Wedding Photography | A Sense of Fun

Wedding photography is a serious business, but also often a hilariously funny one( see articles like this for examples https://www.womansworld.com/posts/funny-wedding-pictures-101706). As a wedding photographer a sense of empathy is one of my core strengths. I need to be able to spot the fun bits and take part. I also need to know when to stop shooting and when to actually leave the room or merge into the background more.

Some fun bits

As an example of a fun moment, at this wedding one of the bridesmaids was leaning out of the window looking for her other half. The whole bridal party were laughing their heads off and one of them said “You have to shoot that”. So I did.

This bridal prep session was one of the longest I’ve ever shot so it’s not surprise there were some other funny moments. When Ali put on her makeup mask, there was a lot of laughter, so I tried to capture both sides of it.

I love delivering a few silly images, it offsets the really serious, emotional moments very well. Like this guy blowing bubbles for his kids.

Often it’s at the speeches that special moments occur. This dubious looking doll surfaced during the best man’s speech. It was mildly amusing during the speech, it was much funnier when the little bridemaids decided to take it for a walk around the room. Slightly risque but I knew the couple would see the humour in it.

The other side of the coin is when there is genuine emotion on show, and of course this happens a lot at weddings. As a documentary wedding photographer these are the moments I live for. An example is this shot of the two girls below, who had just finished their speeches. The room was going nuts as they had both done amazingly well for such young people. It was a truly lovely moment and of course I captured it.

Hugs after the speeches! - the Granary at Fawsley
Hugs after the speeches! – the Granary at Fawsley

But the fun stuff is just as important, I want people to laugh and cry when they see their wedding pictures! If you are interested in my wedding photography packages please contact me via this page http://www.croshawphotography.com/contact/

Thanks for reading!

Wedding Photography is not copy and paste

Every wedding is different…

And therefore every one requires a different approach to the wedding photography and 100% of my care and attention. I can’t just rock up to the venue and do what I did last week. While most weddings do follow a vaguely similar timeline in the UK, there are a large number of other things that differ wildly from wedding to wedding.

Kids having fun behind the scenes of the wedding
Kids having fun behind the scenes of the wedding

The Venue

Obviously this is one of the key differences and different venues can require different approaches to the wedding photography. For example, Coombe Abbey is a very large venue with lovely grounds.

coombe-abbey-wedding-venue
Coombe Abbey Wedding Venue

Group shots at a venue like this ( Coombe Abbey )are fairly straightforward, but they may be hosting multiple weddings. Therefore you need to engage with the master of ceremonies to avoid conflicts of timings. A smaller venue may need a completely different approach. I photographed a 50th wedding anniversary last year where there was no easy place to do the big group shots. So instead I photographed everyone going into the meal, one small group at a time. It worked really well and I made sure everyone at the wedding was caught on camera, which is one of the main points of the formals.

Themed Weddings

I love themed weddings and I’ve photographed a fair few now! The theme can be quite subtle, as at Caroline and John’s wedding. They were both avid gamers so it was important to get some of the little details in the photos.

These are not award winning shots. They won’t make it into my portfolio. However, they are important to the couple and they come from me talking to the couple and getting to know them before the wedding. Had I not done that, I may have missed some of these details. Wedding photography is all about the client and what they want, not what the photographer wants in their portfolio.

More themed stuff…

Coco’s wedding to Joe in Brighton had a much more overt theme. It would have been hard to miss this one!

Obviously it was an Alice in Wonderland theme ( I hope you got that on your own! ). The trick here was the tone of the editing. It’s much warmer than I normally go for, but I knew from talking to to Coco that was what appealed to her. She was delighted, and she noticed the way I’d toned the images. This was her response to seeing the images..

“So Perfect! Exactly what I wanted all warm and twinkly! Thank you so much!”

Documentary vs Candid

Another difference between weddings is how they are photographed. I am primarily a documentary wedding photographer, but I will do posed group shots. I understand that these are important even though I’d prefer to skip them entirely!

Dunchurch-Park-Hotel-Wedding
Posed group shot at Dunchurch Park Hotel

Knowing which approach to take, and sometimes I have to do both, comes from getting to know the couple before hand. Even when you do that, there are surprises on the day so you have to be flexible with your attitude and know your gear. At the end of the last wedding, long after the group shots had been done, I was asked to do this shot.

Chaotic cigar themed group shot!

This was at the end of a long day, in the dark, and it was raining. However, I was happy to do it and I’m sure the couple love it ( I did need to know how to use my flash for this of course ).

