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Lewis & Rosie’s Farleigh Winter Wedding

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Lewis & Rosie had their wedding at Farleigh Golf Club in November. The weather was surprisingly quite good, despite the rains that we’d had earlier that week. Unfortunately the course was a little waterlogged for playing golf (or taking photos on the course) but we did get a few nice shots in a golf buggy!

Rosie has to be the most organised Bride I’ve ever met! The day was well planned, with even a bridesmaid itinerary for hair and make up. Loads of details had been put into the day, including personalised hangers for the flower girls, personalised confetti on the tables and even a personalised apron for Rosie (who even baked her own wedding cake!) I also had the pleasure of working alongside Andy from Andy Bird Wedding Videos.

They used Ivory & Navy colours which I wanted to also use when photographing the evening (but I don’t have a navy colour gel so had to settle just for blue!) whilst they had a solo singer for their first dance. Don’t forget to check out the Photo-Booth gallery too!

To view the full wedding, click here.

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Preview – Christopher & Victoria Wedding at Russets Country House, Surrey

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A few preview shots from the wedding last weekend. The pond at the bottom of the garden is very pretty, and there were plenty of ducks to keep us company! I was particularly happy with the shot we did using flash as the illuminated stairs are such a great feature at this venue. Had to stand on a chair to get the right angle and height though!

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A walk in Stanmer Park in Brighton, Sussex

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I decided to give my creative muscles a good stretch yesterday and just went for a walk in a local place I’m very fond of, Stanmer Park. I’ve spent summer afternoons there playing rounders and picnicking with friends and I also go on small field trips with a small photography class I run. I went for a walk up through the woodland on a spring afternoon, continuing on to meet the farmland at the back and running into a few horses which were beautifully backlit by the late afternoon sun.

Stanmer House is a venue I’ve not yet had the pleasure of shooting a wedding at yet, and I’ve little idea what weddings are like there, but I’d be very keen to after shooting these photos! What I really enjoyed about doing this was that I felt free to explore photographing the park as I wanted to without any commercial pressure or client to please. I had a blast just playing around with composition, changing lenses every now and again and just chasing the light through the forest as the sun got lower and lower. I usually take a tripod with me for this but in the spirit of leisure, I left it behind (Though I did take a flash gun to do a couple of experiments for tomorrow’s wedding…).

It’s such a shame but I never really get time to do this sort of photographing as a professional. It really was quite liberating to just go for a walk in the woods, having so much time to photograph and change to aperture settings I usually don’t dare use when shooting weddings. Photography is a really great hobby to have, and I can see why so many amatuers are drawn to it year after year. Hopefully you’ll see more blogs like this from now on, but I’m not promising anything!

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The First Dance

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Photographing the first dance is a lot of fun. It’s the last main event that the photographer needs to capture so it’s usually home-time afterwards, which means you always want to finish the day with a bang! Getting a good shot of the first dance depends on how calm or exciting the first dance is and that usually affects my approach to the shoot.

0009_Brighton_&_Sussex_Wedding_First_Dance_Party_PhotographyI’ve more recently been introducing off camera flash to some dances, which adds in more lighting and atmosphere to the shots. This really helps the exposure as it’s usually very dark at this time and adds extra lighting into the scene. This shot is lit with three separate flashes, the two behind and one on front. The lights also have coloured gels which help add more variety to the shot. Without this lighting there is only the fairy lights you can see in the roof (half of which aren’t on!) so flash really helped here.

This is particularly useful as not many people invest in entertainment based on the lighting, it’s usually about what sound the Band has or what playlist the DJ will play. If this is an issue for you, then do check with your band/DJ what lighting they supply and you can always consider hiring your own lighting team (although this is obviously not cheap!)

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Some of the best lighting I have seen at a wedding was by PG Gibbs and helped create this wonderful first dance shot.

It’s always nice when people do slow and romantic dances, but some like to get really crazy with their dances! The most memorable was Rob & Marian’s first dance which featured about 30 different snippets of songs and choreographed dances to go with them! I’ve included some of their more creative moves below.

 

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Photographing in the golden hour

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The golden hour produces stunning early evening light for relaxed photos of you both. This light always remind me of long days off in the summer, bbqs, camping and outdoor adventures spent with friends in my youth. I always love using wheat fields and the countryside as I grew up in a beautiful rural area of Wiltshire.

Some photographer’s refer to the time before sunset as the golden hour, as it produces a wonderful side light from the sun which looks dramatically beautiful for most subjects. It produces long shadows and completely different visual effects depending on whether you shoot towards or away from the sunlight.

If you’re planning your wedding, you may want to consider when this hour will be and reserve 15 minutes or so to get a couple of photos of the two of you together. In winter this hour tends to be between 2-4pm and in summer it can be between 7-9pm. Check when sunset is on your wedding day and work an hour backwards from there. Your photographer should be able to advise you on this and how you can fit into your wedding day schedule.

It’s also nice to get away from it all for a moment after dinner, and have a moment together. By this time the formalities are usually over and you can relax a bit more, so take a moment to enjoy each other’s company now the nerves have settled and you’re beginning to enjoy a long and happy marriage!

