Michael Rammell

My top 3 Inspirational & Favourite Wedding Photographers

Top #, PhotographyMichael RammellComment

It's hard to believe we're in March already! It seems like only yesterday I was out on the streets with the camera wearing shorts and a t-shirt. Its far too cold for that right now (here in the UK at least!), but thankfully this somewhat mildly cold winter feels like it has passed by quickly and we're very nearly back in Summer again! Phew!

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I thought that with March being the 3rd Month I'd go with the theme of 'Three' for the month and so i'm putting together a series of 'Top 3' posts and over the next few weeks i'll be publishing these to the blog and to the podcast to see us through to April, which is when the Wedding Season here in the UK starts in earnest. With that in mind I thought that today, a good place to start would be to look at my top 3 favourite / inspirational wedding photographers - those pro's that inspire and amaze me with their images, approach and style. Now, even if you're not a wedding photographer hold up: there is value in this for you too! The guys I'm going to talk about today are some of the top talents in the world and I've no doubt you'll learn a tonne from their work, which is - arguably in my book at least - considered art!!).

I know that many people still look down their nose at wedding photography, but hopefully the guys I'm sharing with you today can go some way to changing your perspective on what it's all about and, what it takes to be a wedding photographer too!

So, if you're a street photographer, like I am too, remember that it really isn't too different from wedding photography. That may sound odd, but the main difference being is that at a wedding - you're being paid to make the photographs of the guests and they expect it. The same rules and principles about what makes an amazing image still apply.

Later on in March though in addition to re-releasing a couple of episodes from the Ready Steady Pro Photography Podcast, I'll also be sharing with you some more of top 3's, including:

  • Top 3 Inspirational Photographers in History
  • My Top 3 Post Processing Tips in Adobe Lightroom
  • Top 3 Favourite Photography Podcasts

So, without further delay, in no particular order, here we go:

My Top 3 Favourite Wedding Photographers

1. Jerry Ghionis

If you are a wedding photographer or have dabbled or considered wedding photography before, then there is a chance you will know of Jerry Ghionis and his work.

Jerry is an Australian photographer who divides his time between Down Under and LA. He's a Nikon ambassador and regularly features in Wedding Photographer Top 10's throughout the world. Jerry also runs a training website that he calls, the ICE Society, which is for wedding photographers and it features behind the scenes footage from real weddings, to show you how he creates every image. The settings are included and as a bonus, there is also some audio commentary so Jerry can explain his thought process behind his actions as you watch. It's massively educational. (links below). 

Now, what I love about Jerry is more than just his work, which, is absolutely stunning as his many, many award will attest; it's also his approach, character and intuition on a wedding day. He's funny at the right times to get the right reaction, then at other times he fits into a more sombre and quiet moment with grace and respect for the ceremony. It's not an uncommon occurrence at all for brides to shed a tear of joy when working with Jerry

When it comes to style, Jerry has posing absolutely mastered and it's what he is known for. Each of the photographs you see in his portfolio are crafted moments that he has made to look absolutely natural.

Now, Jerry's work won't be to everyone's liking, that's for sure. Some people prefer a purely candid approach, and that's fine. But what is certain is that Jerry is very talented and is able to put together a body of work from each wedding that blows people's socks off.

I'd love to get Jerry on the podcast for an interview at some stage.

Go check out Jerry Ghionis at JerryGhionis.com. You can check out the ICE Society at icesociety.com too.

2. Cliff Mautner

Cliff Mautner was one of the first, big photography names I knew about when I first started out myself back in 2010. Coming from a newspaper and reportage background, it's fair to say that Cliff is primarily a reportage style photographer, which he does with absolute finesse.

Whilst all of the photographers in my top 3 here today produce work of a standard I'm not sure I'll ever reach, I find that Cliff's work simply has that special something. That extra level of quality that I just can't quite describe.

Mostly though, Cliff Mautner's photographs are simply beautiful pieces of art, produced by someone who clearly knows what it takes to make an amazing image. I find myself looking at Cliff's website on a regular basis to remind myself exactly how it is wedding photography should be done and what is possible. On one hand it's inspiring, on the other hand it can be depressing because he is so good that it puts me to shame.

There are dozens of amazing photographers out there, but in my mind, Cliff's work stands head and shoulders above almost everyone.

If you look for Cliff Mautner on YouTube you may come across a video where he shows you around his absolutely amazing studio in Philadelphia in the US, where he's based, and in that video he also talks a little about his approach with clients. In other videos, for example on KelbyOne (Scott Kelby's Training Platform), he used to have a video, much like a Jerry Ghionis ICE Society Style behind the scenes video, where he shows you how he would typically enter a getting ready scene and adjust the lighting in the room to produce the magical work he produces. Such simple and elegant changes to curtains and moving a few things around can produce some amazing results. This, for me, is a breath of fresh air because what we see a lot of these days are photographers showing us how to use 15 lights, reflectors and modifiers. Whilst there is a time and a place for that, what Cliff shares with us and shows us is what 30 years of experience gets you by way of efficient and effective thinking to produce world class images.

When i first started writing this blog post I chose my top 3 and then quickly threw together some keywords for each photographer. The keywords that immediately came to mind - that I would associate with Cliff Mautner, may be a little cliche, however, they are absolutely appropriate in my mind. I wrote the words: classic, timeless, beautiful images.

Cliff Mautner. Another Nikon Ambassador. A photographer who was ahead of his time all those years ago and who has remained at the forefront of amazing wedding photography. Check him out at cmphotography.com.

3. Rino Cordella

Lastly in my list today is a photographer you may not have heard of, even if you are a wedding photographer yourself: Rino Cordella.

Now, I know far less about Rino than I do Cliff and Jerry, given that those two guys are widely accessible on the internet with a variety of interviews and behind the scenes footage available. Rino, by comparison however, feels a little like a silent assassin! He's won an abundance of awards but seems to focus on making images for clients, rather than having branched out to share his methods with you and I, which I totally respect. All the while however I'd love to be a fly-on-the-wall has he works!

If you know me, you know I love black and white photography. To an extent I'd actually say I'm just not a fan of colour photography. This is likely why I was so immediately attracted to Rino's work! Take a look at his website and you'll be greeted by a body of images that are mostly mono. I think Rino is a photographer that really has mastered black and white images - they really are beautfiul. You you have to check them out.

As I mentioned I know less about Rino than Cliff & Jerry, but I would simply urge you to go and take a look at his website, his awards and his words. Amazing. In summary: lots of black and white work, he gets close to his subjects, his images are nearly all filled with emotion and character, there are lots of fun scenes, lots of images with unique angles and style that I haven't seen with other photographers. Amazing! A new find for me, despite being featured in many of the top 100 lists available online today.

Rino Cordella. Based in Italy, born in Brussels (Belgium). His website therefore is in Italian, but if you view it through Chrome it should translate to some form of loose English enough for you to get the gist of what Rino and his work is all about (not that any words are needed, as his images do all the talking!)

Check him out at RinoCordella.com

What do you think? Who do you think is the best?

No way at all does my work get close to the portfolio's from Cliff, Jerry and Rino, but just in case you were curious, you can check out my wedding photography at RammellPhotography.com too. I'm keeping busy and absolutely love shooting wedding photography. You may be interested to know I shoot all my work exclusively with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 and Olympus M.Zuiko lenses too. Check it out, let me know your thoughts below.

So, do you have any wonderful wedding photographers that you would like to share? Perhaps you know of a local photographer to you; an unsung hero, a hidden gem. Share your favourite photographers in the comments below.

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