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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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.

 

 

 

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.

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.

Wedding Photojournalism: The Integrity of the Moment

About Wedding Photojournalism, Blog Article

The Wedding Photojournalism Approach

As a wedding photojournalist I often talk about ensuring the integrity of the moment, but what do I actually mean by this?  What is the integrity of the moment?  For me, it’s the very thing that sets aside a wedding photojournalism approach from that of a more traditional wedding photography approach.  In essence, it’s the very reason you should be looking to book me as a wedding photojournalist.  But let me explain it in more detail.

The Decisive Moment

The decisive moment by Henri Cartier Bresson

Plate 1: Cartier-Bresson’s famous defining “decisive moment” photograph. Taken at Gare Saint Lazare railway station in 1932.

I’ve discussed what wedding photojournalism is elsewhere so don’t intend to go over that again, but you can follow the link if you’d like to start there first.  When talking about the integrity of the moment it might be helpful to start with another important philosophy of photojournalism and that is the decisive moment, a phrase first coined by the late, great French photojournalist Henri Cartier-Bresson. He considered the decisive moment was that split second, that fleeting moment when everything came together to create one magical moment within the frame of the photograph. To quote the great man himself:

“To take photographs is to hold one’s breath when all faculties converge in the fleeting face of reality. It is at that moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy…it is putting one’s head, one’s eye and one’s heart on the same axis.”

For me, that last part of putting one’s head, one’s eye and one’s heart on the same axis is the most perfect and most beautifully poetic description of photography ever made.  It’s what makes the difference between the eye of a talented wedding photojournalist and just anyone clicking away with a camera without much thought or appreciation for the craft.

Anyhow, back to the decisive moment, it can be the moment a couple embrace for the first time; it can be an expression that passes between two people in the fraction of a second or, in Cartier-Bresson’s most famous image that came to define the decisive moment itself, it is the instance a man leapt across a puddle behind a station in pre-war Paris (see Plate 1 above).

The Truth & Honesty of Wedding Photojournalism

Le Baiser de l'Hotel de Ville photograph of a couple kissing in Paris

Plate 2: This famous photo by Robert Doisneau, of a couple kissing in Paris, is sometimes questioned as to whether it is a genuine decisive moment.

Sometimes though, photographers will attempt to fake a decisive moment. In other words, they try and stage or pose a decisive moment.  After all, there’s a famous photograph by another French photographer, Robert Doisneau, of a couple kissing amongst the crowds of Parisian promenade (see Plate 2 above).  Some have suggested this isn’t a true decisive moment as it was “set up” and staged by Doisneau himself.  This is debatable, but it is an argument that has raged on for years – but if nothing else, it demonstrates how precious some photographers can be about true decisive moments.

So, for me at least, this is where the integrity of the moment comes in.  If the decisive moment can be faked, or at least have the whiff of suspicion about it, then it’s important to strive for the integrity of the moment – ensuring it is truthful, honest and naturally occurring. Of course, you may be wondering what’s wrong with faking or staging key moments of your wedding photography?  In truth, there’s nothing wrong with this more traditional wedding photography approach if that’s what you want.  After all, different people want different things – that’s the beauty of having choice. But it’s important to be educated about the choices you do have.

3 Reasons for Ensuring the Integrity of the Moment

Meon Valley Marriott Hotel wedding photography of the Groom's parents laughing during the wedding speeches

So when it comes to deciding on you wedding photography and whether to opt for a wedding photojournalism approach, like mine, or not, let me give you 3 good reasons why ensuring the integrity of the moment is infinitely much better than staging it with a traditional wedding photography approach.

