Wedding Photographer Cambridgeshire Scott-Wood Photography shoots a wedding at Homerton College Cambridge, United Kingdom

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Wedding Photographer : Scott-Wood Photography  
Couple : Tom + Ellen Savill
Wedding Photographer Cambridgeshire
Ceremony Location : OLEM Church Cambridge
Reception : Homerton College Cambridge
Wedding Date : 12th April 2014

Tell us a little about yourself??

I grew up living around the world, starting with being born in Germany and then living in Singapore and Cyprus before I even really lived for any length of time in the UK. My working life has taken me across the world and I’ve been incredibly lucky to have a great time exploring different cultures. I live in Cambridgeshire with my lovely wife and our chocolate Labrador (affectionately known as the ‘Bear’ in our village) and I have an obsession with working and living in Italy- which I do as often as I can.

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How do you think or would like people to describe you?

Most people when they meet me describe me as quiet, as someone who observes life around them rather than being chatty and outgoing. Generally I’m seen as a laid back creative! My wife might occasionally disagree with the laid back part!

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Tell us a little bit about the wedding day?

Tom and Ellen’s wedding was a truly international day. Ellen is originally from Australia and her family flew over to the UK for the celebrations. They celebrated the spirit of England and the history of Cambridge by punting down the River Cam and their reception at Homerton College in Cambridge celebrated Tom’s family connections there, along with a celebration of both cultures with an impromptu game of cricket in the grounds!

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How did you get into wedding photography?

I was becoming increasingly unfulfilled in my original career as an engineer and my photography was what kept me interested and fulfilled. It was my wife who suggested I return to my first ‘love’ (I had intended to study photography rather than become an engineer originally) and turn to photography full time. I took four years to study photography in depth and spend time being mentored by some great people before taking the leap into full time photography.

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How long have you been a wedding photographer?

Ten years

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Can you share how you've made your wedding photography business a success? Any mistakes you made along the way?

I think success comes initially from recognizing that photography is no longer just a hobby for you and that your mindset has to change from hobby to business. Success for me has come through a combination of working hard to understand what my couples want and, early on in my career having some great mentors that helped me from a business perspective and creative perspective. I am always learning something new and exploring how I can push my photography that bit more. Sometimes it’s tempting to follow a trend to appeal to a huge mass market, but even though it means a more niche market I am very much my own person, and so I stay true to the style of photography that suits me and is understood and appreciated by my couples.

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What do you think a bride or groom should be looking for and not looking for in terms of wedding photography packages?

Ideally I think a bride and groom should be looking for something that suits the vision and budget that they have for their day. I usually say to couples to allow about 10% of their overall wedding budget for photography and to explore the different styles of photography to identify what they really want. Over and above all that, I say that it’s really important to be confident in your photographers’ ability to deliver what you want and for you to have a rapport with them. After all you’re going to be spending a lot of time with them.

One last thing is that many couples have an unrealistic expectation of what they can achieve for their budget or are wholly driven by price. In general you do get what you pay for and generally you won’t get top end photography for £200 all in!

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How do you advertise yourself and what for you has really worked?

Most of my advertising now is via my website and social media as well as contributing to well-respected blogs either with articles or real weddings. Other than that it’s also about building real relationships with wedding vendors.

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Why do you think people hire you?

I like to think they hire me for my style and approach! But I think what people also do love is that I am relaxed and don’t impose on the day. Couples can see that great images are possible without lots of direction.

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How many weddings do you average per year?

About 20, and the maximum I would want to do is about 25 as I want to make sure that I am able to focus my energy properly on each wedding from the point where I meet the couple right up to the day and to the processing and delivery of their images. It’s really important to me that I’m able to give my couples a personalized, luxury experience.

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Whose wedding would you love to shoot?

If I had been around in the 1970’s as a photographer I would have loved to photograph actor Steve McQueen and actress Ali McGraw. They had an incredible chemistry between them and were impossibly photogenic!

Essentially I love to photograph people who understand and appreciate my style of photography. Big celebrity weddings don’t appeal although I do love the grand 'old world glamour' weddings of many of my more affluent couples who have the resources to do everything in great style.

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If you were asked to shoot a destination wedding, where would you hope it would be?

I’d love to capture a spring wedding in Japan when the cherry blossom blooms. It would be stunning to walk down the tunnel of blossom that runs alongside of the Sumida River or even photograph from the River.

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What equipment do you have for a typical wedding day?

I predominantly use a range of Nikon DSLRs and high performance zoom and prime lenses. I always have back up equipment!

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What is the most challenging thing about a wedding.

Dealing with guests’ perceptions and expectations of what they believe a wedding photographer should be doing.

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Do you have an approach to a wedding?

My approach reflects the photo journalistic style that I prefer. I don't give lots of direction and I aim to capture the story of a couple's day as it happens. I do include some time for the couple to kick back and relax on their own away from their guests, and will capture some relaxed portraits for them but it is about ‘being inspired to be themselves’ and enjoying one amazing day, unscripted and captured beautifully and naturally.

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Who or what inspires you?

I'm inspired by many photographers and artists but I’m also inspired by people who are essentially humanitarians and philanthropists. It’s a really tough world out there and I think we all need to be able to give back in some way, however small. Seeing someone reap the benefit of something that I ‘give back’ really inspires and humbles me; If I can achieve even a small percentage of what people like Sebastiao Salgado achieve I feel I will have done some good with my time on this planet. Outside of photography the late Audrey Hepburn was known for her immense style and presence and I love looking at images of her (often taken by another inspiring influence Cecil Beaton) but her work for Unicef is equally inspiring as is the work of contemporary luminaries and organisations like Medecins Sans Frontieres and veterinarian like Professor Noel Fitzpatrick who inspire me with their work ethic and incredible humanity.

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Best & Worst marketing idea so far?

I think the biggest disappointment is that even after extensive research, investment in marketing and SEO experts in my experience has felt like a huge financial outlay for little gain. The best strategy for me has without a doubt been to build up good networks and make social media work for me in the way that I want it to rather than how someone else thinks it should be.

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If you weren't a photographer, what would you be?

I started out working life as an engineer but I think I would put my practical skills and knowledge to good use and look at working for one of the NGO's around the world. I’m a natural traveler and would be very comfortable doing something like that.

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Share your favourite image of the day and why?

My favourite image from Tom and Ellen’s wedding is taken as I look out of the church. Ellen is just arriving and stepping into the church as the priest waits for her. It’s a simple image but symbolically so much meaning as she steps over the threshold to share and take vows with the man she has chosen to spend her life with.

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Do you have any goals for the future photography related or otherwise?

I'm happiest when I’m with my family but I do love to travel so would prefer to do more destination weddings in the future and spend more time in Italy which I truly feel is my spiritual home.

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What do you think is key to being a successful wedding photographer?

Resilience and good business strategy; I have seen some really creative talented photographers fail because their business model hasn’t been right for them or potentially for the market. The wedding industry is highly competitive and it takes a lot of work to get to and stay at the top and it’s something that I am still working on!

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Are there any other wedding photographers whose work inspires you, can be a well know photographer or somebody you've stumbled across?

Early on in my career I was mentored for a short while by Edoardo Agresti which was very inspiring and as I have developed I've also found the work of people like Victor Lax and Frank Boutonnet really inspirational and just incredible.

Outside of the wedding industry, photography legends such as the late great Cecil Parkinson and Eve Arnold are just two of the many who provide inspiration for me.

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Proudest moment so far. Photography related or otherwise?

Photography wise it was being admitted as a member of the International Society of Professional Wedding Photographers in March 2015.

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