Essex Wedding
September 2, 2015
Greek Bride
February 17, 2017

Wedding Photography Adrenaline

A few weeks ago, I was photographing an Asian wedding reception at Sopwell House in St Albans, Hertfordshire. Sopwell House is a beautiful hotel and spa, nestled in the wonderfully quiet Hertfordshire countryside, yet just a stone’s throw from major road routes.

Whilst getting ready to set off, I realised, despite having photographed so many weddings since establishing my wedding photography business in Northamptonshire in 2006, now Tony Mattingley Photography here in Bedfordshire, I still get excited on the day of the wedding and also very slightly nervous. This gets the adrenaline pumping and I believe this is key to me successfully photographing your wedding. The nerves are simply that I will achieve each goal I have set myself for the day, to always be better than I was last week and to ensure your final wedding photos surpass your expectations.

There is a misconception that all photographers simply turn up at a wedding, point the camera and shoot. I certainly take a far more controlled and systematic approach than this. A lot of thought goes into each shot, keeping things natural and flowing, but still creating beautiful images.

Calm on the outside no matter what happens during your wedding day, yet pumped on the inside; always anticipating every moment to capture. Searching for the best light and shadows that will turn a good image of your wedding day into a great photograph for your wedding album. Done correctly, the lighting – natural, artificial or a mix of light sources – will set the stage, to emphasise the particular emotion at that precise moment in time. Do I want each part of the scene well lit, or partially lit with more shadow? The lighting in a photograph can create drama, create depth, emphasise femininity or showcase masculinity. It can complement your expression and accentuate your form. Am I shooting for a final black and white image or colour?


(Technical stuff if you’re interested: a mix of natural window light, the warm tones coming from the dressing table lamp and my reflector throwing light back onto the bride, give a warm feeling complementing the pretty brides beautiful happy smile and skin tones and maintaining the room’s natural ambience.



(Technical stuff if you’re interested: colour would have detracted from the moment here of the spray plume leading your eye to a very pretty and relaxed bride. Incorrect lighting would also have made the very fine spray plume invisible – depending on the quality of your screen you may not even see the spray plume here.)



(Technical stuff if you’re interested: the light levels in the room were very low. Two gelled and gridded, radio triggered flashguns were used, to light the bride and her friend in the dark background. The lighting looks natural and there was no disruption to the bride or the proceedings for a completely natural and candid photograph.)



(Technical stuff if you’re interested: I wanted the background to show the lovely Sopwell House’s scenic location whilst at the same time making the details of the dress really standout. Mixed lighting techniques were used to quickly capture the shot, just moments before the bride had to get into her dress.)



(Technical stuff if you’re interested: Using careful flash techniques and equipment, I could light and highlight just the bride and groom without affecting the room’s own lighting ambience.)

A wedding day moves fast and there is no going back. Miss it and it is gone forever. Always having to be several steps ahead of what is going to happen or might happen next keeps you on your toes. Always considering the best angle, the light, the composition, the background, the depth of focus and a myriad of other technical points? Am I shooting for a documentary style photo telling the story of the wider scene or am I going for a tight cropped portrait? All this has to be achieved in seconds and at the same time thinking about the design of your wedding album in my head.

Below are a couple more images, all of which special lighting techniques were used to create rather more dramatic wedding photographs than you might normally see.



(Technical stuff if you’re interested: the ambient light was underexposed and remote radio triggered flashguns were used, just to light the bride and groom and really make them pop in the final photograph.)



(Technical stuff if you’re interested: laying on the ground enabled me to bring the lavender into the frame. Again remote radio triggered flashguns lit the bride who would have been in shadow from her husband.)



(Technical stuff if you’re interested: a remote radio triggered flashgun was set behind the gazebo to create the rim and frame lighting behind the bride and groom. A second remote radio triggered flashgun was positioned just to my right to light the bride and groom, but without making the use of flash obvious.)



(Technical stuff if you’re interested: the ambient light was underexposed and remote radio triggered gelled and gridded flashguns – one for the bride, one for the groom – were used again to really make them pop in the final photograph.)

Years of experience specialising in wedding photography helps in ensuring your day is photographed technically correct however, I believe it is my desire to ensure you have unique photographs of your wedding day that always has me striving to find that little something extra and different for each and every one of my couples. Of course, each bride is unique, purely from her personality, which is reflected in her choices of wedding dress style, the wedding cake design, the colour of her bridesmaids’ dresses etc. However, I want to ensure the photographs, the wedding album, the printed wall art products which are delivered after your wedding, are as unique as your own personality.

Tony Mattingley Photography – Capturing tomorrows memories today.