Laid back documentary photographer Nick Brightman talks to us about what makes for a great wedding.
1. What is your idea of the perfect wedding?
One that has ‘personality’, by that I guess I mean one which reflects the personality of the couple getting married. I’m a big believer that couples shouldn’t worry about doing things just because they’re traditional. If something is important to you (and a tradition) then keep it, if it’s not important to you then don’t worry about missing it out. I think that way you get a wedding that is much more attuned to the people tying the know, which is my idea of a perfect wedding!
2. What is your greatest fear when you are working on a wedding?
That I forget to bring something important! It’s never happened yet (touch wood) and I have a pretty set routine before each wedding to make sure that it doesn’t. I think most wedding photographers tend to be creatures of habit when it comes to checking our bags, recharging batteries etc. PLUS, I always have spares of everything with me, just in case!!
3. What is your best trait that helps you be so great at your job?
I’m generally pretty relaxed and chilled which I think helps massively. At the last wedding I shot, the Mother of Groom commented in the evening how calm I was, which she said had helped to steady the nerves of the rather anxious Bride. It’s pretty common for timings to slide during a wedding day, but the couple always gets married and everyone always has a great time so why worry?!!!
4. Which living person do you most admire?
Hmm, now that is tricky. I’m really not one for having idols but I have huge respect for people who are really selfless and go to extreme lengths to help others.
5. What is your greatest extravagance that helps you get through the day?
It’s not wildly extravagant, but my Holdfast Moneymaker camera sling set me back more than a couple of quid and REALLY REALLY helps!! Having a camera hanging around your neck all day would be really bad, never mind two cameras. With the moneymaker, the weight is on my shoulders instead which makes all the difference, and saves me from having to visit a chiropractor all the time!
6. What is your current state of mind?
Perplexed, I’m still thinking about answers for No.4!
But I’m also wondering about the weather forecast – as I write this my next wedding is an outdoor ceremony in Shropshire and the forecast is for rain 🙁
7. What do you think is the most overrated thing that couples try to squeeze into their wedding day?
Receiving lines can take a REALLY long time when often everyone is hungry. In my experience, not many people have them these days anyway, probably for that reason! What I think is lovely, which is a bit like a reverse receiving line, is that after the ceremony the guests get the chance to give hugs, kisses and congratulations to the newlyweds. It’s such an instinctive thing for people to want do so it’s a shame when the opportunity doesn’t arise
8. On what occasion is lying at work a good idea?
I think there is a difference between lying and avoiding the truth!! So, even if timings for the day have slipped hugely there’s no reason to dwell on it. What will be, will be!
9. What is the most outrageous (fabulous or terrifying) outfit you have ever seen at a wedding?
I photographed one wedding where after the ceremony the couple and all their guests went to a music festival for the weekend, camping. Seeing the Bride & Groom, still in their wedding clothes, dancing in the music arena was definitely fabulous!!
10. What is the best theme you have seen at a wedding?
It’s really hard to pick a favourite theme, it would be like picking a favourite child!! But, there was a wedding where the Groom was a teacher and themed a big part of his speech as a school report on the Bride. It was brilliantly written, really funny and themed to perfection.
11. What is the hardest thing a couple has ever asked you to do for their day?
I tend to get really chilled couples who have booked me because what they want is a relaxed record of the day, so I don’t really get asked to do much in particular. An outdoor first dance in the rain in October was definitely quite challenging to photograph though!!
12. What quality in a groom do you like the most?
Good humour and fun.
13. What quality in a bride do you like most?
One who is unphased by things and doesn’t mind if her dress gets dirty!!
14. What is the most overused word at a wedding – or in a wedding speech?
Bangor. Sooo many Best Man speeches seem to trot out the same joke about the Groom taking his Bride to Wales……. time for some new jokes!!
15. When was the last time you laughed out loud at a wedding? What happened?
The last wedding, which was an Indian Hindu wedding. There was an epic party in the evening with some serious dancing going on and some of the guys in particular were hilarious to watch
16. What makes an ideal wedding?
Love (of course), fun and frivolity
17. What is the most unusual entertainment you have ever seen at a wedding?
18. If you could change one thing about a wedding, what would it be?
Some venues like to whisk the couple off after the ceremony so they can empty the room quickly to turn it around for later. I know they have a job to do, but it denies the guests the opportunity to immediately congratulate the couple on getting married, which is a real shame
19. What moment are you most proud of in your profession?
I tend to be my own sternest critic and can by quite hard on myself. What I should be proud of is that I’ve created a full time business out of doing something that I love, which is photographing people
20. If you were to die and come back as person or thing, what would it be?
A dolphin…I just like dolphins 🙂
21. Where is your favourite setting for a wedding?
Err, The Matara Centre, obvs!! It is actually the epitome of the type of venue that I love. Somewhere quirky, interesting, with character, which the couple can also bring their own vibe to.
22. What is the one thing you can’t live without in your job?
The obvious answer would be a camera, but I’m not actually that precious about them. To me, they’re a tool to do my job and I’m sure that with a little practice I could do my job using most brands of camera. My phone is pretty damn essential though as it’s my diary, my sat-nav, my note pad and many other things too
23. What is the most embarrassing thing you have seen at a wedding?
At one wedding the registrar got the name of the bride wrong – awks!!! Fortunately the Bride took it in good humour
24. What is your favourite occupation, apart from your own?
I think a travel writer would be an amazing job to have.
25. What question do you wish every couple would ask you when you are meeting with them for the first time?
There are a few questions that come up from time to time like ‘what if you’re ill’, or how long will it take for our images to be edited after the wedding, but I think people already have a pretty good idea about how I work and my style before they meet me. Choosing someone to photograph your wedding is such a personal decision I don’t really think it matters what I think they should ask, as it’s all about them!!
26. Where do you draw inspiration from for your work?
I’m documenting each wedding as it unfolds, so it’s the people, the emotion and the humanity all around that inspires me
27. What mistake do you see couples make over and over again on their day?
It’s easy to try to pack too much into the afternoon so keeping it pretty relaxed and not over doing it is a good shout. Conversely, after the wedding breakfast it’s a fine line between keeping it chilled and the energy levels dropping. So, if there is a big gap between speeches and the evening party it’s worth thinking about having something to keep the energy flowing
28. What is your biggest regret at a wedding you have worked on?
In the words of Edith Piaf, ‘ je ne regrette rien’
29. What is your motto?
Don’t sweat the small stuff
30. What would people be surprised to learn about you and/or your work?
People have been surprised when I tell them that I used to be a pub/restaurant manager, although I think it’s also about working with people and keeping calm under pressure!
Check out more of Nick’s work and get in touch on his website here:
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