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Hands up who got engaged over the festive period. Congratulations if you did!! I expect you’re now tentatively making a start on the planning and making lists of all the people you need to book in order to make the big day happen. One of the most important people you will ever encounter will be your wedding photographer – this is the person who will turn the fleeting event into a lifelong record of the magic that occurred that day.

One of my very favourite photographers in the UK, and one I am over the moon to have join the blog as a sponsor, is Erika Szostak of PhotoMadly. Based in Brighton, but happy to travel, Erika’s style is bright, colourful, joyful and creative. I asked her why she is perfect for my readers, and she said,

“Way Out Wedding readers are my ideal clients: adventurous, open-minded, creative, quirky, stylish, fun and not terribly concerned with doing things simply because they are traditional or they are what someone else wants them to do. I imagine WOW readers are unafraid to embrace their own unique ideas about what they want from their wedding. I love that, and if you want to do wacky things then I’m here to egg you on, collaborate on ideas and to document it all in the most professional way possible.”

I wholeheartedly agree!! Here are some gorgeous examples of her work and also an interview so you can get to know her better.

Oh, and further down the post, is a fab offer you won’t want to miss out on!


All About PhotoMadly

I live for absolutely everything about photography – its processes, gear, challenges, interactions and results. I love learning new things, so I’m an obsessive reader of literary fiction and nonfiction, essays and investigative reporting on pop culture and politics. I crave travel and find it is my greatest source of inspiration. I truly enjoy good quality coffee – do not speak to me in the morning before I’ve had my cup! There’s nothing more fun to me than dancing to house music with my friends, though as a parent, that’s ever more rare these days. I can happily wander around museums and antique markets for hours, and I love baking/cooking with good quality, simple ingredients (think rustic comfort food, though – fancy presentation is not my forte when it comes to food).


What are you most proud of in your business so far?

Frankly, I’m proud of myself in general for creating this business. I started from scratch with a career change in my 30s in a country where I knew no one (I’m American and moved to the UK in 2009) and had no established network. From there, I’m proud that I do something that is meaningful to people and makes them happy.


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Why I Do What I Do

Here’s the thing about photographing weddings: they make for a lovely working environment – reliably full of beauty, interesting detail, emotion and story. People look and feel their best on their wedding day, and they’re generally happy to be photographed. (As you might imagine, this isn’t the case for all types of photography.) Weddings not only make for objectively beautiful subjects for photographs, but also for moving, poignant, narrative ones. Weddings are occasions for rare get-togethers with family and loved ones who live far away, and for showing feelings not often articulated. Heirlooms are exchanged, turning points are negotiated, hope is palpable. Moreover, they’re really great parties. I want to make beautiful pictures, and I can think of no better way.

I love getting to know my clients; it’s a privilege to be invited into people’s lives like this. My clients cry nearly every time I deliver wedding photographs. I love these happy tears because they’re a sign that what I do matters to people.


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Wedding Photographs Advice and Tips!

From a photographic viewpoint, a bridal procession in which the bride walks down the aisle in front, with bridesmaids trailing behind, is not great. It’s nearly impossible to get a clear shot of the bridesmaids when they’re behind the bride, and the camera will follow the bride as she arrives at the altar and greets her groom, so the bridesmaids’ entrance gets lost.

My suggestion? If you’re a bride, allow yourself a grand entrance with a proper introduction. Send the bridesmaids in first. Let them all get to their position at the front of the church, then make your way down the aisle. That way there’s a clear record of the entry procession, your girls get to witness the moment too, and there will be no distractions from your entrance – one of the most exciting parts of the day.

I also would make a plea for couples to consider an unplugged wedding, i.e. one in which people are asked to refrain from using their phones and tablets during the ceremony. Wedding venues are often very dark, so the device photos are not going to be great anyway (and/or they’re going to cause a lot of distracting flashes), and the devices stop people from being truly present in the moment. I’ve seen people, including parents of the couple, hold their tablets up for the entire ceremony, which means that in every single photograph those people’s faces are blocked by their devices.

Wouldn’t you rather see the look on your loved ones’ faces as they witnessed your marriage? Your loved ones can put away the devices without worry. The moment WILL be recorded; that’s what your professional photographer is there to do. When you hire a photographer, it’s their job to capture the memories so you and your guests can focus on enjoying the experience. My packages all include your digital image files, so you can easily share these with your guests, and they don’t have to worry about not having photos.

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A Discount for Way Out Wedding Readers!!

Mention this blog post when booking with me for a £50 credit towards any prints or products I offer (including wedding albums).


Fun Q&A!

The couple that books me is… creative, quirky, stylish, adventurous, laid-back.

My inspirations come from… fashion, pop culture, art, history, travel, juxtapositions, colour, shapes, lines, light and shadow.

My heroes are… My personal heroes are my parents, siblings and my children. Professionally, there are way too many to mention, but in terms of wedding photography I particularly admire Heather Shuker, Adam Bronkhorst and Brett Florens.

My theme tune is… Julie McKnight’s Diamond Life.

My business name is PhotoMadly because… of an Umberto Eco quote that my now-husband read to me shyly when we were dating as his way of telling me for the first time that he loved me, and the poem I wrote for him in response. Both of them end with a version of the words “love you madly.”

I set it up because… I wanted to make beautiful pictures all the time.

I shouldn’t have a favourite wedding, but it’s totally got to be… I truly don’t have one favourite, though that’s not to say there haven’t been highlights. I’ve been lucky to have really great clients across the board. To name a few: Olivia and Steve’s 1950s camper van themed festival wedding was rockabilly and stylish and impossibly cool. The surprise singing waiters at Sarah and Matt’s wedding led to an entire barn on their feet, cheering, clapping, laughing. Rebekah and Tom hosted an unforgettable DIY wedding breakfast and 2-mile Pied Piper walk across the sunny South Downs. Kamila and Arnie‘s British seaside carnival games were hilariously adorable. Richard and Chris’s London pub wedding stands out for its beautifully relaxed, positive vibe, along with the impeccably photogenic style of a couple in matching suits. Naghum and Dean’s wedding at The Bell Inn in Ticehurst was full of quirky details, while Tanya and Francois’s wedding at The Brighton Pavilion, with riotous colour, palm trees, a topiary elephant, aerialists, stilt walkers and guests dressed in elegant and eccentric costumes, was an unforgettable spectacle.

The next adventure for my business is… looking forward to lots more weddings in 2017!

Follow PhotoMadly

Instagram | @photomadly

Twitter | @photomadly

Facebook | PhotoMadly