A few weeks back I had the idea of mixing a Bride, Groom and a dual carriageway. Sounds like a bad joke huh, or disaster in the making.
No matter who I shoot weddings for and no matter where the weddings are held, I always like to try and create something a little different, something unique, original if you like. The problem with this of course is most wedding venues will have been shot to death in the bride/groom portraits, and all the usual shots will have been done in all manner of ways and most certainly other togs will have been creative at one point or another and will have some not so obvious stuff shot at each of them as well, so coming up with something completely new isn’t that easy.
So for Sarah and AJ’s big day back on the 24th of May I had the usual task of putting the old grey matter to work thinking of something new to do, and when we met a few days ahead of the wedding at the venue, The Gatwick Manor, I kept my eyes peeled for that unique feature we could use as we wandered round the grounds. It was clear there was a good few areas to work with around the grounds but there isn’t anything there that kinda stood out as different or that wouldn’t have been shot by other photographers.
When we wandered round the front of the Gatwick Manor inspiration immediately struck me in the shape of the A23, a 70mph dual carriageway that sits out front of the Gatwick Manor grounds. I was pretty sure no other photographers would have taken their brides and grooms out there for part of the bride/groom portrait shoots, so that was going to be my something unique.
The big day itself was unique enough as it was anyway, because in the morning just after the bride, Sarah, had finished having her hair and make up done and was ready in her dress, she decided to get some portraits done hanging from a pole! Sarah is a Pole Fitness enthusiast and trainer, and any lads reading this, read that again, Pole FITNESS, not dancer, and so she wanted to incorporate her mobile pole in some of the mornings pictures. I think it’s safe to say that the images we managed to get show the absolute gracefulness that can be achieved. Again, I doubt there are to many photographers who can say they have shots of a bride in her dress up a pole in their portfolio!
The day progressed along nicely, with everything going well, on time and before we knew it Sarah & AJ were married. As per usual, following straight on from the ceremony we cracked on with the group shots and then went on to a bride/groom portrait session for 15-20 mins, but as it was still mid afternoon and the sun was really quite harsh we stuck to working in the shade, where I lit Sarah & AJ with off camera lighting.
It was after the food and speeches that we got round to the next bride/groom portrait session. Being later in the day the sun was nowhere near as harsh, and was lowering in the sky towards sunset, which was due to start kicking in 45-60 minutes later. Now was the time to head out onto the road for theses extra special shots where we could end up with images that have that unique touch, that hopefully no one else would be able to replicate, but this was a very busy dual carriageway road with a speed limit of 70 miles per hour. How on earth would we even get those shots.
Here is where I have to let my secret out of the bag, because I can’t continue without telling you now……….the road was closed!
Yeah I know, it now doesn’t seem half as daring and dangerous now, but believe me, if it had been open I wouldn’t have even tried to attempt this, not a chance. A few weeks earlier, the northbound carriageway had been shut due to a sink hole opening on that stretch of the dual carriageway, but for that week when Sarah and AJ’s wedding was, and the following week or so, both the north and south carriageway had been shut, and we wanted to use the southbound carriageway looking towards the north as the amount of cones and signs on that side of the road was far less than on the northern side so I had far less to edit out in photoshop.
So, we know now the road was shut, but I don’t think it makes the images we captured on that bride/groom session any less unique, and as the southbound carriage way is now back open and the chances of someone recreating what we did is fairly remote. Although the northern side is still shut (as of writing this on 15/06/14) but I’m not sure many photographers would want the hassle of editing out all those cones barriers and signs to make the images look as clean and uncluttered as the ones we managed to get.
I know I won’t have been the first to think of think of doing this and I’m sure there will be plenty of shots of brides and grooms in the road, but there won’t be many taken in front of the Gatwick Manor like that, if any at all.
I love being able to deliver images to brides and grooms that they will love and cherish for years to come. Sarah and AJ have already expressed how much they love these images, and that’s one of the reasons why I try to create images like this. Another reason is, it could be so easy to just snap a wedding day and fill it with images that are no different to what one of their relatives could capture with their nice new camera, but that’s not what I’m paid for. I want to capture them well and in high quality, but also to give them something that stands out from just ordinary, something a little bit special.
I hope I’ve manage to achieve that here, and continue to do so for all my weddings to come……………….though maybe not in the middle of a high speed road!
Thanks for stopping by