I was fond of Mark’s photography ever since I encountered his work for the first time. He is also a wonderful business-minded and an all-round-great man, not just a qualified photographer. I hope this interview will be as enjoyable as my meeting with Mark. You can find more about Mark and his work at his site weddingphotographerswansea.com.
Hey, Mark, tell me something about yourself, so our readers can learn about where you come from and your background in photography?
I was born and raised in Swansea, Wales. At age 19 I moved up to the Cardiff area for a period of roughly 5 years, and I studied photography there. I returned back to my home town and began working in the wedding industry for a short period of time before leaving and starting my own wedding and portrait photography business.
What would you say about your style (art and photography style)?
That’s always a hard question to answer. Honestly, I’d say … Classy. Classy and stylish. The majority of photographs of my customers and of their surroundings show a time in which feeling has glimpsed, and for a short while the walls individuals build have gone down.
What influenced you the most in your early stages? Were you inspired by any other photographers?
Actually, my earliest influences were historical marriages. In terms of modern wedding photography, some of Italy’s best photographers were my greatest influences. Even today I’m still amazed by the job they are doing. Today I can look through any of Stefano Cassaro albums and still get emotional thinking about how he pulled that off. J
What got you into wedding photography?
I must say that I was always somehow involved with photography. I was fascinated by moments captured in the photographs from the early years. The memories which a photograph can preserve are invaluable. That’s why I decided to focus mostly on the moments which people find the most important, weddings being one of such events. Soon I found out that wedding photography is a league on its own. I did lots of studying, learned from others in the industry, and tried to reach out to the best to get some tips. When I gained some knowledge, I started focusing on what my clients want because I believe that their wishes play the most important part when it comes to photographs of their wedding.
You travel quite a lot due to shooting weddings and engagement sessions. What would you say was your favorite place/destination or experience? And why?
Tuscany, I would have to say … I believe this is one of my favorite European locations, regardless of whether it is holiday or an opulent wedding destination. There is that romantic feeling which truly creates and inspires a higher level of creativity. It’s tough sleeping in the night before my shooting in Tuscany, as I’m really hyped about all the photo possibilities of the next day.
What are your goals when you shoot a wedding? Of course, bride and bride’s delight must certainly be high on the priority list, but I’d love to hear how you shoot weddings, remain creative, and continue to be passionate about them.
The marriage photography is all about difficult places, demanding light, figures, schedules and elevated expectations. In the midst of all that, it can be very complicated to guide organizations of individuals to catch true activities in one place while preserving a great artistic performance and aesthetics. This is the leading force behind my creations of timeless wedding photographs – it is a task, but it is really enjoyable. Really enjoyable and so lovely.
Since many photographers are equipment freaks, could you inform us a little more about the equipment you use? You can give us a quick run through your favorite pieces of equipment and a camera/lens without which you can’t live, and the equipment you usually bring to the shooting?
I enjoy my Canon equipment, and I was a Canon shooter ever since I can remember. My two favorite lenses are 70-200 f/2.8 II and 50 mm f/1.2. I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark III. I can’t imagine working without them. But I own the finest equipment, and my four Canon speed lights are the largest play changer-600ex-rt. I am able to collect pictures which I wasn’t able to catch before by using the built-in radio trigger and capacity to manually adjust the flashing energy remotely from my camera.
The days of manipulating photographs in a darkroom are almost over, but that doesn’t necessitate post-prod job for our electronic SLR cameras. What happens after a display, and before the images get in the customers’ hands? What’s the effect of your workflow? How do you use tools/software/apps? Are you spending more time in front of the camera or laptop?
I definitely spend a little more time behind the laptop than the camera, but I still have a lot less time and editing behind my laptop because of some significant tools. First, with the photo mechanic I fulfill my pictures. It is the quickest, simplest way to sweep and edit your image. In about 2.5 hours or less, I can cull a whole wedding gallery. For all my editing, I use Lightroom 5. And my greatest saver of time is getting it right in the camera. I shoot Kelvin for the environment of my white equilibrium, and I fire when I realize it really is the right setting for me.
What do you believe is photography’s future? Where do you believe everything goes with the increase of camera phones, mirror-free cameras and other fresh techniques? In five or ten years, will DSLR still have a place?
Absolutely. Just as film still has a position in all sectors, not only broadly, but particularly when it comes to recording marriages as well, so will photography retain its position. In fact, the film is on its way to promote the application and use of 35 mm and media format movie by excellent filmmakers like Jose Villa and numerous other “rock star” marriage photographers. I see no reason for the DSLRs in to become something of the past anytime soon.