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Category Archives: Thoughts and Rambles

Tired children - South Farm Cambridgeshire

Why I love this picture

Well, this certainly isn’t a typical wedding photograph but, for me, it’s absolutely the type of image that I’m looking for that sums up and comments upon the events of the day. It’s great fun looking for this type of thing and it’s the sort of picture that I get a bit excited about for a number of different reasons!

 

Firstly I should point out that our household contains not one but two teenage girls, both of whom are literally surgically attached to their mobile phones. My youngest daughter, who doesn’t possess one of the infernal devices of irritation yet is obsessed with the prospect of getting her first one whilst I, on the other hand, have recently dropped my so called “smart phone” and smashed it to smithereens. I’m currently using a cheap “don’t care” phone with no internet access, basic texting capability and a screen the size of a postage stamp and I feel like I’ve been released from a prison sentence of perpetual availability and connectivity hell. So, as you might have gathered, I have a bit of a thing about mobile phones – yes they are amazing but I don’t think we will fully appreciate the social and developmental repercussions of them for years to come. ( I could just be becoming a boring old git……..actually that is possible…..)

 

Anyway back to the picture. As a study in current teenagerdom I just think it’s great! I love the way the boy on the left is literally almost bent double (with his tie echoing his body shape) intently texting away on his phone. The boy on the right is just awesome in that he looks like he can bear the boredom no longer, has turned away in a strop and is faking sleep as a last resort and protest…..and then the girl who, on a first glance looks like she is taking a selfie but then you realise that it’s not her arm….so who is in the picture? Where’s the arm coming from and what’s going on? The empty booze glasses are fun (who drained them?) and I quite like the way that the boys are set at counterpoint by the two handbags! There’s also quite a nice circular shape as your eye is drawn around the frame which gives a certain subconscious satisfaction as well!

 

I would love to say that the photograph took great technical photographic skill, a huge effort of pre-visualisation and a great deal of patience but it was one of those pictures that I took instinctively on the day and didn’t really realise what I had got until I looked through all of the pictures later. The skill lies in looking and timing and recognising how a juxtaposition of elements can tell a story.

 

Have a look at more of my storytelling approach on my portfolio page here. You can also see several complete weddings here.

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Bride and friends

 

Working with couples during the time they are getting married has to be one of the most pleasurable and rewarding jobs around. As a wedding supplier I’m let into the inside if what’s essentially a very private and personal time, an incredibly happy and emotional time and also a time that will go on to define the couple’s family history. As such, I always feel a real sense of responsibility and privilege to be able to do what I do, to give each couple the best experience and the very best of my work that I can.

 

I can say completely hand on heart that I always give 100% to every wedding and treat every couple in exactly the same way …….but……….very occasionally, some couple make it much easier than others!

 

So, what can you do to make it as easy as possible to get the very best out of your wedding suppliers, how can you help them to help you and ensure a harmonious relationship throughout the course of your wedding?

 

First Contact

Well that sounds a bit Star Trek but, from a supplier’s point of view that first email from you is really important……a couple of examples from my own experience……..

 

…….some brides will send a first email describing their wedding, giving me a bit of an idea about what type of pictures they looking for and sometimes mention something they like about the pictures on my website. Others will send a single line asking for prices.

 

Now, I’ll respond as best as I can to both scenarios but, in responding to the first email I can be much more chatty, I can probably send links to pictures you’ll be interested in and, to a certain extent start a useful conversation with you that will give us both an idea as to whether we are a good fit.

 

It’s really hard to answer the second email. I actually don’t want you to choose me as your photographer on price. I want to work for you because we get on, because you love my pictures, because of the service that I provide and because we are a good fit together.

 

Often, in the past I have received a lovely detailed email from a bride, and I just know that I have to work with her. If I know that the wedding is going to be that good and the rapport between us is going to be so right I will move heaven and earth to make it as likely as possible that we will work together. Yes, and that does include shifting on price if need be. It’s vitally important to me that I work with the right types of clients for my business – there really isn’t much point otherwise.

