Emma and Tom got married at St Pauls Church in Tamworth and held their wedding reception at Drayton Manor Golf Club.
My day started early that morning with Emma and the bridesmaids getting ready at Drayton Court Hotel. The atmosphere was very relaxed and I soon settled in, taking discreet images of not only the bride having her hair and makeup done, but also concentrating my attention to the little details that go into the day too. I also made sure I was on hand to capture all the laughter and tears (of which there were a lot!)
The image above is a great example of the type of photograph I'm looking for at this part of the day. Sure, the bride's in her pyjamas, isn't wearing make up and is at the very earliest stages of having her hair done, but none of that really matters. When you look at this wedding photo for example, this certainly isn't the very first thing that your eye is drawn to. Hopefully, the thing your eye is drawn to first if the bride's beaming smile! The conversion to black and white has helped this image further, allowing the viewer to really focus in on what's happening within the image itself, and not being potentially distracted by colour.
A huge amount of thought and consideration goes into most things at weddings, and that extends out to everything the bride is wearing, no matter how small or trivial it may seem. Because of this, I always make sure I photograph the wedding day details as best I can, and where possible including all of the details together in one photo, which can be seen below. The image above was taken at a similar time, this time using a macro lens to get really close to the jewellery and tiara that the bride had.
I love the sense of scale that you get from the image below. It's common to see a wedding dress hung like this in order that the intricacies of the dress can be captured on film, but I also like to do the same with the bridesmaids and flower girl's dresses too. The white of the flower girl's drew contrasts so nicely with the deep, rich blue colour of the bridesmaids. I used a drawn, netted curtain as a backdrop for this photo as when correctly exposed, you get this real stark white highlighted area that's a great studio-like background for photographing the dresses against.
Both Emma and Tom were getting ready at the same hotel in Tamworth which, whilst logistically proved tricky (ensuring that neither party ran into the other) when it came to photography it could not had been better. Usually, to take photos of both the bride and groom getting ready you either need a second photographer, or have to drive like crazy between venues. Driving anywhere before a wedding is stressful, as I'm always so paranoid about getting stuck in a huge queue of traffic following an accident and then being late for the wedding. Both getting ready at the same location circumvents this possibility, and made sure I was nice and relaxed all morning. With a bit of prior planning I knew which time both Emma and Tom planned to be ready for, and with the bride getting in the dress, I thought I'd leave her in peace for a short while and go and photograph the groom in all his finery.
Tom, an armed forces veteran looked absolutely amazing in his traditional formal Highland wear, and the location where he got ready also made the perfect setting for these pictures. I couldn't have planned it better myself. The decor was fitting, the spaces large and the light was just sublime. If you spent an hour here setting up your own lighting rig and using models you wouldn't get a better photo still. Everything just fell into place so well.
For the photo above I simply asked Tom to sit in a chair (legs closed!) near to a large bay window, that wasn't receiving direct sunlight, but with it being so bright outside that didn't matter either way. The large light source and indirect light was very soft and easy to work with, which is why it's so flattering in these images. Shooting with the light falling across Tom's body meant that I was able to just pick out all of the best bits of his grooms wear, the buttons and the colour in the tartan for example. As he glanced out the window I took a handful of photos and the results are exactly what I had been hoping for.
At the time of writing this, I'm sitting here in my office only a week from November, and the season of Remembrance is just around the corner (this year marking the 100th anniversary of the armistice too). It seems so fitting that I'm writing about this wedding now, as in a beautiful yet sobering nod to his brothers and sisters-in-arms, Tom and the groomsmen all wore cloth poppies as button-hole flowers.
With Emma now 'decent' and in the wedding dress it was time for my return. As I got back I found her with the bridesmaids, applying some finishing touches and being helped into her wedding shoes by her maid of honour.
To keep with the theme of the embroidered poppy that Tom and his groomsmen/women were sporting, Emma broke from tradition and had a fully embroidered wedding bouquet which really was something to behold. Each flower was individually made by one of their guests. I really like this idea, as wedding flowers are so expensive and during summer, if not kept in water the flowers may well stop looking their best before the wedding day is through, let alone the days or weeks to come. By using synthetic or cotton flowers, you can rest assured that your flowers will always look as good as the day you carried them down the aisle (and what a cool thing to give to your daughter on her wedding day.)
With the bride and bridesmaids dressed and ready to go, it was time for her uncle to see his neice on her wedding day for the first time. What a priceless reaction I've captured here! Not only of her uncle and bridesmaid but on the mother of the bride too! I also love the bridesmaids reaction in this photo, that look or adoration is gold.
With these photos in the bag, I took the opportunity to take a couple of relaxed photos of the bride and her bridesmaids outside, before it was time to leave for the church.
The black and white image below was taken when the bride was about to get in the wedding car.
I made sure that I left Emma in ample time that I got to the church before her. This is a critical part of the day and I'll always leave 20 or 25 minutes earlier than the bride so that I can get to the church, meet the vicar and discuss where I can take photos, say hello to the groom and best man and take a couple of photos. One of the photos I like to take is of the wedding rings before the service. It's so much easier (and a lot more modern) to take photos of the rings like this than the old fashioned approach of photographing the rings whilst on the hand of their wearer.
After the church wedding, we all moved onto the reception venue which was Drayton Manor Golf Club near Tamworth. One of the first things I photographed was Emma and Tom with the wedding car. Where possible, I like to try and take these photos first as the wedding car usually has to leave relatively early. Despite the rather arid conditions from such a hot summer, the golf course still made a lovely backdrop for these photos.
For the image below, I wanted to show the bride in her wedding dress and chose to take the photo with her standing in a natural clearing within some trees. As I was setting up to take this photo, a bright rainbow appeared in just the right place in the sky that I could include it in the photo.
I asked the groom to hold Emma's veil and to release it when I gave the command. I took several photos in a quick burst with this one being exactly the one I wanted.
The lake at the Gold Club had a wonderful wooden bridge over one stretch of water that, as soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted to use for some gorgeous wedding photos. Being close to a source of water, the foliage was vibrant and green and a welcome change from the burnt-yellow appearance that much of the grass in the area had at the time. I love how the deep greens behind the bride and groom really contrast with that they're both wearing, really elevating them both in the image. For this wedding photo I got down on one knee as to include some extra foreground interest in the image.