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…
This shoot was way back in November 2013 at Wycoller Country Park, near Colne; a beautiful, picturesque hamlet in deepest Lancashire. Perfect for our plans for a new front cover, featuring wedding attire by Charlotte from Legend Bridal Designs, hair &makeup by the talented pair Kerry Baker MUA and Duncan Fisher from L’Hairport, floral arrangements by Clare at Blush Rose – plus our very brave and talented models, Michelle Carter & Rowan Lewis Mitchell. The idea for the shoot was developed and organised by Maxine and the team at Little White Books – who, incidentally run the phenomenal Great Lancashire Wedding Show twice a year….a fantastic exhibition of Lancashire’s and Great Manchester’s finest wedding suppliers – well worth checking out if you’re planning your wedding.
So, duly we arrived at the location mid morning, to catch as much of the low winter sun as possible, for a more dramatic effect. Though the sun was out, it was still November and bitterly cold. Luckily there’s a cafe in Wycoller, so we set up camp there with hot tea and coffee to get us going. And boy, did we need it! 😉
Kerry and Duncan set to work on our brilliant models, who, incidentally braved the temperature on the shoot through gritted teeth, coats and more hot tea. Thanks guys! We had the idea already for the front cover, but our brief was to shoot extra images for editorial use for both the Little White Books magazine, plus publicity and advertising stills for the Great Lancashire Wedding Show. From website, social media, through to location banners and even billposters, our work was going global.…well, all over the North West 😉
We had to work quickly, since the sun was already starting to fade – even at 12.30pm, and with the temperatures falling further, it meant I had to shoot very quickly too, which, to be honest I prefer…and so did the models! The style of the shoot was a little outside my normal style, so I opted to work with reflectors, rather than location lighting. This gave me a much more natural look, and saved precious time on the day.
From the ‘couple’ shots for the GLWS, came our star, Michelle to be featured for the front cover. The light was perfect. Michelle was possibly two degrees from falling into a coma, and even I was cold. And I don’t feel the cold! In ten minutes we nailed it, with the expertly-timed (and obligatory!) warm coat being handed to Michelle in between ‘takes’ by Kerry and Charlotte. Ten minutes, nailed, in the bag…then the light was gone…
….and, HERE IT IS…..our cover image. We knew just looking at the back of the camera we’d got what we came for!
These images are a collection of alternative takes (sorry, once a TV director, always one!) from the morning and early afternoon shoot, forming into a collection for the GLWS library. Watch out for the images to hit social media any day now. If you come to any Little White Books events, you’ll see them printed as large banners and posters around the venues. I’ll also be at this year’s GLWS on November 9th – why not pop over and say hello?
With the sun fading quickly, we changed location and shot some images for the Great Lancashire Wedding Show – teasers, flyers, in-magazine advertorial etc. I as thanks again to our brilliant models, who braved tremendously unfriendly temperatures to give us images like these…
A quick five minute ‘warm up’, then we were on the final lap – a few more ‘couple’ shots for the GLWS…worth the pain I think!
My thanks especially go out to ‘The Team’ for producing this in such limited time and non-summer weather!
Kelly & Mike were married recently in North Manchester – on a typical Manchester day too. Wet! With their ceremony at St John The Evangelist Church and reception at Norton Grange, this blog posts serves as an example of my Norton Grange Wedding Photography.
When I arrived at Kelly’s home, she was already in the very capable hands of Phoebe, one half of Flossy & Leigh – award-winning bridal makeup artists. A quieter, more calm start to the day for Kelly and her mum and bridesmaid, non of the usual organised chaos and hustle of an average wedding day. Nope, these girls took it all in their stride, with the champagne on ice – it was actually very relaxed and peaceful. Running to my schedule, I found we were under time – a rare treat, giving me a few minutes with Kelly for a few portraits, before leaving to catch up with Mike and the guests.
I caught up with Mike and his groomsmen in his local pub…difficult to spot from the main road, since it was in the middle of a total refurb. But…the vault was open, and that’s all we needed! That and a pint of water for the groom, who was feeling a little delicate after an impromptu late night… 😉
The church was a two-minute walk from the pub, even in the intermittent rain. I had time to shoot a few portraits of Mike too, before Kelly duly arrived…
And here she was – on time, smiling through the ‘non-wedding’ weather, with mum to proudly walk her down the aisle…
The minister, Matthew was brilliant – he let me do what I wanted, so obviously I respected my role and his environment to capture the ceremony from a couple of vantage points. In return I duly sent him some new images for his website. Take note please other ministers and registrars…it doesn’t have to be a 45 minute battle of nerves! Some of us wedding photographers actually respect what you do, and don’t turn things into a circus… 😉
After the ceremony, it was off down the motorway to Norton Grange – a lovely venue, and where I photographed Jade & Lewis’ weddinglast summer…
The rain stopped for a few minutes, allowing us time to grab a few portraits of the new Mr & Mrs Partington…
Then it was back inside for the wedding breakfast and speeches. Unusually, (and also a brilliant choice!) – Mike’s Best Man was his dad…who better?
