About the author: Jane Burkinshaw is a professional photographer and passionate about all things photography related. Jane specialises in portrait photography and runs photography courses.

A very special wedding album. By Cheshire Wedding Photographer Jane Burkinshaw

Chris & Maria's Wedding 22.02.14
Remember when I did my Wonder Woman imitation and photographed a huge wedding (250 guests) with just half an hour's notice? Well, today I delivered the wedding album to Maria and Chris and thought you might like to see it.

Before I do the Big Reveal, I want to share with you a bit about its quite complicated gestation, as it was far from straight forward. My photography of the wedding started at the moment Maria arrived at the top of the aisle on her proud Spanish father's arm. I dashed along the side of the pews, caught my breath and grabbed my camera. From then on in, I captured all the key moments of their big day and really enjoyed watching it unfold. If, like me, you love weddings and didn't read my blog about their wedding you can read it here.

A few weeks later I met with Maria and showed her the photographs. She was thrilled with them and we started to discuss albums, a conversation I would usually have had months before the wedding. Maria and Chris wanted a traditional leather bound, matted album, which of course I was happy to create for them. The challenging nature of this album lay in the fact that I had not been present at all the events that unfolded prior to Maria getting to the church and, therefore, had no images.

We both wanted to have an album that told the full story of their wedding and set about sourcing images from guests. Do you know how many guests take photos at weddings these days? All of them! We were inundated with literally hundreds of pictures, in varying qualities, sizes and formats. Thus began a long job of sorting through them, getting to a short list and then editing them so that they would sit seamlessly alongside my images.

But there were still big gaps - no good shots of Maria getting ready at the hotel with her bridesmaids, none of Chris and the camaraderie between him, the best man and the ushers. Then we had a brainwave! Use stills from the video! We received some gorgeous shots but realised with a sinking heart that they were low resolution and couldn't be printed large. I contacted the album supplier and was advised to get some prints done. Phew! They were fine up to 5"X7" so we were OK.

To cut a long story short, we got there in the end, with a few more edits and reviews than normal, but this hadn't been a normal wedding for me or the bride and groom. From the outset I was determined that their day should not be affected in any way by the no-show of their booked photographer. As I showed Maria the finished product today, I knew that I had succeeded and that she loved the album. I'm quite proud of it myself as I know what hurdles we had to get over to create it.

So here it is, just a glimpse anyway. I like to imagine that Chris has just got in from work and is looking through it with Maria, with a glass of wine, laughing and remembering their wedding day. (Keep that wine away from it though!)

By Jane Burkinshaw. Share this post by clicking on one of the Share buttons on the right hand side. I'd love to hear your comments too!

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5 things you must do if you're asked to photograph a wedding at the last minute

Chris and Maria 
1.     Say "yes" and rearrange anything else you have on, I promise you it will be worth it. On Saturday I got a call at 12.30pm to see if I could stand in for a no-show photographer at a big wedding. After a moment's hesitation (we were just about to go out for the afternoon for my daughter's 13th birthday), I agreed to do it and asked "where" and "when?". "In Chester in half an hour!" 
      I think the bride and I set off for the church at the same time, the bride in a chauffeur driven vintage car and me in a husband-driven Subaru. The bride looking radiant in a stunning dress and veil, with beautifully styled hair and flawless make up; me with barely dry, un- straightened hair, no make up (!) and a top I had regretted buying but was clean and not creased. Not my usual wedding photographer "uniform".

2.     Be prepared! Every time you finish a job, put your batteries on charge and format your memory cards, just in case you ever need to be an emergency wedding photographer! This is now a new rule of mine as it would have saved me a lot of stress on Saturday! 

      Whilst I panicked over the state of batteries and cards in the car, my three companions made helpful comments to keep me calm; Sam: "you'll look like Mad Eye Moody running into the church late..." This is a character from Harry Potter, but you don't need to know that to get the idea! Nic: "you should always keep your batteries charged and cards formatted just in caseā€¦"

3.     Keep calm and do what you're good at. I've done enough weddings and events now to know what I'm doing, despite not having time to do any preparation, never mind not having even met the bride and groom. They were quite easy to spot, in front of the alter, quite spruced up, talking to a guy wearing white robes. As I started shooting, I was picking up information on the hoof: 
  • this was a wedding attended by a lot of people from Spain (the priest kept dropping in the odd Spanish word);
  • it was a Catholic wedding (we were still there after 20 minutes);
  • it was a very big wedding (both sides of the church were packed);
  • this was going to be a lively gig (lots of laughter and spontaneous dancing and singing after the service, especially Y Viva Espagna!). This meant it was a delight to photograph, with so much Latin emotion and expressiveness, unlike us reserved Brits.
"A lively gig" with lots of spontaneous dancing

4.     Don't be afraid to ask for help. At the first opportunity I had a quick word with the videographers (Tom & Tom from Silk Wedding Films) and sorted a lift to the hotel and got a quick view of the schedule for the day. TomTom were great all day, making sure I knew when things were happening, especially when we would get fed! 

