It’s always nice when a friend asks you to photograph their wedding. It’s a good opportunity to catch up, see someone you know go through a momentous occasion in their lives and be able to capture those moments with photos they’ll look at for the rest of their lives.
I’ve known Steve since I was about 9 years old when we used to play for Dunstable Junior Blues FC and we have some mutual friends who were at the wedding so it was nice to see them too. He was also my roommate on a trip to France to play in a football tournament!
Dunstable Jr Blues, 1989. Me: Blonde hair, Steve: Bottom right Kennilworth Road, Luton Town FC. Me: Far left, Steve: Far right
It was a swelteringly hot day as I met Steve at his house with his best man, Andy, to get some preparation shots as they slipped into their suits. Prep shots are a good way to start the day rather than to start shooting at the ceremony as it gives the bride and groom time to get used to all the attention they will get throughout the day, not just from me but everyone, and for them to get used to having a camera pointed at them all day. I use it as an opportunity to find out what they are comfortable with and how to pose them. I like to show them a few shots so they can see they are in safe hands, posed well and look good. This makes them relax and very quickly you become part of the furniture, which in turn makes for some great relaxed, natural shots. On top of all that, it tells the story of the day from the beginning.
I love seeing what the groomsmen are wearing as their cufflinks as it is a little insight into their personality and a small way of expressing their character. Steve was wearing a 1957 Threepence coin and Andy had the Jedi symbol from Star Wars. After a few shots in Bennetts Rec Park I had the shots I needed and went on to meet the bride.
Steve's cufflinks Andy's cufflinks Andy & Steve A stroll in the park - Bennetts Rec, Dunstable A stroll in the park - Bennetts Rec, Dunstable
The wedding was at Offley Place, a beautiful 17th Century Manor House in Hitchin on the border or Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire. I took a few external shots to set the scene and then headed up to the bridal suite to find Claire in a very calm mood getting ready with her bridesmaids, Jo & Paula.
Offley Place, Hitchin Offley Place, Hitchin Offley Place, Hitchin Offley Place, Hitchin Offley Place, Hitchin
Photographing the guys getting ready is a much quicker affair as slipping into a suit hardly takes any time at all. A lot more time goes into the prep shots for the ladies what with the hair, nails, make up, shoes, flowers, dress…and champagne! There’s a lot to cover!
Champagne! Bridal preparations Bridal preparations Bridal preparations Bridal preparations Bridal preparations
The ceremony was at 1.30pm in the conservatory overlooking the spacious fields behind the house and a glass roof allowing lots of natural light in – perfect for a wedding photographer! It would also be the setting for the wedding breakfast later in the day.
Wedding ceremony Wedding ceremony Wedding ceremony
After a beautiful ceremony the guests lined up to throw confetti over the newlyweds in the time honoured tradition.
Confetti shot Wedding guests Wedding guests Wedding guests Wedding guests Wedding guests
With so much space to work in I could get wide shots to show the setting as well as switching camera to my zoom lens for close up shots of guests mingling and enjoying drinks in sunshine. When time and space permits I like to set up my softbox for better lighting. Whilst there is glorious sunshine to enjoy it also creates very harsh shadows which is where the softbox come in to even out and soften those shadows. Add a second flash to add some hair light and you’ve got some wonderful studio-looking images with a just a simple lighting set up.
Shots using softbox & hair light Shots using softbox & hair light Shots using softbox & hair light
Another old school mate, Dave Falberg, made the most of this with some awesome catwalk model moves! With this guy’s good looks who know where it can take him…. New York….Paris....Houghton Regis.
Dave Falberg Dave Falberg
After some group shots I took Steve and Claire to the Rose Garden which offered some fantastic picturesque photo opportunities. After all the congratulations from everyone it gave them a little time just to enjoy each other’s company. I like to make these shots very easy going and natural, shooting from a distance and out of ear shot as loving messages are no doubt exchanged.
The Rose Garden at Offley Place The Rose Garden at Offley Place The Rose Garden at Offley Place
The fine weather continued into the evening and I wandered around photographing events as they unfolded as well as requests for impromptu group shots. As the sun was setting the front of the building was lit up with a deliciously warm orange glow so I grabbed Steve & Claire for one last set of pictures which were definitely worth it.
Sunset shot in front of Offley Place
For all the planning that goes into the photography you can never plan for the unexpected and sometime either by luck or design you're in the right place. I just happened to hear a smash behind me and turned around to catch Steve looking very guilty after knocking over a wine glass and happening to cut Sarah's hand in the process!
Caught in the act! Caught in the act! Caught in the act!
As the music and dancing began I got the last few shots of the day which had Claire and the girls dancing the Irish jig and having a ball doing it!
Evening celebrations Evening celebrations Evening celebrations Evening celebrations
Congratulations to Claire and Steve and all the best for the future x
The Bride & Groom The Bride & Groom The Bride & Groom The Bride & Groom The Bride & Groom The Bride & Groom w/friends