Interview: John Nassari On What Makes A Top Wedding Photographer?
John’s wedding photography career has seen him working closely with a number of luxury hotels in London including The Savoy, The Landmark Hotel and The Mandarin Oriental.
He is the only photographer selected to take part in the Belgravia Wedding Quarter, which he is a active and current member..
5 Star Weddings: What makes a top wedding photographer?
John Nassari: For me it’s a mixture of things: being able to work at the top level under pressure; relating to clients and suppliers in a professional way; having a technical understanding which underpins the practice; having a distinct style or flare in the photographic approach.
5 Star Weddings: How should a bride go about finding a reputable wedding photographer?
John Nassari:That’s very difficult. Someone told me there were more wedding photographers in London than taxi drivers – and I believe that. I would suggest recommendations, article reviews; they must like their work (its important to look at how they shoot a whole wedding not just the highlights), and whether they gel with them. Personality is so important – do they want them at their wedding!
5 Star Weddings: How would you describe your wedding photography style and what sort of bride and groom would your style attract?
John Nassari: I would describe it as a reportage approach with a styled edge. I attract a lot of couples that want natural photographs but want beautiful moments captured as well. Many of my couples appreciate photography. I have a big Jewish wedding coming up in April 2015 and the bride works at the Royal Academy.
John Nassari: Well, we have seen a change from traditional to reportage and from film to digital. This has been the biggest shift in the last 15 years. It’s a saturated market now, and the entry point for anyone wanting to start a career in photography. At the same time couples are discerning and decisive about what they are looking for. More than once a couple have booked me before the venue and found a venue around my dates.
5 Star Weddings: Do you encourage couples to book an engagement shoot with you or a pre-wedding shoot if they are particularly camera shy? Is it necessary?
John Nassari: Always, if they have the time and budget I highly recommend it. A good photographer will learn a couple’s angles and best features and an engagement shoot helps the couple to feel more relaxed and at ease with the photographer because they’ve got to know them before the big day.
5 Star Weddings: How much can couples expect to pay for a reputable photographer such as you?
John Nassari: That’s so hard to say, as some photographers I respect have a lower rate than I expected, and others are higher than I expected. There is no industry standard and it’s unregulated. I start at £4000.
5 Star Weddings: What are the most common concerns couples have when it comes to their wedding photography and how do you go about putting these concerns at rest prior to the big day?
John Nassari: Normally its timings and logistics rather than concerns about whether I am going to get the right or good , or what kind of they are expecting. In the early days this was the case and I would listen and be compliant as much as possible; I would never agree to take a wedding photo in a style that’s not true to my work. The level I have got to now couples just expect great work, and rightly so. They are more concerned about being assured that I know the running order off by heart.
5 Star Weddings: What is you golden rule for timeless wedding photos that the couple can treasure for years to come?
John Nassari: It’s a moment of juxtaposition, of irony, emotion, or humor, a perfect moment, framed perfectly.
5 Star Weddings: How can couples best choose their favourite photos from the many photos you will take on the day for their album?
John Nassari: Choosing the pictures for the album is a common problem because of the politics of inclusion, especially made worse when I recommend we don’t overcrowd their albums.
Some of my couples have volumes, so the wedding day is spread across three books! Mostly people just take months to decide. I can’t really help, as my choices are so different from theirs – I would produce an artistic, minimal book. I believe you could tell a story in 40 pictures.
5 Star Weddings: In your opinion what makes a 5 star wedding?
I think it’s the people, not the wine or the band or the venue or the flowers. These things can make a perfect background for the event to unfold. But it’s the people themselves that make it unique, beautiful and memorable, and I believe you can’t buy that.