An interview with Wedding Photographer James Day
Coming from a wedding photography background myself I was quite interested to hear about the stories from accomplished wedding photographer James Day, after I noticed one of his images went viral on his Facebook Page with the following text.
“You know how sometimes the celebrant/minister mentions that your flash can interfere with the photographers photo?
This is what can happen.
This was the groom wiping away a tear as he saw his bride walking down the aisle.
Consider putting your camera away during a wedding ceremony, please.”
With regards to the viral emotional photograph you took of the groom on his wedding day , what did you do in this situation for the photo to turn out like it did?
I think it was simply that someone else’s flash went off midway through the exposure. It’s actually quite a rare occurrence… people’s flashes don’t really cause a massive headache.. it’s more people not getting involved in their friends wedding that bothers me as I know the bride would much prefer to see their friends faces rather than the back of their iPads as they walk down the aisle.
Did you get a response from the wedding couple about the photo?
I’ve spoken to them, mainly to reassure them that i still managed to get a great shot a split second after. They said they never doubted me… and simply asked to be tagged in anything! :-)
So, this is the difference a professional photographer makes at a wedding. It’s clear with this example. Technology can get it wrong, but what matters the most is that the photographer (or person behind the camera) gets it right. That’s exactly what happened in the events above – so well done to you!
I personally have seen so many photographers starting out in wedding photography and it disappoints me to see them take one photo and walk off. It really does come down to their experience and style.
I think I’m about 50 billion styles all rolled into one. I’m forever wanting to try new techniques and I also realise that each part of the day requires a slightly different approach. Sometimes you’re fly on the wall and sometimes you’re the centre of attention entertaining people. So, perhaps my style is that I just do what the moment requires :-) In regards to how I learnt, I’d say that I’m still learning.
I literally am constantly feeling restricted by what I see in my mind and trying to work out how to bring it to life. It’ll be something that I think I’ll always battle with. In the beginning however, I knew the importance of having a great mentor, so a lot of what I know was taught to me by the absolute Legend Simon James. I still continue to reach out to him and ask for his help regularly.
As a wedding photographer what is the biggest reoccurring problem you have to deal with on a wedding day?
As a wedding photographer, you do encounter lots of challenges. I do enjoy them though, and wouldn’t change them for anything. I’d say one of the biggest challenges however would be guests and their cameras. It’s often a huge priority for my clients to get lots of great shots of their guests but that is made more difficult when they’re all running around trying to get their own pictures. I’ve found that the most interesting images are of people fully immersing themselves into the wedding day experience… and that is often hindered by their cameras or phones getting in the way.
I certainly do have a few favourites, but it’s impossible to single out just one. There is one that comes to mind. It was shot in the pouring rain… and when the couple hired me, they were quite keen for me to push the boundaries as much as we could. I remember after this image was taken I put my shoes in front of the fire and spent the rest of the night barefoot. I was absolutely soaked. However, now, I’m just stoked.
To be honest, I sometimes encourage them. If it’s during family photo time, I’ll actually give them a few tips! I’ll also encourage them to get right behind me (so that everyone is looking the same way). I don’t think there’s ever any reason to be rude to aspiring photographers… I think if anything they should be encouraged… but there are definitely times when the camera is best sat to the side :-)
I did have an interesting experience recently however when the Brides uncle was a well known paparazzi. I drew the line when he started taunting me, like he would a celebrity… just to get a reaction. At that point I just simply asked the Bride & Groom to ask him to leave the area.
If you could give some advice to an upcoming photographer what would it be?
Find a great mentor. Make mistakes in safe environment. Build a solid portfolio. Don’t rush into trying to make a living from it, but enjoy creating with full artistic control, so that your portfolio perfectly represents what you like to do when there are no restrictions in place. Then people will hire you for that! Look for new ways to market yourself, social media is great, but that’s not where the real magic happens, so don’t waste too much time with it. The real magic happens when people have an encounter with you and your brand. Put others in the spotlight more than yourself and do what you can to support those around you. That would be my advice.