Now you may know that Michelle and I offer Kent and Canterbury Wedding Photography, but what you might not know is that we offer our services anywhere around the country. This was particularly handy for Dale and Rhiannon. A gorgeous bride and groom from Northampton who had decided to tie the knot, down in Brixham, Devon. Brixham has been the family gathering place for many years and held wonderful memories for them. Having experienced the English Riviera first hand, we can see why.
Panoramic of Brixham
Dale and Rhiannon approached us and asked if we would be willing to take our wedding photography services down to Devon and take their wedding photography. Of course we obliged and ended up going down early to scope the wonderful Berry Head Hotel and meet up with them on Saturday for lunch and to meet other members of the family. And so, here’s where we start, meet the family!
The Asplin Family
It became clear quite early on that this was a close family and we really hoped to capture the warmth they shared between them over the weekend. This first meeting (for us anyway, they had all been there a few days already!) was at the Drum Inn, Cockington, just outside Torquay. A beautiful, large, set back building that was home to delicious food and beveragement for the many! We considered shooting up the steps with the family dotted about, but the lure of the curve of the bottom of the steps was too great! Dale and Rhiannon had just asked for a few candids from the afternoon so nothing intrusive or staged.
The Drum Inn, Cockington
Aside from the amazing wedding pictures we took over the weekend what struck us both was how friendly and hospitable the whole family was. It’s not our usual arrangement but upon a few insisting “…are you both coming, oh come on!” we met the wedding party later that day for a cool drink on Torquay harbour.
Dale (Groom) taking the orders – better get used to that…
It was an excellent opportunity to meet and speak with more family and friends so by the time Sunday afternoon came we were familiar faces and this really showed in the photography. We ended up having our evening meal at the same restaurant Saturday evening and so took the opportunity to grab a few more relaxed shots of the party. We were in the end, their weekend photographers which gave them the rare opportunity of having professional wedding photographers with them all through the weekend!
Curry, really? The night before? Brave, brave people!
Torquay Clocktower at sundown - We had to put this in, taken early evening, as a favourite of Rhiannon.
Sunday morning beckoned and to our delight the sun was shining bright (it had been pretty overcast since we arrived on Friday) with the forecast excellent for the rest of the day. The sun is of course a welcome sight on any wedding day, but a few clouds are always welcome to help diffuse the light as direct sunlight tends to generate heavy shadows, strong highlights and a greater need for fill light. Intermittent direct sunlight also means as wedding photographers we have to be constantly on the ball changing settings, diffusing and using the correct amount of fill light on each shot.
As is our routine we arrived at the preparation locations early enough to spend a little time taking pictures of the immediate area such as landscapes and memorable features. This would be especially pertinent as Brixham is a special place for the family. These shots also make for excellent backgrounds for the eventual wedding album. True professional wedding photographers don’t just shoot for your images, the also shoot for the presentation of your images.
Brixham Harbour, love the coloured houses.
Dale and Rhiannon were getting prepared at two apartments overlooking the harbour, close enough to each other that they had to be careful not to see each other. Michelle was with the girls whilst I met the boys. With just twenty minutes before they needed to leave the boys decided to start getting changed. I had to be on the quick fire as clearly they’ve all auditioned for Superman at some stage and seemed to be instantly dressed! I say instantly but there were some issues doing up waistcoats and, erm, hair…
Dale had a bit of boxing practice with Keith. He beat him on reach.
The girls with Michelle had been getting ready for a little longer of course ;) and so Michelle had the opportunity to shoot some really striking wedding preparation shots with the sun beaming through the penthouse windows and the champagne flowing. Rhiannon and her dress were stunning.
The dress had remarkable detail and was quite long. Luckily Michele found a beautifully framed window and door with which to compose the dress.
Preparation shots in the bag we both headed down the road to the wedding and reception venue, the Berry Head Hotel. The wedding party was filling nicely and enjoying the fabulous views over Torbay from the vantage of the hotel garden and patio.
The Mulberry Room was the location for the ceremony, a long room with dual aspect large windowed doors to the east (looking over the water) and south (looikng into shaded gardens) filling one end with soft light. Whilst the doors provided excellent light, the room was long and so we had soft diffused light with a daylight balance at one end and the other being lit by ceilng lights with a tungsten white balance.
When faced with this type of directional light i.e. windows, one should always work with the light and not against it. So I positioned myself low to the rear of the wedding party at 45 degrees to the main windows and doors whilst Michelle was up with the registrar ready to photograph the walk up to the front of the ceremony.
