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  • simonshakespeare

How It All Started

I remember when I started photographing weddings all of those years ago, we never really bothered with engagement shoots, the weddings were not all that creative. It was the days of medium format film, my tool of choice was a Bronica medium format camera system. We used to take 60 images and the Bride was to choose 30 for her album. On some Saturday's I shot three weddings yehaaa.


A big turning point in Wedding photography came about 11 years ago as digital started to be taken seriously. I started with a Fujifilm S1 which I think was a three million pixel camera, very slow with not very much dynamic range, not ideal when you are photographing black suits and white dresses. It was a pretty big wake up call for lots of photographers, you see if we didn't quite get the exposure right we never knew we just sent it to the lab who used some of their magic, by the time we received the prints back they were beautiful.

Digital is a little different, you got to see the image on the back of the camera, turned out many of us were not as good as we thought we were😳 There was a lot of negativity towards digital in the early days by long in the tooth film photographers, many of these fell by the wayside as they struggled to get use to and accept the new technology sweeping through the business of Wedding photography, this was a real shame as with them went a wealth of experience and knowledge. This knowledge for the most part is still in short supply and many photographers struggle with light, composition and direction. I remember my time as secretary to the Master Photographers association, we all had a real bee in our bonnet about training and it was a wonderful sight to see new photographers showing up to training events hosted by the MPA. I very often go to the MPA website just to see the amazing works of photographic art regularly displayed on their home page.


As the years went by I went through many models of camera, fuji s2, Canon 10d, Nikon D2x, Canon 5d mk1/mk11 a Canon 6d, and now Sony. Ironically I still use a Fujifilm, which is more a passion. As cameras became better, faster more automated so the experience of using them changed, gone were the days of robot like posing sessions outside the church, we could now work faster, we now looked for expressions and emotions, there was magic in the air.

Instead of 60 pictures we now take 1000, I am not sure whether this is a good thing or not however I do know that it is infectious, once you get the Bride and Groom in the zone you just run with it, as a photographer you search for the light, take note of the backgrounds, you are aware of how the Bride and Groom are standing and in the middle of this there is light hearted banter between all three of us. It is a very creative experience, one which allows you to grow as an artist. It is a far cry from the days of posing the Bride and Groom, keeping them still and watching their eyes to make sure they are not blinking as you press the shutter. As photographers we are privileged to see the world differently, we notice color, shape, light and form, almost like Neo in the film Matrix when he finally realized he was the 'one' he suddenly saw the world differently, more intense.

This is indeed a gift, one that I will be forever grateful for.


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