Gemma and Kevin got married on a cool and wet day in May, at Whitbourne Church which sits just on the Worcestershire/Herefordshire border. For their wedding reception, they ventured further into the Herefordshire countryside, all the way to the other side of Leominster - to a tiny, remote and little-known venue called the Cider Barn.
As I'm sure you can probably tell (or guess) from the name, the venue is on the site of a cider mill, and is surrounded by the orchards that supply Dunkerton's with their apples for the drink which bears their name.
Gem & Kevin wanted a very relaxed wedding day, with no formal group photos and as little input from myself as possible - which is exactly how I like to work. As this lovely couple wished to have a laid back day (which was due to finish after their wedding breakfast at 6pm) I decided that I would wait for the day to be all-but finished before I took the photos of the newlyweds. As they were having such an intimate reception, I didn't want to take them away from their wedding guests for any real length of time. Instead, I waited for most of the guests to depart before taking the couple off for 15 minutes of photography.
I started on the site of the cider mill itself, struck by a bright red wall that I just had to use.
This image almost couldn't be any more simple - I stood the bride and groom centrally in front of the wall, and stood a long way back (as I was using a 135mm lens) and just asked them to be themselves. It was immediately evident how much these two loved each other, and it comes through in spades in every one of their photos. There's just something in the way they look at each other that feels warm and genuine.
I'd much rather capture these natural moments between a couple than attempt to pose them in anyway. If they're standing in a way that feels natural, the image feels natural and honest. If they're uncomfortable with how they're stood, that becomes very visible in their wedding photos.
One of the reasons this image works particularly well for me is how the red contrasts with everything else in the image - from the cool greens and blues in the groom's kilt, to the start white of the wedding dress and the deep greens and whites in Gem's flowers.
After taking various photos on the site of the mill itself, we popped across the road and into the orchard. The neat rows of trees that stretched for hundreds of metres was the perfect place for some stunning wedding photos. Again the setup was simple - point the bride and groom in the right direction (in the middle of one avenue of trees) and just ask them to be themselves.
The dramatic effect visible in both of these images is created by the type of lens I was using (not a 'filter' or editing) - a 135mm lens with an incredible fast/bright aperture of f/1.8. This lens is capable of casting foreground and background elements into a stunningly smooth blur, whilst at the same time keeping the bride and groom perfectly sharp. The other reason I chose to use this lens is because, when shot at f/1.8, it produces a natural 'vignetting' (which is why the image is slightly darker at the edges than in the centre) - this naturally makes the couple, who are in the middle of the image, stand out a lot more, just as they should!
Location: The Cider Barn, Pembridge.Keywords: Photographer-directed image (136). 1/640; f/2.0; ISO 100; 135.0 mm.