Wedding Photography – A Look Behind the Scenes with Clare Kinchin

Marianne Stenger
17th April 2018

Wedding season is fast approaching and photographers all over the country are gearing up for one of the busiest times of the year. But what exactly goes into photographing a wedding?

In order to provide a glimpse at what goes into the making of a picture perfect wedding photo album, we spoke to Devon and Cornwall-based wedding photographer Clare Kinchin. She has photographed everything from intimate elopements and small family gatherings to festival weddings, destination weddings and more.

Here are some of her thoughts on what it’s like to be part of a couple’s special day as well as a few tips for wedding photographers who are just getting started.

How did you get started as a wedding photographer?

Creativity has always been a massive part of my life. I was given a little instant camera by my parents when I went travelling and I completely fell in love with documenting everything and everyone.

After I shot a couple of weddings for people I quickly realised that I loved it. I am a self taught photographer and worked super hard to learn quickly on the job. I worked for a photography business as a second shooter and became a senior partner shooting weddings every weekend.

I knew I wanted my own business so in 2015 I set up on my own and Clare Kinchin Photography was born. I haven’t looked back since.

If you’re new to the industry, practice is key. Go on as many courses as you can afford, photograph your friends and family and get used to using your equipment and making people feel comfortable in front of the camera.

What’s your favourite part about photographing weddings?

My favourite part about photographing weddings is getting to see different people and their relationships with each other. I love everything about weddings but documenting the emotion between people is really special.

It’s not just the couple, but the love between best friends, mums and sons, brides and fathers that gets me every time. That moment when a dad sees his daughter in her wedding dress for the first time…eek I’m a mess!

How do you prepare to photograph a wedding?

Preparation is so important, but because I shoot weddings all over the country it’s not always possible to meet the couple in person before the wedding. When this is the case, I always try to arrange Skype or Facetime meetings.

I also have questionnaires that I send my clients before their wedding confirming dates, times, finding out where they are getting ready, whether there is parking for me, whether sat nav will get me to their house, what group photographs they need, the dinner timings, and the list goes on.

I can’t always make a location visit but if the wedding is somewhere far away I make sure to arrive super early so I can do a site visit. I have printouts and checklists for my kit and I get everything ready the day before so it’s ready to go.

I also set time aside to get inspired. This doesn’t mean copying other wedding photographers but drawing inspiration from art, fashion, music and photography. I particularly like Anton Corbijn’s photography and the way he groups people.

What about on the wedding day itself? Do you usually have a shot list or just photograph things as they happen?

When I first started my mind would go blank so I always had a shoot list and I would draw little pictures of how I wanted my shots to look. With time and experience, though, I tend to go with the flow more now.

I always have a list of group shots before the wedding and I try to keep these to a minimum so that the day flows nicely. I always plan for bad weather, because when you’re shooting in the UK you need a wet weather plan.

Finding light and space indoors can also be tricky sometimes so you often need to get creative. I shoot with two cameras and there have been occasions when I’ve needed to reach for my backup. This is where your preparation comes in, as you should always have spare bodies, lenses and flash close by and ready to go.

What is your process like after the wedding?

When I return from a wedding I download the images straight away and back them up two times. Everyone edits in a different way. Personally I use Adobe Lightroom and select all the images I want to keep. I’ve made my own preset that I use on my images so I apply that and then tweak each image individually.

It tends to be a pretty time consuming job so I like to crank up the music or listen to podcasts. Not every client wants an album from me so I deliver their images first and then they come back to me for albums and books if they want them.

What's the most important tip or advice would you give to someone who is just starting out as a wedding photographer?

Get out there and photograph as many people as you can. You should also try to book yourself onto a photography course or mentoring session. I particularly love Photography Farm. In general, just keep learning and keep being inspired. Good Luck!

Copyright: Images in this article have been provided by Clare Kinchin. Clare is a wedding photographer based in Devon and Cornwall. You can see more of her work by visiting her website or following her on Facebook and Instagram.


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