As a Manchester Wedding Photographer, my job is to tell the story of your wedding day. From preparations, to first dance (and often beyond), I try to include as much as I can in my shooting day. A lot of photographers see details shots as a necessary requirement – like family group shots for example. But I see detail shots being as important as the ‘main’ photography, and here’s why. The image above, for example- one of my favourite detail shots ever tells a story of its own. Taken at a Christmas wedding in Manchester City Centre, this image was mid wedding breakfast. Though you can’t see anybody, the image speaks volumes about what’s going on – the style and ‘feel’ of the reception, the intimate lighting and simplicity of the table design, we can almost hear the laughter and conversation of the wedding guests. Taken with a 50mm prime lens, in very low light, this image ‘oozes’ Winter Wedding and I’m very proud to have this in my folio.
Other detail shots don’t need to paint such an informed story. These red shoes, taken again at a Winter Wedding, were captured in a very simple, graphic way. Modern shoes for the modern bride (and flowergirl!)
I won’t spend this entire blog waffling on about detail shots, and the story behind them. Some stories are personal, very specific and unique to the bride, groom, or even immediate family members. But I thought I’d tell you about this simple image of a silver locket, taken at Suzy & Ste’s Wedding in Castlefield. Look carefully at the bottom and right edges, and you’ll see it’s been dented slightly over the years. I asked Suzy why this particular heirloom was important. She told me it had been used by herself, her mum and grandma as a ‘teether’ Wow! Now that’s unique, and personally historical. I have never seen the likes of this before or since…making this particular detail shot very important for the family ‘Memory Box’.
Other detail shots, when taken in context of them being used – in this case, Amanda reading a hand-written card by her soon-to-be husband is another reason why we do what we do.
We tell your story; emotive, funny, sad, uplifting – whatever the day brings.
But for most of the day, the detail images are simply mini still-life images; beautiful, hand-crafted or bought in elements to decorate the venue – to tie in with the wedding theme, or simply for a Bride (normally) to stamp their personal touch on the day and its design…or, as documentary photographers, we can simply show how the weather was at the start of the day, compared to the party information at the end, for Claire & Russ’ wedding in York…
From personal, hand made gifts, to handed down heirlooms, sometimes I try to shoot details ‘live’ showing them in situ…
…or sometimes I have time to tell a mini story about the wedding venue, its location and its character.
But, whatever the wedding, there is always something fizzy to drink, something seasonal, or simply classic.
Sometimes it’s what you don’t see that makes the detail images so strong.
When photographing the bridal preparations is when the most personal of details are seen.
Gifts from husbands or partners-to-be, gifts and heirlooms handed over by close family, detail shots are paramount in being part of the whole story.
Little in-jokes, family traditions, or just remembering loved ones sadly departed…
When Olivia texted me for this shoot, I couldn’t say no. This was to be a family shoot with a difference. Four generations, yes, four – gathered in Heaton Park for some Autumn fun. I’d photographed Olivia and Ian’s wedding at Styal Lodge a few years back…in fact, theirs was the first wedding at the lodge!
So, we gathered on a typical ‘Manchester Tuesday’ in October, hoping the rain would hold off (we’d got our fingers crossed on this, time was pressing – two of the ladies had to travel home!) and went for it. Daughter, Mum, Granny and ‘Dear’ (doesn’t like to be called Great Granny!) captured in a couple of hours’ walk in the park for posterity. We warmed up with a few portraits on the lions…well, in Heaton Park it’s de rigueur… 😉
From the lions, we went to The Orangery for a few shots amongst the flowers. Little Evangeline – obviously the star of the show, was in full flight. Not content with looking at flowers, spotted something even more exciting. A muddy puddle. Personally, I think Peppa Pig has a lot to answer for! But, in we went, as Evangeline ran back and forth, soaking both herself and me in the process…but it was worth it!
