As well as photographing amazing weddings Steve also captures bands, big ROCKSTAR type bands and that was his main speciality before doing a complete one-eighty and turning his talent to all things pretty. I say one-eighty but actually the way he shoots weddings is just as cool, just as creative and I imagine…. just as much fun.
And as part of my personal mission to learn as much about the wedding industry as I possibly can (more on this in another post lovelies) Adam and I went along to Mr Gerrard’s (very cool) studio in the Custard Factory, Birmingham a few weeks back.
I figured it would be useful not only for me but also for you guys to learn from an experienced insider on what we think is the most important part of W-day (except maybe the actual love) ….. and that’s the images you are left with at the end. The tangible memories that you will keep for ever.
So we asked a few questions, had more than a few laughs and got some really honest answers.
Brace yourselves 😉
RMW: Mr G. I would like you to describe yourself in 3 words please.
SG: Just 3 words? Um Ok. Chilled, Friendly……Scruffy?
RMW: Scruffy? I wouldn’t say you were scruffy
SG: Actually no. People may not book me if they think I’m a scruffy sod! How about bald? I am definitely that.
RMW: I think that’s a good selling spiel actually. “Chilled, friendly, bald and slightly scruffy bloke can take amazing pictures of your wedding” Genius. Ok then, now we’ve got you all figured out how about 3 words to describe your wedding photography style?
SG: Creative, Quirky and REAL.
RMW: How old were you when you first picked up a camera?
SG: Not sure exactly but I had a camera for my 11th birthday – and it was specifically what I’d ask for.
RMW: Nikon or Canon?
SG: I’m using Canon at the moment.
RMW: So then, the million dollar question, what made you want to become a WEDDING photographer specifically?
SG: To be honest, when I first started out as a professional photographer the last thing I wanted to do was weddings. I saw it as what photographers did that couldn’t do anything else, old-fashioned, stale and boring. The wedding photographer was the guy who turns up with a camera and starts ordering people to stand in various lines….. then goes home.
Gradually through my own interest in photography I realised the scene was changing pretty dramatically and as I became more successful at photographing bands more friends (and friends of friends) would ask me to take pictures of their weddings. I wasn’t all that keen at first but as I got into it discovered I could do what I wanted – especially if they had a “wedding photographer” as well as me. I was more the “mate” with the camera……
Then they would prefer my images to the actual wedding guys.
RMW: Bet he was cheesed off.
SG: Ha Ha who knows! …. and who cares?!
RMW: Brings me nicely onto my next question actually. Are there any “standard” shots that you just point blank refuse to take?
SG: I’d like to think that people choose me because they like my style so they would be happy for me to do what I do best, you’re going to get certain requests obviously which is fine, it’s their day after all. But yeah there’s a few that spring to mind. Two words: Spot Colour.
RMW: Oh. Lordy……. How do you get out of that?!
SG: We just politely say that we don’t like it and that we don’t think they will like it either – especially in the long term.
RMW: Any others?
SG: Yeah, when the groomsmen pick up the bride and it’s all cheesy smiles. It’s just so forced and…..well, cheesy. I also find the “cutting the cake” shot difficult to get creative with.
RMW: Know what you mean. I mean we love a good cake obviously but it’s rare we choose that particular frame for the blog, not that we don’t like them or anything – just that there are usually much more natural shots that we prefer.
(RMW gets distracted flicking through one of Steve’s albums)
RMW: Oooh love this wedding ring shot on the apple! so colourful and erm……crunchy?
SG: (laughs) crunchy?
RMW: (looks embarrassed at lack of proper photographer terminology/lingo type speak) Yup. It’s just really creative. And real looking. You have captured the um…. ( looking increasingly red in the face )…… essence of the apple?
We don’t know all of the right words but we know what we like when we see it, y’ know?
SG: Yes. I know exactly.
RMW: Ahem. Excellent well then. That brings me onto your wedding Mr Gerrard. What was it like?
SG: Outdoors. On a shoe-string budget…..but a great day. A really really great day.
RMW: And what was the first thing you thought as you saw your wife Evelyne walk down the ailse?
SG: Why is she crying?! and that she looked really different. Really different but really amazing. Completely amazing.
RMW: And what is the best wedding you have ever photographed?
SG: Hmmm. There have been loads of really good ones. One that really sticks in my mind though was Will and Rom’s bohemian wedding down in Somerset. They had a civil ceremony one day and a humanist ceremony outside the following day. Afterwards it was like a massive party with games, a kissing booth and a punk band in the evening. Really different and really great fun.
RMW: What are the most challenging conditions you have ever photographed a wedding in?
SG: I bet most people would expect you to say rain but it’s not. It’s actually when couples have their wedding really late in the day then try and cram everything in, they end up not being relaxed and it can come across in the images. RMW readers MAKE SURE YOU HAVE ENOUGH TIME!
RMW: Are there any other photographers you really admire?
SG: Yup. There are quite a few. Jose Villa – He’s a legend. Sean Flanigan too. And I’d like to give a shout out to my friends in Montreal who are really talented – Davina and Daniel. UK wise two of my favourites are Polly Alexandre and Ed Peers. In fact Polly is shooting my good friend and photographer Emily Quintons wedding soon and Jose Villa is shooting Polly’s……
RMW: I know we heard. We love Polly (great photographer and lovely lady) and so happy for her than she has booked Jose Villa for W-day. That is going to be one A.mazing wedding. Completely out-of-this-world beautiful……
RMW: So then Steve, what would you recommend to our brides as your top three tips for choosing a photographer for the Big Day?
SG: Number One. Make sure you choose a photographer because you like the photo’s they take, not just because you like the price. Number Two. Chose a photographer you could imagine having a drink down the pub with, you should get on with them as you would with a friend, that way you get the comfortable and natural results. Number Three. This is REALLY important readers: make sure you choose a photographer that’s named after a famous footballer 😉
RMW: It’s interesting you should bring that up, what would you advise brides that are really not confident in front of the lens, and I mean really not confident, we hear so many readers stressing over the fact they “hate pictures of themselves” and that makes us sad. Very sad indeed. How can they get around this?
SG: I think engagement shoots are great for getting couples used to being photographed by a professional together, a lot of my clients have said after a pre-wed shoot ” That was no where near as stressful/difficult as I thought it would be” and they always love the results. On the actual day itself I would say ask your photographer to take photo’s of you both where you are not looking directly at the camera but at each other. I often say to brides “Look at your husband as if you are really proud of him” then get clicking, I guarantee that will get you a genuine shot of L.O.V.E
RMW: You old romantic you. Great advice though, thanks so much for the tea (*he takes a great photo and makes a great cuppa) and letting us come and see you today. Before we go though two more quick questions – just for fun!
SG: Ok go on then!
RMW: If you could be a Rockstar a Movie Star or the greatest photographer on earth which one would it be?
SG: That’s easy. A Movie star. And not just any movie star. I would be Johnny Depp. That guy exudes cool.
RMW: Chocolate hobnob, custard cream or rich tea and more importantly: do you dunk?
SG: The chocolate hobnob. Every time. And yes I definitely dunk.
We would so go down the pub for a drink with this man 😉
Huge thanks to Steve Gerrard for sharing the knowledge, the truth and the laughs, if you have any questions for Steve lovelies then drop a comment in the box below. And if you want to have a look at the rest of Will and Rom’s rustic extravaganza then hot foot it over to Steve’s blog here.
Oh and don’t forget to wish him a Happy Birthday!
Big Knowledge is Power Love