I saw a post a while ago where a wedding photographer said I don't do portraits, I'm a documentary photographer. To me a wedding photographer will at different points of any given wedding day be a portrait photographer, a still life photographer, a fashion photographer, a reportage photographer, a landscape photographer and yes indeed a documentary photographer. I believe that we are all free to run our businesses how we like and I'd love to know more about how it works saying you'll only shoot weddings with that particular approach. I do love the documentary moments of a wedding day and being the person who chronicles them and maybe that's why I'm drawn so much to this serene bridal moment/ portrait from the very talented Sean Bell. So how much orchestration went into this shot or did Sean just happen to be in that spot as the bride walked into the space? Well, let's find out shall we?
"Dasha and Nick were married at The College of Physicians in Edinburgh, both Doctors, both cool and unassuming people, but defo not ones for being in front of the lens. I ticked the groups and then took the them to Queen Street gardens briefly for some portraits in amongst the greenery and along the city streets. I sensed they were a bit overwhelmed by the day and slightly nervous so I kept this short and light-hearted.The weather was amazing and I mentioned taking them out again after dinner when the light was even better/lower and they were good to go with that, I was pretty sure they would be more relaxed too. I felt I had enough from the short session to cover me which is always a nice place to be, but I still wanted one from inside the venue. It's maybe not the classic image from this place but I kept coming back to this, I was taking shots of the spiral on its own from different angles every time I passed, I just loved the shapes, the repetition and shadows and soon began to try to imagine a person in the frame. I waited until guests were being seated to dinner so as not to interrupt the B+G mingling during the drinks reception, so when dinner was called I made my move. The stairs were blocked by a locked gate but after a brief chat with the co-ordinator she said it was fine for us to go through. I knew I only had a few minutes but it was just us so guessed it wouldn’t take long. Initially I imagined a shot from a slightly different angle and with Dasha lower down as her dress fell in the same line as the stairs and created a nice abstract, but I still felt there was something missing. From the start I was drawn to the triangular ‘window’ created by the bannister so asked her to ascend a bit more and ‘wait’ on her Groom within that. I took a few variations, dancing around at the bottom with lens skyward, seeking out the nicest lines, but I had to be precise as to where she was looking as her hair was set in such a way it looked odd in some frames from this angle. Its a little way off the path from my initial idea but that's what I love about these moments when time is critical, having a loose plan but just having to start the process anyway, often ending up somewhere else unexpected."