Ian Bursill
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Getting to Know Ian Bursill


Issue 46: And They Call It Puppy Love

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Getting to Know Ian Bursill

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Ian Bursill, winner of ‘Best Photographer’ for the East Midlands region in the Wedding Industry Awards of 2012, 2014 and 2015 talks about 15 minutes that are vital in his approach to documenting the day.

“There’s some essential groundwork I carry out before I press a shutter release on the day. It’s crucial in helping my subjects feel comfortable with me as their photographer.

My couples often live long distances away from their Midlands venue and will book without meeting in person. I insist on at least a FaceTime meeting though as I need to be sure as well that we are a good fit for each others requirements.

I’ll also ask to meet 5-8 weeks before the day to chat through timings. We can do this again via FaceTime if meeting up in person is difficult. This way, I will always have met my couples twice before the day. We’ll have built up a rapport, and I’ll have explained my approach, which is vital in getting natural and emotive images.

As a storyteller, my coverage starts on the day with preparations. I love that transition from girl to bride. She’ll be more nervous than those previous times we’ve met and isn’t going to be the only person present. There will be bridesmaids, parents, relatives and make-up and hair there as well.


Some will be in dressing gowns and curlers, some will be eating breakfast. They won’t know me at all – even if I’ve met my couple a hundred times before. Are they going to feel comfortable with a complete stranger walking in and taking pictures without making the effort to build up some rapport?


These are the 15 minutes that are pivotal in me getting results from this intimate part of the day. I’ll often walk in without my cameras. If I have them with me, I’ll put them down. I’ll chat with parents, the bridesmaids, the other vendors. Find some common ground, talk about families. The more people present, the better. And the more outgoing folks are, the easier it is. After a short while, you see the barriers drop. People will feel less inhibited and I’ll pick up a camera and ease myself into the day.

The rest of the day, I’ll blend in smoothly.

At the church, they’re focused on the ceremony, and I don’t draw attention to myself as I work quietly, patiently and respectfully. I’ll lose myself during the reception by working close in and mingling with the guests. I’m less noticeable working like that. During the speeches, I’ll work low down, between the tables. People are relaxed now, and more interested in the jokes than a photographer. When it comes to the dancing, the guests won’t care less about me. I’ll be on the dance floor with them capturing their fancy moves.

But those first 15 minutes. They are the foundations on which I build my narrative approach.

The result? Natural, emotive and timeless photographs.”

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Images by Ian Bursill Photography

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Issue 46: And They Call It Puppy Love

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