Timeless Wedding Photography and the Art of the Snapshot | Friday Photo

Today I’m very pleased to usher in the Return of the Friday Photo with a discussion about how and why I take the photos that I take.  Firstly, the thing I love about the photo I’m featuring today is not just that it’s timeless wedding photography, if anything it looks like it was taken circa 1962 — even though it was taken just over a month ago in The Royal Inn in Victoria Park.  But the question that’s harder to pin down is, What makes a photograph timeless?  We know it when we see it so how do you unpack that information and break it down for discussion?

To start it’s probably easier to talk about what to avoid.  And that’s anything that pays close attention to current (and by definition passing) trends.  In wedding photography this tends to be a lot about processing fashions.  A high profile wedding photographer will develop a certain look which is immediately copied, or a new collection of filters that aim to replicate old fashioned film emulsions will hit the market and suddenly that’s all anyone is using.  My current pet hate is the black and white that’s more a range of muted, washed-out greys, (for, as far as I can tell, no reason at all other than it’s kind of in vogue).  In short anything that draws attention to the art or artifice of taking a photo, rather than the subject of the photo itself.  I.e., style over content.  For me, content is key.  Photos that resonate with me are all about the story inside the frame.  I’ve spoken to other photographers who really dislike clients referring to their photos as snaps, but (maybe perversely) that’s actually my favourite term.  That’s what I want my wedding photos to be for the most part, really high quality snaps.  Because if you think about that word you probably think about to family photo albums — maybe Grandad asleep on the sofa, head back, snoring, with a crumpled Christmas party hat about to tip off his head.  Real photos of a moment, without guile or artifice.  Slice of life stuff.  William Eggleston talks about the ‘poetic snapshot,’ and could take photos of Ketchup bottles on formica diner tops that resonate with an empty beauty.  But William Eggleston is a genius.  I’ll just take snapshot.  But that really is what I want.  Of course I want people to look through the photos and say oh these photos are lovely.  But more important than that I want people to feel as if they could have been there, or that they almost feel as though they know the characters in that shot.  And for that I think you just have to trust yourself to be able know what a photo is and click the shutter at the right moment.  It’s the art of simplicity.

east london wedding guests

Technical details for the photography wonks:

Camera: Canon 5D MKIII

Lens: Canon 24mm 1.4

Aperture: f9.5

Shutter speed: 1/200

ISO: 400

Lit with on-camera flash

Photo requested by one Sara Vaughan

For the full wedding blog click here: Ian & Gabrielle

1 Comment

  1. Emma Case

    Yes yes yes yes yes.



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