Who am I?
Hello! I'm Dougie, and I'm a Scottish wedding photographer. Not just weddings though, I shoot all sorts of things - portraits, music, corporate events... I'm The Great Outdoors magazine's go-to man for anything adventurous in Scotland, and I'm mid-way through writing a guidebook to Scotland that's specifically aimed at landscape photographers. All of these things broaden and complement the skill set that I bring to your wedding.
I'm based in Glasgow, and have been most of my life, though I spend a lot of my time up north in the Highlands and Islands (maybe I should just move there?). I love the mountains and anything that people do for fun in them: walking, camping... I don't climb as much as I used to, and I can't remember the last time I got into a kayak! These days I get more pleasure from a good photograph than an adrenaline hit.
Last year I sold my car and fitted out an old builder's van as a camper to facilitate my wilderness habit: love me, love my van. I also love some good tunes, both listening and playing, though the people around me normally prefer it when I just listen! I'm uncle to two pretty awesome nieces, and the older one already calls to go for a climb on my day off. She's only 4, but she's got life sorted already!
What do I do?
Wedding photography is a complex and beautiful thing... nowhere else do you face such a broad range of technical conditions in such quick succession. And no other job is quite so personally satisfying: unique moments flitting by in the blink of an eye, never to be repeated. It is an opportunity to work with people when they are at their very best, and to produce images that they will cherish for the rest of their lives. Throughout the day, relationships are rediscovered and reenforced, friendships are made and lives set on new paths. Yes, wedding photography is a mercurial thing indeed.
From a practical point of view, you must completely master your camera, because it is utterly secondary to the job; the single most important thing is working with the people at the wedding. At some point during the day that's going to mean being able to organise and arrange group shots quickly and efficiently. A lot of the time it means being able to work as unobtrusively as possible... no matter how hard you try you can never be completely invisible, but if you can build a good relationship with the people that you are photographing then you can be very close to it. That combined with a little careful planning to make sure everything runs smoothly and we should be able to get the photographs you want without taking over the whole day.
My preference is to shoot as naturally as possible: the best photographs of people are of them being themselves, rather than being directed into poses and positions that they are uncomfortable with.
During the wedding service itself, I shoot exclusively using the ambient light: using flash here is just too distracting. My preference is to continue using just natural light when I'm shooting candidly too. Occasionally, when we disappear off to go and shoot some portraits I might take along a wee flash: just every now and then it can elevate a photograph to another level...
How Long have you been a photographer?
Years! I've been a photographer, in so much as I made a conscious effort to go out and make beautiful images, for probably the best part of 20 years. I've been professional since 2010, with a long transition before that, which included a couple of small exhibitions, friend's weddings and work for various outdoor companies.
Why do you do other types of photography too?
Because I actually enjoy all the other stuff too! The skills I gain from my other photography also make me a much stronger wedding photographer - it's much easier to work in new techniques when you've loads of time on a band promo shoot for example, than it is during the mania of a wedding. I also really look forward to each wedding I photograph... if I did nothing else and shot 60 a year I can't help but suspect it'd just turn into a bit of a chore, and that's no good for either of us.
Do you do workshops?
Yes. I actually run basic photography workshops for people looking to develop their own skills. I also actively strive to progress my own skills and techniques alongside other photographers: you never stop learning in photography. Every single image on this website was shot at a real wedding though: they are all real clients rather than models, and the photographs were taken under the time pressure and conditions that come hand-in-hand with shooting weddings in the real world!
Do you prefer mountains or beaches?
I abstain. Unless I can have a mountain next to a beach? With a nice pub in between.
Do you only work in Scotland?
Absolutely not! I'm based in Glasgow, and I do the bulk of my wedding photography in Scotland but I shoot all over. Recent weddings have seen me travel to Cornwall, Wales, London and even Portugal.
What sort of van did you buy?
An old VW T4. It's an old builder's van and it'll probably never look shiny and new again, but it's reliable, comfortable and a home from home! My niece Bella named it Sully, after the monster from Disney's Monster's Inc. There is always a supply of fresh coffee for the Aeropress in the back, and an emergency dram stashed away for the cold winter nights. I mostly use it for cruising around Scotland working on the landscape book, but sometimes use it as a base for more remote weddings too (though I tend to find a B&B the night before so that I'm nice and fresh on the big day!).