This is Harold Maynard, my grandfather on my mother's side. The picture was taken sometime in the 50s. I didn't know him very well. I was never particularly close to the rest of my extended family. I grew up in the Middle East and came back to the UK to visit for a few days every couple of years or so. We didn't see the rest of the family very often or for very long. My mother passed away back in March 2018 and so any link I may have had to those before her has now gone. My sister and I are the last of my mother's family, the rest exist only in vague memories and a handful of photographs. This is the one photograph of my grandfather that exists as far as I'm aware although it's possible that he may be in some of my mother's wedding photographs.

The why.

All of which brings me to the "WHY" of wedding photography, what's it all about and why do I approach it the way I do? There are several reasons, one of which must be obvious from the above. Partly it's about memory and legacy. We're going to make memories tangible, they may not be your memories alone, you share them with others. The picture above is something like 70 years old, in time these pictures will become part of your legacy.

On your wedding day we have the opportunity to create a unique collection of images, equal parts contemporary art, story of your day and social document. The pictures will remind you how the day felt, it will show others who come after us who you were and what you meant to each other and it will show you and your people in the context of your life.

What I’m interested in is the people, you, your partner, your family and friends. As a photographer interested in relationships and human interaction my intention on the day is to make a record of the people and the event and that’s what makes the pictures different from the other wedding pictures you’ve seen.

I set out to make pictures of your people being themselves and doing real people stuff. They’ve come together all in one place on that day to be with you and celebrate your wedding. They may never all be in the same room together again. The people are the important thing and that’s what I concentrate on. All of these things are the "WHY".

So how?

I believe that there should be no formula approach to a wedding. All people are different. All weddings are different. What is common to all though is a set of beliefs about people, weddings and photography in general. If you look through the wedding press, wedding websites and so on you would be forgiven for thinking that the wedding story is a fairytale. The pictures you see for the large part are contrived, tedious, cheesy and often bear no relation to the personalities of the couples depicted. The pictures are all the same and, frankly, boring.

I’m looking for that story, I’m recording things as they happen, watching and waiting for those moments. I don't use shot lists. I’m not looking for the same pictures as you can see on Pinterest, or in the blogs. I won’t hang your dress in a tree, or balance the rings on the page of a bible to make that twee little heart shaped shadow. There will be no smoke bombs unless you’re getting married on a battlefield. I won't make you stand under the see through brolly in the rain (you know the one). I won't make you pose and I won't interfere with any part of the day just to make a picture, you will get none of that tedious cheese from me.

Yes we can get a couple of family line up shots in there as well if you want them. we’ll do that quickly , painlessly and efficiently – same with a set of pictures of you as a couple together on your wedding day. Quick, painless and efficient and without any of the typical wedding cheese you saw in the blogs (fun fact – one of the big bridal blogs told me my pictures were ‘incompatible with their brand’). And if you don't want to do any of that then we won't.

I want to make pictures for you that you will love and which will be uniquely you. I do this by becoming part of your wedding day. I observe the day and record it from an insider’s perspective, dipping into the stream of the day and lifting moments from it. I won’t ever take over and orchestrate it and I won’t make you do stuff that you just don’t want to do.

You deserve better. I’ll give you the all the moments and the story observed – not orchestrated or arranged. If you’re nodding your head right now – we’re made for each other.


Me – Mike, lover of books, art, films, tea, cats and photography. What else do you need to know? Ask me in an email.

Michael Riley Photography


I am a a multi award winning UK and destination wedding photographer. Based in Devon, I offer wedding coverage throughout the UK and anywhere else in the world for couples who like my work and approach to a wedding.


My wedding photography is entirely unposed, natural & candid. My style is documentary wedding photography or reportage wedding photography which means that I don't intervene in the day for the sake of a shot. I don't pose, interfere or otherwise fuss and faff. Everything is relaxed, laid back and fun allowing for those natural moments to come through and be recorded as memories. You get all the moments observed not orchestrated. If you like the sound of this get in touch via my contact page.

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