 

Magicians at a wedding in essex
 

Communicate and prosper

After you have booked me – (yeah!) Keep in touch! We’ll schedule a planning meeting but beyond that please keep me in the loop! We can do this on social media, via your wedding website or, well indeed, why not by good old fashioned phone or email! Firstly I (and most other wedding suppliers) are here to help so ask for our help and advice as you are scheming and planning for the day. It’s also really nice from my point of view if I get to know a little bit about you and your family and what is going to happen on the wedding day that will make it personal and special to you. You might have friends or family coming from a great distance away for example or you might have a theme or activity that has some special significance. All of these details make is easier for me as a photographer to record the day in as personal way as possible. I can look out for certain things and, if I know where your priorities lie create a set of pictures that are much more personal to you.

 

Similarly, keeping in touch helps to alleviate any potential problems and manage expectations. We need to be “singing from the same hymn sheet”! There isn’t really any scope for misunderstandings and confusion on the wedding day and the more we communicate and plan beforehand the better. I’m not suggesting that we have to be in daily contact but it’s good to talk! Most suppliers will offer some sort of planning meeting as well and it’s really important to go prepared and to give over as much information as possible at this time.

 

Last look between bride and dad before going into the wedding ceremony
 

It’s a wedding Jim, but not as we know it

For most suppliers a wedding day is exhausting……in a completely good way of course but, non the less after 10 hours of photographing and travel in between I’m usually completely shattered when I get home. There are essentially only five things that help me on the day to do my very best.

 

Firstly, I need to know asap about any last minute changes. You would be surprised at how many times I am the last person to know and it can make life much more difficult than it really needs to be.

 

Secondly, I need parking -PLEASE- if space and time is tight reserve me (and your other suppliers) some parking space.

 

Thirdly, I need food and water. Actually I’m not that bothered about food and generally bring my own or (if it’s kindly offered) eat at the same time as you do. The liquid thing is much more important, it’s not easy carting around a bottle of water and of course I can ask your waiting staff for drinks but I always feel much better if I have been invited to help myself! Other suppliers might require food etc as well…..it’s a long day and a bit of hospitality goes a long long way.

 

Fourthly, say “hello”. I know it’s your wedding day and I know that your suppliers are being paid to be there and I also know that we are way down on the list of people to chat to. I also know that in the way that I photograph I’m very background and discreet but I have honestly photographed the odd wedding where no one has spoken to me for the whole day…….it doesn’t make any difference to the pictures as I work just as hard but please, I’m still a human being – you could at least say “Hi”!! I really don’t require much maintenance but a quick chat or a brief “how’s it going” really does go a long way for all suppliers – we want to feel part of a team all working together to make it a great day.

 

Fifthly (is there really such a word?) – don’t worry about us or what we are doing. If we have all done our planning and preparation everything will be fine – just let us do our thing and get on, you really don’t need to worry!

 

To boldly go where no man has gone before

Finally, after the wedding is over and in the years to come do keep us in mind and recommend us. This can be greatly advantageous to you because, as a trusted and valued supplier you will know that we will come up with the goods! You are very likely to need a florist over the next few years, you might need a caterer or a cake maker for a significant birthday. Lots of my past clients ask me to do baby and family shoots years after their weddings – this sort of thing has a lovely natural flow to it and it’s really nice to keep in touch. From a supplier’s point of view this is great business – we will always do our best for you, give you the best that we can and work our hardest to get the best value for you.

 

So, I hope that’s been useful! I’m not exactly sure myself where the Star Trek references fit in but they amuse me a little!

 

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think……….

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wet wedding in essex

 

If there’s one thing you can be really be sure of at a UK wedding then it’s got to be the the fact that you can’t really be sure what the weather will be like! Apparently it’s good luck if it rains on your wedding day (try telling that to a soaked bride as she arrives at church in a thunder storm!) but, to be honest, nobody really wants a wet wedding.

