I was really really looking forward to photographing Steph & Jim’s wedding at Hengrave Hall in Suffolk, as it’s one of the most beautiful venues in the region. I’d been asked to go and photograph there in the past by Tudor Rose florists who’s set up their flowers in the chapel, but was yet to take a wedding photography booking there. The day came, and it was gorgeous weather, just clear enough for the sun to produce soft shadows, without being too strong. For late October we couldn’t have asked for better!
Pink flowers were in bloom around the grounds of Hengrave Hall, I do love to add a splash of colour if I can like this, shooting through the flowers with a short depth of field. In my camera bag I always carry macro photography equipment, and love to find a good spot to photograph the wedding rings together
Also, the bride’s shoes and bouquet are something I try and photograph. Often nobody see the shoes throughout the day, but I know the bride will have put a lot of thought into selecting all the little details.
The dress hanging somewhere during the preparations is a classic photograph to take, and the bridal suite at Hengrave Hall is just so stunning there’s no shortage of great places to arrange it.
The groom getting ready with his groomsmen – these photos came out great too, the groom being dressed by his father! This room has a vivid blue wallpaper, but it doesn’t mean the photographs don’t look great in black and white!
Just a few moments to ask the groom to adjust his tie or cufflinks in the mirror is all it takes to show the groom’s preparations in the morning before the wedding.
The girls all had matching dressing gowns on, so it was a must to include a photo of that in the set.
I love to frame a photograph creatively wherever possible. This was a nice angle of the building, framed nicely through the bushes around the sides.
The Boys’ room has a little snooker table in it, so I just had to take a few photos around that!
Back to the bride’s room (It’s only down the corridor) and the bride is ready for a few photos in her dress. What a great mirror too! I love shots like this, where the dress and room can be seen in the mirror from a different angle too. A great point about venues where everyone get ready at the same location is that I can easily come and go to make sure I’m ready to capture key moments.
Sitting just on the edge of the sofa that is there adds a little casual feeling to the photographs
Another unique aspect of Hengrave Hall is that it has its own chapel! The groom with his ushers and best man, nice textures of the flint, framed around the top by shooting through branches of the tree.
Asking the guys to walk adds a casual element (often referred to as the ‘Reservoir Dogs’ photo!)
As the bride makes her way to the ceremony it only takes a few moments to make sure I capture a few great photos in different parts of the building on our way This staircase and huge window had a nice spacious feel.
And I always look for creative ways to frame the photos, here photographing through the banisters to frame the edges.
While the bride has her meeting with the registrar I got another few photos of the bridesmaids all together. Composing photographs I look for elements in the background I can use, so here I’ve lined them up with the distant archway, topiary either side, and again shot through the pink flowers for a bit of nice soft focus fuzz to one side! After the church service I asked Steph & Jim to stop in this doorway. The way the texture of the stone shows up in these shots is extremely pleasing! And the silhouette effect shows dress textures well too!
As the rest of the guests made their way back from the ceremony I took the opportunity to take a few photos in the grounds. Not taking them too far, but good use of our time I though before leaving them to have a good mingle with their guests. The light was really easy to work with at this point. I keep my posing very relaxed, often photographs are completely unposed, though even when they are it’s nice to still find they have a relaxed feel.
For a touch of colour (This was late October) I made sure to use a bright rose bush in the grounds. Walking, then looking back to camera. Short depth of field picking the subject out against de-focused foregrounds and backgrounds.
Before the wedding breakfast i always make sure I photograph the dining room in overview, and in details.
With only a few minutes to spare before the bride and groom went in fr the wedding breakfast, I had just enough time to grab my remote lighting equipment and make use of the sunset. In the past I may have found fading light of winter weddings to be a disadvantage, now I get excited, as the photos I often take in near-darkness with the lighting setups I use can often be my favourite photographs of the whole wedding day.
Just before the meal I also wanted to take a few photos in the central courtyard, as I’d spotted a huge window that i knew would work well. The gloomy lighting at this point was perfect, not quite dark, but perfect to allow the remote lighting to really bring the subject out. Lit from the side like this the textures of the dress really come to life.
her I asked for a little help from Steve Hood, the wedding videographer on the day, to waft the veil for me!
I thoroughly enjoyed photographing Steph & Jim’s wedding at Hengrave Hall, and hope to be back there again very soon!
Lavenham Photographic, Wedding Photography at Hengrave Hall, near Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk