Weddings

ROSIE AND JEROME'S ISLINGTON WEDDING

A short tale of a French family, an English family, a couple with a new baby on a short hop over from Malaysia, some of the wackiest group shots I've ever taken...  and a wedding cake made entirely from cheese!

 

 

When Jez and Rosie first asked me to shoot their wedding, I was thrilled not only because they were the lovelies, funniest, most laid-back young couple, but also because it was a chance to shoot at the Zetter Hotel, at Islington Town Hall, AND at the fun and funky Artisan of Clerkenwell

 

The boys got the day off to a great start with that classic combo;  champagne and hankie-folding.  

 

Zetter's is a fantastic boutique hotel in the heart of trendy Clerkenwell.  Having taken a few healthy drafts of bubbly, the boys were more than happy to gad about the corridors to make the most of such an unusual and eclectic location.

 

Rosie, meanwhile, was busy getting ready at the Holiday Inn, having opted for space and comfort over funky furniture.  After all, she had the baby, and the rest of the family to think about. 

 

... including a certain young lady who would later on be quite the spirit of the party, but for now, was a little less than enthusiastic about having her hair done !

 

There's something so moving about a father giving away his daughter, the pride in his eyes, his joy at her happiness, and at the same time, the sweet sadness of letting go of the most precious person to you.

From those heart-stopping last few moments of anticipation....

...to that perfect moment of recognition and love, where you know you committed to the right person!

Islington Town Hall has one of the finest marble staircases of any London town hall, offset as it is by the wonderful green panelling. 

And what really makes a London wedding, is a classic London Routemaster Bus

With just a little bit of retro fun

And then it came to the group shots, and a whole different kind of unexpected fun started to happen.  After mucking around on the bus - a big kid's thrill for everyone - not least the photographer who got the chance to break some of the H&S rules -  we were left with limited time, in a courtyard that wasn't all that interesting or well lit.  Then I had an idea and had a chat with the Maitre D at Zetter's and was pleasantly surprised to discover they were more than happy  about letting us use their lovely Georgian town house to shoot group portraits.  Provided we were quick.  With a lightning five minute lighting set up, which took me back to some of my most dramatic commercial shoots, I was left with a whole new task.  Shoot the group shots quick AND can we do something different, something less boring, something a bit wacky and off the wall?   Well asking a photographer these things is like candy to a baby... You want wacky, you got it!

The less formal side of formals.  Heheh.  Okay, great.  Now give me Charlie's Angels...

Excellent, excellent, now can we have a family punch-up?  Can you all try and murder each other?

Not often you get the chance to say that at a Wedding, right?  But it resulted in one of my favourite ever group shots, and, one of Jez and Rosie's favourite shots from the day too!

Then it was into The Artisan for the reception, where certain small people were starting to look a little tired.

While other small people were full of beans!

I'll admit, this was my first ever time witnessing the best man's speech as powerpoint demonstration.  But as it was part of an interactive quiz involving everyone there, and testing their knowledge on some of their funnier memories of Jez and Rosie, it was far different from any powerpoint demo I'd ever seen before. 

Jerome is half-French, which goes a long way to explaining his love of cheese, a love that somehow found it's way into the couple's layer cake.  Yes, you read that right.  A wedding cake made entirely of French cheeses!

 

Do please feel free to leave a comment, if you enjoyed these pictures, and thanks for reading. 

x

Adam

Group shots - what to do, and how to have fun with them

The formal group shots.  Something every wedding photography moans about.   You have to organise all these people intent on having fun somewhere else, determined to chat, to get drunk, to socialise, to congratulate, to cop a crafty snog, or nip off for a sneaky smoke.  Goddamnit, these people are here to be photographed, not to have fun, right?  

Wrong. 

They're here to have fun.    People want to look their best and act their best, and of course they've come to wish the bride and groom a lifetime of fulfilled dreams, love and happiness.  But they've also come to have a laugh, to meet old friends and new, to let their hair down and enjoy themselves.  And part of a photographer's job should be not just to not get in the way of that fun, but to add to it. 

