Wedding details and fine-art

When I tell people that I’m a fine-art wedding photographer, one of the most common responses is “So, do you take pictures of shoes and things then?” To make it an easier conversation I usually just reply “Yes.”, and then try and explain that there’s a bit more to fine-art wedding photography than that. But shoes and things are important.

The details at a wedding are arguably the area that will have received the most thought and the most effort. They will often be personal to the bride and groom and in my experience whilst they may not be the images the clients choose for their album, they will be disappointed if there aren’t any photos of them. In this blog I’m going to share some detail shots, a bit about my thought process for the image and why the shot was important for the couple.

This first shot is from what would definitely be classed as a ‘budget wedding’. I have been totally humbled to photograph budget weddings and to discover, on more than one occasion, that my photography was the single biggest expenditure for the couple. I’d already photographed the tables and decorations on this particular day, but when the bride and groom entered I spotted the opportunity for something creative. The groom is holding the bride’s train and they appear gracefully behind the decorated table – the boy in the kilt was just pure luck, but a lovely little addition. The couple loved this shot so much they included it as a full page spread in their album. What makes it is the sense of elegance, the delicate flowers and the unique perspective on the moment.

Everything about this wedding was special. So many friends and family had helped out, and one of the most exciting areas was the childrens’ food! Someone has gone to the trouble of making completely different food for all the children, with cup cakes and loaves of bread hollowed out and filled with sandwiches. Apart from wanting to eat the leftovers – which many of the adult guests did once the kids had run off to play – it was a perfect little detail to photograph.

Budget weddings may not have thousands of pounds spent on the details, but they might have hundreds of hours. Many wedding planners might balk at the next shot, but whilst it is undeniably cheesy, someone had thought of it. I don’t think the bride knew someone had decorated her road sign until she saw the photos…

Details are often about coordination, and the groomsmen will support the colour scheme as well. It takes a few seconds to take the following shot, and it’s always a nice one to include for the clients.

Yes, it is admitting to my questioner’s enquiry, but I do take pictures of shoes. Being male I haven’t quite got the appreciation of shoes that many of my brides share, but I’ve found the key is to be as enthusiastic as they are, even if I can’t spot the nuances of why this particular pair are ‘perfect’. I photographed a wedding on one occasion when the shoes cost more than the dress, so I picked up quickly that they’re an important detail. What makes this shot is the careful framing and the colour from the trees behind. At this angle you can really appreciate the aesthetics of the shoe design  – shame they get worn under a dress.

It seemed fitting to end with the wedding cake. I have a friend who is a brilliant wedding cake maker (anne-maria@cakesinsurrey.co.uk) and it’s definitely as much of an art as taking pictures. How she copes with her work being eaten at every wedding I have no idea! Photographing the cake is all about capturing what the cake expresses. If the cake is fun that needs to come across in the photos, if it is elegant and refined then photographing it at a quirky angle will just appear false. I was aiming for the elegant image with this couple’s cake, and if the cake is discreetly colourful it’s good to add in the bouquets to give an extra splash of colour. The clients loved this cake shot, especially as after the day it was all that was left of it.

If you’re thinking of details for your own wedding and need inspiration definitely check out two brilliant blogs – the US based Style Me Pretty and Rock My Wedding in the UK.

To see more of my work do take a look at my website… http://www.charlwoodphotography.com/

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About David Charlwood

I am a professional photographer, specialising in weddings, working across the UK, based in the South East. View all posts by David Charlwood

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