Does the camera make the photographer?

When you think of a hobbyist photographer who do you think of ? If I asked you to name a famous photographer who would it be ? 

I expect you thought of a middle aged man with a fancy digital camera. And the famous photographer, did any of these names come to mind, Vivian Maier, Dorothea Lange, Diane Arbus, Annie Leibovitz?  

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Candid wedding photography

In my last Blog post about a commissioned shoot I carried out for the Paul Mellon centre , I was talking about the difference in different styles of photography and client expectations. This got me thinking about a very specific situation - wedding photography. 

My Partner (in every sense of the word) and I run a Wedding Photography business - simpler-weddings.com - where we specialise in candid or reportage photography. With a wedding though, much like a commission or portrait session, you're working to a brief. If during a consultation we get asked to take traditional, posed shots then that's what we'll do. It's not our wedding, we're getting paid to take photo's of what the clients want. I'm certainly not going to turn down a wedding booking because of a difference of artistic opinions! 

There's always a point where the two styles merge, where one situation leads to another. Take this photo for example. As you can see it's of a bride and her bridesmaids:

It's a nice photo, Indie - the bride - and her bridesmaids are happy and relaxed. Seconds later I took these photos:

This interaction between Indie and her friends wouldn't have happened if they hadn't been in the group shot together. This is why I never turn my nose up to traditional wedding photography. I got three good images in a matter of seconds, The newlyweds were happy, I was happy so a win-win situation.

You can never tell what's going to happen at a wedding, you have your shot list and timings but you have to be on your toes for the unexpected, those little moments that come and go so fast - often blink and you'll miss them. I don't describe myself as a candid wedding photographer or a traditional wedding photographer - I'm a wedding photographer. I find if you rigidly stick to a label you'll miss so much.

The image is what's important, not your style of photography and I found by opening myself up to the situation that's unfolding before me I can capture some natural, yet still formal images.

Here are a few more examples to illustrate my point:

Do you shoot weddings or portraits? What are your thoughts on candid versus traditional photography? Do you adopt a more hybrid style like I do? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Portrait photo shoot with Lorretta leBonke

A couple of weeks ago I had a really fun portrait session with burlesque artist Loretta LeBonk. The session started with a relaxed drink in Home Coffee on Southsea's Albert road along with my partner, Wendy. Even though Wendy had met Loretta before I hadn't so this was a nice way to get to know her and get more of an idea of her expectations for the shoot in a less formal environment than a photography studio. 

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The Alternative Cabaret - low light fun and games!

I recently had the opportunity to take photos at the Alternative Cabaret hosted by the popular burlesque troop Rock With the Foxes at the Bucklands community center. 

I love shoots like this, I'm constantly thinking about how to capture the performers at their best and show them in their best light. I get a huge buzz from it, it's hard work but very rewarding. However,shoots like this present a few challenges photographically speaking - low light, fast movement and changing light conditions.

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