Learn From The Experts: An Interview With David Charlwood

David Charlwood

David Charlwood

I’m really thrilled to bring you an interview with David Charlwood today, a fantastic wedding photographer from the UK.

David was one of the very first photographers I started to follow on Twitter (follow him here), and he also featured in my very first ‘I Wish I’d Taken This Photo’ article back in March 2010.

So, without further ado, over to David:

David Charlwood Photography

Hi David, and thanks so much for agreeing to do this interview. One of the things that first drew me to your style of wedding photography – without sounding too pretentious! – is the true artistic value of your images. Indeed, you market yourself as a ‘Fine Art’ wedding photographer. How would you describe your style, and how did you come up with it?

Fine Art wedding photography is about creating a visual narrative that’s more than just story-telling. I love the idea that through the light, moments, detail and colour of a wedding day an image can be a piece of art in itself. Fine Art wedding photography was started by Jose Villa in America, but it wasn’t until I read how he described his work that I realised that description suited how my own style had developed.

You got married recently – congratulations! Was it strange being in front of the camera, for once? Did you take any shots yourself?

Thanks for the congratulations! Yes, it was strange being in front of the camera. My wife is an events planner, so we had a deal that if she didn’t try and run our wedding on the day, I wouldn’t take any pictures. I think I was quite well behaved.


David Charlwood Photography

It’s a typical situation for someone known as ‘the photographer’ within their circle of friends or family: sooner or later you’re approached to photograph an upcoming wedding. Can you give an amateur any advice on how to handle this at all?

Yes, the main thing is to think carefully about whether you want to accept the responsibility, and if you’re happy with it go for it!  Make sure you have spare camera gear (rent it if necessary), but most of all just be yourself. Your friends/family will have asked you because they like your work and want you to photograph their wedding, so photograph it from that intimate perspective. One final, random piece of advice: make sure you drink enough on the day. If you’re dehydrated it will badly affect your images.

If you only had one lens to shoot an entire wedding with, what would it be, and why?

My one lens would be the Zeiss 50mm f/2.0 Makro Planar. I shoot 90% of my images on it. The way it renders out of focus areas is amazing and I actually enjoy the extra thought that a manual focus lens makes you put into every image.

David Charlwood Photography

What’s the best piece of photography advice anyone has ever given you?

Position yourself for the light, first and foremost. Once I started thinking about the direction and quality of the light first, before the other elements in the scene, I found I began to create better images.

How did you get into the wedding photography business? For example, did you start by second-shooting, or did you jump straight into the deep end?

I jumped straight in at the deep end. A friend called me and asked me to help some good friends of hers whose wedding photographer had dropped out at the last minute. I loved every minute of it and knew by the end of the day that I’d found something I wanted to do.

David Charlwood Photography

As well as your main wedding photography site, you also write a really great blog, where you share your personal experiences, photography tips and more. What are your favourite things to write about, and why?

I think I most enjoy sharing images I’ve rediscovered. I blog a lot about current weddings and other photoshoots, as well as review photography equipment, but I love finding an old image on one of my hard-drives and being able to share it with people again.

We’ve all heard horror stories about weddings going wrong; angry mother-in-laws, crying brides and more. What’s been the hardest/scariest thing that’s happened to you?

I’ve been very lucky, as I haven’t really had any real disasters or things go wrong. I think my scariest moment has to be leaning quite far out of a car window to catch a shot of the wedding car following us down a country lane. My wife was not impressed when I told her afterwards!

David Charlwood Photography

If Twitter suddenly gave you a 3 person limit to the amount of people you could follow, who would they be and why? They can be photography-related or not, totally up to you.

@josevilla – Jose Villa, apart from basically inventing Fine Art wedding photography, has helped wedding photographers gain more respect in the industry.

@Lytro – If you’ve not heard of Lytro’s Light Field camera technology then look them up, I think it’ll be the next big development in photography.

@photojournalism – Shares really interesting links. I like seeing events through other photographers’ eyes

Thanks again to David for taking the time to do this interview! As I mentioned before, David was one of the first ever photographers I started to follow on Twitter, and I really recommend you do the same, by following him here. He’s also active on Facebook, too, and writes a really interesting blog. CharlwoodPhotography.com is his main website, where you can view lots more examples of his stunning fine art wedding photography.

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