Shooting the emotion came naturally to me when I first started to shoot in the mid-nineties. For many photographers who are just starting to learn photography, they are drawn to fashion and all the glamour that it brings. For me it just so happened that I was drawn to the documentary photographers employed by the great photo agency, Magnum, and how they documented the world for its glory and also for its hardships. As a result, it led me to start documenting the wedding day rather than controlling the environment like a magazine shoot.
As the first couple of years progressed so did the development of my style, and around 2003 I began to realise that how I shot was a direct reflection of the experiences in my own life. These life experiences have enabled me to see so many more moments at weddings. At times I capture moments which I would have loved to have experienced in my own life, but haven’t been able to yet. This has, however, heightened my awareness when these moments occur for my couples, so I’m quick to capture them.
Now 15 years later, capturing the emotion and the story of the day forms the backbone of my studio and approach to weddings. This approach and style re-connects the couple with their wedding day and results in them telling all their friends about our studio, which has been great for business. One of the nice byproducts of this has been our photography does the marketing for us. It is almost inherently viral, as our clients tend to share them with their circle of friends and family.
Certainly I’ve always trained my eye and technical skills to ensure that I’m able to see and capture a moment, but the true essence of capturing a unique and special moment for each couple stems from feeling this moment yourself. I know that as I’ve experienced more in life, the more I grow as a person. This helps me grow as a photographer as well.
When in a wet darkroom producing a fine art print, I get inspired to communicate the story of the image through the print process. The book Creative Elements by Eddie Ephraums and the direction of my first mentor, Doug Spowart, opened my eyes to a myriad of possibilities regarding the print process early on in my training. They taught me how to dodge and burn, along with reinforcing the idealism of communicating through imagery. Studying under them helped me understand that there are many tools available that enable you to guide people through the image. I’ve been using these same ideals throughout my life as a photographer, be it in the darkroom or using Photoshop. I think it is an important element and skill every photographer should have.
When it comes to workflow, I know many photographers find it enjoyable to work on an image. The downside is if you spend too much time in front of your computer, you’re not spending time either in front of the lens or with your clients. With this in mind I’ve always worked on ways not just to improve the quality we produce, but also the quickness at which we do it. I know that this approach has been a very important part of our business and I’m more than happy to share these skills and knowledge with out photographers. There is so much for a photographer to know and if I can make one part of the business easier for someone, I’m happy to do so.
Sadly (or not so sadly) maturity. Now having a few years under my belt, I still do a lot of self-examination and analysis that helps me understand my style better. When we all start out we all ask ourselves “what is my style”? And early on it’s certainly hard to answer that question because it is still developing. Even today my style is still developing, mainly because I’m experiencing new things in my life everyday. I know that I still have a long way to grow as a person and I know that my photography will grow along with me.I’ve put up a tutorial on my website to further share my ideas on Style. You can find that here .
Certainly with combining music, images (and even words), it becomes a powerful tool to communicate a collection of images. For weddings, Animoto is the most beautiful tool to communicate the story, sharing the raw emotion of the couples. I know that I’ve done a great job for my client when I walk in to the viewing room and the couple has tears in there eyes, I thank Animoto to help me share their story.