Marcus Bell: Feeling Special on a Special Day

Written by Fredrik Franzén on . Posted in Battery-powered Flash, Wedding Photography

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1MB5733 work2a TanyaA e1316507712449 Marcus Bell: Feeling Special on a Special Day

©Marcus Bell

Being rewarded for your efforts is a nice thing. Marcus Bell was recently reminded of this, when he made it on to American Photo’s prestigious list Top 10 Wedding Photographers in the World.

“It’s an amazing honor,” says Marcus. It’s like our own little Oscar’s for wedding photographers. I’m really excited!”

Marcus has earned his stripes. In fact, he has been working as a wedding photographer for more than 13 years, but judging from his palpable enthusiasm, the job has just gotten better by the years.

“I don’t even think of myself as a wedding photographer,” says Marcus. “Still, that’s what I end up photographing most of the time, because it’s what I love. As a wedding photographer, you get to be a part of all these amazing moments when people celebrate with their family, their friends and the people they love. There’s so much emotion. It’s like a treasure chest for a photographer, really.”

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©Marcus Bell

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AmericanPhoto, May/June, 2011

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AmericanPhoto, May/June, 2011

You don’t feel limited by just shooting weddings? I mean, weddings are quite similar on the surface.

“No, what I think it gives you is an understanding of what the game is about, and like any game, there are all these variations of what’s going to happen. I also think that since I’m shooting in a more photo journalistic style, things are always going to be different, because every couple is different, and every family is different.

What do you mean by a photo journalistic style?

“It’s more of a documentary sort of style. You take a step back, you let things happen, and when they do, you capture it. I would say 80% of my pictures are photo journalistic. But you know, there’s been a massive change in the last couple of years. Before I would never use any other light than available light.”

What made you change your mind?

“First of all, I saw a need to differentiate in the marketplace. Not just from other photographers, but also from the fact that a lot of our customers have access to the same technology as we do. Some potential clients really question why they would need a professional photographer, and understanding and using professional light is one of the things that separates us. It just wows them, really. I’ve also realized that there are moments when you get an even more remarkable result with artificial light. The picture I sent you with the bride on the cliff is a perfect example of that, I think.”

Yeah, I like that one. Can you tell us something about how it was shot?

“My assistant is actually standing knee deep in the ocean with a Profoto AcuteB2 and a lighting stand stretched out as far as possible. He was holding it as high up as he could to light the bride, and then I just took him out of the shot during post-production. I think it makes the bride stand out in the picture. You’re eyes are drawn to her. Then there’s another guy with a light on the rock wall, just to get a little bit more detail there.

Marcus’ decision to start using professional flash equipment has had a positive influence on both his craft and business. Not only has his passion for wedding photography been reinvigorated, but the use of lighting equipment has also caused quite a stir among his clients.

“It’s funny,” laughs Marcus. “At one of the very first weddings I used lights on, I’d previously photographed the brothers of the groom. The brothers joined us when we went to the beach with all the lights and the softboxes, and then they suddenly pulled me aside and questioned me: ‘How come he is so special!?’ Their reaction was incredible. It just blew me away!”

Perhaps people like to feel special on their special day?

“Yeah, I guess they do.”

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©Marcus Bell


Marcus Bell’s website

American Photo: The Top 10 Wedding Photographers of 2011

Written by Fredrik Franzén

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Comments (3)

  • rick


    Marcus is correct in that we need to differentiate our photos from the guest’s photos, and also from images of other professional photographers. As more and more photographers enter this saturated market, it will folks like Marcus who go the extra mile that will always stand out in the crowd.
    Cheers mate.


  • polo mens


    Thanks for sharing excellent informations. Your web site is so cool. I’m impressed by the details that you have on this site. It reveals how nicely you understand this subject. Bookmarked this website page, will come back for more articles. You, my friend, ROCK! I found just the info I already searched everywhere and simply couldn’t come across. What a perfect web site.


  • Chris - Smudged Photo


    Just been watching Marcus’ Creative Live videos. Really enjoy his approach the wedding day.


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