Phil's Nineteen for 2019 Wedding Round-Up


With only a couple more days of the year left before we usher in a new decade, I’ve finished my annual round-up just in time. Toby and I make our selections separately, each only choosing photos we’ve taken ourselves throughout the year.

As half of a photography duo, I often wonder when couples browse through their galleries whether they can tell who shot which photo out of the two of us. Toby and I both have a different way of looking at things when taking photos. It means we can offer a wider and more varied view of every couple’s wedding for them. Toby will spot things I probably wouldn’t have noticed, and vice versa. As I edit all the images myself after a wedding, everything ends up looking consistent in style, which makes it harder to spot the difference of photographer.

Regardless of us both looking at the world through our lenses slightly differently, we do tend to converge on the same things: tracking downsmiley, happy people!

We each get an extra photo for our round-ups this year. In no particular order I give you my NINETEEN for 2019!

1. Looking for light

We are continuously working on enhancing our skills as photographers, and finding ways to up our game. 2019 saw us visiting Seville for a street photography workshop on an awesome Photo Weekender trip. I found that one of my favourite approaches was to find an interesting light pocket. One that would give me deep shadows, interesting shapes, and to use a technical term: extra creative oomph!
It was a bright sunny winter day for Holly and Ben’s wedding. Holly was getting ready at home, and sunlight was streaming into the room. Occasionally, and by complete accident Holly would stand in a bright pocket of light. I shielded her from the light to get my ‘safe shots’ and once I had those in the bag it was time to get more creative. I moved around the room searching for the perfect angle, and the best way to use the light. After a little experimentation it all came together and viola!

2. Middle moments

The phrase ‘shoot through the moment’ is often used by wedding photographers. Interesting moments blossom, and you can never be sure exactly when that moment will peak into something extra special. You can also adapt the saying into transitions between moments too.

During Sonia and Craig’s reception celebrations, the three of us headed out for a stroll in London’s Docklands, to see what we could find, and capture some photos of just the two of them. I could see a shot in my mind across the road, so I asked them to carefully head over to the other side of the street. Before they reached the location I’d asked them to head for, I started composing and capturing a few shots of them making their way across the busy road. Whilst I did get the shot I had planned, it was actually this photo from a few moments before that ended up being a favourite.
Craig straightening his tie, Sonia hitching up her dress, whilst they wait together to cross.

3. Photo equations

I like to think of myself as a considerate gentleman. There’s a process I go through when looking for locations to photograph family group shots. I consider sunlight to try and ensure no-one will be blinded.I contemplate how far away family members will be from the rest of the guests to ensure they can get back to the celebrations/bar quickly, and I ponder the ground surface too.

Just because I’ve never walked in heels myself, doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the equation: heels + grass = sinking.

Ultimately I let each couple choose the spot after letting them know my findings. Carrie-anne and Olly opted for photos on the grass, so I am devoid of blame for any sinking. Luckily Olly’s mum came prepared.

4. Dancing lights

The most important ingredient in photography is light. When there’s a lack of said ingredient then a photographer and their camera has to work that bit harder. We knew Steph and Bec had some form of light show planned for the end of their wedding day. We didn’t know exactly what this would entail, but we did know that it would be happening after the sun had gone down.

I don’t mind admitting that I was a little nervous as the show approached, as I knew I’d have to think on my feet very quickly to get all my camera settings correct, to ensure I didn’t miss any of the show, and also captured photos that would do the amazing light show by Flambé Circus justice.
You can’t see it, but I’ve got my smug face on right now.

5. Fields of happiness

Sunset: check, cornfield: check, extremely happy groom with ‘OMG! I’ve married the woman I love’ face: check.

6. Pretty portraits

I’m a sucker for a great portrait shot. I always do my best to ensure they aren’t ‘super-posey’ as that’s not our thing, but I love capturing couples, just the two of them, with a backdrop that says a lot about their day.
I was completely and utterly spoilt with Hackney Town Hall’s beautiful ante-room. Once Sonia and Craig’s ceremony was over, and whilst their guests filtered outside, we took a few moments to take advantage of such a gorgeous location.

7. Dance floor faces

One of the ways Toby and I differ with our photography is on the wedding dance floor. He likes to go wide, and capture lots going on all at once, and I enjoy isolating single subjects to tell their dance floor story. Our couples get the best of both worlds.

I don’t know for sure what was going through Mandy’s mind when I captured this naughty dance floor face, but what ever it was I highly approve!

8. Warm and fuzzy

It’s a wonderful compliment that couples feel so comfortable in my company, that they are relaxed and secure enough to not only be themselves, but also be themselves together. It allows me to capture intimate moments, ones that you can’t help but feel warm and fuzzy witnessing.

