It isn’t just about the bride

Here’s a single black and whites conversion to try to sum up one of the things I enjoy most about photographing a wedding. It’s all too easy to follow the bride and groom around and photograph them either on their own or interacting with the guests, and there are some fine pictures to be found that way. But there is a risk of capturing some of the best moments happening elsewhere.

It’s a picture with two elements – guests taking photographs of the bride and groom, and an older child trying to keep a younger one under control. It’s relatively mundane – but often these moments go completely undocumented, which would be a pity.


Thorpeness Hotel and Country Club wedding

I was pleased to be invited by the Thorpeness Hotel and Country Club, where I photographed a wedding in November, to submit a few images from the day that they might be able to use as part of a forthcoming article featuring the venue in the January 2014 edition of Suffolk Norfolk Life.

The picture that was used- see below – is of an antique suitcase used to display congratulations cards and similar at the reception with the guests in the background enjoying their food and drink. The other two pictures aren’t mine though…the November weather turned out rather dull and grey and not conducive to spending too long out of doors!


The Country Club was a lovely venue, close to the cliff top in Thorpeness, and I was glad to be a part of the bride and groom’s day.

2013 in five images

Here are five images I’ve chosen as a way of summing up my year of wedding photography – not necessarily five of my favourites, just five that gave me something interesting to think about.

The first, from a March wedding in Essex, was taken as the bride was getting ready. What I liked about this composition was the arrangement of the three figures and the flow from top  right  to bottom left. Of course, it is also part of telling the story of that part of the day.


The second, also from a wintry March wedding, shows the couple on the point of leaving the church. Resisting suggestions to photograph them from outside the church door, looking in, I took photographs next to them looking out – not just to record the event in a documentary way, but to capture a natural expression.


The third is from a June wedding in Norfolk, and the composition was again of interest, with the bridesmaid speaking in the centre, the groom looking around rather distractedly, and the woman bottom left looking out of the frame.


The fourth is also from a June wedding, showing a quiet and intimate moment between the bride and a guest.


Finally an image from a November wedding in Suffolk, taken in the village pub before the wedding with the groom and groomsmen. Why can buttonholes often cause a problem?


To sum up: an interesting year in which I photographed a small number of quite diverse weddings and also managed to come across weddings in such places as Germany and Italy, providing some additional images of the kind where wedding photography and street photography come together.

It so happens the all but one of the five I’ve chosen here are finished in black and white, though this was not a deliberate intention. I’ve found that for wedding photography, around a third of my final selection of images will be in black and white. With personal work (see for example the lighthouse photographs in my personal projects) I will invariably print the colour originals.

The wedding guest

Here’s one of my personal favourites from one of last summer’s weddings. I think the dog would really like a share of the wedding cake, given the opportunity. I’m just glad I was in the right place at the right time to shoot a couple of frames before the dog decided there were better chances elsewhere….


The ‘Societies’ Convention 2013

IMG_4143_bw600I’ve been busy working on my website the last week or so, and I had meant to post something about The ‘Societies’ Convention, but I’ve only just found the time…..

It was the first time I’d been to anything quite like this – in all, it was several days of seminars and workshops and a trade show – I made it down to London (the Hilton Hotel and Convention Centre, Edgware Road) for the whole of Saturday December the 12th. After an overnight stay in Covent Garden on Friday, I was at the venue at the unearthly hour of 8.00 for a seminar with Kevin Mullins (as it turned out, the high spot of my day). I then flitted to and from several other seminars throughout the day, grabbed a quick sandwich lunch, and spent a couple of hours wandering around the trade show – spread over several floors.

I did find it useful to see and talk with a number of suppliers I would like to consider using in future, particularly for insurance, management, website hosting and albums and similar products. I picked up plenty of brochures and a few free photography magazines, which can’t be bad. All in all it’s something I would consider doing again, but it did give me a useful insight from mingling with other photographers and looking through the trade stands.

Two favourites from 2012

I’ve been debating whether or not to choose a favourite image from the weddings I photographed in 2012. There were many to consider, ranging from images of the brides and grooms to all sorts of images of wedding guests in a variety of settings. Some that appealed to me greatly at the time have lessened their impact a little since then, and it’s been far from easy to pick just one image. So in the end I have fudged the issue somewhat and picked a closely related of images – as I rather liked the similarities and differences.


IMG_8840e_600Here are two photographs of three bridesmaids from a wedding in June at the Old Rectory in Great Melton near Norwich. We had been wandering around the music room with a couple of other members of the family while the bride’s preparations were underway, and I was in the process of taking pictures of them wandering around the room exploring the musical instruments and generally relaxing and enjoying themselves. Some of the pictures I took in this room are among my favourites from the wedding (I find children often make the best subjects and they were no exception).

In both pictures the girls are posing for someone else off camera to my right. In the first one, they aren’t fully settled in to their poses and still show fairly natural expressions – admittedly each one is different. In the second picture, taken a couple of minutes later, they are posing and their expressions are quite different. I prefer the first one – but taken together, they tell something of a story and I think they have much more meaning than if they had been looked at separately. Just a small point, maybe, but for me it’s an interesting one nonetheless and that why I have made these my favourites from 2012.

Image of the month 10

When thinking about what I was going to use for this month’s featured image, I made the decision to go back and look through images from a wedding photoshoot in Norwich in April, and look through some images for something I hadn’t really noticed first time through.

This is a shot of the bridesmaids together in the church before the beginning of the wedding service. I did crop it somewhat to bring out the focus on the small group as the key element of the picture, and decided to keep it in colour after looking at black and white conversions as I felt the purple dresses stood out really well.

I decided that what I liked about this picture was the relaxed and happy attitude of the bridesmaids and the range of their expressions – the two on the left looking towards the camera, the other two looking at each other; along with the clasped hands and (technically) the placement of the subjects on a slight diagonal. It’s a simple and straightforward image, of course, but one that I felt deserved a second look.


Image of the month 9

This month I’ve gone back to a wedding I photographed in June to look at some of the pictures I didn’t really rate at the time as among my favourites, in case they appealed to me. I do think that’s a useful exercise, as it’s all to easy to be drawn to certain images and skip over many of the others without thinking about their full potential. To some extent it’s just a question of numbers and trying to keep the process manageable.

For this month’s selection I found a shot of the bridesmaids sharing a happy moment with relatives quite early on in the day and as soon as I saw it I could see the potential. A crop to remove some of the distractions in the foreground and to the right of the group (plastic bags, clothes, a rucksack), and a black and white conversion to remove the distraction of the red bridesmaids’ dresses, with a fair amount of contrast, gave me the image I was looking for. The composition of the group is tight and balanced, the mirror helps to pull the elements together. Not quite all the distractions can easily be removed, but for me the spontaneous emotions of this scene make the shot a good one – and one that is true to my style.

Image of the month 8


This month’s image is from a wedding I photographed (in my usual documentary style) earlier this year. This one left me in something of a quandry when it came to editing – as to whether  to convert to black and white, after carrying out a quick fix of contrast and levels, or leave it in colour. The red object she is carrying is rather distracting, as is the rim lighting around it. I could have adjusted this, but decided to leave it as it was. The reason the image appealed to me was  the way the light strikes her forehead, her concentration on what’s happening out of frame, and the narrow depth of field. The picture has its flaws, but I rather like it the way it is.