Rachel Manns Wedings shoot the most awesome documentary wedding photography. We love Rachel’s cool modern vibe that shines through in all her work. We’re also super impressed with how relaxed and joyful everyone looks in Rachel’s photos. No mean feat when most of us cringe at the thought of having our photos taken.
Rachel’s great skill, in addition to her photographic knowledge, is to immerse herself into your day to capture stunningly intimate, emotional photos bursting with love and life that really tell your unique story.
We’ll hand you straight over to Rachel and her fab photos now to tell you more.
Tell us a little about yourself and your business
I’m Rachel, I’m 28 and I’ve been shooting weddings for 8 years. I’ve shot them all over the world and I seem to be okay at doing it! My approach is to make people feel super comfortable and ease, and capture things naturally as they happen. I’m really driven by light, and interesting compositions; but most of all, I just really love taking snaps of people in love.
What motivated you to start your business?
It was the only thing I wanted to do. I was 16 and doing an A level in photography, and I just knew that I was going to be a photographer. I’ve always had this insane drive to make it work, and it’s never really gone away!
Tell us a little more about the day to day activities of your business
Well, I’m a full time commercial photographer as well as being a wedding photographer; AND I recently set up a vintage brand with my sister; so it can get pretty hectic… Emails! Editing! Shooting! Social media! Phone calls! Location scouting! Skype meeting! Real meeting! Moodboards! Vintage orders! Client review! Talent sourcing! Press interviews! Its constantly go go go, and jumping from one thing to another and then back again; but I totally and completely thrive on it.
I’ve been a freelancer since I was 21, so I can’t actually imagine another way of doing things. It can be a lot to juggle, but over the years I’ve really worked out my own rhythm of getting things done. Even if, to others, that rhythm may sound like a toddler on a sugar high erratically bashing saucepans with a wooden spoon whilst intermittingly screeching – I promise you it’s a rhythm.
If our readers were to order from you, what can they expect?
Personal connection. My photos are the way they are because I make a point of ensuring every single person who steps in front of my camera feels comfortable and great about themselves – as they should do. Yes, I know how to take a decent photo, which should be a bare minimum for someone in the profession! And yes I understand my equipment, and l understand light, and I understand how to make the two co-create something beautiful together; but beyond that, I’d like to think that what I really understand, is people.
I try and instantly take the micky out of myself in front of my subjects; and make them realise that even though I have a giant camera and lens in their face, I’m just as vulnerable and jittery as they are. That whatever they do is great, and that nothing they do is wrong. That all they need to focus on is their love for each other, and my terrible jokes… That for those few seconds, or minutes, they are totally and utterly safe with me; and that nothing else matters. And it seems to work!
How can couples judge if a company is the right fit for their wedding?
I say this to all of my couples. Whoever the photographer that you are considering is, look at their portfolio. Really, really look at it. Pick a wedding that’s a similar vibe to what yours will be, and take time to go through the whole thing together.
Imagine yourselves in the images. Is that what you want to see when you look at your images? Is that the right mood? The right feeling? Do you like the colours? The way they use light? If not, wait until you find a photographer that you can confidently answer yes to all of those questions to. You’ll know as soon as you see them. That gut instinct is the best way of judging!
What are your favourite moments from previous weddings you’ve been involved with?
I cry at most weddings I shoot, because I put so much emotional commitment into each job. So I want to say that most weddings I shoot have a favourite or special moment, and that’s usually during the ceremony. Whether it’s a whispered message during the readings, or just a lightening quick cheeky glance, there’s always something I see and document that makes my heart flutter. I’ve also been newly and blissfully in love for the last 12 months, so it’s been wonderful photographing weddings and wholeheartedly understanding them on a deeper level than I did before.
I guess in terms of specific things that I thought were really cool over the years, I’d have to say a water ceremony combining water that had been brought from the north AND south poles, a dog ring bearer that decided to go totally off script and a whole family surprise folk song during a speech! It’s amazing seeing the different creative ways people celebrate a couple’s love together.
The bigger picture – does your business offer goods/services outside of the wedding world? Tell us more
What have you got planned for the next 12 months?
I just shot a stunning wedding Sicily, so I’m really excited to edit that. And I have a big wedding at Kew Gardens later in the summer. Just lots more of the same really. I’m going to try and get an agent for my commercial work, and I’ll be pushing the vintage brand as much as possible too. It’s all systems go!
And finally, what or who inspires you and why?
Trying to write this without sounding conceited is difficult; and I certainly wouldn’t have written this 6 months ago. But I inspire me. I used to be so self-depricating and never trusted my own inner voice; always letting stronger, more aggressive people dictate my thoughts, actions, even my photography.
But over time, and through some pretty horrendous circumstances, I’ve learnt that I myself can be wise, and if I listen to myself more, I can achieve awesome stuff. Realising you’re an asset to yourself, instead of a liability, is truly liberating! And also, seeing value in my work, instead of thinking it sucks has been so great for my self esteem. Believe in yourself!
All images courtesy of Rachel Manns Weddings