Ross Harvey, wedding photographer from the United Kingdom, recently took some time to answer a few questions for our Photographer Spotlight Interview series and I’m honored to be able to share his dreamy work with you. Each of Ross’ photos are individual works of art that come together to form a complete visual story that uniquely captures his couples. He has a trained, artistic eye that sees all the moments of the wedding day with honesty and beauty, from the small and in-between to the grand and traditional.
Describe your wedding photography style in less than 6 adjectives. Artistic, emotive, genuine and geometric.
What really gets to you at weddings? Makes you cry? Makes you laugh? The invisible connections between people, without a doubt. Seeing couples, families and friends share experiences with each other that will last a lifetime. I’ve shed a few tears during speeches, it’s hard not to! Weddings, and speeches in particular, can be a rare opportunity for people to tell each other how much they care, something we tend not to do enough.
What are your favorite destination locations? I was in the rolling hills of the South of France for an intimate wedding at a private chateau recently. While it didn’t boast mountains, rivers or castles, it was crammed with charm, intimacy and character. Delightful!
Where do you want to shoot next? Two places; Santorini, Greece and Lake Como, Italy. Both are beautiful. And hot. We don’t get enough heat and sun over here in the UK!
A tip or two for couples on how to look amazing and feel comfortable in their photographs? Hands down – find a photographer you feel comfortable with. You’ll spend so much of the day with them, many moments being very intimate and personal. The personality and style of your photographer needs to match you and your wedding.
They will help you relax, which will allow natural beauty to unfold. This is especially important for the bride and groom portraits, the more relaxed you are – and trust your photographer – the more genuine and emotive the photographs will be.
What makes you give yourself a mental high five? Seeing awesome shots on the back of the camera when shooting throughout the day keeps you charged and inspired. When you have edited the photos and built the storyboard, you see your vision of the day really come to life. When couples see that vision and cry from joy, you can’t beat it.
How has witnessing so many weddings impacted your life/outlook? Being able to spend so many life changing days with people is something I am always grateful for. Sharing their happiness – on a weekly basis – has kept me on cloud nine for years now. To have a ‘job’ that requires such a thing is an absolute gift.
How has being a wedding photographer made you a stronger photographer over all? If you want to be competent in all aspects of wedding photography you need to be proficient at portraiture, documentary/reportage, details, macro, architecture, ambient light, artificial light, the list goes on. All while under time pressures and with no second takes. No other branch of photography requires such a complete set of skills. A wedding photographer of high caliber can be dropped in other industries and do well technically and creatively. Try that the other way around and most will struggle!
Favorite trick to capture images of reluctant subjects? (kids, grandparents, nervous-in-front-of-the-camera-types) Rather than shoot from afar, I like to get up close and personal. Never intrusively, mind you. I will joke with the person about being great at avoiding pictures, make them laugh, and then capture them laughing. Which usually gets another laugh, which you can capture again!
Best thank you that you’ve ever received? Being told you helped make the day so special is incredibly humbling, especially when you consider they have their closest friends and family with them. For you to be classed alongside them is wonderful. Each of those thank you’s is equal to me. Material gifts are secondary to the emotional gifts.
Best advice you’ve ever received about being an artist? Follow your dreams. Listening to, and following your heart is key to finding your own happiness. Creativity is most abundant when you’re happy, as fear acts as a vice. The more you love what you do, the more others will love what you do.
Something that has inspired you recently? I draw inspiration from anything around me; people, books, films, nature. Recently it’s gone full circle and is from music. Not the music itself, but watching passionate musicians become one with their instruments, expressing themselves without barriers. The best artists in the world make their tools disappear – they become part of them. I always endeavour to do this with my own tools – cameras. Think less and express intuitively and without compromise.
What gets your heart racing – both personally and professionally? Expansion – loving more unconditionally and becoming a better person than I was yesterday. Not just as a photographer, but as a friend, partner, brother and son.
What are looking forward to most right now? I have some incredible weddings lined up for 2014, along with some personal trips to shoot more travel and street photography, another avenue I’m particularly interested in.