Miki Studios | Wedding Photographer
Ash Davenport from Miki Photography talked to us about what he hopes to capture when shooting weddings…
What is your idea of the perfect wedding?
It doesn’t matter how much money you spend on your wedding, how many guests attend, or how big your dress is. The only thing that matters is that the bride and groom have FUN! A perfect wedding in my opinion is when the couple are having the time of their lives with their friends and family. These are ALWAYS the best weddings.
What is your best trait that helps you be so great at your job?
I treat every wedding as if I am a guest. I want friends and family to think I am a friend of the couple and a 'guest with a camera' instead of 'The Wedding Photographer'.
One of the biggest compliments I get during a wedding day and it's normally from the mother of the bride is "How do you know the bride and groom?". I have a little YeeHaa moment to myself when I hear this.
What is your current state of mind?
As the wedding season draws to an end I start to wind down and have family time. I also always like to look back over the year and pick my personal favourites – These are images that resonate with my style and vision the most and images I want to be booked on the following year. I found this is a useful way to track ‘progress’ towards my creative voice and vision.
I love preparing a ‘best of’ blog post. Looking over all the special moments where people just let go or I capture something that perfectly represent how the bride and groom felt or something a little more creative that brides and grooms feel proud to print and put on their wall. Whatever the image, looking over all of them makes me so grateful that I get to do a job I love and that it supports my family.
What quality in a brides and grooms do you like the most?
There are a few qualities that I personally believe are important in everyday life and not connected with weddings per say. I always like to speak to couples before taking a booking to see if we are similar mindset and have similar beliefs, that way, I know we will work well together.
- Courageous: goes after what they wants even in the presence of self-doubt. Not afraid to approach others and spark a conversation.
- Respect: Respects others, empathetic and forgiving.
- Committed and faithful: says what they means, and means what they says. Follows through with their word even with people who don’t follow through with theirs. Loyal in relationships.
- Gratitude: works hard, and is thankful for everything they receives.
When was the last time you laughed out loud at a wedding? What happened?
To be honest, this happens at nearly every wedding. Weddings are happy occasions and everyone wants to have fun. When people want to have fun, they generally do and its infectious. If I haven’t LOL’ed during the day, I will during the best man’s speech!
What moment are you most proud of in your profession?
There are many moments which make me feel proud but one image in particular really stands out and its an image which has won numerous international awards and been featured in the national press, the BBC and the Huffington Post. The moment was when the ‘father of the bride’ sees ‘the bride’ for the first time on the wedding morning. This is a pretty standard moment in the wedding day but the reaction is anything but stanard and this time it was unbelieveable. On the morning of the wedding, I quickly felt the father of the bride was really anxious and was visable ‘on edge’, his little girl was no longer a little girl and his emotions were becoming more and more visable. Frankie (like father like daughter) was very similar, she was having her makeup put on in her room on her own as she needed that time alone to gather her thoughts and calm her nerves. After the dress was on, I got in a position where I could see Frankie through her wardrobe mirror whilst pointing my camera at her dad. I ask him to walk in with his eyes closed and open them when he got into the room. Something happened in that brief moment I could not have imagined. The MoB, the FoB and Frankie all broke down as the love for each other got too much. I kept in position and clicked away, I think I took over a hundred images but this is one image perfectly summed up the moment.
If you were to die and come back as person or thing, what would it be?
A fish. I love being in water whether it’s a river, the sea, the rain or a bath! In my opinion, it’s the most amazing element in the world! If ever I get the change to use water in photography, I am there! I’ve shot in thunder storms (a few times), rivers, big puddles and even the sea. I actually swam in the sea in Malta holding my camera whilst treading water to take a shot. Luckly enough, I didn’t drop the camera and the image was cool. Good job the couple trusted me.
A fish is a bit generic I know so probably something bigger like a whale, no one wants to be eaten!
Where is your favourite setting for a wedding?
I have been lucky enough to capture weddings all over the country (and world) and seen many different types of venues from castles, stately homes, back gardens, boats, fields, barns and even the beach so picking a favourite is almost impossible. As I said before, the location isn’t that important its, the most important thing is that everyone has FUN. That said, I love being outside (in the warmth!).
What is the one thing you can’t live without in your job?
I carry two cameras with me at all times, the reasons for this are technical because I like to have 2 different lenses (35mm and 85mm) ready at all time. If you’ve held a DSLR with a prime lens you will know that they aren’t light so carrying two cameras with heavy lenses all day can be logistically difficult (they keep falling off your shoulders) and back breaking. My braces magically hold the camera safety and without any pressure on my body, its magic! This means I can swop camera quickly and easily and it becomes second nature.
