Jennie & Sam's Wedding
Jennie and Sam were to be married at Carberry Tower in East Lothian, just outside Edinburgh. I visited with them on a lovely sunny April day and was delighted with what I saw of the castle and grounds. As you are reading this, you can click on any image to see a larger version.
If the weather allowed, the ceremony was to take place outside. If not, it would be in the Ceilidh Hall. As you can see below the Hall was blessed with a lot of natural light from the floor to ceiling windows on one side. This might present a few challenges with respect to extreme backlighting but there was nothing that I was too concerned about.
From a photography perspective then everything looked great and I was already planning where in the grounds would be good for the group shots. I do prefer capturing candid moments rather then spending too much time on group shots but they are important; especially so when extended families are having what can be rare get togethers. Anyway I had beautiful grounds as a background, stone steps for tiering smaller groups and good vantage points for being able to get the important shot of all the daytime guests. Things were looking good.
On the important day, the weather was terrible. It was the weekend of the May day bank holiday. Saturday was mainly sunny with some showers, Monday was fantastic but on the Sunday of the wedding, it rained. It rained more or less heavily all day until about 8pm.
As you might expect, the weather didn't really dampen spirits. Jennie had stayed at Carberry Tower the night before and her room was buzzing with bridal preparations. Sam meanwhile was greeting guests in-between playing snooker with the groomsmen.
I love the drama of the service. There is always tension before it begins. The groom is usually the best indicator of this. Perhaps as a relief from the tension, there is often a lot of laughter. The service itself is always taken very seriously and is invariably emotional. All this can lead to images that show a real range of emotions from anxiety and nervousness, through deep concentration to real elation. I think you can see some of that in the images below.
Maybe it is just me, but there seems to be a rule with group shots that you will always take more than you planned and it will always take longer than you think! In our case, because of the rain it was not going to be possible to take the shots outdoors. The room we were given and the relatively low level of light (due to the weather) would also mean I would need to use artificial lighting. So much for my plans of stone steps and beautiful gardens. I had come prepared with a number of flashes, stands and light modifiers so I quickly set up before asking the ushers to start assembling the groups. One big lesson here if you are booking a photographer, is to make sure they are prepared for poor weather and are comfortable with lighting groups. And, If you are a photographer, always have a fallback plan and have another one for that!
As I have said elsewhere, groups are not really my favourite part of a wedding. Don't get me wrong I do like formal portraits and you can find many examples on my website. I have also taken formal wedding portraits that I am really pleased with but, there are so many other natural moments at weddings that I would rather spend my time capturing. Typically group portraits happen just after the service which is also a great time for getting candid shots as everyone begins to relax. It is something you need to think about.
As you can see in a couple of the shots below, even during the formals, I can't help myself but try to capture some of the more off-guard moments.
As a documentary wedding photographer I pride myself on being able to capture mood and atmosphere. This means discreetly recording moments as your day unfolds. There was a bit less time for this than I would have liked ideally but still I think there are some nice images; especially the reaction shots to the speeches.
We finally managed to get outside at around 8pm. The light wasn't great so I supplemented it with off-camera flash. I think this enabled me to capture some nice shots. It is often clear whether an image should have a black and white or colour treatment. In this case, I couldn't really decide and so did both.
All in all a great day despite the weather, with some lovely images that will provide a lasting memory.
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