The Republic of Cyprus occupies the southern part of the island of Cyprus, situated in the eastern Mediterranean. The island (and capital city Nicosia) is divided with Turkey to the north and the Republic to the south. Known for wonderful beaches, it also has a rugged mountainous interior and super wine regions. Coastal Paphos is famed for its archaeological sites relating to the cult of Aphrodite, including ruins of palaces, tombs and mosaic-tiled villas. Blah blah blah, who cares about that, it's Tom and Gemma’s wedding and they wanted to partay.
I was asked to photograph Tom and Gemma's wedding by an old friend Suzy, because Gemma is her niece. Right from the outset, I had a clue this might be one to remember.
The Brief... "Do want you want but don’t forget to enjoy yourself and have fun". I could cope with that.
Cyprus in September... I’d need all sorts of lighting paraphernalia to counteract the harsh down light to make the bride look her best. I needn’t have worried. To say the light was flat is a bit like saying the Himalayas are hilly! Bridlington on a rainy bank holiday would have been brighter. A late start, evening approaching and a power cut just added to the ‘all in days work’ challenge of Wedding Photography.
Its normal to say Brides look wonderful on their wedding day and Gemma was no exception. Fewer can be described as a ‘little bonkers’ however. This made the early shots of Gemma and her bridesmaids great fun. I almost forgot I was at work. Can’t say the same for the actual ceremony though. The sun seemingly in a rush to set, the Registrar, equally on fast forward, and a power cut were all sent to try me. Before I knew it the speeches were being performed and it was dark.
However I did manage to get Gemma and Tom to a vineyard for a shoot, before I raced against the sun to capture images of their family. Me vs. the elements on such an important day. I just hope they think I beat the sun by a photo finish. Boom boom!
A lovely couple, fun loving and a little crazy. If they weren’t, we would not have made our way across the Mediterranean Sea to share their wedding day.
Well I would have. You can never get enough hummus!
Paul & Lulu's Wedding
On Saturday 23 July we were invited to one of my oldest friends wedding Paul who marring his fiance Louise or Lulu as everyone calls her (No not that Lulu, that just makes me want to shout).
Paul and Lulu asked me to be their wedding photographer on the day, no pressure then, what could go wrong with my mates there to take the piss, on top of that it was probably the hottest day of the year so far and every one was hot and sweaty.
I took a few pictures initially at their home while they were getting ready (I didn't catch Paul in his pants) and then getting a cab over to Chelsea Town Hall for the first pics before the ceremony and catching with friends I hadn't seen for a while, with my Nikon D800 in had and my 24–70 lens on which gave me the flexibility of wide angle shots and close ups.
The happy couple walked into the ceremony room from the back in-between their guests, snapping away from multiple angles of the soon to be Mr & Mrs Burton and their guests.
A great day was had by all, lots of laughter, piss taking and a fair amount of alcohol equals a perfect combination for a wedding day
Normally, I would give a couple around 200–300 finished images but seeing as I also wanted to enjoy the day, I probably didn't take as many shots as normal, normally when photographing a wedding I don't sit down to eat and drink and chat to the guests.
All there is left to to is do the post production work on the images, I have done about a half of the images and thought to put them up for the newly married couple to see while away on their honeymoon.
With more to follow over the next few days I can only hope I have done them proud and captured the essence of their day.
MATTHEW AND ERNEST
Katy & David
Recently, I had the pleasure to photograph Katy and David’s wedding.
Katy looks after our dog Gus. Well more than looks after, as he is equally loved by Katy, David and their three children as he is by my wife and me. Add to that Gus has two ready made playmates in Ralfie and Ginger we sometimes find it difficult to get him to come home in the evening.
The ceremony took place at a venue called The High Rocks, Tunbridge Wells. If vertigo is not a problem and the spirit is willing it’s a wonderful and picturesque location. But come prepared for a bit of rock climbing!
A surprisingly relaxed Katy greeted me mid-morning when I arrived to take pictures of the bridal party busily preparing themselves. None of the stresses of wedding day nerves which made my job very easy. Easy until I arrived at the venue!
I planned to take shots of the Groom and his friends during the last moments of bachelorhood, but due to a previous ceremony overrunning we were denied access to the area I had intended to photograph them. Best laid plans and all that. But you have to think quickly and react to whatever confronts you as a wedding day is not a rehearsal. You only get one chance as a photographer to get it right. So we de-camped to the bar.... well who wouldn’t. I thought informal shots would perfectly capture the warmth and friendship shared between the couple and their guests and it worked perfectly.
