Love before the lens: Kate Duckmanton on Wedding Photography

On February 14,2018, Valentine’s Day will be celebrated again – the day when we from all over the world express our love with a variety of original and unoriginal gifts. Whether with a traditional bouquet of flowers, a Valentine’s card, chocolates, a romantic visit to a restaurant or even a marriage proposal – Valentine’s Day is very popular all over the world.
But how can we capture this love that shines in lover’s eyes? The photo rights portal Copytrack spoke to Kate Duckmanton, an experienced wedding photographer, about the life and challenges behind the camera.
How did you first get into wedding photography?
My dad was a photographer and it had been a hobby of mine since studying art at school. So when my children arrived and I needed to change careers to something that would fit around them more easily, it was the obvious choice.
As a wedding photographer how do you make sure that you capture the what the client is looking for?
Communication and preparation is the key to this. I make sure I ask my couples the right questions to establish exactly what they want, (explaining when this might not be possible due to lighting restrictions, weather, location etc…) and then create a plan and a shot list based around the timeline of the wedding. Once all the ‘essentials’ are in the bag at each stage of the day I know I’m safe to play around with some more creative shots and deliver the client something they love but didn’t know they wanted!
How do you capture the perfect wedding portrait of the bride and groom?
A perfect wedding portrait must reflect the couples’ actual characters and they must be relaxed in order to be themselves. I will usually take them away from their guests and match my prompts to their personalities and how they react to being in front of the camera. The last thing I want is to ask them to do something that makes them feel awkward or uncomfortable! I always recommend an engagement session prior to the wedding to help with this and I find the couples who I’ve photographed before are significantly more relaxed and at ease on their wedding day.
Shooting a wedding must be quite stressful as you´ve got one chance to get it right. How do you make sure don’t miss a thing on the day?
Preparation again. I make sure I have a detailed timeline of the main events of the day, so I can ensure I’m in the right place at the right time. I also shoot with two cameras and a spare in the car with a selection of lenses so if one stops working I can carry on with the other.
I actually had a scary moment during a sparkler shot last year – the test shot and my settings were fine but when the sparklers were lit and the bride and groom were walking towards me, the shutter stuck. I have never been more grateful for the second camera, I was able to switch in seconds and carry on without anyone noticing. I needed more than a moment to compose myself afterwards though.
What are the best and worst things about being a wedding photographer?
I love being surrounded by so much joy on a wedding day, everyone is (usually) happy and enjoying themselves; it makes the long day much easier. I always have back-up anxiety on the way home though and that’s not so much fun. Despite having a robust back-up system with me during the day, I can never relax until the images are uploaded to the computer and then backed-up off site.

Weddings are often at the mercy of the weather. What do you do when it starts to pour with rain?
When it rains, I turn to the ‘bad weather contingency’ page of my plan. I always have a Plan B for rain, and will scout out indoor locations beforehand.
When it comes to wedding photography it can be confusing who has what right. How do you handle copyright/usage rights as a wedding photographer?
It’s all clearly defined in my contract and I know exactly who has what right, but I know that most people don’t understand so I try to be quite relaxed about it. Couples love sharing their pictures on social media and if their vendors want to share them too I’m ok with that, even if they don’t credit me properly – I just leave a comment from my business profile about how much I enjoyed photographing the day.
I have never had a client find me from a credit on a picture, but I do get referrals from previous clients and vendors on a regular basis.
However, if another business was using an image of mine specifically to profit from, in an advert for example, I would be far less relaxed about it and would seek legal advice.

COPYTRACK was founded in 2015 by Marcus Schmitt. The company now consists of a team of around 25 colleagues from legal, IT, to customer service, and finance. The service is offered to photographers, publishers, picture agencies and e-commerce providers, and includes a risk-free search of the Internet worldwide. Photos uploaded by the users are located by COPYTRACK with a hit accuracy of 98 per cent. The customers can then define if images are with or without a license, and even determine the number of subsequent fees, supported by an automatic license calculator on our portal. COPYTRACK is fully responsible for out-of-court resolutions in over 140 countries, as well as legal resolutions in the relevant areas of copyright law. If the post-licensing process has been successful, the rights holder receives up to 70 percent of the agreed sum. The search function is free of charge.

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