An Interview with leading wedding photographer Ken Buist

Ken Buist is one of the most respected photographers in the industry, his warmth and easy manner instantly puts you at ease in front of the camera.   A favourite of celebrities and society alike, Ken has a unique quality that is the reserve of top wedding photographers – a rare mix of creativity, vision and unparalleled technical ability. 

Throughout his illustrious career, Ken has photographed hundreds of weddings, here he shares his rare insight into the world of exclusive weddings and his top tips to make sure you have the wedding of your dreams.Wedding Photography by Ken Buist |

Q. What's hot at the moment?

A. Contemporary styling and hip wedding design is definitely the look.  Vintage is on the way out as it's been overdone in that past 12 months!  Accessories and details really matter as they certainly get noticed and create the unique factor.  Outdoor settings for the drinks reception are very popular.  This even applies to city hotels, where the hotels with a courtyard or garden area score very well (check out The Langham Hotel London, it has a beautifully redesigned garden/courtyard).  Bright vibrant colours are back in vogue after several seasons of predominantly white and subtle fresh colours, however colour ultimately depends on the couples' tastes and also the time of the year.  The traditional Venetian waltz is certainly hip and stylish.  

Q. What are the latest trends in bridal fashion?

A. As perviously mentioned, the vintage look is on the way out this season.  Its all about being beautiful, chic, and feminine!  I am seeing the fusion of classic styling with contemporary design, in other words "Classic with a Twist".  Tiara's and millenary are adding a touch of class and individuality.  Check out Rachel Trevor-Morgan, award-winning milliner to the Queen.  30's art deco era is on the up while Mad Men 60's has dipped.

Current wedding trends are being influenced by the UK's most photographed wedding and the Kate Middleton factor (let's not forget Pippa as well).  So this includes classic styling but also sexy figure-revealing dresses.   

Ken Buist Wedding Photography |

Q.  So how is the Royal Wedding going to impact everyone else's wedding

A. Some people are Royal-watchers and other's aren't, but everyone is going to be influenced in some way.  It's difficult to ignore the Royal wedding and the celebrities involved.  Classic and traditional styles could make a comeback as will more formal wedding ceremonies, but I expect the influences will be more subtle since Wills and Kate are a very contemporary couple.

Ken Buist Wedding Photography |

Q. What advice do you give to brides when choosing their wedding dress?

A. Firstly .... wear whatever suits your personality and body shape, simply be yourself.  You want a bridal design that is fashionable today but also will not date easily.  Personally I think one of the most amazing designers who best combines latest fashion trends with permanent classic style is Ritva Westenius, check her out.  She is very hip, but also beautifully timeless.  I also love Suzanne Neville and Sassi Holford.   

Wedding Photography by Ken Buist |


Q. What's the best wedding theme or idea that you've seen recently?

A. For most UK weddings the theme is usually under-stated.  A "Summertime Jazz" theme can work really well with the funky clothing, Jazz band, lazing around outside in the sunshine etc.  A "Casino" theme can also make the event fun and exciting, with roulette wheels, black jack tables etc. Also the fashion does not have to be traditional and formal.  Bridal dress doesn't need to be white, traditional or long, if that's not really you!  See my website and blog for some different colours and styles.  

Wedding Photography by Ken Buist |

Q. Having photographed celebrity and society weddings, are their any ideas that everyday couples can also use?

A. Celebrity and society weddings are not necessarily any different or better than everyone else's wedding.  One common factor with biggest and best weddings is the quality of the suppliers and also the organisation/planning. Most celebrity and society weddings use a professional wedding planner or select a venue with experienced in-house planners.  Overall the venue is really important.  A top-notch band and entertainment is also a must.  You can almost match the big-budget weddings but choosing the best suppliers, but doing things more simply.  What do I mean by this ….. focus on quality not quantity and do the best within your own budget.   

