The Lens & Light Honor is awarded to twelve photographers each year who are true leaders in the world of wedding photography. We look for photographers who produce stunning, modern, artistic imagery at the frontier of the field and for photographers who have achieved a rare level of success and recognition among brides, fellow photographers, and others in the wedding industry. We are proud to recognize Jeff Ascough with the Lens & Light Honor.
“One of the world’s greatest wedding photographers”
~ Canon Professional
“One of the ten best wedding photographers in the world”
~ American Photo
“A master at shooting by available light”
~ The Washington Post
Known the world over for his stunning documentary-style wedding photography and his work as a Canon Ambassador, Jeff Ascough works to elevate wedding photography to an art form. Inspired by Henri Cartier-Bresson and the work of James Nachtwey. Jeff’s unobtrusive approach yields honest, truthful and timeless images that serve as treasured memories for his brides.
For Jeff, a wedding is a sacred occasion – and the photographer’s role is to capture the unfolding events quietly, simply, without attracting attention. He challenges himself to create his award-winning wedding images by using available light almost exclusively. He shoots deliberately and carefully, crafting each image with incredible care. For Jeff, every picture should stand out. Every single photograph should be both aesthetically appealing and emotionally evocative.
With more than 20 years of wedding photography experience, Jeff has used this documentary storytelling approach to cover more than 1000 wedding assignments. His client roster boasts countless girls-next-door and plenty of celebrities including Kevin Pieterson and Jessica Taylor, Jill Halfpenny and Craig Conway and Radiohead guitarist Ed O’Brien.
How did you get into wedding photography?
I was invited to join my parents fledgling photography business back in 1989. I was actually thinking about doing a degree in Psychology prior to that, but I found that photography was really what I wanted to do in life.
How would you describe your style?
In short I shoot documentary/street style images on a wedding day. My style is unobtrusive but faithful and true to the people and the events that surround the wedding day.
What cameras do you shoot with, what’s your favorite lens, and what’s your favorite accessory other than your cameras/lenses?
I currently shoot with two Canon EOS 1DMKIV cameras. My favourite lens will always be the 50mm f1.2L but I find myself shooting mainly with the 16-35 f2.8LII these days.
How important is post processing in your final images?
It is paramount to my style. With good post processing I can create the image that was in my mind’s eye when I pressed the shutter. For me, capturing the actual image is only the start of making a great picture.
Who or what inspires you to create great imagery?
I have always been inspired by the great documentary/street photographers of the 21st Century, and I guess I always will be. Cartier-Bresson is the biggest influence on my style, his love of composition and the ‘decisive moment’ are ingrained in my photographic soul.
Sebastiao Salgado and his use of light, and the way he has his images printed to bring drama to his pictures are important to me. I also like the way he sees a collection of pictures as being important in telling the story.
I enjoy the work of Gary Winogrand, Eugene Richards and James Nachtwey for their use of space and wide-angle lenses—something which I have noticed in my work over the past couple of years. Then there are legends like Don McCullin who continues to inspire and challenge me when it comes to taking pictures, not just at a wedding. I rarely look at other wedding photography—it just doesn’t interest me at all.
What is the most challenging thing about photographing weddings?
For me it is all about trying to improve my work, season on season. I find actually shooting a wedding really easy and comfortable, as I’ve been doing it for so long now, but I always push and challenge myself to get better images. I still practice different shooting techniques away from the wedding, and I continue to train myself to become a better photographer.
What do you think are the most important trends in wedding photography today?
Honestly. I have no idea. I don’t tend to follow wedding photography.
If not a photographer, what would you want to be?
A criminal psychologist. Psychology is my other passion.