Inspiration — Photography & Videography
Destination Wedding Photographer
Imaginative, transportive and steeped in editorial beauty, we’re swept up in the inimitable frames of London-based photographer, Benjamin Wheeler.
In a world spilling with wedding photographers, there are those who stand out amongst the crowd. Breaking through with their own distinct style as unique as fingerprints, these are the artists that slip below surface level and move beyond the expected to document a love story’s true essence. They’re visual poets sculpting frames like sonnets, harnessing practical skills with creative intuition to capture every detail of the day as if it were an artwork in itself.
One photographer we love for his inimitable, imaginative aesthetic is London-based Benjamin Wheeler. Known within the industry for shooting HRH Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi’s nuptials and some of the most memorable destination weddings we’ve ever seen, Benjamin’s ambient framing, dramatic compositions and eye for design converge into captures as magical as the locations he’s whisked away to. Washing over you with their warmth and texture, Benjamin’s photos are wholly transportive, revealing sensory layers and stylish details while allowing the setting to still shine through.
Infusing the alchemy of editorial into every moment he captures, Benjamin plays with light, shadow, movement and nuance to limn a narrative of feeling while emphasizing a wedding’s sartorial details. This translates into his portraiture too, as he conjures a moody magnetism, reminiscent of the Romantics – wildly passionate and intimate, drawing upon the poetry of nature and the potency of self-expression.
Ever-intrigued about his craft, we took five with Benjamin to learn more…
How did you fall into the world of wedding photography? What do you love most about your profession?
I shot my first wedding when I was still in college, but it wasn’t until I was working later when shooting for luxury fashion house Net-A-Porter that I discovered I could really make something of all the wonderful weddings I had the opportunity to shoot. My first destination wedding came in 2014 when I flew to the Gili Islands, Bali, to photograph an incredible week-long adventure for a dear school friend. The travel hasn’t stopped since, but since starting my company later that year, I have been so lucky to also establish myself in London and the UK as well as Europe.
I love the flexibility of my work and with lots of travel, unsociable hours including editing flat out in summer months means a more flexible diary is welcome. Working on the go is important and being a bit of a tech-obsessed guy, I crave working with tools that will complement and keep improving my workflow and craft.
In a sea of wedding photographers, your frames shine through so strongly. How have you carved out your own unique aesthetic, or what is it about your approach that makes such an impression on both couples and creatives alike?
With a strong interest in the fashion image since studying photography at school, I knew that it was important to push myself to create timeless frames with a sense of authenticity, and something I would love to hang in my own home. I guess I try to keep my honest, soft approach to both the edit and shooting style consistent. I ensure that from the start when I engage with couples, that they realise the art I want to create with an image-heavy brochure online to see if they find that connection with my work.
I also have a printed brochure which is purely wedding and editorial images which illustrate my love for print so the couple can see something of tangible beauty instantly, taking away the digital world for a moment and focusing on what really makes a wedding photograph an authentic piece.
“The way I approach detail, tablescapes and indeed bridal portraits, is definitely influenced from my time working in fashion…”
Your background in fashion photography has clearly shaped your work, particularly in the way you shoot portraits and distil bridal and reception styling details. What techniques have you brought over from your time in fashion, and how do these further elevate your wedding captures?
The way I approach detail, tablescapes and indeed bridal portraits, is definitely influenced from my time working in fashion. I photographed some amazing work for a design agency in 2014 for brands such as Stella McCartney, Tom Dixon, Charlotte Tilbury and & Other Stories. I started to understand how graphical layouts were far more engaging, looking for the angle people would shy away from and tonal ranges of different texture.
Also, from understanding light and using the cameras to your advantage on a technical level shooting product and people, to understanding how a natural moment of movement can hold so much more authenticity than a posed portrait. Posing is fine, but it doesn’t suit what my brides want when they see my previous work, and has since evolved into a certain expectation of uncomplicated and natural flowing portraits. With great experience shooting both still life and model, I have a certain vision of how things should look to do justice for my couple of their day.
You’ve shot luxury weddings across all corners of the globe and have quickly become a coveted name in the destination weddings space. For couples looking to exchange vows abroad, what is the most crucial piece of advice you’d give to allow for incredible images or to the experience overall?
The best advice I could give for destination weddings is firstly having a well-established planner who can help every step of the way. In way of photography, it is illustrating to the couple how important it is to factor in time for portraits and family photos at the time light will be perfect. For me, building a great working relationship with the planner and filmmaker ensure we are all in tune to the schedule and working towards getting the photographs right, and being flexible when things may overrun. Finding that slither of golden light at dusk or ensuring there will be enough soft lighting over dinner is essential to have a collection of images any couple can be proud of.
“Finding that slither of golden light at dusk or ensuring there will be enough soft lighting over dinner is essential to have a collection of images any couple can be proud of.”
Last year you photographed Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrice’s intimate wedding in Windsor. Has this been a career highlight for you? If so, why?
The wedding of HRH Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi was so special to photograph, also because it was right in the middle of the pandemic! Certainly, a career-high, but I owe a huge amount of gratitude for their faith in my vision and me as an artist, and also to a dear mutual friend who introduced us. Each wedding is special of course, however, to have my work recognised across the world for a day was incredibly humbling.
You’ve credited architecture and design as two key sources of inspiration for your work. Is there a location or country you have on your bucket list where you’d love to shoot a wedding?
There are many locations across Europe which take my breath away, such as places I am lucky to be shooting in 2021 like Neuendorf House, Mallorca, designed by John Pawson or the Temperate House at Kew Gardens, London.
I have travelled a lot in six years, more than I ever thought possible for a job that I actually love! I have a few dream locations that I hope to shoot one day of course. A backyard wedding in Palm Springs, Saint Joseph’s Arts Society in San Francisco is one for the wish list, Amangiri resort in southern Utah, and that’s just the US!
What’s next for you in 2021 and beyond…
I am preparing for a rather busy year, with lots of 2020 bookings moving into 2021, shooting more weddings than ever! It’s hopefully one we will all remember in the wedding industry as being when we could all get back to work. I will be shooting weddings across Europe mostly and of course the UK, with an exciting one in New York City to come soon too.
Going into the next couple of years I will be shooting a number of bridal fashion editorials with designers which is really important to keep my work evolving with trend.
At home, I’ve been using the quieter last couple of months to develop and refine my editing, something of which I never get much time to do, as well as keep developing my business model so I can always offer something unique.
I am currently in the process of designing and building a garden studio to work from when I am at home which is super exciting! It will act as a bit of a sanctuary, something I have never had the luxury of when living in London before now.
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