WTW Wedding Supplier: The Wardette Studio
Happy Saturday lovelies!
Today we get to know one of our talented sponsors and their beautiful work a little better. Celebrity wedding photographer, Gemma Ward of The Wardette Studio shares her thoughts and feelings in today’s interview…
She’s photographed many a celebrity on their big day. From the high profile Colleen & Wayne Rooney wedding to capturing the gorgeous Rachel Stevens on her big day. Gemma is a complete professional and very passionate about her art – it’s such a pleasure getting to know her better.
WTW readers would love to know about you and your photographic journey…
Who or what inspired you to become a wedding photographer?
I was born into it.. My mother is a bridal fashion designer and my father a photographer. I worked with my father for years, assisting and seconding for the magazines. But this just offered experience.. not the passion.
I think that comes from my being such an unashamed romantic, and a sucker for sentiment. Photographing people, especially on an important day like a wedding, gives what I do with my camera so much more value than mere visuals. Even if only to two special people, it really matters.
I’m also a working artist, and it’s people that inspire me everyday; their expressions, their faces, their hands, their characters and what they emanate in that moment. People are fascinating and photography is a shorthand way to catch it.
How would you describe your particular style of photography?
Visually, people often comment on how natural everything feels in my pictures. I put time and effort into getting to know my couples, meeting up a few times, seeing the venue together and staying in touch. Because I know them well, my photographs are more honest, and people are more honest in front of me; it’s all much more relaxed, and the photos more genuine. It still makes me well up when the thank you card says “You felt like a close friend on the day”.
Because of my background in the industry, I do work in a slightly magazine style, but with a huge smattering of artful eye and reportage thrown in. I love it when clients compliment my work on having NO gimmick.. no filter or OTT post production effects. It might make me different to the trends and the fashions, but I’m proud that my work won’t date.
It’s occurred to me lately, that whether I hold a camera or not, I am constantly framing photos. I’ve been an obsessive ‘looker’ since I was a kid; always greedily had my eye in everything I can see, or seek out. Give me a camera amongst people and I’m in my element.
If you could go anywhere in the world and photograph any couple who would that be, why and where would you go?
Where? hmm.. Iceland is probably the single most fascinating place on my dream-list. There is so much natural phenomenon there, and it think it’d be the perfect cinematic backdrop.
Everything from the light to the terrain is so varied and so dramatic.. If anyone is planning to marry there.. quirky though the choice may seem.. get in touch!
Any couple? Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio. She is one of the most other-worldly and stunning women in black and white photography, and when she was with DiMaggio, their romance was publicly dramatic and passionate. To get right into their closest moments, in colour, and capture another facet to Monroe’s personality would be immense. Imagine how vintage and hollywood gorgeous it would be!
Perhaps these two with stunning Iceland as a backdrop would be beyond cinematic. I could definitely run with that!
What’s your most memorable wedding moment so far?
I have two in answer to this…
I get asked these sorts of questions a lot.. ‘What’s the most famous person you’ve photographed?’; ‘What’s the most expensive wedding you’ve seen?’ But to be honest, the most memorable wedding in my career so far, was my little brother’s. I wanted to gift them something nobody else could, and it was the most valuable thing I could offer them for the day..
It was a small local wedding; they married in the village church of Walkern, and we had two giant teepees constructed in our family home garden.. very low key, and very personal. It was high pressured, emotionally charged but completely magical. Working away with my cameras and doing my usual wedding things, but with my little brother on the other side of my lens, was an incredible experience.
All that said, the celebrity and magazine weddings are often a little nuts, and make for great stories. The one that has always stuck in my mind was the Rooney wedding. We were shooting for OK! Magazine out in Italy, and it was the first time I had officially shot at a wedding..
It also happened to be the most amount of money any magazine had paid for any exclusive shoot, so the pressure was on. The whole week was utter madness; news channels and papparazzi would hound us everywhere; motorbikes would chase us in our taxis around town. The glamour of the whole affair was insane too, including a pre-party on P-Diddy’s yacht.
It was a photographic baptism of fire, but it got me totally hooked. It’s a very different way of shooting a wedding, but equally fun.
Give us 5 facts about you…
I am a working artist. I work mainly on large scale pen illustrations. I live for staying up late drawing; whiskey in hand and music on loud in my headphones.
Yoga is my escape. Time spent alone, practicing yoga, keeps all my stress at bay.
My nan is one of my best friends. Everything from her loud Spanish accent ringing round the house, to her silly practical jokes, make me laugh everyday. Age is nothing, and family is everything :)
Vintage clothing is my achilles heal. In fact, anything vintage, with a story of its own.. I have a huge collection of old suitcases (too many to use). I love that they have travelled god knows where before being mine. And don’t get me started on my vintage coat collection..
I am obsessed with cooking programs. I watch them all the time. I even have them on in the background, when I’m editing and processing.
When it comes to selecting a wedding photographer, what advice would you give to brides and grooms?
It goes without saying, that you should be in love with their portfolio. But make sure you look through the weddings they do individually (where possible) and see how they tell the story of a single day, and a single couple. Do you get a good feeling of the day and the couple? Does it feel intimate and unique? But most importantly, once you like their work, you have to like them!
Meet them, chat to them, and if they feel like someone who genuinely wants to get to know you.. you’re on to a winner. Being a wedding photographer takes more than an eye for photos, it requires confidence, charm and emotional sensitivity.
Finish this sentence. Keep wanting…
to be truly present, whenever and wherever you can.
Anything else… you want WTW readers to know…
Amidst the stress of planning your wedding, never lose sight of what you are doing. It is so easy to feel the pressure and responsibility of getting everything perfect. Standing up in front of everyone you love and saying, “I love this person and I choose them above all others” is where the romance really lies. Doing this, would be romantic anywhere, on any day, in any dress..
Worth remembering if and when the panic sets in :)
Fancy nabbing yourself a celebrity wedding photographer? Get in touch with The Wardette Studio today (and to have a nose at all those celeb weddings), lovely Gemma is waiting to get to know you (and your big day) better.