This shit needs to stop


This shit needs to stop

Today there's a click bait post floating around the photography world by a photographer who is purporting to be educating their client but is actually just having a moan about other photographers who are doing things differently to them.  

The photography world is overwhelmingly positive, for the most part, but there are pockets of resentment, negativity and bitterness that I try to avoid where ever possible.  

In groups I've been a member of in the past I've seen photographers post examples of other photographer's work without them knowing and tear it to shreds.  

In other groups I've seen people reply to genuine questions from people who are reaching out for help with acerbic replies that are clearly designed to show how clever or better than them they are.  

At an event I attended they showed a slideshow of wedding photography that they deemed to be so bad that it was funny, that they'd taken from the internet.  

At a workshop I went to once the person running the workshop slagged off a huge list of other photographers by name, as well as saying a whole load of negative things about their clients. 

Imagine a few hundred photographers sitting in a room laughing at an image that you were proud enough of to post on the internet.   

Imagine a photographer with a platform critizing you behind your back for no reason, to make themselves look good.  

Imagine a group of photographers laughing at a picture of YOU.  

Imagine a photographer publishing a blog post that specifically criticizes your editing style and approach as an image maker.

Making an example of other people and trying to cast them in a negative light to make yourself look better is a pretty shitty marketing tactic.  For every potential client who finds themselves nodding along with you sagely, there'll be several who are wondering why you're being so mean and bitter.  

Being horrible only makes you look horrible.  

And being horrible takes so much energy.  For every 300 word blog post that you write with example images edited in someone else's style to show everyone how rubbish you think it looks, you could have written a positive, well thought out blog post that casts you and your business in an awesome light and actually does something useful to educate your clients.

Every time you shit talk another photographer, you could have been saying something positive or inspiring.  

What do you think people remember more?  Someone saying something bitchy or someone saying something that is helpful to them, that they can use in their business?

In the words of Maya Angelou, "people may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel" and that includes feelings of negativity too.  

We don't need to bring each other down to be successful. 

As a consumer of products and content think about who you give your time money to.  If there are people that do nothing but throw out negativity about others in the industry then don't support them.  If there are people who moan, bitch and whinge constantly unfollow them.  If there are Facebook groups that are full of negativity then just leave! 

This job is tiring and draining enough as it is, without inviting unnecessary negativity into your life.



Claridges Wedding by Toast of Leeds


Claridges Wedding by Toast of Leeds

Words and Pictures by Toast of Leeds

First of all, I have this reputation that I love dark places. I have no idea why this came about. But my work does lend itself to darkness. I'm a massive fan of Stanley Kubrick's work and the films of Tim Burton. Kubrick was a master of the light and I realised pretty early on that you can make even the worst hotel look amazing if you just take away some of the light. Shooting a bridal portrait in a terrible room can be transformed if you know how to work the light in the right way. I love the composition and shadows in old master paintings and they certainly have an influence on the way I shoot - they are very evocative and leave a lot to the imagination.. sometimes with photography, I think we show too much. 

father daughter dance toast of leeds claridges 

Shooting at Claridges is, like any of the big iconic London hotels, tricky. It may be beautiful, but there is very little natural light - man alive it's dark in there, unless you count the million candles and downlighters. If you do find a window, it's usually covered in heavy nets so out goes your use of natural light. Then you're only allowed to shoot in certain bits of the hotel and you're not allowed to set up lights anywhere, so finding pockets of artificial light is important. 

For me, bridal prep isn't about shooting everything that goes on. It's about last minute touches and again, finding the right light. I don't just want an image of the bride getting her make up done, I want an image that has a certain artistic bent to it. If I have to move the bride to get the right light, I will. I begged and pleaded with the make up artist at this wedding to move into the window - sometimes you'll piss people off, but sometimes you have to be stern in order to get the right light. 

bride getting reading documentary claridges wedding photography

Claridges has one of those huge imposing staircases and of course, what bride in their right mind wouldn't want a picture of herself sweeping down it on the way to the wedding right? Except the light is shocking. And yeah, we could bang up the iso... but instead as we reached the top of the stairs, I pointed out a pocket of light and told the bride to walk right through it on her way down. I'd love to tell you it happened naturally, but it enhances the drama of the moment even if it was directed. 

claridges wedding photography

The back of the church (Grosvenor Chapel) was pretty dark too so again, I hunted out the odd spot where there was a pocket of light. I love images that have a little bit of movement and aren't perfect - learning where not to focus was one of my eureka moments early on and I use it in a measured degree during a wedding but those imperfect images tend to be my favourites. It's also terribly invigorating if you're using a great second shooter. The confetti shot in this wedding isn't the obvious one but allowing yourself the freedom to not capture the 'important' moments, is very freeing and can lead you to shoot things you wouldn't normally shoot as you're too busy capturing the 'key' shot. 

Grosvenor Chapel wedding photography claridges

A lot of the portraits at Charlotte and Joe's wedding were shot using a video light - this meant that my assistant wasn't getting in the way of the guests, we didn't have to set up lights on stands and we could be fast and get out of the way as quickly as possible. Generally, I always light the speeches with a couple of gelled flashes on stands to give it a bit more drama and the same with the dance floor. I generally use Neewar flashes on manual with some Phottix Strata triggers. If I can't find a video light somewhere, I've been known to borrow a lamp and get a guest to hold it in the right place - knowing how to work the light to your advantage even in the darkest of places, can save your bacon.

Flowers by Flowers McQueens and gown by Marchesa