Scarborough Registry Office Wedding – Noel and Gill

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Noel and Gill hired me to shoot their wedding having not seen a single one of my photographs. We were all at an event called Gaia Tribe, an intentionally small, creative community camp held once a year in Yorkshire that is especially good for families and kids, and I was there on a “working ticket” documenting the variety of events and happenings over the course of five days. Just from seeing me in action around the camp, I apparently managed to impress upon Noel and Gill that I was a focused, sensitive and dedicated photographer. I was flattered to be given such a vote of confidence and happily said yes to photographing this lovely couple’s wedding that was, it turned out, just a few weeks away.

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This was going to be another excursion away from York and as always I welcomed the variety. The wedding took place on a gloriously sunny day in June with the ceremony at the North Cliff House Registry Office, located in a residential area of North Scarborough. The ceremony itself felt relaxed and informal, and the couple themselves had chosen to wear quite informal wedding attire, perhaps with a view to what they had planned after the ceremony, which would again add something a bit different to my usual wedding time-line. The small ceremony room and the position of the registrar meant that I didn’t take up my customary position during proceedings but moved a little more freely around the principals. Following on from the formalities, the couple were hugged warmly by friends and relations. I then took the signing shots, before the joyful couple stood for a moment for photographs from the gathered wedding party and then hand in hand, left the office.

The drinks reception was to be held elsewhere and we decided, in a deviation from more regular time-lines, to shoot the group photos immediately following on from the ceremony. A vine covered wall of North Cliff House offered us a good backdrop for groups, but the blazing mid-day, mid-summer sun would not unfortunately give such a flattering light, something I tried to counteract with the use of flash. A member of the wedding party asked me the obvious question – why would I be using flash on such a sunny day. And the answer is to fill out the shadows on the faces and soften the extreme contrast that heavy, overhead sunlight produces. While many (including me) complain about the frequently overcast weather in the UK, the abundant clouds do function as superb light modifiers, softening the light for more flattering outdoors portraiture. Just not on this particular day. Following on from the groups and a handful of portraits of the bride and groom, the wedding party relaxed for a while in the House gardens before moving on to the next port of call.

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The plan now was for the wedding party to take the North Bay miniature railway to Peasholm Park, not so much for a drinks reception as for a picnic. Quite an inspired choice I thought and would make for some interesting photography. Parking the cars near the beach, the walk over to the railway provided an opportunity for some light hearted portraiture of the couple, sans shoes and socks, up to their ankles in the shallows of the North Bay; the intense blues of sea and sky producing a vivid backdrop. From there onto one of Scarborough’s main tourist attractions at Northstead Manor Gardens; the miniature seaside railway is one of the oldest of its kind in the country, with a ride taking in the Scarborough coastline, parkland and views of the Open Air Theatre and the Castle. For the trip I seated myself opposite the newlyweds, getting plenty of nice candids of the two of them interacting, as well as informal portraits as they took in the slowly passing views. I was also able to use the dramatic receding lines of the carriages as an effective backdrop for a formal portrait. Gill clutched her bouquet of pink, red and white flowers which I noticed was a perfect match for her dress.

Shortly, we arrived at beautiful Peasholm park, a Japanese-style landscaped garden with a lake, tree trail, wooden sculptures and a Pagoda. Laying out blankets and unpacking food, the wedding party settled down for the drinks reception come afternoon picnic. I circled throughout the guests, taking candid shots as kids clambered over the sculptures of owls, acorns and mushrooms and the adults chatted. After a while I took Gill and Noel aside for a walk through the park to make good use of the scenic backdrops for portraiture. Once I was happy I had a good variety of shots, I thanked and congratulated the couple and headed back to York.

 

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