5 Tips For Working With Your Wedding Photographer

Wedding Advice

So you’ve booked your wedding photographer, what next? After all, there’s months to go until your actual wedding date. Do you just wait for them to show up on your wedding day and start clicking away? Actually, no. So here are my 5 top tips for working with your wedding photographer up to your wedding day.

Stay in touch

Rowton Castle Wedding Photography Shropshire

Make sure you stay in touch with your wedding photographer throughout. Keep them informed of how your wedding planning and arrangements are going and keep them informed of any changes that may arise. And definitely ask for advice during this time, even if it has nothing to do with photography! Wedding photographers are usually the most wedding experienced of all your wedding suppliers, after all there’s no other wedding vendor who spends as much time with you on your wedding day. So we usually know about about weddings and have good links with others in the wedding industry. So use your wedding photographer like a free wedding planner and tap them for as much advice, tips and suggestions as you can. Email, phone, tweet or text. Just make sure you stay in touch.

Share photo ideas

Woodlands Park Hotel Surrey Wedding Photography

Throughout your wedding planning and the build up to your wedding day, you’re going to see literally hundreds of photos for everything wedding related – from portraits of smiling couples through to macro shots of wedding cake decoration. If any really connect with you, then share these photo ideas with your wedding photographer. But be realistic too, if you find a beautiful photo of a couple embraced on top of an Alpine mountain, but your getting married at Sutton Registry Office, it’s unlikely your wedding photographer is going to be able to recreate the same image for you. But all the same, even so, photos can still give your wedding photographer an idea of the moods, compositions and edits you are drawn too. It’s all helpful. A better informed wedding photographer will provide you with wedding photography that is the perfect match for you.

Have a pre-wedding shoot

Greenwich London pre wedding photography

If your wedding photographer offers a pre-wedding shoots, then definitely take them up on it. Not only will you get some lovely images of the pair of you in the relative calm of the weeks before your wedding day, but it’s also a great way for you and your photographer to get to better know one another before the wedding. This usually means the photographer will get an idea about how you both are in front of the camera and you will feel more comfortable. Come your wedding day your photographer won’t feel like a stranger and you’ll feel much more at ease, which can only mean one thing…better wedding photos! You can find details of my pre-wedding shoots here.

Provide a shot list

Woodlands Park Hotel Surrey Wedding Photography

A week or so before your wedding day it’s a good idea to provide your wedding photographer with a shot list. You don’t normally need to include things like the first kiss, cutting the cake or the first dance on it…after all this should be expected of a professional wedding photographer. Instead include details of the different family and group shots you will want on the day. The better prepared this all is, the smoother and more enjoyable it will be on the wedding day itself. Also, if there’s any specific or unusual shots you may want during the day, now’s the time to let your wedding photographer know. For example, perhaps there’s a secret spot at the wedding venue where you’d like a photo taking that wouldn’t be entirely obvious on the day. Providing this a week or so before means you’ll have a chance to discuss it properly and get further suggestions back.

Final timings and details

One the top UK wedding photojournalists captures the father of the bride nervously checking the time during the bridal preparations in Moulton, Northamptonshire

Also, during the last week, you’ll want to ensure you’ve agreed things like the times you’ll want your wedding photographer to be with you in the morning. This is often something you won’t know until shortly before your wedding day. It’s also a good time to give alternate contact details in the event if changes or emergencies. Ideally you want to do all this a few days before your wedding day, as then it’ll leave you free to concentrate on other things during the last few days…or have a few relaxing days if you are really well planned, organised and extremely lucky.

So yes it pays to keep talking, planning and bouncing ideas off your wedding photographer in the build up to your day. Of course, if you’ve booked a professional wedding photographer worthy of the name, they’ll be pretty proactive in doing all this anyway and building a relationship with you that will go up to and well beyond your wedding day. But hopefully these 5 tips are helpful just in case!

If you’re getting married and would like to chat with me about your wedding plans, please do give me a call on 07920 422144 or send me a message via my contact page. I’ll be delighted to hear from you.

Littleton House Wedding Photography – Shepperton Studios, Surrey

Wedding Stories

When Chloe and Dan told me they were getting married at a film studio I thought they were joking. I mean it’s only celebs and Hollywood A listers who would be so extravagant, surely?  But Littleton House is a Surrey wedding venue that is set within the Shepperton Studios, itself part of the renowned Pinewood film studios.

A 17th century manor house set within the hangers of a film studio is certainly one of the more unique and unusual wedding venues I have ever had the pleasure to shoot at…but it’s that uniqueness that makes it one of the best Surrey wedding venues.

Ashford Bridal Preparations

Littleton House Surrey Wedding Photography

As usual I turned up at Dan and Chloe’s home in Ashford, Surrey a couple of hours before the wedding ceremony at Littleton House, in order to document the bridal preparations. It would be fair to say it was one of the more relaxed bridal preparations I’ve captured, with plenty of smiles and laughs – although there were a few tears that flowed once Chloe got into her beautiful wedding dress.

A Different Perspective

Littleton House Surrey Wedding Photography

It was then just a short drive over to Shepperton, for the main part of the wedding day at Littleton House, where Dan and his groomsmen had already arrived. One of the great things about the venue is the chance to shoot down from an upper floor, directly above where the wedding ceremony takes place – and of course as wedding photographer I took full advantage of that.

A Walk Through The Woods

Littleton House Surrey Wedding Photography

Another lovely thing about Littleton House for wedding photography is the opportunity to take some portraits in a small woods, beside a stream, just at the back of the studios. This was perfect to get some more formal portraits of the happy couple, before returning back to the main house for the meal, speeches and evening wedding reception.

A Unique Surrey Wedding Venue

Littleton House Surrey Wedding Photography

As a wedding photojournalist a wedding a Littleton House provides so many opprtunities to capture all the natural emotions and genuine moments that make up the wedding story, against such a fantastic and unique Surrey wedding venue.

Wedding Fun & The Damage Done

Littleton House Surrey Wedding Photography

And, despite the fact I managed to smash the electronic viewfinder on one of my Olympus OMD EM5 camera bodies and chipped the glass of my Olympus Pro 7-14mm zoom lens during the day, it was a fanastic day at such a great wedding venue in Surrey.

I hope you enjoy a small selection of the wedding photography from their day and please do feel free to share across social media.

Getting Married? Contact me!

Littleton House Surrey Wedding Photography

If you’re getting married at Littleton House in Surrey, or elsewhere, and enjoy my natural, candid and unobtrusive approach to wedding photography then I’d love to chat with you about your wedding plans. You can call me on 07920 422144 or send me details via my contact page and I’ll be delighted to get back to you.

Littleton House Surrey Wedding Photography

And now the rest of the small selection of wedding photography from Chloe & Dan’s Surrey wedding day…

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5 Reasons Why Professional Wedding Photography Matters

Wedding Advice

So you’re getting married. You’ve most probably sorted the wedding venue and what you’re going to wear on the wedding day itself. Now your thoughts are likely turning to booking a wedding photographer. After all, everyone has one, don’t they? But maybe you’re wondering why. Why spend potentially thousands of pounds on a photographer to take photos of your day? After all, your guests will be taking photos all day, why go to that expense? Especially when one or two of them might be semi-decent photographers in their own right.

Well, let me give you 5 very good reasons why professional wedding photography matters.

1. One hundredth of a second that lasts a lifetime.

Kislingbury Wedding Photography Northampronshire

When I capture those moments, emotions and stories of your wedding I’m re-telling your special and unique wedding story. A story you can revisit, cherish and enjoy months, years, decades or even generations later. Not you just between yourselves, but with friends and family…even family and friends who don’t even exist in your lives yet. It’s one of the most important days of your life, so of course you’ll want a record of it to enjoy and share long after the venue, food, drinks and even costumes have long gone. Why wouldn’t you?

2.  It’s more than just your wedding story.

AlexWoodyPortLow-80

The great thing about my unobtrusive and photojournalistic approach is that I document parts of the days and chapters of your wedding story you missed or didn’t even really was happening. As the wedding couple you’ll be in demand on the day. You’ll be so busy there’s lots from your actual day you won’t see. That’s where I step in…capturing a look here, a kiss there, a laugh elsewhere. A professional wedding photographer is another pair of eyes for you on the day, so you can enjoy your day as it happens and love the entire story afterwards.

3. It’s art, baby.

Hyatt Regency Churchil London Wedding Photography

How often in life do you get the chance to get beautiful and artistic photos of you by someone dedicated to doing that? Some of my previous wedding couples have turned their wedding photos into beautiful wall art, cool coffee table books and even cards to send out. In the hands of an experienced expert you’ll get more than just snapshots of the day. And let’s be honest, the world is a much nicer place with art in it.

