Embrace EVERYTHING about your city wedding portraits.
The most common question I get from couples arranging a predominantly city centre wedding is:
“CAN WE STOP AT A PARK FOR OUR COUPLE PORTRAITS???”
And the most common response I give to this is:
Which may seem harsh, but hear me out…
When you live in or near a big city like Manchester, Sheffield, London, Liverpool, (or even New York! see image above), it’s only obvious that your first choice for a wedding venue may be within the city centre itself. And what wonderful choices you have, there are no end to your options for city centre venues – industrial warehouses, unique theatres, beautiful hotels, ye olde pubs, converted buildings, galleries, museums, gentlemen clubs, libraries, yacht clubs, registry buildings, historical churches and cathedrals, even some urban manor houses still exist!
City centres are also home to stunning (and awkward) architecture, amazing doorways, unique lighting, hidden alleyways, old dock areas and funky graffiti.
These can all make perfect backdrops for your photos and accentuate the reason why you chose a city location to host your wonderful wedding.
However, the primary worry of most city centre wedding couples is that their couple portraits won’t be as “pretty” as they could be if they were taken in a park, in front of a tree, surrounded by flowers or greenery. But I’m here to show you that this worry is completely unfounded! In fact, some of my most epic wedding portraits have been taken in a city centre location.
“HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHERE TO SHOOT IN THE CITY?”
For me, the most important part of shooting your couple portraits is to make you look amazing and to bring out your unique personalities. I achieve this by not only getting to know you and having some fun with you, but also by hunting for a location that gives wonderful lighting and offers a unique composition. At no point would I consider greenery being an important element in these decisions!
(Unless, of course, your wedding was being completely held in the countryside or in a park and we were already completely surrounded by greenery. And, even then, I may not choose to shoot all of your images next to a tree or in a field; I would still be on the lookout for non-traditional backdrops, like abandoned structures, rusty farm sheds, etc. SEE BELOW FOR AN EXAMPLE!)
One of the things I love most about wedding photography is unpredictability and complete randomness. Something that looks completely average and unimpressive to the naked eye can be made to look spectacular and mesmerising through a camera lens. Especially when you plop a cool as fuck wedding couple, like you, in front of it! (P.S. even if you don’t think you’re cool, I defo think you’re cool, so shush.)
In my opinion, the weirder the backdrop, the more epic the shot.
Juxtaposition and symmetry are also two important elements in my decision-making process when hunting for locations. The contrast between your gorgeous gown/suit and the rough urban landscape is the perfect way to make you guys stand out in the image. So don’t worry if I point you in the direction of a crumbling wall, or make you stomp across a car park, or even drag you into an alleyway (see below)!
The best advice I can give you is to TRUST ME!
“ARE THE GENERAL PUBLIC GOING TO BE A PROBLEM?”
Another factor that people seem to worry about most when discussing photography for their city centre wedding is THE GENERAL PUBLIC. I completely understand that many people are shy and don’t want to be the centre of attention, especially in front of strangers, so wandering through the city in a wedding gown or fancy suit doesn’t seem overly appealing. But I can promise you that on your wedding day YOU LITERALLY WON’T CARE! And, actually, the general response my street-wandering couples have received from the public is a cacophony of awesome compliments. “Arrr gerl, you look bluddy gorgeous” and “Eh mate, congratulations” are usually shouted while everyone else smiles in your direction. Tourists may even ask for selfies with you!
And don’t worry about the public invading your portraits. Most people walk around us or politely wait for me to finish… however, I quite often encourage the public to dash past, hoping to capture their movement next to your stillness, adding a documentary element to your portraits.
“WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE CITY CENTRE PHOTOGRAPH?”
Asking me to pick a favourite city centre portrait would be like me asking you to choose which of your cats you prefer the most! (We all know which one we prefer but we just don’t have the balls to say it!)
However, I must admit, one of my favourite city centre portraits of 2017 is this one. It literally shows two people experiencing one of the most important days of their lives within the same frame as one person experiencing one of the most normal days of their life.
And if that’s not a perfect example of documentary wedding photography combined with epic portraiture, I don’t know what is!
So, there you have it; loads of amazing reasons why you shouldn’t worry about your city centre wedding photography.