      When we arrived at the hotel everything was happening so fast, the light was fading and I hadn't had chance to suss out how to pose the bride and groom in the car. So I asked the chauffeur for his advice. He was more than happy to help as he wanted his car to look great in the pictures.

Great pose in the car

5.     Put the bride and groom's needs first above everything else. It must have been awful for them to have the stress of the photographer not showing up, but I just assured them that they would still have amazing pictures by which to remember their wedding. I tried to find out if anyone had been taking pictures prior to the church service, as I knew that the happy couple would want a complete record of their big day in the album. I've now got a great selection of photos of the bride getting ready before the ceremony and I'm going to pick the best ones and give them a professional makeover so that they can be included.

Chris and Maria with Mark, the hotel General Manager - the man who made the call at 12.30pm

I really enjoyed being an emergency wedding photographer and would do it again in a flash. I didn't have any time to get nervous and it was really rewarding to be told umpteen times that I was a super hero and had "saved the day". I always knew those Wonder Woman pants would come in useful one day! I really can't wait to show the final photographs to Chris and Maria, as they were an amazing couple, so laid back, lots of fun and totally in love, of course.

By Jane Burkinshaw, Emergency Wedding Photographer

Summer Wedding at Nunsmere Hall Hotel, Cheshire (by Cheshire wedding photographer Jane Burkinshaw)

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Now, we've got that out of the way, back to Louise and Neil's wonderful indian summer wedding! Click on any image to see a larger version.

The venue was Nunsmere Hall Hotel and it couldn't have looked more beautiful on this sunny afternoon in early September.
Nunsmere Hall Hotel
The fair weather meant that the wedding party could mingle on the terrace and in the gardens and also that the ceremony could take place outside in the stunning grounds of the hotel. It was great to be able to take photographs in lovely natural light - any wedding photographer's dream!

The groom and best man were welcoming guests on the terrace and I took them away to the quiet of an avenue of trees to get some shots of all the men in their suits. This area overlooks the lake and is very shady and peaceful apart from the occasional motor boat! It's a favourite spot of mine for wedding images as the light is beautiful and the line of trees makes for an impressive back drop.

Meanwhile the bride had finished getting ready in the bridal suite upstairs and her extremely proud father accompanied her down the stairs, through the hotel and into the garden, where the guests and groom were eagerly awaiting her arrival! She looked stunning and I particularly like these shots in black and white as they look so classic and timeless.

If I were to ever get married again (don't tell my husband I said that!) I would want the ceremony to be outside - it was a beautiful setting with the late afternoon sunshine starting to cast long shadows across the lawn.

Drinks and canapes were served on the lawn afterwards and it was a great time to get relaxed, candid shots of everyone congratulating Louise and Neil and enjoying themselves.

I always feel guilty prising the bride and groom away from this post ceremony period but it's a good time to get some shots of them together before all the group shots and the wedding breakfast. And the newly wed couple are always very relaxed and super happy so it's easy to get candid, fun pictures of them - as shown by these of Louise and Neil.

The newly weds and their guests danced the night away but didn't require me to stay so I sneaked off to spend a lovely first weekend in our caravan. But I was itching to get to my computer to start editing the photos and start the all important album. They opted for a coffee table style photo book that could be left out and looked at, rather than being hidden away in a box. It's a really special moment when you first present the couple with their finished album and Louise and Neil both said it took them right back to that very special day. This is what it's all about, as far as I'm concerned, knowing that I've given them memories that they can re-visit and share time and again.

And so we come to the end of this blog about a picture perfect wedding in an idyllic setting, but at the considerable risk of sounding cheesy, this not the end but just the beginning of married life together for Louise and Neil!!

By Jane Burkinshaw. Share this post by clicking on one of the Share buttons on the right hand side. I'd love to hear your comments too!

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