From the moment of Katy’s arrival in the wedding car, the day was characterised by laughter (good) and rain (not so good), but you have to work with what you have. As I know the family well this was much more than an assignment and it was difficult to remain detached and unaffected by the speeches and the emotion of the day.
It just goes to show that you can’t ever be complacent in this job, as something will always throw you off guard and you need to react positively. A bit like a marriage I suppose.
Kitty and Richard
Last but not least
Kitty and Richard, the most recent happy couple to feature in my assignments portfolio, held their special day at the grade II listed Islington Town Hall.
The illustrious marble stairway led to the council chambers- such an opulent setting famed for its magnificent stained windows, which welcomed in the most remarkable light.
Having spoken to the bride and groom about what they wanted, we settled on a more candid ‘reportage’ feel – perfect for the Nikon DF + 35mm lens.
Subtlety was key in adapting to my dual role of reporter/photographer, but character aside, I was reminded of how important this skill was to apply to all shoots.
There’s an important balance in remaining inconspicuous yet at the same time capturing all elements of the event- the warmth, the emotion, and the small moments that mean everything.
For Kitty and Richard, these moments were plentiful: the moment Richard saw Kitty enter the room, the knowing smiles exchanged during the readings, the joyful tears whilst Kitty’s sister serenaded the chamber. It’s knowing where to look, what to capture, and when to click, but this definitely becomes more natural with practice.
The day couldn’t have gone more smoothly, and the love and affection by everyone who attended made it a delight to be a part of. Of course it definitely helped that Richard and I bonded over a shared passion of comic books (sorry, Kitty!) when I noted the X-men inspired table settings.
All the best for the future, Kitty & Richard, it was an absolute pleasure.
Gabrielle and Kenneth
I always wondered where the phrase "up a Gum tree" might have come from.
Having placed an ad for free photographic sessions in Gum Tree classifieds, to build my portfolio, I am getting a clue! I can hardly keep up. Gus my dog is putting on weight and there is a faint 'niff' in the kitchen. I really must remember to put the dishwasher on, but frankly with the post-production effort on all of the assignments I have completed recently I don't seem to have time to do much else. Be careful what you wish for. You too could be up a Gum tree!
But I am loving every minute and find that I really enjoy being part of a couple's wedding day. It's a special time for two people and a privilege to capture it for them. Even if Gus is desperate for a good walk!
Last weekend I photographed the wedding of Gabriella and Kenneth. They found me 'up the Gum tree' and during our briefing meeting were so trusting. They just let me set the tone for the wedding images and placed the outcome entirely in my hands. The fools! But with trust comes responsibility and I was really looking forward to giving them something they would cherish.
The location was great; the Library in Mayfair, being used while the Marylebone Registry office is renovated. It was a small affair, which meant I didn't need to compete with a dozen iPhone photographers distracting everybody. Mind you the best man needs to work out where the mute button on his phone. Thankfully incoming calls much to the amusement of all concerned especially when he received one at a particularly inopportune moment. Oh well. What are friends for?
Gabriella & Kenneth were a lovely couple, so patient and photogenic. I am really happy with the outcome.
MARYA & IULIAN'S
Be careful what you wish for!
The success of my portfolio building activity is such that I am starting to realise that for every hour I spend taking photographs at a wedding I spend 3 on post production, but having worked in advertising studios all my working life, ‘that’ll do’ is just not part of my DNA.
To get everything ready on time for my recent assignments I decided to take my laptop on holiday. To make the best use of the quiet moments whist still enjoying the delights of Normandy. I am not sure whether it was my dog Gus, or my wife, but somehow my powercord was bitten into rendering my laptop useless. Maybe God is trying to telling something. Yes it must have been my wife :-) But we all need a break and I am refreshed with renewed enthusiasm to clear the post production workload.
My latest wedding assignment was for Maria and Iulian at Ealing Town Hall, a young couple madly in love with each other. It was a beautiful day, great natural light and a really nice couple, their respective families were also good fun, especially when I was trying to choreograph some of the group shots outside the town hall and later on. After the wedding ceremony we all headed off to Holland Park for a champagne reception and more group shots, the results are great and I am really happy with the final images.
Two more freebies and my portfolio will be complete. I can hear you say it now... “Next year Rodders we will be millyonairs”. I wish.
