Podcast #7: Benjamin Wheeler on Self Care & Mental Health, Charging More to Work Less, Trusting your Instinct, Staying Relevant & Advice for Couples Looking for a Wedding Photographer

Portrait of photographer Benjamin Wheeler

My guest in Episode #7 of The Love My Dress Podcast is Benjamin Wheeler, an extraordinarily talented, popular and highly sought after British wedding photographer.

Benjamin’s passion for photography began to blossom whilst he was at school, and after years of honing his craft in the luxury fashion industry, he made the transition to full-time wedding photography in 2014, where he now inspires many other photographers with his incomparably authentic blend of documentary and editorial photography. 

Based in London, but sought after by couples with discerning style all over the world, Benjamin’s work has taken him to some of the most breathtakingly beautiful destinations far and wide.

Benjamin had the incredible honour of photographing the wedding of Her Royal Highness, Princess Beatrice of York, in 2020. His work is also regularly published in Vogue and featured by all the top digital wedding platforms, including, of course, Love My Dress, The Together Journal, The Wedding Collective and The Lane. 

Despite his professional status, Ben has consistently remained one of the most humble people I have ever met in this industry. He is kind, unassuming, down to earth and definitely does not let his incredible achievements go to his head. He credits his easy going approach as being an extension of his relaxed personality. 

Beyond his talent behind the camera, Benjamin is a huge Arsenal Football Club fan and if his work schedule permits, you’ll find him maxing out his season ticket and cheering on his team from the boxes, for all their home game matches. He enjoys snowboarding and keeping up with the worlds of tech and fashion. He is also inspired by the beauty of  print, architecture and the world around him.

Finally, Ben is currently busy planning his own wedding to the love of his life, and fiance Christina. Together, they share their home and lives with their very much loved cat, Teddy.

Please take a moment to follow Benjamin on Instagram, if you aren’t already.

4 Benjamin Wheeler Photography Love My Dress Podcast

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Podcast Transcript

Welcome to the Love My Dress podcast. I’m your host and founder of Love My Dress, Annabel Beforth, and I’m so thrilled that you’re here. 

This podcast is a tribute to the world of weddings and the people who make them happen. It has been created for anyone planning their wedding, for all wedding business owners, and anyone interested in the world of creative business entrepreneurship. Whether you’re deeply involved in the wedding industry, on its periphery, or just generally curious. 

In each episode, I’ll be engaging in conversation with inspiring business owners, and exploring topics from weddings and business to personal life experiences that have shaped the careers and lives of my guests. I feel a very strong sense of purpose for humanising the wedding industry and revealing the incredible creative talent that thrives within it. 

In today’s fast-paced tech-dominated world that we are all navigating, I also feel a profound desire to encourage slower, more meaningful in full consumption of digital content. I’m passionate about storytelling and creating spaces where others can share their stories freely and authentically. Stories are the universal currency of our communication. They weave invisible threads that connect us all on a human level, that help us to understand better, foster kindness, compassion and empathy. They spark ideas and inspire us to do new things. So storytelling is very much at the heart of this podcast. 

If you enjoy listening to this conversation, please take a moment to leave a friendly rating or review. Your support and feedback really means the world and makes such a difference. And now it’s time to introduce my latest guest. 

My guest today is Benjamin Wheeler, an extraordinarily talented, popular and highly sought-after British wedding photographer. Benjamin’s passion for photography began to blossom whilst he was at school and after years of honing his craft in the luxury fashion industry, he made the transition to full-time wedding photography in 2014, where he now inspires many other photographers with his incomparably authentic blend of documentary and editorial editorial photography. 

Based in London, but sought after by couples with discerning style all over the world, Benjamin’s work has taken him to some of the most breathtakingly beautiful destinations far and wide. Benjamin had the incredible honour of photographing the wedding of Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrice of York in 2020. His work is also regularly published in Vogue and featured by all the top digital wedding platforms, including of course Love My Dress, the Together Journal, the Wedding Collective and The Lane. 

Despite his professional status, Ben has consistently remained one of the most humble people that I’ve ever met in this industry. He is kind, unassuming, very down to earth and definitely does not let his incredible achievements go to his head. He credits his easygoing approach as being an extension of his relaxed personality. 

Beyond his talent behind the camera, Benjamin is a huge Arsenal Football Club fan, and if his work schedule permits, you’ll find him maxing out his season ticket and cheering on his team from the boxes for all of their home game matches. He enjoys snowboarding and keeping up with the world of tech and fashion. He is also inspired by the beauty of print and architecture and the world around him. 

Finally, Ben is currently planning his wedding to the love of his life and fiancée, Kristina. Together they share their home and lives with their very much loved cat, Teddy. 

Benjamin, I’m so absolutely delighted to welcome you to the Love My Dress podcast.

Thank you, Annabel. So, so nice to be here. That was an amazing review that I’m probably going to use on my website. Thank you so much.

You’re welcome. 

Ben, I’d like to start by asking you to take us back to the very start. I’d like to understand how a creative child, and I know you were a creative child, it says so on your website, who loved drawing and painting, went on to become one of the world’s most sought after wedding photographers. 

Can you tell us where it all started?

Well, I mean, when I was a little lad, my mum was quite artistic and we used to sit and draw together and she would encourage me to kind of paint. And I think I mostly drew cars at the start. And I was very interested by form and shape and composition, which is quite interesting. 

But then I was very lucky to have a wonderful art tutor when I was growing up at school that I did art design and then photography with the same guy called Kevin, my art tutor back in school and he really kind of opened my eyes to creativity and what it kind of could lead to, I suppose. And from that point on, I kind of forgot about everything else and, you know, ticked the boxes with other GCSE’s and stuff like that, but actually really enjoyed drawing and then photography kind of followed suit. I’d found this, you know, that I could use a camera to create some really beautiful work. And yeah, it was a very kind of like natural process, I suppose, that got me started. But my dad bought my first camera for me, which is nice.

Ah, I was going to ask, did you have that moment where you got your first camera and thought, this is for me?

Yeah, it was. Well, I was actually given my grandfather’s camera, or great-grandfather’s camera, I can’t remember whose it was, but my granny gave it to me, which was my first ever camera. But my first digital camera, kind of digital age, was purchased by my dad, and I don’t think I’ve ever paid him back, so I need to get that sorted out. 

But yeah, I owe a lot to my family for supporting me. Because it’s not always the way of the world that you get pushed into creative industry and your family is supportive. They might be like, that is not going to pay the bills, or go and do law at university or something. So I was very much supported in what I wanted to do. 

But yeah, then I went to, after my school days, I went to Nottingham Trent University and I did photography, which mostly was spent out drinking, as you do when you’re at university, but enjoyed the course to a point of, to a point as such, but it was very theoretical, which wasn’t always me, but then led me into where I am now, I suppose, that it was actually just creating beautiful photographs that I was really interested in and for no real other reason, there was no theory behind my work. It was very much like the aesthetics, the technical process, the beautiful dark room printing, stuff like that, that really, like, captured my imagination.

And like the feelings of what strikes me just then, you said the theory aspect of it wasn’t for you. 

I think there’s different camps of people who work in a creative field, those people who are very led by, you know, the theory aspect of it and learning how to technically master their craft and those people who feel their way through it, you know, and you strike me as one of those people.

Yeah, absolutely. You know, there was always the understanding of why people create images, you know, there’s a huge amount of influence in my work that stems from fashion. And, you know, I’m sure we’ll talk about that later, but really like masters of their craft back in the day, people like Henry Cartier-Bresson and Irving Penn and beautiful work that these photographers capture that I think really captured me a little bit more than the theory side and what it meant to take a beautiful photograph. And these things weren’t, the fashion world was changed when these photographers came along in the 60s. And that’s why I wrote my dissertation on that actually, which was, it was a lifetime ago.

I won’t ask how old you are now. 

So you were at university, realising that you were, you were obviously joined photography, learning to feel your way through and not particularly doing the theory side of it. But what was next for you? Because I know that you ended up working in fashion. 

So what was the stepping stone from studying to then finding yourself actually shooting high fashion imagery?

So I was very lucky at the time. I thought about, you know, I think everyone at our university, probably 50% of my year group wanted to be a fashion photographer because it was cool and it was fun and it was, you know, you do a bit of work, but you also get to enjoy it. And there was that side of, okay, I can actually get something out of this and get paid, but also shoot some really cool stuff. 

So there was part of me that loved that, the allure of being a fashion photographer and not having in the back of your mind, I can be a world famous fashion photographer, because that’s not really, it was never kind of the dream or the feasibility of it. But I thought, OK, where can I work that’s practical and I can start to gain a foothold in industry a little bit. So I was very lucky that I applied. My partner at the time, she got me an interview with Net-a-Porter in London and I was lucky enough to start as a studio assistant for a couple of months, which was really low pay, but I was absolutely haemorrhaging my savings at that point, living in Fulham, which was wild. But, you know, it was, it all kind of made it the more sweeter when I was offered a full-time job. So it was a really hard few months and then to get the opportunity to stay on and I stayed there for about four or five years, I think. 

So that was, you know, going through the motions of shooting still life and fashion and model and the odd campaign here and there, but also shooting kind of, when you’re in that environment, you get to meet the stylists and the fashion writers and the buyers and the, you know, the menswear design team and stuff like that. It was just fascinating, kind of this really high-end, huge, multimillion pound company run by, at the time, it was Natalie Massonet and it was just amazing to kind of walk past her in the corridor and be in that world suddenly, and it was just, I knew how lucky I was to get that job. So I really like took it with both hands at that point. 

So did you have to rise through the ranks when you were working at Net-a-Porter? 

Did you find yourself like in a junior role to begin with, and then in the end you were shooting bigger campaigns

Yes, I started out by being a studio assistant. So I was running kit around and samples and boxes of shoes and doing the work that really is quite key, but also it’s in the background. It wasn’t very much photography driven at all, but I had the opportunity to kind of shadow photographers on set, which was great and then my full-time job position, I was offered the contract of a junior photographer. 

So I went from junior to senior, I believe, in that kind of three to four year gap. And when I left, I decided to go freelance because I was shooting at the same time, a couple of weddings here and there. And as those years went on, it turned into kind of six weddings, and then suddenly 10 weddings. 

And they were all very kind of fashion driven weddings, which was so so lucky. And it kind of gave me a real good stepping stone into where I am with my client base now is it’s not kind of something that you can just dream up overnight. 

But I was in this environment where girls at work were getting married and they were either, you know, fashion writers or they were stylists and they would be fashion focused. Or they were models and it was just the easiest kind of shoot day ever because they were marrying these beautiful people. And it was a really, really lovely, really lovely kind of insight into kind of starting my business. But I didn’t start my business, as you said, till 2014.