 

At this point it might be reassuring for me to say that, in all my years of photographing weddings, I’ve never been at a wedding where it has absolutely thrown it down for the whole day…….I’d be lying of course and I’ve got completely and absolutely soaked to the skin on several occasions, witnessed brides burst into tears because of the weather, watched grooms men mop out marquees, seen guests accidentally step in puddles over their ankles and seen wedding speeches where the rain beating down on the reception venue roof combines with the frequent cracks of thunder completely drowned out (if you’ll excuse the pun!) everything that was being said!

 

But don’t worry………everyone had a great time! Us Brits love a good moan about the weather and there’s nothing like a bit of torrential rain to get people chatting and some of the wettest weddings I have been at have had the best atmosphere, been the most fun and most memorable.

So, heaven forbid, what can be done to at least alleviate the possibility of sogginess and misery should the weather deign to do it’s worst at your wedding?

 

Bridesmaids in the rain

Be realistic and be prepared.

Let’s face it – the weather here is so changeable here that almost anything could happen on your wedding day. Just because you have booked a mid August wedding in a beautiful Medieval Barn set in the most gorgeous rose garden where all your guests will mingle in the glorious sunshine all afternoon doesn’t mean that, despite the fact that on the morning of the wedding the sky is clear and blue, as you arrive at the ceremony the clouds will gather and just as you draw up in your wedding car there will be a horrendous clap of thunder and the heavens will open. (This is sadly true, I photographed it……and got very, very wet).

Check the weather forecast beforehand  and, pretty much whatever it says, you need to be prepared for the worst. It’s vitally important that you have a plan B. Plan B should be all about where you will have your drinks reception if it rains, where will the family group photographs be taken, how will your photographer tackle the bride and groom photographs, will you be able to do a confetti photograph and what can be done to keep you and your guests out of the wet as much as possible when changing venues?

 

Bride and groom in the rain

 

Stock up on some wet weather clobber.

If it is definately going to be wet then wellies work really well! They don’t have to be Last of the Summer Wine style though of course – with a bit of imagination and research you will be able to get them with patterns, customised or whatever you would like! If wellies seem a bit over the top it might be a good idea for the bride to at least have a pair of spare shoes/trainers stashed somewhere as this will enable you to be much more mobile if it’s a bit wet underfoot. I’ve never tried walking over soggy grass in stiletto heels but I’m told it can be a bit of a trial!

Similarly umbrellas can be a good idea. You might need to supply them or, if you are using a venue, they may well have a set that you can use. If at all possible avoid dark colours and logos – white umbrellas are perfect. They reflect light and look good in photographs.

 

Wedding wellington boots

Discuss with your suppliers.

Again I’m no expert but I have heard that make up artists and hairstylists will use different materials or perhaps approach things in a slightly different way if they know that everyone is likely to get wet! Waterproof mascara is great, or should I say non waterproof mascara is a disaster in a downpour! I also have a vague memory in my mind of a beautiful little open top vintage car transporting a bride to the church one day. The car hadn’t got a roof of any description, it was completely open to the elements……………………………you know the type of rain where it rains so hard it almost looks like sheets of water coming down?…………………..on this occasion the bride was very philosophical………………..she ended up with a very clinging wedding dress for all of the wrong reasons and broke a heel running into the church. I really admired her for being so stoic! So……just check if you are hiring something open top and/or vintage – what happens if it rains??

 

A very wet wedding at South Farm

Attitude of mind.

Finally, don’t worry! Rainy days often make great photographs and the atmosphere at wet weddings is often great! Embrace the weather, get out in your boots and have your photographs splashing in puddles! After all the most important thing on the day is what you say to your fiance, the weather and everything else is completely peripheral!

 

Rainbow over the countryside

 

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