Jinney Ring isn't perhaps your traditional wedding venue. It's not a hotel, doesn't have custom-built and designed spaces specifically for weddings and whilst it has a huge outdoor area, it's cosy in places on the inside. Still, it's full of charm and a wonderful place to do some awesome wedding photography, as I discovered on my recent trip there.
When I very first met Sarah & Jamie, some 12 months before their wedding, one thing stuck with me - that they really liked my photos taken in the rain at night. Most couples absolutely abhor the thought of rain on their wedding day, and pretty much everyone I meet says the same thing - 'we're just hoping for some lovely sunny weather for our wedding!'
Knowing that Sarah & Jamie loved this dramatic type of photo taken in the rain, deep down I was hoping for a downpour for them. Ideally around 10pm, when it's fully dark in late July and all of the guests are enjoying themselves on the dance floor. However, whilst Britain in general is known to the rest of the world for it's rain, it doesn't rain that often, and even less in July.
Amazingly, come their wedding day however, the forecast was one of the worst I had seen (assuming you don't want rain on your big day.) It was suggested that it was going to rain all day, without fail, stopping around 8pm them remaining dry. Of course this is the exact opposite of what we wanted - dry all day and rain at night for some stunning photos...
Sure enough, it rained all day, and with the forecast telling me it was going to be a dry evening, I decided to take one photo of the couple in the rain, in the style that they said they liked.
Luckily it was dark enough that using the flash at full power, I was able to show the rain in the photo, but for me, as pretty as this image is, it wasn't enough. I waited with bated breath as the evening wore on and the rain lessened until it was dry outside.
After the first dance, the sky was pretty much clear to the extent that you could now see the Malvern Hills, some 15 miles in the distance. All of the guests were telling me I was mad waiting for the rain when it was clearly never going to happen. But still I waited.
I took a couple of photos of the bride and groom at night with pretty stunning results, but I wasn't going to be beaten. It was now gone 10pm on Friday night, and I had to be at my next wedding in 9 hours time, and it was 40 miles away. I also planned on sleeping in that time, too.
At 10.30pm, I was just saying to the bride and groom that I'm not normally defeated. That I am so stubborn I usually sit things out until I get my own way, but this time, it just didn't feel like it was going to happen. But then I felt a drop of rain on my left hand. And then one on my face. The bride and groom, who hadn't felt anything, probably thought at this stage that I was imagining it through a combination of a lack of sleep, dehydration and sheer hope. I ran inside, grabbed my 85mm Sigma Art lens (as I was using a wide angle at the time) and shoved a Nikon SB900 on a light stand, before running back outside to meet the bride and groom, with an umbrella shoved under my arm.
'Follow me. I think it's about to pour with rain. If it doesn't, we'll take a lovely photo anyway. If it does rain, this will be the image I promised you 12 months ago...'
Literally, the second we got into position and the heavens opened. It was torrential. 'It's happening!!!' I shouted, picturing Noah standing before his Ark. 'Look at each other! Kiss!' as I fired off a few images.
I was so happy with the resulting set of images that I ran over to the bride and groom and showed them the images on the back of the camera immediately. They were over the moon, as was I.
The thing to remember, whether you're a bride or groom or a photographer reading this, is that the rain, just like golden sunset or any other feat of nature, is a tool. It's something to use to your advantage, not to hide away from. After all, you might get wet for 5 minutes but the images you get in return will last 50 years. Dry cleaning a wedding dress costs £80. Go and dance in the rain.
Photographer-directed image (405). 1/200; f/2.8; ISO 2000; 85.0 mm.