2019 will be the year of my 10th wedding anniversary .. and the 10th year of documenting weddings as a profession (after having studied in the darkroom for my Photography Degree in the UK). I have been to so many weddings I really have lost count. I’ve seen it all, and I’m lucky to count many of my past clients as good friends now. So, what is the lesson from witnessing so many couples take their sacred vows and celebrate in a variety of heartfelt and creative of ways?

The lesson is simple: to be present.

Over the years I have learned to position myself as a friendly observer who conveys images with truth and authenticity. I’m able to anticipate moments and position myself accordingly without interfering with the scene, this is something I’m immensely proud of and, a skill every wedding photographer should master. These real moments are the images which endure, these are the images which mean so much.

Yet, for me and many of my clients, there’s a little bit more we want to say. As creative individuals, we have a signature aesthetic and the vibe we want to create. And here I’m talking about the photoshoots and the editorial interpretations “engagement shoots” and “pre-wedding shoots”. For me, it’s about being playful and having fun with the expression of the event.

The additional photoshoots are so much fun and really give me and my clients a chance to express our creativity and individuality, BUT they should not come at the expense of your wedding day and being with your people.

So how do the two different approaches come together in a real wedding environment?

The key is timing: when you’re with your guests then be with them – completely and utterly. When we’re on a shoot then let’s have some fun and express ourselves – perhaps bring along a drink and make it a special “time out” for the two of you. In an ideal world, we shoot the fun stuff in the days leading up to the wedding and then on the wedding day itself we keep it timeless and simple.

In short, the answer is yes, you can have both – if you are smart about your timeline.