Earlier this week we all waved goodbye to 2013. On a personal note, as a Manchester wedding photographer, 2013 was anything but an unlucky year for me. I managed to cover more weddings than I could ever have hoped to, at some unique and exciting venues and I’ve been lucky enough to meet some fantastic couples who totally trusted me to capture their wedding day.
With 2014 set to be an even bigger year of weddings for me, I thought I’d look back on 2013 and pick my favourite shots. Before I start, these are personal choices, which I hope showcase my style and what I look for in a wedding image. I can’t fit every wedding in, so apologies in advance if your wedding isn’t in here. They are in no particular order, just my personal picks from 2013
Mary & Jon at Ripley Castle
Back in May I travelled over to Ripley, a few miles north of Harrogate, to shoot Mary and Jon’s wedding at the stunning Ripley Castle. It’s an amazing venue, every inch of the building is a photographer’s dream and we didn’t struggle to get some fantastic couple shots, but it was this image of Mary walking up the aisle that I love the most. Jon is (intentionally) out of focus in the foreground. For me, this is one of the most important images to capture in the day, the bride walking up the aisle, as there’s so much tension in the final seconds before the service.
Vicky and Ryan at The Pennine Manor
Vicky and Ryan had a proper party at their wedding in September in Huddersfield. The first dance was tricky to shoot as the room was very dark, lit only by the DJ’s flashing lights, meaning constantly changing lighting levels. I used a small amount of flash, bounced off the roof, meaning I could get the exposure just right. During the dance I noticed the mirror and I only got one shot at this image, so I’m pleased I got Vicky and Ryan’s reflection nice and sharp!
Gemma and Gaz at The Black Horse Inn
I took a chance with this shot and it came off. Gemma had hung her dress over the beautiful wardrobe and was having her make up done just in front of it. I was shooting the make up and saw this composition through the viewfinder and just shot it. Turning it to black and white made it timeless and this is one of my favourite ever bridal preparation shots!
Emma and Matt at The Belle Epoque
I only took this shot a week ago at Emma and Matt’s wedding in Cheshire. It was taken as the tension mounted as the finishing touches were made to Emma’s dress. Again, the mirror provided a different perspective and a natural frame to the shot. It’s a calm, peaceful image that captures the moment perfectly.
Wendy and Mick at The Old Golf House
For Wendy and Mick’s couple shots we went up on top of the Pennines, between Saddleworth and Huddersfield, to get some dramatic backdrops using the stunning scenery. It was VERY windy and pretty cold, but Wendy and Mick braved it using some true Yorkshire grit and the result was this great image. I like this type of shot, it’s not a traditional couple photo, the sky looks fantastic in the background, and Wendy and Mick are prominent enough to make it a great couple photo.
Laura and Adam at Manchester Town Hall
Laura and Adam got married at Manchester Town Hall. This is one of my favourite venues, challenging my Nikon’s low light capability, it’s atmospheric and beautiful. There were so many photos from this wedding I love, but I’ve gone for this one, rather than the obvious picture of Laura and Adam signing the register, I let the guests take their photos and then ran in behind and fired off this image. I got a few stares from the guests who I had photo-bombed, but it was worth it to get this unique shot.
Jo and Gordon at Manchester Art Gallery
My first wedding of 2013 was in February at Manchester Art Gallery with Jo and Gordon. Another stunning venue and a great place to get married. There are so many photo opportunities in the gallery. Nothing clever about the composition here, I just love Jo and Gordon’s expressions. Colourful and fun, this is one shot clients all comment on when they view my sample album.
Laura and Nathan at Victoria Baths
Yet another stunning Manchester wedding venue, Victoria Baths. I did 3 weddings in 4 days at the end of May and this was my final one of the three. A genuinely brilliant wedding, Laura and Nathan broke almost every rule and did the day their way. Easily my favourite first kiss shot ever, there’s joy and happiness on every face in the photo, which summed up Laura and Nathan’s amazing day.
Helen and Stephen at Northorpe Hall
At the end of Helen and Stephen’s day, the lads lit up celebratory cigars, which led to this James Dean-esque shot of the best man. Classic and simple.
Debbie and Karl at The Saddleworth Hotel
In June I made the short journey from my house to The Saddleworth Hotel to shoot Debbie and Karl’s wedding. I’m good friends with them and was a wedding photographer/wedding guest on the day. Debbie loved the camera and we had some great fun on the couple shots, but it was this un-staged, natural shot taken of Debbie sat in the Rolls Royce that I like the best. Simple, classic un-fussy composition led to this striking image.
Gemma and Joey at Hazlewood Castle
Speeches can be a bit of a challenge to photograph. You want an interesting angle, be able to get both the emotional close up shots and wide angle photos, yet you have to be careful about getting in the way of the guests. After all, they aren’t there to have a photographer block their view. So I was pleased with this one of Joey, I had to crouch down at the top table and bide my time, but the stiff legs were worth it, especially as Gemma is looking admiringly as her new husband holds court. It was a great speech too!
Lisa and Graham at Huddersfield Town Hall
This was my favourite wedding of the year, if you read my blog post you’ll see why. It was an emotional day, but there was a lot of fun in this wedding. There are two images I love from this day, the first is this one as Lisa and Graham make their way down the stairs at Huddersfield Railway Station. I like unusual composition and this ticks all the boxes for me…
… and this is the 13th and final one from 2013. The second one from Lisa and Graham’s wedding and this one needs no explanation. Just pure happiness in a photo.
So that’s it, my favourite images from a great year. Let me know your thoughts below and I’m already looking forward to 2014!
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by James Tracey