Before I did this of course I had to head quickly through the maze of corridors to the front of the hotel ready for Rhiannon’s arrival. The sun was so bright, I felt like a paparazzi try to see which car she was in through the reflections!
And there she was, beaming and waiting to get married.
I wanted to capture some flow and movement as Rhiannon entered the room and so I used a combination of the soft ambient light flowing from the east windows with some dialled down fill flash, set to rear curtain with a 1/25s shutter speed. This had the pleasing effect of freezing Rhiannons expression whilst still showing the movement as she passed by my location.
My job in part was done for the ceremony and it was over to Michelle to capture Dale as the bridesmaids at first, then the groomsmen and finally Rhiannon headed down the aisle towards him. It’s a shot we never tire of taking as, dependent on the groom, you see the whole range of emotions going from; nerves, apprehension, excitedness, pride and happiness in the space of a few minutes and a few glorious photographs.
Michelle had an excellent viewpoint just behind the registrar who was particularly helpful and moved out of the way With the ceremony finished including a beautiful musical interlude from Keith on the piano, one of the groomsmen, champagne was taken on the patio with the vista of Torbay as the backdrop.Following some more candids of the wedding party, it was time for the confetti and group shots in the garden. We had around twenty group shots to get through in around half an hour, but with the assistance of Mark, the proudest brother and best man in the world, we photographed some stunning wedding groups and even managed a full, 100 strong wedding party shot thanks to our good old wide-angle and off-camera fill flash.
With Dale's parents. Lovely grounds for group shots.
The whole kit and caboodle - meet the wedding party!
A short walk from the hotel was Berry Head, a gorgeous point below the hotel on the water with rock pools and a view over the bay. Rhiannon had told us of this spot when we first met and we had also taken a visit early in the weekend so we were well prepared. We had to be a little careful getting to the spot as it involved a few steps down, rocks, grass and a fair bit of ‘hitching up’ Rhiannon’s dress.
Michelle puts down the camera for a moment. Full risk assessment done.
Dale and Rhiannon were both great fun to work with and we ended up with some stunning and relaxed images that achieved three things; capture the view, capture the location and most importantly capture how great they both looked.
Happy couple on the rock pool.
With guests waiting we all, carefully, made our way back the steps to rejoin the wedding party. It’s at this time that we as wedding photographers disappear into the background to capture further candids and the presenting of the bride and groom to the wedding breakfast. It’s at this stage we take our well earned break; have a quick review of the shots so far, back up, check memory and give the kit a quick clean, oh, and eat!
With the main part of the day now complete, faces relax and the fun of the speeches starts. We’re lucky enough to have heard quite a few and it’s never a chore as they are always so entertaining and heart felt. Mark’s, the best man, was no different and included quite a few props; miniature dumbbells, afro wig, bottle top glasses and a packet of viagra.
Bring on the afro!
Having first start taking the wedding photographs the at midday on the day before Michelle and I were due to continue up to around 9pm and finish with shots of the fireworks. They ended up being 10pm but this was of course no problem for us as we managed to squeeze in some night portraits as well. How could we miss the fireworks anyway!
I'm going to get shot for including a certain persons feet, but I'm too far away to be caught now...
So the day ended with the pièce de résistance, fireworks over the bay from the Berry Head. We aleady knew the photograph we wanted take as we had already checked with the firework technicians on the height and angle that would should expect. Fireworks generate a reasonable amount of light on faces but we already knew we would be shooting from behind the bride and groom. The light emanating from the hotel to the right of us has a very strong tungsten balance that wasn’t particularly pleasing.We opted to set up our SB-900 flash off camera around waist height pointing towards the couple from the direction of the hotel (work with light, not against). We didn’t want to flood the whole area with light and so we set the zoom on the flash to 135mm which had the effect if narrowing the beam and picking out Dale and Rhiannon. We aided this further by sticking some black card around the flash as a make shift snoot. Here’s the result.
We took over 50 shots of this scene, but this one is just perfect.
Here’s where we ended, a great day with a fabulous couple and some amazing wedding photographs. To view Dale and Rhiannon’s full gallery including their video slideshows, please click here.
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We Are Hector are East Kent commercial and wedding photographers covering the whole of the South East. We specialise in; advertising photography, pr photography, editorial photography, food photography, retail photography, interior photography, property photography as well as extensive event photography, conference photography, awards photography and exhibition photography experience. Email Gareth; firstname.lastname@example.org for further information and quotations.
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