  1. Firstly, it’s what really happened.  It’s a genuine part of YOUR wedding story. When you look back at your wedding photos, whether it be 5, 10 or even 50 years in the future, do you want to be looking at genuine moments that occurred naturally on your wedding day or do you want to be looking at something that you’ll just simply remember as the wedding photographer creating for you? Wedding photojournalism or, at the very least, my personal and puristic approach to it ensures you get a real wedding story that is about you and your wedding day rather than my rather fake interpretation of what it should be like.
  2. People just look better when things are happening naturally. They look happier, look more relaxed and look more genuine. An experienced or talented wedding photojournalist, such as myself, will work in an unobtrusive way which means people will forget or won’t even realise I am there.  That doesn’t just happen, it comes from years of photojournalistic experience as well as, in my case, years of shooting candid street photography. Getting in, getting the shot and remaining invisible is a real skill and part of the reason you want a wedding photojournalism approach to you wedding story.  If there is a common thing a lot of wedding couples say to me when they get the images from their wedding day is they simply don’t remember me being there to get the photos. Which leads me on nicely, to the third reason…
  3. Which is, you and your wedding guests ultimately remember the wedding photography and not necessarily the wedding photographer.  When the photographer is setting up faked and staged moments they become a director, having to step into the centre of things and, in the worst case scenario, become bossy and ordering people about.  With a wedding photojournalism approach to ensuring the integrity of the moment I work discretely, unobtrusively and quickly in getting those real moments that tell the real story of your wedding.  That doesn’t mean I don’t get in amongst things, I most definitely do (but maybe that’s a blog post for another day!) but I do that thoughtfully, sensitively and discretely.

So hopefully now you understand a little more about why I will constantly talk about ensuring the integrity of the moment in terms of your wedding photography.  It really is central to all that I do and is the driving force of my philosophy towards wedding photojournalism.

Want a Wedding Photojournalism Approach to Your Wedding Photography?

Rowton Castle wedding photography of first kiss

So if you are getting married and feel a natural, candid and unobtrusive wedding photojournalism approach is exactly how you want your real wedding story being documented then I’d be delighted to talk about your wedding plans in more detail.  You can call me now on 07920 422144 or simply send me an email via my contact page here and I’ll get straight back to you.  For my current prices and packages please go here.

I look forward to hearing from you.

My 5 Favourite…Brides Getting Dressed Photos!

Blog Article, Five Favourites

Wedding Photojournalism of 5 Brides Getting Into Their Wedding Dress

The bridal preparations are fantastic for wedding photojournalism.  I know I’ve said it before, but the early part of the wedding morning, when brides and the bridal party start getting ready, is a great time for all the emotions you’d want as part of a wedding story.  There’s excitement, nerves, laughter, tears and everything else in-between. As a wedding photojournalist it’s such emotions, expressions and moments that I specialize in documenting.

When brides and the bridal party are having their hair done, make-up applied and getting into their wedding dresses they really do forget I am there (I’m sure it’s nothing to do with the alcohol that can appear during this time!), meaning I do get some fantastic and natural shots at this part of the day.  This is, after all, why you have booked a wedding photojournalist – to capture the real story of your wedding in a natural, candid and unobtrusive way.  So how could I not love the bridal preparations?

So here are 5 of some of my favourite wedding photojournalism images of brides getting dressed and into their wedding dresses.

#1 The Whole Bridal Party

Rowton Castle Wedding preparations

What I really love about this photo, from Kara & Jason’s Rowton Castle wedding photography, is how so much is going on within that one frame. The beauty of wedding photojournalism is capturing single moments that can tell an entire story in their own right. Yes, of course, you are immediately struck by a beautiful bride in her dress, the stunning scarlet dresses of the bridesmaids and the luxurious surroundings of the bridal suite at Rowton Castle.  But, then, as you look closer you notice one bridesmaid is sewing an adjustment to another bridesmaids dress; an another bridesmaid is adjusting a shoe whilst another is helping to tie the bride’s wedding dress whilst the bride herself looks on, almost regally, at all the mini stories going on around her. This really is the best example of the power of a wedding photojournalism narrative.  It almost captures the nature of bridal preparations in a single, powerful image. In lots of ways it raises as many questions as it answers.  And isn’t that what all the best stories do?

