Behind The Lens with Graham Mansfield Photography
Every couple deserves a wedding day that is nothing less than perfect and at Barnett Hill you can exchange vows in a setting which is truly unforgettable.
As a luxury wedding venue, we ‘vow’ to offer our Bride and Grooms full professional support and with this in mind, we are lucky enough to be able to offer our future Bride and Grooms a selection of ‘recommended by us’ wedding suppliers who will help make your day that bit more magical.
Graham Mansfield is a wedding photographer with over 12 years experience. Following a contemporary and creative style he ensures to capture every glimpse of your special day as it unfolds. Having captured many a wedding at Barnett Hill, he is no novice to capturing the perfect picture amongst it’s stunning grounds.
We got together with Graham to find out a bit more about the process of wedding photography.
How did you get into wedding photography?
“By accident really. I have always been a keen photographer and used to have my own dark room as it was all film in those days. After moving across to digital in 2005 my wife informed me that she had offered my services to her friend to photograph her wedding to which I was horrified. Anyway, to cut a long story short I researched and read umpteen books and it all went really smoothly and they were delighted with the pictures. What surprised me was how much I enjoyed it and as the saying goes “The rest is history!””
What is your approach to shooting a wedding?
“The first thing is that you have to have a rapport with the couple. I regularly offer a pre-wedding test shoot at my studio in Wisley. I am lucky enough to have 8 acres of land along the River Wey so I find that by bringing the couple to my studio we can do some test shooting before the actual day. This puts the couple at ease with you. Once they trust you then our approach is to not be obvious but all the time looking for the special little moments that we observe during the day. We are normally their timekeeper and we try and have a fun time with them. So all in all we try and approach the wedding in a very relaxed way that we find our clients are much more relaxed and in return we get great photographs of them.”
What appealed to you about wedding photography over other areas of photography?
“It’s funny – I have been asked that so many times before and I think it comes down to the simple fact that it is a day of pure emotion and happiness and I feel so grateful that I am trusted to be able to record that day for that couple and that when they look back through their album 40 years from their wedding they will be able to relive that moment from beginning to end.”
What do you enjoy most about shooting wedding at Barnett Hill?
“Well that’s easy – the location and the staff! As a wedding photographer you might have a great couple but a poor venue and to be frank that means your images will be average as the venue will spoil them. At Barnett Hill that is certainly not the case. With the beautiful interior plus the wonderful gardens (which I now know off by heart!) you can’t help but create wonderful photographs. Another thing that I love about Barnett Hill is winter wedding. If the weather is poor we can use the beautiful hallway for shoots as well as the upstairs landing so again it makes for much better images. Finally, I have to say that the staff are always wonderful. They are always helpful to us so I would like to say a quick thank you to them all.”
What is the biggest challenge when shooting a wedding?
“Hmm, that’s a tricky one. It is a little hard to say. I guess timing is often an issue particularly when doing group shots. Often a couple will completely underestimate the time that it takes to do group shots. During out meetings I try and explain that on average each group takes 3 minutes. So if they choose 20 groups then that is one hour of photography and they are in EVERY shot. They will often say “well it can’t take 3 minutes per shoot” but as I explain let’s say we have a family group and Auntie Betty has disappeared to the toilet you have just lost 5 minutes. It’s funny but often feedback from my couples is that they were so grateful for our setting their expectations on timing. Most people seem to think that rain is the most challenging problem for a wedding photographer but frankly – I love it. I can create great images using rain as a feature!”
What do you enjoy most about photographing someone’s big day?
“I guess I have already answered that above but really I feel honoured that I can share that special day with them and know that the images that I have created will be treasure for their lifetimes. The other thing is that I love to be able to bring creativity into my images. So we will always try and create a unique shot for the couple.”
How do you help couples feel more at ease around the camera?
“Again, I think I have probably answered that above but one of the first questions I ask my couple is do that like to have their photograph taken? I would say that probably 75% say they hate it as “they always look terrible.” What my job is, is to prove to them that their perception isn’t right and that with a few techniques, some helpful tips and a lot of encouragement they can see that they can look great when they have their photo taken. I think being a wedding photographer means you HAVE to be a people person and my job is to get that couple to trust me and ‘Bingo’ you get great images.”
How would you describe your photography style in three words?
“Contemporary. Artistic. Timeless.”
To find out more about Graham’s services and view examples of his work, please visit his website.