Who is the best Wedding Photographer in the world? What makes them the best Wedding Photographer in the world? We dig into it and surprise ourselves!
Listen to Gary on the Wedding Espresso Awesome DIY Wedding Planning Podcast…
Gary Lashmar, Marshal Gray Photography
James [00:00:05] Gary, Good Morning. Welcome to Wedding Espresso. Thanks for joining me.
Gary [00:00:10] Thanks for having me, how are you?
James [00:00:10] Thanks I’m doing very well. Thank you very much.
James [00:00:13] So you are Gary Lashmar and you are from Marshall Gray Photography.
Gary [00:00:17] That’s right.
We’ve got this fantastic topic that we’d like to discuss today and that is “The Best Wedding Photographer in the World”.
James [00:00:27] Now we’re all aware of these….
Gary [00:00:31] It’s me! Hahaha.
James [00:00:31] Well maybe it’s me! We’re all aware of these lists that you get online. You know, the top ten wedding photographer here and the top 10 wedding photographers here. So can we dig into this from your perspective as a wedding photographer. What’s the criteria for being one of the best wedding photographers in the world? How does it work?
Gary [00:00:51] For me I was thinking a little bit about this. For me every Wedding is different. It’s the same in that it’s called a Wedding. But yeah people are different. So for me it’s very important that we’re a fit, Brides and Grooms and the photographer. Because they’re going to be spending pretty much the most important day of their life with this photographer person. So the best Wedding Photographer in the World, I’d have no idea! I think it’s more to do with what’s your best Wedding Photographer and how that’s going to fit on your wedding day. For me, hopefully people have stumbled across my work in the first instance, so that’s kind of taken care of itself up until that point.
James [00:01:55] So your work has actually done most of the “work” in attracting people.
Gary [00:01:59] Well I don’t know if it actually has done most of the work. I mean it’s got a foot in the door. But for me it’s a lot more than that. Hopefully in the first instance they love your work, that’s what we want. Hopefully that’s in alignment. It’s like I said, you’re going to be spending the whole day with this person. Probably the Bride especially is going to be with this person longer.
Pretty much most of their time on their Wedding Day is going to be spent with you. So it’s important that we’re in alignment with the photographer.
Gary [00:02:42] You need to shut me up by the way if I waffle, because I will waffle!
James [00:02:45] It’s all good Gary. Keep going, keep going. We’ve got some good stuff already.
Gary [00:02:54] The way that I photograph a Wedding perhaps isn’t for everybody. I don’t shoot a Wedding on the periphery with a big long lens like paparazzi, and start shooting, (nothing wrong with that), it’s just not my approach. I shoot the Wedding from the inside out. I know a lot of guys do that. I want my images to be infused with real dynamic energy. I shoot the wedding almost like a guest really, in a way. Now that can sound to some people, I mean especially if you put that on your website in the text. Couples might think “that’s a little bit intrusive”. In my experience, in actual fact, it’s not. It’s anything but. It’s less intrusive in a way and it’s more personal. And I find after 15 or 20 minutes of being around these guys, they forget you’re there. Whereas if you’re on the periphery they’re always looking for you.
James [00:04:00] There’s always somebody behind the hedge. I get that. I also noticed from looking at your work, which is incredible, fantastic, absolutely blown away by it, to be honest, it would be impossible to do your style with a long lens. I think you have to be there from the centre don’t you? Because you’re capturing those moments in such a way that it’s so vivid. And I’m going to use the word “instant” actually. The moment, there’s a life, like a vitality to the moments that you’re capturing.
Gary [00:04:35] Absolutely. Well I’m a street photographer really by default. Long before I ever got in to Wedding Photography. I’m a people photographer, that’s what I always did. I practiced street photography for a long time. I didn’t get into wedding photography actually till quite late. I was like 39, 40 before I’d shot my first. So I’d shot a lot of street photography and also shot quite a lot of musicians and bands. Nobody really famous, but that kind of scene. And I brought that into wedding photography. And I wanted to shoot that way and hopefully what I do, I communicate that every step of the way. Firstly on my website, my shop window, so to speak, and then on the phone call, or when I meet up with the guys. I don’t want to be pulling the wool over anybody’s eyes. I want the guys to know, if you want the kind of photography you see on my Website, this is the way it is going to be.
And I think there’s a key distinction between the way that couples generally approach wedding photography.
They either see it as something that they need to have, or they see it as something that they must have. And there’s a difference between like and love. And I think if we’re going to look at who are the best wedding photographers in the world, from my perspective and my experience, they generally are people who, when the clients see their work, they love the work. It’s not a question of “they’ll do” or “that’s good enough”, but they love it.
Gary [00:06:22] Yeah absolutely. The best wedding photographers in the world, in photography obviously, you’re not going to find it at the end of a hashtag. It’s not that. I’m not that kind of guy if you type “best wedding photographer in London”… (I live just outside London), you might find the best Wedding Photographer, I have no idea. But because we are talking about me, you’re not going to find me, I’m not there. The guys that do stumble across my work, they have by that time, put the work in. Because they’ve had to go looking. Whereas if you typed in “best wedding photographer” and say “ah! Best wedding photographer in London, I’m having that guy”… Well I have no idea.