4.  It brings people together

Charlene David Holy Ghost Luton Wedding

As a wedding photographer I love how my very presence at a wedding can act as a real positive. Sometimes I’ll put the camera up to my eye and people will grab hold of one another, hug someone, laugh with others or just simply kiss. People love playing up to a camera (especially after a drink or two!). Then afterwards people get to get together to enjoy looking at the photos. You can laugh hysterically over them, cringe at theme or just smile pleasantly – there’s not many things like photos that can have that effect. Yes, wedding photography really can act as a unifying bond.

5.  A master of wedding photography

Harlestone Village Institute Wedding Photography Northants

Having a professional shoot your wedding means you have someone with the experience and ability to deal with all the difficulties and problems that can arise…and still deliver that wonderful wedding story and beautiful art for you. Low light, knowledge of composition, all the equipment, etc We’ve been there, done it and delivered…many countless times before. Your guests most probably haven’t and even if they have a decent camera, chances are they’ve never had to deal with the pressures and demands of shooting a wedding before. That’s why professional wedding photography really does matter.

So yes, in an age where phones are cameras, Instagram filters can make most photos look cool and everyone thinks they’re a photographer, professional wedding photography still really matters.

If you’re getting married and would like to chat with me about your wedding plans, please do give me a call on 07920 422144 or send me a message via my contact page. I’ll be delighted to hear from you.

How To Tie A Cravat

Wedding Advice

If there’s one thing that comes up at nearly each and every wedding I attend as the wedding photographer, it’s the groom and grooms-men all struggling to tie up a cravat.  It can all be very reminiscent of getting ready for that first day at school.  Most probably much of this is down to wedding day nerves, as it’s not too dissimilar to actually doing up a tie, so I thought I’d dedicate a post on how to tie a cravat.

I must admit though I didn’t realise there were actually 3 different ways of doing it. The process for tying a casual cravat and the traditional wedding cravat is very similar, except with the casual cravat you’re looking to create a puffed out look, whereas the wedding cravat tends to be smooth and flat.  There’s also the Scrunchie Wedding Cravat, which starts off as a traditional wedding cravat, but an extra step is added at the end to tuck the front flap into the knot, as if you were tying a tie.

Anyway, rather than me attempting to describe it here, the following link to those helpful people over at Swagger and Swoon who will explain all 3 ways in a much more visual and expert way:

https://www.swaggerandswoon.com/guides/how-to-tie-a-wedding-casual-cravat.php

I hope you find it useful.

If you are getting married and enjoy my natural and storytelling approach to wedding photojournalism, then I’d love to hear all about your wedding plans.  You can give me a call on 07920 422144 or send a message via my contact page. I look forward to hearing from you.

Back In The Day: Long Shadows At Crockwell Farm

Back in the Day

A Random Look Back Through My Wedding Photography Archives

It’s hard to believe that Jo and Paul’s wonderful wedding at Crockwell Farm in Eydon, Northamptonshire was well over a year ago now.

It was a truly beautiful morning in the Northamptonshire countryside and the early rural mist had given way to a brilliant winter sun that bode so well for the wedding day ahead.

I had been heading out from where the bridal preparations were taking place, in a quaint little cottage on the farm grounds, to go and take some detail shots of where the bride and groom and their guests would be eating later in the day, when luck would have it and the groom arrived with his young son.

As they helped carry some bridal flowers from the car, the low morning sun cast some dramatic shadows of them walking across the parking area to the beautiful wedding venue . Being such a graphic image, it was perfect for black and white, and is a lovely example of the morning preparations before the wedding day itself got started more fully.

It’s these kind of little stories within the bigger story of the wedding day that I am so drawn to as a storytelling wedding photojournalist.

Are you getting married at Crockwell Farm in Eydon, Northamptonshire, or elsewhere, and like my natural storytelling approach to wedding photography? Then I’d love to hear all about your wedding plans. You can call me now on 07920 422144 or send me a mail via my Contact Page. I look forward to hearing from you.

Rowton Castle Wedding Photography: An International Love Story

Rowton Castle Shropshire, Shropshire wedding venues, Wedding Stories

Maria & Peter’s Amazing Wedding Story at Rowton Castle in Shropshire

As far as love stories go, Maria and Peter’s is pretty much an international love affair which relied upon a good deal of luck and, arguably, twists of fate.  Maria, who is from California in the US, was asked by her company a few year ago if she would travel to Ireland to do some training there.  As chance would have it Peter, who is originally from Hampshire in the UK, was out in Ireland working at the time and, of course, as fate would have it, the pair of them met and eventually fell in love.

Rowton Castle Wedding Photography Shropshire

Then 2 years ago the opportunity of working in the US came up and Peter didn’t hesitate at taking the job and joining his beloved Maria out in the States. The international connections don’t end there though, as Maria’s family are of Hispanic origins and Peter’s are of Scottish heritage – so the wedding offered up a real mix of proud and passionate cultures. This meant my storytelling approach to weddings would be perfect for such a unique wedding day.

Having decided on getting married in the UK, the couple sought out a wedding venue that would project the feel and mood of a traditional English wedding. Rowton Castle is among the most romantic and magical castle venues in the UK so was definitely a perfect setting for Maria and Peter’s wonderful wedding story.

Rowton Castle Wedding Photography Shropshire

Of course, the next step for Maria and Peter was finding a wedding photographer.  I had previously photographed Kara and Jason’s wedding up at Rowton Castle during the summer of 2012 and Maria came across those photos online and the rest is history – I was booked to document another Rowton Castle wedding.

As you might expect, what with it being February in Shropshire, it poured with rain on the wedding day itself, but that didn’t dampen spirits during Maria’s bridal preparations. With friends and family supporting her and English (with a definite American twang) and Spanish being flung around it definitely had a more exotic feel than normal and I was determined to perfectly capture all the moments that arose.

Rowton Castle Wedding Photography Shropshire

Make-up duties were expertly handled by the fun Nat Ravenscroft, whose fab work you can see more of on her website and Facebook Page.  Hair duties were as equally expertly handled by the friendly Emily Jayne Pitt, whose talented hairdressing you can see more of on her Facebook Page.  With so much going on, where you looked, it meant there were loads of great opportunities for me to capture as a documentary wedding photographer.

Rowton Castle Wedding Photography Shropshire

The ceremony saw Peter and his side of the family all adorned in traditional kilts, complete with the family’s exclusive tartan , whilst Maria’s bridal party looked stunning in beige dresses – all made even more stunning by the brilliant orange bouquets that complimented the floral theme throughout – created by the wonderfully talented florist Julie Nicholas, whose  amazing floral creations can be further seen on her website.

Rowton Castle Wedding Photography Shropshire

With the weather still wet and cold outside, it was a case of shooting the traditional portraits around the staircase inside the castle – but with it being such a beautiful venue, that wasn’t too much of a challenge.  After the amusing and moving speeches and toasts it was onto the traditional cake cutting. Maria and Peter had opted for a beautiful looking and delicious naked wedding cake – which was brilliantly created by the talented Karen Weaver, whose tasty wedding cakes can be viewed on her website.

Rowton Castle Wedding Photography Shropshire

Evening entertainment was laid on by the fantastic DJ Will Tudor, a man who will get every wedding dancing and every face smiling.  You can find out more about Will on his website. With so much fun and laughter happening, it meant there was so many smiles and expressions for me to document and ensure the wedding story finished as it started…with much fun!

Rowton Castle Wedding Photography Shropshire

I’m sure you will agree, from the small selection of photos below, Maria and Peter had a wonderful wedding at Rowton Castle.

Are you getting married at Rowton Castle or elsewhere and enjoy my relaxed and unobtrusive wedding photojournalism approach then I’d love to hear all about your wedding plans.  You can call me on 07920 422144 or send me a message via my contact page.

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Posed wedding portrait at Rowton Castle, Shropshire.

My 5 Favourite…Posed Wedding Portraits

Five Favourites

Whilst I consider myself a wedding photojournalist who predominantly employs a candid and unobtrusive storytelling approach to wedding photography, I also realise that most couples will want some traditional and posed portraits on the wedding day too…and, of course, I am more than happy to oblige!

So here are 5 of my favourite posed portraits from some of the weddings I have shot.

#1. Intimate, Tender & So Natural

Northamptonshire wedding photography at Sedgebrook Hall in Chapel Brampton, Northants

Even when shooting posed portraits it’s still possible to capture some natural and candid moments, as this portrait from Emily & Phil’s wedding at Sedgebrook Hall in Northamptonshire demonstrates.

I always find, when getting portraits of the couple, it’s best to take them away from the guests for a short while. Not only do the couple appreciate a bit of quiet time they also much more comfortable having portraits shot without all the guests looking on.

