Happy New Year one and all! I hope 2013 was good to you and trust you’re looking forward to the blank page that is 2014 with optimism and energy!
Last year was a happy one indeed for me; joining loads of brilliant couples up and down the UK to share in and document their magical wedding days. I was also fortunate enough to book-end the year with two fabulous destination weddings in the Far East! It’s so often now, at this end of the year looking back at a full year of wedding photography, that I realise how lucky I am to do this special job. What a great honour it is to be trusted to use my experience and way of seeing the world, and to turn that into memories that can be revisited and cherished for years to come.
I hope you’re sitting comfortably! Because, even after going through the highlights from the On-The-Day slideshows I make for every wedding, I ended up with over 1000+ faves! I’ve culled and culled again, and have ordered them into my signature ‘Relaxed Portraits, Stunning Details & Timeless Moments’… but it’s still an outrageously long and hopefully EPIC blog.
As no doubt not all of you will make it to the end, before commencing I’d like to thank every one of you lovely couples for asking me along to join you this year, and for those coming up in 2014, here’s a taste of things to come!
So here it is, 2013 – The Barnaby Aldrick Wedding Photography retrospective…
Before jumping straight into my favourite ‘Relaxed Portraits’, it was out of this world to kick-off 2013 by being flown out to Thailand in January to document Donna & Dan’s wedding at the stunning Santhiya resort on Koh Phangan. Here are a few of my faves…
Doesn’t get much better than that eh?! You can see more of their wedding on the blog here.
So onto part one of the highlights… The Relaxed Portraits!
The coupley portraits are one of the bits I find clients struggle with the concept of most of all. They generally admit that they’ve booked me because they like the details and moments I capture and rarely feel like modelly, posey people, and often have a reason why they don’t like how they look. He’s really tall, I hate my nose, my eyes are always shut in photos, I hate my smile… and so forth. As a consequence, I’ve found over the years that it’s worth putting all my clients through a practice photoshoot, before the big day, to help put any anxieties at rest. We generally meet for these ‘pre-wedding’ (AKA ‘prewed’ or ‘engagement’) shoots at their venue in the month or so running up to the big day (which if I’ve not shot there before, helps me familiarise myself with new locations).
The consequence of having done a practice round is that I’ve shown the couples that all they need to do is take a short stroll, cuddle up here and there and try to enjoy one another’s company as I work around them. They’ll know after the pre-wed experience, that in spite of it still feeling a bit contrived, I’m looking for little moments between the weirdness – a little laugh, a brush of the hair, a kiss on the forehead – and those are the images that really sing…
Remember Snowy March?! Where did that come from?
I was at Ripley Castle to photograph Rachel & James’ wedding…
They’d flown back all the way from Australia! Talk about polar opposites… (and if you’d like to see more, check out their blog here)
2013 was a year of new things for me too, including shooting an Anglo-Chinese Wedding (blog here)
Abi & Simon’s wedding (blog here) in The Houses of Parliament in London was a pretty incredible experience!
A subsection of these highlights are my favourite groupshots.
Generally family & wedding party line-ups are considered the dull part of wedding photography, by both the photographers and the wedding guests, and while the usual family lineups are pretty formulaic, I try to keep them short and to inject a bit of life into the everyone & wedding party groups. These are a few of my faves…
This one from Sally & Jamies wedding (my last of 2013 – blog here), looks to me almost like a Royal family portrait!
So, onto part 2 – the ‘Stunning Details’…
So much thought and time are put into the details at a wedding – from the venue, through to the flora & table decorations, the cufflinks, wedding shoes, bracelets and necklaces – it all says something about the couple. In amongst the whirlwind of the wedding preparations and throughout the day, I try to document the big and small details – often almost as a still life – so they can remember all the little details…
This was the first year I saw an origami bouquet and fruit salad coloured calla lilies!
