Here’s a shot from I few I took a couple of weeks ago outside The Forum in Norwich, where a newly married couple were wandering around and posing for a few shots before being driven off in what was an extremely large stretch limo. I decided to take a few pictures with The Forum as background – which none of the official photographers present seemed to be interested in.
We were in London last weekend to see the Nordic Noir festival on Brick Lane and had some time on the Sunday to visit Tate Modern; after crossing the Millennium Bridge towards St Paul’s we came across a young Chinese couple having their post-wedding photo shoot on the steps with the backdrop of St Paul’s itself. The quality of light was excellent. I only had a Canon Ixus compact camera with me, but along with other tourists I managed a few photographs before leaving the couple to enjoy their day.
In the third picture, I wanted to include a London bus to give a real sense of place and a different angle – the slogan ‘I love Mormons’ was unplanned but adds a certain something.
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.
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.
According to Wikipedia, Lomography defines a community of photographers who advocate creative and experimental film photography. The name is inspired by the former state-run optics manufacturer Lomo Plc of St Petersburg, that creator and producer of the 35 mm Lomo LC-A Compact Automat camera, now the centrepiece of the lomographic movement. This November the Lomographic Society International celebrated its twentieth anniversary. The LC-A+ camera was re-released as a special edition and the online magazine section ran articles about some of the best lomographic shots of the last twenty years.
Most lomographic cameras are designed to produce photographic effects such as over-saturated colors, extreme optical distortions, rainbow-coloured subjects, unusual exposure, blurring and alternative film processing, all things normally considered bad practice in photography. For example, the lomography fisheye camera I own features a built-in wide angle lens, and shoots fish-eye-distorted images.
The philosophy behind lomography is summarised in its motto ‘Don’t think, just shoot’. This motto is accompanied by ten golden rules which are supposed to encourage spontaneity, odd angles, and taking photos anywhere, while minimising considerations of formal technique. Typical lomography cameras are deliberately low-tech and simple to operate. Some cameras make use of multiple lenses and rainbow-coloured flashes, or exhibit extreme optical distortions and even light leaks.
I’ve found it difficult to get the hang of operating my lomo fish-eye camera, but I’m determined to persevere and make the most of its creative opportunities. I’m going to be more adventurous and make occasional use of it for giving a different slant to may wedding photography next year.
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.
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: