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A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of attending a photography workshop at Amersham Studios, by Kevin Mullins. Now I don’t expect many have heard of Kevin, but in the world of documentary wedding photography, he’s well know for his natural and often emotion-filled black and white reportage wedding photography. I came across Kevin’s work when I started shooting with the small, sleek and beautifully formed Fuji-X cameras. (I currently shoot with both the Fuji X-T1 and X-E2 and am waiting for my X-Pro2 deliveries, which I anticipate will mean I’ll be a 100% Fuji photographer – UPDATE: I now shoot with 2 X-Pro2s) These small and unobtrusive cameras suited my documentary style of working perfectly, as they allow me to photograph often unnoticed, and people are not so intimidated by the camera unlike my larger DSLR cameras. I straight away loved Kevin’s style of shooting and, added to the fact that he shoots exclusively with Fuji cameras and he’s a Fuji X ambassador, I knew straight away that his seminar was perfect to help me develop my style of shooting, plus get a bit of insight into his business acumen.

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I’ve not attended a seminar for several years as I’ve always been looking for the right one that reflects the style I’m looking to develop, and most other seminars I’ve seen advertised are either when I’m not available or are based around posing the bride and groom, camera settings etc. Don’t get me wrong: I know camera settings are important, they should be second nature, and I do take a few formal groups, but for me for the most part of the day I’m in the background, watching people interact with each other and trying to capture humanity as it appears, without people being forced to always smile to a camera.

This is where Kevin’s seminar came in, and I feel for me he didn’t fail to deliver. He used a quote by another photographer to sum up an alternative way of shooting beyond equipment and posing. The photographer was the famous war photographer, Don McCullin, who said: “Photography for me is not looking, it’s feeling. If you can’t feel what you’re looking at, then you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures”.

Kevin has a great eye for capturing the emotion behind a wedding, and being in the right place at the right time and surprisingly he said to “Shoot less and watch more.” Which is counter-productive to the trend today to deliver more and more photos. But it make perfect sense when you consider his aim is to tell the story of a wedding, and that’s achieved by not just being a wedding “photographer” but by being a wedding “observer”. The most important elements to record include: Human interaction / Humour / Eye Contact. Aim for feeling first then technique.

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I came away well psyched up to improve my photography vision and move beyond worrying too much about equipment, technique etc. So my new goal in my work is to get more emotion in my images and to get you the audience to feel it too. I know it’s a tall order and I’ll certainly not achieve it overnight, but unless I push myself, I’ll only be pushed out the way as others improve their photography.

Overall it means me trying to develop the art of observation. Let’s see how I get on as time goes on. To chart my progress I’m launching a new series of blog posts under the heading “Developing the Art of Observation…” In this series I’ll try to explain the thought process and the emotional connection I had when capturing an image or series of images that I love. Keep an eye out for the posts. Feel free to leave any comments, and hopefully you’ll feel what I feel when I took the photo.

You can probably tell I enjoyed Kevin’s workshop immensely. Before you ask, Yes, I’d thoroughly recommend Kevin’s business workshop if anyone is looking to expand their photography beyond just taking a photograph but capturing humanity at it’s best. He not only runs business workshops, but he also has SEO, Editing and Workflow workshops too, some on a 1-2-1 basis. You can see the current lists on his website here.

This may have been my first, but I’m sure this won’t be my last Kevin Mullins workshop I attend!


What Is a Documentary Wedding Photographer?

This is an often asked question. In simple terms it means being an observer and recorder of your wedding, with little interference. If you’re familiar with Star Trek, think of it in terms of The Temporal Prime Directive: To visit, to watch, not to interfer and to bring back a record.

Read More About My Documentary Wedding Photography

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