The build-up to my first wedding shoot all happened rather quickly. Only four days after receiving the enquiry I found myself standing outside Clandeboye Lodge, camera in hand, about to watch Louise and Sarah exit their classic Bentley and make the short walk to their wedding reception! I had been keen to shoot a wedding for a few months and couldn't believe my luck!
Louise and Sarah had reached out to me after seeing photographs from my engagement shoot with Tina and Steven (which you can read about here). It turns out both couples are great friends and had been together on the evening I sent out the first teasers of the shoot. It's a wonderful feeling to know your couples love their photographs but it's equally amazing when these images also resonate with their friends and family, especially to the point where they feel compelled to hire you.
After some back and forth conversation I arranged to meet Sarah and Louise for breakfast at General Merchants on the Newtownards Road, the Saturday before their wedding. With such a short turnaround from enquiry to shoot we had to meet up quickly to plan the day and break the ice.
Meeting clients is a core part of my business. I believe it's important to get to know my clients before a shoot whenever possible. This helps dissipate any anxiety on both sides; a feeling you certainly want to avoid on the day of the shoot! I also feel it's good practice to use such meetings to set expectations, after all, your clients are investing their hard earned money in your brand and you need to make sure you can deliver what they want. If my style isn't for them then we graciously part ways, having enjoyed a friendly coffee together. Thankfully Sarah and Louise were all in with the style and service I offer!
Breakfast was such a pleasure with these two. We chatted at length about how they met, their relationship, Louise and my wife's obsession with dogs and F.R.I.E.N.D.S, as well as work, bodybuilding, mutual connections, and of course the plans for their wedding day. I left breakfast with a huge appetite, one I knew would only be satisfied when I starting shooting their wedding on Monday!
And so, on Sunday evening I found myself at home preparing: the camera batteries were on charge, SD cards were cleared, and my lens cleaning kit was in hand. As I carefully removed dust and lint from my lenses I started to conjure up ideas for shots the next day. I could feel the nerves were starting to kick-in as the realisation that I was about to shoot an ACTUAL wedding took hold. No more dreaming, this was real.
Before I introduce some of the photographs from Sarah and Louise's wedding reception, I want to say a massive thank you to Burn Workshop for featuring one of my photographs on their Instagram feed! To have my work feature along side artists like Fer Juaristi (who also liked my photo!) is an honour and the fact it was from my first ever wedding makes it all the more special. This has given me such a confidence boost and the motivation to continue pushing my creativity and documentary style shooting.
If you are a keen photographer and want to fuel your passion for the art then make sure you check out the Burn Workshop website and sign up for their next event(s) on the 16th and 17th of October! I have already signed up for the movement event on the 16th. Come and say hi!
So, this is the section you really wanted to see: the story of Louise and Sarah's wedding at Clandeboye Lodge. It is becoming a bit of a tradition in my blogs for this section be a clean timeline of frames telling a story of the shoot. Simple and clean.
A little note
I do not intend for my website to become a forum for politics and social commentary, nevertheless I feel it is prudent to say a few words on the subject of same-sex marriages/civil partnerships.
When I stood in front of my closet family and friends on the day I married my wife, I took her hands in mine and swore to love, honour and protect her until the day I die. I promised this through sniffs and stretches of choking silence as I struggled to keep my composure and avoid dissolving into a blubbering mess. We all handle emotion differently I guess.
But, where one can find differences, one can see similarities. Although not everyone cries when they read their vows it is almost a universal constant that those involved share a deep love and emotional connection, and this was clear to me on the 6th of August as I watched Louise an Sarah hold hands, kiss, cuddle, and dance. Why should their devotion to one another be treated any differently? Unfortunately, in some places, it is.
In Northern Ireland, Sarah and Louise do not have the legal right to marriage, we live in the only part of the UK which forbids such freedom. Yet, their civil partnership bared all the hallmarks of any wedding I have ever attended - including my own. This is no real surprise. After all, love does not recognise gender, colour, religious belief, or social ranking (any label for that matter). Love is something nearly every human on the planet can express and feel and to restrict its biggest celebration to a select group of individuals based on (for the most part) an archaic religious fundamentalism, is not only divisive but contentious and evil. It contradicts one of love's many derivatives: compassion, something I'm sure we all have a deep desire to feel and share.
One day I hope this will change.
Are you next?
Are you looking for a wedding photographer but can't find the right one for you? Let's meet for a coffee (on me of course!) and chat about how my approach to photography is worth your investment! I am only a few clicks away, so head over to my contact page and send me a message, I aim to respond within 24 hours to all enquiries.
I look forward to telling your story!