Hi, my name is Aaron, and I live in Northamptonshire in the United Kingdom with my two kids, wife, and best friend, Maddy, the dog. I’ve been documenting for the last 11 years, focussing on the chaotic and intimacy of moments in-between moments.
What inspired you to start your photography business?
I started shooting weddings around late 2010 as a natural progression of having a camera and desire to build a business around a hobby. Things started getting serious after finding the work of James Nachtwey and Sally Mann. Although clearly, their work isn’t ‘weddings’, it was a light bulb moment because I began a life-long journey to understanding the significance and importance of authenticity. Since then, I seem to have gravitated towards the genuine, often high energy moments of a wedding day because those are the photos that I enjoy.
Tell us about your photography business?
I’m a ‘one-man band’ and shoot around 20 weddings. Occasionally, I hire a second shooter (when logistics make it impracticable to be in two places simultaneously); however, I prefer to have complete creative control over the content produced on the day.
What inspires you artistically when you shoot weddings or couples?
I’m utterly obsessed with producing images that my couples will love, and I think their happiness and my desire for perfection is the ultimate driver. I cover a lot of ground on a wedding day, and I shoot with as many different focal lengths, angles, positions, and idea’s that come into my head as possible. I often mentally remind myself to shoot low, step out, move in and go high and I relentlessly look for alternative ways to tell the story of my couples day.
Tell us about your studio or home office setup?
I like to keep things simple! I have a stand-up desk with a Macbook Pro + Adobe Lightroom and use a wide-angle monitor. That’s it!
What does a typical non wedding workday for you look like?
Most days (except wedding days) look much the same. I wake up at 5:30 every morning, and whilst my family are still asleep, I go to the gym, followed by a swim and a VERY hot sauna. I get back at around 8:00, walk my dog for an hour, and then get the kids to school. I’m very fortunate that I get to be a big part of their lives. I work throughout the day on editing and try to leave the evenings free for family time.
What is a typical wedding day for you?
No two weddings are the same, and the location could be anything from down the road to a venue 5+ hours from my house (or even abroad). If I’m more than 100 miles away, I always stay in a hotel nearby, so I don’t stress traffic in the morning. My coverage is bespoke, but I can work up to 14+ hours, generally starting around 10 am and finishing around midnight at the very latest.
How do you go about getting couples to relax in front of the camera?
By the time my couples are married, there’s always exciting energy in the air, I want things to feel authentic, so if my couples are feeling nervous, I use that to my advantage. We will consistently achieve exceptional portraits because I give them space to be together, and I document with a long lens (so I’m not super close) which helps with the creative process. But the biggest single thing is for my couples to know that I’ve got their back – trust is key.
What is your favorite part of a wedding day?
It’s different at every wedding, and from experience, the moment you focus forward to a part of the day, you’ll miss something that’s happening right in front of you. There’s beauty in the otherwise mundane, and some of my favourite moments over the last few years have come from the quiet, less obvious parts of the day.
Can you list the camera gear you bring to a wedding?
I will admit, I carry a lot, perhaps too much – and with every year, I seem to walk around with more.So far this year, I’ve been shooting with four cameras (that’s four cameras on me at all times!)
- Canon EOS 1Dx + Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM II
- Canon 5D Mark IV + Canon EF 135mm f/2.0L USM
- Canon 5D Mark IV + Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM
- Canon 5D Mark III + Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L USM
I also bring along to every wedding
- Canon EF 16-35mm f/4.0L IS USM
- 2 x Speedlites
- 2 x flash stands
What is your process for culling and editing your images?
I cull in Adobe Lightroom and sent a smart catalog to The Image Salon (https://imagesalon.com/). Around two weeks later, they will send me back a file that I then use to build a set of previews and continue to edit. The Image Salon is excellent, and they get the images around 75% of the way there; I just add the finishing touches (which takes a lot of time!) Both the colour and black and white presets are my own, which have taken me many years to create and refine.
How do most of your couples find you? What marketing do you do for your business?
All of my couples find me online through Google or are referred from previous couples. I don’t do any advertising and have also stopped entering into most awards. I’ve also slowed down on Instagram and haven’t published anything on Facebook for months. More time away from social media for everybody is better.
What has been your best business purchase in recent years?
I think my Macbook. I buy a new computer every 3-4 years, and when I do, I max out with the best CPU and most amount of memory possible.
Comparing your business from when you started to now, what has been the main thing that allowed you to succeed?
What do you consider the main differences between those people who have been successful in the industry and those who have failed?
What’s the best piece of photography business advice you’ve ever been given?
I love the quote from Robert Capa: “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough.” which I’ve come to interpret, has nothing to do with focal length but about closeness to empathy, understanding, compassion, and perception. If I can feel the energy, I can document it.
What’s the most common rookie mistake when it comes to starting a photography business? What advice would you give them?
I was given some terrible advice in the early days, and I even paid a lot of money for it too. A ‘so called’ expert told me to wear a belt and a white shirt and that somehow, these acts of vanity would allow me to climb the ranks among wedding photographers. (no pun intended) but focus on finding your voice. Those were high energy moments for me, but it might be the calm, more tender moments or the material details of the weddings. It doesn’t matter what it is; just do it with all your heart. There will be an audience for it. The irony with my expensive advice was that I always turn up to a wedding looking smart, but the way I work (constantly on my knees, climbing on things to get amazing views, in bushes etc.), I can end a wedding looking slightly bedraggled.
What are your top 3 wedding venues or destinations that you have photographed?
- Aynhoe Park (simply the best)
- Amalfi Coast
- Kings Chapel (Cambridge)
Do you have any bucket list locations you want to shoot?
I’m happy for the journey to take me anywhere.
Best places online to view more of your work?