Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Sun, wind, scenery, portraits

Last week, I undertook an assignment photographing a couple on their Wedding day. This came about as the result of a referral passed by one of our corporate clients some months ago, and just goes to prove the value of networking and the power of recommending trusted suppliers.

This was not a 'Wedding photography' job, per se, as the couple were having a very low-key ceremony and did not require our coverage at the West Sussex registry office where they 'tied the knot'. Instead, they asked us to meet them at a rather grand five-star hotel about an hour and a half away, up in the glorious Bedfordshire countryside, where we would simply concentrate on some nice relaxed portraits within the picturesque grounds.

One thing which I did take from the 'Wedding photography' check-list was the need to have a look at those grounds ahead of our meeting. We always insist on conducting a recce with every couple we photograph, taking in all locations where photography is required (for example, the Bride's preparation address, church, Reception location etc). Typically, this occurs about one month before the Wedding day, and let's us make an initial connection and look for possible areas for photography, as well as taking stock of potential issues and considerations such as the need for a contingency plan, should the weather be less than favourable.

On this occasion, though, logistics dictated that it was not feasible to make two trips and so I simply arrived about an hour ahead of time, in order to have a wander around and see what photographic opportunities awaited us. What greeted me was something of a photographer's playground - rock gardens, freshly-mown lawns, stone statues and gardens created by the famous landscape designer Capability Brown. All good stuff, and I couldn't wait to make some images!

There were two main obstacles that we faced here: One was the strong overhead sunlight - lovely to walk around in, but less than ideal for portraits, as it casts heavy shadows at every opportunity and people have a tendency to blink! No worries, though; I simply 'filled-in' these darker areas with some complimentary subtle flash light, and took the couple into shaded areas where suitable. The second concern was the wind - it was a very breezy day; but again, we made use of natural shelter where possible and exploited those moments of facing oncoming headwinds so as to inject a little humour into the images. Hey, you have to make the most of what you're given!

Following that day, the pictures were placed in a secure, password-protected album on our website, allowing the couple to take advantage of the Slideshow function and share them with friends and family.

A printed Preview Album is also on its way to them, together with suggestions of how best to display these pictures. And our services do not simply end at 'pressing the button' - as I have often said, pictures are there to be looked at; because we want our clients to get the most out of images, we will happily discuss the wide range of presentation options available to suit all tastes and budgets.

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