In part 1 of this blog series I detailed how I started out shooting weddings and looked back at the first 5 weddings I had been asked to shoot. In this next blog post, things start to get a little more serious. It was probably around wedding five or six that I actively started to promote myself as a wedding photographer. I now had a portfolio behind me, some beautiful images that I was proud of and a craving to do more!
Close friends of my sisters, Hannah and Al had been at my sisters wedding a few years previously and had tentatively asked whether I would be happy to photograph their wedding. Of course the answer was "yes", the only issue being that it meant yet another long trip - this time up to Manchester. Admittedly, it was slightly easier than the Essex trip because I tagged along with my sister and her now expanded family (by this point she had 6-month old twins!). Their wedding took place at the historic Worsley Court House.
How could I not share this shot?! With the venue being right next to the canal, we had taken a wander with the bridal party and a few other guests and decided that we couldn't miss the opportunity to capture this fun image. I had wanted do do something like this for a while - the couple in the foreground with people out-of-focus in the background - my sister just had to be extra careful that the twins buggy didn't go rolling off down the steep bridge!.
Hannah did a great job adapting her wedding dress to match the colour scheme of the wedding. Not only did she add a little bit of colour across the top, she also swapped the ivory lace-up on the back for a matching red one..
Yet another friend of my sisters (perhaps I should have given her a bit of commission for getting me all of these weddings!), Michelle and Len were married at the Old Mill, a beautiful converted Mill on the outskirts of Bath with gardens overlooking the river.
It was a very family-oriented affair and I loved this photo of Michelle and Len with one of their young relatives. It's the kind of shot that I still endeavour to capture at every wedding and encapsulates what consider to be my key style - documentary story-telling with emotion.
I found out later that the registrar during the ceremony was the Mother of one of my sisters old school friends!
Amanda and Thomas's wedding represented a first for me in more ways than one. After gaining a bit of experience in wedding photography, this wedding was my very first booking from strangers. Thats not to say they were strange! Far from it. But this was the first wedding which had resulted from an enquiry rather than being a friend, a friend of a friend or a relative! I don't mind saying that I was petrified! Luckily, the wedding reception took place in a familiar venue - The Old Mill (the same venue as the last wedding) which, admittedly, helped with the inevitable nerves. Another first was that it was the first wedding to take place at the Bath Guildhall.
I have chosen this shot because it was one of the first detail type shots that I felt that I had truly nailed! It wasn't even staged. The rings were just sat there and, during the ceremony I noticed them and fired off a couple of shots. From that moment I realised how important it was to keep an eye out for shots like this throughout a wedding. Photos of cake toppers and table decorations can be taken at any point during the day but for some detail shots, such as this one, they are fleeting and you only have seconds to capture them.
This wedding provided yet another first is the form of my first wedding-related boat trip! After the ceremony, the entire party walked through Bath City Centre to jump on a boat which took us out to the reception. It was brilliant! I thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing and secretly wished that I would get the opportunity to photograph another wedding that included a boat (*spoiler alert* - I did!).
Friends of my brother-in-law, Craig was actually one of his best men a few years previously. Knowing that I worked discretely, Sarah and Craig were quick to ask me to photograph their wedding. My only reservation being that it came the day after Wedding #8! I needn't have worried, however, as it was a fun and relaxed day - Sarah even arrived at the Church in a VW camper-van!
It just had to be this confetti shot! It took place outside the grounds of the church and took quite a lot of organisation. However, once we had everyone in place, handfuls of confetti at the ready, all that was required was a countdown and the resulting image just shows how much fun confetti throws can be! The look on everyones faces is priceless and I know for a fact that Sarah and Craig loved this image so much that they have had it printed on a large canvas to display in their home.
I had trouble deciding on which shot to share from this wedding. The green camper van was in contention, as was a mirror shot which Craig shares on Facebook regularly. But it is the Kermit the Frog shot that missed most narrowly!!!
Jess has been a friend of mine since we both worked in retail in Bath many years ago. When she contacted me to ask if I would like to photograph her wedding I immediately said "yes'! I was even more excited when she revealed that her venue was going to be the amazing Orchardleigh House in Frome!
I'm afraid I'm going to have to cheat with this wedding and share two photographs. Believe me when I say I could have shared more! This first photo - a close-up of Jess's bouquet - included orchids that had been specially collected for her. It was a beautiful, large bouquet and served as a big inspiration when I updated my website around the same time. I used this image everywhere - on my website homepage, on my wedding flyers, on my sample CD cases... the list goes on. The colour scheme for my website even came from this image with pinky-purples that were not too dissimilar from Pantones colour of the year in 2014 - "Radiant Orchid".
The second photo I had to share was this simple image of Jess's dress hanging up in the bridal suite during the morning preparations. As soon as I processed it in black and white, it came to life! Over the years I have had so many positive comments about it and it remains a favourite of mine. It made me fall in love with photographing wedding dresses. Up until this point I had always struggled to shoot wide enough to capture the dress in its surroundings and yet this shot came about so effortlessly - I strive for this kind of image as often as I can.
I still receive referrals for photoshoots that have resulted from shooting Jess and Tristan's wedding. At least two weddings have been booked as a direct result as well as so many family photoshoots that I have lost count! To this day I never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth referrals and it puts a huge grin on my face every time it happens. So, if you come across a supplier that you love then SHOUT ABOUT IT! It makes such a huge difference to us small business owners.
Be sure to pop back next week when I will be sharing part 3 of this blog series when I will be talking about my first international wedding!