A quick game of ‘Peeka’ followed by a seemingly endless run of ‘Ring-a-Ring-a-Roses’ brought little Evangeline back from the edge of Boredom, and gave her a second wind. From chasing squirrels, to a leaf fight, the walk had it all. And, we even stopped in the cafe for a coffee while Evangeline played ‘kitchen’..
This shoot was very different from others I’ve done. Looking at these images, they are absolutely priceless. All four generations in the one frame, captured for posterity. I know that these images will be cherished more and more as the years roll on. And…I know, you all know this, but images like these are very important in documenting family life. Whether you hire a professional to capture images like these, or shoot your own; just having them to look back on is paramount. And to get them printed – in books, on photographic paper, is even more important, once the digital files become obsolete as the formats change in the future (remember VHS?) Food for thought…
So thanks ladies for having me on board with this family shoot. A very special two hours, and a very special feeling of witnessing four generations in one frame.
Do you have a story to tell – or simply fancy a family shoot for posterity. Please get in touch…
Here is an example of my Chancellors Hotel wedding photography. Jo & Howard were married recently at The Chancellor’s Hotel in Manchester. This hidden gem is a lovely wedding venue, and by mixing the traditional with the modern makes Chancellor’s one of my favourite Manchester venues.
The day started as a bright, crisp autumn morning, with beautiful sunshine to follow for the rest of the day – which made a change!
The relaxed, intimate atmosphere of Jo & Howard’s wedding was great to work in; and for a change meant I could concentrate on using only 24-70mm and 85mm lenses for the majority of the shoot.
Jo looked stunning as she was given away by two (of three) very protective brothers, while Howard looked every bit the part with family tartan.
Thanks guys for such a relaxed day, and for allowing me to just get on with things….here are some of my favourites from the day.
If you’re considering Chancellors Hotel as your wedding venue, please get in touch to discuss options for your wedding photography…
The BIG one. Capesthorne Hall wedding photography from last Summer (remember the sun?). Rock n Roll meets traditional at a full-on summer wedding. Louise and Ian tied the knot at the family church in North Rode, near Macclesfield. Literally a few minutes drive from Louise’s parents farm, the beautiful village church was packed to the rafters with family and friends. For Louise, it meant she leave the house at the very last minute and still not be late for the ceremony. The Minister was brilliant. She allowed me full access to do my job, so long as I let her do hers. Fair enough, I thought, good odds that..for a change 😉 With Louise being so close by, it allowed me more time at church to capture the guests arriving…and arriving…and arriving. Ian was on brilliant form, as was his best man, ‘holding court’ with their unique sense of humour. Even Phoebe, their new puppy made an appearance for the odd photograph!
As with all good weddings, there was a good mix of characters there, all enjoying the late August sunshine. It was a pleasure to photograph this wedding, and it showed in Louise & Ian’s final wedding collection. The Nikons worked hard that day, and earned their keep…
Then…it was down the road to Capesthorne for a big, full-on wedding reception. Brandy & cigars (for the gentlemen),
The inclusion of a solo violinist playing was a real touch of class. Michael Montifroy is one of the most talented I’ve ever listened too. And I did listen to him – I deliberately ‘bunked off school’ for five minutes to listen to his style. The sound quality in the hall was perfect too. Well worth checking out for your wedding or event.
With time for a few formal images, Louise & Ian sneaked off with me around the Hall, while the guests partied on. I promised them thirty minutes (on this occasion), and delivered them back in said time too. Ian was impressed, and slightly relieved…well, aren’t most grooms… 😉
Then it was onto the wedding breakfast, complete with the most moving father of the bride speech I’ve ever heard. I was struggling to ‘keep the ship steady’ and do my job with this one…but the mood changed in time for Ian and his band to play us through his speech. yes, his speech was a song, and brilliantly performed by ‘the boys’….legendary stuff!
We grabbed another twenty minutes to grab some fresh air, and to grab these dusk images. Nothing wrong with a bit of formality during a documentary wedding shoot…is there?