So tell me about that then. So you started your business in 2014. What made you make that decision to take a leap of faith and throw yourself fully into the world of wedding photography?

It was such a big leap, to be honest. When I think back, I was like, I really struggled with freelance work. So I was still going into e-commerce studios, trying to get freelance days at these studios like Burberry and Harvey Nichols and I think I did sort of matches and also back at Net-a-Porter. So I actually went back to the studio where I worked as a freelancer, kind of because I needed the money and the work. So, you know, it wasn’t the most exhilarating stuff to be shooting kind of flat lays and models all day, but it was what people do. And it’s such an important kind of like, when you’re in that place, it’s really important work to the kind of like, cog of the fashion studio. It’s a huge job. 

So whilst I was kind of like, loving it when I was full time, I didn’t love it too much when I was freelance. I was like, okay, this is where I’ve got to pick up more weddings because that’s where I feel I could work harder but work less.

I see. So you just decided to throw yourself into, I mean, did you have any guaranteed work at that time or was it a massive leap of faith where you thought, I’m just going to do this, I’m going to get the work, I can do it.

It was a, it was a big leap of faith. At the start, it was very scary to be honest. There was no guarantee that I would ever have work again. And you’re kind of like pitching your availability to these companies. 

But I was quite lucky that I got a three-month position with a design agency in Soho, which my flatmate at the time he worked for, it was a wonderful, wonderful design agency called Made Thought in Fitzrovia and they set me up in their studio and I shot all their still life and a bit of kind of campaign imagery for their brands, essentially. So they were across a lot of really, really high-end brands, a few fashion brands like Stella McCartney, Adidas, Tom Dixon, those kind of things that actually opened my eyes to this fast-paced industry. It was a completely new industry for me. I didn’t have any background in graphic design or design agencies as such, but they were doing incredible work that was really, really like, I want to say strict, I want to say like restructured. And I was quite the free, I was quite the kind of carefree, flowing, freelancer in the corner shooting products. But that was a really good position for me because it set me up for three months. I was able to buy more kit. So that was really, really integral. 

When I started my weddings, you know, I had one camera, a couple of lenses and a bag, and that was all I kind of had, you know. It’s not about your kit, I know, but actually doing a wedding properly, you need to be kind of covered all bases, you need to have a backup camera. 

So I think it actually just enabled me to buy a new camera as well and kind of go into weddings a bit more prepared.

Tell me about the first wedding you shot then. Were you super nervous?

The first ever wedding was actually way back in 2008 and it was for an old school friend when I was still at university. And I remember, because I didn’t have, I don’t think I had a car at the time  and my dad drove me from London to Wales to shoot this wedding. And he waited in the bar, and he sat and had lunch as well. I did this shoot for nine hours and I don’t think I’ve ever looked at the back of the photographs. I think they’re absolutely horrendous. I’m sorry to the couple, but I don’t think they’re as much good. 

But yeah, you know, that first ever wedding, you’ve got a, well, I’m sure there’s some lovely moments in there, but I can’t even remember it. I really can’t even remember what it looked like. It was so, so long ago. But, you know, just that first ever shoot, I think you just kind of panic. You have to be so alert, so awake to everything, and it’s just a blur. 

But the first job after I kind of set up my business when I went freelance back in 2014, I was really, really lucky, again, that one of my old school friends, another old school friend, Sophie, really dear friend of mine, we’re still in touch, and they got married because they’d just moved to Australia, they decided to get married in Bali, in the Gili Islands, which sounds obscene, but they were like, do you fancy it? 

I think I can remember being like, yeah, I’ll do it for flights, I’ll do it for expenses. I think they just paid every expense that I had and I went out to Indonesia for 10 days and that was over, I think it was over my birthday, and I came back on my birthday in 2014, landed, and it was, woke up, it was my birthday on the plane. It was very strange. 

That was my first kind of proper gig and the photos aren’t bad. I do still have them. I just still like look at them occasionally. I probably need to re-edit them because they’re a bit not really my style, but she loves them. And it was really important for me that I had a connection with that couple, and I did, and I still do. And we went out together for drinks after and before the wedding. And I was with their families, two families that I’d actually known for a long time and got to know their friends and friends out there as well, which was, you know, to be invited in, I suddenly kind of had a real good taste of what it was to be a destination photographer. You’re kind of socially always on.

I mean, that sounds like such a defining moment for you. 

I was actually going to ask you if you had any particularly defining moments that kind of catapulted you from your fashion work into your wedding work, but that sounds like it was it. To start off, you know, be thrown in the deep end and do the destination wedding thing, it’s really fascinating. 

Are most of your weddings destination weddings now?

So my split is pretty much like 70, 30 UK to destination. So that’s where it kind of landed at the moment. But I made a conscious effort of, I think it was during the pandemic, I decided that I didn’t want to travel as much and I actually wanted to be at home and started to get a bit of anxiety when I was away from home and I didn’t really like it. Not so much the travel, I don’t mind flying or being on a plane, stuff like that, but just actually not having your home comfort, I suddenly was like, oh, I don’t want to be away for over half the year and missing out on weekends when, you know, London in the summer is just beautiful and if you can shoot in London in the summer, it’s great. And actually kind of like reassessed, I guess.

Yeah, it’s really interesting. I’m going to park that thought and come back to that, because I’m hearing a lot of other photographers, especially, but people across the industry talking about creating more time for themselves, especially during those busy peak kind of wedding summer season periods, because it’s, I think the pandemic changed a lot for people, but I’m going to come back to that. 

I want to ask you first, I obviously think that your photography is completely stunning and you know, we’ve been fortunate to feature on Love My Dress multiple times, you have a very distinct style. And I’m sure that your style has changed a lot since those first few weddings that you photographed. And you know, you’ve also got that beautiful kind of blurry movement shots. I think you were one of those first few that pioneered to being part of the wedding scene. And I’m just really intrigued to know how your experience as a former fashion photographer influences your wedding and editorial work and how your work has changed as well over the last decade since you first started shooting weddings?

Yeah, I guess it’s, it’s really difficult sometimes to like look back and put the pieces together. But my style was really built up from my understanding of a really strong technical base. So using my cameras at my disposal to create really interesting images, and they didn’t have to be too sharp, too stiff, no depth, you know, they didn’t have to be that what was associated with, you know, traditional wedding images from, you know, the early 90s, early 2000s that were a little bit kind of like a bit flat and a bit boring, but really like taking influence from the fashion world. 

It sounds a bit cheesy, but I did. It was that real, like the understanding that work doesn’t have to be flat and uninteresting and there is movement. There’s so much movement day and it’s using those techniques and you know the aesthetic. If a shot has got a little bit of movement in and the black and white is a bit grainy, it really feels like you might have been there and that’s the kind of like the tone I want my work to feel like is a guest with a camera. 

That sounds really cheesy but people say all the time. It’s that kind of like there is so much movement on the day and how would a guest capture this if there was not a photographer here or not a filmmaker here? Like, what is the real feeling and like energy of the day and capturing that in, you know, for photographers that are listening, it might just be really helpful that I shoot consciously if there’s a really like high intensity moment, like a 60th of a second. So there is that element of blur. There’s a real like sense of place in my work.

And that is what a lot of the huge and some of the great, some of the iconic fashion photographers used to do, you know, they’d get that sense of moment and sense of purpose. So it’s not just done for the sake of it, it’s really considered, they have to work, it’s not just for the sake of making your image out of focus and black and white and blurry.


I completely get it.

Like as the layperson, the observer of the image, for me, it brings the image alive and it makes it feel much more like a scene and it tells more of the story to me. It carries much more of an emotional kind of component. 

It’s completely changed the whole essence of wedding photography as a form, you know, it’s helped the perception of wedding photography become an art form, I think, over the last decade or so and move, you know, moving away from the stiffness that you talked about, and those kind of really traditional, inflexible, posed images to something that feels much more fluid and alive and full of that spark of energy, as you say, I feel that and I see that when I look at your images. So it’s definitely working.

Absolutely. You’re so right, because it’s the iconic photographers like you mentioned in like Henry Cartier-Bresson, you know, he pioneered that he there’s a, I think, an image of a man with an umbrella jumping over a puddle, I can’t remember what the image is actually called, but it might be something like that. 

But that had that sense of place and occasion and movement and really like just an image that was quite mundane turned into something so special. And it was just that slight bit of like movement in the frame brings you into it. And it’s art in itself, right? It’s just, you know, introducing that to weddings is quite interesting. And people hadn’t really done it before, but a lot of photographers had experimented with film and, you know, Polaroid and stuff like that. 

People have been experimenting with techniques in wedding photography for a long, long time. You know, you can go back to the days of people shooting huge large format film cameras with Polaroid backs and interesting stuff like that, that looks so cool now, but would be a complete nightmare to shoot kind of like logistically on a wedding day. I have an field camera. Yeah, it just doesn’t work. 

So yeah, those like the influence from that side of things is really strong in my work and I always try and refresh my memory before shooting. I kind of look back at like, just like art books, stuff that all kind of get me get me focused before a wedding.


So you mentioned a couple of photographers that you are inspired by. 

If you could just say their names again, and do you have any particular muse or do you find yourself going back to the same photographers and their work as your source of inspiration?


I am always kind of been inspired really heavily by those photographers who changed the fashion game, I suppose, like even from the 30s onwards, but mostly kind of 1960s, like, you know, people like David Bailey, huge names, Irving Penn in his day, amazing, amazing fashion photography and using these wonderful new techniques and ideas in their work that they elevated the fashion photograph. It wasn’t just then a woman wearing a new hat and a jacket in the street in Paris. It was, I think it was Erwin Blumenfeld.


Everyone will be making furious notes and Googling it, so don’t worry. I’m sure it’ll come up in the Google search.


It’s either Erwin or Edwin. I can’t remember. But he, instead of just shooting the dress in Paris on this beautiful model in, I think it was the 60s, he took her up the Eiffel Tower and she was hanging off the side of the Eiffel Tower. And that was the, you know, they really like pushed the boundaries. 

Back in that day, it just wasn’t seen, it wasn’t done and these fashion photographers were kind of pioneering change and changing the fashion industry through what they thought their like ideas and techniques and you know, I’m not even sure if they had creative directors then but they were on it. They really like, they made the fashion industry what I think. 

But in terms of other muses, sorry, yeah. Not just even those icons, really, it’s a lot of people these days, just photographers and wedding photographers. Nirav Patel is one of my favourite wedding photographers ever. He is the most wonderful man as well. He’s the most humble guy, he’s a really, really kind-hearted guy and you can see that in his work which just is so special. 