James [00:07:32] Yeah. And like you said earlier he/she might not be the best wedding photographer for that couple.
Gary [00:07:38] Absolutely. Absolutely.
James [00:07:39] It’s just from an SEO perspective, I suppose, you know just keywords.
Gary [00:07:43] Yeah. you’ve got guys that are very good photographers. They will tick those boxes. They’ll be at the top and they might have a background in SEO. Who knows.
James [00:07:59] Well fantastic.
So is there anybody outside of wedding photography, in the wedding industry or maybe even inside wedding photography that really inspires you?
Is there anybody’s work that you look up to?
Gary [00:08:13] Absolutely. I don’t really look at much wedding photography at all. I have this really weird habit. I don’t look at newsfeeds. I don’t know if I should say this as I’m being a bit of a taker really. I put my stuff out there, but I don’t often look at newsfeeds. So I have to go looking. I look at the guys that I like. There’s one that, for me, is the best photography.
Gary [00:08:50] So we’ve been talking about also relationships and getting to know your photographer. But from just looking at their work, the best wedding photographer is a guy that inspired me before I met him. And he’s actually become a really close friend of mine actually. He’s a guy called Sean Flanagan, Wedding Photographer, and he actually runs “A Fistful of Bolts”. And for me, his work is the most consistent, it’s the most original wedding photography that I’ve seen. But also from when I first saw his work up until now, it’s always growing, and I know this guy works hard, he works really hard. So Sean Flanagan in wedding photography.
Gary [00:09:38] Outside of wedding photography, for me, it’s Dom McCullin, the war photographer. I don’t think he really likes being called a War photographer really, but the life photographer Dom McCullin. And very cliche really, portrait photographer David Bailey. That’s it.
Gary [00:09:58] There’s also a girl called Astrid Kirchherr who I think has influenced my work more than any of those guys, who actually stopped taking photographs when she was 25. She’s in her 70s now and she shot all of the stuff with the Beatles in Hamburg in the early 60s. She was in love with John Lennon’s best friend who died of a brain haemorrhage when he was 21. There was a big story with that, but her photography, I see that sometimes in my work, and her work is what made me want to get into photography. I was really into music and the Beatles. I saw her photography and I thought “wow”. I was very much inspired by her stuff.
James [00:10:52] So we’re always trying to weducate brides and grooms on the importance of wedding photography because I think as well as video, it’s the thing that lives on after the wedding day. It’s such a huge thing to think about and consider. And like I said earlier, too many people settle for “good enough”. We recently did a topic that was “is wedding photography art?”. And I just have to say before we go that when looking at your work on your Website, those are the kind of pictures you could put up in a gallery. You know, those are wedding pictures that you could have in a gallery.
James [00:11:28] And I think that is in essence one of the things, if someone is looking for “the best wedding photographer in the world” for themselves, they should consider what is this legacy that we’re creating. And what is it going to represent. And from those images I can get a sense of the emotion of the moment. I think to be able to move somebody to that extent is an incredible skill. So that’s why we wanted to approach this subject with you.
Don’t regret your Wedding photography, I’ve had that so many times, I’ve had brides message me afterwards or e-mail me saying the photographer at the wedding… can you edit these images to them make right.
Gary [00:12:13] It is so important. It really is. And it is so important to do your research. I don’t want somebody to book me because they found me first. I don’t want that, I’m not interested in that. At the end of the day it’s not my photo shoot, it is your wedding. But my job also is to (I do workshops for photographers and I talk about this..) fight for the couple to get those photographs. Because sometimes what happens is that the bride’s totally, I say the Bride because I’m talking to the Bride more often than the Groom at the front of the communication. The Bride and Groom are totally on board, and Mum’s paying for the wedding. She’s going to have a say. I’m on their side, I want everybody to like me, I want everyone to love me and that kind of thing. And I want to be also remembered for selfish reasons.
Gary [00:13:41] I don’t want to be upsetting anybody, but my priority is to get their shots. Like I said, I’m with them before the wedding too. I’m communicating this hopefully and they can reach out and stuff like that. The golden rule of wedding photography apparently is to make your couple feel comfortable. My couples don’t always feel comfortable. They don’t. I have conversations with the guys right up until the Wedding. And on the wedding day, I’ll do what I’m told. Yeah that’s it. By then hopefully I’ve done everything. And then it’s damage limitation after hahaha.
James [00:14:24] Absolutely. And to be honest you just need to be able to deliver on the promise of your vision, don’t you? I mean your website, your portfolio is your vision, and you need to be able to deliver on that promise. And that’s why people book you. Or you hope that’s why people book you. That’s the idea. Gary listen, that’s been really great. Thanks for sharing with us today.
Gary [00:14:47] That’s brilliant, sorry I didn’t shave either! I ran out of blades!
James [00:14:47] All is forgiven. Too busy taking ace Wedding Photography!
Gary [00:14:47] I promise if I show up for your Wedding, I will shave. I won’t be turning up like this.
James [00:14:55] Awesome and hopefully we’ll get the opportunity to speak again in the near future.
Gary [00:15:05] That’d be great. I’d love that. Love that man. Thank you so much.
James [00:15:07] OK Thanks Gary, Cheers. See you later. Thank you.