I generally also like to take a shot of the flora against the outfits to show the full theme (and yes, I know I’ve cut their heads off!) 😉
Ah, the dress! It’s all about the wedding gown. I’ve even found myself becoming able to spot an Ian Stuart from a Jenny Packham
Though white isn’t a terribly practical colour is it!? So high 5s to all my girls this year who braved the grass, mud and outsides in their beautiful dresses!
Then there are the wedding kicks! I almost feel like I’ve inadvertently developed some kind of shoe fetish photographing so many pairs of sexy heels this year!
Then there are the venues I’ve shot at this year … what an illustrious list!
It’s been a pleasure to revisit places I’ve photographed before; including Fountains Abbey, East Riddlesdon Hall, Bolton Castle, Middleton Lodge & Ripley Castle out around the Yorkshire Dales, The Merchant Adventurers Hall & St Williams College in York. The lovely Priory Cottages & The Bridge Inn near Wetherby, Crow Hill in Marsden, The Old Swan & Rudding Park in Harrogate, and Woodlands Hotel, The Mansion and Leeds Town Hall in Leeds. Further afield, it was also ace to head back to southport to shoot at Meols Hall again.
Interestingly, over half the weddings I shot this year were at venues I’ve never shot at before; Crathorne Hall in North Yorkshire, Sandburn Hall near York, Farington Lodge near Preston, Whitley Hall in Sheffield, Skipton Castle & Bedale Hall in the Dales, Stubton Hall near Newark, The Chequered Skipper in Ashton, Chevin Country Park on Otley Chevin, The Honourable Artillery Company in London. Shooting a wedding at The Houses of Parliament was also pretty special…
And onto my final and favourite section of the 2013 highlights, the ‘Timeless Moments’…
For me, the real pleasure of wedding photography is capturing the little fleeting moments that happen constantly throughout a wedding day. The little cuddles, laughs and skips of glee; the fatherly tears as he sees his daughter all dressed up for her wedding or the switching of the engagement ring to make room for the new band. These are the opportunities for creativity in my work, and draw upon instinct, a technical understanding of ones craft and being able to adapt ones personality to be in the right place at the right time without the subject being entirely aware of your presence.
I wouldn’t dream of comparing myself to the renowned photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, but he believed in the Decisive Moment – that “photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organisation of forms which give that event its proper expression”. It’s ultimately what all photographers aim to do, and some do it better than others. They say that doing 10,000 hours of a craft makes one into a ‘master’, but one nice thing about Decisive Moments, is that you can never relly fully ‘master’ the art of capturing these fleeting moments, only be prepared by drawing on your way of being and experience.
So enough waffle and onto my favourite part of being a wedding storyteller (this might be a good time to go make another brew, as I find it hard to cull any further!)…
As I feel it gives a more complete story and provides ultimate coverage of the wedding, I always shoot with a 2nd photographer. This way we can document both sides of the wedding preparations,they capture more mingles and details while I shoot the formals but most importantly, the additional breathing room afforded by having a wingman gives me more scope to capture the moments that I was generally booked for in the first place!
So I’d like to thank my longstanding 2nd shooter & girlfriend Clare Miller for all her hard work, as well as all my other pro buddies who’ve stepped up & tag-teamed with me this year, including the illustrius Cris Matthews, John Hope, Tim Atkinson, Natasha Cadman & Hamish Irvine. You kids rock.
A fine moment of last minute speech additions!
The military chaps at Beccy & Rob’s wedding (blog here) took a stroll through London to take breakfast at Jamie Olivers Barbecoa overlooking St. Paul’s!
This is one of my faves of the year. Do comment at the end or on Facebook to let me know your favourite!
While it doesn’t always happen, it’s fab to have a few minutes once the bride is ready to take to capture few relaxed portraits before heading to the ceremony
I always like trying to be ready to catch that moment when dad first sees his daughter all dressed up for her wedding!
Generally, my favourite kind of moments are the silly ones…
But equally, those quiet nerves before taking the plunge are just as potent!
