Street Focus 60: Weddings and Street with Kevin Mullins
This week I sit down with documentary-style wedding photographer Kevin Mullins to talk about his work and the similarities in the way he approaches a wedding shoot and street photography.
Who is Kevin Mullins?
I’m a wedding photographer with a passion for people watching. I want my wedding photographs to be snapshots of real, uncontrived but tender moments in time. Weddings are where I ply my trade, but really it’s just “people being people” – they happen to be at weddings. I shoot with the small, Fujifilm mirrorless cameras and always with natural light only. This allows me to shoot the wedding from the inside out, and I want my clients to be taken right back to that moment in time when the image was exposed and see it from their guests eye view. I was the first Fujifilm X-Photographer in the wedding area and shoot exclusively as a documentary / candid photographer. Street Photography is my training ground.
Wedding Website: www.kevinmullinsphotography.co.uk
Personal, Street & Fuji Work: http://f16.click
Wedding and Street Photography by Kevin Mullins:
As always a good podcast. I like the work of Kevin very much. His weddingstyle cominated with streetdocumentary is very inspiring en refressing. I always have to laugh about the gear discussion and photo education. It’s the eye and nothing else.
Glad you enjoyed this new episode Robert. Thank you for listening!
I totally agree Robert. Thanks for the kind words.
Great episode! I have been asked to shoot a wedding. My reply was, “I don’t do weddings, I can’t shoot formal shoots. I don’t have lights!” My friend said, “I’ve seen your work.” All he wanted was candid shots. Black and White.
Once again your show has given me permission to do what I would not normally do, shoot a wedding! Oh brother!
Thanks to you and Kevin!
Go for it Monty! Can’t wait to see the results 🙂
Hahaha, Monty, i was in the same situation as you. My sister asked me to shoot her wedding. I gave her the same reply as you did. It was fun to do with great results. cheers, Robert. Just do it.
Great show Valerie ! I discovered Kevin Mullins a few month ago and his amazing work totally change my opinion about wedding photography !
Merci Laurent! Yes, wedding photography doesn’t have to be traditional. Kevin’s work is pretty awesome indeed!
Take a look at WPJA and Fearless photographers. You’ll find a ton of talent there, where weddings are approached more like street/documentary/fine art photography than traditional, posed photography. Really inspiring stuff.
I’m a member of both mmmarc & I agree, some amazing talent in both. Also check out ISPWP.
Thanks for the kind words Laurent.
Loved this episode ! ! ! I have only done one wedding and it was as a favor for a niece. I told her I wasn’t a “formal” wedding photog, and if she was ok with that, I’d do it for her. I love candid photography and am inspired by Kevin’s approach to wedding photography. I feel I have the freedom not to be embarrassed to do a journalistic/candid style of wedding photography. Thanks Valerie for inviting Kevin to the podcast ! ! !
Glad you enjoyed it Mike!
I’m glad you enjoyed the podcast Mike. Enjoy the wedding & good luck.
I kinda feel the whole thing about lacking technical execution is an excuse, and a bad one, too. Sure, if you’re constantly striving for technical perfection, you might miss out on important moments, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. That’s achieved by preparation — seeing the light and positioning yourself in a way that will clean up your composition and anticipating that moment, so when it happens, you’ll be better poised for capturing the moment along with good light and in a solid composition. And of course, you should through the moment, rather than taking one or two frames and crossing your fingers.
Thank you for your comment. I don’t recall exactly what was said during this episode about perfection but, in general, if you have to compromise between technical perfection and story, the story wins. Occasionally all the elements will come together, part is luck, part is skills. Those moments are rare but with anticipation, preparation and solid technical skills we are able to capture them.
I also want to add that I do not believe that we are wired to respond to perfection the way we respond to emotion and we all know that emotion in a photograph has nothing to do with its technical perfection.
This all would make a good topic for a show 🙂
I’d say the story *almost* always wins. If a photo is so technically bad or there are too many distracting elements, the story is obscured. I don’t like the fact that he takes pride in how technically bad the photos are on his site (he mentions this in the podcast).