Wedding Photography by Ken Buist |

Q. What's the best way to make a wedding stand out from the crowd?

A. Make your wedding stand out for "Your crowd", that means you need to think of what makes an amazing day for both yourself and your guests.  Don't worry about trends or other people's weddings, just do whatever you want.  I have seen everything from a bride in a pink carriage (with horses wearing matching pink coats), to a glamourous Venice wedding with James Bond-esque speed boats.  I strongly recommend having an evening "lounge bar" with jazzy funky background music so that everyone can lounge around, relax, drink and chat.  This is very sociable, and you be able to chat more with your guests.  Having a traditional Venetian waltz for your first dance is classic, gorgeous, sexy, romantic ..... but you need to practice the steps.  Don't have Michael Buble for your first dance ..... its been done a million times before ;-)  

Wedding Photography by Ken Buist |

Q. What are the most common mistakes to avoid on the wedding day?

A. Make-up too heavy; not enough time allocated for getting ready; getting too stressed over small things; not delegating the organising and stress to someone else (either a bridesmaid, friend or wedding planner).

Wedding Photography by Ken Buist |

Q. What do you recommend to make the wedding day run smoothly?

A. Allocate more time for everything, as weddings always start to run behind schedule.  Get a wedding planner if you have a large and/or complex wedding. Lot's of champagne and laughter.

Wedding Photography by Ken Buist |

Q. How does a bride ensure that she looks good in her wedding photos?

A. Firstly, employ a top wedding photographer.  Then get to know your photographer before the big day ..... perhaps go for a drink and chat ahead of your wedding day.  Then you will be more relaxed and in-tune with each other.  Relax and have fun when being photographed.  Lean slightly into the camera as this removes double chins.  You can also look through fashion magazines to get an idea on posing, but personally I am not a big fan of overly posed dramatic images so you will still want to keep things natural.  Don't do the "lunge photo" .... (bride leaning back almost touching the floor and groom smooching her neck) .... who kisses like that?

Wedding Photography by Ken Buist |

Q.  How do you tell the difference between a top notch photographer and someone less skilled?

A.  Its overwhelming at the moment as there are too many wedding photographers having recently entered the game.  Most of these people are not experienced or skilled enough.  You want someone very creative and also technically strong.  Someone who has "the eye" and vision, but also exceptionally competent in lighting and techie things too.  Its very hard to find someone with both those skills, but its very important.  So I would not choose someone with less than 5 years professional experience and over 100 weddings completed.  Start with reviewing websites, but then get out and meet with several photographers you like.  Ask to see several examples of complete wedding albums, and also ask to see examples of weddings shot in difficult circumstances (e.g. rainy days, winter weddings, dark churches etc.).  Go with a natural style that you connect with. Rule out anything cheesy or overly dramatic.  Ask for references from within the wedding industry e.g. wedding planners, venues, bridal designers etc.

Wedding Photography by Ken Buist |

I got married myself last year so I know what its like trying to choose a photographer.  When we started looking it soon became obvious that only a few people would make the cut.

Ultimately it's really important to choose the very best photographer, then let your budget decide how much "product" you purchase from them (albums, discs, hours etc.).  

Wedding Photography by Ken Buist |

Wedding Photography by Ken Buist |

Wedding Photography by Ken Buist |

Ken Buist is a valued member of's invitation only Premier Portfolio.

  • 4 comments "An Interview with leading wedding photographer Ken Buist"

    Add your comments

  • Shaun David says

    27th June 2011 at 6:37 pm

    Great interview and I would agree that showing couples complete weddings is important. I show my clients several complete weddings and and explain why they need to see them. Then if they have other meeting set up, they will ask to see the same.

  • Jessica says

    1st July 2011 at 8:08 pm

    Ken offers such fascinating insight! I definitely agree with him on vintage being "out," that trend has been so overdone recently

  • Marie Summers says

    7th July 2011 at 4:36 pm

    Amazing photos! And great advice to brides-to-be! It's all about enjoying your big day!

  • Auspicious Wedding Dates says

    9th July 2011 at 8:15 am

    The tip on choosing photo shooter is good. 5 years exp and about 100 wedding projects. Thanks!

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