York Place Studios
Photography & Videography Training

Just a fraction of a second ...
... can be the difference between a great photograph and an unusable one. A few footsteps, a slight turn of the head; any delay can cost you the shot. Photography therefore relies on an element of luck - of finding yourself in the right place at precisely the right time for something completely unplanned and unpredictable to unfold in front of you. But to consistently deliver not one, but an expansive collection of spontaneous moments throughout every single part of a wedding day, being lucky is not about chance, it’s an art form.


York Place Studios
On the unposed image
"Is there a better book on documentary wedding photography out there? I don’t think so."
- This Is Reportage
Coming July 2023
limited first-edition print run
Is This Something?
A guide to capturing the unposed image
through the lens of a wedding day.
Liam Shaw & Dominique Shaw
(York Place Studios)
Preconceptions are the enemy of creativity. Take away any assumed expectations and you find new opportunities everywhere you look ...
In this 300+ page exploration of the documentary artform, brother & sister duo Liam & Dominique Shaw reveal their photographic process and philosophies in full. Read their ideas, see their settings, examine their contact-sheets and discover their methods, settings and techniques throughout every stage of a wedding day, from the big "set pieces" to the most seemingly insignificant moments.
"After reading, I felt so inspired and invigorated that - even after shooting over 350 weddings - the next time I photographed I saw and captured some of my favourite-ever images. I also felt less pressure, less anxiety, because I was shooting what sung to me - and, after all, capturing those things was what my couples have hired me for. A true win-win."
- Alan Law

The authors: Liam Shaw & Dominique Shaw

On a day typically dominated by scheduled set pieces and traditional, recurring events, Liam & Dominique's uncanny ability to create big photographs from tiny moments and find magic in apparent mundanity has forged an instantly recognisable style. Their unposed, documentary approach and refusal to conform to any preconceived ideas of what wedding photographs should look like has driven continued innovation in a field always at risk of becoming repetitive. Through it they have honed an eye for the unusual, a penchant for photographic humour and, most importantly, found real joy and creative fulfilment in their work. "Is This Something" is written with the aim of helping others to find that same joy - not to instruct but to inspire self discovery; sharing nearly 17 years of experimentations, conversations and experience in the field of wedding photography.

The question that forms the title of this book is one that goes to the heart of documentary photography, whether shooting weddings, street or any other scene of spontaneous occurence. To step back from the scripted story and embrace the unpredictable it's not about fast reactions, it's about seeing the chemistry of a photograph long before the 'moment' emerges. It's about seeing potential where nobody else in the room ever thought to look, about learning to 'control' the uncontrollable, make hidden connections and see the world through shape and composition. And ultimately, under the mandate and ambition to creatively capture original and engaging photographs, it's about consistently finding yourself in the right place at the right time to capture something powerful and surprising, something that exceeds not just the viewer's expectations, but their (and your own) imagination.
Is This Something is a thorough examination of every aspect of documentary wedding photography and the processes, tips and techniques that can help in capturing original, spontaneous stories. From the intricacies of spacing and composition to the control points that can be used to 'predict the unpredictable' and find light in the dark; Is This Something explores not just the process but the mindset of the documentary photographer, offering helpful insights for anyone seeking to see more photographic opportunities at a wedding or in everyday life.
Street influences
Photographing 'nothing'
Shooting flash-free
Embracing spontaneity
“We are often asked why we don’t pose anything. Why we’d spend an hour waiting for two things to come together rather than just put them side by side in a room. But for us there’s a joy in the hunt, magic in the unlikelihood of the occurrence. It’s the difference between seeing an elephant in the wild and seeing one in the zoo.”