August & September 'Moments'

I'm a documentary photographer and perhaps the most enjoyable part of the creative process is not knowing what will happen. Not exactly, anyway. Naturally, I prepare thoroughly for every wedding and I ensure that I have all the equipment I could possibly need. I also make sure that I have reserve locations ready for private shoots, or groups, should they be needed. However, there is one aspect you simply cannot plan for and its the appearance of fleeting moments that are sent to thrill, challenge, frustrate and amuse wedding photographers.

 Katy & Stuart's Wedding at Peckforton Castle

Katy & Stuart's Wedding at Peckforton Castle

While I may not know what's going to unfold, I do know that I'll encounter unexpected moments at each and every wedding. Truth be told, they're the bits I am most excited about and what gives me a tingle of nervous excitement the moment I start shooting. They're also a huge part of what makes each wedding distinctive, personal and authentic.

 The first victim at Murphy's Bar, near Castlebar, Co. Mayo, with Katie and Tom

The first victim at Murphy's Bar, near Castlebar, Co. Mayo, with Katie and Tom

At the moment I shoot with little Fujifilm cameras, because they're responsive, compact and quick. I can quickly bring them up to my eye and catch a fleeting moment without looking like I am pointing a rocket launcher at people (which I think everyone appreciates). I may take a single frame, or a couple, or I may shoot a burst of a second or more, but here's the thing; I never look at the screen to see whether I 'got the shot' or not. The reason is simple: it has already passed. If I didn't get it, I didn't get it, but if I did, then I did! Either way there will be more wonderful moments to come and I prefer not to spend my time looking at the screen on the back of the camera. I guess this is also a product of beginning my professional documentary work with film cameras, which have no screen, only 36 frames and which require you to always look forward to the next shot, not back at the last!

Not every moment is sent from the heavens to flatter a Bride or Groom, but I shoot anything and everything that touches me. These moments sit at the core of what connects me to the people I am photographing and I perhaps look at them differently to most non-photographers. Real moments are far bigger than 'the most flattering angle' and our relationship with them tends to change with time. This is why I try to provide as many such moments as possible to the Bride and Groom, so that they can decide what's most meaningful to them. Real human moments provide memories that far outlive the best laid plans. Having spent over ten years photographing and working in conflict zones prior to moving into wedding photography in the UK, I can say with real conviction that I will never grow tired of seeing people happy. I think it has made me appreciate what I now do for a living all the more.