Abbie & Phil / Theobalds Estate, Hertfordshire

Ah it feels good to be blogging again! It may take me a long time to do each post (yes indeedy, *quite* some time, I assure you!) but I really enoy it; it’s fab to look back on people and moments that my cameras have had the pleasure to capture, it really is. Today is no exception, as I take you back to early May this year, for Abbie & Phil’s fab day at Theobalds Estate, Hertfordshire.

It was my first time as a Theobalds Estate wedding photographer; such a lovely place! I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s worth saying again: It doesn’t matter if I’ve shot at a venue before or not, as weddings are all about the people. That’s the core of wedding photography: People. Moments. Emotion. And so it doesn’t matter if I’ve shot at the venue ten+ times before, or if it’s my first time – as every person is different, thus every wedding is totally unique. Indeed, it’s this ‘uniqueness’, for want of a better word, that I adore about my ‘job’ – you never know what you’re going to see, what you’re going to capture.

Abbie & Phil are such a lovely couple – they honesty didn’t stop smiling all day – and their day was choc-full of emotion. They very kindly had this to say after looking at their images, too:

“We are over the moon with these pictures. Your pictures tell the day’s story perfectly and we can’t tell you how grateful we are that it was you capturing these special moments. We can’t tell you how many people have asked about you. Everyone has commented on how natural they are and how you’ve captured moments of genuine affection and love. We’re having another look tonight with my parents and we are so excited to show them. Thank you so, so much for this!!” – Abbie and Phil

Like the last wedding I blogged, I’ve done another kind-of ‘Director’s Commentary’, whereby I talk (well, write!) about some specific images throughout the post. These could be details about how I took the photo, or what I love about it; perhaps thoughts on why I’ve taken that particular image, what’s important to me, and more…an almost stream of consciousness about certain photos, which I hope you’ll find interesting. Should – hopefully! – be interesting to couples and photographers alike.

So, enough of an intro already! Here are some of my favourite Theobalds Estate wedding photographs (with some of my accompanying thoughts, too…)

A small thing, perhaps, but my goal is to capture as many things I can creatively – and this includes shots of the venue, like above. Now, I’m not saying this (or any other image, for that matter!) is mind-bendingly amazingly creative, but by just shooting Theobalds Estate through a nearby copse of trees adds visual interest, framing…it makes the image just more interesting to look at.

Theobalds Estate Wedding Photographer

Grooms, never be shy about showing your emotions! I think I speak on behalf of every wedding photographer the world over: We want to see emotions! It’s what we strive to capture; capturing moments like this, personally, gives me the greatest pleasure and satisfaction. And I’m sure your bride will appreciate it too…!

Just a small shout-out to a very cool dancefloor! I like the abstractness. Again, probably not a word, but I’m a photographer, not a writer! (Although, random trivia, I did want to be an author when I was a kid. And a lawyer. But then I watched that Harrison Ford film where he’s a lawyer, and really not a nice person at all, and then he survives a shooting but can’t move or talk well…but he becomes a much better person. So, yeah, that film put me off a career in Law (though I do have the right sirname for it). The film is called Regarding Henry, by the way.

You may have noticed that I like to compose points of interest to be off-centre. I think it adds so much dynamism and visual interest by not plonking your subject in the centre of the frame all the time. There should be a reason why you’re composing something centrally…

Theobalds Estate Wedding Photographer

…such as in this shot, purposefully composing Abbie & Phil in the bottom-centre, so that we’ve got an almost-symmetry effect with the trees/leaves, framing them nicely.

You can never have too much confetti. Ever.

Ah, hugs. I love a good hug. Here is Phil and his dad embracing just after the ceremony. A simple shot, sure, shot from slightly above…but close and intimate with the 25mm. The sense of intimacy you get by shooting close and wide like this – it just feels so much more like you were actually there, present at the scene, than if it was taken with a long lens.

I’ve included three shots above in chronological order, because I love this series between Abbie and her Dad. Each image, for me, shows a different emotion: The pure warmth and love, pride, and then a massive mutual excitement. You could say they’re very similar – and from a composition/photographic perspective, they are – but each one shows a different emotion, a different facet of their father/daughter relationship. And that’s why I include all of these images; I want to deliver as many ‘good’ images to my couples as possible.

I love keeping my eye(s) on the bride and groom for small, little moments like this.

Every single shot doesn’t have to tell a story in itself; sometimes it’s a ‘non-portrait’ like this (non-portrait as it’s not posed, of course, as none of my work is) that really appeals to me.

