Schwetz Studios – An interview with Christian Schwetz
Schwetz Studios is based in Buckinghamshire and is responsible for many of the fantastic photos used on our social media pages and website.
We caught up with Christian Schwetz to find out about how he got into photography, his influences and advice he would give to nervous brides.
You have been a wedding photographer for 5 years now, what would you say was the main driving force behind pursuing a career in wedding photography?
Wedding photography must be one of the few professional shoots that encompasses all photographic disciplines. Aside from the obvious portraiture, you have photojournalism for the unfolding events of the day, fashion for the bride shots, still life for the shoes and flowers etc, and even landscape for the venue shots. It really does call on all your acquired skills.
Are there any photographers who have influenced your work?
I started as a photojournalist. Photojournalism is about making every picture tell a story and conveying that in a compelling end even beautiful way. I’ve always loved the greats like Cartier-Bresson, Salgado and even Don McCullen. Working in that field taught me to be quick and unobtrusive but never to be afraid to step in to alter a scene. Helmut Newton as he loved the female form.
We love black and white wedding photos – do you shoot purely in colour or also in black & white? What are the benefits of each?
I shoot everything in colour and convert to black and white so we always have options. Black and white has a timeless, classic feel to it and can sharpen up the graphic elements of an image. Photography is deceptive for although it is almost a facsimile of the world, it is still a modification of reality. For instance, we don’t see reality with a frame around it or frozen in time. Colour can likewise be used to add pazazz or even slightly bled out of an image to imply wistfulness and tenderness.
You must have been to a variety of weddings; what is the most interesting shoot you have ever done?
I think it must be the one at the Police Federation Headquarters. As you can imagine, the name hardly conjures romantic images. The building is very modern but offered me huge potential with high tech walkways through space and huge walls of glass that I used as a backdrop reflecting the clouds. The pictures were stunning. A good photographer can produce great pictures anywhere and I thank my photojournalistic training for that.
A lot of people are camera shy, and this can be a worry on their wedding day. What advice would you give to brides or grooms when having their photo taken?
Always try to pick a photographer who offers an engagement shoot. This is crucial as it not only gives you the chance to see them at work (you’ll have only seen their pictures to date) but also to relax in front of the camera and realise its no big deal. You’ll realise that even though they might suggest poses, they’ll give you time to work inside that so that it begins to feel naturalThe photographer will take so many pictures that hopefully they’ll become just part of the scenery.
Every photographer has their own individual style but what makes your wedding photography unique?
I’m incredibly lucky in that I love what I do. I think the secret is to always keep it fun at some level. I had a classical art education at Cambridge followed by photography at St Martin’s. I was taught to pay especial attention to composition and as a result do not need to crop my images. Artists use all the canvas and I believe photographers should too. My studies also gave me a vast range of compositions to draw from. I also pay a lot of attention to the edit. Subtle use of filters and colour can really enhance an image and no image leaves my desktop without attention. I’ve been a photographer now for 20 years and its taken me from Burmah to Beaconsfield and given me a wealth of experience to draw upon.
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