A rather tongue in cheek title for this blog as is there such a thing as a typical wedding? There really shouldn’t be as every wedding should be unique as one of the most special days a couple will ever experience. This is one reason that I personally prefer not to photograph too many weddings each year as I want to maintain that special feeling and ensure that I treat each occasion as a truly once in a lifetime experience; rather than just one on a conveyer belt which is the danger if you are shooting several a week.
I was super pleased, however, to be asked to photograph Emma and Matt’s wedding day recently; not least as they were keen to have natural photographs taken in a very relaxed, informal way which is just what I love to do. Their rustic style wedding was planned to be held in beautiful rural setting in a field looking over the Salcombe Estuary so it was important to me to arrange our face-to-face meeting at the venue at roughly the same time as the ceremony a couple of weeks before the day so I could check how the sunlight was falling as well as ensuring I really understood what the couple themselves want to capture. It is always, always important for me to remember that this is not the photographers’ day, and my role is to support and not direct; to be in the background rather than an impediment to the wedding itself.
The day finally came, and I arrived at the lovely B&B where the bride and her party were getting ready. As Emma had requested, I made sure that I captured lots of natural, unposed moments of her with her family and friends and remained as unobtrusive as possible. I like to think that I am a very friendly person and I love to spend time getting to know the people that I am photographing so I can get them to relax and enjoy the experience. This was easy with Emma and her friends, and I managed to get some lovely shots of the bridal party having their hair and make-up done as well as getting stylish shots of the dress and gorgeous train.
I then popped down to the venue to get some of those important details of table settings, flowers and those individual touches that the couple had spent so much time and effort selecting. Its always good to get these images “in the bag” before the guests arrive when your focus has then got to be placed on the ceremony and being in the right place at the right time.
Next was back to photograph the bridal party getting on board their transport to the venue and it has to be said that this was a first for me as their “carriage” was a sunflower strewn tractor and trailer with hay bales as seats! Luckily the journey was only a couple of hundred yards and their arrival to the delight of the guests was fabulous to capture.
Another first was ensuring that the video was set up to record the bride and grooms’ oldest daughter singing a beautiful rendition of the Etta James’ classic “At Last” as the bride walked up the aisle on the arm of her father. I have not previously offered videography as well as photography but having invested in a microphone, third camera and special tripod and having an assistant available this was something I will be doing more of. This also allowed me to put together a combined stills and video set to music on my new YouTube channel which made a very special memento of the day.
The rest of the day went amazingly fast with me busily capturing lots of natural shots of those lovely special moments despite the wonderfully sunny conditions (lovely for the bride and groom but always challenging for the photographer!).
I left group photos until the early evening which is something I sometimes prefer to do. Not only is the late afternoon light much more beautiful but the bride, groom and guests are more relaxed and having had chance to catch up with everyone, much more amenable to spending a little time on photographs. The backdrop of the sun setting over the estuary at high tide was breathtaking and made placement of the groups a no brainer. Backlighting like this does need additional light to illuminate faces which I achieved by setting up my mobile flashes (Godox AD300 Pro for those who are interested in these things; one of the best lighting systems around in my view). Rather than dictate lots of awkward forced poses, I let each group arrange themselves fairly naturally but by ensuring they engaged with both me and each other I captured some lovely images.
Then we were into the evening reception and shooting dancing and singing (another one of the couples super talented daughters) as well as that special first dance; a little later than usual maybe but as stated at the start of this blog; there is no such thing as a typical wedding!
If you think my style of photography would suit your special day then drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can have a chat.