I’d found a quiet little spot at Sedgebrook Hall and was setting up and shooting more formal portraits. In-between these shots Phil, naturally and completely un-coerced, lent forward and placed a tender and loving kiss on Emily’s shoulder.  Thankfully, due to my wedding photojournalism instincts, I was alive to this split second moment and was able to capture it for posterity!

#2 The Wedding Portrait Destined To Be

A posed wedding portrait in Worthing, West Sussex

When I first met Imogen and Seb to discuss their wedding in Worthing, East Sussex, I had a “vision” of Imogen in a field of golden corn.  Cue  to the morning of their wedding day, I happened to mention to my assistant for the day this vision I’d had months earlier.

Lo-and-behold and, completely unbeknown to me, there was actually a cornfield opposite the church in which they were married. So after their Mormon wedding ceremony and before we headed off for a second service at the Mormon Temple, I took the opportunity to take Imogen and Seb into the cornfield and capture a beautiful posed portrait of them.

Aside from it being a wedding portrait that was destined to be, it also screams beautiful Sussex to me and is a fantastic memory of their late summer wedding on the coast!

#3. Be Humble Enough To Be Guided

Wedding reportage photography at South Lodge hotel in Horsham, West Sussex

Once again a wedding in West Sussex, this time Kelly and Ryan’s wedding day at the South Lodge Hotel near Horsham.  One of things I have learnt on a wedding day is never to full into the trap of being as arrogant as to think you always know best.  I often hear stories from wedding couples who talk about arrogant and bossy wedding photographers who won’t listen to anyone else and simply do what they think is best.

On this occasion the Toastmaster who had been at the venue a number of times suggested to me that I take the bride and groom away to a beautiful “secret garden” within the grounds of South Lodge – and I was happy to take his advice!

And, as you can see, it really was a magical setting complete with it’s own mini waterfall.  Had I not taken someone else’s advice I would have missed this opportunity altogether for a fabulous wedding portrait!

#4 Utilise Your Surroundings

Posed wedding portrait at Rowton Castle, Shropshire.

This bridal party portrait from Kara and Jason’s wedding at Rowton Castle in Shropshire came about from taking in one’s surroundings and being prepared to try things out.

I had already got a number of safe and more traditional portraits in the bag, when I noticed these 4 garden tables and chairs running down one side of the gardens.  As fortune would have it, there was 4 bridesmaids so I straightaway thought…why not?  I feel like I had a shot from somewhere in the back of my mind that may have influenced it but after quickly bring a chair down for the bride and ensuring I shot with enough depth of field (a little unusual from my usual approach) and captured this gorgeous and well balanced portrait.

So always think about your surroundings and never be afraid to try out things you have seen elsewhere…or that you imagined as may have been the case here!

#5 Most of All Have Fun!

East Sussex wedding portrait at the Roebuck in Forest Row.

I love to have fun at weddings when the opportunity arises. This is yet another choice from a wedding in Sussex, this time Nicole and Eugene’s wedding reception at the Roebuck Hotel in Forest Row, East Sussex.Not all wedding portraits have to be serious and overly posed and it really helps to have a wedding couple who are equally up for fun and willing to try out anything you do suggest, no matter how silly or crazy it sounds! Nicole and Eugene were exactly that kind of couple!

So when I suggested that we stage a shot where Nicole tries to rescue Eugene from being taken off by some balloons, that didn’t bat an eyelid and just got on with.  You can tell they were really having fun with the idea…and what’s a wedding if you can’t have a little fun on the day?

If you are getting married and enjoy how I mix in some more posed portraits with my normal candid and photojournalistic approach to wedding photography then I’d love to chat with you about your wedding plans.  You can call me on +44 (0)7920 422144 0r send me a message via my contact page. I’ll be delighted to hear from you.

My 5 Favourite…series looks at some of my favourite themed photos from across the weddings I shoot.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed shooting them.

Ashridge House wedding photography of the bride and groom cutting the wedding cake

10 Things You Should Know About Cutting The Wedding Cake

Blog Article, Wedding Advice

Tradition of Wedding Cake Cutting

It’s one of the big traditions of the wedding day – like the first kiss, best man’s speech and the first dance – that everyone looks forwards to.  As a wedding photographer it’s one of those parts of the day I know I have to capture and document for your wedding story.

You will have spent time thinking about and ordering your wedding cake: the style, the flavours, the icing, the decoration etc. as well as including it as an important part of your wedding budget. But there’s one thing I do notice having been a wedding photographer at a lot of weddings now, when it comes to cutting the cake, a lot of wedding couples aren’t sure on the traditions and etiquette around cutting the wedding cake.

So I thought it would be useful and helpful to pull together 10 important things you need to know about cutting your wedding cake.

1. Wedding Cake Traditions

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Wedding cakes are a tradition that grew out of the ancient ritual of baking bread as a ritual union.  In fact, the wedding cake itself is a fairly relatively modern take on this ritual.  For centuries it was bread that was baked for a wedding and would then literally be broken over the bride’s head to symbolise her break from life as a single woman.  This tradition is still carried out in some parts of the world today, including Scotland where Scottish Shortbread will be used instead of bread.  So that tasty looking wedding cake on your wedding day is there for good reason.

2. Where to Place the Wedding Cake

Horsham South Lodge hotel wedding photography of the Wordsworth Room

Something that is very often overlooked is where to have your wedding cake placed both before the cake cutting and at the time of it.  Inevitably it tends to get shoved into a corner of the room, maybe to keep it out of the way and safe from accidents, but corners tend to be a drab part of the room where you find plugs, hooks, fire extinguishers and all other bits ‘n’ pieces also shoved out of the way – and as a wedding photographer I can assure you these can look quite ugly in your wedding photography…not ideal companions for your beautiful wedding cake!

Tradition dictates that your wedding cake should be visible during the speeches and toasts.  Whether you choose to make it a feature of the top table, at the center of the room or elsewhere is a personal choice but you’ll have to consider if you will be moving it to somewhere else for the actual cutting – so think about the logistics and practical nature of moving it if required.

The important thing is to make sure its in a place that everyone can see it clearly when you do cut it and try to remember to stand to one side so your wedding guests can photograph and film this important part of the day.  As your wedding photographer I will always suggest you find a spot that will give lots of creative and beautiful options for your final wedding photography. But as a wedding photojournalist I won’t dictate where that should be 🙂

3. When to Cut a Wedding Cake

Northamptonshire wedding photography at Sedgebrook Hall in Chapel Brampton, Northants

Again there is a tradition for when a wedding cake should be cut, which is immediately after the main meal.  This is because traditionally a slice of wedding cake was served as the actual desert to your wedding guests.  These days though, separate desserts are usually part of the whole wedding breakfast meal provided by the wedding venue, so I find most brides and grooms will undertake the cutting of the wedding cake at the start of the evening reception.  Either way, just be clear on when you will be cutting the cake and ensure the venue staff are clear and, of course, your wedding photographer – so he or she can be in place to ensure this important moment is documented for your wedding story.

4. Announce When the Cake Will be Cut

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Having thought about where and when your wedding cake will be cut it’s important that you have an announcement made that the wedding cake is about to be cut.  This will ensure all your wedding guests are there to see it and no one will miss out on a special moment of you big day.

Of course, you will want to consider who will be make that announcement.  Again tradition would dictate that it is the job of the Best Man to make this announcement but this is simply because the cake cutting would come at the end of the speeches and the Best Man’s speech would traditionally be last.

If you have a toastmaster you may ask them to make the announcement or the DJ/Band if it’s at the start of the evening reception.  There have been occasions, as wedding photographer, I’ve made the announcement on behalf of the wedding coupe.

Whoever you choose, or whatever way you decide to do it, it’s just important to have it announced so no one misses the moment.

5. Making an Event of the Cutting

Northampton wedding photographer captures the wedding singer, Joe Seagar, serenading the bride and groom during the cutting of the wedding cake, at the Saracen's Head in Little Brington, Northamptonshire.

You may not want to make such an event of the wedding cake cutting, but some couples do like to have certain music played during the cutting or even have a special reading before (or after) the cake is cut.  So if you want to make the cutting a big part of your wedding day then do think about the kind of music you want playing, how you will “turn up” to cut the cake (a big introduction to applause, fireworks,  etc.) and any special speeches you will want to make – this would be nice if a relative or friend made the cake for you.

Of course, you may not want to make such an event of it which is more than fine, but its important to at least think about how you want to do it.  It’s all too regular for wedding couples to think about it just moments before it’s about to happen and that’s never a good time to be making such a decision.

6. What to Cut a Wedding Cake With

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This might seem an odd one – after all, you cut a wedding cake with a knife, right?  So is that going to be any old knife that is lying around or do you want to have something a little more memorable – after all, with your wedding photography it’s going to be something that’s documentend for evermore.

