Grant McKelvie is a wedding and fashion photographer based in Ayshire, Scotland. He is the brains behind Dream Day Photography and one of the most influential and respected wedding photographers in the market today. Grant is a qualified member of the Master Photographers Association, The Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers and has been crowned Scottish M.P.A wedding photographer of the year 2015.
How did you become interested and get started in photography?
I bought my first camera, an Olympus m-10, in 1990 and originally photography was just a hobby. But I signed up for a photography night class at Ayr College and became a member of Ayr Photographic Society before doing my HNC in about 1991. At that time I was becoming more serious about photography due to me wanting to be a paparazzi in London.
But instead by 1994 I had fallen into sports photography and was working for about three sports magazines. So I photographing bike races up and down the country, like the Kellogg’s Tour of Britain and all the Scottish mountain bike union races. I used to hang out of cars and all sorts of stuff, it was quite dangerous!
How long have you been a photographer?
Since about 1990.
Did you assist?
Yes I did assist, not for too long but it meant I was taken under a wing and shown the basics of wedding photography.
How would you describe your photographic style?
Our style has been described as wedding photography meets fashion, and we pride ourselves on pushing the boundaries. It might look like we do a lot of posing but it’s also really important to have a laugh, for example, the photograph of the bride and groom’s legs hanging out of the car was taken in a lay by on a really busy road. We had just got everything set up and all these cars went passed hooting their horns and calling, it was great fun!
What type of cameras do you shoot with?
Just now, I use a Canon 1D X, a Canon 5d mark III, a 70-200 2.8, a 24-70 2.8 and a 50mm 1.2, if I want to get a lot of depth of field. I mainly shoot with natural light and occasionally with a hint of video light. The video lights I use are a Lowel ID light, which gives more of a Hollywood glamour look, and an Ice Light, gives a very white light. I don’t use flash too often but if I do use it I’ll only use it off camera.
What is your favourite editing tool?
I use Lightroom and Photoshop.
The best part of your job? And the worst part of your job?
The worst part is the bad weather we get in Scotland, when it decides to rain on us all day. But the flip-side of that is that the bad weather means that you can get some really dramatic pictures. I mean, most of the pictures I’ve won my awards with were taken on really stormy days, when the sky looks like it’s about to explode. Also when it rains it forces us to be a bit more creative, because often you have to think outside the box.
Do you make time for personal photographic work?
At the moment I’m actually working on a personal project, which is unusual for me. Basically, I photograph the homeless people in Glasgow but I light them very specifically because I want it to look very dramatic.
What advice do you have for any photographer just starting out?
Learn the art of photography, learn how to pose people and if possible assist a professional and work your way up. You gain far more knowledge of the craft that way.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Enter competitions and get qualified, because it really boosts your business. It makes you that little bit more sought after because people hear that you’ve won this and that. I mean last year Dream Day Photography won thirteen awards and we’ve won ten so far this year which is all really good stuff. I mean the V.O.W.S is the big thing in Scotland because it’s not based on your photography but on your customer service and we’ve been nominated three times now which is a big thing for us.
If you weren’t a wedding photographer, what would you be doing?
I would do more fashion photography. I love how fashion is just totally mad and wacky.
Are you a Mac or a PC lover?
What talent would you most like to have?
Singing. I mean often if I’m trying to get a bride and groom to look very romantic I’ll sing but that just makes them laugh!
Your favourite film of all time?
What do you love to indulge in?
My wife and I do quite a lot of travelling. We try to go to Venice and Las Vegas at least once a year which is great because we often arrange a little shoot while we’re there.
If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
Venice. I love the golden hour.
First thing you would do if you won the lottery?
Buy a Lamborghini and then a house in Venice!
For your business, what is the best thing on theimagefile?
Theimagefile are just fantastic, it really is the best thing I ever did. Your sales area is great but the whole package is just fantastic. Since joining theimagefile our sales have doubled and I recommend it to everyone.