Another in my series of catch-up blog postings today as I look back to Abi & Ricardo's pre-wedding shoot in Hyde Park last month.
An early arrival and a scout around the park confirmed what I had originally imagined - that there were a million possible locations for shooting. One of the many great things about this career is that it frequently gives me the opportunity for new discoveries.
As a Londoner for most of my (ahem) 40 years, I pride myself on having a pretty good knowledge of most of the capital, but it's frequently when walking around a location having arrived early in case of possible travel delays that I make new discoveries.
I must have been through Hyde Park more than a thousand times in my life, but I still didn't know of it's police station and I had never spotted the fact that each plinth on the Albert Memorial depicted a different continent. Being a photographer encourages you to "look" really closely and in London there's so much to learn.
So, onto the shoot itself. I offer every couple whos wedding I photograph a complimentary pre-wedding shoot. Actually I almost insist upon having one. Quite apart from being a load of fun, these have a very defined purpose. On your wedding day, as bride & groom you'll spend more time with your wedding photographer than anyone else (apart from each other!). Imagine how difficult that is if you don't know or feel comfortable with that. A pre-wedding shoot allows us to continue to build a relationship that serves us well on the nervous big day. It also allows me to try out various styles of photography and find out which the couple is happiest with - meaning that we don't waste any time on your wedding day taking photographs that will never see the light of day.
We met at the beautiful Serpentine Cafe (great Eggs Benedict!) before heading off to begin the days shooting.
We started on the Bridge over the Serpentine. Couples who are not used to being in front of the camera (i.e. pretty much everyone) often find it easier, at least to begin with if they aren't looking directly at the camera & the photographer so I often begin with an image taken with the couple looking adoringly at each other. Quite apart from that it's great fun to see how long any given couple can "hold" this look without dissolving into fits of laughter!
I think that we came closer to the "moment of giggle" in this second shot taken in front of the Diana memorial fountain!
The Albert Memorial gave us our next location, and next challenge.
The technical set up of the image was relatively easy, the pose was easy (for the couple at least - any excuse for a kiss!) but the challenge was negotiating in several languages with the hoards of tourists who randomly walked across the frame, or even took a seat behind the couple. I'll have to insist that my next pre-wedding shoot in the park begins at 5:00 am.
We moved slightly for the next shot, allowing the Albert Hall to share top billing with Abi & Ricardo. I underexposed the background slightly, allowing some detail to be recorded in what looked at first glance a flat grey sky, using the flash to bring the light back for my relaxed couple in the foreground.
Walking from location to location, I glanced down to see my couples hands entwined. Asking them to stop for a second I grabbed this:
The bright colours of Abi & Ricardo's clothing help this one to sing out and confirm that good images are everywhere if you only keep your eyes open. I call it "looking with intent".
Finally for today, we took the chance to try and grab a deck-chair without being accosted by an attendent looking for our daily fee for doing so:
I worked through a variety of colour and black & white options in Lightroom, before deciding that this fun mix complimented their relaxed pose.
So, at the end of the shoot I felt I knew Abi & Ricardo a little better, was aware of how relaxed and easy to direct they were (thanks guys!) and in short can't wait to Photograph their wedding at the end of October.