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!
Mottram Hall in the heart of Cheshire has it all – traditional meeting modern, and a perfect venue for Mottram Hall Weddings. The grounds are beautiful and very camera-friendly, the hospitality and catering first-class, whilst being sufficiently out of the way of the hustle and bustle of Manchester. A perfect ‘retreat’ for your wedding day…
If you’d like to see more of my Mottram Hall Wedding Portfolio, why not get in touch?
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Here is an example of my Kilhey Court Wedding Photography; Laura & Andrew were married recently in Standish, with a reception at the beautiful Kilhey Court Hotel. Laura is a local lass, though both her and Andrew work in the West Midlands. I met them in Stafford recently for their E-Shoot. Theirs was a dream wedding to photograph – the weather was perfect, the locations beautiful, and it was a joy to work alongside James and Lizzie (again) from Video My Wedding – two of the most easy-going people to work alongside in the quiet stress that is our capturing a wedding day and it’s story. Great to see you guys!
The preparations were the usual organised chaos with six bridesmaids getting ready, plus Bride Laura…and mum. Dad went and sat in the garden away from it all, rehearsing his speech for later on in the afternoon…I don’t blame him really… 😉
Andrew went two better, having eight groomsmen with him in The White Lion – a couple of beers to settle the nerves…possibly moreso for the best man who hit us with a joke during the speeches, and one I cannot possibly repeat here…and lived to tell the tale. Must have been some bet….
So, here are some of my favourite images from the day.
If you’d like to see more of my extensive wedding portfolio, why not get in touch?