Every weekend, I get to shoot weddings alongside one of the best female wedding photographers in the UK. But how did we get here?
In 1989, my wife, Sarah, gave up her business to come and work in my wedding photography business. I was so busy that I needed an extra pair of hands to help me. Soon she was managing the business, dealing with the magazines, designing the client books, printing my work, and carrying my bags. I took the pictures, but she did everything else.
Fast forward fifteen years and I started to get several enquiries from brides who wanted more than one photographer at their wedding. I was always against having another photographer because of the intrusion into the day, and I struggled to understand why anyone would need two photographers other than to increase the shot count.
I had a wedding booked at Micklefield Hall, and Sarah was driving for me because of the distance from home. We were discussing the possibility of bringing another photographer into the business and the pitfalls of hiring photographers, trust, and getting someone who would add something to the coverage other than noise.
I still can’t remember quite how it happened, but between the M6 and M25, and after exhausting all possibilities, we had decided to let Sarah shoot some pictures at the wedding…
Working on the fringes of the wedding, she was relaxed and confident. My fears about intrusion into the day were unfounded. The real surprise came after I had downloaded the pictures.
I distinctly remember saying to myself, “I wish I’d known this twenty years ago”. Sarah’s images showed the creativity and maturity of a photographer who had been shooting for a decade, not someone who had just taken her first wedding pictures. She had an eye for a photograph, and that is something you are either born with or not. I had found my photographer, and for twenty-five years she had been right beside me.
Her style is unique, particularly for a female wedding photographer. She’s not a wedding photographer in the traditional sense. Most of her photographic work is documentary and doesn’t involve weddings. But when she comes to shoot a wedding, she brings her documentary eye and takes photographs full of humour, character, empathy, and life. She has a mastery of light and composition, rare gifts in today’s wedding marketplace.
From day one, she set out to see the world her way and interpret it with her camera. So many wedding photographers just copy others. You can’t grow as an artist this way, you have to learn to make sense of what is in front of you and add your own experiences and personality.
Sarah sees things that I don’t and has added so much depth to the coverage, not in terms of image numbers, but on a human, emotional level.
On a typical wedding day, we work separately apart from the ceremony and speeches. Often, Sarah will be with the groom and his party, and I will be with the bride and hers. Sarah covers most of the arrivals at the ceremony and takes up an alternative viewpoint during the vows. After the wedding, she usually concentrates on the guests while I cover the main people. During the evening, she is the photographer who covers the party.
One last thing. We are not a husband and wife team!! We are two successful, independent, internationally published photographers who happen to be married to each other, and shoot weddings together. And, whatever you do, don’t ever refer to Sarah as a second shooter. That will not end well!!
To see more of Sarah’s work, head over to her wedding gallery, and her main website