About Russell Lewis - Herefordshire Photographer
The Journey From Photo Processing to Renowned Photographer
Hi, I’m Russell, and I'm the creative force behind Russell Lewis Photography. You can check out current news on my blog but first a little about me. I’ve been a wedding photographer in Herefordshire for over 20 years now but my journey into photography started long before that.
How it Began
Beside me in my office is the Baby Brownie Special camera I was given by my father at the age of five. It had been his as a child and in the intervening years technology hadn’t changed that much. It takes eight photos on a roll of film and I had to wait a week for the photos to come back from Boots. Those first eight photos are etched into my memory, there’s one of our cat, one of my three year old brother posing as I’d asked him to, one of our dog, our house...the final shot was the washing line as I was so keen to finish the roll of film and see the results. That was it, I was hooked and still am.
In 1999 I graduated with a degree in Photography from Plymouth University. While at Uni I started working in a high street photo lab and found it particularly rewarding helping customers improve their own photography. So much so that after a brief spell managing a photo lab for Lloyds Pharmacies, at the age of 24 I opened my own photo lab on Commercial Road in Hereford.
My Involvement with Weddings in Herefordshire
The lab quickly built a reputation for quality and customer service and, each Monday morning, we’d receive hundreds of rolls of film from wedding photographers in the area who’d photographed weddings over the weekend. To ensure print quality we would see every photograph taken and that’s where I first started to learn the skills of wedding photography.
A short while after opening the lab a customer found out I had a degree in photography and asked me to come and take some photos for them and things kind of snowballed from there. I've always had an affinity for observational photography and capturing people's emotions in photos and weddings provided the perfect opportunity for this. The photo lab soon became a gallery showcasing my wedding photography in Herefordshire until in 2006 I sold the lab to be able to give my full attention to photographing weddings.
Showcasing Your Special Day
Twenty years ago wedding photography in Herefordshire consisted of 3 rolls of medium format film resulting in 36 photos of family groups and a few of the bride and groom. Quickly I became a little restless with this slightly stilted approach and would take my 35mm camera along to capture the more unique and spontaneous moments. Without realising it I was among the first to approach weddings in a more exploratory way and I soon became the leading wedding photographer in Herefordshire.
Today wedding photography is completely different in its nature. Digital technology has opened the doors to a wealth of new approaches. You have fashion photographers, portrait photographers, landscape photographers, documentary photographers all with their own take on how to photograph a wedding but very few wedding photographers. In my view a wedding photographer should be there to document the day in a heartfelt and genuine set of photographs with the family groups providing the structure for the rest of the day to be built around. They don’t have to take over the day and a photographer that knows weddings will ensure there’s ample opportunity for both photographs and for you to spend quality time with your guests. When it's time for photos with just the two of you, I create a relaxed and fun atmosphere. I understand that not everyone is accustomed to being in front of the
camera, so I provide gentle guidance to ensure we capture the best images for you.
Going The Extra Mile
I quickly grasped that if I helped make the day run smoothly, the pictures would almost take care of themselves. Many couples have told me, "You were more than just a photographer", and I take pride in going the extra mile. It’s generally the small things that make the biggest difference. I’ve found that memorising the bridal party’s names helps massively in promoting a friendly and inclusive environment for photography. I also recognise that often your bridal party may not have taken on the role before and I tend to liaise with them throughout so they can relax into the day safe in the knowledge that everything is in hand and they know what’s expected of them.
In my time I’ve sewn up wedding dresses, stuck a bride’s false nails on, arranged for suits to be delivered when they hadn’t arrived, driven couples in my car when the wedding car broke down, put out fires, provided medical care, been trapped in a Church in rising flood waters, dressed the groomsmen, pinned buttonholes and corsages on, made back time when ceremonies have over run, given a bride my socks so she can walk in a field without getting her wedding shoes dirty, given my jacket to brides to keep warm, have done more wedding dresses up than I care to remember and many other things that escape me. I’m there for you and that is my Herefordshire photography service in a nutshell.
Support Throughout The Entire Day
I’ve been a wedding photographer in Herefordshire for over 20 years now and the experience I’ve gained ensures that your photos happen efficiently, without fuss and without disrupting the flow of your day. My focus is on keeping these moments quick and enjoyable, always thinking on my feet making the best of locations and conditions, always having a plan B & C in place should plan A be affected in any way.
Throughout your wedding I’ll be a calming presence by your side guiding you through and allowing you to relax into the day.
Hire an Experienced Photographer in Herefordshire Today
I have had the immense privilege of photographing ceremonies at close to 200 wedding venues in Herefordshire and throughout the UK, even as far afield as New Zealand. The knowledge and experience I’ve gained in that time is immeasurable and you can be assured that your wedding is in incredibly safe hands.
When I think back to those first eight photographs I can remember exactly where I was, the sun on my skin, the smell in the air, the sensation I felt, that to me is what photography does. It’s a time machine that takes you back to a given moment where you can lose yourself in the memory.
My ultimate goal is to create a beautiful narrative of your wedding day – one that's full of meaning, joy, and emotional depth serving as a cherished memory that you'll revisit with loved ones for years to come.
Get in touch to start your journey
It isn't all just about weddings! I'm dad to two fantastic kids, have a wonderful partner and also squeeze in being a retained firefighter, life is never dull