Conclusion

Where am I going with this article? I guess I’m saying that you can’t be lazy as a wedding photographer, either before the wedding or on the day. You need to get to know and understand what the clients want, even if they don’t know themselves. On the day, you need to be tireless and flexible and really know your gear, because you just don’t know when you’ll have to go out in a snowstorm for some last minute couple shots! If you want to book me for your unique wedding, please contact me here: http://www.croshawphotography.com/contact/

Documenting Weddings – Second shooters

Do you need a second photographer?

When you book me to photograph your wedding there is one quite important decision to make. Do you book a second shooter? A second shooter is a photographer there to assist the main photographer. This could be just carrying stuff, holding lights or taking pictures. Below I will outline the pros and cons of the second shooter as I see them.

Benefits

1.You will get more photos of your day from different angles. It is impossible for me to be in two places at once. A second photographer can get shots I simply can’t. For example, during the ceremony when the bride walks in I’ll be up near the groom getting shots like this one.

Wedding Processional - the Granary at Fawsley
Wedding Processional – the Granary at Fawsley

The second photographer can be at the back getting shots like this.

2.Groom prep is much easier with a second shooter. I can shoot both Bridal Prep and Groom Prep on my own and have done so many times. However, it’s much easier to do this with two photographers for obvious reasons.

3.A good second shooter is a handy backup in case of a serious problem for the primary. This has never happened to me, but I know of people it has happened to. Most of us will photograph a wedding no matter how ill we are. But if something drastic does happen on the day, the second shooter is a living, breathing backup who can take over in an emergency.

Taken by my second shooter on the day, Helen

4.You can get a subtly different style of photos from the second shooter that really adds another dimension to the book or album you end up with.

Cons

1.They can get in the way and be a distraction. I mostly use the same bunch of second shooters if at all possible, as I know they won’t need babysitting. Occasionally I need to work with someone new though. Most of the time it’s fine, but there have been times when the need to assist/babysit a second shooter has been a distraction for me.

Crockwell Farm – taken by my second shooter while I was busy with the couple shots

2.Editing is harder unless they are using the same system. This isn’t a problem for the client, but it does add an extra layer of difficulty for me. Most second shooters use Canon or Nikon, I don’t. This can lead to issues getting their photos to look just like mine.

3.Cost. It costs more to have a second photographer.

Taken by my second shooter while I was waiting in the Church

Overall, I would recommend having a second shooter if you can afford it. With my current pricing packages ( link ), it is only an extra £100.

What is Documentary Wedding Photography?

Documentary vs Posed

I get asked this a fair bit by clients so I thought a blog post was in order!  I think of myself as a reportage/documentary photographer, but what does this actually mean?  Traditional wedding photography was basically a collection of group shots and then some staged shots with the happy couple.  This was back when we were all shooting on film, and my own wedding photos follow this pattern.  Now that digital photography is firmly established couples expect more, and the era of candid/documentary photography is very much upon us ( I think this is a good thing ).  Simply put, documentary wedding photography is unposed, follow the day, shoot what happens photography.  This is a documentary wedding photo…

They had no idea they were being photographed, it was a candid moment at the reception between the bride and her father.  This is a posed photo by comparison…

There is nothing wrong with this ( they loved it ), but it is a posed photo.  There are various degrees of documentary wedding photography.  Some photographers are 100% documentary, nothing is posed.  They turn up and they document the day looking for awesome moments.   There is a lot of skill that goes into this, from choosing the right backgrounds to being able to use flash in a non invasive way.  It’s not just turning up, putting the camera into burst mode and then firing away.  Then there are people like me, who are 90% documentary/reportage but we will do posed/group shots.  I believe they are important, as a record of the day.  It’s impossible to guarantee that you will capture everyone on the day, so the group/posed shots are a kind of safety net, to capture those people who have evaded you otherwise during the day.  This is a good example of a shot that is 50% candid and 50% posed….

Dunchurch Wedding - confetti line

I love the confetti shots, its not a candid shot because I set it up, but there is a large element of chaos in the confetti run which means its a nice mix of the two genres ( in my opinion ).

Blending into the background

Part of the skill of documentary photography is being inconspicuous and this is where gear can play a part.  I use a Sony A9 as my main camera for weddings, the main reason for this is that it is completely silent and I find that I can fade into the background a lot more easily than with a big DSLR with a loud shutter sound. For more on the gear I use see this article…http://www.croshawphotography.com/2019/02/21/documentary-wedding-photography-the-gear-that-i-use/

So which should you go for?  Well, that’s up to you of course.  I do find that couples who want a whole load of group shots come to regret it on the day and often abandon the idea when they realise what a stress it places on the whole timeline.   If you are going to go for group shots allow 10 minutes for each one.  That may seem a lot, but once you factor in the missing relative who has disappeared off the toilet just when you need them most, it starts to make sense.  When couples see the final shots its always the candids they prefer, but don’t discount the group shots, there are an important record of who was there on the day, and you can always opt for a mix of the two.