Well hello everyone and how are you all this fine Monday morning? How was your...
Wedding Photography is arguably THE most important aspect of your wedding. After the day is done your wedding photos are the one thing you will have left to remember your day with. That is why it is so important to choose the right wedding photographer. So many different photography styles to choose from, different editing styles, and different personalities. That is why I m delighted to introduce you to Spencer from Love Of Mine. Spencer is a documentary wedding photographer who describes his style as authentic, natural and un-posed. He LOVES weddings and feels it is a real privilege to be involved in the most important and exciting day of your life. To be there to capture the love, the enormity of the day and give those memories back to you in the form of his beautiful photography is such an amazing gift. Spencer is a fun loving, laid back photographer who would make a wonderful addition to your wedding. He has been kind enough to answer a few questions for us and share his favourite photos.
I grew up in Australia. South Australia to be exact. And the nearest city was a casual 3 hour drive away. I’ve lived in most parts of Australia but now I’m fortunate enough to call Bristol home. Why leave the sunny shores of Aus? Because the British just have a much better sense of humour. We have Kath & Kim, UK has Peep Show. I know which side I’m on there.
I’m a husband, a dad, a (rubbish) surfer and an animal lover; and I hope this isn’t a deal-breaker, but I love coffee but I’m not super fussed about tea.
I mentioned above that I’m a dad; I have the two greatest boys of all time who I love more than anything in the entire world – Elijah + Esra. Elijah, at the ripe age of 5, is an absolute legend guitarist, while his younger brother Esra is good at eating and smiling. Together with my very, very beautiful wife Bianca, we raise our happy + healthy boys in the UK’s beautiful South West.
I also really love creating nostalgia for people who are super in love (like you two), so let’s have a chat and see if you like me enough to invite to be your professional third wheel for the day.
How long have you been taking photos for?
I’ve been taking photographs for fun since I was a teenager and eventually made my way into photographing food and interiors in my early 20’s. Then one day a friend asked if I’d help him shoot a wedding and I was blown away but how insanely fun and awesome it was to be around a tonne of people celebrating a super special day. I was completely hooked and haven’t looked back. I’ve since had the pleasure of shooting weddings all over Australia, New Zealand and now the UK.
When did you start your photography business and what made you start
Love Of Mine was only officially born quite recently ahead of our decision to move our lives from the sunny shores of Sydney in Australia to the beautiful South West. When we decided to move, I decided to start completely fresh so that I could create a brand that captured the personality I want to take forward into my new business. I love weddings of all shapes and sizes – from elopements and intimate weddings to big celebrations – as long as the focus is on having the experience that the couple want for themselves and crafting some unique to their own personalities.
Where are you based?
We’re based in the South West.
How far will you travel for a wedding?
Given that I’m a new-comer to the area, I just want to explore, explore, explore! I’m happy to travel almost anywhere for celebration with good people having a good time.
How would you describe your style?
My style is pretty simple; make sure the couple is having a freaking good time, and document that in the most authentic way possible. In my opinion, people look their best when they’re at ease and enjoying themselves and so that’s always my focus. I don’t want people to look back on their photos in years to come and think like “argh that felt so awkward and weird”; I want them look at those images and relive the day or the moment knowing the pure joy on their face is 100% genuine. I honestly can’t stress enough how important I think that is. I’m also just an enormous lover of light. There’s countless times a day where I just stop and admire the way light is falling on something or the way the light is creating a mood. I love the way we can use it to take something from being just what we see with our eyes to something more ethereal and dreamy. I think combining those two things together – two people super into each other feeling comfortable and content and beautiful light – just makes for the most incredible images that have the power to transport us to different places and just make us feel good things.
What is your favorite bit of technical kit?
I’m not actually the most technical guy – my favourite bits of equipment are just different lenses with different qualities that allow me to shoot a certain way. I love my 24mm lens that has a huge 1.4 aperture because it means at receptions, I can lean more heavily on the ambient light that I think keeps things honest to the way it felt on the day. I obviously have a full flash setup for when its needed, but I love to use the ambient light wherever possible. I always shoot with two cameras, one usually has a wide lens, one has something with a bit more reach and that allows me play those off each other to create depth in the story of the day.
What makes you different to your competitors?
There’s any amount of people willing to step up and take photographs of your wedding and with technology moving forward as it does, we’re all on a pretty level playing field, and I actually love this because it means couples get to pick someone based on something other than their ability to just take a clean, well exposed photo. I think what makes me different is my personality on the day and leading up to the day; I honestly just want to help people have the best experience possible and that goes so much further than just the photos I take. If I photograph your wedding, we’ll be spending a lot of the day together – sometimes more than you’ll be with your bridal party – so it’s important that we click and I’ve found that I have the ability to find common ground with basically anyone. I like to have fun at weddings, too. The best photographs come from not being afraid to be in the middle of things when its necessary, I think – there’s obviously times of the day where I hang back and let things unfold, but other times, like a raging dancefloor, that I can’t help but want to be in the thick of. I also understand having your photo taken isn’t easy – it can be awkward at first – but I like to think that by just being there, being calming while also a bit bubbly, takes the pressure off. My approach is largely documentary-styled, which means stiff boring posing isn’t really a part of toolkit. Instead, I find good good light and provide subtle direction as a means of drawing out genuine, natural reactions. All the smiles, the laughs and the pensive moments in my work are 100% authentic, real emotions.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Just being around people that are honestly having the best day of their lives. I love it. You get to spend your time with people doing something they’ve been dreaming about for a long time and then, at the end of it, you get to gift them with these images that let them transport back to that day that they said all those things and did all those things with the person they love the most ever.
What is your biggest achievement so far?