And so, 7.30pm arrived, as did the evening guests, ready to swing their pants to a brilliant playlist, with the talented and very personable Nick Campbell on disc duties…after the first dance, it was time for me to depart, and the volume go up to eleven…
If you’re thinking of Norton Grange as your wedding venue, why not get in touch to discuss options for your wedding photography?
I love my job. I really do. Even when it’s hard work, the pressure’s on and the sometimes seemingly endless 16 hour days working on the weddings and people shoots I undertake throughout the year make me a little grumpy (yeah, yeah…get the violins I hear you say…) But it’s shoots like this that make the days go a little easier. Spring sunshine, location shoot, no time constraints and a lovely ‘crew’ to work with make for a very pleasant day’s work. Work….sometimes it doesn’t feel like it on days like this… 😉
Lynn from Hairbows Wonderworld booked me with my ‘Wedding Photographer Manchester’ hat on to shoot some of her new 2014 product range. Armed with a couple of models, a suitcase hamper of product…(plus the same again with sandwiches, cake and coffee!), all under the careful direction of talented make up artist Jodie A Smith we set up camp in a beautiful park in North Manchester. Being a Thursday, it was quiet and we had the place to ourselves. The day started with quite dense fog, which would have looked quite atmospheric, but we waited until noon, for it to burn off and have some sunshine. And we did…too much! I know, I know…us photographers are never happy, eh? For the first half of the shoot, we set up in a conservatory, a classic Victorian glasshouse. Armed with a single flash, fired via radio trigger through a large silver umbrella, I wrestled with the big yellow ball in the sky to get something of any quality. But we did. And I know Lynn loves a touch of vintage…so she got some in these final images…not too much though, didn’t want to spoil her!
You’ll have to forgive the lack of information on each of the featured items…I’m a man, what would I know? You’d need to speak to Lynn via her WEBSITE, or via her ETSY shop to discuss options for your wedding day. But I do know she makes the most exquisite bouquets, hand made hairwear and other accessories – “Pretties” as she nicknames them. Have a look at her work, you’ll love it!
From the glasshouse, it was outside to battle the afternoon sun, not fazed, models Monika and Malwina braved the cold (yes, it’s still only March!) and performed beautifully for camera, with little direction from me. Good…it was my ‘day off’ and I didn’t want to be pointing and gesticulating like a bad mime act! Thanks ladies… 😉
For me, this was my shot of the day (above). I love its simplicity. It doesn’t really show any product, but hey, I’m entitled to oneshot in the collection…? Thanks Lynn…
Well – here it is – finally revealed! The latest issue of the Little White Books magazine, and who got to shoot the front cover? Yep, me…with a lot of help from some very patient friends… 😉
Following on from the last project, the LWB Team assembled on a beautifully wet June afternoon, to produce the new cover image, plus a editorial for inside the magazine too. The weather had been glorious all week, but obviously when it came to our shoot, the rain fell…and fell..and fell, soaking the ground beyond a practical working level. So, undeterred we still ventured up to Beeston Manorfor the shoot. This project was less about me being a Beeston Manor Wedding Photographer, than being Ray Mears, dealing with and ‘surviving’ what I can only describe as “a swimming pool with grass!”
Eventually the rain slowed and we could see blue sky, but it was too little, too late, as we had to shoot and get something in the bag. Struggling under umbrellas, to keep the beautiful wedding gown dry and safe – Joanne and Kristina on Makeup and hair duties, plus Clare and Andrew on Styling and Jewellery did their very best to get our fantastic (and patient!) model Kirsty ready. I could hear the subtle giggles from the gang too, as a wet ‘tide mark’ started climbing my trouser legs. As the shoot progressed, so did the marks, like my jeans were acting as straws. Perfect! I’d no spare clothes with me either…so the giggling and subtle pointing got worse…ha ha…bloomin’ hilarious guys!!
So…with the rain finally stopping, we got to work, now with diminished time available for the ‘look’ of the shot. The pressure was on to produce, and we did. Simple as, everything fell into place after a few lighting tests (and a change of bin liner for me to lie on). Kirsty was great and smiled through the whole ordeal. Did I say it was cold too…in June? Yep, it was, but our model bride soldiered on and we hit shot after shot. The sun broke for a few minutes, so Glynn, who was in charge of the Land Rover moved it into a new position, to maximise what light we had, and to minimise the heavy black clouds rolling in for a further attack on our setup (and my tidemark!)
I’m breaking one of my own rules here – these images are work in progress, and not the final, print-ready versions…you’ll have to grab a copy of the new LWB magazine to see them. These images show subtle changes in colour grading and film emulation, to give a slightly dated look to the work – nothing too OTT though, all very tasteful. I used a Nikon D600 camera for this shoot, for the extra resolution – and though handled most of the shoot perfectly did hiccup a couple of times…that’s why I still love my D3s / D700 combination.
I’m not going to blow my own trumpet here, that’s not my style..but the results almost turn me and the team into liars about the conditions we had to endure…oh how we suffer for our art… 😉
…and a BIG mention to the crew for their massive help, sarcasm and general one-liners to make this project run like a Swiss watch…