Gate Street Barn is set in the Surrey Hills, next to a working organic farm and small landscaped gardens. It’s location lends itself to a lovely secluded, quiet atmosphere; and whilst this offers photography with a rustic dimension, it can still be quite dramatic.
From the beginning the couple and guests feel there are ‘away from it all’ and are very relaxed – which helps the photography. The staff are very organised and friendly too. This is strengthened by allowing the bride to get ready in an adjoining dedicated room. This allows the photography to flow right up until the Registrars come over to interview the bride!
The barn itself – which has recently been refurbished and can hold 130 guests – has the space and light conducive to capturing the ceremony and speeches well.
You can view more of our surrey weddings at www.garyroebuck.co.uk.
“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” Ansel Adams
Many of us remember “the bad old days” of wedding photography, when it was really just a few shots of the couple outside the church and then an endless list of dull formal group shots. In fact, some of the lists we see in bridal magazines of the “must have” group shots seem to be still stuck on the past! Modern wedding photography has come a very long way from this, but it’s still seen by many as the responsibility of a good wedding photographer to “make the image happen” at key moments of the day, and not to simply rely on chance.
This is why couples should seriously consider photographers who are able to vary their photographic style throughout the day. There are times of the day when unobtrusive photojournalism is the only option (for example, during the ceremony). But natural, posed images are the best option for creating flattering and artistic images of the couple at other key points of the day. For example bridal portraits, when her hair, make-up and dress are perfect before the ceremony will be posed, as will shots of the groomsmen before the wedding (even if it’s done in a relaxed and contemporary way). Read more about photographic styles here.
Some couples worry that posing will be difficult or awkward but in fact most people are surprised by how much they enjoy it, especially once they have seen the results it produces! Choosing a photographer who includes an engagement photo-shoot as part of the wedding package is a great way to get to know your photographer better and practice posing. You’ll feel so much more relaxed on the day.
So when looking through a photographers’ portfolio, ask how particular images you like were achieved: you’ll probably be surprised by how many of the “natural” shots are posed, so be prepared for this at your own wedding!
Wedding photographers are sometimes approached by guests who have a story to tell about how dreadful their wedding photographer was. These stories follow a pattern: firstly the couple have booked with a big wedding photography organisation; and secondly they are disappointed with the service they receive. The disappointments are varied but this author has heard about a photographer who ran off with his lover after the wedding (taking the couple’s wedding images with him!), another who simply failed to ever produce the album that had been part of the original package; and one who simply refused to photograph the bride at the “getting ready” stage.
The underlying problem is that these stories relates to clients who think they are playing it safe by signing up with a large organisation. But buying wedding photography services is not like buying a car. Most people would assume that with other types of big purchase (such as a car) you are better off buying from a big organisation – like a high street dealership – than from a small organisation (like an advert in the motoring press). The reason for this being that if anything goes wrong (such as the car breaking down within months of purchase), the dealership will offer a warranty; will want to protect its reputation – and will have the resources and incentive to correct any problems.
Of course, problems with wedding photography cannot readily be rectified after the big day anyway. But there are other reasons why wedding photography is different. The big difference is that virtually all talented wedding photographers work for themselves. They do not work for big organisations, as these companies usually only pay a “day rate” to their photographers, which is not enough to earn a living (many photographers who do this work are unqualified, and have a Monday-Friday job that pays the bills). All the photographer is expected to do to earn the fee, is turn up on the day, take the photographs and then hand over the disk containing the images to the parent company. If the photographer doesn’t hand over the disk, all they lose is their fee. They are not incentivised to “go the extra mile” for the couple. The images the couple have seen when being sold the service are often not those produced by the photographer they get on the day.
Of course, opting for a particular size of photography business is not the solution in itself. The key point is that clients should not take comfort from large companies in the way that the public might do in other areas of commercial activity. Instead wedding couples should look at a range of factors when choosing a wedding photographer. Start with our checklist.
Choosing your shoes is one of those big wedding decisions for the bride. But you do need to think about your comfort and whether they will be suitable for wearing for your photographs. It is not a great idea to hire a fantastic photographer and then tell him that you are not prepared to go anywhere!
However, the shoes you wear to walk down the aisle do not necessarily need to be the ones you will wear all day. If you have a long wedding dress, your shoes do not really show much. So in the summer, many brides like to have a pair of stylish white flip-flops handy. They can be worn if their “Jimmy’s” become uncomfortable! They are also useful for any photographs which involve walking on a soft grassed surface to avoid your heels digging into the ground. Of course, if you do go for this option, treat yourself to a pedicure in the week before the wedding too. An alternative way of preventing sinking heels is to use transparent high heel protectors; but they can be a bit fiddly to attach and will not prevent your shoes from getting wet if it’s been raining (Tszuji sell some which you can view at: http://tinyurl.com/ya3edpu .
In the winter, a funky pair of wellies can be a good idea if you will be walking on wet ground to get that fabulous shot. My1stwish.co.uk have some great ones which you can see at: http://tinyurl.com/yc6q2ls.
In amongst all the wildlife, Coltsford Mill is situated near Oxted in Surrey. The Mill and adjoining barns are set in some really beautiful gardens and fishing lakes.
One of the advantages that the surrey wedding photography has from the outset is that the couple and guests feel there are ‘away from it all’ and are very relaxed. The staff are very organised and friendly too. This is strengthened by allowing the bride and wedding party to get ready in Mill Cottage which is on the same site. This allows the photography to flow right up until the Registrars come over to interview the bride!
The Mill room itself is fairly tight for photography during the ceremony, although it is a very characterful space.
After the ceremony, there are some great photographic opportunities by the lakes, which are behind the buildings and away from the guests, cars and fences! This can be potentially be a touch more work for the brides – and particular their dresses – but it is worth the effort.
The Bingham Hotel – situated on Petersham Road in Richmond – is a fabulous venue for wedding photography. The hotel was originally two Georgian town houses, but has now been converted into a style that it (accurately) describes as contemporary and luxury, but with a vintage twist.
In the interior, the hotel offers some unusually high and striking windows with lovely soft light. In fact the whole interior of the hotel is characterised by interesting decor and lighting which the more skilled wedding photographers will relish.
Outside the hotel has a wonderful private terrace and landscaped gardens. And best of all, it back on to the River Thames! The river is always busy of course, but with patience, there are some great images waiting to be captured.
This hotel describes itself as a boutique retreat set in stunning private gardens and parkland. It is a fabulous place to photograph, partly because of the mix of traditional and modern settings it provides. The gardens and terraces are very traditional and pretty; and while the photographs are being taken, the guests feel very secluded and relaxed.
The interior of the hotel continues in that vein with some very interesting wood-panelled rooms with lovely directional but soft light.
But the hotel has modern aspects to it – particularly in the spa areas – which can offer the photography some extra contemporary dimensions. The staff seem to be very efficient – and mindful of the need for support for good photography.