Wedding photographer Steve Wood

I am Steve, I’m a documentary wedding photographer, which means there’s a certain way that I work, and a certain style to the photography I produce. The end product of which is an accurate, beautiful document of the single most important day thus far in a couple’s life together. I want my clients to feel what they felt on their wedding day, years later when they’re reminiscing with their album.

To do that successfully, I need to get in close — really close — to the action. But I don’t want people to feel uncomfortable being photographed, or indeed react to my presence. And almost as importantly, I need to be able to react quickly enough to capture those lightning little glances, touches and reactions. It’s mentally exhausting. Keeping track of several conversations and movements in a room, as well as watching the bride and groom, following compositions in your head – it all takes it’s toll after a few hours. But that’s what makes this job so interesting and rewarding.

I originally grew up in Devon, but now live near Whitstable, Kent

I previously worked as a full time professional photographer in the British Army,  employed as an editorial photographer for the MoD from 1999 until 2011 photographing news, features and people across the UK and the rest of the world, including conflicts, fashion, royalty and celebrities. As a photojournalist, documentary wedding photography is a natural fit for me. For almost twenty years I've been conveying a story in a single image, or telling a more complex story in a photo essay. This is an ideal approach for a couple who want their wedding day documented in an accurate, beautiful and hassle-free way.

Having had my work both judged and printed many times by national newspaper editors, my winning images have been showcased at a number of galleries, published on several continents and exhibited around the world. Based out of North West Kent, I am available for weddings across the whole of the South of England, London, Kent and Essex as well as weddings both nationally and internationally. 

Photographing the preparation is an important part of the day for me.

It gets the wedding party used to having a photographer around, and more importantly, it provides a start point for the day. I'm a documentary wedding photographer, which means I use my images to convey a story, and that needs a beginning.

This is my passion.  Simple, timeless, powerful images that tell stories.

The Wedding Ceremony is the bread and butter of wedding photographers.

Whoever you choose to photograph your wedding, they should have a very strong set of images from this part of the day.

The important thing for me here is to capture the atmosphere and anticipation without you or your guests feeling like they're always being photographed. I like to arrive well before the Bride so I can look for unusual angles and views of the ceremony that the Bride and Groom would never see. It's another time when a second photographer will bring another dimension to the coverage (please enquire about booking my second photographer). You'll notice that apart form my portraits, nobody in any of these pictures is looking at the camera. That's not because I've asked them not to - I don't give any direction at all - but because of the way I work. I get in close to you and your guests, but I don't intrude. It's a skill that not every photographer has, but it's essential in order to get the kind of pictures you see here for my clients.

I'm keen to photograph the ceremony as naturally as possible.

There's no need to influence the proceedings. I don't obsess with getting the kind of traditional pictures that were the staple of wedding photographers in the past - the 'First Kiss' or the mock register signing. Love is more than a kiss, it's the little touches and glances between a couple that really tell you what was happening on the day.

My approach is to observe carefully and capture these moments discreetly.  I don’t want your guests to feel the ever looming presence of a wedding photographer.

A lovely and truthful quote from a man I regard as one of the great masters of powerful documentary photography.

"Photography for me is not looking, it’s feeling.  If you can’t feel what you’re looking at then you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures". – Don McCullin

After the ceremony is the best time for portraits and group pictures.

Providing everyone involved knows where and when these are to be taken, they shouldn't take more than 15 minutes. The very last thing I want is to have the guests waiting around for hours while the photographer reels through endless group photos. Five or six groups is usually sufficient.

Likewise, I'm just not the kind of photographer who will take the bride and groom off for an hour or two for some portraits at all the landmarks in the vicinity. All of the couples family and friends are at the wedding, they should be with them for as much of the day as possible. To be honest, this is where the great documentary pictures are to be had. And they take time to capture - often I'll watch a scene develop for a couple of minutes before taking any pictures, making sure I have the absolute best moment caught for you. You can't do that while photographing posed group pictures.

As an editorial photographer in the Army, I spent a lot of time photographing portraits of people. You can see some of those over on my military portfolio. So I'm totally at ease when looking for locations and spend only fifteen minutes getting some great portraits. I want the Bride and Groom to get back to their guests as soon as possible - that's where the great moments are happening.

Powerful story telling

‘I’m a story teller and for me a wedding is a once in a lifetime event that should be photographed quietly, sympathetically, and without the photographer dictating what happens in front of them.  As soon as a photographer engages the subject or directs or controls the event, the wedding becomes a photographer's idea of what the wedding should look like rather than what it actually is'.

If you fancy getting hold of me then perhaps you can drop me an email on my contact page or give me a call on 07872 894845/07511 916586