Ever wondered what goes into creating the perfect wedding photos, how to look your absolute best, or what you should really be spending your wedding budget on? We chatted with Keith Touhey, a fantastic fine art wedding photographer, and he dished the dirt! He even revealed his wedding photography pet peeves!
Q. Who are you? What do you do, and where do you live?
A. I’m Keith Touhey, a wedding photographer based in Tullamore, Offaly– and based all over Ireland. Where I am from, we are surrounded in greens, fields, woods, forests and mountains, which has influenced my bridal work greatly.
Q. How long have you been doing photography, and if you weren’t doing that, what would your profession be?
A. I’ve been a professional photographer for six years, shooting weddings for 7 years. I started out shooting models, fashion and beauty, which is where I happened to grind my teeth, and that led to kids and families which then led to weddings. Now I shoot weddings, kids and families. There is a certain challenge to pulling and capturing true emotion from people, and it’s exactly this that I love to do, along with fusing it with my style and color palette. If I was not shooting weddings, I would probably have gone into sales.
Q. What tips can you share to help people look natural and flattering in photographs?
A. Light. Light is the key to everything. If you have a photographer who does not know the best lighting, and I mean who does not truly know it, (every photographer will say they know it) you will never look flattering. I use 3 different types of lighting; sidelight from large diffused sources such as windows, diffused skylight which is from the clouds creating soft even light, and finally backlight, on harsh sunny days creating that dreamy effect. There are times we do not have control over the light yet still need to photograph, usually during the getting ready stage in a house, or at the church. These can be particularly hard to photograph, but we do what we have to, to make it work.
Q. What do you see people do in photographs that is your pet peeve?
A. Pet peeves in a photograph. From the clients, my pet peeve is when they stand with their legs apart and one foot is about 3 feet in front of the other during group shots. This drives me crazy and so many people do it without realizing. From a photographer’s side, there are too many to name. Usually when they get a client to do an action that is completely irrelevant to the day and the moment, which in turn makes the client look pretty idiotic.
Q. What details do you think photograph beautifully for weddings and that you encourage people to spend more time on? Whether it be the decor, how the dress hangs, table settings, etc?
A. Spend more time and money in designing certain areas for your day. A large empty room with soft light for getting ready is ideal, (a room with a large window, little or nothing in it, and a white netted sheet over the window to diffuse the light on a sunny day). Design your reception more with flowers, have them hanging overhead of tables, especially the top table. Stop using crazy colored purple and green lights in dimly lit venues, use candles, and uplights. Have and design more outdoor ceremonies. Flowers, have someone designated to floral. It can create amazing weddings and is often overlooked.
Q. What items do you think look almost universally flattering on people for photographs? Colors, patterns or no patterns, clothing items, cuts, etc?
A. For women, the dress is often the key to making her look flattering. Often women go for a heavy and thick dress, however, brides always look amazing in the thinner, more flowy materiel, long trails are often beautiful also, some of my favorite brides in my photographs, didn’t even wear white.
Q. What other kinds of shoots do you like to do aside from weddings? Do you think it’s important for people to take time to do these photographs – because it’s not just your wedding day that should have beautiful photography to document it?
A. I also shoot kids and families, and I love it. It’s once again the challenge of pulling natural emotion from people and fusing it with my style and color palette. Newborns is something I have been shooting more and more lately. These are amazing moments to capture and I would love to gather more work shooting newborns in my own style. I find myself rejecting newborn work when clients are looking for that white backdrop studio look, or that “wrap him up and put him in a basket” look. I have a more natural style, and I love to shoot that.
Q. What has been the best thing that has come out of your success? The most difficult thing?
A. The best thing, I think when I won my award for photographer of the year, when I saw my parents and family, and how happy they were, how much it meant to them, that stands out.
The most difficult thing, dealing with this covid-19 crisis and seeing so many weddings that should have been amazing, just go in the toilet completely, or get delayed so far ahead. Suppliers suspending work, and stalling certain areas such as album prints/design etc. It has all been a challenge and a headache to deal with.
Q. How much do you look at other people’s work?
A. All of the time, I feel fashion and beauty, even in weddings, it recreates itself, over and over again. There is no such thing as fresh or new anymore, it’s about who does it best. Find your style find your niche, find your color palette, and then find who creates all of these the best, and learn from their work. Try to make it your own, but regardless, become a master of that style.
Q. What is your style and whose work have you learnt from?
A. I love the soft airy fresh summer pastel look. I have fused the styles of Jose Villa and KT Merry, both of whom’s styles are pretty similar, and I have dived into perfecting that style, for color.
For black and white, I have been long inspired and mentored by a true artist and icon of our time, Vincent Peters. Vincent shoots fashion and beauty and is a master of the black and white Hollywood look. Lately, I have been trying this look at weddings for places where lighting has tested me. I would love to master both looks completely and fuse them together to make my perfect wedding look come to life.
Q. Finally, have you got anything you want to share with people reading this?
A. Yes, we are in tough times guys. Covid-19 is affecting everyone. We all have to work together to ensure that your weddings go ahead, with your chosen vendors involved. Other than this, people of next year and further, keep planning your weddings. Lets all hope this ends soon and we can return to normal. When choosing your photographer, do not choose on price. Choose someone whose work you love, these photos are forever. If you have to pay a little extra, pay it, and try to get quality over quantity.
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Kelly is a former wedding planner and a lover of anything pink. She believes that any bride can plan her own wedding, with a few tips and helpful tools.