Take one gorgeous couple, one sunny day, two ceremonies (one small, one large, both lovely) and one fantastic wedding venue, stir together with a healthy dose of joy, laughter and love and the end result is Kristi & Jack’s beautiful wedding at Five Oaks Events, West Sussex.
During the bridal prep one of the bridesmaids said, “It’s a long day for you and there’s a lot of work”. To be honest, it doesn’t feel like work when you’re photographing a wedding such as this. Yes, I was up at 6am and didn’t get home until 11am, but to be honest time became insignificant. There was so much going on and so many beautiful moments occurred that I totally lost track of the hours ticking by.
Massive congratulations to Kristi & Jack, and thanks for keeping myself and my assistant Sian thoroughly entertained throughout the day! We both wish you all the happiness in the world, and enjoy your honeymoon!
They’re the sort of people who are so open and friendly that they just get on with everyone. A few weeks ago I popped over for a final pre-wedding chat (they live just up the road from me), and we had croissants and coffee in the garden. It felt more like meeting old friends for a cuppa and a chinwag rather than to discuss the finer details of the wedding – that’s how friendly and welcoming they are!
Their wedding reflected that openness and warmth, and we were blessed with wonderful weather as well.
Huge congratulations to you both, and here are some photos from the day – plenty more to come soon 🙂
Apparently, Benjamin Franklin once said this. Oh, how I could have done with him being in the passenger seat of my car when the flipping thing wouldn’t start yesterday morning. Roughly around an hour before I was due at Alex & Gary’s wedding at The Talbot in Woking, Surrey, in fact.
So, one rather expensive Uber trip later and I arrived on time. Panic over.
My aim for the day was not only to capture some amazing photographs, but to take advantage of the rain and create one photo in particular that would make all the hassle worthwhile. So later in the day I set up a couple of flashes, and you’ll see the result below. Hopefully it was worth it.
A massive thanks to Alex and Gary for being brilliant company and for allowing me to drag them out into the rain to take the aforementioned photo. You’re both absolutely gorgeous, and I wish you a lifetime of happiness together!
I consider myself a very lucky boy indeed to be living in Kent – not only do I have access to some of the most beautiful countryside in England, I’m also within touching distance of some of the most stunning wedding venues this land has to offer.
One such venue is The Gardens in Yalding.
I recently photographed Alex & Alex’s gorgeous wedding there, and even though I’m in the middle of editing their photos I couldn’t resist sharing some of these with you already!
For some reason of late I just can’t seem to stay away from the seaside.
First of all it was Fae and Lewis’s gorgeous engagement / pre-wedding session down at St Margaret’s Bay near Dover, and a few weeks later I found myself in Ramsgate photographing the wedding of Rebecca and Luke. The ceremony was at the St Laurence in Thanet church followed by the reception at Ramsgate FC.
I first met them last year in a Ramsgate pub for a chat and a coffee (honest – I was driving). Usually when I meet couples it takes around 30 – 45 minutes to find out all about them, show them a couple of luxury wedding albums and tell them how I can help make their wedding even better through my photography.
Two hours after sitting down with Rebecca and Luke, I finally left before making my way home.
I always love meeting couples for the first time, because it gives me chance to find out exactly what they’re looking for, and to see if we click (pun well and truly intended).
So after meeting Rebecca and Luke, I knew that their wedding day was going to be exactly like them. Warm, down to earth and laid-back, which is precisely what it was.
A huge thanks to Mr and Mrs Simmons, and here’s to a life of wedded bliss!
I’ve been in this wedding photography game for a while now. It is, without doubt, more than just a job. You get to meet some amazing couples, and you get to share the happiest day of their lives with them.
I mean, what’s not to love about that?
I also like to think I’ve learned a few things along the way. This isn’t a guide for the best camera settings for wedding ceremonies, or whether mirrorless cameras are better than DSLRs, nor is it a guide to using off camera flash during the wedding day.
If you’re looking for any of those things, then you’re in the wrong place my friend.
Personally, I like to think of it as a “Follow these tips and you won’t f*ck up” guide.
So if you’re just starting out in the wedding photography industry (or even if you’re a seasoned pro willing to listen to another photographer’s opinion), then follow these tips and you won’t go far wrong.
Top 10 Wedding Photography tips for Beginners:
Always be in possession of a ridiculous amount of batteries. You can never have enough of them.
Always be in possession of a ridiculous amount of memory cards. See point 1.
Try and make an effort to get to know the names of as many people as you can. Shouting, “Oi you! Get over there and smile!” never goes down particularly well (nor does it a good photo make).
Never stop learning. The exposure triangle will never change, but your creativity will if you don’t take care of and nurture it.
If a couple says they’d like 10 group photos, they mean 20. If they say 20, prepare to take 40. Allow 2 minutes for each group photo and then double it.
If the venue says the meal is at 4pm, make sure you’ve wrapped all the couple’s portraits 15 minutes before then AT THE LATEST. Don’t ever piss off the wedding planner or the venue. You WILL regret it.
