For today’s ISPWP member spotlight, we feature London wedding photographer Mark Seymour of Mark Seymour Photography.
Mark Seymour Bio:
Mark has a commitment to transporting a couple back to their special day through his stunning reportage wedding photography that documents the real moments with all their emotive power as well as highlighting the details and personal touches that make your day unique.
“It’s exciting for me to capture the feelings and emotions of a scene as it happens, leaving an everlasting image of a moment to treasure for a lifetime”.
Mark’s skilled use of blending documentary style photography with elements of the traditional and formal will capture the illusive moments and storytelling images to enable you to relive the emotions of the day in a personally designed and beautifully crafted album as you continue on your journey through married life.
Mark has established his reputation one of the leading professional documentary wedding photographers in London for twenty years, working in association with Nikon, he has chaired the London Portrait Group, won awards and had his photographs published in various magazines.
Mark is recommended by and photographs regularly at some of the London’s most prestigious and auspicious venues as well as all around the UK and accompanying couples to record their special day internationally.
Mark is friendly and approachable whilst being sensitive to the significance and order of the day, he will blend into the background to ensure you and your guests are able to enjoy the day naturally without feeling the focus of the lens, which is why choosing a reportage style wedding photographer is perfect for ensuring your wedding day is captured in a series of stunning images whilst you get on with your day.
Mark’s passion for documenting the curiosities and complexities of people and places is apparent in both his wedding photography and his art photography where his expert eye seizes on the moments otherwise missed. By visiting his website you can see a selection of both his documentary bridal and art/street photography that have won him awards and acclaim. Mark is very proud to have his portrait of Jimmy Choo accepted by the National Portrait Gallery in London.
Mark has recently been awarded the position of NIKON Ambassador in the UK.
How did you get your start and why did you choose wedding photography as a career?
I have always loved photography. I realized I was destined to be a photographer from an early age. I received my first camera at the age of 5 and remember taking pictures of my brother with my box brownie. Wedding photography chose me, at the age of 26 I responded to a local advert to sell wedding photography and started a very short career at a company called National Weddings. I quickly made the transition from sales into photographing weddings and after one season decided that I should leave and progress this as a full time career and develop my own style of photography.
What are some of your favourite local venues?
I love working with some of the UK’s favourite wedding locations such as Cliveden House and Babington House, and of course there are some stunning venues in London including Claridge’s, The Langham, The Dorchester and The Four Seasons. I work very closely with all these hotels and I am lucky enough to be one of their recommended wedding photographers.
What advice would you give a bride who is looking for a wedding photographer?
Book the best you can afford and someone you feel very comfortable with. The pictures are going to be one of the few ways in which you can relive your wedding day. I always recommend brides ask to see complete weddings in albums and if they are really feeling brave to ask to see last week’s wedding in its entirety. In addition the style of photography and the album design will reflect a couple individual taste, so often couple come to me having seen my documentary style wedding photography and are eager for that contemporary feel to their wedding pictures.
What kinds of weddings do you love to photograph?
Primarily Christian and Jewish wedding photography. I love documenting their day and love the variety that both cultures bring. But the weddings I photography range from small intimate weddings in people own homes and garden to the most stunning elaborate weddings in some of the most prestigious venues in London. My documentary style photography means I can capture a couple ‘s individual style, such as a very rock ‘n’ roll wedding with all photographs shot in black and white creating an edgy contemporary feel, to a very playful Alice in Wonderland themed wedding.
How important is it to hire an experienced wedding photographer?
I can’t emphasize this enough. Wedding photography is one of the most difficult genres and it’s the one area beginners who love photography try first. There are so many variables and unforeseen things that can happen that a good experienced professional photographer will deal with in his stride and ensure they deliver images to your expectations. I have developed my skills and reputation over twenty years and am now an award winning London wedding photographer and my photography has been recognized by Nikon UK who have made me their wedding photography ambassador.
Do you do “destination weddings?” If so, what are your favourite destinations?
I have photographed destination weddings and look forward to increasing this side of the business as the market for weddings abroad continues to develop. My favourite locations are the South of France and Southern Italy as a destination wedding photographer, the light and scenery offer spectacular backdrops to bridal photography.
How would you describe your style of photography?
My style is reportage photography, you would describe me as a documentary wedding photographer. However I work with my couples to ensure they have the wedding photographs that they want so I incorporate traditional more formal elements into my photography of the whole day. I have a reputation as a leading Jewish wedding photographer in London, which is a very specific market but one that my style of photography is perfect for. I enjoy the spontaneous moments and capturing the emotions of the day which just using posed shots miss.
Do you offer albums? If so, describe the albums you offer and why you think it’s important to provide albums.