And I mean the aesthetic and the softness and the light that he captures, the feeling that you get in his like tonal range, everything, his kind of colour palette is so, so interesting that if I’d be lying if I wasn’t saying that I was taking influence from his work, but there’s taking influence and obviously like going too hard the other way and like buying all his presets, which you try not to do.


Yeah. His work is divine. I’m very aware of it and it’s the way you describe it is exactly as it is. It’s just, it’s very alluring. It’s incredible to see and I think the fact that he comes over as such a nice family person, he’s a father, I think, as well. And you can really sense that, like humility and that humanity in the way he communicates in words, it’s photography as well. 

So yeah, are there any other photographers whose work you admire?


Do you know what, it’s actually a friend of Nirav, who, this is the reason I know of Nirav is in 2017, I believe it was, I went to a one day workshop with Ed Pears, who is also in Surrey near me and he’s become a really good friend of mine over the years. And his work really, really spoke to me when I was starting out and I started my business. He shot a friend of mine wedding. I remember looking at him on the day and I wasn’t really kind of like I was still at Net a Porter at that time. And I was watching him shoot and I was like, this is just amazing. Like a group of photographers all together at this photographer’s wedding. 

And this guy turned up and I was like, he had such a calm presence, was so, so focused on just creating his own art and even just the actual way he was holding the camera and recomposing and using different light and what he would look for, you know, I think it was a wedding in a field and there wasn’t much going on. 

But I remember looking back at the pictures like, where was this? This was amazing. Like, that’s the ideas that he had and then going to his workshop, and he opened up about his business, opened up about his life. And we sat in his living room downstairs and in his house in Surrey and just learned everything about him. And that’s kind of, I always remember things that he said that day and that kind of drives me. And I always remember his work and what would Ed do, that sort of thing.


I adore Ed Peer’s work and if Ed ever has the opportunity to listen to this I just want to say hello Ed and I hope you’re well because I met Ed once, he came to an event that I hosted way back, it would have been in 2011 possibly, it’s a big event up here in the north and I was just so obsessed with his work because like you say at the time he was a true pioneer. He was bringing something so fresh and different and artistic to the scene of wedding photography and I just thought this guy is absolutely incredible. His work is just phenomenal. And then you meet him and he’s such a nice person. So down to earth. 

I’m thrilled that you’ve mentioned him actually, I have to go and see… I’m sure he’s very busy shooting weddings with lots of non-disclosure agreements and that’s perhaps why we don’t see so much of his work anymore, but… 

He’s a busy guy.

Yeah, absolutely. He’s amazing. 

Is there anyone else you wanted to mention before we move on? I’m sure there’s loads of people.


There is, you know, there’s an endless list. But it’s very, very important for me that I don’t sit and scroll through Instagram, I’m sure we’ll chat about social media in a bit. But I don’t take if I discover a photographer on Instagram, the first thing I want to do is look at their website and get off the grid and kind of like stop looking at hero work. You can get really overwhelmed and actually a little bit kind of like, what’s the word, downtrodden. 


A little bit like, oh, like, shit, I haven’t done anything this week. And that’s the feeling that Instagram and Pinterest sometimes give me is, oh, I need to do something else. I need to go and do a shoot. Oh, that’s amazing. Or how did they shoot that? What camera is that with? 

And, you know, between myself and my network of friends and like other photographers, we do share work, but generally it’s wedding work and, you know, other wedding stylists or wedding planners, beautiful weddings that have happened, but there’s not really that kind of like basis of sharing that goes on that isn’t wedding focused, which is a shame.


You know, let’s talk about Instagram then for a bit because it’s on my list anyway. And I know that, I mean, you’ve got an incredible Instagram account, you’ve got, I don’t know how many followers you’ve got now, last time I looked it was over 50,000. 53. 53. No one’s counting, of course. 

You are one of those lucky souls who deserve it. So when you post your images have incredible reach every time, every single time, thousands of thousands of people liking and commenting and that’s because your work is incredible. 

But one of the things I’ve noticed, we’ve talked about Instagram in the past, and I want you to share some of your thoughts you shared with me with our listeners. But I just want to say one of the things I noticed is that you haven’t shared on single Instagram reel. 

Why is that? Tell me about why you haven’t?

I know.


I’m not judging you. I’m really curious to know because I really don’t particularly like them anyway, but they work for some people.


I know, yeah and I think we’ve chatted very quickly about this before, but I am just not video based and my work doesn’t make sense in video. So I’m like, why do I want to upload videos? I just feel that even in a reel, that if it was a slideshow, for instance, I’ve tried slideshows. I’ve tried them years ago with client delivery, couple delivery. They have their photographs, but at the top, they have a slideshow. And it can be a little bit more like emotive when you put it with some dramatic music, and it’s a 30-second clip of their you know, their teaser from the day after the wedding and it can be quite like capturing emotionally, which is cool.

But I just didn’t love producing them. I didn’t think they worked with what I was doing. My work is stills and it’s, you know, it’s got a sense of life and a sense of space, a sense of movement and purpose already. I don’t need to put all those images into another kind of medium where it’s a quick fire slideshow with music. I just don’t think it works for what my social media looks like, I think.

And I think that’s it, isn’t it? It was one of those moves by the Instagram platform that better suited other kind of creative individuals and businesses, because it’s video based. So obviously, you can, I mean, the filmmakers have produced some incredible Instagram real content. I love what they’re doing and, you know, it’s captivating. 

But for photographers, it was a real tricky thing, wasn’t it? Because for me personally, I think I’ve said this in other podcast interviews, it feels like I’m being dishonourable to the couple and their wedding images when I’m having to choose a song that might mean nothing to them or some kind of soundtrack that might not resonate with them at all, but yet placing it next to their images and it just feels so soulless doing it that way. It doesn’t feel artistic, it feels contrived, you know. 

It does, but I think from, speaking for myself and obviously you agree that it doesn’t work and it feels like it’s forced and it doesn’t feel authentic to what I was always wanting to do, which was create still-based imagery that would look beautiful in print. A video’s got no place in that and it would just be me doing it for the algorithm, which makes no bloody sense at all. 

But having said this, you know, I’ve just remembered, I saw it last night on social media and it was a beautiful little 10-second clip. I’m going to hate myself now. But one of my favourite wedding photographers, she’s based in New Zealand, she’s actually just moved to Melbourne, I think. She’s called Danelle Boehne. She has the most beautiful work. She’s the loveliest girl, like everyone in the wedding industry. Boehne, I’m not too sure how to pronounce her name. I’ve never obviously had the chance to meet with her, but we chat on social media and say hi. I was such a big fan of her work and she put out one of these clips in a recent wedding, a beautiful wedding, in a slideshow. And go and listen to it after and see what you think, let me know. 

But I was like, shit, that’s amazing. But it’s because the work is amazing. nice little tool, maybe, if Instagram is like making us watch things quicker. You know, with stories, we’re quite new, it’s a few years ago, and Reels obviously is the latest thing, but she uploaded this very short video, and I was like, I feel like I’ve seen the whole wedding, and I’ve lived that wedding in 30 seconds, that’s wicked. But I think it’s just because I love her work.


Yeah, yeah. I know, it’s confusing, isn’t it? 

I always think it’s a little bit sad that, in a way, Instagram, because it started out as a still image platform, and I think it’s amazing how it’s evolved. And, you know, I don’t want to speak out of hand about it because it’s been an enormous help to me and my business, and it’s connected me with so many incredible people. I think it’s easy to slag it off, you know, because they must have quite a difficult job trying to manage and develop an app like that. But there is something sad for me about moving away from this stillness and the quietness and the opportunity to contemplate over a still image. So I feel like a bit of a rebel in that sense. I’m following your lead and trying not to post the reels. If I really have to, I will. 

But I definitely don’t do it very often because I’d rather be part of that movement that’s trying to reclaim Instagram for what it once was.


Yeah. And do you remember like those days where it was just squares, square imagery, and then suddenly it was like, oh, wow, they now do portrait. And it was like.


Some photographers still post just to squares. I don’t know if they haven’t caught up yet, but I don’t actually mind seeing that. I don’t mind.

 And also I try and now when I’m sharing my images, I’m trying to I don’t actually care how the grid looks anymore. I don’t know about you, it feels less important to have like a balanced grid. So I’m trying not to crop images now, I try and make it so that the full image, the portrait image can be seen in its full entirety, because I know that really annoys photographers and who am I to crop their work anyway. 

But I miss that, I miss the opportunity to just look at the images at my pace and to be able to dive into something that’s still and absorb it and enjoy it.


Exactly that. And also, probably true for Love My Dress as it is for my business, that you want to use this tool, because it is a tool of business, of being a curated platform that shows you as a walking billboard, I guess. 

So just showing your finest, latest work, I think is really, really amazing. And we can’t, like, we can’t diss it too much, but…


But you have to set boundaries with how much you expose yourself to that work, right? Because otherwise you start thinking that you’re rubbish.


Exactly. And also, we don’t know what’s next. Like, you know, when Zuckerberg just launched Threads, everyone thought it was the next best thing. But I’ve been on it once, and I was like, I don’t know if I’m missing out now. Do I need to go back on it? Have you been on it?


I only went on it last week to share something personal I’d shared on Instagram anyway. And I think I’ve started to see a lot of people in threads saying, well, that was good work it lasted, wasn’t it? So I don’t know whether they, well, because I think there’s, there’s a bit of a struggle. 

There’s been a long struggle, hasn’t there, between Zuckerberg and Elon Musk and there’s this whole Twitter’s on its way out so perhaps they leapt when they thought they had an opportunity. It just feels like, who knows, it feels like it was felt exciting at first, it felt like, ooh, something new, maybe something that we can, you know, and everybody leapt onto it, didn’t they? 
So it felt like everyone was there, there’s a bit of FOMO going on and then it suddenly felt like two weeks later, tumbleweed.


Yeah, and I think I spoke about this last time I talked to you in January when we saw each other, but I was just inspired to make, you know, with all that going on and this noise of what’s new in social media and what’s next and, you know, having good friends that work in social media, you can talk to them as much as, you know, until the cows come home and they could give you tips and tricks of what 2024 might look like for social media. And you’re like, actually, how long has the internet just been a solid resource? 

And this is where people you want people to view your work, because it’s likely going to be a bigger screen at work or at home or in a laptop. But actually just refreshing, like taking the energy and refreshing your website. And I was like, oh, so I just spent the last three months, four months tweaking my website and finally kind of like relaunched it. It didn’t change it too much, but I had a copywriter go through some bits for me and she was amazing. Actually an old colleague from Net a Porter. She’s a freelance copywriter as well. She’s called Rhea. Rhea is an incredible freelance fashion… Well she is a fashion copywriter as well.

