BBC Radio 2 Jeremy Vine – Wedding photos discussion Friday 2nd March (but not with me)

It’s not often I wish I’d been a guest on a radio programme, but today was definitely one of those rare occurrences.

Jeremy Vine was discussing wedding photography on his lunchtime show. It all came about as a couple from Cheshire had received really poor photos of their big day from a Manchester photographer.

Now I know there are 2 sides to every story and I’m not even going to comment on their story, but it was very interesting to hear the questions Jeremy asked his professional photographer guest, and thought it might be fun for me to answer from my perspective some of the questions he raised.

Why do you shoot with 2 cameras? Don’t you get confused between them?

I shoot with 2 cameras as I prefer the look from the photos I get from using fixed length lenses to zoom lenses. If I didn’t have the 2 cameras on my belt it would mean faffing around changing lenses and I’d miss SO much and it’s just not practical. This way if I want to go wide angle I pick my left camera, and if I want a closer shot I pick my right camera. The fact it makes me look like Lara Croft (yeah right) has nothing to do with it haha!

So what’s the worst case scenario? One camera breaks and the other gets damaged?

Actually, I think the worst case scenario is to have your gear stolen, but that’s why it’s always on me. Even when the day is done and I’m packed up heading home, those precious memory cards are in a hard case in my zipped pocket.

I’ve had an accident where I dropped my camera during a wedding (actually, it was at the end, but still highly embarrassing) but that’s why I even carry a spare camera…just in case!

Can you not upload a backup while you’re taking the photos?

Shooting a wedding is so fast-paced you always have to be watching and anticipating, there’s no time to mess around backing up. That said, I use cameras that have 2 memory card slots, so while photos are being written to one card, the other card is making a copy. Belts and braces here folk! That’s why I’d never be able to shoot film; I couldn’t cope with the anxiety!

Why don’t you just give all the photos you took to the couple?

Actually, Jeremy hit the nail on the head with this one – you wouldn’t give the first drafts of a poem to someone, you want them to have the best – the finished result. Photos are just the same.

Ugh, the group shots – is this the most stressful part?

Erm, yes. Haha! That’s why I always ask for a couple of people to be nominated as my helpers to round people up, complete with their list. The sooner these get done, the more of your story I can tell which is what you hired me for after all! I’ll also fire off a number of shots as there’s always someone who will be blinking…

Do you get nervous?

I know some photographers don’t, but I do. It’s so important; it’s almost like pre-gig nerves. Once I get started I’m fine, but the day before is when I get nervous. I also know other wedding photographers who like me have pre-wedding nightmares – with everything from not knowing where we are, losing cameras, forgetting how to drive, you name it, and we’ve had sweaty nightmares about it. I think it’s our subconscious keeping us on our toes.

Would you consider shooting a wedding on a mobile phone?

For me? No. Although phones have come on in leaps and bounds, I’d be worried about it too much. Not enough control – what about memory capacity? Shoot rates? Maybe one day in the future, but certainly not now. I’m not sure my insurance company would be too happy either haha!

What about flash? Do you use flash?

As a very last resort when it gets just too dark I will sometimes resort to flash. But for me it’s too intrusive, and I’m there to capture the story of the day as accurately as I can, not be a distraction.

I’ve heard that the new digital cameras have electronic shutters so have an artificial shutter noise built in?

That’s right, but the cameras I use are DSLR’s, not the Mirrorless ones that have electronic shutters. That said, my cameras do have quiet mode and I’ve NEVER had anyone complain or even shoot me a dirty look for being obtrusive and noisy.

How do you spot the unscrupulous photographer? The one that’s going to photograph the bridesmaids’ bottoms? (Jeremy asked this not me!!!)

Years ago, I was in the position of looking for a wedding photographer for myself (and my now ex) and I just fell in love with the work of the guy I chose. That’s the best way to describe it – you LOVE their work and just know they’re right for you. On a practical note, check their social media, and if you get in touch with them they should be prompt and professional.

Me with my cameras photographing a charity event. THIS is why I’m BEHIND the camera haha!