HOW I GOT INTO WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY
If you want to know how to get into wedding photography and to stand out from the crowd, which is getting busier by the season, then my advice is to shoot for fun and be yourself. It’s as simple as that. I got my first camera when I was aged around 11. It was a Polaroid instamatic. My friends and I used to take it to football matches to get Photographs with the players after the game as we had access to the Carpark via a relative.
Apart from the odd disposable camera I don’t think I really took any photographs with passion for the next 16 years when I purchased a Nikon film camera. I can’t remember what it was. Slowly the obsession took hold. I then bought the canon rebel – my first digital camera. It was around the year 2001 that I started making short films and I was asked to video document a wedding by my good friend Sabina (who is now a fashion designer) foe her friends Ingrid & Jonathan.
I shot the video with the attention of creating something different, non traditional and the finished work was met with a lot of positivity. So I did a few more. During the wedding I would always take a few stills on my Canon and I’d send the couple a disc of around 50 images to accompany their movie.
Time and again I’d get Feedback suggesting that in hindsight the couple wished they’d booked me to cover their actual photography. Slowly an idea was forming. You see whilst I enjoyed video – photography was my passion. Photography has a magic that video can never match. Being able to freeze a moment in time to this day is like alchemy to me. Pure magic.
But I had a kind of inverse snobbery about it – ie nobody would pay me to do what I absolutely love doing. I took photography too seriously. It should be taken seriously as a passion. And I think we can overburden ourselves at times putting certain things on a kind of pedestal. A year or so later I was a guest at a wedding in Richmond Upon Thames and I was one of those annoying guests with a camera winding up the main photographer.
The wedding photographer at this wedding was Julia Boggio.
I’d been a guest at lots of weddings over the years and seen a lot of photographers lining up bored guests who just wanted to be anywhere else other than to be lined up and have their photograph taken. Julia I noticed was doing things differently from the start. Firstly she looked super cool but I noticed the portraits she was setting up had an artistic flare. When I got home I found her website online and I was so excited to see that as I thought her work was different.
Alongside Julia I began to research what other wedding photographers were doing. It quickly became apparent that apart from Jeff Ascough and maybe one or two others the guys in America and Australia were miles ahead of us in terms of being creative with their wedding photography and doing things different. I stumbled on the work of Sean Flanagan from Seattle (later to become a friend of mine), Fer Juaristi and Jonas Peterson.
There work was inspiring but also liberating in that I quickly saw the best way to stand out from the crowd was simply to shoot for myself, with a passion, and then I’ll be found. And it worked. I gave up my job in 2011 and started my own photography enterprise called Marshal Gray. (Anagram of my name.) I have in the past 7 years met some amazing people, lifelong friends to be, and travelled across the world with my camera seeing places I never would have seen. I also created the Dare Photography workshop to inspire people to follow their creative dreams. Photography for me is a gift I found along the way. It is something I will do for the rest of my life. Photography keeps me alive and awake and in be present moment.