She went through my website and took all my existing copy, switched it out for really beautiful language. Not too much, like you’re using a thesaurus, but it was a really kind of needed lift and a kind of like refresh. What do they call it? A boost. But just made my actually putting new copy, putting fresh copy, not even too much has changed at all. But putting that into a website that has slightly been given a bit of a revamp as well, like new colour scheme, and no new logos or anything like that. But just my work in a new site just literally feels like a rebrand. 

Do you know what I mean?


I do know what you mean because obviously I did my research for this podcast and spent a bit of time on your site and I could see those changes and I also really felt a strong essence of you coming through because one of the things I find always quite disappointing when I’m looking at any supplier, any wedding suppliers website, the first thing I do is hit their about page because I’m looking for that connection, I want to know who they are, what they’re about. And there’s still so many folks who don’t include a picture of themselves. And I think that’s so important. It doesn’t have to be a polished image. Oh my God, I don’t think I even use a professional photograph of myself on my own site. 

I really got an essence of who you were, and the words were lovely and the fact you talked about your childhood and your experience in history progressing through fashion photography and how much you love weddings, the language you talked about, that kind of richness of the words really came through to me. 

It’s definitely a very good investment to spend money on getting the words right, I think.


I think it’s such a good investment. I couldn’t have thought about doing it myself. You know, people are quite good with English. I can write quite cohesive emails and I can be quite good with words, but it’s delving that a little bit deeper and bringing out the kind of brand core values that you’ve forgotten about because your business might be 10 years old. You might have lost your way a little bit and actually just bringing out kind of buzzwords and key sentences and phrases that I had not considered. And I was like, shit, that sounds really good.


Yes, I think sometimes getting a fresh pair of eyes as well to have a look at things when you’re like in it and you feel like you can’t really see the wood for the trees. It really does help to get another set of eyes across it. But your site looks great, really, really great. 

And you know what, I want to have a little conversation about authenticity and it’s a word that you’ve used already quite a few times in our conversation and that you use on your site. And for me, if I had to pick one word to represent what you do, that would be it, it’s authentic. 

On your site, you say, being able to artistically capture natural, authentic moments and tell the story of your wedding day in a captivating, creative and organic way is so important to me. How do you ensure that your work remains authentic?


Do you know what it is?

It’s the balance between turning up on the wedding day and, you know, when we put it in practical terms, when I think about it really practically, you turn up to a wedding and have to get going. 

It’s really just understanding, like keeping really true to your original value of what your business was, but also what you are as a kind of like, we’re all artists and we’re all producing photographs all the time and thousands and thousands of photographs that, you know, without your core values of, you know, for myself being keeping things authentic and telling the story kind of in a, as you said, artistic, natural way, that has to resonate with me going the other way. 

So I need to, when I’ve seen my work back and when I’m editing my work for my couples, I want to be able to be inspired by my work and it’s actually being excited about your own work again. 

And some people may have that, which is amazing. Some people may have kind of lost it a little bit. But producing work that you’re excited by will only drive you one bit more and if you stay, I guess like staying true to your core value of what you think is important, I think that kind of makes sense.


Yeah. Also not spending too much time on Instagram looking at other people’s work.


100%. And you might get a bit lost in what your next wedding may look like, or if you’re not too inspired, or the weather’s really bad. It’s kind of taking a breath and saying, that’s okay. Just think what you would love to shoot if this wasn’t a high intensity, really like critical moment wedding day, which they are like, you’ve got to get the shots and you’ve got to act, you’ve got to work quick. But actually creating work that you can slow down just for five minutes, you might take the couple off for the portraits and say, what would I shoot for me? So kind of like 90% I want to be happy and I really want to be kind of inspired by what I’m about to do. 

So 90% for me, 10% for the couple to kind of get their shots where they are just the stand up ones that the parents may like, or you know, that they may like that are really clean, really kind of easily kind of composed, but not really pushing the boundaries creatively. 


That sounds… I love that equation, 90% new, and 10% the couple. 

Yeah, I think that’s fascinating. I never even thought of it that way.


Yeah, I think it is like, some people don’t do it. I think most wedding photographers that I know do do that, but some people may not do it. And I think to be inspired by your own work is probably one of the most important things, not just because otherwise you’re not going to be excited about the next job. 

It’s just keeping yourself inspired, keeping yourself delighted to put your own work up in your office, that sort of thing. I think it was my friend, the Curries, Gill, she told me to do that.


Because what’s the point otherwise, they’re amazing by the way I love the Curries, I adore their adore their work, but what’s the point otherwise because then you have lost your authenticity haven’t you because for me producing authentic work is producing where that comes to your heart that you can look at and think your heart skips a beat looking at it every time and you’re inspired by your own work every time and I think that that that’s the point of it isn’t it you’re contributing to the world creatively then otherwise it doesn’t have that energy, does it? It’s dead. It’s not, there’s no point. 


Exactly. There was also a really interesting podcast. I think it was, you know, those Masterclass podcasts with various industry leaders, like, I think there was one with that famous drag queen RuPaul, he was on one the other day, which is really, really fascinating. 

They’re amazing to listen to. I think you have to subscribe.


Where are these then? Where are these podcasts?


On masterclass.com. But they had a really interesting chat the other day. I can’t remember who it was on. I was listening in the car, driving home, and it was very late. 

But they were talking about kind of being honest and listening to your intuition, you know, your inner voice and you know, I mentioned core values and the kind of like letting that core value guide your decision making in creativity and like, why you’re capturing what you’re capturing as a photographer, but exactly what you said, you take that over, looking for what other people are doing, and like what you think will please other people, take what pleases yourself, so that kind of self awareness that, why is that so important and even just like it’s just fascinating and I…


It’s it kind of what you’re saying, I resonate with completely, but it’s helped me understand more the 90/10 thing because initially I was like that sounds quite selfish actually like shooting 90% of yourself, but what you’re actually saying it’s another way of saying that you’re following your intuition and that is so key. 

I learned that several years ago for myself and my own work and my own life and every single decision I make in my life, professional, personal, is led by my intuition. And I think it takes some practice to hone into that and and learn to listen to those little nudges and those little messages inside that are guiding you. But once you’ve practised and you feel that connection with your intuition, everything changes, everything changes. 

And I think like for you, it’s helped me stay on my authentic path as well, even if that means that sometimes I feel I don’t really fit in to where I think I’m meant to be fitting in. And I, you know, I’m a bit off the beaten track and not so mainstream, I don’t care. Because like you, my work feels real, and heartlead and authentic. 

So everything you’ve just said makes absolute sense to me and I better understand the 90/10 thing now.


Yeah, it’s like a way of putting it together, then that’s, that’s what I was kind of like aiming for. But also the other side of it is the flip side of the coin is, if you take Instagram into that, you think, like, for example, the last picture I posted was maybe six days ago. But before that, I hadn’t posted for like three weeks, I think and we have this kind of like, some days, and it comes in waves, because you might be having a good day, you might be really busy, you might be stripping the fireplace like I was doing last week. But you capture your mind doing other things. Instagram isn’t important, and it’s not important. 

But actually, you have this sometimes like overriding, like crippling anxiety that you’re like, I haven’t posted and that is because you are, we’re like, conditioned now to conform with what’s going on, on our phones, and people are on their phones. So people are looking at other people’s work and you just see swathes of like other images that other people have created because they’ve just got this beautiful wedding and, you know, someone’s done an incredible shoot in some woodland somewhere in California and you’re just like, oh, that’s incredible and I haven’t done anything this week, but that’s okay.


But I would look at your Instagram feed and I don’t think that’s impacted you at all the fact that you’ve slowed down the frequency with which you post to Instagram. And it really fascinates me that you’ve raised that, because I, too, have tried to slow down the pace very intentionally, actually, because I guess that’s the rebel side of me. I don’t want to feel like I’m a slave to this newness. You know, we’re all having to sort of be falling in line with this new way of doing things. It doesn’t sit well with me, it doesn’t feel healthy, it doesn’t feel… it doesn’t feel a lot of things and so I feel myself rejecting that very intentionally. And I’m quite open about that as well with my clients. 

Cause I think at the start I probably went through it. Oh my God, people are paying me to advertise me. Should I be doing this more, more, more, more, more. I think like you, I’m trying to direct my clientele back to my site more than anything. I’m like, I haven’t quite got that right yet, but that’s definitely the path that I’m on, you know, do it less and what you do share and make it more wholesome and authentic and meaningful.


Yeah and I just wanted to add in something that I’ve just thought about, about authenticity and where I always bring my work back to being a kind of tech, techie guy. I used to love before he passed away, I don’t know when he passed away, but Steve Jobs, when he worked for Apple. Do you remember he, he gave a speech at a commencement address at Stanford University? 

I always remember this is a real tangent, but it’s going back to that kind of level of understanding inner voice and I always loved and always go back to something that’s printed out on my, it used to be on my desk, I just refurbished my desk area.

But Steve Jobs once said this, it was, your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice and most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. 
I feel emotional. Yeah. 
Yeah and it gets me. I see it every day. I think about it all the time, but it gets me. And I’m like, oh, God, OK, keep to keep true. Keep to what you want to produce, what you want to do. Everything else will fall in line. And it’s so true. And he’s like a he’s not a philosopher. He used to design iPhones. Right. He’s…


He knew what he was doing. He didn’t even let his kids go on the iPhones, I don’t think, or the iPads or whatever it was. But I mean, that’s those words, I mean, talk about the power of words. I like to surround my walls as well with really inspiring words and I have one of those little desk calendars that, you know, every, every single day has different set of inspiring words on. 

But that, that actually kind of roused some emotion within me listening to those words and everything he says is so true. Tune out all the noise that’s around you. It’s not going to serve you in any way to be scrolling and scrolling and looking at other people’s work. Get back on your path and listen to those little inner nudges that are trying to guide you. 

Okay, I want to just quickly reference the fact that in 2020, in the middle of a pandemic, by the way, you photographed the wedding of Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrice, which must have been a pretty incredible opportunity. I’m not going to probe you on that because I’m sure that your NDA is up to the max. 

But can we talk about perhaps like what’s happened since then? Because my God, that was, I can’t even, when I look back, it almost feels like a dream that we all lived through that time. And my business has changed significantly since then. I want to kind of get a feel for you for how your way of doing things and your business has changed. And just really dig into the nitty gritty if you had to reflect on your pricing or you know how are things now compared to then? What’s changed? 


So obviously being that was like the most incredible opportunity and really kind of have only the couple to thank for their trust and you know everything that went with that day was just an absolute joy to be a part of. 

