Ryan Rafferty specialises in creative wedding photography from their base in Manchester. We asked Ryan what makes him tick:
Tell us how and why you decided to become a wedding photographer:
I began taking photographs at university in Manchester back in 2003, working for an events photography company, mainly capturing images of new bars and restaurants. During this time I was asked by a friend to photograph his wedding day. I was very cautious at first, and the day itself was nerve-racking, but the images were just what they wanted. The rest is history really – I did more and more weddings for friends, then they told their friends and the business just grew and grew!
How would you describe your photography style and approach?
Lots of people describe my style as emotional. The feedback and comments I hear most often are that my images convey a feeling of protection – be that of a bride and groom, or a grandparent and grandchild, I can see this coming through a lot in my style. My approach is very much to get involved in the wedding and to build a relationship with the couple before, and the guests during the day. That way, everyone always feels comfortable with me, as they would if a good friend was taking their photo, not a professional photographer.
What cameras and equipment do you use?
Currently I use a Nikon D4 and a D3S as a backup, although I’ve recently bought a Nikon D750 which I am having a lot of fun with. It’s so light, and the autofocus and high iso quality are really show stopping. Another recent investment is the Spider Holster system, which is incredible – it provides easy access to both my cameras and holds their weight around my hips, rather than my shoulders.
What software do you use for editing? What process do you use to prepare photos for the albums?
I use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom for my initial editing, which takes around 8-10 hours per wedding. Following that I use Photoshop for all the bride and groom’s photos: airbrushing, correcting blemishes and so on.
How do you prepare for a particular wedding shoot?
I think preparation is key for any wedding. No two weddings are the same, and no two couples will have exactly the same requirements. I always go to meet customers in person before I ever ask them for a deposit, to make sure they get the whole picture – not just of my photos but also of me as a person. Then, I will arrange either an engagement shoot to get them comfortable in front of the camera, or a pre-wedding consultation to make sure that they are happy with everything we have agreed. I also encourage my couples to open a Pinterest or Instagram account, so they can share with me any ideas they might have, taking inspiration from my images, magazines, or anything else!
What’s the most fulfilling aspect of your business?
The most rewarding aspect for me is seeing the bride (and sometimes the groom!) cry tears of joy when I sit them down and show them their photos on the big screen, whilst playing their wedding song in the background. It has reduced me to tears myself on occasion, and it is the most wonderful feeling in the world – it makes me feel that every single day, hour and minute I put into the photography and images was absolutely worth it.
What would be your dream location for a photoshoot?
This might sound a bit odd, but I’ve always dreamed of doing a photoshoot in the alps, right on top of a mountain. I’m an avid skier whenever I can get away, and I just think that the views from the top of a mountain at sunset are the most beautiful I’ve ever seen – especially when you are standing above low clouds, and they look like a sea of white below you with the mountain tops peaking out. What a beautiful setting that could be for a snow white wedding dress.
What was your most memorable photoshoot?
About a year after I first started out, I photographed an Indian wedding in London – it was the most beautiful wedding I have ever done, the colours were just spectacular and the people –all 650 of them – just made the day unforgettable. I was second shooter at that particular wedding, but the lead photographer neglected to tell me until after I’d signed up that it was a two day wedding, and we had to cover the whole thing!
Do you have any tips for a couple looking for a wedding photographer?
My number one tip would be to meet your photographer before commissioning them – this will be the one person you will see most of through your day (apart from your partner of course!), and it is so important that you get on with him/her, and that they understand exactly what you want. My number two tip would be to ask to see a whole wedding’s worth of photos, not just his or her portfolio – the portfolio is usually a collection of their very best images, whereas a whole wedding will give you a much better idea of what your final product will look like.
Ryan Rafferty Photography is an award-winning wedding photography company based in Manchester. Ryan offers couples a very intimate service, where all aspects of their wedding are discussed in detail to ensure the highest quality possible. Ryan can be reached at ryanrafferty.co.uk or by calling 0161 280 1744.