Since starting the Shoreditch blog, I have been trying to interview Eclection Photography's Heather Shuker. No easy task considering Heather is one of London's busiest wedding photographers; she has recently been named as one of Rangefinder Magazines Rising Stars of 2016. Heather’s photos perfectly capture the essence of couples in love. Her passion for photography combined with a love of design aesthetics and a taste for street art also make her photos unique. After shooting so many weddings in our Shoreditch based venues and featuring in our 21 Best Shoreditch Weddings blog post, it’s a pleasure to finally sit down with Heather to discuss the inspiration behind her photographs.
How long have you worked as a wedding photographer?
"I have been a professional photographer for over 10 years and have been shooting weddings for around 5 of those after starting my career in live music and event photography."
What do you love most about photographing weddings?
"To me, wedding photography is about creating distinctive images with beauty and realism. I love the art of picture making; Capturing beautiful, funny or even quiet moments and stringing them all together to make the complete story of the wedding day."
How would you describe your photographic style?
"My style is an eclectic mix of contemporary fine art and documentary: it’s all about creativity and individuality. As a photographer, I am drawn to the aesthetics of design. Influenced by fashion and shooting mainly within urban London, my style is less about the epic and romanticism of a wedding and more about making simple yet distinctive images."
What do you like to find out about a couple before you scout for shooting locations?
"I meet with all of my couples before confirming a booking; It’s really important that we all “click”. When we meet I like to find out more about “them” and their connection to London and in particular Shoreditch. Most of my couples choose Shoreditch through their connection to the place, i.e they met, live or work there. We often talk about their favourite streets and memorable places. Photographs are after all all about memories."
What are some FAQ’s you get from clients?
"What will we do if it rains? The good news is that Shoreditch event spaces do not rely on fair weather and being photographic studios there are lots of backdrops inside we can use for any group photographs. I will however always try and include some natural light and both the Shoreditch venues are situated in old railway arches so just outside there are covered areas under the bridges which where we can shoot. Also, Shoreditch comes alive after sunset. So during twilight and even after dark there are opportunities to create with all the ambient city lighting."
Shoreditch is a great location for taking wedding photos, what do you love about the area?
"Shoreditch is the creative hub of East London. Aesthetically it’s more of an urban location, however, there are parks with flowers and green spaces too! Architecturally there is an eclectic mix of both new and old including the Grade II listed buildings of Arnold Circus— a splendid circle of Victorian houses with gardens and a bandstand in the middle. And I love the grounds of Shoreditch church too - a quiet escape off the high street. Then of course there’s an abundance of street art of which Shoreditch is famous for. There is always something new and the art changes on a weekly basis. Still going strong is the iconic Obay 'Public Enemy' graffiti piece just outside of Shoreditch Studios which is in itself iconic to Shoreditch weddings. I know the streets of Shoreditch well and the place is evolving all the time. Every week something changes or pops up - literally with pop ups and installations. This is great as there is always something new which makes for unique photography."
What is your favourite part of a wedding to shoot?
"I love to shoot the couple portraits. We will leave the venue for 20-30 minutes (usually while everyone else starts to seat for dinner). and have a little wonder around the nearby streets. This is where I work my magic with the urban landscape and create beautiful photographs out of the everyday. I also love to embrace the city and whatever comes along. Shoreditch is after all a busy place and full of surprises. The portrait session is also the space for my couples to spend some time alone and to talk to each other and reflect on their day which is a really nice moment to capture."
Referrals and positive client reviews are important in the wedding industry. What are some of your past clients saying about your services?
“They are so unique and don’t look like any other wedding photographs I have seen before and that is the best thing about them”
“You captured the FEELING of love, frolics and fun that our day was full of. We have photos of moments that we can look at and remember exactly how we felt, and that is something so precious.”
“Everyone who had seen our photos has commented on how much they suit us a couple”
What little additions (decor, candles etc) can really make a difference to making the venue perfect for a wedding?
"I love it when the studios are filled with flowers. The juxtaposition of the urban/industrial filled with flowers and/or foliage somehow works and the venue smells amazing! Oh and to transform from day to night to a party venue I love a glitter slash curtain! It’s nice when couples make the venue their own, however, I worry about the Pinterest pressure and couples taking on too much – so if they want lots of décor I would recommend working with a planner and stylist as trying to organise decorating a venue of the day of a wedding is really stressful. "
What venue lighting tips can you give that help capture great wedding photos?
"Lighting transforms a venue and can create different moods from the ceremony through to full on party atmosphere. With LED lighting being so easy and affordable there are so many options of gobo patterns and a full spectrum of colours available and adjustable through out the day. An event planner can organise all of this and not forgetting your disco balls… and all photographers love a string of festoon lights. "
What makes Shoreditch London stand out from other London event companies?
"Shoreditch London’s venues Kachette and Shoreditch Studios are perfect wedding and party venues, each with 2 separate rooms. So the wedding party can move from the speeches straight to the party without losing the momentum and waiting for the room to be turned around. All of my couples that marry there want to throw a big party and Kachette or Shoreditch Studios are the places to throw one!"
Eclection Photography website
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Read more wedding blog posts:
30 Best Shoreditch Weddings
London Wedding Planning Guide
Wedding couple testimonials
Manage Your Wedding Venue Expenses
20 Best UK Wedding Blogs
Q&A with Bridebook's Bethany Wright
Q&A with Shoreditch London's General Manager Andrew Clawson
Q&A with Greg Tuvey Chef Events