Since then it was kind of it just feels like so long ago. It’s only three years ago they’ve just had their third year anniversary. But since then, my business hasn’t, I wouldn’t say it’s changed. It’s just, I’ve really kind of finessed what I wanted to be doing, I think. And actually, having the confidence that my enquiries were good, you know, good level of enquiries came, but it wasn’t just through social media, having people seeing that article and things like that. And it was, there’s other weddings that did more for me kind of in terms of like marketing, you know, having the opportunity to shoot some beautiful destination weddings. There was one in Seville in 2018 that I shot, which I still absolutely love looking back through their pictures. And those kind of like key milestones of a career don’t necessarily all make sense, but they only make sense when you look back. 

I think that when you kind of realign where you’re at, and even in terms of like how you pitch yourself to new couples that come your way and then enquire about their weddings, it’s not just talking about like what I’ve done and they go, oh, you’ve shot the Royal Wedding, tell me more about it and that it doesn’t define me. It’s actually just another point of my career along, you know, the wedding industry that we all work in. It’s, it’s just something that happened. 

And I hadn’t let it kind of like define what I did and then just only shoot, like really prestigious luxury bespoke weddings, you know, I shoot every kind of wedding with all different kinds of budgets. But actually, in terms of like pricing and things like that, it can get a little bit kind of difficult for some couples who do enquiry with me, unfortunately, that I have put my price up because I wanted to work less. I think it gave me the opportunity to charge a little bit more but not do 40 weddings a year anymore, which I think is comes back to the self care stuff and wanting to be at home and not wanting to be away every weekend.


Do you feel comfortable talking about your pricing, Ben, on what you charge?


Yeah, sure. So my brochure currently reflects as £8,000 as the standard kind of photography fee for the day. However, that has a caveat that 2024 is essentially booked now, so I am  kind of booking in if the job aligns with dates and availability and if I can be available rather than shooting two days on the balance kind of thing. But I’m only shooting sort of like 15 weddings next year, and I’m pretty much at that. 

So the price kind of reflects 2025 being £10,000, which sounds absolutely obscene and a huge amount of money and it’s such an investment. And I always think to myself, would I pay that? 

And I’m like, you kind of have to start justifying things in your head and you’re like, if I saw that, I’d be like, whoa, that’s quite an investment. But I’m so lucky that I have people that trust me and see the value. 

And you have to kind of, you know, as I talked about, like connecting the dots, looking back, that you can only understand where you reach this point because of all those jobs that did you a really good service. 

And it’s not just me shooting that wedding and turning up and producing good work. It’s actually cultivating relationships with really wonderful wedding planners that are in the industry, amazing florists and keeping in touch with them and wedding stylists, you know, that go with these really beautiful weddings now. There’s not just the planner, there might be a coordinator, but there might be a stylist at the wedding and actually making sure that they’ve got the high resolution files, tiny little things that when they know you’ve gone a little bit further and you’ve sent them the gallery, as soon as the couple have got the gallery or the couple have had the pictures for 24 hours and everyone else involved in that wedding has seen the pictures and they use your work, you know, it only puts you in a position where you’re talked about and your images are seen, and that’s the point of what we do, right?


Yeah, it’s a collaboration, isn’t it? And you talk about that on your website, actually, you know, the whole thing is a big collaboration for you, which I think is a lovely way to look at it. 

I think the same too. I think it’s important that we all work together, we all support each other and, you know, helping our businesses be more visible in that way, right? 




So you’ve talked about fads, you know, shooting all over the world and the importance of working with all these different suppliers. 

From your experience of everything so far, what key advice would you have for couples who are planning a destination wedding of their own?


Well, for planning destination, I would say the first thing is be organised, as a lot of my wedding contacts in the industry that are planners and coordinators, that’s the kind of world, is be organised in advance and as soon as you’ve got an idea of location, I think get going, don;t waste a moment because things are, at the moment, as we know in this current state of… The economic climate, things are so expensive and I think  leaving things last minute you’re going to be disappointed, you might not get the vendors that you wish to. So kind of like really get in your choices early, whether that be photography or videography or the planner that you want to work with. Get them secured and take their advice.


Do you think it’s essential to book a planner for destination weddings?


I wouldn’t imagine how you could do it without one. I just don’t understand how you could do that without one. Unless you were in the events industry and you had contacts and you had an understanding of what it took to organise and bring that day to life, not just the vision to life, but like the actual fundamentals behind the scene, like what time the food goes out and have you got time for portraits before your main course or things like that, that you need to have the conversation. You can’t just turn up and expect a catering team to talk to the couple. It just doesn’t work like that, especially if you’re in Tuscany where Italians like to feed you and there’s nine courses. I think that they’re going to need to know your plans. 

So I think it’s pretty much essential 99% of weddings that happen, I can’t imagine turning up to a destination wedding and not having a planner, point of contact. And it’s really important for us that, you know, if there’s any couples listening to this, that not asking the couple a question at all on the wedding day is my thing. Like, keeping the crowd happy, making sure the couple don’t hear anything that’s happening behind the scenes or don’t hear a question directed at them. 

They don’t need to, like, I don’t want to turn up and ask, what time you’re sitting down for dinner? It’s complete nonsense. 

So yeah, take the stress off, take the weight off, but definitely, definitely be ahead of the game.


So what sort of things should they consider them, couples, I mean, when they were looking to choose a wedding photographer? Because there’s a lot of choice out there. 

What factors should they prioritise and take into consideration when they’re trying to find their wedding photographer?


I would imagine that the first thing people want to think about is if the style suits them and if the approach and the vision is aligned. 

So as you mentioned, I talk about collaboration so much and it’s so true that they need to feel completely comfortable with me as a person and we need to have a really like strong, sorry not a strong relationship because we don’t really, you know, I’m the wedding photographer. It’s great to have a good relationship and really like I try hard socially on the wedding day, you know, I turn up and I’m completely focused on them and capturing their true authentic story. And, you know, the reason I’m there is to capture everything that’s happening in a kind of like really like effortless flowing way. 

I don’t want to be overstepping the mark. I don’t want to be pushing them too much if there’s something that they don’t want to do in terms of like, oh guys, can we go out for portraits again? Oh, it’s going to be about 45 minutes. 

And if I say something that, I’ve seen it happen, you know, with other photographers at weddings, I’ve been a guest that, that they absolutely kind of like cringe into themselves and go, no, we don’t want to do that. And that, to me, it’s just like, well, you didn’t, you shouldn’t have put this person, you shouldn’t have put this photographer if you weren’t informed of how they were going to work. 

So it’s having a real understanding of how both of you are going to gel and say, you know, I’m really, really relaxed in front of the camera, or please take us for portraits whenever you would like to. They’re all good things, but if a couple, for me, turn around and say, before they’ve even booked, say, we want to do 100 family portraits, and we don’t think we have time to do x, y, z in the evening, such as, oh, can we have 10 minutes for portraits of us, which is so, so important because it’s their wedding day. 

If they’re not going to kind of like trade off that time, then that might be a bit of a red flag in terms of like what other photographers book in. So it’s understanding like it’s a collaboration and the photographers need a certain thing to be able to deliver what they have seen in their work. 
Do you know what I mean?


Yeah, it’s very much for you as well. You’ve got to discover if they’re the right couple for you too, right? 

Do you actually, when you’ve taken a booking, do you see your clients before the wedding? Is that part of your process? Like, what is your process once you’ve taken a booking?


There is always one or two weddings every year that I haven’t had the chance to meet the couple beforehand, if that’s logistics wise, if they live in America or if they live in Scotland or somewhere too far away that we can’t meet up. But generally, I love to go for a coffee or go for a drink with a couple beforehand. If not, a call on the phone or a Zoom call or something is equally as useful. 

But just to say hi and just completely break the you are my vendor barrier. I don’t want to be a vendor. I want to turn up and go, hey, guys, how’s it going? You good? Let’s just actually really enjoy your day. I want you to focus on each other. I don’t want you to focus on the photography. It will flow if you put your energy into actually enjoying what’s happening today, like fully embrace the celebration. 

And that’s my number one advice, you know, you say to a couple, you take away the weirdness, take away the kind of like anxiety of being in front of a camera and the awkwardness if they’re not used to it.


But yeah, I was going to ask you that exact question, what’s your best advice for getting the best photographs? And I think you just said it right there, just relax, just enjoy being with each other.


It’s all about the energy, like one of or some of the best weddings I’ve ever shot have just been when they’ve completely embraced what’s around them and being with family and friends and engaging with each other rather than worrying about, oh, what time are we sitting down for dinner?

Like, why do they care? Why do they need to know? Some of the best ones that I’ve done have overran, dinners overrun by two hours. It really doesn’t matter.


Just go with the flow, that flow state. That keeps cropping up in the narrative for me. It keeps seeing that phrase, flow state, everywhere. And I think that is, it’s that concept of, like, yoga is getting to it, don’t they? When you’re meditating, you’re just in that, you’re kind of, you’re zoned out, but everything’s just working, and that creativity is just flowing into you. You know, there’s nothing that’s stopping it because it’s just happening, it’s on a roll. 

I think that’s what you’re talking about. And that’s when you’ll get the best out of the day or the best out of the photography, when it’s just flowing. You’re just going with the flow. 

So one of the questions I wanted to just kind of wind back to is relevancy in the wedding photography scene, because, you know, we’re talking about couples being at the point of trying to find a book of a photographer. There’s so many good photographers out there. 

How do you work to stay relevant as a professional wedding photographer in such a competitive field? And what do you think sets your approach apart?


I would like to think that this is sounds, it sounds so strange talking about your own work so much, but in terms of like my own approach and style, you know, I’m so relaxed when I’m there on the day, but I can read a room really well. 

So personally, I’m a very social person. I have no real problem with being thrown into a room of 20 guys, 20 girls, whatever’s going on, I know that I’m there to do a job and it’s quietly staying focused while having the face on and turning up, not being someone that you’re not obviously, but turning up to a wedding and giving everything that you’ve got to make sure that they are totally at ease with you, not just giving everything you’ve got to capture artistically what’s happening around you. 

So it’s that kind of relaxed approach that as soon as they know that you’re not a kind of awkward threat to the day, I suppose, and something that could potentially go wrong or potentially might be a little bit awkward to talk to, like, hopefully, you know, break those boundaries, but not just the couple and their families, but like all the guests, you know, how many times have we all sat around at a wedding and guests have come up to you and said, so they’ve paid for you to be here. What? Like their minds blown. And you’re like, yeah, so yeah, I travel quite a lot. And, you know, it’s actually nothing is too much trouble.

So if there’s someone that wants to ask you a question at 1130 at night, you can kind of give them the eyes that you go, well, much of the day is about to finish, I need to go home. But actually, yeah, of course I’ll take another picture of you and your aunt. 

