Normally, the previews I pop on social media, or a quick selection of photos from a wedding in my portfolio section often only consist of around 8 images or so. A couple of recent enquiries and subsequent questions gave me the idea to offer this post as a way of showing more images from one day, and also a brief insight into what I do and why I do it. I literally have hundreds of weddings to choose from, but as Kat and Sam’s wedding was recently printed in Yorkshire Bride Magazine, I thought a good idea would be to start with theirs. Over the next couple of weeks, I will add some more, just to give those people considering booking me, more of an idea of what to expect from me. So here, I think there is a selection of around 65 images, and I have broken them down into sections of the day. I cant possibly show all 650+ images as my website would simply grind to a halt
As part of my commitment to you, I ring you 2 or 3 days before the big day. We then have a better idea of weather and timings as they will have been finalised with the venue. I haven’t upset a chef yet, and don’t intend on doing so anytime soon. We chat about the day and get a loose plan in place. Obvs there are little things set in stone, such as sunset time, wedding breakfast time etc. But apart from that we talk things through and agree. 99 times out of 100 most couples just say ‘Matt this is our first time, you do this every week. You just tell us where and when and we will be there’ For me that is ideal, as I am a big believer in couples enjoying their day with their guests as much as possible as opposed to me bossing around and being demanding. Most of the time I am shooting at venues and with planners I know. I therefore know much more about what they need from the couples and also service times, first dance times etc so I pretty much know what were going to do when I arrive. Obviously things happen, someone is at the bank when needed for a group photograph for instance. But we work around it
Kat got ready at home with her closest friends. I really really love shooting in peoples homes. I just feel the images will have more of a personal feel to them when they look back over the years. Thats just personal opinion of course and couples rightly do what they want to do.
The getting ready images I feel are a fantastic start to any wedding story. Ideally I would suggest hiring a second photographer to spend that time with the groom also. You really do then get both sides of the story. We time sync our images and so as you see your photos, its literally what was happening on the day. Whilst the bride was getting her dress on, the groom for example was necking a pint in the venue bar.
Bridal preparation images show the fun and laughter with the girls but also the proud looks parents give their daughter when they see her in her wedding dress.
Its also at this point where Bridesmaids and everyone else there see what a laid back, relaxed photographer I am. Often the brunt of the jokes, but that suits me, if it deflects from the nerves I am happy to have that in my job description. I will often capture moments that I know as we get older, and our friendships get stronger and stronger, those moments are really nice to look back on.
As in the case with Kat and Sam, they were getting married at Church, Wakefield Cathedral in their case so its really important I get away at least 15 minutes before the bridal party. This is primarily so I can get parked up. Last think I want is to hold a ceremony up because I cant find a parking space. On two occasions now I have abandoned my car (safely) and left my assistant in the car to explain to any ticket wafting wardens that we are there for the wedding. I am sure they would have some compassion and let us off, but who knows?
Another reason to get there early is to check in with the ceremony officers or the vicar/priest etc. We really are a respectable team and will follow the rules laid down. Some registrars know us really well (especially Wakefield and Cheshire registrars) and allow me to do as I please. I do have to stick to the rules but will do everything we can to get the shots that reflect your service. Normally I will slip my shoes off to prevent any clunking of shoes on the floor or to stop the floorboards creaking haha. I do get funny looks, but then grins when the penny drops when they realise I am doing it to activate stealth mode!
Once the service is over, its a great chance to dove in and get natural photos of people congratulating the happy couple. Kat and Sam put a light afternoon tea on for their guests so we captured this in the story too. Of course, we also wanted some images of them with the impressive Wakefield Cathedral. Now anyone who knows Wakefield can imagine how many people were milling about so it was down to my know how to capture this as best as I can. I think we nailed it.
During our chat a few days prior to the wedding, I suggested, and we agreed that a good way to leave the Cathedral and to head to Oulton Hall would be the confetti throw. It worked great and even one of the groomsmen dumped a bucket full over my head. The suspect can be seen chuckling in amongst the set of photos. The boys had sussed out nothing would really upset me and I was up for a laugh. I must say they were a massive help to me throughout the day. Kat and Sam had well over 100 guests, so early in the day we had a huddle with the groomsmen and all were extremely happy to help out. Yeah I got some stick from them, laughed at in speeches, confetti literally everywhere about my person but they really were top guys! Id much rather it be like that than no one talks to us, and things get delayed as I physically cant get everyone into the right place at the right time. As a side note, last year a Bride booked me and said we obviously love your photos, but I know you’ll be able to handle the groomsmen. As it happens I know the best man from a previous wedding so know exactly what is in store for me hahaha!!
Usually shortly after ceremony, and when everyone has past on their congratulations to the couple, wehead straight into the full wedding photograph. This is the only point in the day when everyone is still in the area. No one drifts too far as normally free drinks and free canapés are in the area!! How I shoot depends on the location, Oulton has a great front entrance with the steps, Waterton Park let me hang out of one of the bedrooms (Usually a wedding guest is staying in the room I use so grab the key from them) Dimple Well allow me on to the roof of the venue. From there we head into group photos. Pretty much straight away. I like this to be slick and quick and usually someone is on hand to get the groups ready. If this is the case, we really can rattle through them. At this point the camera isn’t very far from my nose end, in between the line ups there are amazing moments to capture.
Referring back to the pre wedding call,we knew we had to pack a lot in in the time between Ceremony and Wedding breakfast. Purely because the wedding breakfast service for over 100 guests and speeches would take us past sunset. Then of course Caroline wanted to show Kat and Sam the Oulton Suite all dressed up for their wedding breakfast. I usually tag along at distance to grab some details for the story. Knowing this I knew we had to shoot all their group photographs and also photographs of Kat and Sam together before wedding breakfast. This is the case in winter, early spring and also later into autumn. The safety net of an hours light after wedding breakfast isn’t there.
Again, like most things, I like Bride and Groom photos to be slick and quick. Not heavy on the posing, as long as you’re comfortable. Depending on the venue, I say 25-45 mins absolute maximum. I try to make sure you have as much time as possible just the two of you, so I always say, Ill meet you here, then meet you there after these photos etc. I always try to finish the last photograph at the furthest point away from the venue. Then you have that nice walk back together just the two of you whilst I charge off and get ready for speeches.
Speeches is one of my favourite times. Depending on the layout of the room I try to get around without missing important parts. Fun laughter tears and emotion generally make up speeches.
After speeches is often the time people refer to as the wedding lull. Guests drift to check in and freshen up. Its at this point where we go recharge our equipment and plan for the after dark shots. On this day we waited to do these after first dance in order to give Kat and Sam some alone time or more so away from me hahaha. First dance always offers great moments. Many couples don’t want to bat it out alone for the whole song, rightly so, I think we were the same. But I always say give me 30 seconds just you two and then let everyone join in. Everyone includes me, yes I am on there. Usually at that point all the guests in the day are feeling the love too and rather than dancing with my camera, I am getting these moments too. Hopefully the DJ cranks it up after and I can grab some people bopping away. And from there we head out for after dark images