Be nice to your fellow suppliers, and don’t bitch about the state of the industry with them. You’re in this game because you love it, and if you don’t, leave it to those of us who do.
Don’t slag off difficult couples in Facebook groups either. Someone in there is bound to know them and WILL invariably tell them. It also makes you look like a bit of a dick.
Be confident, funny and outgoing, even if on the inside you’re insecure, dour and introverted. The couple and all the guests will notice and appreciate it.
Above all else, smile! Ever noticed how professional dancers are always beaming from ear to ear, no matter how difficult the routine? Be like them, even if nothing you’re doing is coming off on the day of the wedding.
The decor! I mean, look at these photos from Anne and Barry’s recent wedding – aren’t they just sumptuous? (The rooms that is, although Anne & Barry were lovely too, of course)
It’s just down the road from where I live. Hurrah!
When Anne & Barry asked me last year to photograph their wedding at Danson House, I simply couldn’t resist. It was also the first time I’ve photographed in the gorgeous Fleur de Thé Tea Room, and no doubt I’ll be popping back there soon to consume ridiculous amounts of coffee and cake.
Here are some of the highlights from the day, and a huge thanks to Anne and Barry and their lovely friends and family.
It’s video time! I know engagement (or pre-wedding) sessions / shoots aren’t for everyone, but here I explain what they are and why you really need one before your big day!
Also, if you scroll down you’ll see I’ve added some of my favourite photos from recent engagement sessions. For those of you who can’t be bothered to watch the video in its entirety (shame on you), I’ve kindly transcribed it for you below. I know, I’m good to you aren’t I? 😉
Hi folks! I’m Dan from Dan Biggins Photography and today I’m going to talk to you about why you need to have an engagement photography session.
So, first of all you’re probably asking yourself, “What is an engagement photography session?” Well, it’s basically where we meet up in a location of your choice and we take photos of you to celebrate your engagement. That is it really! That’s how simple it is. It can be any location of your choice:- it could be in a park; it could be on the beach; it could be up a tree! It could be down the aisle in Tesco’s. I mean whatever you want we could take photos, and it’s basically a chance to celebrate you as a couple, celebrate your impending marriage and you could share the photos with family and friends on Facebook, Instagram and MySpace if you want to.
(Is that still a thing – MySpace?)
So there are five reasons I think why you should have an engagement photography session before your wedding day, and the first one is:
1. It helps you relax in front of the camera
So I’ll be honest with you – having your photograph taken…it’s a bit weird. I mean, it is a bit weird basically. That’s why I tend to sort of work behind the camera instead of this side, because this feels a bit weird at the moment, me talking to you into a lens. It’s just a bit weird. So I fully appreciate how strange it is having your photo taken. Most people don’t like having their photo taken which makes my job a little bit more challenging! Occasionally I meet people who are just gorgeous and they model for a living and they quite like having their photograph taken because that’s their job, but 99% of the time people just don’t like it. I don’t like it, so it’s my job to make you look amazing which hopefully I do.
So after the session pretty much every single couple has said to me how much they enjoyed it, and that it’s made them look forward to the wedding even more. So by the time I turn up at the wedding they’re not thinking, “Who’s that weirdo following me around with a camera?!” They know exactly what to expect and you’ll know exactly what to expect, meaning you can relax and enjoy your day even more with your loved ones. Result!
Onto point two, which is kind of tied into point one, and that is:
2. It helps us get to know each other a little bit better
So obviously your wedding day will be…let’s say it’s from getting ready in the morning…let’s say 10, 11 o’clock. Say your ceremony’s at 1, it’ll go through to sort of 10-11 o’clock. So realistically I’m going to be with you for about 12 hours…I’m going to be following you around for 12 hours. There’s a lovely thought, isn’t it…
So, I’m gonna be there all day, so really it’s good that we get to know each other as much as possible. You get to see how I work as well, so you’ll see I’m pretty laid back. I don’t shout at people people generally…no, I don’t shout at people…generally…and yeah, so again, by the time I turn up at your wedding you’ll say, “Oh, it’s Dan, it’s that photo bloke innit!” and everyone’s happy and you can relax once again and enjoy your day.
Which brings us onto point 3, which is:
3. It helps you celebrate your engagement even more
So obviously when you get engaged you tell all your family and friends. Everyone’s really excited and then it’s kind of…gone, and then you start planning the wedding, and then people start asking you, “What size of rose would you like?”, and, “How many flavours do you want in the middle tier of your cake?” Stuff like that. So having a photo session just allows you to kind of milk a little bit more, and just keep the excitement going a little bit longer really. You can again like I say share photos with your family and friends, whack it up on Facebook and everyone can go, “God you’re so lovely you make me so jealous!”, and yeah, you can kind of extend the excitement of your engagement for as long as humanly possible. And why not?! It’s something that most of us do hopefully once in their life, so yeah, bloody well celebrate it I say!
