Here’s some of my favourite images from Kirsty and Stuart’s pre-wedding shoot in Castlefield last week. We actually met in the afternoon after I’d shot Michelle and Nick’s pre-wedding shoot also in Castlefield (that is the problem with Castlefield – it is very cool and everyone likes the idea of having their shoot done there!) so the pressure was on!
Kirsty and Stuart are getting married in St Andrews in Scotland, but Kirsty is from Manchester originally and really wanted part of her wedding photography experience to feature her home.
I always endeavour to shoot a unique set of images for every couple I work with, so using the same location for two couples back to back can potentially leave you without ideas. But, the beauty of Castlefield is that it is so compact with so many different locations within it, that you really are spoiled for choice when it comes to shooting down there.
What Michelle and Nick’s and Kirsty and Stuart’s pre-wedding shoots show, is that it is possible to shoot two different sets of images in the same place. Something that is really important when it comes to working at the same wedding venue on a regular basis. If you’re booked at the same venue regularly, it can be very easy to know what works in what parts of it and you can fall into the trap of doing the same thing every week. This is bad for two reasons. Firstly, you’re immediately not presenting your couples with images unique to them. Secondly, as a photographer, you will get bored very quickly and it becomes like a production line of weddings filled with the same images.
It’s so important to not get overly comfortable with venues you work at regularly. Brides and grooms sometimes like the reassurance that their photographer knows their venue, but this can very often be false reassurance as they’re going to be going away with a set of images that look exactly like the wedding the photographer shot the week before and will shoot the week after.
For me, I love to work at the same venues regularly, it’s great to get to know the staff, how they run the day there, etc. They are all the bonuses. The real bonus is that it makes me work hard and look for new and interesting opportunities. The moment I stop doing that is the moment I know I’m not doing my job properly. Equally, I love working at new venues as you are presented with a blank canvas to interpret how you see best.
Having said all of the above, the most important thing for me is working closely with the bride and groom in the build up to their day to ensure we come away with the perfect set of wedding memories for them. The pre-wedding shoot is an added opportunity to do this and then all sit down and talk about the final details of how they see and want the photography to work on their day.
In conclusion, I guess what I’m trying to say (in a really roundabout way!) is that no matter where it is, no matter the venue, all weddings are different. The people make them different. So you have to shoot the weddings to capture their individual personalities regardless of whether the venue is the same as one you shot at last week. And that is the main factor that ensures you come away with something unique for every couple. And the same with the pre-wedding shoot. Same location, two different couples, two different sets of images….enjoy…