But yeah, like nothing’s too much of a problem, nothing’s too much trouble. I think I learned that from another photographer that I had way up north years and years ago. It was a photographer called Dan O’Day, who photographed the Chris and Gill’s wedding, actually, years ago. He’s amazing talent and nothing is, he always said that nothing is too much trouble. 

You know, if you’re packed up, you’ve got your bag on, going out the door, knowing that you’re the photographer that would be like, yeah, of course, I’ll take another shot.


I love that. It’s the energy that you’re leaving, isn’t it? The imprint that you’re leaving on the day. If you’re always positive and, like you say, nothing’s too much trouble, that leaves such an impact with the couple and everyone else that was there.


Exactly that and, but setting myself apart from other people, you know, there, there is so much competition, but there are, I always, you’ve got to remember that there’s so many weddings happening, so many weddings go around that we don’t need to be this competition. 

I think it’s almost like we might be vying for the same referrals and the same jobs and the same inquiries, but actually just kind of staying true to your values, like you said.


You know what, Ben, I just want to hone in on that for a second about the weddings, there being lots of weddings, because I actually think that we’re in a bit of an anomalous year right now, where there seem to be less bookings. Like the feedback I’m getting, the talk on the grapevine is that there are less bookings for next year. 

Like there are more inquiries for 2025 than 2024. And I know we chatted a little bit before we hit that record button about, I wonder if that’s because there were less proposals during the pandemic. 

There’s something strange happening for sure, because bookings are definitely down across the board and I think it’s important that we’re honest about that.


Yeah, I’ve definitely felt it. I think my enquiries, July, June, and May, were all down like at least 40%, something like that, which is a real curve. It’s a real drop off. 

I don’t know if there’s wedding planners have also felt that, but that was what I’d be kind of interested to see because where I’m kind of positioned in the market in the UK and Europe and further afield is I don’t do elopements and stuff like that. 

So maybe people are just eloping a little bit more, or people are having just intimate occasions at Chelsea Town Hall and booking a photographer for two hours, not having the big wedding day anymore because they have got other priorities post pandemic.

I don’t know.

I think we’ll understand a bit more next year.


I’m going to go off on another tangent completely now. I want to ask you about your love of print because I know it’s a hugely important aspects of the work that you do. 

Why is it so important and how do you utilise it in your work?


I just think that picking up a printed photograph is just something that is so timeless and so important to our kind of like, I hate using the word legacy, but it’s actually quite a nice word, but I see photographers use it so much, which is lovely that it works for them, but I would kind of cringe into myself if I had the word, this is your legacy on the website. 

It’s a bit deep for me. I’m just like, I just want to create beautiful pictures, actually. 

But giving someone something tangible and something kind of really stand the test of time is so, so lovely. And there’s actually a studio in Yorkshire, He’s called RJ Print Lab, a guy called Roberto. He is absolutely amazing. He prints platinum palladium prints. They’re all handmade and hand transferred and hand delivered, in fact.


Can you describe a platinum palladium print? Because I know what it is because I’ve seen your work, but for people who are unfamiliar, describe what that is.


Oh goodness me, this is going to be quite tricky, obviously, off the cuff, but they are… So obviously, pattern and palladium are two of the kind of longest lasting materials after gold. So that in itself stands the test of time, that the actual print and the material that’s used on the paper, it’s actually embedded into the paper rather than an inkjet print, which is just skimmed across the top. 

So if you have a kind of like layer, an inkjet print is just a layer of ink over the top of the paper, you’re not actually like really delving into the textures of the paper. So with these fine art papers, you can produce obviously beautiful fine art prints, but with these platinum palladium prints, the image is embedded into that paper and it’s a fully, they’re built from, he makes a digital negative, or even if he’s got a huge negative, like an original film negative, he’ll enlarge that and do what is called a contact print. So it’s essentially exposed, flips upside down, and kind of painted in with emulsion, the special emulsion.

So you get a kind of negative to negative transfer, which then makes your positive image in a really beautiful tonal black and white print and the beauty of it is what I love to kind of tell my couples is on a little sheet of paper when I deliver their prints is that the print itself outlasts the paper that it’s printed on. 

So that material is, you know, you’re talking about a timeless print and you want something to remain authentic in a hundred years time. Hopefully that print, if stored correctly and handled correctly, is going to be around for a long, long time. 

So giving someone, you know, if I’m charging a little bit more for my work, I really wanted to push what I was delivering.


So that’s part of what your clients receive.


Yeah, but hopefully they’re not listening.


Because it’s a surprise. So nothing to see here, guys. Nothing to see here. 

They are beautiful pieces of work, honestly, absolute works of art and I love the fact that you’re working with somebody who’s such a talented artisan crafts person as well, that’s keeping that skill alive, you know?


It’s exactly that, yeah. And it’s, you know, small business, humble guy based in Yorkshire, I think he does it in a garage. 

I don’t think there’s anything luxury about what we’re doing there. It’s actually the final result is just beautiful and it’s stacked on a desk. You’re doing all these kind of really manual old school methods that are a bit dirty, stinky, like processing liquids and stuff like that in a dark room and actually what you get is something that’s so elevated, but just being able to hold it, I think, prints are so, so important to what we do.


There’s just something so magical, as you say, about being able to hold it and smell it. You know, just when your fingers see the pages of a book, there’s just something that’s so immersive and so it’s an emotional level. It speaks to you in a different way. 

But this segues me kind of nicely into my next question, because I want to dive a little bit into the realm of AI. I’m asking all my photographer guests about this, because I think it’s important in the context of photography, especially because AI has become so rapidly available in that scene and is making such a significant impact in the field as well and I know that during conversations with other photography colleagues, I’ve observed quite a split of opinion. Some are fully embracing AI and very intentionally leveraging its editing capabilities, even entrusting it to handle the post-processing element, wedding photography. 

And on the other hand, there’s those that are very much resisting that change, who feel that that compromises their artistic integrity, and they value decisions made by the human brain effectively instead.

So I’m keen to know where you sit on the whole matter of AI and its role in photography? 


Oh, that’s really interesting to see it broken down, hear it broken down like that.

I think for me, the first initial conversations that we had between photography colleagues, I suppose, and friends of mine, when we had a little chat in our WhatsApp groups and stuff like that, I was absolutely against it and it’s quite clear that it’s creatively on a kind of like art level, it’s not true and it’s not authentic and it’s not something that is welcomed in the art world, especially you know things like we’re talking in the fine art world. 

People are really worried about it and where it’s going but for photography now it’s so easily accessible even on like the iPhone now I think you can have if you’ve got Photoshop beta version on the computer, that latest update is quite scary what it can do and I’ve played around with it and I’m not ashamed to say I’ve tried it. And I had a little look at it for, if you picture a bride walking down the aisle with her father in a really beautiful church. I shot a wedding in May. And it was actually the most stunning church I’ve ever seen. And there was my two assistants, two videographers, the verger, the bell ringer, the wedding planner, and two guys running around, I think, moving chairs that were guests. 

So you’ve got about eight people in the background of this shot, which blocked a little bit of the font, the beautiful flowers that were styled going up this lovely, like, ancient font in this church, and the natural light was absolutely incredible. And I just thought to myself, I’ll try it on this one and see what happens, and went through the process, selecting these people one by one and just clicking remove and it was a little bit like one of these people were in between the heads of the bride and the father. And I just selected it, and within 10 seconds, it built in the exact tone of that wall behind them that should have been there. And there was absolutely no error. It was flawless. 

The only thing that wasn’t in there was a little bit of grain to my work and Photoshop had kind of like made it smooth. So, you know, that takes about a second to add in a little bit more grain. And it really, really worked. And I was like, that is a, that’s a time saver. There’s the difference between like the full world of artificial intelligence that is like creating stuff that is a complete nonsense and isn’t real and isn’t matter, you know. 

But there are things that there is a tool now which built into Photoshop and built into what we use daily to save us the legwork and the brain work to give our hours, get our hours back, I think. 

But I’m still against AI. I’m happily saying I don’t really care for it. And I don’t think it’s welcome in the art world. But the little tools of helping time save, I was like, oh, hello, that’s quite interesting because it’s very good.


So from a productivity basis?


Yeah, I think so.


Would you, because I know that there are AI software out there that effectively learns how you edit. And once it’s learned how you edit, it’s as easy as clicking a button. You can say, edit this entire batch. And some people are actually doing that. How does that feel to you?


In terms of the special software that batch edits and batch code weddings, yeah, doesn’t sit well with me, to be honest. I think it’s very much each to their own and if that’s how someone wants to run their business. That’s absolutely fine. They may have other priorities. Then editing may not be their thing at all. 

But I just think there is a bit of a grey area with promising what you’re promising to a client when they invest in you. That if this is a bespoke wedding package and service, that is, you see this beautiful work online, knowing that you click the button and it copied and pasted it essentially, and learnt your style, a computer has learnt to be you, but it’s not perfect, and then you deliver it. I just think that that’s really inauthenticity, essentially, you come back around to it, but it doesn’t sit well.


Yeah, it’s very interesting. I’m generally fascinated with AI anyway, just seeing where it goes. But I have feelings about it too. And I, you said earlier on about, you know, the whole using AI to just produce art that nobody needs. I’m paraphrasing there, you know, it doesn’t matter. Using it from a productivity basis is a different thing. 

But when I look at some of the art that AI has produced, I just, I personally don’t feel that emotional response. There’s actually a photographer out there who’s producing very, very popular AI art. You probably know who I’m talking about, but I’m not going to name check. And they are producing images of elderly people in all sorts of kind of fantastical scenes, underwater, mermaids, flowers, everything. 

And I saw a cover of, I think it might’ve been Vogue Philippines. I saw the cover of Vogue Philippines magazine not that long ago, a couple of months ago, and it had a real elderly woman on the front, like some, I think a tribal member, this woman’s face was covered in lines and oh my god this image is incredible, it told such a story and I was like I want to see that, I want to see the real thing, I want to see real elderly aged people who’ve got a story to texture of their skin about their life, not the pretend version. That’s just my personal reaction to it right now at this point in time. I

 have friends that will argue with me and saying, you don’t understand, it’s really enabling and maybe I don’t, and that’s just how it is.


Maybe we’re still learning. Maybe we are going to be the ones that are, you know, we’re the art critic at the moment and it’s a new art form and completely like it will go the other way. And in 10 years time, people will be making millions off these creations and will be going to galleries.


I think people are making a lot of money now. I think that particular photographer I referenced is making probably quite a lot of money now. And it fascinates me nonetheless. 

