Turning the camera on themselves
Camera Artists, what makes a perfect image and why do photographers create the images that they do? As Fujifilm Original Photo Paper we have a natural link with photography. The passion and vision of photographers tells a beautiful story, especially in print. We ask David Stanbury to tell his story…
Who is David Stanbury?
I’ m a wedding & portrait photographer based in the North West of the UK in my 25th year in business and along with my wife and business partner have been lucky to shoot nearly 1400 weddings all over the world and win a few awards along the way. I am a photographic educator running photography workshops in the UK, Europe and America, I am also an international photography judge and photography ambassador & consultant for some major photography companies. I am also proud to be one of only a handful of UK photographers to hold a triple Fellowship. Fellowship is the highest qualification you can receive in the UK and I have been awarded a fellowship with the British Institute of Professional Photography (FBIPP) the Society of Wedding & Portrait Photographers (FSWPP) and the Master Photographers Association (FMPA)
How did you become a wedding photographer?
I honestly think that wedding photography found me. My first camera was bought by my parents and my father said “go to college & learn how to use it properly”, so with camera in hand and full of excitement I literally photographed everything & anything but I seemed to just feel comfortable shooting people and places and weddings gave me the perfect opportunity to do just this. My first wedding really gave me my big break as the couple wanted just black and white images. At the time the pros where just shooting colour and with me being at college, I had access to processing and printing facilities. So my first wedding I shot, processed and hand printed the monochrome prints for the couple and as crazy as it sounds now, my USP was I did black and white wedding photos and from that our diary quickly filled with new wedding clients.
What has been your most amazing wedding photo shoot experience?
Ohhh, I’ve been lucky to have a few. We have photographed a wedding where the couple had their ceremony outdoors on the snowy slopes of a mountain in the French Alps, another wedding shoot was overlooking Florence in Italy but i think the most amazing has to be our recent destination wedding shoot on a stunning beach in Sri Lanka and the evening celebrations as the sun set. It was truly a special few days and one of the best parts of our job are the new friends we make and the friends we made in Sri Lanka we will cherish forever.
What does it take to become a successful wedding photographer?
For me I think it’s being as passionate about the couple’s wedding day as they are and the ability to provide them trust in you as a photographer that you can deliver what they have dreamed about for years. Understand that telling the story of a wedding day is all about capturing those special moments because to me moments become important when they are a memory and very important, practice your craft as you need to be prepared for anything and on a wedding day anything can happen.
Do you have any favourite photographic paper? And why?
I am loving the new Fujifilm Professional Maxima Matte paper.
With my prints I always want a good black & a good white and with my style of shooting I want that moody strong contrast but still to see those subtle details and storytelling information in my blacks and Maxima delivers that and add to that its longevity, as I have said previously my photography has to last for generations and Maxima just hits the spot for me. Now as a photography judge I am looking for these same characteristics from the prints I judge and we have seen many times in competitions great images that have been let down for poor print quality and trust me you only make that mistake once. Photography is a highly competitive business.
Do you have any tips and tricks for emerging photographers?
Over our 25 years the industry has changed so much and so we have had to change with it, from offering our services for a local market to now a truly global one as with online presence you can reach clients around the world, but one thing has always stayed the same and that’s the importance of the experience that our clients receive from us for the service we provide. Wedding photography is an emotional investment and we supply products that will last generations, so the way we deliver our service from the clients first impression when we first meet them, to shooting on the day, to presenting them with their finished wedding album and onwards, has to be paramount and leaving our clients with wonderful memories. Unlike other photography genres, we mainly deal with clients who may not understand the difference between a good photograph and a bad one but they do know the difference between good & bad service. Wedding photography is certainly not for the faint hearted.
As wedding photographers we don’t have 8 hours to grab one shot and don’t even think of a re shoots but the rewards can be immense. There’s just no better feeling than witnessing a couple tearfully looking through their album of images that you have created, touching and feeling the pages that take them back to those beautiful memories and knowing that long after you have gone, future generations will treasure what you have created.
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