Q&A with Helen Rimell from Gin Fizz Photographic

Helen Rimell told us about her unique photo-journalistic approach to wedding photography.

Hi Helen! Tell us about yourself

I graduated from the University of Wales, Newport with a degree in Documentary Photography in 2004, and after graduating I won a Hugo Young Guardian Newspaper internship and moved to London to work as a photographer on the paper. I’ve worked in London as a photojournalist and photographer ever since and have covered stories as far away as Afghanistan and New Zealand. I also have a Master of the Arts in Photojournalism.

When I am not working or travelling, which is another great love of mine, then you will most likely find me dancing, often in stunning Art Deco ballrooms around London, as I am an avid Lindy Hopper. I love swing dancing, as much for the music as the dancing, I am a big jazz fan; the clothes are also rather fabulous. I am also very fond of the ocean, the sunshine, walks in the park, love, laughter, art, food, friends, family, wonderful old black and white films, and of course a good Gin Fizz.

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What is your signature style and how does your photography stand out from others?

I have a very creative, artistic style, whilst shooting with a photo-journalistic approach. My work is a mixture of fine art and documentary photography. I work on my weddings in the same way I work on my photo essays for magazines, telling the story of the day from the beginning through until the end. I bring my experience in photojournalism into all my wedding and portrait work; capturing every detail, the laughter, the tears, and the beautiful, sometimes fleeting looks between a couple.

By not using flash, I capture a somewhat filmic quality that’s full of atmosphere and character. I don’t do a lot of group shots or posed ones and I blend in with the wedding party and put people at ease: This enables me to capture all those wonderful, natural moments and real emotion in all its glory.

What do you love most about being a wedding photographer?

The fantastic people I get to meet; the opportunity to make people so happy when they see their wedding images; the ability to travel to wonderful, beautiful locations; and being surrounded by love and happiness for a living.

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What has been the most memorable wedding you’ve photographed?

All my weddings are memorable but I have a few that stick out in my mind such as the wedding in Rajasthan, (definitely the most exotic), and another in New York, which resulted in some really gorgeous and rather iconic images. Closer to home, I shot a fabulous festival style wedding in the gorgeous Sussex countryside which had great live music, absolutely fantastic street food and a Greenwich Meantime beer truck; and a glorious summer solstice wedding where the bride made her wedding dress, the bridesmaids dresses and all the decorations. I have also photographed a wedding at London Zoo, and one that involved storm troopers coming in to Darth Vader’s music during the speeches, as a surprise from the bride to her groom, who is a huge star Wars fan.

What are some of the quirkiest or most unusual things you’ve done with a wedding shoot?

I prefer to keep things quite natural and stay away from artificial props and poses. For me, it’s more important to capture beautiful images of a couple, where you can see their love for each other rather than making them get into uncomfortable, awkward poses. Although of course there are some couples who want to go that little bit further for some beautiful artistic images, or something in an editorial style and I absolutely love working in this way as well. It really depends on the couple’s personalities, and the kind of photography they want. I am always looking for great locations and gorgeous lighting and will take a couple outside to get that perfect light in the golden hour, or hop over a fence to get the most stunning backdrop. It’s important to have an ever-curious mind, and be able to think of fun, interesting, creative shots all the time.

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What’s the furthest place you’ve travelled to shoot a wedding?

Rajasthan in India. It was a fabulous three-day colourful extravaganza with elephants, camels, musicians, drummers, and dancers. It was a wonderful experience.

What would be your dream wedding location?

I would love to shoot a beach wedding, this is something I haven’t done yet and I adore the ocean. I also have a dream of shooting a wedding in ranch country in America as I think the images would be absolutely stunning. I am actually travelling to Las Vegas at the end of the month to shoot a wedding; the shoots will involve Elvis, a classic car, a casino, a dinner, and driving into the desert at sunset. I am really excited about this one.

What do you think were the key trends in wedding photography last year?

Props were very popular and I actually rather like them, however as my style is about capturing the moment and telling the story of the day, I don’t really use them unless a couple requests them. The key thing is if it suits a couple’s personality and they are comfortable with the camera then go for it. But I like to keep my work quite pure and natural, without heavy use of editing so that is has a very timeless look, meaning it will still look amazing in 20 years time.