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Beautifully Authentic Wedding & Family Photography (Northamptonshire based)

Meet Clive, your photographer

Hi!  I am Clive, your photographer.  Every wedding and every couple I photograph have their own unique story to tell and I have mine too.  Read the interview below to get to know me and what makes me unique.  

How long have you been taking photographs?

Most of my life.  I had a Kodak Instamatic when I was 9 and a Polaroid camera at 12.  I bought my first film SLR when I was 17 and my first digital SLR in 2004. Ever since I took my first image on a cheap film camera I have been fascinated by how a still image can tell a story.  I have accumulated well over a quarter of a million digital images and thousands of film images.

How would you describe your style?

Authentic, Bright and Creative.  I love capturing the story and spirit of an occasion using a combination of assisted, candid and lifestyle/reportage photography. Genuine authentic emotions are a very important aspect of my photography.  I strongly believe that images should provoke emotions as well as being technically great.  They should recreate the emotions you were feeling at the time and maybe even prompt a small tear of joy.   For this reason, the majority of my images are not posed.  Over thinking poses takes time and then the moment has gone.  My clients value this approach.

My images are bright.  I have invested in the very best technology to enable me to create beautifully bright images even in dim wedding venues.  Many wedding photographers choose to darken the edges of their images; I don't.  I believe weddings are happy occasions and that the photography should reflect this.

I have a creative eye and can quickly identify ways to create stunning photographs.  

There is a fuller explanation of photography styles in my blog.  

Do any other photographers inspire you?

Yes, both positively and negatively!  When I started out in Family and Wedding Photography, I spent hours looking at other photographer's websites and quickly got bored with the same (often posed and contrived) images being repeated again and again.  Some courses I went on even encouraged photographers to have a set list of poses to roll out at each shoot and for a while, I hate to admit, that's what I did in the early days.  The images I was seeing (and creating) may have been technically great images but had no life and gave little, if any, perception of the personalities in them.  I soon realised that the images people remember are those with real emotion; those with the ability to take the person back to that moment.  From that point on I concentrated on that as a key part of my photography style. 

I then came across Joe Buissink and have taken inspiration from him as one of the most successful celebrity wedding photographers in the world.  People book him because he concentrates primarily on capturing the right instant.  He confirmed to me that my approach is right despite the fact so few wedding photographers adopt it.

How do you approach a wedding?

I enjoy meeting my clients, getting to know them and then producing images that capture their personalities in a natural way.  My biggest buzz is their reaction when they see my photographs for the first time.  For a wedding, I always do a pre-wedding shoot and get to know them as a couple.  This really helps put the couple at ease on the wedding day which in turn enables them to relax and be themselves.  I am very aware that If they are not comfortable with me I will not capture the images they want and deserve so I invest heavily in that aspect.  I love couples who feel less comfortable  having their photo taken so that I can build their confidence and show them how beautiful they are.  

What makes you different to other photographers?

I would say three things. Firstly, I see each wedding and each couple as truly unique.  I do not have stock poses that I roll out, I capture the day as it evolves using my skill to give gentle nudges if required.  My aim is always to deliver the couples unique wedding story in a way which is truly authentic to "them".  I am always conscious that I am taking images for the couple, not for me.  By that I mean I go out of my way to capture images which they will want which is often different to those a photographer may want for a typical portfolio.

Secondly, I am a very sociable person.  Before being a professional photographer I was a senior director at one of the big 5 UK banks and was responsible for managing large teams and significant changes within the organisation.  The social skills, adaptability and confidence I developed in that role serve me well as a wedding photographer.

Finally, and probably most importantly, Several years ago I chose to leave a very well paid job to follow my heart into photography.  Quite simply, I am a photographer because I love meeting people and creating something special for them.

Hang on, you left a well paid job in Banking to be a photographer? Are you nuts?

Some say so yes!  Actually, I made the decision 16 years ago.  I was at a career development interview and was asked what my I thought my ultimate position would be and I replied a Wedding Photographer.  It got an odd look and I received feedback that I "may not be perceived as ambitious".  For me, at this stage it was truly ambitious!  At that time I had no formal photography training and certainly didn't have the equipment required to shoot weddings!  Everyone knew me as a successful banker.  Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed my career in Banking but photography was my lifetime ambition and my first career enabled  me fund it.  It was several years until I made that dream a reality but my banking days seem a distant blur now; I love what I do now and I feel lucky to be doing what i love.

What is your pet hate?

I love every wedding and work hard to find and capture the unique story in each couple as it unfolds.  So it's hard to name a pet hate on the weddings I shoot.  I guess, if I had to name one it would be the untrained amateurs who pose as professionals and typically use the banner of "reportage" or "candid" photography to cover their lack of skills.  They often lack the social skills and professional training required to do the job well and work on a "Shoot and burn" basis leaving the couple with unedited images which frankly, "Uncle Bob" could have taken.  I have been contacted by several couples wanting their images retaken.  Anyone who has the right equipment, is trained and fully insured should  be charging around £100 per hour of shooting.   This may seem high but for every hour of photography there are several more hours of editing to deliver the best results for the client.  Please see my guide to hiring the right photographer.  Sorry, I went off on one a little there didn't I!

Have you been trained as a photographer or are you self-taught?

Both.  As i said before, my love of photography started at a young age.  I decided that I wanted to move into professional photography in the mid 90's and used part of my salary to fund significant training before making that move.

However,  you never stop learning with photography.  There is always a new twist, a style preference or something that just works with a particular customer even if the "rules" say it shouldn't!.  I am a member of the Guild of Photographers  and the Society of Wedding & Portrait Photographers and I still attend courses, conferences and networking events to ensure that I continue to develop as the technology advances and style preferences change.  Wedding photography has changed a lot over the years and will continue to change in the future.

What equipment do you use?

I have 2 main cameras, a Nikon D800 and the amazing Nikon D5 both of which are great for different situations.   My range of Nikon professional f2.8 lenses and the amazing low light capabilities of the D5 enable me to capture stunning memories of your day even in darker places where most cameras simply cannot reach without flash or poor image quality. I have a lot of lighting equipment too and regularly use off camera flash.   I also have a full set of studio equipment my own unique photobooth and access to several studios.  However, just as you cant be a good chef just because you buy and expensive oven, great images are not produced by technology.  It is the art and skill of the photographer that is most important!  That is why you should book a wedding photographer based as much, if not more, on their social skills than their photography skills!

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