As mentioned above, there’s a reason for my centrally-composed shot of Abbie’s Dad giving his speech here, as we’ve got that almost-symmetry of the chairs/guests, leading your eye to Abbie’s Dad.

Three happy faces as Phil waits for his bride!

Something I learned early on in my career; you can’t *always* capture a moment creatively. They come and go in instants, sometimes. So here, the composition is simple, but I still like it, still think it’s powerful, as it’s the emotion of Phil’s Dad coming through. Emotion/moment trumps light and composition every time. Every time.

The looks between them, the touch…love capturing moments like these.

I like the wide angle, here, enabling you to see the reactions/faces of the guests, as well as the kiss itself.

A cool shot of the confetti! Or, as most wedding photographers won’t want to tell you, also known as ‘the camera accidentally focused on the confetti’ shot. Rest assured – as you can see higher up this post – I also got confetti shots of Abbie and Phil in focus, though…!

Happy faces again! Shooting close with the 25mm again…just so much more dynamic and ‘alive’ than shot with a long lens from the other side of the room.

I love Abbie’s expression here. A small, subtle moment during their ceremony – it’s just as important to capture these ‘small’ moments, as it is the big ones.

A personal thing, but I love veils! Especially when it’s windy; they’re so dramatic.

I honestly thought about even doing a full side-blog just on Abbie and her Dad’s relationship (that’s them hugging above). So many moments between these two, it was such a pleasure to see and capture. Since having my own daughter myself (nearly eight years ago now), the father/daughter relationship at weddings has resonated so much more for me!

The three shots above are all about Abbie and her mum’s relationship, pre-, during-, and post- ceremony. Capturing relationships is at the core of what I do as a wedding photographer, it really is.

They just look so happy, don’t they! This is as they’re leaving the Theobalds Estate ceremony room, just minutes after become husband and wife.

By just changing the angle of the camera – in this case, by shooting from above – it adds visual interest. People see the world from eye-level every second of every day of their life, so just by showing them a different viewpoint, it makes a big difference to the visual impact, even if they don’t know why. Using the screen on the Sony A9 at arm’s length really helps to get shots like this.

Another shot of Abbie and her Dad; told you they had a lot of moments!


I just love Abbie’s expression here! Real life, people, real life.

The first time I’d seen a selfie at a wedding…! Ha, not really, but all good; all part of the day to capture.

I like to include the speech-giver and the speech-receiver (i.e. who they’re talking about) in the same shot, when I can. It tells the story more, in a single frame.

I love laughs, what can I say!

I’ve said it twice before in this post, but yet again, by just simply shooting close and wide, the images are so much more intimate. I shoot in silent-shutter *all day* by the way, which really helps. Couldn’t go back to a noisy shutter now.

Guest feel the love at weddings too! Love capturing moments of romance like this.

This is a bit abstract, but I really love the fact you’ve got Abbie’s laugh, and Phil’s eyes. A bit abstract, for sure, but I really like it.

Abbie and her Dad again 🙂

I like this because it’s drinking, talking, layering…kind of a good example of usual reception-time behaviour!

Although I’ve waxed lyrical about shooting close and wide, I also like to delivery variety, so not every shot is taken at 25mm right up close! This is 85mm, and I’m much further away – I like shooting through people for context, and leading your eye up to Abbie and Phil in the top-left.

Touch is something I’m always looking out for; it means so much.

One of my favourite captures; just after their First Dance, I love the way Abbie has her hand on her Dad’s shoulder as she kisses her new husband. The way her Dad is so proudly looking at them both. One photo; multiple relationships – I love it.

And from Abbie’s Dad we go to one of Phil’s Dad – another of my faves. Sometimes we get shafts of light and it can throw our exposures; we have to decide what we’re going to expose for, as we can’t expose the whole scene perfectly when we get these extreme shafts of light. I say embrace it! I love the contrast; the dark background, the light on his Dad…and, of course, the emotion. It wouldn’t be half as good if there wasn’t anything happenning – so just waiting that extra few seconds/minutes, can make all the difference.

I thought it was apt to end on one of the last photos I took on the night, and for it to be one of Abbie and her Dad. A real honour to have been able to capture so many moments between them, it really was.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the photos and reading some of my thoughts about them (let me know in a comment below or on Facebook if you did!) – if you did, you may be interested in seeing the previous blog post I did with a ‘Director’s Commentary (ish’) too. And, if you’re a bride or groom looking for someone to capture the real moments of your day, do get in touch!

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