I think being asked to travel for weddings is my favourite thing I’ve done. Like people could have had someone local to them but instead reached out to have me join them because they connected with my work and myself in a way that made them want to have me involved and that felt really good. Warm fuzzies.
What sort of couple do you think you attract?
Oh it’s so hard to say! I hope to attract people that want to imprint their own personality into their wedding and do things in a way that really represents who they are, rather than adhering to traditions just because. I think with traditions that if its something you’re genuinely into and something you personally want to do, then go ahead and do it and it’ll be amazing. But otherwise, do it your own way. Don’t want a first dance? Don’t do it! Don’t want a wedding cake? Have a fountain of chocolate instead! Getting off track a little but I guess the point is that I hope to attract people not afraid to have the wedding they want to have.
What would be your ideal wedding to work on?
Firstly, I honestly love any wedding that’s heartfelt and genuine. But if I could have that mixed with an intimate gathering outdoors under festoon lighting, good food and wine and some acoustics by someone with real pipes then thats me very happy. Something where the people are happy, emotional and its a real celebration of two people all loved up.
Which celeb would you like to photograph?
If I had to choose, its going to be between Joe Talbot from IDLES or Ben Howard; both awesome musicians who I think would have two different but equally incredible days to photograph.
Who is your favorite photographer and why?
There’s too many to list – I could go on forever! I love photography and I think in it’s short history we’ve been blessed to see the world through the eyes of some incredible people. W. Eugene Smith’s work in New York, Dorothea Lange, Tish Murtha, Fan Ho – gosh if you’re reading this, quickly open another tab and go check out Fan Ho’s work and see the way he understood and used light in his Hong Kong street photography! It’s mind blowing. I also love the work of Stephen Dupont – he is an Australian war and humanitarian photographer whose ability to make you shudder and really feel his subjects is nearly unrivalled. I could go on and on. Last one I will mention is Saul Leiter – he was a black and white fashion photographer throughout the 70’s-90’s but then in early 2000’s it was discovered he’d been out shooting colour street photography (nearly unheard of at that time) and was sitting on this treasure chest of incredible, incredible work.
Who did take the pictures at your wedding
Ahhh I don’t mean to sound biased but this is one of my life’s biiiiiggest regrets – we married young and didn’t value photography enough and instead had a friend shoot it and it was just awful! No offence to that person – they weren’t a wedding photographer and didn’t understand the challenges involved. Please believe me when I say you will regret not investing in photography – even if you don’t have me photograph your wedding, I urge you to spend whatever you can afford because in the years to come, having those photographs to relive moments will become utterly priceless. If I could have my time over, it’d be between Dan O’Day or James Simmons; I may be biased but I think Australia is home to some of the worlds absolute best wedding photographers.
What in your opinion makes the perfect photo?
I think there’s several elements that when they line up, make for an incredible photograph; light, emotion, story and composition. When those align, that’s when the spine really tingles.
What is your favorite photo that you have taken?
I honestly don’t have a favourite! I have ones I love for all sorts of different reasons but I’ve never had a firm favourite! My top 10 would likely all be ones of my two boys, Elijah + Esra!
What advice would you give couples when choosing their wedding photographer?
You will honestly regret not investing in your photography (and videography, too!). Once all is said and done and the years roll over, these will be your tangible portals that let you relive and delve back into that whirlwind of love and emotion. And secondly, make sure you connect with the person; you’re going to have them around you for a whole day and your experience with them is going to shape how you feel about your day!
Can you give me some information on your pricing structure?
Firstly, I’m a believer in transparency – my pricing is available on my website in full. My pricing is broken down into a half day and full day for simplicity. A half day is up to about 5 hours, and a full day sits at around 10 hours but more can be added if necessary; I’ve shot enough weddings to know that you don’t need me at your preparations for 3 hours and that unless you’re having a big sparkler send off, you don’t need me there until stumps. I know when I have what I I’ll need to tell the story of your day and once I’ve gotten in the thick of the dancefloor enough, I’ll usually tag out and let people throw down without the risk of professional evidence. If your wedding requires travelling, the full day package is required and I’ll just need somewhere to stay and a way to get there. Within my pricing comes a complimentary couple’s shoot which I think is super beneficial. It gives me and the couple a chance to catch up + hang out, and the couple get cool photos somewhere pretty and it also means the couple have had that experience of being in front of a camera, so it takes the pressure off that aspect of the day.
What is your ideal way to spend a day off?
Starts with some good coffee, then a cliffside hike or a bit of a surf before grabbing lunch and maybe a cider at the pub and letting that drag on into the late afternoon hopefully with some good live music. I’m a simple man.
What can you never leave the house without?
I’m pretty minimal and leaving with shoes on would be considered pretty successful!
Who would be your 5 dream dinner guests dead or alive?
I love film and photography, so it’s probably going to be filled with some people I can talk to and try learn something off! Fan Ho, Saul Leiter, Chivo – then maybe Jeff Mangum – an American musician and then we’ll probably need someone to lighten the mood a bit so we might have David Mitchell there, too, for laughs.
What would you do if you won the lottery?
Honestly, I’d still be taking photos. I’d have some big, ridiculous large format cameras and heaps of weird stuff I could experiment with but I’d be still taking photos and trying to tell people’s stories. And a lot of travel with my wife and two boys. I’d also love to buy a house and just gut it and start again – or even better, design something beautiful from scratch.
If you weren’t running your business, what would you be doing?
I’d actually likely be teaching history and literature – that’s something I was working on before I made a career out of photography completely. I’d also love to be involved in making documentaries and films – I’ve always had an itch to be involved in filmmaking. Or I’d have a coffee roastery. Gosh I’m indecisive.