Behind the lens part 2: we speak to some more of Scotland’s best wedding photographers

Struggling to pick a shooter for your big day? In the second of our five specials, we’re meeting some more of Scotland’s finest photographers

Francis Smith, Francis J. Smith Photography

A bride holding a bouquet and a groom stand in front of a large building

What made you pick wedding photography as a career? It was kind of a sink-or-swim moment. I had recently left a job I hated and was really wanting to do any form of art. I’ve always been creative and had studied photography five years earlier but hadn’t found a lot of opportunities in Glasgow. I met another local photographer who mentored me and asked me to come along and help out at a few weddings and I’ve never looked back.

How would you describe your style? Warm and cinematic. I like to blend traditional and candid styles, resulting in a modern feel.

How soon after the wedding are you likely to have our pictures ready? Currently, it takes me about six to eight weeks to send my images. I really like to take my time and go through every single picture to find the best ones that truly reflect your day. Once they’re ready, I’ll send them in an online password-protected gallery, which you can share among your friends and family. There’s also an option in this gallery to buy prints and albums.

A bride and groom stand in front of a red barn wall

Tell us something a couple should know about you before they book I’ve seen it all before – the tears, the tantrums, the messy rooms and the ripped dresses – and I never pass judgement. There’s nothing that really shocks me. Also, you have to trust the process. If it rains, it rains. We can make anything work.

If you could photograph a wedding anywhere in the world, where would it be? I’ve always wanted to do a New York wedding. There are so many brilliant photographers I follow who do amazing shoots over there, and you’re spoilt for choice with the landmarks. Apart from that, I’m still holding out for that Glen Coe elopement wedding. I need to tick that off my list!

Karen Thorburn, Karen Thorburn Photography

A bride and a groom at the top of an aisle, standing beneath a floral arch and holding hands

What made you want to be a wedding photographer? I used to be a project manager, stuck behind a desk in a stuffy, noisy office for 50-odd hours a week, wishing I was out and about with my camera. I love what I do nowadays, and never take it for granted. I still work hard and put in long hours, but the job satisfaction is huge – weddings are such happy occasions! I always get a buzz from seeing my couples tie the knot and am thrilled to know that they’ll treasure their photographs for life.

How would you describe your style? My tagline sums it up: ‘beautiful, natural, relaxed’. Essentially, I combine three elements to create my signature style: documentary pictures bursting with emotion; traditional, timeless images; and artistic shots of all your wee details. With me, you don’t need to worry about cheesy, tacky, moody or overly staged pictures.

A couple and their celebrant stand at the top of the aisle and smile and laugh

Do you have any favourite memories from a wedding? A few years ago, I worked with Lauren and Matt, a lovely couple from Chicago who travelled to the Highlands for their wedding at Eagle Rock in Wester Ross (see image above left). We made a weekend of it. I met up with them again the day after their wedding and we drove to the top of the Bealach na Bà, one of the highest roads in Scotland. There were no time constraints, the weather was lovely, the ground was dry, and the pair of them were up for anything! I managed to capture some really special images of the bride and groom surrounded by the Applecross mountains. Passers-by were jumping out of their cars to snap some shots on their phones!

Tell us something a couple should know about you before they book It’s not just about the photographs. I’m equally passionate about providing a top-notch, friendly service full of personal touches. This isn’t the corporate world: you don’t want abrupt, impersonal emails and a robot behind the camera. I’ll consider it an honour to be trusted to capture your wedding photos and it will be a privilege to witness such an important milestone in your life.

Victoria Rose, Victoria Charlotte Rose

A bride and groom smile as confetti falls on them

What made you want to be a wedding photographer? I really did wake up one morning and decide I wanted to photograph weddings! After being an English teacher for years, I was craving a career change. I shot my first wedding for a friend in 2016, then in 2018, a colleague asked if I could help his sister-in-law as her photographer had cancelled. Two weeks later, I had a stall at The Scottish Wedding Show and was taking bookings. Within a year, I had left my permanent teaching job and I’ve never looked back!

Why should a couple pick you to photograph their wedding? Before you choose a photographer, you have to truly love what they do. For me, it’s a gut feeling. The next stage is about having a connection to your photographer: you have to sort of fall for them too and there has to be a connection for both parties.

A bride and groom and their family poses for a group photo

Tell us about your prices After hearing stories of couples and suppliers being left out of pocket during the pandemic, I decided to change my approach. The first thing I did was to stop offering packages. Very often, they encourage people to pay for things they don’t really need. Now, I charge an hourly rate of £200 and this includes editing and delivery. Instead of a deposit, I change a non-returnable admin fee of £50 which secures your wedding date and covers any meetings and correspondence we have from the beginning until two weeks before your wedding.

Cara Frew, Cara Frew Photography

Two people holding bouquets smile and stick their tongues out at the camera

How long have you been in the wedding business? I’ve been a full-time photographer since 2018, but if you include my assisting years (I did work experience with a wedding photographer while I was at college), I’ve been working in weddings since 2015. I fell in love with it instantly!

What is your approach to shooting a big day? I have a relaxed and unobtrusive style. I want my couples to have fun and not feel stressed, so I tend to stay mostly in the background while still capturing all the love and fun that’s going on. I offer packages that include a few hours’ coverage, as well as full-day packages.

Tell us something about being a wedding photographer that you wish more people knew It’s such a rewarding job, but there’s so much more to it than most people realise. The actual taking of pictures on the day of your wedding is quite a small part of the process! Planning meetings, editing, equipment, travel, insurance, car, bills and so on all go into how much we need to charge.

A bride and a bridesmaid dance in front of a wedding band

What’s your favourite Scottish wedding venue? It’s probably Dalduff Farm in Ayrshire. I just love its rustic vibe and endless options for photos. The staff are lovely, the food is amazing and it also has good options for when the weather isn’t great. My dream location for a wedding shoot would have to be somewhere on the Isle of Skye.

Why should a couple pick you to photograph their wedding? Well, for starters, I genuinely love what I do! The thrill I get from capturing love stories is the biggest honour, and I promise I’ll bring a relaxed atmosphere to your day by blending into the crowd.