Learn From The Experts: An Interview With Emma Case

Emma Case Profile pic
Emma Case

I’m very excited to announce the first of what will be a new series of posts on LearningTheLight.com: ‘Learn From The Experts’, where professional photographers will share their tips, tricks, anecdotes and words of wisdom for us all.

And I’m even more excited that our first expert on board is none other than Emma Case, of Emma Case Photography. I’ve been a long time admirer of Emma’s wedding photography, so it was really exciting when she agreed to do this interview!

Hi Emma, and thanks a lot for agreeing to do this interview. You market yourself as an ‘alternative’ wedding photographer – does this come from the kind of weddings you cover, your particular style, or a combination of the both?

I think it’s a combination of both really.  I would say that personally my tastes are alternative when it comes to clothes, music, furniture etc and the business is just a natural extension of me as a person.  Because of this I seem to attract similar people.. just the same as if you portrayed yourself as a very corporate business.. you would expect to attract that type of client.  I want to look at my photographs and my branding and think that I would book myself if I stumbled across my work..

I definitely want this to come across as a strong message as the alternative style starts with the photographs so I want to be completely clear from the start so that prospective clients understand my style and approach which hopefully means that I attract the right kind of couple for me.

I love the colours and tones in your photography; for me, it’s one of the factors that really make your images stand out. What software do you use for your photo editing, and can you give us any tips on how you get your look?

I use Lightroom for basic adjustments and then the remainder of the work I use Photoshop.  I have Totally Rad Actions, Oeil Photography actions and have just started playing with Alien Skin too.  It’s quite strange actually as another good friend of mine, he uses pretty much the same actions as me but our images and style are completely different.  I do think it’s a combination of everything on how to get your own ‘look’.  The way you use light, your composition, your relationship with a couple..I shoot in Aperture Priority and I quite often tend to slightly overexpose… all these things will effect the final photograph.

What’s the one lens you like to shoot most with at a wedding, and why?

My 35mm 1.4 is my wingman (or winglady)… it’s my favourite lens.. I’ve also got the 85mm 1.2 which is great for ceremony, speeches etc.. I’m pretty happy with these two on my shoulders…

Emma Case Photography

Can you tell us a little about the very first wedding you did as ‘the pro photographer’?

My first wedding as a pro photographer was in January 2010.. it was snowing and the wedding was in a beautiful manor house with dark wood panelling on all the walls and the ceiling and the ceremony was at 4pm.  I remember feeling sick for pretty much most of it but at the same time completely and utterly loving it.  The couple were amazing and the whole wedding was beautiful.. lots of laughing and lots of dancing but I definitely jumped in at the deep end.. most of the day everyone was inside, the lighting was really tricky and through the speeches I could just about get my bum through the seats as it was quite a small room.. but I’m so glad that it was such a challenge.  Wedding photography is HARD. You’re having to deal with a million situations at once and you have to be able to make quick decisions… and you’re doing it on someone’s wedding day.  That particular wedding taught me a lot and by the time summer came around I was in my element that there was still light at 6pm let alone 9pm!

Emma Case Photography


I’m sure a lot of our readers would love to know your thoughts about this time-honoured scary situation: being asked to photograph your niece/brother’s/best friend’s little sister’s wedding, just because you’re known to have a ‘big camera’. What would your advice be for someone facing this dreaded event?

This is always going to be a tricky situation whatever profession.. hairdressers, mechanics, decorators… we’re all going to get asked and it’s so difficult as to friends and family all you’re doing is taking a few pics.. I wasn’t great at dealing with this for quite a while and have shot quite a few friends events for free or heavily discounted but I’m much better now.. I think you definitely learn by your mistakes.  I now will only shoot for immediate family and what I call my close friends.. for anyone else I will tactfully explain that my schedule is really busy and also that me and my husband are both making a living from this so if I shoot a wedding for free or discounted that’s equivalent to someone having their wages cut one month!  It can sound a bit harsh but otherwise you would be constantly shooting for nothing.

There’s always a lot of talk amongst wedding photographers about ‘gear’. What are your thoughts on equipment, and do you think it’s as important as creativity?

Someone can have all the ‘gear’ in the world but still take rubbish photographs.  I started with pretty standard non-professional cameras.. and although I now really appreciate having better equipment and can see a difference in performance in say low light etc… it still has to come from the photographer.  You can be taught how to use any camera, you can be taught about light but creativity and emotion and relationships aren’t so easy to teach.

Flash photography at weddings. Yay or nay?

Personal preference really.  I only use my flash for dancing shots and the photo booth.  Everything else is natural light.

Emma Case Photography

What’s the best book you’ve ever read about photography? Can be wedding or general-photography related, totally up to you.

I am in love with ‘Days with my Father’ by Phillip Toledano.. it’s a photo journal of Philip’s father’s last years.  All the photos are accompanied with small descriptions or quotes from his Father and the photos are so emotionally charged.  Such depth, emotion, sadness, joy, heartache.. and although his Father has passed away.. the book is such a wonderful celebration of a Father and Son.. for me it is such a strong reminder of how important documentation is in whatever form…

It’s a hypothetical situation, so don’t panic, but if Twitter only let you follow 5 people, who would they be and why?

This is hard… is it quite strange that if I could only follow 5 then I’d probably just not use it (sorry that’s a rubbish way out of a question!)…

I’d like to thank Emma again for taking the time to give us this interview. I urge you to check out her main website (where you’ll find even more great examples of her photography), ‘like’ her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter too.

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