Wedding Photography – Never Say Never Again

Wedding Photography – Never Say Never Again

When I decided to devote most of my professional life to photography, I realised that photographers really need to specialise in a particular niche of photography, and get really good at it, rather than just being okay in several areas. As a result I chose not to do weddings – as there are lots of really good wedding photographers already – and I always thought it would be so stressful (e.g. trying to get lots of people herded around in a short space of time etc.) that I wasn’t suited to that branch of photography.

However, when I have been asked by good friends if I will photograph their wedding (or that of their offspring) it’s surprisingly hard to say no.

Almost immediately though, the stress and panic begins to set in! Even though the wedding might be months away, I’m already thinking about what might go wrong and how I can mitigate against it.

Recently a good friend of mine asked me to photograph his daughter’s wedding. He likes my photography (although he is an excellent photographer himself), but the real reason he asked me is because his daughter has had anxiety issues in the past and he felt that having someone known to the bride on her big day might help reduce her own nerves and so allow her to enjoy the day more.

As time marched on, we met so that the bride could tell me what kind of photography she wanted (lots of pictures of her!) and so she could give me a list of the required shots.

A week before the wedding we visited the venue and checked out the best places to shoot the happy couple, and to meet the wedding planner. Some examples of the results below:


Black & White

I really like black and white photography – especially of people so I selected a few from this wedding and edited them in black and white too.

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?