Kristian Leven Headshot

Interview with: Kristian Leven

Company Name: Kristian Leven Photography

Location / Coverage: London, UK, Destination

How did the business get started and who works at Kristian Leven Photography?

I think the same way many of these photography businesses have started recently – having a passion for storytelling and taking pictures, and realising one of the best events to express that is on a wedding day. At the time I didn’t know that, but I took my camera to a friend of a friend’s wedding, uploaded the pictures to Facebook and got a response that made me feel I might be onto something! On a wedding day it’s just me, as I like to keep things as informal and relaxed as possible, and I feel that when there’s another photographer, guests can start to feel they’re being ‘photographed’, and I just want them to continue enjoying the day and forget I’m there.

Silhouette of horsee and cart - Picture by Kristian Leven Photography

Had you always wanted to be a photographer?

Funnily enough, no! I did always like to be the centre of attention growing up though, and actually wanted to be an actor, but quickly realised I probably wasn’t as good as I needed to be. When I think about it, it’s strange that I fell into documentary photography where, whilst there’s a need to be in the centre of the action, you’re very much trying not to be the centre of attention.

Groom looking down at candles - Picture by Kristian Leven Photography

Which areas of the UK do you cover?

All over 🙂

Can you remember how old you were when you took your first picture? What was it of?

I actually thought about this the other day, and got it down to when I was 7, and being handed the expensive looking camera on the table by my Uncle, I think. We were all outside in the garden and I just took pictures of the trees, the sun in the sky and my cousins running around in the grass.

Bride walking down the stairs - Picture by Kristian Leven Photography

How would you describe your photography style?

Unobtrusive, natural, emotive.

What do you feel will set you apart from other wedding photographers?

I guess I’m someone who focuses on the story, and keep the B&G shots to a minimum. I don’t want to turn the day into a fashion shoot; I like to concentrate on the human element, and the relationships and interactions we have with each other.

Bride smiling during wedding speech - Picture by Kristian Leven Photography

What packages do you offer and what are your rates?

I used to have time-based packages, but I felt everyone got a lot more out of the day when I was there the entire time. That way couples didn’t have to stress about how long I was there for, and I could relax and know I had a full day to tell the story properly. For 2013 bookings the Full Day rate is £1800, which means I’m there when the couple feel I need to be there, and I leave once all the evening action is well underway.

Bride and groom on dancefloor - Picture by Kristian Leven Photography

What is the best thing about the job?

I’m a bit of a softie to be honest, and I’ll have to say one of the best things is being there for the groom’s speech. I’ll admit, I have been known to well up behind the camera when I hear the groom bearing his soul to the room about the woman sat next to him. It’s an incredibly moving experience.

Man crying at wedding - Picture by Kristian Leven Photography

Do you have a specialist area of photography?

Any kind of documentary photography, whether it’s travel, wedding or street.

Who/what are your influences?

They change all the time really; I’m constantly keeping an eye out for great photography. When I first began I never looked at wedding photography for inspiration, but it’s incredible how high the standard is now to when I first started. It helps raise my game and keep me pushing on, being inquisitive and always aiming to reach the next level.

Bride and groom in between doors - Picture by Kristian Leven Photography

Do you have a favourite picture that you have taken (If you can choose!)?

Wow, that is such a toughie. It’s not necessarily my favourite, but it’s one that pops into my head when I think about my portfolio. It’s a picture of two toddlers sleeping on a wooden cabinet during the evening reception. It was taken in November 2009, at the very first wedding I photographed. I remember subsequently getting asked a lot if I placed them there, but that’s exactly how I found them. In many respects it encompasses my aims on a wedding day – to take pictures that aren’t necessarily wedding pictures, but a snapshot in time. This moment also taught me two valuable lessons – to always be aware, and to never go anywhere without a camera around my shoulder.

Young children laying down on cabineter - Picture by Kristian Leven Photography

What is your top tip for choosing a wedding photographer?

Make sure you know the style that you want, not what’s fashionable or trendy today, or what your family or friends want for you. It will make such a difference to the experience you have, and you’ll enjoy the day all the more for it.

Bride through window - Picture by Kristian Leven Photography

Random question… If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Two countries came to mind when I thought of that – Argentina and New Zealand; two of the most picturesque countries I’ve ever had the fortune of going to.

Where can people find out more about Kristian Leven Photography?

Pin It on Pinterest