Meet the Experts: Photography

“The whole point of taking pictures is so that you don’t have to explain things with words.”
— Elliott Erwitt


Making sure you have beautiful pictures of your special day to look back on in years to come is an important job. We pride ourselves on working with the best suppliers in the industry and took some time out to ask our recommended photographers some questions about their chosen profession and some insider tips!


LEE ALLISON PHOTOGRAPHY

www.leeallisonphotography.co.uk

Lee allison.jpg


How did you get into photography?

My photography journey started way back at college when I studied photography at A-Level. It was so much fun developing my own photos in the darkroom and I really enjoyed shooting film.

I then went off to University to study Animation and drifted away from the photography for a few years. I left University and started working as a Graphic Designer and my then boss was a part-time wedding photographer. I went along to help him at some of his weddings and it developed from there. I fell in love with it all over again and after shooting friends weddings, I setup the business six years ago. Things have really taken off and I now shoot weddings all of the UK, Europe and internationally.

What’s the best thing about your job?

The best thing about my job is getting to meet different people each weekend from various walks of life. I also love the fact that I am providing these people with memories that will live on through future generations.

What is your favourite piece of kit to use and how does this enhance your photography?

My favourite piece of kit are my cameras. This sounds obvious but having switched from a big Nikon DSLR to a small Fuji mirrorless camera, it’s a joy to use. They are smaller and lightweight to carry around for 10+ hours, but more importantly it makes me want to pick it up and create incredible images.

If you could give a piece of advice to your couple on their wedding day, what would it be?

Personally, the best advice I could give to a couple for their day is, go with it. Whatever happens on the day, embrace it and enjoy it. The day goes so quickly so sit back and take in as much as you can. I’ll be there to capture those moments you miss.

 With my photographers hat on I would say, plan enough time for the drinks reception. This is the time you can mingle with your guests and chat to everyone. 2 hours is normally a good time for this and allows for a few group photos and natural shots of your loved ones enjoying the day. I recommend around 6 group shots which capture the main wedding party and immediate family. This gives you the freedom to experience the day rather than wait around for the whole drinks reception for photos.

What is one of your favourite images you have taken?

One of my favourite images is this one of Brad’s grandparents. He talked about them during his speech, said how much he loved them and that they were his inspiration after being married for so long. I love the subtle sign of affection here - it’s these small moments throughout a wedding that I adore!


LIAM SMITH PHOTOGRAPHY

www.liamsmithphotography.com

Liam smith.jpg

How did you get into photography?

I started taking photographs when my art teachers at college said they didn't like my paintings. At the time I thought that they didn't understand my conceptual teenage angst working it's way onto the canvas (part of me still thinks that).

Subsequently in a rebellious sixteen year old fashion, I decided to use a medium which created the most literal representation of the world, and that's when I found photography.

What’s the best thing about your job?

The love and the chaos. Weddings are such a heady mix of emotions, from nervous anticipation to rapturous laughter. It offers those who embrace it a chance to experience nearly the entire spectrum of human emotion in a very narrow window of time. It's exciting, unpredictable and most of all, a hell of a lot of fun. The single best thing about my job is being able to provide couples with a genuine representation of their wedding day. I don't pose or stage any of my work, everything I deliver is true to events. I love that I can hand over a collection of photographs and the viewer can know that every laugh, tear and bear hug was genuine and heart felt. It allows clients to engage with the work on a deeper level and creates a product that can transport anyone into a moment that would otherwise be lost.

 

What is your favourite piece of kit to use and how does this enhance your photography?

My favourite piece of kit is my wide angle lens. It enables me to get close to the action and capture everything within a scene. The result is an immersive image, taken from the point of view of a person sharing that moment with you. This in turn allows the viewer to relive those moments on a deeper level, not just observing from a distance, genuinely in the scene and in the moment, reliving that time all over again.

 

If you could give a piece of advice to your couple on their wedding day, what would it be?

Schedule time together with no one else around. Often the best time to do this is just after couple portraits. You're already separate from the crowd and typically in an idyllic setting with beautiful light. Give yourselves ten minutes, let it sink in. Make a conscious effort to create memories and take time to experience the day as a team.

What is one of your favourite images you have taken?

I love this image because it encapsulates so much of why I love weddings and photography – emotion and serendipity. These key elements come together in a fleeting, never to be repeated moment. The groom and best man are symmetrical in both body position and emotional state. Add to the mix the bride hasn't even appeared yet, such is the power of anticipation - it's a beautiful thing.


linaandtom.jpg

How did you get into photography?

We met in the very modern way of on Facebook after I 'poked' Tom because I thought he was rather handsome. He was a graphic designer and jobbing  corporate/music photographer and I was working in a theatrical agency whilst producing theatre in London, with a keen passion for photography. Having been a bridesmaid ten times (!) when I saw some candid shots Tom had taken at a family member's wedding and I was blown away. I persuaded him we should try and shoot weddings  together and in January 2009 our company was born.

What’s the best thing about your job?