Some couples have something special engraved on the blade – perhaps a loving message or something that records the place and date.  Or you may think a keepsake knife is a nice touch…is there a family heirloom utensil that you could use.  Keepsake utensils are lovely to get out and use again for future anniversaries and even, eventually, pass down as a new family heirloom.  If you are using an old family heirloom to cut the cake, then be sure to let you wedding photographer know because, if they are like me, they will definitely want to get a wedding details shot of it earlier in the day as well as at the time of cutting.

7. How to Cut a Wedding Cake

Rowton Castle Wedding Photography of the bride and groom cutting the wedding cake

Again this might be obvious, but believe me there is a traditional way and I’ve heard enough wedding couples ask the question “how do we cut it” just before they’re about to do it.

Traditionally the cutting of the wedding cake is seen as the first task you will do together in married life and is symbolic of your new life together – so obviously it’s something you need to both do together.

As I said in point 2 above, you need to make sure all your wedding guests and the wedding photographer can get a clear view of you both cutting it – so think about where you both stand, to one side or the another is usually best advised.

If you have a traditional tiered wedding cake, then start by removing the 6″ tier which is usually seen as the couple’s cake to be saved for later.  Traditionally the bride would take the knife and the groom would place his right hand over hers.  But either way, its important both of you appear to be holding the knife together.

Then cut, from either side, a horizontal line about 2 inches from the outer edge.  Slice from right to left to make vertical cuts about one inch apart until an entire row is cut.

All that said, most couples tend to only cut one slice of cake which…

8. To Cakeface or Not to Cakeface

Brighton Holiday Inn wedding photography of the bride feeding the groom some wedding cake during the wedding reception.

…brings us on to the question as to whether you “cakeface” or not. The wedding cakeface is a relatively new tradition of feeding one another a piece of cake after the cutting – again symbolising of how you will provide for one another in married life.  There’s no agreed etiquette on this, it’s either something you choose to do or don’t.

If you do decide then cakeface is for you, then it’s decision time of how far you go with it.  Like all these things, it’s best to have discussed and agreed ahead of your wedding day. You can enjoy a piece together using a fork. Or you can take it in turns to feed one another a small piece. Or you can go the whole way and shove a slice into one another’s face.  This may seem like fun, but it’s messy, risks staining whatt you’re wearing and can mess up a perfectly made-up face!

If you are brave enough to go the whole way with the wedding cakeface, then make sure you have plenty of napkins to hand!

9.  Who to Serve the Wedding Cake to First

Meon Valley Marriott Hotel wedding photography of a waiter serving food during the wedding breakfast

So once the cake is cut and ready to be served, it’s traditional to serve both sets of parents their piece of cake first.  This also gives you another opportunity of sharing a moment with them on your wedding day.  Once again, if you are making a moment of it – then let your wedding photographer know so they are in the right place at the right time to capture such a moment.

It doesn’t just have to be your parents either. You may want to include your grandparents too, or other special relatives to enjoy a little family moment during your wedding day.

Once the first serving is done, it’s then time for the rest of the wedding guests to be served their wedding cake.  Alternatively, the remaining slices of wedding cake can be utilised in an evening buffet if you are having one.

10. The Final Rule is That There Are No Rules

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That’s the great thing about traditions – you don’t have to follow them if you don’t want to. Or you can change them to suit how your wedding day is going to be structured.  You can do some and ignore others.  In the end, it really comes down to doing what you want.  These points are just here to let you  know what the formal traditions are – but I think we all agree its much better to make decisions that are better informed.

So there you have it – all you need to know about cutting a wedding cake on your special day.  I hope you at least find this post useful and helpful.  If you enjoyed the photography and like my creative, candid and unobtrusive approach to documenting your wedding story, why not give me a call on +44 (0) 7920 422144 or, alternatively, send me a message via my contact page.  I’d love to hear all about your wedding plans and discuss how my wedding journalism approach would work on your big day.

 

Bromley Court Hotel Wedding Photography in Kent – Steph & Paul’s Fun Wedding Story

Wedding Stories

Kent Wedding Photojournalism

It would be fair to say that from the moment I first met Steph and Paul I knew they were a really fun couple who saw their wedding day as an opportunity to have fun, laughs and really enjoy.  This was reinforced on their pre-wedding portrait shoot in Greenwich Park a month or so before their wedding day.

So I knew coming into their wedding that my reportage style wedding photography approach was going to be a perfect fit for catching all those fun moments.

And I definitely wasn’t disappointed!

Bridal Preparations in Welling, Kent

My first call on the wedding morning was to Steph’s Dad’s house in Welling, Kent where the stunning bride and her beautiful bridesmaids were getting ready for the day.  In the run up to the wedding the weather had been pretty wet and miserable but on my way to Welling the sun was shining brightly and it was promising to be a beautiful day.

The bride and bridesmaids were already having their hair and make-up beautifully done when I arrived – all in their delightful wedding gowns. As I expected there was already lots of fun and laughter as the bubbly started to flow.  Steph was definitely a cool and calm bride ahead of her big day.

Mario, the father of the bride, was on hand to provide reassurance and ensure the wedding car had the ribbons and bow properly attached.

Steph looking stunning as she stepped into her wedding dress – a moment when the wedding starts to feel real.  As a wedding photojournalist I love capturing all the moments and emotions of the wedding preparations – they can be some of the most fun and natural elements of the wedding story.

Fun Wedding Ceremony at the Bromley Court Hotel in Kent

The Bromley Court Hotel is set in 2 acres of landscaped gardens, just 10 miles south east of central London – so is a perfect setting for a wedding, especially with the sun shining as it was for Steph and Paul.

As you’d expect of a fun couple, all the wedding guests were full of smiles and excited for the happy couple.  The entire wedding ceremony was full of laughter and a light hearted approach – in keeping with the overall mood. This was just perfect for my documentary wedding photography approach – there were so many fun, interesting and truly emotional moments to capture.

Standing Applause for the Speeches

The good fun and humour carried on into the speeches. Paul, as groom, was determined not to be upstaged by his best men and got a lot of good natured digs in, before the best men could do their worse.

As is usual with the speeches there was laughter as well as tears and its this variance in emotions that gives me, as a wedding photojournalist, so many moments to capture and document.

Disco Fun Into The Night

The evening reception saw the excitement carry through to the dancefloor.  There was the cutting of the cake, Paul and Steph’s first dance and a touching dance between Steph and her Dad, Mario.  Being a wedding photojournalist it was all about capturing the decisive moments of the evening and truly reflecting the authentic mood and emotion of Steph and Pauls real wedding story.

With their wedding guests in high spirits that was a lot fun on the dancefloor – again giving me ample opportunities to document all those real, natural and candid moments I specialise in as a wedding photographer.

I can safely say, Steph and Paul’s wedding at the Bromley Court Hotel in Kent was a fun and great wedding to photograph.  I’m sure you’ll agree my wedding photography really shows what a wonderful wedding day it was in the wedding photography that follows.

Affordable Wedding Photography Kent

Are you getting married at the Bromley Court Hotel in Kent and are looking for an affordable wedding photographer who will document your wedding in a natural, candid and unobtrusive manner?  Or perhaps you are getting married elsewhere and are looking for a documentary wedding photography who provides a unique reportage approach to documenting your real story?  If so, I’d love to hear from you and to discuss your wedding plans in more detail.  You can give me a call on 07920 422144 or send me an email via the contact page. I look forward to hearing from you.

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You can also view their audio wedding photofilm here.

Book Me

If you enjoyed my natural and candid approach to wedding storytelling and would like to discuss your wedding plans with me, then please give me a call on 07920 422144 or send me a private message by completing the form below.

Why I Love This Image: The Faith & The Devotion

Why I Love This Image

Why I Love This Image of Imogen & Seb Hand-in-Hand

My Why I Love This Image articles aim to give you an insight into why I took or love a particular image from one of the many wedding stories I shoot. As a wedding photographer I believe in being as open and transparent about the work and, I hope, by sharing my thoughts on some of my images you can both see and feel my passion for wedding photography.

On The Southern Slopes of the South Downs in West Sussex

Highdown Vineyard West Sussex Wedding venue

I captured this moment fairly late on during Imogen & Seb’s wedding story in Worthing in West Sussex.  Having arrived at the stunningly beautiful setting of the Highdown Vineyard, which is situated on the southern slopes of the South Downs in-between the seaside towns of Worthing and Littlehampton, we ventured into the vineyard itself to get a couple of more traditional posed portraits of the happy couple before the sun set.  Afterwards, as Imogen and Seb walked hand-in-hand back towards the restaurant, where their weddings guests were waiting for the evening reception I saw the opportunity to capture this beautiful and tender moment.

