Toby Lowe Photography
Toby Lowe is a wedding photographer based in Cornwall and works across both Cornwall and Devon. His photography style effortlessly blends reportage with fine art imagery to create a bespoke feel (and he does it so well!). His approach is discreet and sensitive when it comes to capturing the day and he always builds such a good relationship with the couple beforehand in order to get the best out of their day and capture exactly what they want.
Toby joined us for the first ever Duke Wedding Collection: Live in 2015. Positioned on the staircase he was a friendly face to all guests and suppliers and we were keen to work with him. As with all good partnerships we started with a cup of tea, Toby loved the Duke and was keen to capture his own stylised shoot at the hotel and there it began…
In April 2016 Toby captured his Hepburn 1950’s shoot of the Duke, it is so recent that we can only share these teasing images with you, but we hope you can see that you’re in for a treat when the shoot is realised later this year. Celebrating the newly refurbished Hayward Room and the exterior of our stunning building Toby’s shoot captured the hotel in a way we have never before seen and we can’t wait to share it, but back to the man himself…
Toby is not only a true professional, but he also has a keen eye for detail and an amazing ability to find THE shot, on top of that he also comes full of life and passion for what he is doing! He is able to relax the couple he is photographing (maybe with a bad joke or two) so that all of the photos he takes are natural and relaxed meaning he can get the best out of the couple. We love working with Toby and that’s why we would highly recommend him for your wedding day.
“Toby played a vital role in allowing us to have the best day of our lives. We gave him a standard wedding list but then asked for a few ‘unusual’ requests. We got our photographs over the weekend and can honestly say each one was fantastic. My mutterings of ‘you know..Vettriano…men walking nonchalantly across the beach…and ‘beach rugby!’ were met with a sense of slight mischief only matched to our own! Toby surpassed expectation and delivered precisely what we (ok I…) had envisaged. I loved his work, his friendly, discreet manner and patience! I am happy for anyone to look at our photos to check them out. Wonderful!” – Zsa and Jon
Let’s meet the man himself and soak his expertise in all things photography and weddings!
What made you want to become a wedding photography?
I seriously got into wedding photography about 6 years ago. Before weddings, most of my work focussed on commercial, reportage and editorial photography. Somehow, I just drifted into photographing weddings. The more I photographed, the more I realised I loved being a wedding photographer.
Tell me about a wedding or photograph that you have taken that has been a particular favourite?
This is such a difficult question, I have so many favourites. However, there is a photo that I particularly love. It was taken at a wedding in a botanical garden. The bride, groom and I had gone off for a walk to get some photos of just them. We found this little secluded spot, it almost felt like a secret garden (I think I may have read to much C.S Lewis as a child). The light was just amazing, but what really makes the photo for me is the intimacy between them both in the photo.
What’s the craziest or most unique photo that you have taken?
Funnily enough this is fairly recent. It was a winter wedding up on Bodmin Moor. It was raining but the bride and groom were still keen to go out. The couple had umbrellas which looked nice but the shot just felt a bit static. I had this idea about them throwing the umbrellas back, whilst also kissing. Bearing in mind it was raining they still happily obliged. The shot that we got is awesome. I love how spontaneous is feels. Luckily, even they felt it was worth getting wet for.
Do you have any tips for camera shy couples?
Yes, loads! Firstly, if you are camera shy you are in the majority. Most people do not feel massively comfortable in front of a camera. It is a strange thing. Nearly everyone carries a camera (smartphone) nowadays, so why aren’t people comfortable being photographed?
Here are couple of tips.
- Talk to your wedding photographer and discuss their approach to taking pictures. One of the questions you need to ask yourself, when selecting a photographer, is whether the way they work is right for you. If you are camera shy, a pushy or in your face approach is not going to help.
- Get to know your wedding photographer. It is incredibly difficult to feel relaxed in front of a camera if your are unsure about the person taking the pictures. An engagement shoot can be a really great way of building confidence before the big day. Alternatively, just go for a coffee. The time you spend together before the wedding day will definitely help you feel more relaxed about the camera on the big day.
- Don’t worry about posing for the camera. Natural photos look better. Your photographer should know this and make sure that you appear relaxed.
What would be your top tips for couples who are just about to begin their wedding journey?
- Focus on what is important in the day.
- Spend time thinking about what you want from your day.
- Create a day that is unique and special to you.
Where does your inspiration comes from?
Well, there are a lot of other photographers whose work I love. They tend to be the pioneer photographers like Dorothea Lange and Henri Cartier-Bresson. You can learn so much about photographing people from studying their work – their photos open doors into other peoples worlds. Also, slightly random, but I love the work of the early Flemish painters like Jan Van Eyck (they set so many of the rules regarding composition). Photographers can learn a lot about about composition from studying painters – they have been working far longer at it then we have.
What makes you stand out to a couple?
Booking your wedding photographer (after choosing your venue!) is one of the most difficult things that you have to do when planning your wedding day. Firstly, you have to love their work. The images your photographer takes (and the way they take them) will be with you as a document of your day for ever. Secondly, you need to feel at ease with your photographer. On your wedding day, they will be with you all day. If you don’t feel relaxed and at ease with them, then it will affect the images that they take and it will make for an uncomfortable day for you. So what makes me stand out to a couple and what makes me special? Well, my images are the way that I see the world. Hopefully, the way that I photograph stands out to people (it is after all my style). I like to blend reportage with a fine art feel. It is important to me that the images I produce to feel natural. Combined with this I have a relaxed and unobtrusive approach to photographing weddings. I like to blend in in with day, rather than take over it.
What about the future – what are the grand plans for Toby Lowe Photography?
Well, to start with, more weddings (much more weddings). In fact, this year is my busiest ever for weddings. As time has gone by I have moved closer and closer to a style that is unique to me. I am so looking forward to developing that style further. Every wedding, you learn something new. It is one of the things that drives me on to photograph more.
Outside of weddings, I have my first exhibition coming up. Which I am massively excited about. It’s a project that I have been working on called ‘This Different Place’ . The bit that has really made it different for me though is that I have interviewed each of the subjects (the interviews will make up part of the final piece of work). I am not really a ‘wordsmith’ so this bit has been a real challenge.
Beyond this, I am just looking forward to continuing doing what I love – photographing and documenting the world around me.
Is there anything else you’d like us to know?
Yes, you can view more of my work at https://www.tobylowephotography.co.uk/!
“On the day of the wedding Toby was excellent, he was in all the right places at the right times to get those perfect shots. Toby is also excellent at grabbing those shots you might not be aware of, capturing those non-posed, natural yet special moments that otherwise might have gone unnoticed. Of course we still had our formal group shots for which we all posed, but some of our best photos by far are those natural shots that for the most part we didn’t even realise were being taken.” Heather and Lee