Wedding Photography Gallery and PhotofilmsThe most striking thing about his photographs is the incredible intimacy - Rangefinder Magazine

A colour picture of an emotional bride, just prior to the ceremony having make-up applied

This gallery shares my travels as a wedding photographer; time spent with over 800 couples and families during their most intimate times. I honestly didn’t plan to become a wedding photographer. There was no epiphany, no calling as such. I accidentally found a genre of photography, much misunderstood, often misrepresented, that clicks with with my sincere interest in human relationships. If I can record something that either did not seem obvious to anyone else in a room at the time or better still, was completely missed by all around me, I am genuinely excited by that privilege.

Colour picture of a bride preparing for a wedding in a large mirror at Bovey CastleA colour photograph of a bride having makup applied from a unique camera angle

As a photographer I’m keen for brides and grooms to observe in a sense they’re not quite expecting. An American social, street and wedding photographer, Mel DiGiacomo, recounts a pertinent story where a bride commented that her wedding had actually been something of a blur. She had never really seen it at the time. “But you,” she enthused, “You were my witness. You showed me my wedding.”

A black and white image of a bride applying makeup, illuminated by window light onlyA black and white picture of a bride looking back as she heads toward her ceremony

Find something you really enjoy doing and learn about that subject. Eventually you’ll know your subject so well you’ll be able to read where it’s going before things actually happen. Second guessing what may develop before my eyes view it in reality is important in this genre. If I can read a wedding, I can make a story.

As you journey though this annotated gallery, you’ll discover a series of short films known as Wedding Photofilms. As the recognised original pioneer of the Wedding Photofilm, these short stories are a marriage of photographs and sounds taken from a wedding day. Some take the origination one step further, with a narrative addition and short inclusion of some motion. Whilst some couples I photograph have a dedicated wedding film maker present on the day, the Wedding Photofilm is a unique option for couples who prefer unobtrusive photography and still wish to capture sound for all time.

Colour photo of a bride arriving at church with her fatherBlack and white photo of a boy waiting for a wedding ceremony to start

Context is a word I use often within my blog pieces and certainly when meeting with couples. The cross themes this as a church picture, it’s a preparatory shot made just before a bride arrives for the ceremony. I’m sure if you visited this church today, you would still find the lad’s teeth marks in the oak pew. Seconds after I captured this, someone asked him to; ‘Smile for the man.’ But this, this is the real moment.

A black and white split composition photograph of bride and bridesmaids waiting for a ceremony to start

We’re moments from ‘the off.’ One side of the door there is a sense of energy and excitement, the other side, a rather more tempered anticipation. Certainly in a portfolio of important shots from a couple’s day, they are significant scene setters.

A bride spends moments with her mother and father just prior to her Jewish wedding celebrationsA black and white photo of a bride waiting for the wedding ceremony at Cain Manor

I received some sound advice when I started shooting weddings from a conflict photographer of all people; don’t spend your time watching the day through a camera eye piece, firing frames carelessly without thought. Have your camera ready at all times, but make sure you observe first and shoot second. That way you’ll see scenes develop and people react to their feelings.

If asked to produce a Photofilm instead of album by a couple, it’s important to match the actual emotion of the day with the pace of the resultant film and of course the music. I make mood notes as the day progresses. This Savile Club Wedding Photofilm in London which features stills and sounds from the day, has a delicate narrative throughout courtesy of a well thought out Best Man’s speech.

Colour picture of a bride being lead into a wedding chapel ceremony by her fatherColour photo of a preacher at a wedding in BathA colour picture of a boy watching a ring exchange between bride and groomPicture of a boy reaching up to pass a groom the wedding ring

Frivolity and humour is a key driver in terms of my engagement with the genre. I’ve watched brides being steamed in the very clothes in which they stand and all manner of creatures deliver wedding rings. Sometimes of course that frivolous humour is more subtle.

There has always been so much more to the picture above than gratuitous use of a familiar face. As a documentary story teller, I’m striving to be a couples’ eyes for the day, to show them what they didn’t see. The picture links to a Photofilm from the day and a reasonably energetic father of the bride speech!

Bride and groom laugh during their wedding ceremonyPicture of a bride celebrating during a marriage at The Rock Tower LondonA bride ecstatically happy following her wedding

There are two particularly pivotal expressive and highly emotive points of a day in particular. Often it’s the service and then speeches, not necessarily in that order. This is when emotional vulnerability is truly laid bare.

