and this is it…
It’s a personal moment captured in time.
Down the Lens – Q & A Sesh!
Q: How did you get into photography and how long have you been doing it?
I started shooting when I went travelling during school and then on my gap year. I studied photography at university for 3 years in Portsmouth and got a BA (hons) in Photography. After I graduated I had a brief stint of shooting for an estate agent before deciding to go freelance, that was 6 years ago and I have never looked back!
Q: How would you describe your style of photography?
This is always a question I find tricky to answer as it’s hard to define in a few words but I like to get across the true character of a person in a photograph. When shooting portraits or weddings I want to make the subject feel totally at ease and show their inner personality in the photo. I do not want to create something that does not truly reflect the person. I like my wedding photography to capture the real essence of the couple’s relationship and the atmosphere of the day. I would say my wedding photography can be defined as ‘modern documentary photography.’
Q: What’s your most favourite wedding that you’ve photographed and why?
It’s always hard to narrow it down but with weddings, there is one that stands out for me, which I shot a couple years ago on a farm in Oxford. The couple were so lovely, really relaxed and up for any type of shot I suggested. The bride was brilliant, she walked was walking through muddy fields for me to get the shots WE wanted and it was totally worth it! The sun was shining all day and ended with fireworks! They were so lovely together and made my job very easy.
With my music photography, I have done many shoots on music videos capturing the still images. One of my favourite shoots was for an Olly Murs video for his single ‘Heart on my sleeve’. It was a long day shooting, going into the night and of course it rained but it was a lot of fun! It’s very different shooting stills, as the photographer is certainly not top of the ranking, so I was given small windows when I could run in and grab the shots I wanted. In between takes I would take Olly to one side and set up a shot with a few minutes to shoot. It’s always challenge but great fun and very rewarding when you do get the shot you are after!
Q: What would your advice be to Brides/Grooms regarding choosing a wedding photographer?
I always say it is just as important that you like your photographer, as it is that you like their work. Make sure you are comfortable around them, because they will be there at the moments you are most scared, excited and emotional on one of the biggest days of your life! Always always meet them before the day and make sure you see a big variety of their work and get clear exactly what the package is and what you will get.
Q: What do you love most about photography?
Being able to capture a moment that might pass you by and every time you look at the photo it can take you back there. I love being able to show another side to someone in a photo and a vulnerability that might not be so easily seen in reality.
Some of Olivia’s Celebrity work:
Beautifully captured emotion. Isn’t that what your wedding day is all about? Those moments that showcase not only the day itself, but you! I still enjoy looking through Olivia’s website, at her music shots, her TV shots and of course her stunning wedding photography. Catch up with her on twitter and chat to her about your concerns or ideas for your wedding day, she’s such a wonderfully approachable woman!
Emotion is vital in photography don’t you think?