#2 Strike That Pose!

Old Ship Inn Brighton wedding photography of the mother-of-the-bride making a final adjustment to the bride's wedding dressing, during the bridal preparations

The mother of the bride spots a last minute adjustment to the back of the wedding dress, just moments before the wedding service was to start at the Old Ship Hotel in Brighton. The bride stops in the natural light of a large bay window and strikes a pose that accentuates her figure and the beauty of her dress.  Behind, almost redundant in this intimate moment between mother and daughter, the father of the bride looks on.  It’s such a strong and striking moment, that you’d expect of wedding photojournalism – the simplicity further enhanced by black & white processing. And it’s for those very reasons it remains one of my firm favourites from the wedding story of Gemma and Rich.

#3 It’s All About Team Work

Holiday Inn Brighton wedding photography of the bridal party each during the bridal preparations

It always makes me smile when I look at this image from Steph & Dan’s Brighton wedding photography at the Holiday Inn.  It really sums up the togetherness of the bridal preparations and the efficiency of ensuring everyone is ready in time.  What I also love is the suggestion of evolution in one frame, from the bridesmaid’s dress hanging in the background up to the almost ready bride with a relaxed contentedness about her. Of course, being a wedding photojournalist this is a naturally occurring and truly spontaneous moment that’s not been setup, staged or faked. That’s what makes wedding photojournalism perfect capturing for what is truly your real wedding story – rather than a wedding photographer’s interpretation of it.

#4 Wedding Dress Detail

Slaley Hall Northumberland Wedding Photography

Wedding photojournalism doesn’t always have to be about candid moments, expressions and emotions. The small details are also an important element of the wedding story.  Here, this image from Lisa and Steve’s Slaley Hall wedding photography, really shows the intricate and stunning details of the wedding dress.  Add to that the actual tying of the dress and you add a real moment, albeit a slightly abstract one, to the overall image.  Once again, the black & white processing ensures nothing detracts from the small, intricate details.

#5 More Humour & Teamwork

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

Again humour and teamwork play an important part in this image from Kelly and Ryan’s South Lodge wedding photography, down in Horsham, West Sussex.  The bridal party do whatever is necessary to help the bride into her beautiful wedding dress. One bridesmaid is up on a chair, holding the dress up, so the mother-of-the-bride can get in under the dress to secure a clip. It’s looking for the humour, in what can often be very stressful moments, that sets apart wedding photojournalism.  By capturing moments as they happen ensures the image looks natural and the integrity of the moment is maintained. It’s that integrity that is so important to me as a wedding photojournalist and ensures a strong reportage narrative.

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Of course, there are so many other photos that I could have featured of brides getting dressed  – but I hope this small selection do reflect the kind of images my wedding photojournalism approach will provide in your unique and personal wedding story.  You can also see my other personally selected 5 Favourites series here.

If you did enjoy these photos and are getting married soon, then I would love to chat with you about your wedding plans and how my candid, natural and unobtrusive photojournalistic approach can fit your wedding story. Give me a call right now on 07920 422144 or leave me a message here and I promise to get straight back to you. You can see details of all my packages and prices here.

Meon Valley Marriott Hotel wedding photography of a silhouetted bride and groon sharing a kiss.

My 5 Favourite…Hugs & Kisses

Blog Article, Five Favourites

 

My Five Favourite “Hugs & Kisses” Photos

As a wedding photojournalist if there’s one thing you’ve got to love shooting then it’s hugs, kisses, cuddles and even snogs! Weddings are full of them.  And that’s what makes it a joy to specialise in wedding photojournalism.  After all, most people most probably associate photojournalism with gritty issues, tragedy and suffering.  So wedding photojournalism definitely bucks this assumption. But you still have to be quick and alive to whats happening in capturing that decisive wedding moment. Kisses and hugs can be over in a blink of an eye. Hence why a wedding photojournalist is an expert at documenting that fleeting happenstance for your wedding story. Yes, you could set up a kiss or a hug, but it’s never the same as one caught naturally and unobtrusively.  Wedding photojournalism ensures the integrity of both the moment and your wedding story – and it’s that that ensures the blink-in-an-eye moment is captured and cherished foever.

