Statement photographers James Dodd and Robert Ormerod both shoot weddings, we thought we’d get them to talk about some of their experiences:
“Wedding photography tends to get a bad rap in most photography circles. I’ve spoken to many photographers and with most it seems wedding photography is almost seen as an easy option, a way of selling out or admitting defeat from “real photography” and that the photographers themselves are selling out.
Personally I don’t view it in this way. Wedding photography is some of the most difficult work I do and is almost a perfect training ground for my personal work.
A good wedding for example contains a mixture of portraiture and candid moments, it brings skills of reading events before they happen, anticipating the moment and thinking on your feet. They enable me to try new things which I can take to my personal work and I can bring things to them from my personal work.
I think because I’m not solely a wedding photographer, and because I only shoot a handful each year, weddings stay fresh and don’t appear as much like work to me. Obviously working with Ben [James shoot's weddings with fellow photographer Ben Roberts] makes it so much easier as we’re able to constantly help each other out, trying new things whilst the other gets the more expected stuff. It’s also great to have someone about you can have laugh with.
I find that weddings are truly joyous occasion and to be present and to be paid to document them is something I would never have expected to be so much fun. But I do enjoy them and look forward to each one I shoot. “
“There seems to be a formula in wedding photography set by many years of precedent regarding what people expect from your pictures: Moving away from this formula and producing something interesting is always a constant challenge.
Although most weddings are set around the same structure, each day is different and involves it’s own unique challenges. In my opinion weddings constitute a life changing milestone and there are some great moments which are just waiting to be documented. I think of it as being given access to go in and record these moments just as I would shoot any other photo journalistic story. There are some great themes to follow and convey visually like growth and fulfillment as a person as well as the possibility of new life.
Before each wedding I get inspired by looking at some great photography in general. I don’t think you can draw a line between wedding photography, photojournalism and documentary. I believe it to be fundamentally the same thing so I like to look at work by photographers who think along similar lines.
There is an old expression which goes something like: “photograph a funeral like a wedding and a wedding like a funeral.” I don’t exactly follow this to the letter but I think there is definitely a useful message there: in other words try to break the mold… or better yet create your own. “