I don’t want to sound judgy either, but it’s just, that’s my personal reaction to it all right now. It’s very strange. Okay, we’ve discussed AI. 

So before I move into a couple of personal questions to round up this amazing conversation, which I’ve loved, I want to just reflect quickly on your education and teaching, the teaching side of your work because you very kindly invited me to participate in an amazing workshop that you hosted in January, which I loved so much. 

It was for other photographers to get to learn from you and shoot alongside you. 

Is education and teaching a part of your vision for the future? Will you be hosting any other workshops?


Yeah, so quite quietly behind the scenes, I’ve been thinking very hard about what’s next, because it was, I think it was a success. And I had a really good time. But yeah, it was the first, you know, it’s the solo workshop, it’s the first one I’ve done and produced to a really, hopefully, like a luxury level that I wanted to kind of put on a event, which wasn’t just about shooting a styled shoot, beautiful models and beautiful aesthetic, and beautiful surrounds, but it was also in a place which felt everything you would like to about a wedding day and this is how I would want my wedding to feel sort of thing and it was a real learning curve anyway, just how with the stress of like putting an event on is crazy. I now understand what wedding planners go through. 

But obviously the most incredible like suppliers came and helped like Lindsay from Amare, absolute superstar, bringing every all the dresses and sorting out Danielle and Leila and Chris, like absolutely incredible work. 

Lucy, Roberta, the florist, like everyone that pitched in. Joanie who came down from Suffolk to speak to it.


Lucy from Whisco & White, she was amazing wasn’t she?


Yes, she’s an absolute superstar. It was a positive experience of that sort of like educational sense and I think people got a lot out of that and I think I will do something else, whether or not that be creative shoots as well, maybe not, but people seem to kind of really resonate with what I said and about my business and reflecting where I was at and my journey to where I got to, but understanding what they could do a bit better and maybe sitting down and doing one-to-ones or portfolio reviews, I think is really cool. 

So maybe we’ll see what’s next, but I’m talking to a really close friend of mine who has an incredible experience at a really high level of luxury event planning and she’s agreed to help me produce the event. So she’s just done events for like ESOP brand skincare and things like Rock Nation and yeah, incredible stuff. 

So TBC, watch this space, hopefully by the end of the year. 

Because, yeah, and that’s really encouraging because I was there at your workshop and I could see how much the photographers there were gaining from it. The energy in the space is incredible. And I just really do hope that you do something else so that other people get to benefit from your expertise. 

All right, I’m going to move into questions that are slightly more personal nature now and I wanted to ask you, because I think it’s very important. How do you look after yourself, particularly from a mental health basis because, my God, we’ve all been through so much the past three, four years or so. 

Everything that happened impacted everyone and I know that you’ve been very open with me anyway about the importance of mental health in our lives and as creative individuals. 

How do you make sure you protect your own mental health? 
Yeah, it’s been a quite a big thing for me in recent years, you know, never underestimate the power of therapy, I think is my first thing I’ll say. But in terms of looking after myself and how that then looks after my business, and what I do in the industry, I don’t mind being open about it at all, which is new to me, because maybe like 18 months ago, I wouldn’t have been able to talk about it. But just finding your comfort level and I talked about briefly earlier about the traveling well, looking after yourself. And I actually love being at home. I’m a bit of a home bod. And not necessarily that doesn’t really go well with destination wedding photography. 

So I was quite conscious when I kind of finished my therapy sessions a few years ago. I was then, it kind of gave me the tools to understand my anxiety, which was really helpful, and why I had anxiety and why I felt those things about, it wasn’t even the fact of getting on a plane and travelling or picking up your car hire and driving nine hours across France or something like that. It was actually just not wanting to leave your own safe place and same four walls that you’re comfortable in and you can kind of kick back and do your own thing at your own pace. You’re kind of then under someone else’s control being, when something’s out of your hands, especially with weddings that, you know, you’ve got an eye on the weather and what if the couple don’t really like, or don’t really have time for photography and don’t give you the time on the wedding day. 

Those anxieties that I used to really feel, but now I’ve got the tools to kind of process that and calm down, calm myself down. But it really stemmed from travelling more. And I was like, suddenly in a world where I felt uncomfortable, and didn’t want to, not necessarily didn’t want to be away, but didn’t want to do anything. And felt like I was, you know, preaching about these beautiful weddings, but actually on the inside I was going, well, I actually just would rather sit and watch the football and sit with the cat and sit in the garden in the sunshine watching reruns of Friends or something like that, that, you know, you have this real safe, what you think is your own normality. 


So, what kind of things are you doing to protect that and make sure, I guess, you know, you talked about not overbooking yourself, I guess, and making sure that you avoid potential burnout. 

So creating space during what might be an exceptionally busy summer period, so that you’re avoiding that travel, I guess, that’s one of the biggest things for you, is it just making sure that you have that time?


Yeah, it’s exactly that, it’s avoiding the burnout and carving out your own time that you can have a Sunday at home and you can get back early. 
When I photograph in Ibiza, for example, I’m the first to say, well, actually, I’m just going to go straight to the airport. And in the summer, there’s a BA flight on a Saturday night at 2 o’clock in the morning and I can shoot the whole wedding, shoot a huge amount of the party, make it to the airport and be home and wake up in my own bed on a Sunday and have the whole day at home. So little things like that just make me look forward to the whole job beforehand, because I know that I’m going to be managing my time a little bit better. And I don’t care that I’ve been up most of the night travelling. We’re tired anyway, because we’ve all been working for 12 hours. 

But actually, the end game, you can see a better result for the end of that weekend a little bit more, rather than flying home at nine o’clock on a Sunday night and waking up at its Monday morning you’ve got emails and edits to do but actually carve yourself out a bit of free time just by travelling unsociable hours I’m all for that and I don’t know if it’s just me, but I actually quite enjoy it.


Yeah, I think it takes an experience to work it out, doesn’t it? It takes you being in the field, so to speak.


Just going back to, we mentioned Ed Peers earlier, the wonderful photographer that is Ed. He said something which I remember every single time that I’m booking travel in or booking a flight or thinking about entertaining a wedding enquiry, actually is travel well and look after yourself. If you can travel, if you’re going more than three, four hours on a flight, can you afford business? Can you do that? And if you’ve got a family member or a partner going with you, do you want to both go in business and make it a holiday? 

Don’t book the cheapest hotel, don’t book the cheapest car, hire a company just because it’s available and it’s 20 quid a day, just think about things a little bit more openly that these are business expenses and know your own worth and if the couple want to book you for European destination wedding, for example, then you might be able to kind of say, look, this is what it’s actually going to cost for my flights and accommodation. Here’s my flat fee. It might be a little bit more than I thought. But however, this is what your worth is. 

You don’t have to justify it too much. You can kind of say, this is my price. This is where I kind of learn my own worth in terms of how pricing loops back in. If someone says no, there’ll be a couple a month later that will want to book you for that date and it may be a better wedding, or it might be a more fun couple. Who knows? 

But if they don’t book you based on you wanting to look after and take care of yourself, then they’re not for you.


Absolutely and this very much goes back to the conversation we had earlier about trusting your intuition. It’s also about setting boundaries as well, isn’t it? And also, I think learning and again, I’ve learned this, the more that time passes and the older that my business gets, things ebb and flow. And as you say, if that couple isn’t right for you, there’ll be another that will be. You just got to learn the waiting game and trust the universe in a way, you know, there will be someone else that will come along and also the power of therapy, like you said as well, incredibly important. 

My sister’s not long qualified as a psychotherapist and she’s constantly saying to me, go and book a session, book a session, you will not regret it. And all my best friends say to me, it’s the best thing they’ve ever done in their lives, is book therapy.


Exactly. I think it’s so, so kind of like, I think we’re hopefully out of the world of, it’s a bit of a not spoken about subject. I think between, you know, my friends in the wedding industry, my friends at football, like lads that go out and week in, week out, go up and down the country watching Arsenal games. We all talk about therapy and we also talk about mental health quite openly now and it’s, you know, nine in ten have either done it or they’re thinking about doing it or they know someone that’s done it and it’s just not the same world that it was maybe even like 10 years ago. 

I feel, I don’t know if it’s just because I’ve grown up a little bit and I’ve got a little bit more mature mentally, but understanding that things aren’t always okay. And I read a really good book recently, which my girlfriend got me for Christmas, which was by Roman Kemp, the TV radio producer guy. He’s absolutely legend, also an Arsenal fan, obviously. 

He wrote a book called Are You Really Okay? which talked about his struggles mentally after his best friend at work took his own life, which is a really hard read and it was a very difficult opening few chapters. But, you know, it finally goes really deep into learning to live with what’s going on and what’s happened and putting things in boxes and really breaking it down where you’re at in your life as well and understanding your own anxieties and own stresses are so important before you can kind of start to take on anyone else’s.


Exactly that, but also being aware that you just never really know what’s going on behind closed doors for people, do you? And to be kind, because we’ve all been through so much. 

I can’t stress that enough. I think it’s a bit taboo to talk about the pandemic and everything we went through still, but I think people are still recovering from that because it was such a shock to our systems and our finances and our livelihoods and things still aren’t right. You’ve got other things to deal with now, you know, cost of living and all of that. 

Sorry to have to mention it, but I think it’s we’re in an era now where we need to be kind to ourselves and much kinder to other people and all those around us.


Exactly. Going back to burnout as well. I didn’t want to burn myself out again, like 2021, I think I had, when you talk about the pandemic, I know we’re not going to talk about it at all, but everyone kind of overbooked in 2020 for 2021 and 2022 and took all this work on and going, oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, give me those deposits. 

I did it. I was like, I didn’t get any help from the government during that time and needed deposits to keep things things afloat and keep paying the mortgage and things like that. That actually contributed to my burnout in 2021 and early 2022, that I was absolutely exhausted. And I think even last year I did, I promised myself last year that I wouldn’t do more than I think 25 weddings. I ended up doing 38 and it just happened this year I’m going to be doing 23, 24, but I have just taken another one last minute and that’s okay because I can sneak it in because I will already be in the same area, you know. 

So I’ve realised that you really need to kind of say what’s my mental health worth, what’s your health worth? 

Reading enquiries, it might sound like a beautiful wedding. I’m very lucky that I get how many enquiries I do get, which is wonderful for my business, but I can’t say yes to all these people and the amount of emails that I send saying, I’m really sorry, I’m not available for your wedding date. And they come back and they’re gutted. And it’s just purely me being actually quite selfish, I think, and saying, you know, I’m going to look after myself. I’m not going to shoot your wedding because even if I’m available, I will help you find someone else. I refer you to a great team or a great group of friends that could potentially suit your day. 