Understandably most people will think of the happy couple kissing and hugging on the wedding day – but all that romance and happiness infuses everyone – so wedding photojournalism is also very much alert to guests, friends and family sharing beautiful and touching emotional exchanges. It’s these moments that do complete a personal wedding story for you. Why spend time staging and faking them when you can capture them more easily naturally.  I think we’d all agree, that genuine emotions are much nicer than faked ones.

So here are 5 of my favourite hugs and kisses wedding photos. I hope you enjoy.

#1 The Silhouetted Kiss

Meon Valley Marriott Hotel wedding photography of a silhouetted bride and groon sharing a kiss.

Shooting against a large, backlit window like this, it would have been tempting to expose for the couple or even use a flash.  But instead I purposefully exposed for the window light which ensured the couple were underexposed and made for a graphically striking silhouette. Add to that the very fact they are kissing and you have a unique take on a wedding couple kissing photo.

#2 Sisters Hugging

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

This is a lovely, tender and touching moment. The wedding ceremony has just finished and the bride is hugging her sister close. It’s a moment that says much about familiy ties and sibling bonds. Yes, of course, the lovely light and soft, almost pastel-like colours add to it – but for me, as a wedding photojournalist looking for those elusive decisive moments, this really captures the power of an emotional release immediately after the bride has gotten married.

#3 The Power of the First Kiss

Crockwell Farm wedding photography of bride and groom having their first kiss during the wedding ceremony

Of course, the first kiss is one of the “must have” and traditional shots that all wedding photographers will wish to capture during the wedding service. What I love about this particular one is the power and passion of the groom’s hold on his new wife. It really demonstrates the power of the couple’s love for one another.  She clearly means the whole world to him and he’s not letting her go…ever!

#4 The Love of a Mother

St Laurence Warborough wedding photography of a bride cuddling her daughter during the wedding ceremony

How can you not be moved by a classic example of a mother’s love for her child? The fact it is occurring in the middle of the wedding itself, only adds to the photo’s emotional impact. It’s these moments, that I often call the “moments inbetween the moments” that I love to capture for the wedding story. These are the real moments that may pass in the blink-of-the-eye but, thanks to the wedding photojournalist, become a moment that can be treasured forever.

#5 The Guests Kissing

Saracen's Head Little Brington wedding photography of young couple kissing during the evening wedding reception

As I said in the intro, people often associate the emotion of the wedding day with the happy couple themselves. But as a wedding photojournalist I do see it as my job to seek out the passion and romance that spills into the day itself, as it did here. A young couple, clearly in love, share a tender embrace and kiss during the evening reception. Again, it’s another image that makes up the fuller wedding story and truly depicts the real events of the day.

Of course, there are so many other photos that I could have feauture here of kisses, cuddles, hugs and snogs – but I hope this small selection do reflect the kind of images my wedding photojournalism approach will provide in your unique and personal wedding story.  You can also see my other personally selected 5 Favourites series here.

If you did enjoy these photos and are getting married soon, then I would love to chat with you about your wedding plans and how my candid, natural and unobtrusive photojournalistic approach can fit your wedding story. Give me a call right now on 07920 422144 or leave me a message here and I promise to get straight back to you. You can see details of all my packages and prices here.

 

Rowton Castle wedding photography of the wedding singer picked out by a lone spotlight, creating an atmospheric mood during the evening wedding reception

Why I Love This Image: The Blues Singer

Rowton Castle Shropshire, Shropshire wedding venues, Why I Love This Image

Why I Love This Wedding Image of The Blues Singer.

