When I (Jay) first met Kate I told her she was beautiful long before I’d looked at her photos. This prompted the mothers in law with me at the Lovely Little Wedding Show in the Isla Gladstone Conservatory to fall about laughing and saying “I don’t believe him, what’s he like?”. But she was beautiful, and so were her photos.
Wedding photography is like hiring a fancy dress costume. It’s not every day you get to experience being in front of a camera and you need to feel relaxed with the person behind it. Just like it’s not every day you get invited to Cheryl’s 1970s-themed fancy dress 50th Birthday Party and know you need a catsuit with easy access because your bladder isn’t what it used to be. In both instances, it’s about feeling comfortable.
At the various wedding fairs we’ve attended so far, we’ve met a whole gorgeous tribe of wedding photographers each with their own style and signature and portfolio. It can be daunting to consider choosing one; imagining how you would look photoshopped into their style, sometimes made doubly difficult because there’s a huge white dress in the image and you know you won’t get to wear it.
But you chat to them, and they relax you, and you see how relaxed they could make you feel on your big day so your photos will appear relaxed. No one wants wedding photos looking so forced it’s as if you’re there under duress. Fortunately, it’s not biologically possible for either of us to have to rush into a wedding due to being with child, since neither of us are with womb.
It might be OK for the Heir to the Throne to look uncomfortable and forced, as though he just realised the clock is ticking to produce the next heir, resulting in expressions of responsibility and mild arousement – but no such pressure exists for us. Anyway, our French Bulldog, Blue, is already the heir to our throne.
So there’s no pressure – we’re doing this because we want to, it feels right, it’s natural. And for our photos to look right they need to look natural.
Enter Kate. @clickedbykate as she can be found on Instagram is a documentary style photographer and the clue is in the name: documentary. Her style is to capture normal life not a staged sequence and, since there’s enough about a wedding that is dramatically enhanced compared to day to day life, it’s important to remove that additional level of forced imagery. After all, the wedding photos are a gorgeous memory to have but for the best part of the year will be preserved on a pen drive or in a coffee table book, ready to be passed around to houseguests with varying degrees of interest. So they shouldn’t cause any discomfort on the day as it’s the day that is important.
At least it’s important to us! We want to enjoy our day, and we should… we’ll be paying enough for it! (Seriously though, how expensive are these things?!)
So for us, the documentary style is the key. I know what Liam is like with photos. He instinctively pulls a pout face like Johnny Bravo when I try to take a selfie. I tell him to smile and we go through a few a varieties before getting a good one. He’s so much more adorable when he doesn’t have to try. Yes, that was cheesy and I shall be crafting Misters Who Marry sickbags for the big day in case of an overload of such cheese.
It’s not something everyone wants/needs but we booked a date into our diaries for an engagement shoot with Kate: a warmup for being in front of the camera on the actual big day. Instantly Liam panicked he’d be like Chandler from Friends when it came to the shoot but I assured him Kate wouldn’t be staging shots and he wouldn’t need to force a smile, she’d be catching us being normal…. well, as normal as you can be cuddling on top of a sand dune in the middle of Storm Jorge.
Kate asked us for ideas of locations and we suggested the woods and beach up near Formby, a short drive from where we live in Crosby. Date set. Location chosen. Next we had to pray the storm warnings wouldn’t cancel our plans. Thankfully the weather was relatively mild, yes windy but a bright sky and no rain.
So we went for a walk. With Kate following behind with her camera and her keen eye for location. She’d suggest we stop and talk at specifically well placed spots. She looked for good angles in the fencing, nice framing of the trees, always scoping out the best way to capture a moment for us. Outdoor locations seem to benefit from the good natural light, scenic opportunities and the addition of the dynamic of wind, which captured my scarf on a number of occasions.
It’s funny. When you look at the finished photos you’ll think we just frolicked in a forest for an hour, as Kate encouraged us to show affection. It appears we showed more public displays of affection that the general Formby population have seen in years! But in actual fact we were having fun. We laughed from nerves, from awareness of the very public setting, but mostly because we had such a laugh, together and with Kate. The shots capture brilliantly those small moments of a discreet kiss or a touch of the foreheads, but she honestly was like a ninja to catch them because as soon as we knew Kate had stopped shooting Liam would let go of my hand… though I think this was to reach for a nervous vape!
We split the time between the trees and sand dunes for a nice mix of shots within a very short walking distance. The intimacy of the crowded wood was in stark contrast to the view from the top of the dunes with the sea in the background. Though in actual fact I never saw the view in real time as the wind was so strong it was pelting sand into our faces and we had to cling on to each other just to stay upright.
I have to say, the results are gorgeous. We couldn’t be happier. Just 3 days after the shoot we have a full edited album to cherish and show off – that’s a quick turnaround by any standards!
I don’t think either of us will be jumping in front of the camera for a career in modelling anytime soon, but it’s safe to say we’ll be giving Kate a ring as soon as we have a date and our venue!