Guests Only. Weddings Without the Bride and Groom

December 26, 2016  •  10 Comments

Music by Animal Island, Licensed by Musicbed

Who thinks wedding photography has become a bit predictable this year?

Boring, even? Sure, the first time you see a teeny tiny couple lost in a massive landscape, it's impressive. Or a backlit couple in profile. Or a couple shot through loads of out of focus lights. Or hand in hand, silhouetted, between fairy lights, having just stepped over a prism and climbing a mountain (because that’s what happens on a wedding day).

"A Man Is Known By The Company He Keeps"

I'm not saying this is poor photography, far from it! The standard of wedding photography just keeps getting better and better. But I have to stop looking at this stuff. It's stifling my creativity seeing the same shots reworked and refined over and over again with different couples. I find myself longing to see an imperfect, unscripted moment, giving me a glimpse of the reality of a wedding day. After all, that’s really what a wedding day is all about, isn’t it? The couples friends, their relationships, the people they surround themselves with. Aesop got it right - “A man is known by the company he keeps”, and it’s the people and the stories of how their lives are intertwined that help define a person, and a couple. 

So when I came to put the obligatory end of year blog post together, I couldn’t bring myself to churn out my versions of the pictures you’ve all seen a thousand times already. To be honest, they’re not nearly as spectacular as everyone else’s! I had to look deeper than a set of fashion portraits featuring two people which happened to be taken on the same day they married each other. 

I set myself a task:

Summarise my wedding photography in 2016, without showing a Bride or Groom. 

Now, that’s not as hard as it sounds. Of course, a lot of what I shoot on the day is totally centred around the Bride and Groom. But Aesop’s quote above drives my philosophy for photographing a wedding. It’s what I concentrate on mostly - showing the characters, the friendships, the atmosphere of the wedding. Watch the Photo-film above, and listen to Cameron’s Dad talking about what’s important to him on the wedding day. OK, so there’s actually seven pictures out of the 113 where you can see a Bride or Groom, but it’s not very obvious, and they’re definitely not the focus of attention in the image.

There’s a lot of children in these pictures, as well as bridesmaids, grandparents, mothers and fathers, and a couple of what could be classed as landscapes. These are the things, as well as a Bride and Groom, that make up a wedding. Without them on the day, it’s just two people getting married. A legally binding agreement, with witnesses. That’s not a wedding. And a load of beautifully lit and well constructed portraits of two people on that day is not wedding photography. 

Watch the film above. This is wedding photography.

Katherine and Richard's wedding at Asylum and Roast in London Benedikt and Carolin's wedding Sarah and Martin's wedding at Wasing Park Wedding Photography by Paul ROgers Katie and Simon's wedding at The Bell in Ticehurst Sarah and Martin's wedding at Wasing Park Stephanie and Lee's RSA House Wedding in London Sundeep and Matt's wedding at The Great Barn, Ruislip Laura and John's wedding at St. Michael's, Sunninghill, and Hampton Court House. Sheena and Jason's wedding at Froyle Park. Sheena and Jason at Home House, London Laura and John's wedding at St. Michael's, Sunninghill, and Hampton Court House. Vicky and Eddie's Shell Bay Restaurant wedding Patricia and James' wedding in Firle Charlotte and MikeCharlotte and MikeGreat Tythe Barn Wedding Photography Benedikt and Carolin's wedding Emma and Steve's wedding at Gaynes Park Emma and Steve's wedding at Gaynes Park Sarah and Andrew's wedding at Farnham Castle. Please credit Paul Rogers Photography Ltd. Stephanie and Lee's RSA House Wedding in London Sundeep and Matt's wedding at The Great Barn, Ruislip Laura and John's wedding at St. Michael's, Sunninghill, and Hampton Court House. Katherine and Richard's wedding at Asylum and Roast in London Sundeep and Matt's wedding at The Great Barn, Ruislip Sarah and Andrew's wedding at Farnham Castle. Please credit Paul Rogers Photography Ltd. Kelly and James' wedding at Wasing Park Kelly and James' wedding at Wasing Park Kelly and James' wedding at Wasing Park Laura and John's wedding at St. Michael's, Sunninghill, and Hampton Court House. Kelly and James' wedding at Wasing Park Charlotte and MikeCharlotte and Mike Wedding Photography by Paul ROgers Charlotte and MikeCharlotte and MikeGreat Tythe Barn Wedding Photography Sheena and Jason at Home House, London Chad and James' wedding in Firle Wedding Photography by Paul ROgers Chad and James' wedding in Firle Benedikt and Carolin's wedding Sundeep and Matt's wedding at The Great Barn, Ruislip Sheena and Jason at Home House, London Benedikt and Carolin's wedding Patricia and James' wedding in Firle Patricia and James' wedding in Firle Patricia and James' wedding in Firle Sarah and Andrew's wedding at Farnham Castle. Please credit Paul Rogers Photography Ltd. Miguel and James wedding Kelly and James' wedding at Wasing Park Vicky and Eddie's Shell Bay Restaurant wedding Vicky and Eddie's Shell Bay Restaurant wedding Katherine and Richard's wedding at Asylum and Roast in London Wedding Photography by Paul ROgers Benedikt and Carolin's wedding Chad and James' wedding in Firle Winter marquee wedding Sheena and Jason's wedding at Froyle Park. Chad and James' wedding in Firle Sundeep and Matt's wedding at The Great Barn, Ruislip Notley Abbey Wedding Chad and James' wedding in Firle Wedding Photography by Paul ROgers Katherine and Richard's wedding at Asylum and Roast in London Sheena and Jason at Home House, London Katie and Simon's wedding at The Bell in Ticehurst Sheena and Jason's wedding at Froyle Park. Charlotte and MikeCharlotte and MikeGreat Tythe Barn Wedding Photography Vicky and Eddie's Shell Bay Restaurant wedding Winter marquee wedding Sheena and Jason's wedding at Froyle Park.


Comments

10.Martin Beddall(non-registered)
Nice, intimate observations, as ever Mr Rogers!
9.Mick Cookson(non-registered)
Fully agree with everything you have said Paul. And this collection is truly stunning to boot. Great work sir...
8.Andrew Wilson(non-registered)
Great inspiring photos and observations captured. I agree with your sentiments in the blog - as impressive as some "epic" couple shots can be in landscapes they don't really capture the atmosphere or story of the day like your photos do.
All the best for 2017!
7.Lee Allison(non-registered)
Great blog post Paul, really good read.
6.Sevim Dogan Ozkan(non-registered)
How I loved indulging in these photos. They're real, raw and beautiful. They're filled with emotions. They're so perfectly composed and captured.
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