Weddings – never say never

Weddings – never say never

I know. I know. I said I’d never do weddings. And I don’t. But I did do one. Recently.

In November last year (on my birthday, in fact) some very good friends on mine asked if I would be prepared to shoot their wedding. They didn’t want stiff, formal shots, but did want informal ‘capture the moment’ stuff and even hinted that they might like them in black and white. They would understand if I’d rather not (as I’d be invited anyway). I did take a few days to think about it – but as you’ve probably gathered, I agreed to do it – as our wedding present to the happy couple.

As it turned out, my wife Sara also got roped in and organised the flowers and some room prepping for the big day. This involved her meeting a florist, getting trained in making up boquet’s and buttonholes, as well as having to be at the flower market at 6am just before the wedding.

So, on the big day, which was on 14th April 2018, we were at the venue (the beautiful Hartlebury Castle) at 8am, ready with ivy to decorate the dual staircase in the Great Hall, the candelabra in the Dining Room and the mantelpieces in both rooms.

When the guests arrived I found myself dashing in and out of the venue photographing people as they walked up to the Castle and then back inside as they greeted the groom (Tim). The bride (Nicky) meanwhile was upstairs getting ready for her grand entrance. Dashing in and out meant lots of fiddling with the ISO. I actually set the camera on Aperture priority to reduce the amount of knob fiddling I’d need to do. I’m glad I did that – as the light conditions were changing all the time.

As well as me (the photographer) the couple had also asked a videographer to shoot the wedding. We tried to co-ordinate where we’d be in order not to get in the way of each other – but I suspect I got into his shots a lot!

At the allowed time, the upstairs doors opened and the couple descended to stairs. I had to walk swiftly backwards, shooting them as they came down and then walked towards the fireplace where the Humanist wedding was taking place. I moved around (as subtly as I could) during the service to get shots from every angle. Then it was the register. Then they walked back up the aisle with me walking backwards again in front. After that it was drinks, some outdoor shots and then the meal & speeches. The day was rounded off with dancing to the excellent band. (These shots were tricky as it was almost dark and I didn’t want to use flash so by this time the ISO was up to 8000!). In some the slight blur looks okay as you can see some of the movement.

All in all, it wasn’t quite as scary as I thought it would be.. but maybe that’s because Tim & Nicky are our friends and were not putting me under any great pressure. They just left me (and Sara who acted as my assistant in the latter part of the day) to get on with it. Will I do any more weddings. No, it’s very unlikely…. Or maybe I should never say never?

New Lights

New Lights

I decided to learn to take ‘studio’ type photos. The reason being that I’d like (one day) to be able to take commercial photos (to make some money). Yes – it’s not (at the moment) about ‘art’ necessarily. It’s about justifying the amount of time and money invested by getting some sort of monetary return. So I ordered a ‘studio lighting kit’. At the moment I don’t have a studio but at least if I know how to use the equipment – and how to get the best out of it – I might know what to do in a studio should I ever find myself in one … Yesterday my new strobe lights arrived. There are 3 of them, with stands, umbrellas and softboxes plus a background stand and large backround sheets. I quickly set up one light and took a few pictures of my daughter Ruth. It took a while to get the exposure about right (and it helped when I put some batteries in the remote sensor – my excuse was that there were no instructions with any of the kit!) and eventually I got a couple of OK shots – Here’s one of the pictures ..

Cruising the Broads

We’re having a family holiday on the Norfolk Broads this year (as we couldn’t justify another trip abroad after doing South Africa and the Greek islands already this year). Fully expected rain but have had a week of great weather so far – until today when it started raining. Have taken lots of photos and the ones in this blog entry were done on the iPhone (with a bit of snapseed editing). One more week to go and a trip across Breton water in an hour or so …