Volume 2014, Issue 8

 

Claire Cordier - Wedding book photographer Claire Cordier - Professional wedding photographer

Can you give us a little background about your photography background? What’s your “philosophy” of photography?

Thanks to my globetrotting parents, my world from a young child was filled with visits to some amazing places. This is where my love story with photography began. Just seeing and holding onto the memories of these places I visited wasn't quite enough, however, with a camera in my hand, I had the power to instill a moment in time forever.

I went on to study photography at University, after this I was itching to get out there, to a place I'd yet discovered. An opportunity arose for me to work with the charity organization Tag Rugby Trust, they travel to places of the less fortunate and teach children in schools tag rugby. My first venture was India. I spent three weeks documenting everything from camp life, teaching sessions, intricate details, to life's hustle and bustle, here I was able to really feel with my eyes. During the next three years I spent with TRT, we explored India (twice more), Uganda, and Zambia. It seems clichéd to say that these experiences changed my life but they truly did—it was the perfect opportunity to find a piece of me I never knew existed. I felt hugely empowered when I realized I was able to capture in a photograph all that I felt or observed in one single moment. This is when my style flourished.

I decided to apply the skills I had learnt from taking photos whilst travelling to wedding photography. All the confidence I had gained photographing people was a huge help—as well as learning to be fast on the shutter before the moment was gone forever.

Photography to me is all about capturing the world that we live in, in our own way. I love how five people can photograph the same subject—but the outcome would be different for each person, as we all have our own way of looking at the world. And the emotions we are feeling at the time of pressing the shutter also impact the outcome. Photographing weddings still gives me free rein to be creative and the ability to apply my own style. It’s great for developing many different skills, too. My goal when I take a photograph is to capture the beauty that is life and the emotions we all endure as we travel along its path—the moments we all want to cherish forever.

Anyone can relate to a photograph, so there is no right of wrong when it comes to photography, it’s about drawing in the viewer and giving them the opportunity to connect to the image. Lastly, I live by doing what I enjoy—and not trying to be good at all types of photography.

Making your wedding photo book even more beautiful: An interview with professional wedding photographer

Claire Cordier

An important figure in the Blurb universe is the professional wedding photographer, which is why we reached out to one of our favorites, UK-based Claire Cordier of House of Clicks. She’s had years of experience making lovely wedding photo albums with our creative publishing platform and was kind enough to talk to us about her book-making process. She also shared some tips and tricks that will help every photographer (and bride and groom) make their wedding books look their best.

What made you decide to add photo books to your wedding photography packages?

I thought it would be a nice extra to add to my packages as it's a way all the best images from the day can be stored in one place. It’s a keepsake to show family for years to come.

What do you think couples are looking for in a great wedding book? Are they very individual or do you find themes and patterns?

I like to think that the couples are looking for a story of their day without words, so they can hand someone the book and say, “This was my wedding day” and the viewer gets a good feel of what their day was like—as if they were there themselves.

What makes a great wedding book cover?

Of course this depends on the size of book you are creating, so choose something that can fit without cutting off crucial parts of the image. There also needs to be some space to fit the title, so make sure there's an area of the photo that is not busy and that would be distracting if text was placed over the top.

Obviously you're all about photography, but can you tell us how you use words in a wedding book? What's a good ratio of photo to text?

I don't like to include a lot of text within the wedding books I create. If the couple is okay with it, I like to include a quote about marriage or love at the very start of the book and that's all the text I would include (if they were happy to do so). Other photographers might like to include more text than this. We all have our own way of doing things, but this just doesn't suit my style.

What's a good number of photos to include in a wedding book? Is there an ideal ratio of photos to pages?

I will always suggest that my couples choose around 40–50 images. With experience I have learnt that this can be a hard thing to ask when you have shot photos from bridal preparations to the first dance, as that is a LOT of photos to choose from!

So I ask my couples to choose all of their favorites and we go from there. I show them examples of how the book would look if I used the majority of the images they'd chosen and then they decide if the book looks too busy. Some people love it, some not so much, and I've even had couples that prefer just one image per page for the whole book—it really does vary from book to book. Some photographers prefer to stick to a particular number, but I'm happy to let the couples decide. I understand this can make the whole process a little longer, but as long as my couples are aware of this and are happy to work with me on creating their perfect book, then this is how I like to work.

As for images per page, I like to mix it up quite a lot within the book. For the formal shots, I have started using just the vertical images and filling a whole double-page spread with them. That could be anything up to 12 images. These are the type of images people feel they have to shoot at a wedding, even though they might not necessarily want to print them all. So having them across a double page is a good way to include them (and makes all that time shooting them worthwhile) as this is usually the most time-consuming part of any wedding. Most other images are split two to four to a page with all the special images and shots of the bride and groom alone together and enlarged to a whole page by themselves (or one to two to a page), as I find this emphasizes the wow factor of those images.

Black and white vs. color—is it personal choice or is color best for certain types of shots?

I like to include a mix of both. Black and white is great for those special moments as it has a way of evoking emotion and I find that it can keep people interested and wanting to turn to the next page. However, it is personal preference—some couples are happy for me to decide what I think looks best in black and white and place them into the book, whereas others will choose their own favorites. I've even had a few couples that decided black and white just wasn't for them and had their whole book printed in color.

When you're creating layouts, do you like to make your own or go with the ones we provide—or a combination of both?

I definitely like to use a combination of both, I like the book to look different and I like having the opportunity to custom create layouts— it allows me to stand out from the rest and apply my style into the book. There are some images I like to extend onto the next page a little, so for these I will create my own template. Same for the formal shots that I fill a whole double-page spread with.

What are the key shots to include in a wedding album?

For me, I leave this up to the couples to decide, as it's their book. They know what's important to them, but there are of course key shots everyone will choose, such as walking down the aisle, exchanging the rings, first kiss, first dance, and, of course, the portraits of the bride and groom.

If you were putting together your own wedding book, what would be the top four things you'd want to have absolutely perfect?

Design, design, design!

I like a lot of white space and for the images to be arranged in an unexpected way—I like to be different!

A must is that the book should flow nicely by telling a story of the day.

I do love a quote so it would be nice to incorporate some of these about love and marriage and possibly things the couple have said to one another—as long as it doesn't draw your attention away from the photos too much.

 

 

 

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