Interview with London Based Contemporary Wedding Photographer Andreas Schroeder
Contemporary Wedding Photography Tips
1. Tell us briefly about yourself
My name is Andreas Schroeder. Born and raised in Berlin, in what was East Germany but have now been living for the past seven years in London with my wife Nana and our ginger cat Mopsi.
2. How did you get into photography?
I started getting involved in photography at the age of 14 with a real SLR, the EXA 1B, manufactured in East Germany/Saxon. As the model used celluloid film, I explored the world of darkrooms. Due to the laborious nature developing the negative to print, I took care from the moment I pressed the shutter button, following the process of putting the film into in all the chemicals until I had the final picture in my hand.
3. How would you classify yourself as a photographer?
I specialise in contemporary wedding photography that combines photojournalism and relaxed portraiture. Aside from being in the must have family and couple shots, I blend into the background of the wedding, becoming invisible to the event to capture your memories without interfering with the proceedings of the day. Working in a photojournalistic way also creates a stunning storybook feel to the wedding album.
4. Is there such a thing as “the perfect image”?
I’m not sure if "the perfect image" should be the ideal to strife for and I think that it's not important when capturing moments. A picture that pleases the eye; bringing back memories and the taste of that special moment is a good picture. Besides this, a good (not to say perfect) photo always contains the key elements: Light, Composition and a story to tell.
All this captured in the decisive moment, the perfect situation when things actually happen and the picture was taken. But I think sometimes photographers worry too much what the clients might think about the images in terms of resolution, quality etc. Clients just want to see great images that allow them to relive the day again and again.
Click an image to view gallery
5. Explain your relationship with the people you photograph
Mostly, it's the brides who approach me to record the day. We go through all the details of their wedding day and I try to find out what the bride is looking for. If possible, we meet in person before, but in the internet age this is not a pre-requisite. I keep the consultation as relaxed as possible and when I can make the bride laugh, then the half of the job is done!
I am aware that I become often a kind of advisor in recording their special day, a person of trust helping during the day when needed and in the preparation. I am one of the people who will be around around the bride all day long. Often brides are concerned about their appearance, wanting to look good on their special day or they feel uncomfortable in front of the camera as they have become the centre of attention hence it's important for me to make them look and feel good.
Every bride, every woman, for one day at the very least has the right to feel like a supermodel - and I try to bring that beauty they are feeling on the day to my pictures of the event.
6. What is your photographic style?
My style of photography is being a kind of documentary wedding photography. Basically shooting the wedding to produce a historical document of that day. I like to go and shoot and show the clients the wedding day as I have seen it trough my lens. For me, wedding photography is a live event.
In terms of shooting my style is based on being among the action when it actually happens, to document the life of a wedding. I work fairly close to people. I don't tend to use flash light, most of the time its natural light. I produce images which are little snapshots of moments that actually happened and have a meaning to the people in them and the people that actually viewing them.
7. What was your most memorable wedding and why?
One of my last weddings in East Sussex. I was with the bride from the early morning during the preparation till the moment when she was about to enter the church. In that moment she started to cry and I don’t know how it could happen, - but I started to cry (just a bit!) too. I was really not expecting this!
8. What are your challenges during the wedding day?
A few things: During the preparation the bride is always a bit behind time, hence always in a rush. I need to keep up with that! The same applies when the bride/groom coming down the aisle or leaving the church. They tend to run, which makes is difficult to get a sharp image.
Another thing is that people are often aware of me and as soon I point the camera in their direction they look into the camera and start anyhow to pose, which looks artificial and is counter productive to recording the day in a storybook fashion.
One of the most difficult things is posing people for a group shot - which is like trying to deal with a beehive! A good way to keep them together is to stay on a ladder to form a group of let’s say 80-100 people. Most of the time people are cooperative, however.
9. Do you shoot just weddings?
I’m doing as well event photography and lifestyle portraits. For example, I’m working for years closely together with the Academia Nacional del Tango (UK), covering the International Tango Festival here at Porchester Hall in London. It’s an incredible and sensual event. It will take place this year in November again. If you are into Tango, come along!
10. Describe your post image process
I shoot AWB and mostly Aperture priority all day and do the WB correction in the software. After cropping and colour correction I decide if I can enhance the picture with some of my presets. I use the presets as a quick first adjustment and then tweak from there. The decision if I convert it to black/white comes during the post-process. During my work I listen mostly to ambient and classical music, what I try to express in the pictures too. It’s always my ambition to create something contemporary, classical.
11. Could you leave our readers with one last practical piece of advice for their wedding day in regard of photography?
Sometimes couples don’t reserve much of a budget for a photographer in the planning stage of their wedding. But, when the wedding is over, the photos become the most important thing. If the photos are not good, then there’s nothing you can do about it. Make sure you hire a good wedding photographer!
It’s being said a lot of the time: the only tangible thing that you have of your wedding day is your photographs. Everything else is memories that fade over time. In 20 years time when you showing pictures to your kids, your wedding day will be still be only as fresh as the pictures contained in that wedding photo album. The better the pictures that record the event, the better the tangible memories of the day. That's something you can’t put a price on.