I was working as Madeleine and Sean’s wedding photographer in Brighton this week. I started in Madeleine’s friend’s house in Hove, where she and and her two bridesmaids were having the full wedding makeup experience. I spent half an hour there and then made an early move to find a parking space in central Brighton before the ceremony started. I just caught the groom and best man Alex having a drink in the Bishop’s Head, before they walked down to Brighton Register Office for the ceremony. Madeleine and her bridesmaids turned up a few minutes later in a TucTuc limo.
Sean was part of the team that recently refurbished the bandstand on the seafront (Don’t mention the rust!). We had arranged for the bride, groom, bridesmaids and myself to take the TucTuc there for some photos after the ceremony. Unfortunately, as we got in the TucTuc, several vital pieces dropped off, so the driver had to make a couple of trips to get us all there. The bandstand looked great and I manged to get a variety of shots before it was time to get back for the wedding breakfast. The couple had booked the Coach House in Middle Street for the meal and reception. A very nice place, but quite small and not much room for photos. After the meal I went down to the seafront for a few early evening shots of Sean and Madeleine on the beach. Thanks very much to the unknown German EFL student that held the light stand while I took the photos, there’s a beer waiting for you if we ever meet again.
Geek alert! If you aren’t particularly interested in the technical side of photography, please skip this bit.
Brighton Register Office poses some particular challenges for photographers. The registrars are generally very helpful and allow the moderate use of flash during the ceremony, but that doesn’t solve all the problems. The Regency Room is quite dark and the walls are painted a very strong shade of red that colours all the light and tints the images. I can only think of three ways of lighting it:
(1) Use the ambient light with no flash, try to correct or convert to B&W.
(2) Use direct flash for the foreground and let the background do whatever it wants to.
(3) Use bounced fill flash and try to correct the combination of clashing colours afterwards.
I don’t mind taking a few with ambient only, but you tend to shoot at high ISOs, the shadows can be quite nasty and the colours are almost impossible to correct. I don’t like relying on direct flash, it gives harsh light and destroys all the atmosphere of a room. So that leaves bounced fill flash. This is great for balancing the different levels of light but leaves you with a real mess of colour temperatures, daylight through the window, tungsten from the interior lights, flash from the camera, and all nicely grunged up with the effects from the red walls. After a few visits to this venue I’ve come up with a formula that works for me. I light for the foreground with a large bounce card, and drop the background down a bit. When processing I set white balance as near as possible in Lightroom, I then transfer to Photoshop and use a simple ‘action’ I’ve written to correct further. It’s not perfect, but the skin tones of the main subjects look OK, and it preserves some of the feeling of the ambient light (See photo #6). I’d be interested to hear how other Brighton wedding photographers deal with the lighting in this venue (comment box at the bottom).
Mobile phone, personal make up artist, it just needs chocolate.
Madeleine looking happy with the results.
Best man Alex offering Sean a few tips before the ceremony.
Madleine with her Mum, wiping away a few tears.
The wedding ceremony in the Regency Room.
Just after the vows.
Holding hands on Brighton’s newly refurbished bandstand.
Hugging on Brighton’s bandstand.
Posing on the bandstand.
Evening photos of the newly weds on Brighton Beach with the West Pier in the background.
And another on Brighton beach.
More information and booking details on the Brighton wedding photographers page