Being a wedding photojournalist who loves capturing natural, candid and beautiful wedding photography the evening wedding reception provides lots of different and decisive moments.  Often overlooked are photos that capture the other wedding vendors you’ve booked and who have worked so hard in delivering your perfect wedding day.

That’s why I see it as part of my mission to capture the other players and characters who make up your wedding story and give you a complete wedding photojournalism package.

The Perfect Example of Wedding Photojournalism

This particular image is from Kara & Jason’s wedding day up at Rowton Castle in Shropshire and is a perfect example of how wedding photojournalism can capture the most beautiful and natural images without the need to fake or stage them.  As a result the wedding story is one that throws up real memories of moments rather than moments created by a photographer.

Here a very talented and beautiful singer was entertaining the guests (although there was one young man who wasn’t as impressed!) when the disco lights fell on her, causing her and the microphone to be beautifully silhouetted, and creating an unforgettable moment that captures the mood perfectly of a smokey blues and jazz singer performing.  It could have been from a basement club in 1930s Paris as it is a wedding reception!

The Power of Wedding Photojournalism

That’s the power of an unobtrusive wedding photojournalism approach to your big day. Capturing all those other natural and candid moments that happen alongside the main part of the wedding are what create a truly genuine and memorable wedding story that is personal to you and your own wedding day.

And that’s why this is an image I love!

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Like this photo and are getting married? Or maybe you are having a wedding at Rowton Castle near Shrewsbury in Shropshire? Then I’d love to talk with you. Call me on 07920 422144 or drop me a quick message 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.

3 Camera Wedding Photography

My Style

So why do use 3 cameras to capture wedding photography?

As a wedding photographer one of the things I often get asked about – especially by guests on the wedding day – is why I am shooting the wedding with 3 cameras.  So I thought it might be useful (and a little interesting?) to explain why here.

Old Ship Inn Brighton wedding photography of the bride putting on a necklace above a tattoo of her daughter's name, during the bridal preparations

Being a wedding photographer who specialises in natural, candid and unobtrusive wedding photojournalism it is important I have cameras small and light enough that allow me to get inside the real moments of the wedding day without damaging the integrity of the moment.  The beauty of mirrorless camera systems is that they offer camera bodies small enough to do this whilst not compacting on image quality that couples would expect of professional wedding photography.  Arguably the Olympus OMD system is one of the best and most professional of these mirrorless camera systems and having shot with Olympus cameras ever since I first picked up a professional camera in the mid 1980s, it was only logical I would stick with Olympus as a brand.  But let’s not get too carried away by brand choice or gear snobbery – ultimately a camera is just a tool. It’s the photographer who puts the word professional into professional wedding photography. And professional wedding photographers have full control over their cameras rather than allowing their camera to control them!

Anyhow, I digress. So, back to my 3 camera wedding photography setup, so with cameras that are much smaller and, importantly, lighter than traditional Digital Single Lens Reflex Cameras (DSLR) it’s so much easier to carry 3 cameras to capture wedding reportage photographer than, say, 2 much bigger and heavier DSLRs – and believe me I know…I did it or years!  And believe me, as a working professional wedding photographer, I can safely say the technology is such now that those big DSLRs will be a thing of the past in just a few years time.

Holiday Inn Brighton wedding photography of the briding crying during the wedding ceremony

Still I guess it still doesn’t explain why I would want to shoot a wedding with 3 cameras, even if they are smaller and lighter.  The answer to this is simply all about image quality.  As a wedding photojournalist it is important, given the dark and low light situations I face in shooting a wedding day (think dark churches, dark receptions and the good old English weather amongst other challenges), that I have a “fast” lens.  Simply put the faster a lens is the more light it will let in and the lower the light I can work in whilst still handholding my camera or without having to resort flash photography (which is often not allowed or is quite intrusive).  The truth is that the fastest lenses are what are known as “Prime” lenses or, in other words, fixed length lenses which unlike zoom lenses only shoot at 1 fixed distance to/from subject.  So given I choose to shoot my wedding photojournalism with prime lenses I invariably need 3 cameras to put these on. After all, I want a wide, normal and longer length lenses to cover all possibilities on the wedding day (and of course I carry a wide variety of prime lenses with me to a wedding – and the smaller lighter nature of these I can carry more a lot easier) so 3 cameras give me this flexibility.

