My Mum always used to say to me when I was growing up, "your soul gets dyed by what you do, so always do good". This has driven me my entire life. And shapes the work I do and how I interact with the world around me. I always strive to do good. I even have a haiku that I wrote to work as a mantra, it hangs above my workbench.
The reason for this awkward self congratulatory preamble is... When I was introduced to this photographers work (and fantastic shiny new website), I was taken aback and that saying popped into my head. This guy does good work...
So enough of my waffling check out the very talented... Patrick Newnham of Wildly In Love (seriously check out his website, its lovely)
Ben - Hey Patrick! First a bit of an introduction to yourself... What's your name, and where are you located?
Patrick - Hey, I’m Patrick a photographer from Exmoor in Somerset. My wife and I moved to Exmoor just before the pandemic hit. We were living in London just before the first lockdown and were intending on moving, but when there was talk of the first lockdown we quite literally ran for the hills! We are both country bumpkins at heart, so we have fallen in love with Somerset and its surroundings and we are looking forward to exploring more of what it has to offer!
B - Ah that sounds like good timing! How long have you been a photographer and how did you get into it, how did the journey start?
P - I received a camera when I was 13 or there abouts and it was a gift that I didn’t really want! However, it turned into a passion and an item that I would carry with me everywhere. I went on to study documentary photography at the University of Wales Newport with the aspiration of being a journalist. The course actually put me off photography as I disagreed with my tutors, however, it was a fantastic time in my life exposing me to people from all walks of life. It made me realise that my real interest lied in people and their lives. We are all so unique and all on our own paths, getting an insight into people day to day lives is both fascinating and a privilege. I went on to do a bit of travelling and living overseas, before returning to the UK to settle down with my wife. Wedding photography presented itself to me and ticked all the boxes, it allows me to meet new people, document a monumental part of their lives and get an insight into who they are. People often think of weddings as being all alike, when you focus on the couple, you can truly see their uniqueness and having the challenge of identifying that and capturing it is fantastic fun. Wedding are such positive events which also makes my job so enjoyable, I don’t think I would be cut out to be a journalist, I much prefer to focus on the good that is happening all around us!
B - Thats quite the personal journey. I like that you focus on the positive and tell the good stories. So, What is the coolest event/wedding/ or shoot you've worked at?
P - This is such a tough one as I’ve been lucky to have so many great couples! My personal view of a wedding is that it should be a party with your friends and family, the focus should be on making your guests feel comfortable and have a good time. I’m not someone that likes to be in the limelight! So when couples take this approach I really connect with them, the day is so much easier for everyone and if things don’t go to plan, then it’s no biggy, they aren’t going to let anything get in the way of them having an awesome day with their loved ones. I recently shot a wedding at Croyde and the couple wanted to got to the beach for their couple’s portraits which I was ecstatic about. They went ahead in their wedding car, a classic VW camper and when I met up with them the bride was walking through the carpark with ice creams dragging the trail of her dress through the dusty car park. Her mentality was that she was going to wear this dress once, so why be precious about it! We carried on down to the beach where she trailed it through the sand and sea along with her husband in his brogues, it was an awesome shoot and a set of photos that I adore as they are so genuine, they were just being them and loving every minute of their day!
B - Lovely! How long have you been shooting with your Cloverlily Harness?
P - I bought my harness in 2018 when I was just shooting the occasional wedding and it was one of those investments that I was on the fence about, would it work, would it be comfy, would it be effective. It was and it is! I liken it to your pair of shoes, you use them the whole time, they are effective, but you start to take it for granted, they are so good that you don’t give them due consideration, they don’t falter, so you don’t give them any thought! The only difference is that shoes wear out faster than my harness as it is still going strong! Every wedding I go to I get at least one person commenting on the harness. For me it’s important to look smart and professional and nylon branded straps were never going to do this for me! Despite zero care being given to the harness it remains looking smart and extremely practical/reliable and reliability is absolutely key to a wedding photographer!
B - What camera setups do you use typically with your Harness?
P - I made the switch from canon to Sony and I have no regrets! I’m currently shooting two A7Riii’s, but I have an A9ii on the way which I’m excited to try out. I typically shoot prime lenses which is where the harness again comes into it’s own as I can have a wide lens on one side and zoom on the other (typically 35mm and 85mm or 24mm and 50mm). This allows me to shoot in low light situations using natural light and seamlessly switch between cameras to provide a variety of shots. The harness allows me to capture fleeting events such as the first kiss on two different cameras with completely different looks effortlessly!
B - Im a prime man myself, its like a good pressure with primes, really works the instincts. Now, a tough one. If you had to describe your shooting style, how would you describe it?
P - Relaxed and unobtrusive. I’m a firm believer that photos are best of people when they are being who they are, unless it is a commercial shoot for example. In my line of work, the subject of the photos are also the clients, so their ability to read their own body language far exceeds everyone else. If they don’t feel comfortable having their photo taken or are asked to pose in a manner that they never normally would, then they will read that awkwardness in their photos, so it’s critical to me to allow them to be who they are and be a fly on the wall as much as possible. Obviously there are times that you have to step up or offer some guidance as most couples will never have been professionally photographed before, but there’s a way to do it! I guess that’s one of the most important things to learn when starting out, effective communication!
B - That sounds great. And some sage advice too, if you could give one piece of advice to any other budding photographers out there, what would it be?
P - Go for it! Ask questions, try new things, accept you will make mistakes and embrace them, they are all good lessons! Explore what you and your camera can achieve, there is no right and wrong! Oh – and buy a Cloverlily harness haha!
B - Thanks Patrick! haha!
If you want to get to know Patricks work a bit better, here are his links (you have to check out his website, its a great example of a photographers website done right.)
Patrick has the Cloverlily Double Harness in Dark Brown
This interview was written up whilst listining to Foxing - If I Believed in Love