Before the wedding

The tables are laid, all ready to go……a scene from a recent country club wedding in Suffolk.  Though I’m not overly concerned about capturing the inanimate details of a wedding, preferring to concentrate on people and how they interact, these shots help to present a rounded picture of the occasion and pick up on little things that might otherwise have gone unnoticed.

So for instance here, there isn’t much going on, there’s no-one in the frame, but I liked the linking of the inside and outside spaces (and for anyone familiar with the venue, the buildings in the background might well help to locate it). There is a sense of something about to happen.

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I’d like to wish season’s greetings to all – and advance notice that I’ll be publishing a post with my five favourite wedding photography images of 2013 by the end of the month.

An Italian wedding

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I’m still deriving plenty of interest from going through some photographs I took on holiday in Vieste, Italy in October 2013, some of which featured in my blog post of October 20th. Here are a couple of my favourites from a wedding I came across at a delightful small church in the town centre called Chiesa Santa Croce. I frequently prefer a black and white conversion in the case of these Italian people shots – something about the dark suits and sunglasses makes this feel right.

In the first picture I’m standing right inside a group of wedding guests, a couple of whom are looking in my direction, but what I like about this picture is the younger man on the left, whose attention is taken by the woman in sunglasses centre right.

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In the second picture we have a group of men standing next to one of the wedding cars. This was taken near to the hotel used for the wedding reception, coincidentally the hotel were staying in. I’d just walked back to the hotel after taking photos of the guests milling around outside the church.

Again, I’ve use black and white here to remove the distractions of colour. The group includes (as I remember) the groom. They’re looking at the car, they’re talking among themselves. There isn’t a great deal going on in this picture, but I like it as a commentary on weddings, Italian style.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Illumination

This week I found the opportunity to post on the blog in response to WordPress’s weekly photo challenge. The theme was illumination. I’m always looking for a theme where wedding photography can brought to bear, and this week I just about had time to prepare and post an entry. It also allowed me to tinker about with the hue and saturation controls in Photoshop to experiment with presenting a black and white image.

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This was taken last April at an evening reception at Sprowston Manor Hotel near Norwich. I love taking pictures of children at weddings, and many of my favourite images from last year have children as the subject. Here I liked the expression on the girl’s face as she was obviously enjoying herself – with the boy sitting next to her totally unaware. The disco lighting from the right illuminates them quite softly. I prefer to use black and white in this particular case as the colours behind her head were a little distracting. Compositionally, there’s a left to right diagonal leading the eye out of the frame towards the focus of their attention.

Canon EOS 400D, 1/80 at f2.8, ISO 400.

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.

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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 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.

Wedding cakes!

Last Sunday I called round at a nearby wedding fair held at the Oakllands Hotel, in Thorpe St Andrew, Norwich, just out of interest. I’ve never really felt the desire, as a wedding photographer, to exhibit at wedding fairs but I thought I would quite like to see how things looked and the sort of things couples might be attracted to.

I’ve always had a soft spot for really creative cakes and so it was fascinating to look at the beautiful cake displays of two wedding cake suppliers:Time 4 Cakes www.time4cakes.co.uk and eventISS www.eventiss.co.uk

Here are four of my favourite photographs:

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.