If we had to wager who would have the talent and guts to take a crack at smartphone wedding photography, Ian Weldon would get our bet. Dating to well before he presented at Way Up North in Stockholm, we’ve always believed his style and vision has such a signature to it, give him any tool to work with and he’ll get the job done.
When we heard he photographed a wedding using a smartphone, immediately we asked for him to let us feature it. The reason why is there’s something to be said for falling back on the tools to save you. Conversely, we applaud Ian for doing this because it proves that a photographers vision is the greatest tool in the kit – gear will not make you a better photographer.
Below Ian shares a bit of the story behind the experience, and make sure you scroll to the bottom the story to read his passionate reply to someone who felt threatened by him doing this. Enjoy, and thank you Ian for having the guts to step up to this daunting challenge!
This wedding was at Low Wood Bay Resort, Windermere UK. It was a rare day of winter sunshine in the Lakes.
Most moments were, thank fuck, rather than, ah-ha. Using an unfamiliar device to shoot a wedding was always going to be a bit of a risk, but it held up exceptionally well. Once I got into the swing of it, I didn’t really notice I was shooting on a smartphone and just went about the day as I normally would.
I shot this on a smartphone, the whole thing was a challenge. Or at least overcoming the initial reservations was a challenge. As previously mentioned, once I got into it, it was no different than shooting with my camera. The device itself is pretty insignificant.
I didn’t enter the day with any particular inspiration or something in mind. In the same way I do with everything I shoot. Just turn up with an open mind and see what presents itself. If I went with an idea of what I should be doing there would be so much I’d miss.
My first priority was to give Holly & James what they wanted. Luckily we found a couple that were happy to let me do my thing.
Ian shared with us that on one particular Facebook group, photographers were stating that Ian was doing the industry a disservice. We disagree and feel quite the opposite – he’s bolstering the profile of what it means to hire a professional photographer with a vision. Below is his reply to the haters.
Apparently I’m doing the profession of wedding photography a disservice. Hahahaha. Yeah, since 2010.
If you, a photographer, are threatened by someone – another photographer – shooting a wedding on a mobile phone, then you have no conviction in your own practice and clearly understand very little about photography itself.
And the mirrorless gang kicking up a stink, who got the same kind of feedback from full frame users a few years back. Give them an original XPro1 or X100 with it’s original firmware and see how they get on. It’s a very different ball game.
The skill isn’t in the camera, and I bet most would make a right pigs ear of a wedding with one of those.
And I didn’t go in unprepared. I tested that device for about a month in many different situations to see how it performed and figured out how to get around it’s weaknesses, which all cameras have. I’m a professional, goddamn it! I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t think it was capable enough.
The problem is, is that many photographers aren’t capable enough. They believe that the skill, or profession, lies in the shiny new camera or lens. They are the ones who feel threatened by this. How they think this is disservice to the profession is beyond me.
You don’t need the fanciest Mont Blanc pen to write a good story.
Wedding photographers are building their portfolio with paint by numbers style photographs where you will need specific lenses, lighting and cameras to get the shot.
It’s shooting a style, it’s creating a desired aesthetic.
My approach is about the idea and the photographs are a consequence of that, which is why I’m not constrained by my gear.
Ian worked in cooperation with Huawei to produce this real-wedding with their tools. Below you can enjoy the campaign video from the experience.