As a Documentary Wedding Photographer I rarely focus on the details to the extent that other genres of wedding photographers may do, but I do like to capture the key elements for the bride and groom. Martin and Eeva’s recent South Farm wedding actually gave me a perfect opportunity to focus more on details for a change. They had planned the detailed elements of their day very carefully to reflect their personalities and the cultural and family ties that they have. As such the details were a little different to the norm…………..
So what are the key details that I normally like to capture? As a Wedding Photographer, the bride and groom are placing confidence and trust in me to capture the story of their day. When we are talking the aesthetic details of the day, my experience is that details such as the wedding cake, the table settings and the flowers are the most important details to capture for them. Bridal shoe shots are also popular as is the image of the wedding dress ‘waiting’ to be put on. However it is really important to have a balance and as a documentary wedding photographer my preference is only to have about 5% of the images from the day representing details, so as not to disrupt the flow of the day and feel of the eventually album.
So without further ado here are a few thoughts about details from a photography perspective, how to capture them and why in this instance I like these particular images……………..
A little glimpse into the past………..
Quite often brides and grooms are subject to photos of themselves (occasionally embarrassing in nature) during the speeches. Martin and Eeva chose to take that theme and used images of their younger selves to create a ‘washing line of history’. It was great fun and drew a lot of interest from guests at the wedding. Using a short depth of field to capture the line gave the images more of a nostalgic feel and I felt suited the moment………
Cultural traditions…………….’Let there be light’.
Eeva is originally from Finland and in her country and across Scandinavia candles are often used to mark different ceremonies or occasions, much more so than we would ordinarily in the UK. My wife spent many times in Sweden and Denmark and observed the use of candles even within the workplace – particularly welcome during the dark days of winter in the chilly northern hemispheres. At Martin and Eeva’s wedding each table had its own candles, either as tea lights or as pillar candles set atop a mirrored surface. Very low key and discreet but nonetheless effective, especially when accompanied by ever popular fairly lights strung around various structures. For the fairy lights it is usually better to capture these as the light fades and in this instance I used a 50mm 1.4 lens to really accentuate the light (rather than blast it out with flash)
Taking in the surroundings – it is a venue with a difference after all…………
South Farm is a wedding venue that I have seen grow and develop each time I have attended there as a wedding photographer and one that has strong eco credentials. At the time of Martin and Eeva’s South Farm wedding the spring lambs were running around with one particular lamb being hand reared. Whilst lambs are clearly not a detail, they are part of the venue and on this occasion certainly added to the sense of family and tradition amongst Eeva and Martin and their guests.
It was very funny to see the lamb’s tiny stomach swell as it guzzled down the contents of its feed bottle (and also rather reassuring to know it wouldn’t be despatched to become a lamb joint in the near future!)
A table ‘a deux’………………….
One thing that is common to other European and Scandinavian countries is for the newlywed couple to have a table of their own at the wedding reception, rather than be part of a grand top table.
When I first saw this at an Italian wedding I was a little confused. It’s apparently known as a sweetheart table and the happy couple sit together facing their guests with everyone else close by around them. I think it is quite intimate and it gives the bride and groom breathing space to relax and talk to each other in what can be a hectic day. It takes a little getting used to as it almost feels like they may miss out on some perceived aspect of the day………..but believe me Eeva and Martin missed nothing of their day!
Let them eat cake!
Martin and Eeva’s wedding cake was a lovely touch – deliberately lopsided layers of cake covered in resplendent stripes. The cake cutting is not something that I force people to do as a formal piece. As a documentary wedding photographer I prefer to observe the cake cutting from a distance and anticipate when the moment becomes more relaxed. It provides a much more fun shot. I do photograph it more formally if that is something the bride and groom specifically want to do. However, I have to say it is beyond frustrating when venues place the cake in the darkest corner of the room next to the worst background and the fire exit! I understand the need to protect these towers of sugary celebration but I do wish they would think about how the couple have to squeeze around the cake and how much work it takes to make this look ‘right’ in a shot!
Say it with flowers…………….
And so to the flowers; from the ancient tradition of the bride carrying sprigs of herbs and fresh flowers to ward off evil, protect her from being snatched away from her groom (!) and to bring the couple good fortune, we now see bouquets chosen more for their colour and their significance to the couple.
The deep purple tulips chosen for Martin and Eeva’s wedding tables were simple and elegant and appropriately enough are a symbol of love and passion, whilst the bouquets and button holes provided a kaleidoscope of spring colour brought together with a tiny bit of bling at the centre of each bloom.
A few sage words of advice for brides on the subject of flowers – try to relax your grip on them during the day, otherwise there is a tendency to end up with a strained smile on your face as you try to cope with the pain in your hand from holding onto them so long! Relax and let the flowers hang naturally by your side, that way you can also avoid looking like you are carrying a giant flower lollipop all day……….Oh and one last thought, on red and white bouquets – the superstitious avoid them due to the belief that they represent blood, bandages and death!!! But hey, a lot of florists would be out of business if no one had red and white!
So there you have the thoughts of a Documentary Wedding Photographer on details. They invariably form a huge part of the planning for a bride and groom and they deserve to be acknowledged, just in a balanced and creative way…………..
Are you planning your South Farm Wedding?
If you’re planning a South Farm wedding, or elsewhere in Hertfordshire, and like this style of relaxed wedding photography why not give me a call 0370 626 5200, drop me an email, or use the Contact Form to get in touch, I’d love to hear your wedding day.
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