21 May 2013

Our Hello! Mag wedding at Stoke Park – at last!

Speedlighting Blog No Comments

So some time ago we shot a wedding at Stoke Park in Buckinghamshire – its a great wedding venue – if you’ve seen Bridget Jones Diary and Layer Cake you will know it. Whilst we were looking forward to a crisp spring day we were greeted by driven sleet and overcast, flat skies.

I have shot at Stoke Park many time before but the pressure was on for this one somewhat as the images were to be used in Hello! Magazine. Long before the day I had scoped the venue for how I would shoot the day and took care not to look at any of the wedding albums on the table as I didn’t want to end up with a pastiche  of someone else’s cheesy work. Sometimes I look at those albums at wedding venues and wonder how people get away with such cheese but its obviously popular with young brides or it wouldn’t exist.

The First job was to shoot the groom who arrived in a Freddie Owen Special – means nothing to me but this super cool beast was beautiful. The only problem was it was freezing, blowing a gale and sleeting. Bravely my assistant and a volunteer held onto Speedlites mounted on tripods shot through white umbrellas – I know madness in that weather but I am kind of addicted! I love the punchy, lit, strobist look of the shot – you just don’t get that in unlit images so I am prepared to suffer for my art.



The second shot of the groom exiting was taken with on camera Speedlite using the tried and tested negative exposure compensation and positive flash compensation trick in TV mode with my flash in high speed sync (described here and here). Its a great one close up with a wide angled lens – in this case the Canon 24-70mm.



This shot is the money shot for me and sums up the feel of a wedding at Stoke Park. A little bit of bounced flash off the high white ceiling to sharpen the edges and a full stop of positive exposure compensation in Av mode at f2.8. I love it – it looks so summery even if its sleeting just the other side of that window.




I love the shot below if for no other reason than it was  the first shot in living memory (according to the PR man at Stoke Park) of a bride on the stairs at Stoke Park in front of that wonderful chandelier. I guess you have to be a small flash photographer to see the ambient light potential of that wonderful chandelier (saturated orange of course). The solution to lighting this tricky shot is to transfer the Speedlite/Pocket Wizard/umbrella assembly to the end of a painters pole – nifty trick that – combined with a slow enough shutter speed to capture the ambient. The painters pole was then held by my assistant further down the stairs from where he was able to reach the light up and over the brides standing position.




The group shot at Stoke Park is always tricky. Tungsten light everywhere, very dark lobby and THAT pillar.We placed Bowens 500w flash above the group and three Speedlites facing the group to give us some sharpness as well as enabling us to cut through that saturation – a bit like adding lemon to an oily salad dressing. Not easy by the way working with that many people after a wedding reception!



I love this next one for the saturated look with shutter drag effect at 1/13th sec with a pop of flash to freeze the girl dead centre.



What a joyful image to finish on – 1/13th second in Tv mode with the flash head swiveled to the left so that the disco lights providing the ambient tones in the room weren’t blown out. (its a crop from the left hand side of the image)



We had a great day – the bride and groom were wonderful and great fun. They run rock catering specialists www.feedbackeventcuisine.com and are currently in the middle of catering to  Muse’s world tour.

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