A Moment of Faith & Devotion

As they walked towards me I immediately thought it would be fantastic and somewhat creative to get a candid shot of them as they passed over me, making a feature of that big Sussex sky, so I literally laid down on the ground and waited for them to pass over me.  Of course, shooting up against the sky I knew Imogen and Seb were going to be silhouetted against it so I needed to get shot that was both dramatic and graphic to make up for the loss of detail in the shadows of their silhouetted form.  I had to encourage them a little to carry on walking over and past me without letting go of their hands – but I’m so glad I did.  The final image really shows, in a very graphic form, the togetherness of the couple as the husband leads his new wife into the future of their married life together.  Also, given that Imogen and Seb are Mormons and that their faith is very important to them, the low angle of the shot up against the large expanse of sky, clouds and sun really does give the whole image of spirituality which really did echo throughout their day.  I’m really pleased, as a wedding photojournalist, that I could capture an image that summed up that spirituality and faith in a single frame.

A Moment In-Between The Moments

One of the best wedding photographers West Sussex shoots a portrait of the bride and groom at Highdown VineyardWest Sussex wedding photojournalist shoots a portrait of the bride and groom at Highdown Vineyard

I have talked about it before and the importance of wedding photography that captures the smaller moments that happens in-between the bigger more traditional moments of the wedding day.  Whilst I am predominantly a wedding photojournalist who specialises in capturing the wedding story in a more natural, candid and unobtrusive manner I also realise that a lot of couples also like to include some posed portraits within that.  That’s why I offer portraits with both my Wedding Storyteller and Wedding Photojournalist packages.  However, that doesn’t mean that during the more traditional posed portrait shoots I switch off and don’t think about the natural moments – my eye is still always looking out for those moments in-between.  The relaxed and natural mood of this moment came after the couple “switched off” after some posed photos (as above) and for me personally that’s what really makes it a stronger, more authentic moment.  And that’s what wedding photojournalism is about…authenticity.

The Geeky Technical Stuff

One of the best wedding photographers in the UK shoots the bride and groom at Highdown Vineyard in Worthing, West SussexOne of the best London wedding photographers shoots the bride and groom at Highdown Vineyard in West Sussex

As with all my wedding photography, this image was shot on one of my Olympus OMD EM5 camera bodies (I shoot with 3 bodies at every wedding) – light and discrete cameras that are perfect for my wedding photojournalism approach.  The lens itself is the s Olympus 12mm f2.0 prime (I always shoot with prime lenses) – a fantastic wide angle lens which was perfect for enhancing the expanse of sky and the drama of the moment. My aperture was set for f/9 – which ensured I a was able to keep a good deal of sharpness throughout the frame.  As the dawy was starting to draw in somewhat I had set ISO 400 and to ensure I froze the couple in moment and maintain the silhouetting I had a really fast shutter speed of 1/2500, helped by shooting up towards a bright sky.  It was then converted to black and white in Adobe Lightroom in post production in which I did the draw the shadows out slightly and lessened the contrast a tad.  A couple of alternate colour shots, immediately before and after this moment, are shown above.

Love this image too and are getting married? Or maybe you are having a wedding at Highdown Vineyard in West Sussex? Then I’d love to talk with you about your wedding plans and how my wedding photojournalism approach can capture the real story of YOUR wedding day. Call me on 07920 422144 or send me an email here. Alternatively, you can send me a private message in the form below and I’ll get back to you as quickly as possible. You can find full details of all my wedding photography packages and prices here.

My Why I Love This Image series hopefully gives you more of an insight of why I took particular images, their context and my thought processes. As a wedding photojournalist I strongly believe in providing an open, honest and transparent explanation of the photography I capture.

Contact Me

Your message will be entirely private and cannot be read by anyone else.  Alternatively, you can call me on 07920 422144.  I hate spam as much as you most probably do, so I promise your details will never be passed or sold to anyone else. In fact, I will only use them to reply to your enquiry. If endeavour to reply to all emails within 2 hours, but if you do not hear back after 24 hours please check your spam folder or come back to me. Thanks.

Sedgebrook Hall wedding photography

Wedding Photojournalist Association Contest

Blog Article, Competitions

Wedding Photojournalism Contest – Q2 2015 – Wedding Photojournalist Association (WPJA)

I’m always extremely proud and honoured to say how I am a qualifying and active member of the Wedding Photojournalist Association (WPJA), which is a professional organisation composed of photojournalists and wedding photographers from around the world. What sets us members of the WPJA apart in the industry is our candid, documentary approach – a distinctly artistic vision toward wedding photography.  Also, unlike a lot of other professional wedding photography bodies, you have to qualify for entry into the WPJA and adhere to their strict code of professional conduct.  So it really does mean something to have been accepted into the WPJA.

One of the cool things about being a member, is the opportunity to enter their quarterly wedding photojournalism contests – submitting wedding photojournalistic images from real weddings during the current calendar year. The Wedding Photojournalist Association upholds the highest level of ethical standards, especially in the area of their wedding photography contests. The purpose of the WPJA is to celebrate photographers who creatively document and record the found moment. Therefore all wedding photography images submitted in the WPJA contest must always be true representations of what actually took place the moment the shutter was released. They are absolutely uncompromising in their conviction that contest images come from situations unprompted by the photographer, except in the case of portraits.  So as you can guess, entering their contests is a big deal.  So here are my submissions, by category, for the 2015 2nd quarter competition.

Getting Ready

The Getting Ready category is for images which spontaneously capture the prepping, grooming, arranging, outfitting, and anticipation before the ceremony.  The following are what I submitted for this category.

Sedgebrook Hall Wedding PhotographySlaley Hall wedding photographySedgebrook Hall Wedding Photography

Ceremony

This category is for those captured moments of those who participate in the wedding (guests, family, and bridal party) during the processional, ceremony, and recessional. Here’s what I submitted:

South Lodge Horsham Wedding PhotographySlaley Hall wedding photographySlaley Hall wedding photography

 Reception

“Reception” photographs document the festivities from the cocktail hour through the last dance and departure.  Here’s what I entered for this category:

Slaley Hall Wedding PhotographySouth Lodge wedding photographySlaley Hall wedding photography

Details (Found)

“Details (Found)” encompasses tighter shots of the day’s small slices as they were found. This includes clothes, rings, food, linens, flowers, faces, etc. This category is not for set-up detail shots. It’s important that images submitted in this category don’t contain content controlled by the photographer. Here’s what I submitted:

Slaley Hall wedding photographySedgebrook Hall wedding photographySedgebrook Hall wedding photography

Emotion

“Emotion” entries unobtrusively freeze intriguing expressions ranging from joy to tears, so here’s what I entered:

South Lodge Horsham wedding photographySlaley Hall wedding photogrpahySedgebrook Hall wedding photography

Great Natural Light

“Great Natural Light” entries capture moments brilliantly lit under natural and ambient lighting conditions, without the help of any flash or strobe. Here are my submissions:

Sedgebrook Hall wedding photographySlaley Hall wedding photography

Creative Portrait

“Creative Portrait” employs a fresh and artistic approach to portraiture in capturing the bride, groom, bridal party, family, friends, children and/or any other posed wedding party member. This is a rare WPJA category where candid moments are not eligible. This is what I entered:

South Lodge Horsham Wedding PhotographySedgebrook Hall wedding photographySedgebrook Hall wedding photography

So there you have all my entries into the WPJA wedding photojournalism contest for the 2nd quarter of 2015.  If I should happen to place, when the results are announced, you can be sure I’ll be posting about it here!

Getting married and like my wedding photojournalism approach?

If you are getting married and would like a wedding photojournalism approach to capturing your real wedding story, then I’d love to chat with you about your wedding plans.  You can give me a call on 07920 422144 or send me a private message in the form at the bottom of this page. Alternatively, you can send me a message via my contact page and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.  For details of my wedding photography packages and prices please click here.

Thanks for reading and I’d love to hear from you.

Contact Me

Please leave me a private message in the form below.  No one else can see your message and it will be sent to me by email. Alternatively, if you prefer to chat, then please do give me a call on 07920 422144.

 

 

 

Northamptonshire wedding photography at Sedgebrook Hall in Chapel Brampton, Northants

Why I Love This Image: The Laughing Groomsman

Why I Love This Image

Why I Love This Image

My Why I Love This Image articles aim to give you an insight into why I took or love a particular image from one of the many wedding stories I shoot. As a wedding photographer I believe in being as open and transparent about the work and, I hope, by sharing my thoughts on some of my images you can both see and feel my passion for wedding photography.