Onto point four which is:
4. It helps build trust in me and the final product that you’ll receive
So obviously you’ll have a good idea about what my work is like from my website and my social media channels, but you won’t exactly know what to expect as far as you’re concerned. You know, what your photos will look like. So after you receive the engagement photos…again, every couple I’ve ever photographed has been absolutely thrilled with their engagement photos, and then it will give you a really good idea of what to expect after your wedding, which hopefully increases your trust in me, which allows us to relax even more on your wedding day, which means that we’re both happy campers basically!
And onto my fifth and final point, and that is:
5. Your engagement photos are useful
So what do I mean by that? I mean that, for example, you could use your engagement photos for Save the Date cards. I know I did an engagement session…it’s a couple of years ago now in Hyde Park, and the couple used one of the photos for their Save the Date cards which they sent out to family and friends, which was a really nice thing; and everyone receives the card and says, “What a lovely photo!”, and everyone’s happy basically.
Again, you can print those photos out and you can put them up in your living room. You could print a poster and whack it up on the side of a bus shelter. You do whatever you like basically but yeah, the bottom line is that your photos can be used for lots of lovely things.
So that kind of wraps that up really. I hope it’s been useful – I hope it answer some questions about engagement sessions, and I hope that if we should meet and I say, “Hey, let’s have an engagement session!”, don’t throw heavy objects at me please. Just sort of…if you don’t want one, just sort of go, “Yeah Dan, that’s lovely, thanks!” But hopefully it should be something that gets you excited for all the reasons I have just stated.
Okay, my name’s Dan and thank you for watching and listening, and please visit my website at www.danbiggins.com. And I hope to hear from you soon! Okay, take care, buh-bye.
A few people have asked me how I managed to capture this sparkler photo at Fae and Lewis’s recent wedding at Lympne Castle in Kent, so I’ve decided to put everyone out of their misery and reveal all!
Setting the scene
A month or so before the wedding, Fae mentioned that they were thinking of having a sparkler exit towards the end of the evening, which started my creative juices flowing. I’ll be the first to admit that I hadn’t attempted a sparkler photo before, and I know from other photographers how tricky they can be, so I started scouring the internet in earnest for tips and inspiration.
The first and main issue was that it was going to be dark when I was due to attempt the photo. Initially I’d planned to rely on the light from the sparklers to illuminate Fae and Lewis, but this would mean that I’d probably have to shoot using a low aperture and high ISO to let more light in, which might result in focusing being a problem. The lens I was intending to use offered an aperture of f1.4 at 85mm, but the depth of field this offered would be ridiculously thin.
My second train of thought was simply to illuminate them using an off-camera flash, which meant that I could stop the lens down a little more to a lower ISO and more reasonable aperture (I rarely stray beyond f4 these days) but this presented another couple of potential problems. One, focusing would again be a challenge as it was dark, and secondly, even thought Fae and Lewis would be nicely lit, all the guests would possibly be underexposed except for the ambient light of the sparklers.
The way around this would be to drag the shutter to let more ambient light in and freeze the happy couple using the flash, but it would still be a bit of a pain tracking their movement and focusing with the lack of light I was presented with.
(As a side note, I also contemplated using the Yongnuo YN-622C-TX trigger which emits a focus assist light, but to be honest the light it emits is crap. The trigger itself is extremely reliable, but as far as helping with autofocus goes? Forget it.)
I was talking to a fellow photographer who’d recently photographed a sparkler exit, and they’d mentioned that they’d used a video LED light. It’s basically a continuous light source that you can mount on a tripod or monopod, meaning you can (a) visualise how the light will look before you take the photo, and (b) focus on your subject without any issues. Hurrah!
Pop Yongnuo flash on light stand behind couple at 1/16th power
Place Neewer vide LED on monopod – my assistant was to the right of me just out of shot and walking alongside Fae and Lewis to keep them nicely lit. Power was roughly 50%.
Ask Fae and Lewis to walk slowly (!) towards the camera
Take the photo (Canon 5Diii // Sigma 85 ART // AI Servo mode // 1/100s // f3.5 // ISO 3200)
I chose ISO 3200 and a shutter speed of 1/100 to allow some ambient light from the sparklers to bleed through. This was just about quick enough due to Fae and Lewis kindly agreeing to walk slowly!
ISO 3200 allowed me to set the flash to a low power setting of 1/16, meaning recycle times were quick
I meant to shoot at f4, but in all the excitement accidentally bumped it to f.3.5!
Ask your couple to walk closely together, otherwise the flash won’t be hidden and you’ll be blinded / your photo will be a flash of white light only!
Finally, the links on this page are connected to the Amazon Associates programme, meaning that if you should purchase any of the products as a result of clicking on the links, I’ll make a little bit of money. The intention of the article first and foremost is to educate, but if I make a few pennies on the side as well, that’d be lovely 🙂