“I was born into photography” – it’s a bold statement from the Wedding Ideas Award winner, Chris Barber. Chris’ warm personality and infectious sense of humour immediately puts you at ease, so it’s easy to see why he gets such wonderfully relaxed wedding photos from his couples. We sat down with Chris to find out just what it takes to be an award winner!
Practice makes perfect
“Photography has been a big part of my life for such a long time, I feel like I was born to do it,” says Chris. “I left university after just three days, and got a few jobs in film and TV, before realising that I much prefer the freedom of photography. I’m entirely self-taught and I mainly learnt from making a lot of mistakes. I prefer it like that – it’s helped me to develop my own style, and not to feel confined by what the professionals are doing. Even though I’ve won the Best Wedding Photographer award – I still don’t think of myself as a professional. I’m having way too much fun to pretend like I’m being serious!”
When we asked Chris about his style of wedding photography, he probably gave us one of the best responses we’ve ever heard.
“My style is different because it’s inconsistent,” says Chris. “I could tell you what it is today, but by next week it’ll be something else. The thing that links everything I do is expression and creativity, plus the desire to keep pushing my work as an artist, not as a wedding supplier – if that makes sense?”
Capturing moments in time
“Expressions of emotion are so important to me because you can’t pose them,” says Chris. “Shooting a belly laugh requires so much more than qualifications and technical training. As the photographer I have to interact with the couple, and lose myself in what I do. I love to people watch, yet I’ve never seen a couple just casually romantically posing in the street. I see couples in fits of laughter all the time, so I like to shoot them this way because that best resembles who these people really are.”
“All of my couples also tell me they hate having their photo taken; well I hate having my photo taken too, so immediately we’re on the same page. For me, photography is all about the interaction between photographer and subject, not their technical abilities. Anyone with a half-decent camera can take good photographs, but there’s a big difference between ‘good’ pictures and something that actually speaks to you.”
Despite all that, Chris genuinely struggled to believe that he was up for a Wedding Ideas Award.
“When I got the email from Rachel, I honestly thought it was spam!” laughs Chris. “Luckily my girlfriend stopped me, and told me to take it seriously. My heart then sank at the thought of being nominated with such an awesome bunch of people, so I really can’t explain how it felt to win. I never got into wedding photography for awards or praise, I do it because I freakin’ love it. I’ve been so true to myself over the last year and to have been recognised with an award for that is just overwhelming.”
An ever-changing industry
Wedding photography is constantly changing, and Chris feels he’s found the perfect way to always be on top.
“I think couples are looking for artists, not suppliers,” says Chris. “Being ‘good’ in a specific field just isn’t enough. Over the next few years I think we’ll see a lot more emphasis on couples choosing their photography based on the connection with their photographer, and how they fit with the style and feel of their wedding. Trends come and go so quickly that it’s pointless to guess what’s in the pipeline. I’d just like to see more couples celebrating love in the way they want to.”