Traditional Posed Wedding Photography vs. Wedding Photojournalism

As a wedding photographer who specialises in a wedding photojournalism approach, most of my work will naturally feature real moments, genuine emotions and true expressions.  However, most couples do also require a number of the traditional posed portraits on the wedding day and I am always more than happy to oblige. In fact, my most popular wedding photography package, The Wedding Storyteller, includes unlimited posed portraits and group shots as part of it.  So this image, from Emily and Phil’s wonderful wedding story, at Sedgebrook Hall in Northamptonshire, was part of the formal shots of the groomsmen.

The Influence of Anton Corbijn

Depeche Mode Anton Corbijn

I’m a huge fan of the Dutch photographer (and now movie director) Anton Corbijn – in fact it was his portraits of some of my favourite bands and musical artists, back in the mid 1980s, that inspired me to get a camera and become seriously interested in photography in the first place.  One of his favourite techniques, especially when shooting bands, is selective focus and a very shallow depth of field…in other words having one person in focus whilst others are out of focus –  as demonstrated in Corbijn’s 1997 portrait of Depeche Mode above.  So I definitely had that kind of technique in mind when I set up and posed this wedding portrait of the groom and groomsmen at Sedgebrook Hall.

The Moment’s In-Between the Moments

Northamptonshire wedding photography at Sedgebrook Hall in Chapel Brampton, Northants Northamptonshire wedding photography at Sedgebrook Hall in Chapel Brampton, Northants

Even though this image was formally set-up it still actually captures a lighthearted moment, in-between the formal shots. The two photos above show you the unedited shots that were taken either side of the main image itself. I’m not sure what we were talking about – and yes, I like to talk with my subjects when shooting portraits as I want to keep the mood light and informal if I can – but clearly we were having a laugh regarding something and the Best Man threw his head back and, bam!, a moment in-between a moment, was perfectly captured.  In lots of ways, even my posed portraits do become semi-formal and manage to capture the real moments and emotions you’d normally associate more with my candid wedding photojournalism approach.  Quite often, it’s these less rigid and less formal portraits that work best and still retain the integrity of the moment.  Add a black and white look and you end up, as here, with a classic, fun and intriguing portrait that defies most of wedding photography’s portrait cliches.  That’s why having a passion and interest in the history of photography and being inspired by great masters of the medium improves you as a wedding photographer and not peddle out the usual portraits that every other wedding photographer does.

The Geeky Technical Stuff

As with all my wedding photography, this image was shot on one of my Olympus OMD EM5 camera bodies (I shoot with 3 bodies at every wedding) – light and discrete cameras that are perfect for my wedding photojournalism approach.  The lens itself is the stunning Olympus 75mm f/1.8 prime (I always shoot with prime lenses) – which I can safely say is the best lens I have EVER shot with in terms of image quality, sharpness and clarity.  I could gush all day (and night) about this truly brilliant portrait lens. My aperture was set for f/2.2 – shallow enough for the required selective focus but not maxed out to ensure fantastic sharpness.  Although a bright sunny day, we were in the shade of  large tree, so had set ISO 400 and a shutter speed of 1/200, sufficiently fast enough to capture the best man’s movement but not so fast to run the risk of underexposing and losing detail in the shadows.

Love this image too and are getting married? Or maybe you are having a wedding at Sedgebrook Hall in Northamptonshire? Then I’d love to talk with you about your wedding plans and how my wedding photojournalism approach can capture the real story of YOUR wedding day. Call me on 07920 422144 or send me an email here. Alternatively, you can send me a private message in the form below and I’ll get back to you as quickly as possible. You can find full details of all my wedding photography packages and prices here.

My Why I Love This Image series hopefully gives you more of an insight of why I took particular images, their context and my thought processes. As a wedding photojournalist I strongly believe in providing an open, honest and transparent explanation of the photography I capture.

Contact Me

Your message will be entirely private and cannot be read by anyone else.  Alternatively, you can call me on 07920 422144. Thanks.

Northamptonshire wedding photography at Sedgebrook Hall in Chapel Brampton, Northants

Sedgebrook Hall Wedding Photography – Emily & Phil’s Wedding Story

Wedding Stories

Real Wedding Photojournalism – Sedgebrook Hall, Chapel Brampton, Northamptonshire

There’s nothing better for a wedding photographer, then to feel like you know the couple pretty well come the wedding day itself.  By the time of Emily & Phil’s wedding at the delightful Sedgebrook Hall in Northamptonshire I had already got to know them a year previously at Lois and Dan’s wedding, also in Northamptonshire – what with Phil being Lois’ brother. Then more recently I’d had the pleasure of shooting a pre-wedding portrait shoot with Emily and Phil at Kelmarsh Hall, again in Northampton.  So in lots of ways it really did feel like I was shooting the wedding of a pair of friends – and that does mean everyone is already relaxed and comfortable.  Ideal for a wedding photojournalist looking to document the couple’s beautiful wedding story in a natural, candid and unobtrusive way.

Country house hotel wedding venue in Northampton

Northamptonshire wedding photographer at Sedgebrook Hall in Chapel Brampton, Northants

Sedgebrook Hall is a stunning wedding venue set in the idyllic English countryside of Northamptonshire. A Victorian building, that also mixes in many modern features, it was a suitable backdrop for Emily and Phil’s wedding day.  As luck would have it, the sun was shining throughout making it a perfect English country wedding but, what’s more, meant that Emily and Phil could marry in the bogoda in the lush gardens.  Arriving early that morning, with my trusted second photographer Steve, we set about shooting the building and beautiful grounds. It was obvious early on that it was going to be a wedding day to remember.

Relaxed and tranquil bridal preparations

Northamptonshire wedding photographer at Sedgebrook Hall in Chapel Brampton, Northants

Some bridal preparations are frantic, noisy and highly excitable affairs. Others are calmer, reflective and relaxed. Emily’s was definitely the latter, with an air of calm and confidence that comes with a bride who has every detail of the wedding day organised.  The preparations took place in the airy and spacious Birch suite, which overlooked the grounds to the front of Sedgebrook Hall, with lots of beautiful natural light – ideal for wedding photography!  Along with her Emily were her bridesmaids, her mum and her young son.  The make-up was beautifully applied by Sophie, of Blushing Orchid.  It was the first time I had worked alongside Sophie but clearly she was a talented make-up artist, great fun and sociable. And the bridal party were definitely very happy with their make-up!  As a wedding photojournalist I love to document the hair and make-up sessions, during this part of the day, as it really gives an extra detail and context to the wedding story.

Second photographer and the Groom’s preparations.

Northamptonshire wedding photography at Sedgebrook Hall in Chapel Brampton, Northants

One of the real benefits of offering an optional second photographer to go with my wedding photography collections is the fact that the Groom’s preparations can also be documented within the wedding story.  Emily and Phil had decided on a second photographer from the outset, so I was delighted to offer them the services of my second shooter Steve – who has shot many weddings with me.  Having worked together so regularly Steve knows exactly the wedding photojournalism style I provide and is able to document the groom’s preparations in exactly the same way.

An outdoors wedding ceremony and a bogoda

Northamptonshire wedding photography at Sedgebrook Hall in Chapel Brampton, Northants

Emily and Phil’s wedding provided a couple of firsts for me as a wedding photography. It was the first outdoors wedding ceremony I had shot.  For overseas readers, especially those from warmer climates, might be a little surprised by this but the fact is that the good old British weather is so unpredictable it’s always a risk planning outdoor weddings in the UK, even at the height of summer!  Even Emily and Phil couldn’t be certain their ceremony would go ahead outside until just a few hours before it was due to start. As a precaution, an indoors location was also prepared – but in the end the weather was kind enough to allow the ceremony to go ahead in the glorious summer sunshine. Either way, being a wedding photojournalist, I’m flexible enough to work with whatever the situation is and, quite literally, whatever the weather throws at me!  The other first for me, was a wedding in a bogoda – which is a unique feature of Sedgebrook Hall’s outdoor weddings. I’m sure you’ll agree it makes for an eye-catching backdrop for a wedding!

Wedding photojournalism and the emotions of the wedding speeches

Northamptonshire wedding photography at Sedgebrook Hall in Chapel Brampton, Northants

Most people tend to think of the wedding speeches and toasts as a time of great laughter and fun.  After all, it’s the Best Man’s speech that a lot of people look forward to and remember for the laughs and amusement it provides – often at the Groom’s great embarrassment and expense. But, often, they can also be emotional affairs and certainly Phil’s Groom’s speech was emotional enough to reduce quite a few people to tears – as I paid a fitting tribute to a family member sadly no longer with us, but no doubt looking down fondly on the happy couple.  It’s these contrasting emotions that wedding photojournalism is so adept at documenting.  You can fake or stage this kind of emotion and it’s why I talk about ensuring the integrity of the moment with my wedding photojournalistic approach.