While some weddings can be chaotic when it comes to formal group portraits, it is crucial to have an idea of what you want, so that time isn't wasted herding your friends and family with a megaphone.  (In the wedding below, the best man actually used one!)

Every wedding is different and should be as you want it.  My only recommendation would be to try to keep things to a sensible limit.  We photographers want to document a day of love and fun and we want you to have fun, rather than be worrying about the 53rd set of formal shots of your third aunt twice removed.  

With this in mind, as a help to all couples, I have put together a simple template of which groups are good to include, though, as I say, the choice is always yours. 

Bride and Groom and Brides parents

Bride and Groom and Grooms parents

Bride and Groom and both sets of parents

Bride and Groom and Bridesmaids

Bride and Groom and Bestman/ushers/suits

Bride and Groom Bridesmaids, Bestman/ushers/suits

Large group shot

Bride and Groom and any special family members.

and remember - have fun!

 

Which isn't to say formal group shots should all be wacky, ad-hoc, crazy affairs.  More often than not, the ceremony and the gathering call for refinement, formal composition and a respectful portrait of family and friends. 

 

But this shot, lit and composed and shot at the wonderful One Whitehall Place in London's Westminster embankment is a great example of the opportunity a group formal portrait offers a photographer to get creative.  When nervous planners are urging you to "just pop out in the park" or grab a few shots on the stairwell, it is often too tempting to take the quick and easy option, rather than to see that something more challenging will result in something more rewarding.  Here I lit with two small flashes behind and a studio portrait soft box in front and arranged the family in the Gladstone library to create a Downton Abbey look, perfectly in keeping with the assured and sophisticated mood of the day. 

Which isn't to say the grand, sweeping staircase of One Whitehall Place shouldn't also get a look-in when it came to the group shot.  In fact it was ideal for placing all of the guests in a sumptuous surrounding.

And there are other times when circumstances force you to have a bit of fun and jazz things up.  We all pray the day will be wonderful and sunny, but as Brits, we are also philosophical to know that those rain clouds are never far away.  So it was with Heather and Sam's Dartmouth wedding. It rained ALL DAY LONG!  And it is then, at a beach-party wedding, when a photographer, has no real alternative to shooting outdoors, that the last thing anyone needs is a stiff pose and a long face. 

Although, I have to confess, the most fun I've had to date, was shooting the group shots at London's Zetter's Town House in Clerkenwell, at the reception held for Jerome and Rosie after their Islington Town Hall Wedding.  Having arrived breathless with excitement on a classic route master bus, and eager to party on at The Artisan Clerkenwell, Jez and Rosie were more than happy nonetheless to give a little time and creativity to their group shots.  The only challenge being that the outside of The Artisan is really just a courtyard.  As Jez had stayed the night before in Zetter's, they kindly let us shoot in their townhouse club, with the proviso that we were quick.  For a Saturday night, the townhouse was blissfully quiet, and so we snuck in, at first with the idea of merely shooting some classic, stylish and contemporary group shots.  

And then this happened.

Jez and Rosie, and their family were immediately game for some fun.  They're a fun and funky bunch and responded to every whacky idea with an eager grin.  "No, we don't want stuffy posed pictures, do whatever you want", they said. "Dangerous words", I said.  "Bring it on", they replied. "Do Charlie's Angels", I said.  And this is what I got.   

"Now all have a terrible family fist fight, really try and kill each other", I urged, as, so naturally you do at a wedding.  And this is what I got. 

This image makes me smile every time I see it, front lit with a studio soft box, a little kicker backlight from a flash on the floor, and light coming in from the window, but most importantly, a wonderful, fun-loving family, all game for a laugh.  

Of course, not every formal group shot can or should be like this.  But sometimes, you wish maybe just a few more were. 

So that is probably the long and the short of it - keep it simple, keep it intimate, keep it fun. Try not to squint (we do try and shoot in shade, and if there isn't any then we battle with the sun behind you)

and please, not too many this big:

 

and smile, don't forget to smile x