9. Shadow stories

Earlier I mentioned about getting the ‘safe shots’, these are the photos that we make sure we’ve captured before experimenting with a moment, to find a creative and different viewpoint. Here you see a group of guests chatting away, awaiting the ceremony. I’d captured a selection of candid images of them all catching up, then it was time to find a new way of immortalising the moment.

10. Location, location... greenhouse!

Most venues offer wonderful locations, and pretty backdrops for couples’ portrait shots. Once we’ve made the most of those, it’s then time to explore and find something a little different and fun. Photos in the greenhouse anyone?

11. Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman

On wedding days that have both a bride and a groom, and both would like photos of themselves getting ready, it’s usually myself that captures the bridal preparations. I’ve witnessed enough lovely ladies getting ready on their wedding day, to know that generally speaking, the guys get it a whole lot easier.

To those of you that regularly partake in hair and make-up procedures, I tip my hat to you. There are beautification processes I’m oblivious to. Proceedings that confound. Just like this moment during Teresa’s wedding morning. I don’t know what is going on here, but what I can see is camaraderie and teamwork.

12. Winter weddings

If you don’t celebrate weddings on a regular basis, it’s easy to forget about the lack of natural daylight that comes with a winter day. Often after an afternoon ceremony during the later months, there can be as little as an hour or two before the sun sets. All of which means that Toby and I have to get more creative for our couples’ portraits.

After-dark portraits are a team effort for Toby and me. As it’s often cold at that time of year once the sun has gone down, we head outside in our warm coats to set up and test shots, to ensure they will work well before we ask the couple to come outside to join us for the photo.

The only ambient light in this photo of Katie and Alex are the small fairy lights in the gazebo. To create this stunning photo for them, we had to set up off camera flashes. Testing out locations for them until we had everything in the perfect place to light the foliage in the background, as well as the inside of the gazebo to create the silhouette of Katie and Alex.

13. The world’s strongest woman

Something I like to do during weddings, when time allows, is offer to take some portrait shots for other couples attending the wedding. I mean, if you’re all glammed up, why the hell not? We head off for a mini shoot, and more often than not, we get a little silly. See what I mean?

14. Teamwork

You’re probably picking up on a theme by now; about how we like to try and be as creative as possible on a wedding day. Doing so means that we fill couples’ wedding galleries with variety, and awesome artistic images.

This was one of the first photos I took when Amy, Joe, and I went off for a stroll during their wedding to capture some photos of just the two of them. I’d spotted the fairy lights very early on, and could see the image I wanted to create for them. So when the time came I explained what I was trying to do, they got in place for me, I dialled in my camera setting, and I pressed the shutter button. Full disclosure, I didn’t know for certain whether all the elements would come together, but here you go, I think the three of us pulled off something rather special.

15. Totes emosh

We capture a lot of happy and emotional tears during a wedding day. This particular moment was during Bec’s speech. She was thanking the people around her, her wife Bec, her family, and her friends. It’s moments like this where the important things in life shine, and her Dad and wife were there for support, to help her finish.

16. Final touches

I’ve selected a moment from another wedding morning’s preparations to share. It’s often the time when, if they are going to, nerves can kick in. The final touches are being made, and that can only mean one thing. The ceremony isn’t far away, it’s the to get married!

17. En route

Toby and I always try to travel to a wedding shoot in our little Smart car. Going in a single car means we’re doing are best to keep our carbon footprint low. It’s a squeeze with all our equipment, but we pull it off. Both April and Brook wanted their wedding morning photographed, so that meant Toby dropping me off first, before heading to meet Brook and his groom’s party.

I hitched a lift with April and her dad to the ceremony. Which meant I was in prime position to capture this quiet moment on the way to the church.

18. Delicate dress details

Tatjana’s dress is up there with my favourite wedding dresses of the year to photograph. To think, it nearly wasn’t the dress she was going to wear on the day. She’s already bought a dress, but then stumbled upon this stunningly unique one only a month before the wedding. She fell in love with it, and the rest is wedding history.

19. Last but not least

A simple shot of a simple moment. Amy elegantly enjoying herself on her wedding dance floor. The light, the composition, and the limited colour palette combine to create a lovely image.

You can also see Toby’s wedding round-up, as well as our pe-wedding shoot 2019 round-up too.

A mere nineteen photos isn't nearly enough to show you what our 2019 looked like, so here's a whirlwind tour of extra images from our year. Click on the video below, sit back, and enjoy!

If you’re getting married, and would love The Dignums to be part of YOUR fun, relaxed, and little bit different wedding day, get in touch! We’d love to hear from you.

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