I’ve known London Wedding Photographer Sarah Gawler for a while now as we are both South London locals and was delighted we finally got the chance to work together last year on the 2 day wedding that you can see here and here . So you could all get to know Sarah a little better I asked her to answer a few questions for you…
What’s your background?
I’ve always been interested in the place of photographs in people’s lives – how they help illustrate our personal histories and keep important memories alive in our minds. At university I read fine art and specialised in photography. All my work there dealt with this link between photography and memory, so I guess in many ways wedding photography is a really lovely progression from where I started out!
Why did you get into wedding photography?
I had been shooting family portraits and PR events at clubs and parties for a few years when a landscape photographer friend of mine asked me to photograph his wedding. I was reluctant as the responsibility of it felt huge but he convinced me by saying it’s what I do already, it’s just family portraits … at a party. As it turned out, I loved the experience and quickly saw that a career in wedding photography could be really fulfilling for me. I really enjoy seeing how a couple express themselves through their wedding celebration; the outfits, the flowers, styling, music choices … but mostly I love getting to know people who are on this personal journey and being witness to their all-important day. Capturing these kind of memories for people is what makes me tick.
How would you describe your style?
I think that my images themselves embrace simple composition, spontaneity and lots of joy. I also like them to have a light and delicate quality, so that they look as much as is possible as memory feels.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Everywhere; Film, music, theatre, art, the countryside, books, magazines but ultimately for weddings I’m inspired by the couple. It’s their story, personality and vision they have for their day that I want to understand and interpret.
What has been your best experience at a wedding?
I think I have too many to mention individually but on the whole, the weddings that I’ve had the best experiences at are the ones where the couple (and their guests) really let me into their day so that I feel more like a friend than ‘the photographer’. These are the days that make me buzz when I’m shooting and that I have the fondest memories of.
What have you found the most challenging at a wedding?
Working with limited or no natural light. Photography is painting with light and it’s always challenging to shoot in venues when there’s not much to work with.
What do you think couples should be looking for when hiring a photographer?
A visual style they like of course but also a great chemistry and trust. If you enjoy and feel relaxed in your photographer’s company the chances are you’ll enjoy the experience of being photographed by them which will result in the best pictures.
What advice would you give to couples when planning their wedding?
Choose the suppliers who’s work you love, talk to them on the phone, skype or meet up with them to make sure there’s a good chemistry – then trust them to do their job.
What do you wish couples knew already when working with you?
That I’m as excited about their wedding as they are and I love to hear the little stories that go into making their day unique!
Where do you see the future of British wedding photography?
There’s lots of seriously talented Brit photographers right now making beautiful art imagery and changing people’s perceptions about what wedding photography should be so it’s a really exciting time to be a working in the industry. Photographers are experimenting with both film and digital processes, stop motion, moving image, music with images, text on images, fine art papers, beautifully bound books, the list goes on and with everyone being able to share their new ways of working through blogs, Pinterest, Twitter etc … I can only see British wedding photography becoming even more exciting. I also like to think that providing real photographs rather than or as well as digital files will make a big comeback (it has done with me, see here!)
What’s your one obsession at the moment-something you just can’t live without?
I have bit of a long term obsession with radio so my portable DAB I think. It’s pretty much on all the time when I’m at home 😉
All photos courtesy of Sarah Gawler via her blog post Mexico A Jose Villa workshop