I’m very lucky that I’ve got great friends around me and great assistants that work for me that may want to jump on the job. But actually, the first thing they hear from me is going to be they’re going to be disappointed because they might have been engaged for three months and this bride may have followed me on Instagram before they even were engaged or met their partner. 

This is the world that we’ve kind of lived in. It’s an emotional connection to my work, but me being selfish because I’m already trying to look after myself next year, it’s weird. It’s a very strange situation.


But there’s a role for selfishness, isn’t there? That kind of scenario where you just simply have, you’ve got to set those boundaries because you go down, you know, with burnout, you’ve been no good for anybody. And then you’re going to have to get someone to cover all of your weddings. 

So I think it’s really important that you, it’s hard to have gotten to that place where you’ve been through that experience. But I think going through those experiences, you know, those kind of traumatic experiences teaches us so much about ourselves and our limitations and how to keep healthy. It’s the most important thing. 

Well, you mentioned your wife there briefly. Sorry, wife to be. Your wedding, you’re planning a wedding. Christina, she bought you a book. I wanted to ask you about your experience of planning a wedding so far and if that has changed any perception or… Have you booked your photographer, Benjamin?


Do you know what? We haven’t booked anything. And she’s the first to kind of admit that we’ve not got anywhere with anything. But, you know, up and down a few years since the pandemic as well for us, on a personal level, we’re obviously going too deep to it. But, you know, ups and downs of relationships and things like that, along with my burnout and my mental health and my stresses, that actually when it all kind of happened, it was probably not the best time, speaking very honestly. 

Like we’re so excited, obviously, for the future one day, but it’s, we’ve got nowhere with planning. And actually, probably wasn’t the best time in 2022 to do that, for myself. And we’re like, it’s just going to be a huge party, family and friends in the room. 

But just actually, we’ve got absolutely no ambition to make it feel like a wedding, which is really, really weird to say. But I don’t want it to feel like a day at work and I don’t want it to feel too much structure. I don’t want anything like a MC or someone that will cringe me out being like, this is when you’ve got to sit down, and this is when you’ve got to talk, I don’t want it to feel like it’ll go over my head like it was another wedding day, another wedding day at work. 

I want it to be completely us and bespoke so it’d be a very much a very intimate to start with but then maybe a big party in a room in a pub somewhere in London, I don’t know. We haven’t chatted too much but she’s been offered some lovely dresses. 


Goodness, I can just imagine. And you know, and that’s, that’s where we’re at with weddings now, isn’t it? You know, this whole doing it your way and doing it however you want to do it, but also doing it when the heck you want to do it. There’s no rush, is there? 


Exactly, exactly. We’re completely, it’s definitely not going to be this year, next year.

So we’ll see. It’s one of those things that we’re very, very relaxed about. And we’ll probably get another cat before we do that.


Your cat’s so lovely. What kind of cat is it?


He is a British blue shorthair. He’s called Teddy Prince Jr.


He’s very gorgeous. All right, then, Benjamin. Before I get to three questions that are very lighthearted just to round up, I want to say that the Love My Dress podcast aims to empower brides, couples, wedding business owners, and anyone really interested in running a creative business. 

But with that in mind, what advice would you give to aspiring wedding photographers or those who are still early in their career based on your own experience and lessons that you’ve learned so far? 


I think the main thing for me is you can’t advocate for experience on a real life wedding day enough. 

So actually, where I didn’t, this is what I didn’t do, so I didn’t assist any wedding photographers before I started shooting weddings, which is interesting, but it sounds crazy to kind of suggest that as a piece of advice, but actually going along to a wedding day, not even second shooting, but you could almost offer to be… If you’re brand new to weddings, but you’re a photographer, you could potentially offer to shoot and say, look, here’s the memory card at the end of the day, feel free to use them, but not be paid for one day, just one day out of the year, I think you can probably give up for that experience, especially if it’s a photographer you admire. 

There are obviously opportunities to not just be part of the photography team, but just to be at really luxury high end weddings, where you may be helping a wedding planner, just to see how that pace of the day goes. So my real advice is like understanding how a wedding day works, whether that be in a barn or a villa in Tuscany, or a mountain in South Africa, anything, there is a kind of like muscle memory to how a wedding day works, especially for me, like I know what’s going to happen and it’s anticipating moments and building that into your own art is so, so important for me. But it’s knowing when things are going to happen and anticipating that moment that is so, so vital. I think that is my top advice, something like that. 

But in way of photography, if you’re interested by the more documentary style, go and shoot some streets when you’re on holiday. Go out and shoot some people. Watch. Just people watch, which is fascinating anyway. But I know Christina loves to just people watch when we go on holiday and sit in a bar. But actually having a little camera with you, but not making it a thing, not putting too much pressure on, oh, I should take some pictures when I’m on holiday, but actually just slowing down and even if you take two frames the whole holiday, make them something that you’re excited by.


I love that. I love that advice. I think everyone should always have some form of taking imagery wherever they go. And most people do now, don’t they, on their phones?


Yeah, exactly. That’s the thing. It’s like, you don’t have to have, if you’re new to photography, you don’t have to necessarily go out and buy a six-round camera, an SLR with six lenses, it can be a point-and-shoot, a digital camera, get yourself in the mindset and that muscle memory of what to do on a wedding day, just waiting for things to happen and just being really aware, hyper aware of how the couple feel and their kind of like language to you, as well as the other way, like not being too intrusive, starting off a little bit of assisting, maybe shooting a few test shoots with models, if that’s your vibe, that sort of thing. 

I think the advice of giving up your time to get that experience is key. It’s not all about the money, that experience can be invaluable, can’t it? And really, so you know, it can be that defining moment for a photographer at the start of their career that can really set them on the path they need to be on.


Exactly and also there are, look, I’m absolutely not selling my own stuff because I’m not launching a workshop at the moment, but there are some incredible photography workshops, especially wedding workshops and shoots that people do all across the country that are so amazing. Really good stepping stone into, it might be a really busy styled shoot, or it might be the other side of things like educational or like a portfolio review. I know that photographers do that quite a lot. Or it might be a bit of a hybrid, but just understanding where you want to place yourself before you start, I think is quite nice.


Okay, I think that’s amazing. Thank you. 

I wasn’t expecting so much incredible information for aspiring photographers. 

But just to take it to the ridiculous now, to finish up the conversation, I’m going to ask you three questions just for fun. 

The first of them is, if you were to host a dinner party, Benjamin Wheeler, and could invite any three people, living or deceased, who would you choose and why? 


Living would be Jay-Z, absolutely iconic, like secret obsession with hip-hop, going back to the 1990s. 

The deceased, probably the Queen, Queen Elizabeth II, oh bless her. 

But also, I want to go something completely like ridiculous, and you’re probably like me, you love animals, and not have, it doesn’t say human, you just put people. I think animals are people. 

Christina is obsessed with pandas, and we were looking at an old video of a panda who lived in London Zoo in the 70s. I think it was called, I can’t remember her name, but the panda that lived in the 70s, if it could talk at a dinner party, how cute would that be? I just want, like, completely…


A 70s panda, the Queen and Jay-Z. Oh, my God, that’s the best guest list I’ve ever had. 

I am actually trying to have a picture of this eating plan, but that is just the best, honestly. 

All right, then, if you were stranded on a deserted island, which three items would you want to have with you?


I suppose I’d have to say a camera, but there’s other things survival mode wise. Pasta, sausage pasta, that is up there. Absolutely incredible. Like a really beautiful like Italian ragu. Oh yeah, or like the tools to cook it and then endless supply of that. 

Yeah and a camera and I don’t know just some really like cosy hoodies. Track suit. Cosy hoodie and a track suit. 

Just so when it’s too hot, because I hate being too hot. So if you’re, I can’t sleep if it’s not cold, but if you get chilled to the bones, you don’t want to do that when you’re on a desert island at night. So I  would 100% say a nice, cosy hoodie. Y


Yeah, nice, cosy hoodie, because it’s cold at night on those deserted islands. Definitely. If you could travel back in time and give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be? 


Do you know what it would? It would actually be work harder. 

We didn’t talk about this enough earlier, but the feeling of being a bit of a imposter syndrome, you know, I massively get it with what we do in the industry that I know that there are incredible photographers and incredible filmmakers out there that are producing this beautiful work. And I’m like, I know I could always work harder and I know I could always like, I’ve got, create the space and the time by running my own business and going freelance, that I’ve bought some time for myself. And actually, I’m so guilty of just kicking around most days and not working hard enough.

So it would probably be that. Obviously, get the work done. 


I’m quite surprised to hear you say that, you just strike me as somebody who works really hard. 


Oh great I’m giving the illusion. 
You do work hard. You do work hard, but I do understand where you’re coming from. 


Yeah when I chatted to people about like what’s the best thing about going freelance at my workshop and what’s the best thing about business is I’ve never worked harder, but I’ve never worked less.


It’s making me think about the whole glorification of being busy thing and how people can come across that way when you’re self-employed and you’ve got all these things to do. 

I am not very good, a lot of the time, at managing my time, so I’m not very good at switching off. I get quite wired into my work and that’s a real kind of discipline that I need to practise and then I think you risk that kind of, you know, glorifying being busy all the time, which is really not cool. So I wish I was more like you. So actually, it’s quite inspiring that you’ve, you’ve said that. 

Benjamin, it’s been such an incredible pleasure to have you join me on this podcast. The conversation has been insightful and enlightening and humble, and I’ve enjoyed every moment of it. I’m just, I’m just so grateful. 

Thank you so much, Benjamin. I hope that our audience will enjoy this as much as I have recording it.


I hope so. Thank you so much for having me. It’s been such a pleasure. Pleasure is all mine. It’s so lovely to chat.

I hope very much that you enjoyed this conversation. But before we wrap this episode, I need to ask a favour. 

A huge amount of time, love and effort is required to produce this podcast and in order to get it off to a flying start in season one, we need your support. Please subscribe to the podcast and please consider leaving a short positive review. 

These two small things will take just a few short moments from your day, I promise, but they’ll make a huge impact in helping the podcast reach as many people as possible. 

I really appreciate your support, thank you so much and until next time, take care. 

Additional Credits

The below suppliers and venues are featured in this article, but are not part of the Love My Dress Wedding Directory.


Annabel View all Annabel's articles

Founder of Love My Dress. Passionate Podcaster and Editor. Annabel lives in rural North Yorkshire with her husband and business partner Philip, their two daughters and menagerie of furry hounds. She loves photography, meditation, walking, being outdoors and star gazing. She is fierce when it comes to championing talent within the wedding industry and when she's not working on Love My Dress, she supports her husband Philip in the running of the family's sustainable flower farm and floral design business, Moonwind Flowers. In 2013, she became a published author.