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Nikon Nation Talks To Mark Seymour - Top London wedding and portrait photographer Mark Seymour chats to Nikon Nation about himself and his stunning photography.
Mark’s interest in photography started at an early age, he remembers, "From about the age 5 or 6 I'd say, I was taking pictures of friends and family with a Box Brownie".
Having had this passion for taking portraits from a young age, Mark believes he was always destined to have a career capturing people and their lives. Shortly after he got married in 1986, and short on money, he saw an advert for a position in a wedding photography company in the local paper and decided to give it a go.
"It was quite a large company, specialising in budget wedding photography. There were about 300 photographers on the team, and after a short trial, I asked them if they'd teach me how to be a wedding photographer. At the time of course everything was shot on film and so I was asked to bring with me a medium format camera, and a few other key bits of kit. I think I worked with them for about three or four months before I decided that I'd like to make my own way in the business and develop my own style of wedding photography" recalls Mark.
Mark specialises in documentary style wedding photography, taking a different approach to the traditional posed photos. "I love street photography so I try to incorporate an element of that into my wedding work. I always like the informal shots rather than the more formal ones at weddings," says Mark, "they capture the individuality of the wedding, the spontaneous moments and the range of emotions".
Mark has also developed a reputation as a renowned bridal photographer in the Jewish wedding sector, which is something that not many photographers are able to achieve.
"It’s often lucky how things happen to you if you work hard. I photographed one Jewish wedding and the couple really loved my style, and how I'd documented their day from start to finish. In Jewish circles a lot can depend on word of mouth. I was asked to do a Bar Mitzvah after that, and then I was fortunate enough that the recommendations continued." Mark added, "I'm not Jewish, but over the years photographing Jewish weddings and celebrations I have learnt a lot about both the religious and cultural aspects of these events and found that my particular style of photography enables me to create albums of stunning photographs for the couples and families that will retell their special day for years to come."
"Once you begin to be known in the Jewish community you start getting invited to photography shows and wedding fairs. It was at such an event that an Orthodox Jew approached me. I was aware that it was unusual for them to engage with a non-Jewish photographer but the gentleman was fascinated with my work. Eventually, he spoke to me, and he said 'you understand the way light works'. He then went on to ask me if I would photograph his daughter's wedding. I was very lucky that day and it opened up a whole new area of photography for me and taught me a lot about the importance of being sensitive to the traditional and ceremonial significance of an Orthodox wedding day."
So, how did Mark first discover Nikon? "I've always been a Nikon user starting with a D1, and developed a long standing relationship with Nikon UK over the years as a professional photographer. I was delighted to be asked to photograph the wedding for one of the girls that works at Nikon, and she just loved her bridal album. Nikon approached me about becoming their ambassador for social, wedding and portrait photography in February 2013, which I was honoured to accept."
"Nikon camera equipment is of an outstanding quality both for the professional and amateur photographer. I currently use 2 Nikon D4s and a D800. Nikon pioneered the use of 35mm cameras for use in low light, and that's really important for me as I tend to need to photograph a lot in dark receptions that are used for the wedding after parties. At a Jewish wedding, dancing is really important, and so I need to be able to freeze the action without losing picture quality. Flash is usually needed as they're moving quite quickly but I deploy the D4 along with video light that allows me to freeze the action and still get good aperture thanks to ISO noise level being really low," Mark explains.
So, does Mark have any tips for budding photographers wanting to make it big in the wedding sector?
"It's so much more difficult now to get recognised - it used to be that you'd be the local wedding photographer in your area, but the internet has changed all that. There are a lot of people out there that claim to be something they're not. My advice would be to try and hook up with someone whose work you admire, and learn from them hands-on - that's the best way," Mark says.
To find out more about Mark and his work, take a look at his website.