We are delighted to share with you a guest blog on aspects of documentary wedding photography as explained by Kevin Scott-Wood of Scott-Wood Photography. Kevin is a creative documentary wedding photographer whose work Ananya admires, and with whom Ananya has collaborated, including contributing a guest blog on their website. Here Kevin answers some questions on his approach to documentary wedding photography that will give you some interesting insights and information.
Having been exposed to different cultures from a very young age through your travels, has your understanding of diverse cultures influenced your photography? Does it help you in how you capture memorable moments in multicultural weddings or weddings of other cultures?
Travel definitely broadens the mind. I think by living amongst different cultures it’s given me a perspective on how important it is to understand cultural etiquette. When it comes to weddings in other cultures, it’s helped me understand when to photograph and when not. A great example is when I photographed an Anglo-Japanese wedding. The bride was going to wear a traditional Japanese bridal Kimono for the first ceremony. She explained to me that the first layer of the Kimono is the equivalent of an undergarment. I was very privileged to be invited to witness and photograph the Kimono dressing ceremony, but I was discreet and respectful in terms of what I photographed. Respect of cultures is SO important………..
You are quoted as saying “I’ll work in a way that will inspire you to be yourself, capturing for you the stunning images that you dreamed of and that will make your family and friends go WOW………just as I have for many other couples." Can you give us an example, perhaps taking one wedding, of how you did that?
I photographed a particularly joyous wedding this summer in Cambridge that I think sums up how I work. It was completely documentary style and I was just able to capture the story of Robyn and Jeremy’s day freely and creatively. They gave me the freedom to do what I do best. And if that means I occasionally have to hang perilously from a bridge to get the shot that I want, I can do it. The results are gorgeous and here’s a snippet of what Robyn and Jeremy said:
On the day you embraced every challenge - from climbing up to balconies, to jumping on and off punts, and to leaning over bridges - it was clear that you would go to great lengths to get the best shots for us!.......... we felt totally relaxed and didn't have to worry about posing.
When the pictures arrived we were astounded. We don't just have pictures of our wedding day - we have the story of our wedding told in pictures!
You managed to capture every emotion; from laughter to tears of joy. The composition of each picture is perfect - every picture tells a story.
Do you do any research on the couple and their background before the big day, especially if they are from a different culture, to help you know the significant moments to capture?
I’ll always do my research! Some of that is done via the pre-wedding questionnaire that my couples fill in, whilst other information comes through just getting to know each couple, either when they book or at a pre-wedding meeting or photoshoot. If there’s a cultural aspect I’m not familiar with at all it’s not uncommon for me to do a day or so research. When I did my first Russian orthodox wedding last year I spent a long time getting to know what happens during the ceremony as the service is vastly different from an Anglican wedding.
We at Ananya love your work. What are the important factors a couple should consider when choosing a wedding photographer, and who would make your dream couple to photograph?
There are five key points that I would say are the most important when choosing your wedding photographer:
1. You need to feel that you have a rapport with and feel comfortable with your chosen photographer. He or she will be with you for a good part of one of the most important days of your life.
2. It’s important that you like and understand the style of photography that the photographer is offering. For example, the relaxed documentary style of photography is great if you want to enjoy your day without posing for lots of group and portrait photos.
3. Set your budget but don’t choose wholly on budget. Generally, you get what you pay for, so expect to pay £1500 + for a full time professional who is experienced and insured.
4. Don’t leave booking to the last minute. You might be lucky but the good photographers can be booked up, up to two years in advance! And, if you find one who you really like book them!
5. Do your research. A good place to start is either with a simple internet search term that relates to either your venue or the style of photographer you’re looking for i.e. London Wedding Photographers or Documentary Wedding Photographers. Wedding Blogs can be a good source particularly if they feature real weddings.
Has wedding photography changed much over the years in terms of techniques, equipment or approach?
The digital age of photography has brought huge change to the market in the last ten years. In a sense there is more freedom with digital. There’s immediacy to it that you didn’t have with film and there are some amazing free thinking creative wedding photographers out there who perhaps wouldn’t have picked up a camera if it meant using film.
Are there trends in wedding photography? If so, what do you see the trends being for 2017?
A recent trend over the last few years has been the beloved style of wedding photography that’s also known as fine art. It’s generally stylised, very soft colours and ‘light’. It’s in complete contrast to my style which is very strong black and white and strong colours. I think there’s something for everyone in the marketplace but there’s also been a big increase in proposal photography which I think will continue, as well as aerial photography and photo booths. Increasingly I’m seeing couples go for a hybrid style of photography- relaxed but with a shorter stylised couple’s photoshoot.
You offer a range of packages to your clients. Could you please elaborate on that?
I think what I offer is straightforward, easy to understand and with the ability to be ‘tweaked’ if necessary. Prices start at £1495 for digital coverage that covers bridal prep to first dance and rise to £3500 for all day coverage with two photographers, digital images and album.
Kevin is certainly dedicated to his work, and it shows in the beautiful photos he produces. We hope this has inspired you to the possibilities of creative documentary photography.
Please leave us a comment. What memorable moments have you had captured?