As a young photographer, Samm Blake explored multiple genres, earning a degree in communications and making professional forays into the fashion and commercial worlds. But it was the wedding photography she’d gotten into as a student just to make a little money that ended up captivating her. “It was the one type of photography where I was given complete creative freedom,” she explains. “I could be completely myself and have no one telling me how to shoot or what to shoot. I guess I’m stubborn like that.”
Not that her approach is just about her creative druthers. Blake’s shooting style is informed by the lessons in restraint learned from personal documentary projects. “I realized that when I’m quiet, it’s giving room to the couple, because I’m not interjecting,” she says. “That’s where the shots that I really love start to happen.” Blake gives her subjects room to breathe compositionally too, creating a spacious feel that echoes the western Australian landscape where she grew up, even when she’s shooting in her latest base, New York City.
Many of Blake’s clients work in creative fields and appreciate her blend of artistry and documentary, but above all, both they and Blake herself value the moving authenticity her subtle style achieves. “I don’t want it to just be a pretty picture on a wall,” she says of her work. “When somebody looks at my photography, I want their heart to beat faster for a moment.”
See the rest of our Best Wedding Photographers of 2013 list here.