Burning up the dance floor at the evening reception

Northamptonshire wedding photography at Sedgebrook Hall in Chapel Brampton, Northants

Unlike some wedding photographers, I’m always delighted to stay on past the couple’s first dance, whenever possible, and capture the fun of the evening entertainment – whether that be a band, the traditional disco or some other kind of fun.  Again, for me, it’s all about providing not just wedding photos but a photojournalstic narrative that tells the whole story of the wedding day.  And people letting their hair down on the dance floor is perfect lens candy for wedding photojournalism!  And there was certainly lots of fun on the dance floor at Emily and Phil’s Sedgebrook Hall wedding – in fact twice the energy was so much that the fuses tripped twice!

All in all it was a fantastic wedding day and I was honoured to be part of Emily and Phil’s big day.  I never lose sight of how important wedding photography is in ensuring the memories of the day can live on and be treasured time and time again, even decades in the future.  That’s why I think wedding photojournalism is the perfect way to capture the real story of your wedding day.

Are you getting married at the Sedgebrook Hall in Northamptonshire? Or perhaps you are looking for a wedding photographer who provides a unique and beautiful wedding photojournalism approach? In either case I’d love to talk to you about your wedding plans and how I can beautifully document your real wedding story.  Please give me a call now on 07920 422144or send me a message via my contacts page here.  Alternatively, you can send me a private message via the form at the bottom of this page. I’ll be delighted to hear from you.

Below are a small selection of wedding photography from Emily and Phil’s special day – I’m sure you’ll agree it was a fantastic wedding. You can also see more of some of my other real Wedding Stories here.

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Documenting The Real Story Of Your Wedding. Never Dictating it.

My Wedding Stories show you a chronological selection of photos from throughout a REAL wedding day, rather than just images specially selected for a portfolio (us photographers love to do that.)  After all, your wedding photography should be about your entire day rather than the very best images from the day.  I hope this not only gives you a feel of a whole wedding day but also demonstrates how my wedding photojournalism captures the natural moments, candid emotions and real events of the day – without the need to set up or stage fake moments. If you are getting married and enjoy my documentary wedding photography approach, then I’d really love to chat to you about your plansSend me an email here or leave a private message in the form below and I’ll get back to you as quickly as I can.  You can see my current collections and prices here.

Send me a private message about your wedding plans

Don’t Just Focus on Price for your Wedding Photography

Price, Wedding Advice

Why You Shouldn’t Just Consider the Cost of Wedding Photography

When it comes to booking your wedding photographer, it’s very easy to just look for the cheapest option available.  I know it’s a cliché but wedding photography really is one of those areas where you get what you pay for.  Of course, you will have a certain budget, and will want to work within that, but invariably if you allow cost to be your ONLY consideration when booking your wedding photographer you could end up making a disastrous decision.  You don’t have to look too deeply online to find wedding photography horror stories where a couple have simply gone for the cheapest wedding photographer they could find.

So here are my 5 top tips to also consider when booking a professional wedding photography, to ensure you make a properly thought through and considered choice when booking your wedding photographer.

1. Style of Wedding Photography

Don’t make the mistake of thinking there’s just one style and approach to wedding photography. Broadly speaking there are 3 approaches: traditional wedding photography, wedding photojournalism or commercial wedding photography.  Of course, within all these styles each individual wedding photographer will bring their own individual interpretation and personal style, but you need to know what kind of wedding photographer you would like and ensure that they match your artistic vision for your wedding day.

For example, I’m a wedding photojournalist who specialises in a more natural, candid and unobtrusive approach to documenting your wedding story, as opposed to a more traditional wedding photographer who will want to pose and stage events more. Understanding the differences in wedding photography will ensure you at least find the kind of wedding photographer whose work you admire.  After all, would you simply choose any old wedding dress because it’s cheap or have your wedding at a fast food outlet, simply because it was the cheapest option available?

2. Professional Wedding Photographer

Documentary wedding photography at South Lodge hotel in Horsham, West Sussex

It’s easy nowadays for anyone with a semi decent camera to call themselves a professional wedding photographer. Of course, we could have endless debates about the definition of “professional” but if you do want to book an experienced and professional wedding photographer you need to be looking at their portfolio or examples of their work. Do they have a variety of real weddings to show you? Or do they seem to have just one or two and some which look like faked weddings (i.e. just the bride and groom, no guests, etc.)?  Take a look at my wedding photography portfolios to enjoy some of the weddings I’ve documented.

The other thing to consider, when looking for a professional wedding photographer, is whether they belong to any professional bodies or not.  The other key here is to understand that some professional bodies anyone can join – simply by payment of a monthly fee and it’s not necessarily a comment on their professionalism.  What you need to be looking for are those professional bodies where the photographer has to qualify for entry into.  You then know that other professionals have deemed their work good enough and professional enough to belong to that body.  For example, my wedding photography portfolio had to pass scrutiny before I could qualify as a member of the Wedding Photojournalist Association.  Furthermore, I am also duty bound to work within their strict code of conduct.  It’s membership of professional bodies like this that will reassure you that your wedding photographer is both professional and competent enough to shoot your wedding.

3. Reducing the Risk of Anything Going Wrong on the Wedding Day

Wedding reportage captures the moment the bride adjusts her tiara, during the bridal preparations at the Premier Inn hotel in Crawley, Sussex.

It’s important to understand that you can never reduce risk from a wedding day 100%, but a competent wedding photographer will do as much as possible to reduce the risk of anything going wrong on the day itself.  They will invest in the best equipment possible, have back up equipment in the event of anything going wrong and, should the worst happen and something does go wrong, will have ample insurance cover for such scenarios.  This is often an area where the budget wedding photographers will cut corners to keep prices down.  They may only have one camera, just a couple of lenses and no insurance cover.  Of course, things may not go wrong but are you willing to take that kind of risk on what is one of the biggest days in your life and something that you’ll want to remember forever?

For example, I shoot with 3 camera bodies, have up to 7 prime lenses on the day, use only professional memory cards, back up each and every card to a professional storage device on the day and have full insurance cover which includes third party liability cover and professional indemnity cover.  I like to think this importantly gives you peace of mind on your big day.  But of course such continual investment in this area doesn’t come cheap so you do have to question what corners are being cut by a wedding photographer who seems to be offering unbelievably low prices.  Remember the old adage, if it seems too good to be true…it most probably is!

4. A Genuine Passion for Photography.

Old Ship Inn Brighton wedding photography of the bride emotionally hugging her sister, during the drinks reception

Your wedding day is, of course, going to be such an important and wonderful day for you. You’re going to be full of excitement, enthusiasm and passion for every little detail about it.  So you’ll want to surround yourself with wedding vendors who equally as passionate.  After all, would you really want a wedding photographer who’s not that passionate about what they do?

The trouble is there’s wedding photographers around who simply see wedding photography as a means to making money – they have no real passion either for weddings or, worse still, a genuine passion for photography itself.  But how can you tell if your wedding photographer is passionate about what they do? Well, look to see if they pursue photography in their spare time. Ask them who their inspirations and influences are.  Do they genuinely have a love for the history and traditions of photography? Do they value its art or craft. Or do they just view the camera as a money making machine?  This is important, as an appreciation of photography is what helps develops a photographer’s understanding of the art and their creative eye. And a photographer’s creative eye is really one of the main things you are paying for when you book a wedding photographer.

I could talk to you all day about my influences and inspirations – some of the great masters of the medium.  My bookshelves literally creak under the tomes of photography related books I own. Away from weddings I have a deep love of street photography – much of which also influences the way I document a wedding story.  It’s not just a job for me. It’s a way of life. It’s my passion.  Yes, I even dream of taking photos!

5. Get to Know Your Wedding Photographer

Holiday Inn Brighton wedding photography of the wedding dress hanging by a window, with Brighton's West Pier in the background, during the bridal preparations

This really follows on from the last point, but don’t just go with the first wedding photographer who offers you the cheapest price. It’s important you get to know the photographer. Will you get on? Will they be good around your guests?  It’s the wedding photographer who you will spend most time around on your wedding day, so it’s important you pick a wedding photographer with whom you click. Does their approach to photographing your wedding match your own wish. Meet them and find out…before you book the first cheapest price that comes along!

So yes, of course, the cost of a wedding photographer is an important consideration – but I genuinely believe its important for you to make your final choice based on a number of factors and not just price alone. Equally, just because a wedding photographer charges a high price it doesn’t mean they are the right wedding photographer. But you do have to question how some wedding photographers can off their services so cheaply when, even as a hobby, photography is an expensive pursuit.

Meon Valley Marriott Hotel wedding photography of the Groom and wedding party laughing during the wedding speeches

I hope in the end this advice helps you find the right wedding photographer for you. If you think I might be that wedding photographer then I’d love to chat with you about your wedding plans.  Please feel free to call me on 07920 422144 or send mend me a private message, via my contact page.  I’ll be delighted to hear from you!

