If you ever wondered what place to choose for wedding location photoshoot in Birmingham, I would definitely recommend Cannon Hill Park. It is situated in the heart of the city covering 250 acres consisting of formal, conservation, and woodland. In the spring and summer the park is filled with variation of colourful plants and flowers. Especially I love cherry blossom trees which you can find plenty of in the park. The branches of those trees hang quite low and you can allocate the couple under those for nice composition and colouring. Autumn would do as good with brownish and reddish coloured leaves, making perfect background for charming location photoshoot.
Last week I had an amazing pleasure to photograph one of the most cheerful newlyweds in my wedding photographer carrier. Vanda and Joey were married a few weeks before we had a chance to shoot their location photo session in beautiful Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham.
As a Wedding Photographer Birmingham I do always recommend for couples to have their wedding photoshoot planned on other day than wedding. The reason for that is quite obvious. First, we have time to perform pleasant photo session and no one, no mobile phone, no wedding schedule is stressing us. In case of bad weather we can just re-schedule the shoot for other more sunny or just dry day. Second, because the couple is relaxed we having much better results, they are smiling naturally and are much more creative about what they want to see on their timeless wedding photos. We are able to plan more interesting settings, use external lighting for incredible effects and choose a location which is not depended of where the main venue is situated. If the session is done prior to wedding day it is a great chance to know each other, learn about bride and groom requirements for the wedding day and make them more relaxed about posing in the front of camera.
Naturally, you can plan to do photoshoot on the wedding day, and most couples decide for that. They do allocate 1 to 2 hours for that and…in reality it is something like 20min. Yes, 20min out of 90 planned! Believe it or not I have never had more than half of the time planned, and the whole shoot is happening in a slight stress, for the couple and the photographer as well. Bride thinks only about her dress to not get it dirty and groom worries about wedding guests who are waiting for us to come back.
Fortunately we are still able to capture some good shoots and newlyweds always love the results, however people who decided for a romantic photo session on the other day than wedding do newer regret their decision! As to what I think, those pictures when the couple can run away from the bustling of wedding day, spend a little time surrounded with beautiful location and truly feel the romantic atmosphere of the moment, those pictures are always the most beautiful and valuable.
I am Nikon shooter and always carrying with me 2 camera bodies, one D600 with 24-70 f2.8 lens for wide shoots and other is D610 with 70-200 f2.8 lens. The telephoto zoom is indispensable to me, I love the compression and beautifully blurred backgrounds you can achieve with long focal length. And why I say this lens is indispensable to me? You can produce blurry backgrounds with 50 or 85mm lens wide open at f1.4, but first the compression is different and second, the most important to me, with long focal length the DOF drops less rapidly than with shorter lenses. So for example to achieve similar blurred background I have to shoot on 1.4 or 1.8 with 50mm lens and I do risk my models to be blurred in some point. I do not want bride or groom to be blurred, I want the background to be out of focus! Shooting with 200mm the DOF drops more smoothly and on f2.8 or even f4 I have my models perfectly sharp and the background is incredibly well blurred.
In the sunny days we may need some additional light or ambient light modifiers to balance lighting on models and background and also to avoid harsh shadows under model eyes due to direction of sun light, especially in the middle of a day when sun is high on the sky. For this situations it is worth to take with you a silver/white foldable reflector, and, if shooting opposite to sun, just bounce the light back onto models from the side of camera position. This obviously requires somebody to hold the reflector and I would not recommend using light stand in any windy days. The reflector works like a sail and will fly away together with the stand.
If you don’t have anybody to hold the reflector solution may be using a speedlight/flash light. It can be placed on the simple light stand and fired with radio trigger system (the cheap and really good system cost £18 on eBay for trigger and receiver). I am using Chinese Yongnuo Yn560ii manual speedlight for off camera flash, which for the money is just flawless. Plenty of power, fast recycling time and decent build…and it costs only £45!!
If you own Nikon or Canon system speedlight you can fire it using your on camera flash as a commander. In that case you can even control the flash output power, use TTL mode and High Speed Sync (HSS), however you have to be aware that it requires the camera to ‘see’ front of the flash to transmit the IR signal. With use of radio triggers the camera and flash position doesn’t matter.
Usually the flash points our models directly and if you are worried that using no modifier will cause hash shadows on them, don’t! Not in that bright scenery like sunny day. The shadows will appear only if shooting in low light like indoors and on the dusk outdoor.
Thank you for reading my very first blog post and I hope you’ve enjoyed it. More interesting stuff coming soon so please visit and like my Facebook fan page FotoDelight Lukasz Chmielewski for updates!