I have visited Brighton four times now to see Violet Blaze. A lingerie shoot, a bikini shoot which ended up with my face turning into a strawberry due to the blazing hot sun. A bikini plus baby bump shoot, and this latest visit was for her wedding!
I have not shot a wedding before so was understandably a little nervous about it. I arranged to go down to Brighton the day before as I would not want to have the trains mess me around on the day. The wedding was at 12 o'clock so I had to be ready.
I arrived at the Kings Hotel on the Brighton seafront. The blurb says it is six minutes from the beach... errr no, it is literately a stone throw away. It seems a lot of people must have tested this as Brighton Beach is full of stones not sand.
As requested the hotel had provided and ironing board and iron as I have bought with me some smart cloths to wear. I know I am taking the shots but I wanted to look smart for the day. I unpacked and went for a walk on the beach towards the shattered remains of the west pier. I had taken shots of this before but I had planned to be at the area while the tide was out so I could get closer to it this time.
I had noticed a wedding party emerging from the beach and heading towards a grand hotel as I was walking towards the Kings, and now I spotted the bride and groom having photos taken down by the sea edge. I snuck a quick photo in myself my hiding behind one of the rusted pillars of the west pier.
Continuing on from the pier I walked up towards the centre of Brighton in search of a fish and chip shop. What trip to the beach would be complete without a portion of chips in a cardboard cone? Mine it would seem as I couldn't find one. I found one nestled between a row of restaurants and book shops fairly close to the Kings Hotel and trudged back to my room and made full use of the tea and coffee making facilities.
While editing the shot you see above, my thoughts turned to the shoot the next day. It was at the town hall. I had not been there before so I wanted to be early to see if I could scout out the room and get an idea of where to stand. I was also thinking about the flat screen telly in the room looked like it was about to fall off the wall. It didn't.
The next morning after polishing off the free breakfast, downing tea and orange juice, I set about making sure my shirt and trousers were ironed and got ready for the shoot. At 11:00 I left the Hotel leaving all the towels, fixtures and fittings where I found them and walked to the Town Hall. I walked in and asked where the room was and I was allowed to quickly see the room before everyone arrived.
The groom arrived first with a couple of guests so we shot a few photos on the stairs first, then Violet showed up, surprised to see me shaved and smartly dressed for once. We took some more pictures on the stairs of the wedding couple and then we were let in to the room.
I placed myself behind the large desk where the registry was located. The wedding couple and guests would be sitting in front of the desk in a semi circle. I planned to move back and forth behind the desk as there was enough room to do so. I am used to shooting live events and up to that point I was relaxed and ready to go.
That evaporated as soon as the couple walked into the room, then the adrenaline kicked in and I started shooting the same as I would do at events at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern or Madam Jo Jo's before. During the moments when the registrar office staff were talking I would wait to snap off a frame in between the pauses in the speech. I had the Canon 70d on silent shutter mode but it isn't that quiet in a small room!
You may kiss the bride
I was listening to the registrar and I have seen enough films to know when the moment came of 'you may now kiss the bride' My brain screamed at me 'FOCUS FFS!' I had pre focused on Violets closest eye, held the button down and just let the camera do its thing. Nineteen frames later...
The signing of the register
Switching around while the couple moved to the large desk I now sat in the grooms chair and took photos of the signing of the register. This made some great shots including one of Violet dabbing her eyes in the background while the box that contained the rings is sharp in the foreground.
After the ceremony the doors to the square outside were opened and I got ready for the confetti throwing. Quickly checking the settings I was getting 1/80 at 100ISO. More than enough to capture flying confetti. Again, as soon as it started flying I focused on the couple and fired off frameafter frame.
After some food and drink we moved outside of the reception area and took a lot of group photos. The guests then left me with the couple to take some more shots. I noticed a bush which had purple coloured flowers growing on it which matched the colours of the bride and groom.
This session was easy to do, the bride and groom posed easily and were comfortable in the surroundings.
The Wedding Rings
I was asked to get a shot of the wedding rings. I did not ask them to take them off so we could pose them with flowers or on a reflected surface as I have seen others do. We agreed that having both close together while still in place on the fingers would be great.
Now with a lot of experience with the 50mm f1.8 I thought I would have to take a number of shots due to movement of the hands and myself spoiling the shots. Out of the twenty or so shots I took to ensure success... the first one was the sharpest..
In conclusion, I got every shot I wanted to get,and although it was a small wedding I enjoyed the adrenaline and resulting photos that were captured.
In hindsight I wouldlike to have had a bit more time before and after the ceremony with the couple but time was permissible.
Would I do another one? Oh yes!