Okay, this is gonna be a long one, so buckle up. I've been trying to write this blog for a while. First of all it took me a REALLY long time to choose the images, I went through all of my weddings last year, and it can be really difficult to concisely select images that tell a story; and secondly, it's really hard to put into words what story telling wedding photography is. I know it seems quite self explanatory, but as every couple and every wedding have a different story, and different types of images can convey that, it can be hard to show that in images to a random onlooker with no contextual background to the images... anyway, I'll go ahead and hopefully you'll see why these images, and this style, are so important.
So let's start with the basics I guess: What is story telling wedding photography? In the most simple, self explanatory terms, it's wedding photography that tells a story. It's wedding photography that tells YOUR story, sometimes the story of the image will jump out, and be obvious, and sometimes it'll only make sense to you and your guests, a "You had to be there" type moment. When talking about story telling, it can be easy to get caught up with the tearful, and emotional images, I do it too, simply because I love them, they strike a chord with a lot of viewers and they're relatable! An image of a groom, or a mum crying is beautiful because of the emotion, tells the story of how they were feeling in that moment, and it's relatable for people who weren't there (cause we all have people we'd cry over!). BUT, tearful images are not the be all and end all of story telling photography, because no wedding is JUST emotional. Most weddings are a whirlwind of things, fun, emotional, sad, happy, drunk, joyful... so story telling images can be the drunk dancefloor moments, the quiet details that you meticulously planned (these are integral to your story after all), or the moments that you never expected to happen. To get these types of moments, your photographer has to be an observer. They have to take a step back, watch what's happening, and be ready to capture. I always think that story telling wedding photography is at it's best when the photographer knows YOU too, not just signed contracts and turned up on the day, but chatted to you, knows about your plans and your relationships.
So, I'll go through some of my favourite story telling moments from my weddings from last year. Some of them will seem obvious without a backstory, and some of them won't, but it'll give you a good idea of what I look for to capture on your wedding day, and how I work.
First up, the veil on fire moment. What do you mean, the veil on fire moment? Exactly what I said dear readers. Above, was Sorcha and James' wedding at Oh Me Oh My in Liverpool. Sorcha had opted for a chic, slimline dress, so went for a super long veil as her showstopping, I AM the bride, accessory. Obviously, long veil caused havoc on a windy day at the docks, with a pretty packed timeline! When it came to cut the cake, it had tea lights surrounding it. Sorcha folded her veil over her arm, and as the knife went down, dipped the edge of it straight into one of the aforementioned tea lights. This was the moment just after, and I think James' face says it all. (They were both EXCELLENT sports about it, and the veil did survive!). A few more of my favourite story telling images from their wedding below. Including James surprising Sorcha with an impromptu serenade.
Next up, Chris and Joe's first look. You may have read about this in my Autumn Wedding blog, but if not, first looks are an amazing idea for any couples nervous about that aisle walk, or wanting to save their first view of each other as a private moment. Chris and Joe had a Autumn Barn wedding at Wyresdale Park, and had decided to walk each other down the aisle, so weren't sure about keeping separate in the morning, or how to keep it special. I suggested a first look, and the rest is history!
First look sequence above, I LOVE their kissing shot, you can feel the emotion from it... and when said emotion had settled, Joe noticed Chris' bow-tie (that he learnt to tie on You tube that morning) wasn't quite straight, I obviously snapped the sweet moment of him redressing him. A couple more from their wedding below.
Liney and Dom's cake cut below, is definitely one of my favourites yet. Their outside celebrant wedding, with garden marquee in the Lake District, was ultimate whimsical wedding vibes. Loads of DIY, loads of personality in everything, and the cake cut, or smash, was no exception.
Next up: Jake, or the groom that didn't stop crying. Seriously, lots of tissues throughout the ceremony! Tasha and Jake's outdoor, rustic Italian wedding ceremony, at Castelo il Palagio, was really beautiful to witness. You could really feel the love they had for each other, and it's lovely to see someone's emotion. Obviously, on a wedding day everyone is feeling emotional, excited, nervous... But it's really nice to see someone let it out and not be afraid to show it... and it makes for amazing photos.
Jess' bouquet toss, at her and Dan's tipi festival wedding, was definitely a memorable moment. Jess' sister Claire had been talking about how she really wanted to get engaged, so at the bouquet toss, fought tooth and nail to be the one catching that damned thing... and she did. Weeks later, Claire got in touch to say she was now engaged, and at the time her partner was already planning it, just biding his time. It's funny how the context after the images can give them even more meaning.
Lastly, a couple of giggly, excited and nervous ceremony vibes. I love the ceremony, and I think it's always really interesting to see how the mood changes from nervous, to excited, to sheer OH MY GOD WE DID IT!? I think ceremony images really show who you both are as a couple - so integral to showing your story. Sarah and James got married at the beautiful Glass House at Staining, and Lisa and Scott and the equally beautiful Inn on the Lake in the Lake District.
I'll leave it there with the examples - otherwise you'd be here all day reading about all 30 weddings in 2019! I hope that's illustrated what I do as a story telling photographer. One of the huge reasons I wanted to do this blog, is whilst most of the work I do on a wedding day is story telling, and fading into the background and watching, a lot of what I share is couple portraiture work. I love my couple work, it's why people book me, but I also love watching for moments like all of the above, and creating memories that are personal and significant to you. I hope it's shown to you, that story telling photography to me, is more than just people watching - or it'd just be documentary. Its more than just portraits of people crying. It's capturing the heart of your wedding, capturing the details, the venue, the scenery, in a natural way to give the backstory. The people and the significant relationships, and not just what they did, but how they were FEELING on your day, and of course, capturing you, and you as a couple, creating a body of work that signifies who you are. It's mum and dad holding hands during the ceremony. Or your niece admiring your wedding dress whilst it's hung up, grandparents sharing a kiss during the first dance. Or aunty Mavis necking a bottle of wine, or the best man ordering everyone to do shots. Story telling is different at every wedding, as every couples story is different, naturally some weddings are more emotional, because you're more emotional people. Or they're more of a riot, because you love a party, and it's full of amazing dance floor moments. Whatever you do, just be yourselves on your wedding day. Plan it around who you are, and I'll capture YOU.
Just for good measure, here's a few story telling highlights from each of my weddings last year, in the gallery below.