Hope you enjoy the pics as much as I did taking them on the day
MENTOR DAY WITH LAURA
Weekend Wedding Course
Last weekend (31 May – 1st June) I attended a wedding photography course with Tish and Andy from GoingDigital, who went through the trials and tribulations of becoming a professional wedding photographer.
It’s the first wedding photography course I have attended. Not only was it incredibly informative, it also turned out to be great fun. Which is encouraging as I have the ambition to establish myself as a full-time professional Wedding photographer over the next year.
The three models on the day (Sammy, Ben and Ray) were easy to work with; so helpful, giving us great tips on how to direct the bride and groom, to ensure they achieve a memorable keepsake without intruding too much into the primary reason for the day. The wedding itself.
Here are some of my images from the weekend. I know the images are of professional models which made composition a little easier but I am still really happy with the results. I always I try to avoid cliches in my composition therefore my three favourites are the silhouette the shot down a flight of stairs and the shot of the bride and groom next to the parking meter with sign “PAY HERE” never a truer word said.
Just need to press on to achieve my goal.
Wedding Fashion Shoot
A Wedding Dress Designer called Christine contacted me; as she had seen my Gumtree ad and asked me if I would like to shoot her friend who would be modelling her Wedding Dress designs, she is a start up project like myself and I could see it would benefit us both.
I jumped at the opportunity and it gave me an excuse to try my new Nikon 70-200 f2.8 lens, (I am such a lens geek sometimes) as well as the 24-70 f2.8 lens that I bought a couple of months ago.
Christine’s friend Rong, (please don’t go there with that joke) was really lovely, very pretty, looked well in the outfits and extremely easy to work with.
We all met at Temple station on Saturday (Christine, her husband Anthony and Rong) and proceeded to walk to Inner Temple Gardens, it is a place I had driven past for many years without knowing it was there, an oasis of beautiful buildings and gardens that span back 300 years or more, where barristers and lawyers have their chambers. Being deserted at the weekend apart from a few tourists we had unobstructed space to shoot without people being in the background.
With Christine helping Rong change outfits and Anthony looking after the outfits and my camera bag and equipment, which left me free to shoot our model without looking over my shoulder all the time. We were lucky with the light and not too many shadows, which we took full advantage over the next 2 hrs. Moving the model from place to place and experimenting with her poses, remembering that this is to advertise the outfits not the model’s face as pretty as she is.
I am still trying to establish my own photographic style and feel and hopefully I am getting there, I tend to shoot close up to the models face but I am shooting further away from the model to include more of the background and make the photograph a more rounded image, but I am sure all that will come with time, and with more confidence and experience, with my calendar is getting fuller and fuller by the day I am hoping it will come quicker than I imagined.
I am also meeting a couple tonight to discuss their wedding early next month and have been booked to shoot a real live wedding on Thursday, whoopee, a genuine job and they are happy to pay me a days pay for it.
Here are a few of the shots from Saturday, which I hope you like.
AZRA & TSUNG'S CHELSEA WEDDING
I have found my niche..... Lastminutephotoshoot.com. Right up my street really as am late for most things!
Last week I was asked to photograph a wedding by Ash, the bride’s sister. Like the battery, my nickname is EverReady, so although I had very little time to chat things through with the stars of the show, I was excited to fulfill my next assignment. Ash responded to my advertisement on GumTree. To be a working photographer, I need a portfolio. To get a portfolio I need to work as a photographer. Bit of a Catch22 (literary reference there!).
Solution.... For a while I have offered my services for free, nichts, rien, nada, niente!
Surprise surprise, it’s working and I have quite a few weddings to shoot over the next few weeks. Long nights with coffee for company are looming as I try to get the post production work done. But I am starting to see a future in this which is really exciting.
This wedding took place in Chelsea Town Hall. The bride and groom, Azra and Tsung, are both doctors and really busy. So after a quick chat it was straight in to the event. Thankfully the room was warm. Very warm. So the beads of sweat on my brow as I worked the room could be interpreted as a response to my enthusiastic photography. Not nerves. This is still quite new to me and recording a couples wedding day is a big responsibility. I am sure I will get used to it. Given the size of the room, I mainly used my 24-70 f2.8 zoom lens as the range was perfect. That said with different venues, it won’t be long before I’ll need a second body. Swapping lenses just takes too long. That’s going to be an interesting conversation with the Finance department!
The ceremony ended with smiles and kisses and as the wedding party trooped off to a Knightsbridge restaurant, I was relieved that my presence had not been intrusive and I was confident I had enough in the camera to meet the brief.