Of course, we are going to be wired to respond to strong moments and emotions, but that shouldn’t be an excuse for lazy photography. Why hire a professional? I think one needs to push harder than being just an “observer” at weddings. Sure, that’s what wedding photographers do, but is that all we do? We should constantly be looking for the best light and the composition we could find, so that when those moments happen, we’re in a better position to capture them *and* make them look good. A great moment, albeit fleeting and difficult to capture, can be made better with great light and solid composition, and that just isn’t going to happen as a passive, casual observer.
I see from your profile that your day job is in marketing, so I can only assume that you don’t have the issues of shooting for a living.
Firstly, I take great pride in my images and at no point did I say that formal photography is unimportant. As you work in marketing all week, you will likely understand the importance of brand. This is how I build my brand. There are many many people out there who don’t want formal photography at their wedding. By being incredibly non-lazy I have built a business that caters for this demographic.
When you are shooting to deliver a set of story telling images, for a wedding, in a candid style, you have to take into account there may be 200 people there, there is no control over the environment (including the light, the weather and the atmosphere).
If you think its possible to deliver 400 images that are perfectly composed, perfectly lit and with a perfect moment, 35 times a year – you are very sadly mistaken.
If you listen to the podcast carefully, you will not hear me say I don’t care about technically perfect images – I say that not all of my images are technically perfect. Show me any photographer’s who are – especially commercial ones (not ones with a week day job).
You should listen to interviews with Elliott Erwitt, Don McCullen, Boogie to name a few. I think you’ll find that none of them claim that all their images are technically perfect.
There is nothing lazy in my photographs, and there is nothing lazy in my approach. There is honesty and integrity and honesty and integrity does not always manifest itself in digital perfection.
I’m actually a full-time wedding photographer.
Then feel free to show me 400 images from one of your weddings that are all technically perfect and capture the moment.
Now you’re just being picky and defensive because your work seems pretty lazy. You’re welcome to look at my portfolio, it’s in my profile.
What I’m saying is that approaching wedding photography differently, with a different mindset, will increase the likelihood of getting stronger images, whether that means being more technically perfect. Imagine getting 25% of your images really strong, rather than 5-7%.
I’ve looked at tour portfolio and I agree – brilliant images.
I’m running a wedding PJ workshop in New York next year. You are welcome to come along. I’ll buy you a drink.
Interesting show. worth listening to twice relative to some of the technical information which would be fun to explore.
No problem. We can all be a bit crotchety. You can contact me via my website any-time.
I am interested in the Law of Attraction and believe what I think about I attract. I look at Kevin’s website and view his side shows repeatedly. I was so excited when Kevin responded to my response on DPReview. I have been imagining being a wedding photographer. That has yet to manifest. I have imagined doing a workshop with Kevin and have asked that he come to this side of the pond to do a workshop. I am so excited that Kevin has honored my request. Don’t know when or where it will be but I am there!
I am not surprised Kevin is a street photographer. Looking at his slide shows I can see it in his images. Not to be full of myself, I look at Kevin’s work and I say “I can do that”. Maybe not as well but I certainly can capture his look and feel while still being mine. I love the Kevin Mullin’s trademark of a child as the main focus of the image with the couple in the background.
I think of my Fuji as an emotion capturing machine. I love the contrast of Fuji B&W. I have found the inspiration. I have found machine. I need to find a mentor and figure out how get my start doing PJ style weddings. And yes, I love street photography too.The psychiatric nursing can get along without me.
I’m so glad you received lots of inspiration from Kevin’s work, Martin.
I absolutely loved this podcast. About 8 years ago I was asked by a family member to be the photographer for a family wedding. With no wedding photography in my portfolio, I was immediately nervous and tried to decline. They assured me that they wanted me to be the photographer. I knew only one way to go proceed and that was if I was a guest. After listening to the podcast, I looked back at my photographs and have to say that they have a distinct street photography look to them. Anyway, I just wanted to tell my story and thank Kevin for the inspiration and Valerie for outstanding podcast. Cheers, Jeff