What is the most embarrassing thing you have seen at a wedding?
Nipple slips, people being sick in church, drunken dancing (lots and lots) – I’ve pretty much seen everything.
What is your favourite occupation, apart from your own?
Life Guard on Bondi beach – that’s all I wanted to do/be when I was growing up.
What question do you wish every couple would ask you when you are meeting with them for the first time?
What makes you different to other photographers?
Where do you draw inspiration from for your work?
Its so easy to follow hundreds of amazing wedding photographers and admire them but if that’s all you do, you will only be a good copy of them. I follow and draw inspiration from many different types of photography like landscapes, architects, portrait, studio / magazine photography and graphic designers. Hopefully you can see the influence of following this approach in my work.
What mistake do you see couples make over and over again on their day?
Timing….! Whenever I see a timing plan which includes minutes I know it wont run to time and they SHOULDN’T. Weddings aren’t normally everyday activities – you never know what will happen, what surprises your friends, family, other half has planned which will scupper you minute by minute plan. Also, if you have never been married before, I have no idea on what an emotional roller-coaster it is. Therefore if you plan 5 minutes to meet your dad and walk to the car what do you do if you and your dad breaks down in foods of tears when you see each other…..
Knowing the timing of the key points in the day is essential but keep it to the main points and let a bridesmaid or groomsman take charge of making things happen.
What is your motto/ethos?
I want couples to be able to fully RELAX and enjoy their wedding day and then trust us to be passionate and CREATIVE in crafting imagery that documents their day in a unique and AUTHENTIC way:
This is my passion, wedding photography is my craft.
Choosing only one, what is the most valuable aspect of the service you offer to wedding clients?
Easy - The pre-wedding shoot! It has transformed my work and the satisfaction of my couples. Many photographers offer this as an 'extra' but I do not shoot a wedding without having done a pre-wedding shoot.
In my early weddings, I found that the weddings where I did a pre-wedding shoot the couple were much (much) more relaxed on their wedding day physically and mentally because they trusted me. Not only did they trust me, their parents trusted me (just as important). I purposely start all pre-wedding session in the worse location possible (but finding the best possible light) to show them I can take great looking images of them anywhere. The location is not important, what Is important is getting the couple to feel relaxed and that creates natural, beautiful images.
The pre-wedding shoot is also a very good filter to ensure I 'fit' with my couples as I know I lose some couples because of this approach but I love this because it means a large percentage of my couples are 'like me', 'get me' and finally 'trust me'.
I now don’t shoot a wedding without having done a pre-wed for three main reasons:
1 - Most couples are apprehensive about having their picture taken - So going on the pre-wed shoot they will see how easy and relaxed is it. So on the wedding day it's one less thing to be worried about. They will see the images before the day so we all know we are on the same page.
2 - Most couples don't have professional images of themselves so besides the great wedding images they will have some great photos of themselves as a normal couple in normal clothes.
3 - The last and most important reason is we get to spend some time together, so come the wedding day I won't feel like a stranger. Mum and Dad have probably seen the photos and there is an element of trust already built up between me and the extended friends and family and everyone is more relaxed. Otherwise for the groom, the first time I would have meet him is at the alter 5 minutes before the most important part of the day.
What was the most valuable thing you learned in your last year of business?
This year has really been about me refining and defining my visual voice but at the same time understanding how to make sure that its really all about serving my couples needs on the wedding day. It's great to make artistic photos but it's about the couple not me and if I can work to make the two serve each other then it's a winner from both a business and also artistic perspective. I invest in myself, in my craft, in my tools and business to better serve my couples.
I've realised how important it is to have a business and brand that is couple focussed first and foremost and not photographer focussed.
Describe your approach to the wedding itself. What, when, how and why do you do what you do when shooting a wedding?
Weddings are all about emotion and this is what I'm drawn to. The emotion is everything I'm trying to preserve - not just moments but moments that will evoke emotions and memories for years to come. It's then about trying to present them in the most creative way available at the time - creative in a way that perhaps interests the viewer especially those who weren't there.
It's easy to take a photograph of grandma crying and those who know her for them to "feel something". It's a much harder challenge to depict her in a way that even someone who doesn't know her understands why she felt what she did and understand her importance in that moment and in a way that piques their curiosity as to why it was shot that way.
I feel if I strive for this at every wedding at the very least the work I make for my couples will help them relive their day, remember how they felt but in that unique visual way.