Being that it now the summer holidays, all of my social media pages are awash with wedding photos. Its nice to look at these and analyse each photographer’s different styles and ‘magpie’ (teacher slang for ‘steal’) ideas from more experienced photographers who specialise in weddings.
I had always proclaimed; ‘I would never shoot a wedding’. I guess a lack of self confidence in my skill and the level of pressure put upon a wedding photographer being my main excuses. However, I had my arm gently twisted by an ex-colleague who was looking for a photographer for her wedding. To be honest I couldn’t have hoped for a better first wedding shoot. Steph and Gavin are such a positive, laid back couple that it certainly helped to ease some of the external pressure. I made it clear that I am not a professional and that it would be my first wedding shoot – both of which they were cool with. We had a pre-wedding meeting (as most ‘pros’ do) and I wasn’t handed too many specifics – Excellent.
I arrived at Villiers Lodge in Surbiton where the bridal party were making their preparations. This was it. I was now photographing one of the happiest days of someone’s life. Luckily, I already knew 3 of the bridal party making the fact that I arrived while they were all dressed in ‘Little Mermaid’ hot pants slightly less awkward. I tried not to get in the way and tried hard to capture special moments prior to the ceremony.
Steph also just so happens to be a very smiley person, which makes capturing nice shots easier!
Next I made my way to the Church; St. Raphael’s in Kingston, where I met Gavin and the groomsmen. I got the sense that Gavin was starting to feel the pressure when I arrived… So was I by this point! I was introduced to Gavin’s Best Man and Usher for the day who proved to be a huge help to me for gathering guests and helping group shots run smoothly- So a huge thanks to them!
Here Comes the Bride…
Due to the ceremony involving a Catholic Mass – I was quite restricted as to my movement and when I was allowed to take photographs in the church. I still managed to get some shots I was pleased with.
This is part of the day I found most challenging. Trying to gather people who want to socialise, ensuring my settings are correct, ensuring everyone has their eyes open and are showing their best sides whilst being conscious that the wedding was moving on to Raven’s Ait… Time pressure was on. It was a warm, humid day and at this point I knew it! I had to pack up my equipment from the church load myself up like I was going on an expedition to Antarctica – huge bag on my back, light stands in hand and make a sprint along the riverfront at Surbiton to jump on the taxi boat to the island in the middle of the Thames where the reception was to be held. The boat had to make a slight detour to collect me but I had made it, albeit slightly out of breath and sweaty.
A snapshot of the Reception.
These are just a few of the hundreds of photos I took on the day. I had a brilliant day sharing Steph and Gavin’s wedding and am extremely grateful to them for, to quote ABBA ‘Taking a chance on me’ for such an important part of their day. Although I was hyper prepared for the day, it was one of the hardest things I have done, the pressure is immense – especially when you are a bit of a perfectionist like me. Would I shoot a wedding again? I’m not sure… If I were to do it for a couple as accommodating as Mr and Mrs Bradley, of course but I don’t know that I’m cut out to pursue wedding photography as more than a favour for friends…yet.
The finished product – I can’t describe the relief I felt to hand these over, having had horrible visions of wiped memory cards and hard drives or being burgled!
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