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Shooting against the sun will create a flare in the lens and usually create a nice haze on the photo, picking out the edges of objects with a strong highlight.

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Shooting at this time can create very high key images, with everything looking light and giving everything a light glow.

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Shooting side onto the light also works well. The background glows in the light and the long shadows add some good contrast to the bright sunshine.

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Of course, it’s not always possible! You may get less than desirable weather or not have time. You can always do things a bit later inside the venue with some flash photography instead!

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Photography timings on the wedding day

When I meet clients for the first time and discuss the details of their wedding day I always advise that they give at least 90-120 minutes between the ceremony finishing and the wedding breakfast. Don’t get me wrong, it’s always a suggestion and I don’t want to dictate and plan someone else’s wedding day but it’s important to allow yourself time to get everything done on the wedding day. The photography is usually straight after the ceremony and nerves can still be very high, so it’s good if the process is relaxing and not rushed!

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The Photography Schedule

I always ask my clients for a schedule of the wedding day beforehand and advise on how long I think everything will take, and there’s always some adjusting of what photos we do when and in what order. The gap between ceremony and reception is the busiest time for photographers, as all the important shots happen in this window of time and there’s not a chance to get them again! I’m talking usually about the following shots (I’ve put links in to info I’ve written about these shots before!):

The Confetti Shot: 10 minutes

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A large group photograph: 10-15 minutes

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Formal group photographs: 30-60 minutes

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Photographs of the Bride & Groom: 20-30 minutes

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Total time: 90-120 minutes

During this window of time, though some other things may happen too and you’ll need to consider and budget the time accordingly!

Travelling to the reception venue: 30-40 minutes (depending on distance)

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It totally depends on the distance, but allow a generous amount of time for everyone to get from A to B! If you get married at a church or other venue, before heading to a different location, you’ll need to bear in mind that guests will have to get there as well, so you can’t expect everyone to get there at the same time (people also get lost) so try and plan this time accordingly. You can always do some shots at the ceremony venue and more later at the reception venue. If you arrive at the reception venue first, then perhaps do shots of the two of you together whilst you wait for the rest of your guest to arrive.

Receiving lines: 20-30 minutes

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You may wish to greet your guests at the end of the ceremony or at the beginning of the wedding breakfast in a receiving line. Note that, depending on the amount of guests, saying hello to 60-100 people does not take just 5 minutes! I’ve seen some receiving lines take well over 30 minutes. Think about it, you may not have seen these people in over a year, so there may be lots you wish to catch up on and they’ll all want to congratulate you, tell you what a nice day it is, how wonderful you look etc… They’re a lovely thing to do and they look great on camera, but be warned, they take longer than you think!

Wedding Details: 10 minutes

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There will probably be a bridesmaid running around making everything perfect whilst you’re having your pictures taken. The caterers/venue staff will be busy finalising the wedding breakfast preparations, lighting candles, laying tables etc… Your photographer will also want to get in before anyone else and get those shots of the finished venue that you’ve spent a year planning the decorations for. This can take a good 10 minutes and the window for this is usually pretty narrow! It’s also nice for you both to be able to see the venue once it’s ready and check that everything is how you pictured it.

Guests mingling, wedding games and other activities : 15-20 minutes

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It’s always nice to have some time spare too! Enjoy the day, say hello to good friends and family, stand back and appreciate the canapés, the details, the games, have a drink and maybe spend a moment together just the two of you! I tend to photograph the other goings on at the wedding whilst you do these other activities, but it’s nice to have a some time to actually enjoy your wedding day with your guests without being rushed through the photography and other more formal activities such as confetti throwing and receiving lines!

Try and ensure you have enough time between the ceremony and reception but it always depends on when you get married and when you and your guests will probably be hungry! It also depends on the light as well (especially in winter weddings!) and what you’ve got planned in terms of photographs. You certainly don’t have to do all of the above and it’s very rare for people to do everything I’ve written about.

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Nobody gets it perfect, but give yourselves enough time to enjoy the day, time for photography to be relaxing and not too rushed but be aware that some guests may have travelled a long way and might be a tad hungry!

 

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Engagement shoots

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Have you considered having an engagement photo shoot? You don’t necessarily have to have one just after you’ve gotten engaged but it can be nice to do a photoshoot outside of the wedding day where you get shots of you both together in casual clothing.

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An opportunity to get some great photos of you both before the wedding. You can feel more relaxed in your casual clothing (or feel free to put on black tie and look dynamite), this shoot can help you feel more comfortable in front of the camera and you can use photos for your wedding invites, wedding decorations or to have around the house. You can also get a framed print from the shoot to display at your wedding or at home and you can get guests to sign the aperture mount for your guest book! The session can be as chilled out or as creative as you like.

You can do the photos at your wedding venue or at a place that’s special to both of you? I’ve done photoshoots in the city or in the countryside on the south downs. We’ll take a few different shots and thing usually last around 1 hour.

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Some clients have used these as decorations for the wedding by framing them and placing them on the card/guest book table.

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You can also involve the family if you want and get a family photoshoot, just bring the parents/kids/siblings or even the grandparents. Contact me for a quote and further details.