Lovegrove Design & Photography, Tiverton, Devon My Summer of Love | lovegrovedesignandphotography.co.uk.co.uk
My Summer of Love
Nov 2011 20

It’s fair to say that this summer has been filled with love…in a professional sense anyway!

Living in a relatively small community as a photographer, it’s inevitable that you will be asked to shoot as wedding for someone you know. Personally I find this a real pleasure and whilst the pressure is no less than shooting for a stranger, at least the worry of forming a rapport with your clients is reduced.

More importantly though, shooting the wedding of a pal is a very special experience. It’s true to say that a good wedding photographer will ALWAYS be emotionally connected to every wedding they are commissioned for. Some may even argue that if you aren’t emotionally involved in every job, then you shouldn’t be a wedding tog at all.

Being asked and trusted to be intimately and integrally involved in the biggest day of a friend’s life is a true honour, compliment and a joy.

I know many photographers shy away from shooting for friends, finding the pressure too great and being unwilling to put a good friendship at risk. My opinion is this…it doesn’t matter who you are shooting for, you must have confidence in your abilities and talents as a photographer.

  • Friend or stranger, once you have your camera in hand..you WILL see shots, it’s not as if you will suddenly forget how to work a wedding, just because you know the bride and groom well.
  • You must always make your clients fully aware of your style and skill level so they know exactly what to expect. If you have only been shooting for a short time and are inexperienced..be honest! Ensure the bride and groom are without obligation to chose you if you think you are out of your depth.

The other common issue of course with shooting weddings of close friends is that you may want to just be a guest and enjoy the day. Well this may well be true, however I am guessing you will sit in the garden of the wedding venue, sipping your Pimms watching the photographer’s every move and thinking you would be doing things differently. So why torture yourself? My advice….ensure you have a good second shooter…split your fee if necessary so you can be confident of the talent at your shoulder. That way, whilst you can still control the day, if you are cornered by an old school friend that you havent seen for ten years, you can at least take the time to have a conversation without panicking that you are missing a shot.

There are professional positives to shooting friend’s weddings and these should not be underestimated. A bride and groom that know you well and trust you can be even more obliging than a couple you have only met on a small number of occasions. You can use this to the advantage of your portfolio by being a little more experimental that you would normally have the courage to be.

    St Peters Church Wedding, Tiverton

    This bride Mel is a good friend of mine and despite being very short of time before the ceremony I was keen to try and utilise the light flooding through this huge window in order to get a shot that I knew would end up being an image the bride would cherish.

    The venue is special to the bride and I wanted to capture her in a pose and composition that would portray that. Deliberately blowing the highlights meant that I was able to minimise the distracting detail in the background whilst emphasising the bride with a flattering rim light.
    Being so familiar with the bride meant I already had insight into the things that were important to her, without having to ask and waste valuable time on the day.

    The chances are the wedding party are fully supportive of your career and will want you to gain as much as possible from the day yourself, as well as sealing the memories of the day for their years to come.
    So if you fancy trying a little more adventurous¬†composition or you want to experiment with a new lighting set up you have been mentally toying with…ask! As long as you aren’t keeping the bride and groom from the party for too long, you will find your models are likely to be excited to be helping you to progress your own skills.

    Another important plus is that if you know your models well…they are even more likely to react in a natural way towards you, even if you are behind the camera.

    Dee & Fred at Washfield Pretty much every wedding I have done, the bride and groom have commented on the importance of feeling at ease with their photographer. Now I am a pretty aimable kinda gal, so I don’t find it hard to put a smile on a subject’s face, however familiarity makes it a walk in the park! The couple are already comfortable in your company, when they look down the barrel of a lens they are really looking at you so they connect easily with the camera.

    More importantly the relax with one another. They aren’t self conscious in front of you and the real essence of their relationship dynamic is easy to capture, this is hugely important to me.

    It’s not my style to overpose a couple. I don’t want glamour images of the perfect couple in the perfect pose. I want to capture real people and real emotion. Shooting your pals helps you to learn how to draw that level of intimacy out of strangers.

So as we get stuck into winter and the wedding season fades into the past, I am left with happy memories of weddings enjoyed and the satisfaction of jobs well done. What can be a better way to spend the summer than that?

2 Comments

  1. dan says:

    your widget Freshcontact just links to a photo?

    thought you should know

    Cheers

    Dan

    • admin says:

      Hi Dan, thanks for the heads up, but where exactly do you mean? I tested the Freshcontact email form on the homepage tonight and I am receiving email from it ok and all the social network links are functioning.

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