AN OLYMPUS SPRING WEDDING
The latest Olympus Magazine Experience Day was a Spring Wedding Experience held at the beautiful Madingley Hall and hosted by professional wedding and commercial photographer Adam Duckworth. On 27 March 11 keen attendees, from amateurs to aspiring professionals, were given the ideal opportunity to learn everything about the business and technicalities of wedding photography in a completely controlled environment, with models and props aplenty. As always with our British-based experience days, one thing we couldn’t control was the weather, and as luck would have it that didn’t go in our favour – but not even a spot of snow would manage to dampen our spirits on this brilliant workshop.
Selecting models for a wedding workshop is considerably more difficult than your standard fashion shoot as the bride and groom need to have enough chemistry to maintain the façade that they are a ‘real’ couple. Fortunately our models had crossed paths in the business a couple of times before and therefore had a great repertoire meaning that the attendees were able to bag plenty of candid shots with genuine laugher in addition to the more traditional posed shots.
While the models were in hair and make-up with the incredibly talented Lucy Ridley, our host photographer Adam Duckworth got underway with his introductory presentation revealing some insider knowledge about how to succeed in the wedding photography industry and providing some inspiring examples of the sort of images attendees could expect to achieve. Attendees learnt the importance of a second shooter, preparing for the worst on the day by bringing things like an umbrella and blanket for the bride, and how best to select images for your portfolio that will appeal to potential clients.
First on the itinerary for the day was the bridal dressing room and make-up shots, but before attendees got stuck in there was the opportunity to borrow a host of Olympus cameras and lenses, including the beautifully bright 75mm F/1.8 which is an ideal portrait lens but also the brand new 25mm F/1.8. As Adam mentioned in his talk, Olympus’ OM-D range is making waves in the wedding sector and being increasingly adopted by professionals because of the amazing image quality achievable from such a light-weight and unobtrusive package – particularly pertinent when you can expect to be shooting for up to 12 hours at a standard wedding job.
Many attendees came along to this experience day not only to improve their skills under Adam’s excellent tuition, but also to add some beautifully styled shots to their portfolio. Along with convincing models, the location, wardrobes and props were all also extremely important to maintain the suspension of disbelief – attendees even arrived in wedding attire so that they wouldn’t look out of place if they happened to find themselves in the background of someone else’s shot.
The grandiose 16th century country house and magnificent gardens of Madingley Hall provided the perfect backdrop to our mock wedding shoot, as it is one of Cambridge’s most prestigious wedding and conference venues. Despite a little bit of rain and snow instigating a shuffle of the itinerary, attendees were able to achieve gorgeous natural lit shots in the extensive gardens and equally beautiful off-camera flash images in the luxurious wood-panelled rooms inside the house.
The effortlessly stylish Mia Sposa bridal boutique in Cambridge clothed our models in finery, providing everything from a stunning David Tutera gown to menswear and all of the sparkling accessories. Although not every bride opts for one, the delicately embroidered and bejewelled veil was an essential element to this shoot as it expanded the creative photographic opportunities infinitely. Thomas Sabo performed best man duties by providing the rings, and the expert culinary skills of Mr Cake enabled us to have this amazing four-tier cake for those key reception shots.
With a shot list in the double digits the day was a fast paced taster into the key considerations for wedding photography. Everything from getting ready to the first kiss and cutting the cake was covered with ample time for attendees to reposition or instruct the models to fit their own creative vision. While tuition and advice was imparted by Adam throughout the day, here are his top three tips for anyone wanting to move into this industry:
- Know your kit and how to use it, and have back-ups of everything! A wedding isn’t the time to be experimenting with off-camera flash, reverting to manual mode for the first time or figuring out how to change your white balance. And as a wedding is a non-repeatable shoot, you need to have a back-up camera, lenses and lots of memory cards, plus more fully charged-up batteries than you thought. An assistant or second photographer is also a good idea. And bring food and drink it’s a long day.
- Plan, plan, plan! A wedding day isn’t the time to be in a panic and not knowing what’s happening next. Speak to the happy couple beforehand to establish the running order of the day and any key shots they specifically want. Visit the church and venue, ideally at the same time of day as the wedding, and check out any restrictions on photography and where you can park. Work out where you’ll shoot if it’s raining and you can’t go outside.
- Write down a list of the key shots you need to take so you don’t forget them. Many brides often say they just want candid reportage of the day, but most usually want that in addition to all the traditional shots. So capture details of the shoes and dress, as well as candid shots of guests, but also make sure you get the bride walking down the aisle, first kiss, signing the register, some family group shots, some of bride and groom together, plus the first dance.