You can seem more of my wedding photography services and prices by clicking here.

Candid street photography of a wedding party, posing for their traditional wedding portraits, in Central Park, New York City.

Candid Street Wedding Photography

My Style, Non-Wedding, Street Photography

Weddings Captured by a Street Photographer

Street photography is very much my personal passion – it’s what I shoot in my spare time. In many ways it is what drives my approach to wedding photography.  There are a lot of similarities between street photography and wedding photojournalism. Both employ a candid and unobtrusive approach that attempts to capture the integrity of a moment and produce a storytelling narrative within the frame.  So it’s not surprising that I often think of myself as a street photographer who just happens to be shooting a wedding.

There has been a small number of occasions whilst I’ve been out and about shooting street photography where I’ve stumbled across a wedding.  Of course, as a wedding photographer, I can’t resist capturing what’s unfolding before me – in a candid and discrete way- but without the expectation of being the official wedding photographer. So here are three examples of weddings I’ve captured in such circumstances.

Central Park, New York City Wedding Photography

Candid street photography of a wedding party, posing for their traditional wedding portraits, in Central Park, New York City.

Back in the spring of 2010 I was on a short trip, my first ever, to the US, which took in both New York City and then Los Angeles. Whilst wandering through Central Park, on the first day of my trip, I happened across this wedding party posing for their official wedding portraits.  I just loved that lime green wedding dress of the bride, and the white suit of the groom. And that hands in pocket too-cool-for-school attitude of the young boy was just fantastic. It was too good an opportunity for me to miss.

By intentionally standing behind a couple of family members looking on, I really wanted to give the impression of someone on the outside looking in.  It was very much how I felt at the time – an “outsider” in a foreign country I was visiting for the time, so it really reflects my feelings as much as capturing a wedding itself.

Labin, Croatia Wedding Photography

Street photography of a wedding photographer capturing the bridal party arriving for a wedding in the town of Labin in Croatia

Once again, I was away on a trip to the delightful Istria region of Croatia although, unlike the New York trip (above), it wasn’t my first time here having visited the same area when I was just a kid back in the late 1970s (although it was part of Yugoslavia back then.)  On this occasion we had taken a day trip up to the small historic town of Labin, which overlooks the coastal resort of Rabac, and whilst there happened upon this scene as a fellow wedding photographer captured the moment the bride and bridal party arrived for a wedding in the small church.

I had only taken a small compact camera away with me on this trip (a Ricoh GRD IV for the camera geeks amongst you!) so was able to snap this moment pretty discretely and silently – without drawing attention to myself.  It did actually feel a little odd being a wedding photographer looking in on another wedding photographer as he worked – almost quite voyeuristic in a way, but you could say it was a busman’s holiday in effect!

South Bank, London Wedding Photography

A Chinese wedding is captured, in a street photography style, on the South Bank in London

This was a fairly recent wedding that I stumbled across on the South Bank in London.  I was out on a rare opportunity to spend the day shooting street photography when I spotted this wedding group having their official wedding portraits taken.  Alternatively, it may have actually been a Chinese pre-wedding shoot – as I know some, more affluent Chinese wedding couples will travel to different iconic travel destinations around the world to have pre-wedding portraits shot, in their formal wedding attire, in the year running up to their actual wedding day.

What really caught my eye with this scene, was the way the wedding party contrasted with the families having picnics in the Jubilee Gardens as well as the 3 girls, in odd masks, dancing in the background.  I really love capturing these odd and surreal juxtapositions in my street photography…amusing photos but also ones that raise a few questions too.

Candid Wedding Photography for Your Wedding

Hopefully this small selection of candid photos demonstrates how my personal passion for street photography not only fuels my candid wedding photojournalism approach but they can also sometimes cross over too!

So if you are getting married and looking for a more candid and natural approach to your wedding photography then I’d really love to hear from you.  You can either call me right now on 07920 422144 or send me a message via my contact page here. We can then talk about your wedding plans and I can explain my wedding photojournalism approach in more detail. You can see my current wedding photography packages and prices by clicking here.

Alternatively, you can send me a private message directly from the contact box below.  Please ensure your email details are correct if you would like a reply. It’s also helpful to leave a mobile telephone number so I can text you to say a reply has been sent. Sometimes my replies can end up in a spam folder – so getting a text will alert you to the fact that I have replied.

Send Me A Private Message

I look forward to hearing from you. And if you do have any comments about this particular post, do feel free to leave a comment (or two!) in the comments box below. I love to get comments and hear people’s views. Thanks!

Shooting wedding photography with micro four thirds prime lenses

Prime Focus On Your Wedding Photography

Blog Article, My Style

Shooting Wedding Photography with Prime Lenses

I’ve already covered elsewhere why I shoot weddings with three Olympus OMD EM5 camera bodies. Today I thought it would be interesting to delve a little further into why I shoot wedding photography specifically with prime lenses.

For the uninitiated a prime lens is a camera lens with a fixed focal length. Unlike zoom lenses, which can cover a range of focal lengths, from very wide to extremely long, in a single lens, a prime only lets you shoot at one specific length – depending on the prime lens you have attached to your camera body.

Now, of course, and quite rightly, you’re most probably thinking why would any wedding photographer choose to shoot with prime lenses which sound like they restrict the kind of lengths you can shoot at a wedding?  This is a good question but, as I’m sure you’re expecting, I have a good answer (or two.)

Low Light, Focus and Image Quality

Harlestone Village Institute wedding photography of the bride and groom being toasted by the guests during the wedding speeches

One of the distinct advantages of prime lenses is that they are usually much faster lenses than zoom lenses.  What this means is, that in low light situations, like at a church wedding where the interiors are quite dark and gloomy, you can carry on shooting hand held without gutting blurry camera shake or have to resort to a camera flash – which can be harsh, a mood killer and often forbidden during the ceremony. This achieved by setting a wide aperture (or a low F number such as f/1.4 or f/1.8) that allows in more light and lets you shoot at a faster shutter speed (which helps to eliminate camera shake and blurred movements.)

Connected with the ability to shoot at a wider aperture is the ability to get a much shallower depth of field with prime lenses – which helps blur distracting backgrounds and ensuring the main subject, like a bride or a groom, remains the most important part of the photo.  Yes there other factors that also assist with a shallow depth of field (such as distance to subject, distance from subject to the background and the length of the actual lens) but on the whole the wider aperture of a prime lens is going to help with the blurred background which, based on my experience as a wedding photographer, is what the majority of wedding couples love in their final wedding photography.

The other big advantage of prime lenses is a better image quality over zoom lenses. The simple fact is that a prime lens has a lot less glass and elements in it than a zoom lens does – which after all needs more to cover all the focal ranges it can move between. Therefore, the less glass you have between the end of a lens and the sensor inside the camera body (which records the image) the sharper the image quality will be.  And who doesn’t love sharper better quality images for their wedding photography?  And don’t forget, because they have less glass and elements they are smaller and lighter than bulkier and longer zoom lenses – again reducing the risk of camera shake. So it does all add up to better image quality overall.

Have Feet, Will “Zoom”

Old Ship Inn Hotel Brighton wedding photography of bride and groom cutting the wedding cake

But what about the “inconvenience” of only being able to shoot at one focal length? I hear you ask. Well, for starters, I can simply move my feet to either move in closer or pull back if required.  I have found in the past that zoom lenses can make you lazy and as a result you’re more likely to favour the longer focal length and stand back on the edges more.  As a wedding photojournalist I prefer to get in close to the action, rather than being a “voyeur” of sorts standing on the edge of things. Prime lenses encourage me to do this and get in closer. And because of their smaller size they are far more discrete and much less obtrusive than having some bulking big telephoto stuck in your face.

And in addition, that’s where my 3 camera set-up to shoot wedding photography comes in to play, it means I can attach 3 lenses which will give me wide, medium and longer focal lengths without having to continually change lenses.  That’s why I attend every wedding with a total of 6 prime lenses in my kit bag.  The wider focal lengths are covered by 12mm f/2 and 17mm f/1.8 lenses.  The 25mm f/1.4 covers the mid range and the longer focal lengths are covered by a 45mm f/1.8, a 60mm f/2 and a 75mm f/1.8 lenses.  The 60mm also doubles up as a fantastic macro lens – great for those detail shots like rings and table decorations.

Wedding Photojournalism for your Wedding Day?

Rowton Castle wedding photography of bride shedding a tear during the speeches .

So as you can see, I have a carefully thought out and professional approach to capturing your wedding photography. So if you are interested in my wedding photojournalism approach for capturing the real story of your wedding, then please do give me a call on 07920 422144 or send me a message via my contact page. I’ll be delighted to hear about your wedding plans and discuss my wedding photography packages in more detail with you.  You can also find my latest prices by clicking here.