This week I’ve been lucky enough to interview the fantastic London wedding photographer, Marianne Taylor. Marianne specialises in creative, reportage wedding photography, and her shots instantly drew me in when I came across her website.
I really love Marianne’s work, and also admire the way she handles such a busy schedule, but at the same time gives out little bits of help and advice to anyone who wants to ask her a question (see the question about ‘Ask Me Anything’ below for more info).
Anyway, over to Marianne (after one of her fantastic shots):
Hi Marianne, and thanks a lot for doing this little interview! So, my first question: I originally found you via Twitter (@mnoo), where you have a large following and are a prolific twitterer. Do many of your brides find you in this way, do you know?
Twitter for me is first and foremost about being part of a wider photographic & wedding vendor community. Funnily enough being a wedding photographer is a pretty lonely occupation, with long days – and nights – tied to the computer editing pictures and doing admin. It’s invaluable to have a community to talk to and keep you sane. It’s the equivalent of the water cooler in a traditional office environment.
I do have some clients I know that follow me on twitter, mostly these tend to be the kind of people who are themselves somewhat involved with either creative or online communities. I think majority of clients keep an eye on my work via facebook and my blog.
To actually answer your question though, I don’t think many clients (unless they are part of the scene) initially find me via twitter, no.
Your photography has been featured in magazines such as Cosmopolitan Bride and You & Your Wedding amongst others; can you remember what your very first magazine feature was, and how it came about?
My first magazine features were some interviews for photography magazines, before I started doing wedding photography. My first wedding feature was in Cosmopolitan Bride magazine. Kat from rocknrollbride had told the Editor about my work and then told me to get in touch. I did, a lovely lunch followed, and luckily Miranda thought my pictures would work well editorially. Ever since the first Cosmo Bride feature there has been regular interest from several magazines, and I also consider Miranda a friend these days. Everything I do tends to happen quite organically, I don’t really have a grand plan or force myself on anyone. I hope that my work will do the talking in most cases.
You were the first photographer I came across that used the fantastic ‘Ask Me Anything’ service (check out Marianne’s page at http://www.formspring.me/
Thank you! I’m glad someone reads it. I enjoy helping others and wish I had more time to do it. If anyone can learn from my successes or mistakes, that’s brilliant. I get asked about mentoring quite often and it’s something that is definitely at the back of my mind and is something I am planning on mulling over more when the season slows down a bit. I definitely wouldn’t want to take anyone’s money without having a clear idea of the value I might be able to offer though.
If you could choose to photograph any wedding in the world, be it in the future, or a wedding from the past (yep, you can time travel for this question!), what would it be and why?
Oh, what a hard question! I don’t think I’d have a specific person who’s wedding I’d want to photograph… The best weddings for me are when the couple are giddy about each other, and when they have planned the wedding completely on their own terms.
Can you give our readers any advice for when they’re asked to photograph a friend’s or a family member’s wedding?
I would say, recommend they hire a professional photographer. There are photographers for all price ranges out there, with proper equipment, insurances and back up plans and procedures. I have heard way too many horror stories of this sort of arrangement not working for one reason or another, and it’s tragic not to have pictures you love as memories from your day. I also think it’s unfair on whoever has been asked to do it, it’s pretty difficult being both a guest and a photographer at a wedding without splitting yourself in two. Also to add, when they do hire that professional, let them do their job and enjoy the day yourself!
Do you have a favourite lens that you like to shoot with?
I am quite partial to the 50mm and the 35mm.
For me, one of the things I’ve noticed and really like about your photography is the amount of fun you capture – the smiles and laughter. Can you give us any tips on how you capture those moments?
Patience. I have always been drawn to the authentic expressions and the only way to catch those is to be aware of situations and be ready when the moment comes. Some photographers find it difficult to slow down enough and hence might miss more of these.
How do you like to handle the ‘first dance’ photos?
Generally my assistant will hold an off camera flash for these.
Can you remember your very first wedding?
My first-first wedding was back in the 90’s, but that’s so prehistoric now that it’s probably not worth mentioning! For my first wedding as Marianne Taylor Photography, I was planning on going solo. I saw the venue a couple of days before and realised the reception would be held in a dark room without any windows or artificial light what so ever. After the initial panic, I asked my friend to come assist with off camera flash (I’ve never been a fan of on-camera flash). I feel I was otherwise fairly well prepared, I had backup equipment and I had my insurances etc. The day was a whirlwind, but went well and I loved it. We also realised how much we enjoyed working together with Susanna, and she’s been my regular assistant ever since.
I think one thing to point out is that I had absolutely confidence in my technical and artistic abilities at that point (of course there’s always room for improvement, mind!). I don’t think someone’s special day is the time to practice photography, that’s something you have to do before hand.
If you could only follow 5 people on Twitter, who would they be and why – can be photography related or not, up to you!
Since for me twitter is primarily a hangout with my industry friends, it would be impossible to rank them like that! So here are some completely unrelated follows: @LightStalking @PhotoProUK @foundacam @Londonist @heyuguysblog
Lastly, what would be your top tip(s) for someone tyring to improve their photographic skills?
Shoot, shoot, and then shoot some more…