Tell us about yourself and what got you into photography? How did you develop your style in photography?
I’m an exiled Welshman living in North Wiltshire where I live with my lovely wife, two lovely children, not so lovely naughty whippet. I shoot social documentary photography, mostly weddings, and I shoot in a candid manor which means I don’t stage or set up any of the photographs.
My photography journey has been quite quick and up until 2008/9 I was running my own online marketing business in London. A change in circumstance saw us “move to the country” where we settled down and I decided a complete change of career was needed. I decided to become a wedding photographer.
In a not very short period of time I understood that my ideal day shooting a wedding was in a totally candid way. And as such, that is how my style has evolved and I now shoot documentary weddings all over the UK, Europe and even America. I love the humanity element of weddings and I simply shoot people, being people.
Why did you choose Fujifilm cameras?
In short, I was very happy with my old DSLR system but I always felt there was something missing. Something I couldn’t quite put my finger on until I picked up an X100 in 2011. I knew instantly that this was the future for me (though it would take a couple more camera models before I made the switch entirely).
Using the smaller CSC cameras simply allows me to get more intimate images, without affecting the integrity of the moment.
I’m not a “spray and pray” type photographer. Most of my images are considered moments, rather than running around shooting thousands of images and hoping for the best, the X-Series with their glorious viewfinders and beautifully designed chasis allow me to watch, then shoot.
I believe a good documentary photographer should be a better observer, than shooter. The X-Series are so much lighter and they allow me to get into moments and shoot weddings from the inside out, rather than the outside in as was the case and only option with my big DSLR system.
I sold all my DSLR gear and bought a new car. With the change I invested in my X-Series and have never looked back.
Do you have a photographic philosophy you live by?
I like to look for the extraordinary, in a world of ordinariness. I see wedding photography just like street photography. A good street photograph has a story and has a reason to exist. I want all my images to involve emotion, story and ultimately some kind of humanity element. I don’t want my pictures to be simply boring snapshots wherever possible and so my philosophy is to shoot images that make me smile, and make the client smile too.
Key inspirations – What & who inspires you?
I was never “into” photography, but I remember seeing the images of Jane Bown, Don McCullin etc in the Sunday supplements as I grew up. I didn’t have an appreciation of the technique of photography then but I certainly loved looking at the photographs.
In more recent times, from a wedding and street photography point of view I’m in awe of the work and philosophy of Mel Digiacomo.
Do you have any tips or tricks you could share with us?
From a technical point of view I’d like to say things like; consider the background, check the composition of your images, ensure the light is good.
All these things are important but my most important tip I think is this: try not to take boring photos. Whether you are shooting on the streets, shooting weddings or shooting your kids at home – always try and give the image a reason to exist. A snapshot of someone sat in a café having a drink has a lot less impact than if perhaps something else is happening in the background, or there is a juxtaposition in the image.
I find setting my cameras up to use back button focusing and zone focusing for low light works amazingly well. If I’m shooting quickly, I will often use aperture priority or even “P” mode. Remember I’m the observer and the camera is the technology! Explore the glorious JPEGs that the X-Series produce too. I think if you ignore these, you are missing out on such an exciting part of photography – having the results out of the can without having to process them? Imagine that…..
What’s next for you?
I’m shooting more and more overseas weddings and I’ll be exploring that a bit more. My workshops and speaking see me travel too which is great but one thing I want to explore more is social documentary. I want to capture life in all its aspects and I’ll be perusing that more over the coming years.