Natalie Shaw

A bride and groom signing the register during the wedding

As a photographer, your pictures are an extension of oneself. Every photographer has a style, a way of seeing, a way of presenting their work that defines their ‘look’. Letting another person loose on those images to produce something worthy of clients’ expectations is frankly some photographers’ idea of hell, and a step that that very few take due to a fear of their vision being misconstrued.

In the way that a longstanding friendship allows you to sometimes know what the other person is thinking and where they are going with what they are saying – I like to think this is where my work has brought me to with Neale. Having worked on his images for several years, I can now look at one of his images and know what he was looking for when he took it. That kind of trust and experience is priceless.

I believe above all else that photographing weddings is a privilege, and takes a special kind of skill. It is one thing to go and take pictures at a wedding, but another to spend the day impartially yet artistically documenting (what is commonly overlooked as being) an intimate event surrounded by a couple’s family and close friends. Telling the story without being part of the story… like a fly on the wall but with much nicer shoes.

Black and white photo of wedding guests on the dance floor A boy waits in the pews at St Nicholas Church, Wasing ParkPicture of bride at Hotel du Vin in Henley meeting her registrar

Not actually being there on the day, my part is one step back from that. I get to vicariously and objectively enjoy seeing, through Neale’s eyes, what happened, and representing that back in my work. A fresh pair of eyes akin to those who will see the finished pictures, yet one who can, after many wedding edits experience, hopefully present it just as he saw it.

My favourite shots are those where the subject is so caught in what they are doing, they forget all else. Thus consistently working with captured moments between the bits that everyone remembers makes my job a joy. The thing about my part of the process is that if I’m doing my job well, you won’t notice that I’ve done anything. You’ll be straight in the moment. In the picture, in the emotion, seeing one part of a unique story that means the World to the people who feature in it.

I never thought I would feel so honoured or proud to be invisible.

Natalie Shaw

Wedding picture from Cripps Barn during ceremonyPhotograph of bridal party pouring champagne at Farnham CastlePhotograph of a bride and groom at Notley Abbey kissing during the wedding speeches

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