A groom wipes a tear from his eye in this picture, as his new wife watches onAn emotional groom at the alter during the signing of the register, in this black and white wedding photo by Neale James

There is a process behind why some images work more effectively as black and white pictures. Colour is for the eye, black and white is for the brain. Strip away the colour and you allow the story to unfold; there’s less distraction and for someone who is absorbed by high contrast dynamic imagery, I get drawn right into where the light source is leading me. That’s certainly why some of the more emotional pictures within this gallery are classically black and white.

A black and white wedding picture of an emotional bride during her ceremony at Rivervale Barn YateleyBlack and white wedding picture of a young lad looking around his mother's wedding gownBlack and white photograph of bride and groom signing the register at the alter in an English churchA black and white wedding photo of a mother and daughter in emotional exchange after a weddingPicture of confetti being thrown at Botleys Mansion

I’ve always felt it important to choose a photographer who produces pictures that resonate with you. Do you connect with their work, by which I mean how do you feel when you look through a portfolio of pictures from somebody else’s wedding? Wedding photography is about legacy, it’s about sealing recollection.

Colour photograph of a helicopter arriving at a wedding with bride and groomA bride and groom making their way through an indoor confetti runA father of the groom in this colour picture partying with guestsA colour photo of a wedding guest falling off a space ball bouncerPicture of boys in a record store playing with covers

There is little doubt from my meetings with brides and grooms, past and present, that this picture is the one people most recall from the online gallery and whilst I would never presume to platform my work alongside the photographic greatness of Robert Capa, it is certainly a photograph made and inspired by his words; ‘If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.’

A black and white picture of guests at a wedding in a mobile photo boothHands reaching out to a drone in the sky at a weddingGuests at a wedding watching footballA colour picture of a large wedding party in a group shot at Orchardleigh House in Somerset

With an emphasis within this gallery upon reportage or documentary wedding photography, you could be forgiven for thinking that I may not favour photographing groups of people and ‘formal’ family portraits. My take on family group shots is that they’re an important part of the legacy and record of wedding photography but not something that should steal away a couple’s day. So yes, I’m confident in arranging groups and do so at every wedding to varying degrees.

Family group portraits picture

As a child, I banqueted on a feast of exceptionally charming children’s television classics which included Bagpuss, The Clangers and Ivor the Engine. Oliver Postgate created these beautiful works of televisual art where the animation had a simple staccato nature. I’d been waiting for a Photofilm within which I could emulate the style of Postgate’s animating. A picture that was flown 6,000 miles eventually brought that opportunity.

A picture of an alternative style of family shot at a weddingA portrait of a couple on their wedding day at Stoke PlaceA colour picture taken in the evening of a bridal couple in a portraitColour picture of a couple getting married at The Ritz LondonA black and white picture of a natural styled wedding portraitBlack and white photo of the wedding chef at Wasing ParkMonochrome image of guests mimicking each other as they eatColour picture of Glenn Hoddle making a speech at his daughter's weddingA colour photograph of a bride listening to her father's speechA colour photograph of the best man delivering a speech at Hampton Court HouseBlack and white image of a bride raising a toast during the speeches

Working mostly as an available light photographer enables me to work close to people, far closer than you can when toting a flash. Reportage or documentary style, it assumes many titles, is about how you act. I work quietly, observe, make a picture, then I move to the next interesting scene and more often than not, I’m rewarded for that approach.

A colour photography of the party getting underway at this British Nigerian weddingColour photo of an Irish wedding in Killarney during the partyPhoto of the dancing at a Bijou wedding venues event

Come the evening, the mood completely changes. Guests often play to the camera and whilst I encourage through style for that not to be the case during the day, I think it brings pictures alive in the evening.

Colourful picture of a wedding singer in London on stagePicture of wedding guests with sparklersColour pictures of dancing at Jervis Gallery celebrating a weddingPicture of wedding guests doing a 70s disco dance on the floorBlack and white picture of a guest really dancing hardBlack and white picture of guests dancing at a Wasing Park wedding eventA black and white picture of a father singing a tune at his daughter's wedding

I hope the photographs above resonate with you. It’s flattering when a bride or groom contact me to say they felt they were really at the wedding when looking at a particular picture, or could feel hairs raise on the back of their neck when listening to vows being exchanged or a soundbite from a speech within one of my Wedding Photofilms. I’ve never intended to label myself as any kind of wedding photographer, save wanting to remain authentic as a story teller. Documentary or reportage wedding photography is perhaps closest to describe how I prefer to work. I want to make pictures that tell your story as it really was, so you can look back in years to come and say; “Yes, that was how it happened. That was really how it felt.”

Colour picture to go on the Wedding Photography Gallery page. Late night picture where you see into a barn illuminated only by the band's lights.

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