If you dream of a wedding album filled with beautiful, natural shots, interspersed by some utterly gorgeous couple portrait images, then we know just the photographer for you – our wonderful Sponsor James Tracey Photography.
Based in the North West but covering big days all over the UK and overseas, James has shot more than 200 weddings over the past five years, developing a signature style for candid shots that are relaxed yet emotive. Blending into the background, James prides himself on his discreet and laidback approach that makes all those around him feel at ease.
Always keen to capture the magic between the newlyweds too, James will steal away the couple just for a short while to ensure he gets some stunning portrait shots that are easily worthy of wall-hanging-space.
Eager to hear more about his fabulous service, we’ve invited James to the blog today to share some of his favourite big day images while updating us on his wonderful wedding offering – which is soon to include videography – you heard it here first!
With images by James Tracey Photography.
When did you first start photographing weddings and what was it that attracted you to the industry?
james says: I’ve always loved photography and I’d been to loads of my friends’ weddings and I’d really enjoyed shooting the day as a guest. I guess as I enjoyed it and people seemed to like the images I’d taken, I started to think about photographing weddings more and more, until finally I took the plunge and started shooting in 2012. For me, working on one of the happiest days of a couple’s life, at nice venues, taking photos seemed pretty appealing to me, so a couple of months after my own wedding I shot my first professional wedding. My first wedding was one that was featured on Don’t Tell the Bride, so there was no gentle introduction to weddings, it was full on but I learnt a lot and haven’t looked back since – I’ve now shot more than 200 weddings!
How would you describe your style of photography and the approach you take to capturing a big day?
I’d describe my style as 90% natural, documentary photography with 10% of lightly directed couple photos. My aim is to blend in, let the couple and their guests enjoy the wedding day and make sure I capture what’s going on as it happens. Of course, I want to capture some beautiful couple photos, so I do spend 20 minutes making sure we capture the couple looking amazing, but the majority of the day my job is to capture the day as it happened. I hate the idea that I interfere and set up moments, I much prefer to let the day happen and find the best moments to shoot as they happen.
What is it that you love most about your job?
I love the creativity and flexibility of shooting weddings. I get to visit amazing venues, with happy people and spend the day photographing what goes on. In reality, it isn’t really a job, it’s far too nice to be a job! I’ve also been able to travel, shooting weddings all over Europe and even as far as New York. No one ever took me to New York for work in my old jobs!
In your opinion what are the most important things for a couple to consider when deciding which photographer to book for their wedding?
For me it is the style of photography they want. Couples need to think about what type of photos they want on their day. Do they want lots of set up posed shots or do they want natural moments? Are they after moody and atmospheric images or punchy, party shots. Are group shots important? Once they work out what matters to them, then search and get recommendations. Don’t just book a photographer because they’ve worked at a venue before or because they shot your friend’s wedding, look at their work, chat to them. Most photographers are more than happy to talk about their style and how they work. It’s great to get along with the photographer but ultimately you want to get the best photos of your day in the style you love. There are amazing photographers who all shoot in different styles, so do a bit of thinking about what you want then find someone who shoots in that way. Almost every couple I ever meet tells me that they just want natural photos and that they’re not into posed or group photos, so from the off I know they want what I offer. Don’t book a photographer then demand they shoot a different style, it’ll just result in disappointment.
What sets you apart from other wedding photographers?
That’s a tough question. I guess it’s my style of shooting, whilst not unique (as there are plenty of brilliant documentary style photographers out there) I guess what I shoot clicks with some couples and they love the natural moments and the story that the images tell. I’m always looking for that moment, something people will look at and remember happening and remember feeling at the time.
What is the feedback like from your couples?
I’m lucky to receive some fantastic feedback from my couples. I’m told I am friendly, easy to get along with and that on the wedding day I tend to blend in. I guess they like my laid-back approach and simple, natural style of wedding photography. I’ve entered the Wedding Industry Awards for the last five years and each year the feedback from the couples comes back to me and it always mentions how they didn’t know I was there for most of the day and that they love their photos. My couples seem pretty happy, and that works for me!
Do you have a favourite part of the wedding day to capture?
Other than snaffling the sweets from the sweetie table (I’d like to say I am joking but I have a shocking sweet tooth) I love shooting any emotional moment. If a groom cries, the father-of-the-bride seeing his daughter for the first time, or when grandparents hug the couple – I love all of those moments. These are the shots that people will look back on over the years that will take them back to that moment in time and remind them how they felt.
What area do you cover and is there somewhere in particular that you would love to shoot a wedding that you’ve not yet had the opportunity to do?
I work all over the north and have travelled to Wales, Scotland, the Midlands and I’ve even been brave enough to shoot a few weddings in London! I always enjoy shooting in Manchester and Liverpool city centre and around the many stunning venues in Cheshire, Lancashire and Yorkshire. I’d love to shoot a wedding in Italy on Lake Como, or in Positano on the Amalfi Coast (where I went on honeymoon) and as clichéd as it is, Iceland has always massively appealed to me (I’m a huge Sigur Ros fan so I like to think I was into Iceland long before it became fashionable to want to shoot there!)
Other than photography, what are your other passions and what do you think you would be doing if you weren’t a wedding photographer?
I love music and getting out to a live gig when I can (two young daughters under three has curtailed this somewhat) and I enjoy my sport; mainly football and F1. If I could be anything I’d have loved to be an F1 driver travelling the world and living the high life, but in reality if I wasn’t a wedding photographer I would probably still be doing my old job as a police officer in Manchester.
What is the stand out moment of your career so far?
My dream was to shoot a wedding in New York as I love NYC. I proposed to my wife there and I love everything about the city, so when I got to shoot Anna and Andy’s NYC wedding (featured here on Brides Up North) a couple of years ago it was a real ‘pinch me’ moment as we were stood in Times Square and Grand Central Terminal shooting the couple photos. It was a secret wedding and I was absolutely made up to hear how delighted Anna and Andy were with the images as no one knew they were getting married, so their photos had to tell the story for their friends and family. I even got to head back to The Plaza, where I proposed to Laura, the day after the wedding for celebratory afternoon tea. It was an amazing experience and even better than I could have hoped for.
What can couples who book you expect?
My couples all get great communication, quick replies to any questions and on their wedding day I make sure I work around their plans and shoot the day as it happens. When it comes to the couple photos I make sure even the most camera-shy couple firstly enjoy the session, and secondly get great photos.
What is included in your photography package?
I offer a couple of packages with my most popular being my digital coverage package, from preparation to first dance with high resolution, watermark-free images on a private gallery that can be shared quickly and easily with their family and friends all over the world! I also offer handmade wedding albums and my packages can be tailored for each individual couple.
Can you give us an idea of price?
Pricing starts from £1,500 for my digital coverage.
How can readers get in touch with you or see more examples of your work?
Any other exciting news to share?
I do have some exciting news, I’ve always loved film and I’d have loved to have been a filmmaker, so after five years of stills I have started to branch out into the world of wedding films. I shot my first full wedding in January, and there will be more news to follow this year as I launch a new website dedicated to wedding films. So, keep your eyes peeled on my social media for a few sneak peeks over the next few months!