Being amongst joy, and we honestly are. We are with our clients on one of the happiest  days of their lives and are committed to capturing that joy – couple and guests alike. We get right into the fun of the dancefloor too and definitely don't need to miss going out at weekends, our couples know how to party!

What is your favourite piece of kit to use and how does this enhance your photography?

We're minimalist  really when it comes to kit, you won't see us with big cumbersome flash set ups for portraits. We shoot natural light until the first dance, so I guess the best answer is the lens neither of us would be without: for Tom it's a Canon 35mm 1.4 and for me a Canon 50mm 1.2. We love a shallow depth of field to make the subject pop.

If you could give a piece of advice to your couple on their wedding day, what would it be?

Please just be yourselves. Forget what Instagram and Pinterest says what a wedding has to look like this week. The best weddings are the ones that couple make true to themselves and we love shooting them – hence we've shot weddings with amazing themes such as Star Wars, Doctor Who, Harry Potter... as well as many destination weddings where the couple have opted to their favourite place which is magical.

What is one of your favourite images you have taken?

One of my favourites is actually from Charlotte and Ian's Granary Barns wedding last year. If I remember correctly Charlotte didn't know there would be confetti cannons  during the first dance and capturing her face during the explosion of confetti just makes me smile so much when I see it, and won me a Masters of Wedding Photography award.


PETE DENNESS PHOTOGRAPHY

www.petedenness.com

pete denness.jpg

How did you get into photography?

I started out buying a camera to take on holiday, Id always wanted a proper one, and a trip to Costa Rica seemed like the perfect excuse.  After winning a few wildlife photography competitions and getting published in the Sunday Times and Countryfile magazine, a friend asked me to shoot his wedding, and it all progressed from there.


What’s the best thing about your job?

To be honest the best thing about it is that I simply love doing it! I also love meeting people and sharing a really happy time with them, I’ve made a lot of friends along the way.


What is your favourite piece of kit to use and how does this enhance your photography?

Part of my style is using off camera flashes to create really vibrant portraits. Its one of the things that makes my photography stand out, so I’ll say my AD 360 ( which in English is a large powerful flash)


If you could give a piece of advice to your couple on their wedding day, what would it be?


I’m always happy to give advice and one of the things I often find myself saying is make sure you spend at least half your budget on a photographer… But seriously my best piece of advice is to do your wedding your way and don’t worry if something isn’t traditional, just make it about you and the things and people that you love.

What is one of your favourite images you have taken?

I’m going to go with this one from the Granary Estates earlier this year. Chris and Sarah were a really fantastic couple and had an awesome first dance routine. I managed to capture and light the moment  perfectly as the confetti canons went off above them, which was a key shot they had requested. And of course I also love the venue!


tom halliday.jpg

How did you get into photography?

Growing up, I had no idea what I wanted to do. When I was in Sixth Form and had to pick my subjects, I really had no idea! When I was in Year 12 I was a sponsored skateboarder by a shop in Bishop’s Stortford. We were meant to be going on tour, but I badly broke my arm, so instead of going on tour skating I picked up my camera which my dad had got me for my 16th birthday - a Pentax MZ-90 digital film one. And I thought to myself, I really like this, this is awesome! When I was back at Sixth Form I was doing art and I discovered that there was a photographic elective, but there wasn’t a proper photography teacher. I was taking photos and using Photoshop to manipulate it. I wasn’t as adept with film as I should have been, because I had no one to teach me. I had a half decent point and shoot digital so I would shoot on that, or shoot on film and scan it and manipulate it. I then studied photography at uni as the lecturers there saw the creativity behind my paintings and saw that there was a passion there, despite my lack of technical knowledge. I was given extra classes to get up to speed. But then that teacher retired and I didn’t see him again!

I maintained my focus on skateboarding photography, because skateboarding was my life and I loved photographing it. When I wasn’t in class, I was out skating or taking photos, all the time. It was really fun, but it just wasn’t getting anywhere.

I ended up doing work experience for a venture portraits company. One day the photographer I was shadowing didn’t turn up for work, which gave me my chance. It was a young family and it wasn’t anticipated that they would be spending much money, but they ended up liking my photos so much that they spent a lot, so much so that I was offered a job! I then dropped out of uni.

So the root of my photography was skateboarding, and it was a case of falling in to various different things before I turned to weddings.

 

What’s the best thing about your job?

The people are awesome! I love being part of such fun days! Creating unique images that they hopefully see more as art than photos.

 

What is your favourite piece of kit to use and how does this enhance your photography?

My 85 mm 1.4 portrait lens, it’s so so sharp and just creates beautiful bokeh, that’s the out of focus blur you get in the background of images.

If you could give a piece of advice to your couple on their wedding day, what would it be?

Have fun with it, don’t take it too seriously, if you do you will look stiff and unnatural in your photos. Also make sure you gel with your photographer. If you don’t feel comfortable around them you wont have natural photos.

 

What is one of your favourite images you have taken?


I have two! Sorry The purple milky way shot out in Santorini, took a long time to get right but totally worth it.

The wave image out in Sri Lanka, it was the day before the wedding and we had just gone for a location scout.. they got soaked, but they have this printed 50 inches in their house so I think they liked it.