Crossing through the grand, octagonal Central Lobby at The Palace of Westminster is quite a moment for me, let alone the pictures!
Bradford Cathedral is a hidden gem too
I like this little moment too, where the Marc (the groom) went to collect his bride Tori from the door of the church to walk her down the aisle.
Aww, only a bouquet to hide tears behind
The little moment after “If anyone has any reason why these two cannot be married, speak now of forever hold your peace” is often gold.
This is another fave of mine
One proud mum
I’ve not had the fortune to shoot a military wedding till this year, and in the end I did not one but two (and a half) guards of honour! 2 at an Artillery & RAF wedding…
…and one with spoons for the wedding of Simone & Stu, a chef and his wife who run an amazing gastro pub (blog here)
I also love nothing more than getting amazing Confetti Bomb photos once everyone’s out from the ceremony…
And as well as confetti this year I had bubbles & autumn leaves!
Some couples arrange all kinds of fun for their guests, such as Eleanor & Richard’s New York Brass Band balloon stomp across central York
Speeches are also a special time to try and capture the story between people and the corresponding laughter & tears…
It’s all about the best-man startling the wife by shaming the groom!
I’ve seen a whole lotta cake this year too, and it’s amazing the variety we see between them
I’ve also run my fun Photobooth at a whole bunch of weddings and it’s entertaining to revisit the generally drunken revelry that ensues!
When we stay onto document the evening celebrations it’s always nice to squeeze in a quick 2nd round of portraits where possible. Sometimes it’s even a nice bit of well-earned peace for the bride and groom to chill out away from the guests before the dancing & evening celebrations begin. I don’t pressure couples into it if they’re spent on the portrait front, but get lovely pics like these…
The potato boxes stacked up at Priory Cottages made a funky background for Julia & Paul (blog here)
I love how this one’s caught the rain
First dance is also a nice time to get creative with flash
If we’re staying for the evening, we always try to show the party people getting down!
As well as those who’ve partied out! 😉
So… well done to those who made it this far!
There are ever changing fashions in shooting styles & post production, and 2013 has seen many shooters processing their digital images to emulate old film negatives. Sometimes this artificial fading, colouring of clean digital images looks fab, other times it acts to the detriment of the image file (with such clipped blacks and washed out colours), but to me there’s a very real danger that this trend could be the red-flowers-painted-back-into-B+W-images spot colouring of the 90’s. In my opinion, true colour and crisp black & white images are timeless, so although my processing style ever evolves, I’ve tried to steer clear of potential post-production fads.
Equally, some photographers call themselves wedding reportage photographers, some photo journalists, others fine art, vintage, high fashion… there are and always will be a lot of buzz words around. I try not to pigeon hole myself as a shooter, I photograph the way you’ve seen in this post. All I claim to try and do is weave together my signature blend of relaxed portraits, stunning details and timeless moments, and hopefully I’m able to visually tell the a wedding story that will bring back joy and fond memories for years to come!
Hopefully you’ve enjoyed my 2013 wedding photography highlights!
Finally, in late November I was fortunate enough to be jetted off to India to photograph an epic 3 day wedding in Mumbai & Goa!
As I’ve not yet had chance to officially blog it, I thought this and the Thai wedding nicely book-end this highlights post, as they did my year, so here are a few teasers!
I spent a few days in Mumbai just wandering with my camera (full post coming soon), and here are a few highlights I captured from the living, breathing city streets…
The wedding itself was over 3-4 days, spread between Mumbai & Goa and was a riot of colour & crazy Punjabi dancing…
Stay tuned for more from India in January!
I try to make this blog a place where I share both personal images & tales as well as my professional work from weddings and elsewhere. So thanks to all who’ve been readers of this blog this past year, I’m honoured by the traffic it receives and here’s hoping you guys stop by again in future.
Thanks again kids and a very Happy New Year to one and all!