We do offer albums and photo books as part of our complete service. Our products are sourced from Graphi Albums and Jorgensen of Australia and are of superior hand crafted quality. I feel it is important to offer a complete service and our clients have peace of mind they will end up with a beautiful artistic album stress free. All they have to do is choose their favourite images and we will do the rest. Some clients even prefer us to choose the images and present them with a story of their day. Also I have found couples who only receive digital files never do anything with them once they receive it so including an album as part of your wedding photography package is definitely something I would recommend. Although the digital era has brought some exciting developments to photography, I believe photographs was always intended to end up as a tangible product you can hold and treasure, and I believe the final print is still the optimum product, and I know when my couples look through their albums there is an emotional connection that you do not get by seeing images on a screen.
What (or who) inspires you?
On a professional and artistic level I am inspired by other photographers and film makers. I have an enormous book collection including books by many of the great street photographers including Henri Cartier Bresson, Robert Frank although my current favourite is Sebastio Salgado.
I enjoy immersing myself in gallery visits where I can step into another photographers world and see what they see and how they see it and then take their inspiration and apply it to my own style. Predominately it is people and their lives that inspire my own work. I never tire of wedding photography. It is such an honour to be part of someone’s special day and ensuring that they have a collection of stunning wedding photographs to relive those emotions time and time again. But I also enjoy exploring the streets of London and cities when I travel recording real everyday life and people through my documentary street photography.
What would you say was the biggest reason for your success?
My success has been attributed to a belief that I treat every job as it’s the most important and individual wedding I have photographed. With a no compromise attitude and being true to my style, I am motivated by giving the best I can to those who appreciate great documentary style photography, and high quality and individual service. Success comes with the feedback from couples and their family and friends when they receive their beautiful albums, I am really grateful to my wedding couples who have given me both great written and video testimonials for my website, as it reinforces my reputation to new clients.
What are the biggest challenges facing wedding photographers today?
I believe the major challenge to wedding photographers is one that applies to all photographers in general. In most countries to work as a skilled professional, for example as a plumber or electrician, one has to be licensed or regulated. The photography industry has no such filter mechanism and anyone with a camera can call him or herself a professional photographer and believe it.
With the advent of digital technology, some skills relating to post production, retouching and editing has become accessible to anyone with a digital camera and the relevant software, and no longer monopolized by professional photographers.
The upside is photography has become more fashionable than ever before and people’s appreciation of photography as an art form is at an all time high.
In my opinion, the middle market has wasted away and photographers are enjoying success both in the mass volume end and in the more exclusive markets.
The key for success is to specialize in a particular area of photography and identify one’s own niche and style and offer that to prospective clients so you stand out from the crowd.
How do you think or would like people to describe you?
I believe people describe me as someone who is passionate, knowledgeable and good at my craft. Clients comment on my personable and sensitive approach. My friends would say I have ‘a constant photographer’s eye’ as I am never without a camera/phone to catch those illusive moments for prosperity!
Why do you think people turn to you to photograph their weddings?
Recommendation and reputation are essential to many of my bridal couples who select me as their bridal wedding photographer. In addition to capturing their day in a series of stunning wedding photographs, it is the quality of service I provide; a friendliness to deal with all problems in a professional manner as well ensuring couples have the perfect wedding photography package to suit their requirements. My customers demand a high standard of work and ethics and expect me to deliver to them what they have seen in my portfolio. My website allows prospective couples to get a real feel for my style and the kind of wedding photography they can expect. I meet with my couples to discuss their individual day and share with them the types of albums as part of their decision process to selecting their perfect wedding photographer. I then offer my couples a pre-wedding shoot which is a great opportunity for me to develop a relationship with them, and for them to feel natural in front of the camera. In addition they have some wonderful engagement shots to keep! So for me it’s so much more than just the one day, it is a complete and individual journey with my couples to ensure they have a high quality experience and beautiful photographic memories of their day.
If you weren’t a wedding photographer, what would you be?
Un-employed! But seriously it’s all I want to do so, I would still be out and about with my camera capturing people’s emotions and experiences, be it family, friends or people that I meet out and about. My next area to develop is training so I can inspire and support other photographers in my passion.
How has your extensive experience in wedding photography helped you in difficult circumstances on a wedding day?
By being prepared to get involved with my clients. As an experienced wedding photographer I can bring a calmness to most situations to try and ensure their day runs as smoothly as possible. It is a very emotional day and can bring its challenging moments with so many details and people to be considered. Taking time to talk about the plan of the day is really important for me so that I am prepared and ensure not moments are lost.
I’m trying to make the customer experience enjoyable so the have the best time possible, enabling them to enjoy their wedding day and relax knowing I will capture their memories through my photographs.
Thanks for the interview Mark! Use the comment section below to ask him a question or leave a comment.