Now, of course, I hear you thinking why not shoot a wedding with 2 zoom lenses that offer a variety of focal lengths. After all, this would perhaps require only two cameras.  And, yes, a lot of the wedding photographers do shoot with 2 cameras and 2 zoom lenses. However, if we put the fact that zooms are much heavier and longer to carry around than prime lenses, they generally are not as “fast” as prime lenses (making it more of a challenge to work in low light conditions) and, arguably, the image quality out of a zoom lens doesn’t match the sharper, crisper images you get out of a prime lens (and don’t forget a camera is only as good as the lens you put on it – but maybe that’s a different post for another day). This is because a zoom lens needs more elements and optics in it to provide all those “zoomable” focal lengths.  The more elements you have been the lens and the camera’s sensor, arguably the softer and less sharp your images will turn out.  That’s not to say there’s not some zoom lenses out there that produce stunning results, there are, but these can be ridiculously priced and  very susceptible to damage (another post for another day is how rugged Olympus gear is compared to other more sensitive brands!).  So shooting with primes gives me the ease and flexibility to capture stunning wedding photos. And being smaller than zoom lenses they are less obtrusive and allow me to get in much closer to subjects and moments, which is vital to capturing the genuine and authentic wedding moments that is demanded of wedding photojournalism.

Rowton Castle Wedding Photography of the bride being helped into her wedding dress

There is one final reason I shoot with 3 cameras on the wedding day and it’s the simple factor of reducing risk.  In the worst case scenario if one camera breaks or stops working I will still have two cameras to carry on shooting you wedding (and yes I do have 2 zoom lenses in my bag should I need to revert to them in a worst case 2 or 1 camera scenario – again all about reducing risk on such a big and important day, where a lot of money has been spent!) Imagine the poor 2 camera wedding photographer who would need to go down to 1 camera at a wedding in the same circumstances (it’s still doable on 1 camera – I had that happen in my 2 camera days – but its a lot more stressful and challenging capturing all the shots expected of a wedding day!) I don’t want to even think about those who choose to shoot wedding photography with just 1 camera (I won’t call them professional wedding photographers as no professional would dare to risk shooting a wedding with 1 camera!) and something goes wrong with the camera.  That’s one of the things you will find with those wedding photographers who offer unbelievably cheap prices to shoot your wedding. Often they will only have 1 camera and maybe 2 lenses (and more than likely not very good cameras or lenses at that).  It’s how they manage to keep their price so low, but I genuinely believe that’s too big a risk. What value do you put on your wedding photography? Are you really wanting to take that kind of risk?

Brighton wedding dress and bride

So what prime lenses do I use and bring to a wedding.  Generally on my cameras I have a 12mm f/2 wide angle lens, a 25mm f1.4 mid lens and a 45mm f1.8 lens. In my bag I also carry a 17mm f/1.8, a 60mm f/2.8 macro lens that also doubles up as a longer portrait lens and a beautiful 75mm f1/1.8 longer portrait lens. In addition to these I have 4 zoom lenses available (should I really need them!) that cover from an ultra wide 9mm right up to a really long 300mm.  So you can see, I really do have all bases covered!

And there you have it, the reasons I shoot with 3 cameras on a wedding day (it’s also worth pointing out that in addition to these 3 cameras I often bring 2 older backup cameras too!)

So if you are getting married and are assured by my approach to wedding photography then please do give me a call on 07920 422144 or leave me a message on my contact page. I’d love to chat with you about your wedding plans and how my wedding photojournalism approach will help you get the beautiful and genuine story of your wedding day. You can find details of my current packages and prices on the Collections & Prices page.