Behind the lens part 3: get to know some of Scotland’s finest wedding photographers

It’s time for the third in our series of special features highlighting the top Scottish wedding photographers. If you’re looking for the perfect person to capture your day, you can’t miss this!

Suzanne Lister, Kalisterscope Photography

A bride holding a bouquet looks over her shoulder

What’s your background? I worked as an architect for ten years before becoming a photographer and I feel that my creative background gives me a unique viewpoint in terms of how I see spaces and capture movement through places. It also taught me about providing a professional service to all my couples.

How would you describe your style? I have a relaxed, non-invasive style. I love capturing natural moments and documenting a couple’s beautiful day as it happens, while also quietly steering them in the right direction to get those epic shots alongside those all-important family photographs.

A black and white photo of two grooms holding hands at their lochside ceremony

Why should a couple pick you to photograph their wedding? My couples are always at the centre of what I do – I help them feel relaxed and happy so we can get the very best images of their day. I am a big believer in the idea that ‘couples who laugh together stay together’ and I absolutely love capturing newlyweds beaming from ear to ear. It’s those pictures of you smiling and having a giggle together that bring back all the amazing memories of your wedding.

We’re nervous about being in front of the camera. How will you help put us at ease? A lot of couples I work with say they’re anxious or don’t like getting their photograph taken, and as I am all about capturing couples smiling, relaxed and having the best day ever, it is important that I help with this! I offer a complimentary pre-shoot where we can chat about wedding plans and take some super-relaxed photographs. These shoots can be at your venue or another place that’s special to you, and they’re such a good way to break the ice and get rid of any nerves. They also let you see my process for capturing your day. And, if you’re still nervous in front of the camera, I have to warn you that I love a good cheese-based joke – I’ll stop at nothing to make my couples smile!

Megan Lannigan, Megan Lannigan Photography

Left: a groom kisses a smiling bride on the forehead; right: the same couple are pictured embracing on some stairs

Why should a couple pick you to photograph their wedding? My focus is on them. I love to properly get to know my couples first and I’m always available to message. I think this completely helps, as by the time their day arrives, I’ve become someone they know and trust. I also have a pre-wedding shoot with all of my couples which allows us get to know one another, and lets me discover what they’re comfortable with. I love weddings and I get so excited to capture them. I genuinely believe I’m so lucky to get to do this as a job.

We’re nervous about being in front of the camera. How will you help put us at ease? The pre-wedding shoot is my main tool here. You will get used to the camera we’ll get to know one another before the big day. That way, it feels like a friend is at the wedding, rather than a stranger they’ve only met a few times. I still text many of my couples to keep in touch!

Left: a bride and groom hold hands and walk along a road lined with trees; Right: a bride and a groom embrace in a field

If you could photograph a wedding anywhere in the world, where would it be? Oh, there are so many places! In Scotland, either Teasses Estate, Arniston House or Hopetoun House. Beyond Scotland, the New York Public Library or Villa Sola Cabiati on Lake Como would be nice. To be honest, and this may sound cheesy, there’s so many beautiful venues but it’s the couples that make it! As long as there’s love, I’m there.

Rachel Spence, Rachel Spence Photography

A bride and groom sit in the front of a van and the bride sips from a bottle of champagne

How did you get started as a wedding photographer? I sort of fell into it by accident. I was at a college open day and ended up enrolling on a photography course. I went on to gaina degree in photography and then was lucky enough to assist a local photographer who did weddings – and from there it went!

Tell us about your approach to weddings That’s always a tricky one to put into words, but I suppose I’d say my approach is to try to document the day as it is – no moving things around or constructing scenes. I take it as it really is on the day. Having my trusty second shooter (who is an amazing photographer herself!) with me always helps: that way, I can effectively be in two places at once, so nothing is missed. It’s always a privilege to be there and create that lasting, authentic memory for a couple – and make sure it’s loads of fun.

A bride and groom stand in front of a wall covered in street art featuring a boot and some mushrooms

What advice would you give couples? One of my brides-to-be recently said to me “shy bairns get no sweeties” and she’s so right. If I see something that might look amazing in a picture (such as the groom flying down a zip line in his kilt!), I’m going to ask if you’re up for it. Equally, though, if you need help on the day, just ask us: we once walked a couple’s dog for them during the wedding breakfast.

Tell us something couples should know about you before they book I believe you never stop learning, so I try every year to train with the best in the business and add more strings to my bow. I think you have to be slightly obsessed with photography to do this job, and I’d definitely say I am.

Allan Forrester, Biggar Picture Photography

A brdie and a groom face away from the camera and watch a firework display

How long have you been a wedding photographer? I began as a second shooter seven years ago and started working for myself two years after that.

Do you have a favourite anecdote from a wedding you’ve covered? One of the strangest things I’ve ever photographed was a groom putting a headlock on a miniature donkey to try to get it to walk down the aisle! The couple had donkeys as pets and wanted the smallest of them to be the ring bearer. Unfortunately, the donkey had other ideas! As soon as its front hoofs touched the plastic sheeting on the aisle (the venue didn’t want any messy accidents on the carpet), it froze and refused to budge. The handler tried her best but eventually the groom had to try to rescue the situation. I never knew a sporran could hold so many carrots! The donkey resisted all the treats and eventually the groom resorted to trying to physically pull the animal forward. There was only one winner. The rings had to be retrieved by the best man, and on went the show. All the while, I’m standing there, wondering how much I should photograph?!

A couple dances in front of a sign saying Mr and Mrs Douglas

What should couples consider when researching/booking their wedding photographer? Check that they produce a style that you like and suit your budget, but most importantly, make sure that you feel at ease and can have a bit of banter with them. You’ll spend a large chunk of your big day in their company and the last thing you want is to have no chemistry with them.

What is your favourite Scottish venue? I am lucky enough to have my very favourite right on my doorstep: Cornhill Castle, on the outskirts of Biggar. It was where I got married, and it’s amazing.