It seems an appropriate time to thank our 2018 couples for making us West Midlands Wedding Industry Awards Finalists yet again. It really does mean a lot, and it's absolutely wonderful to know we are up there with the very best in our region.
We decided that for our 2018 review, we wanted to do it differently. We never call these posts a 'best of', because it's an impossible task to say a particular selection of photos, taken from well over 20,000 delivered wedding images, are the 'best'.
We've still got loads more weddings from this year to share in full blog posts soon. Some of these shots you may have seen, and some you probably won't have, so: something to look forward to!
With that in mind we've decided to each select eighteen images for 2018, see what we did there? We're sticking to images we've captured individually at weddings, so you get to see who shot what, hence us both having our own personal round-up. Toby's round up is now rounded up here too.
Round um' up!
If I was asked to choose a theme for this years weddings, it would be: fun families! I've admitted in blog posts before that I'm totally a mummy's boy, and this year I've met some wonderful mums and nans. They've let me play the role of the cheeky chappy I enjoy taking on when I'm around them, and I've had a lot of fun. That's not to say they've not been some brilliant dads too. Particular shout outs have to go to Sophie's dad Nigel and Danielle's dad Mike, both of whom I'd happily be adopted by. This theme will probably show through in some of my choices of photos for my round-up.
Here we go, in no particular order.
1. A jam packed dance floor
We started off our 2018 wedding year with Simi and Matt's double wedding day which we recently shared on our blog. The first day of shooting was their religious ceremony, followed by evening celebrations with the most jam-packed dance floor we've had all year. This shot is from their spectacular 'dance off'. Toby says it's one of his favourite images from the year, so it was definitely going to make it into my round-up.
2. Look at that light!
I'm a sucker for a great wedding day portrait with just the couple. It's important for me that our portraits aren't all posed, and couples feel comfortable, and the photos genuine. It's a large part of why we include our pre-wedding shoots for free. Chris and Gemma already had a chance to work out what felt right for them during their pre-wedding shoot. It meant that on their wedding day we were able to head out into the Mill Barns’ lovely gardens, take advantage of the gorgeous light, and for them both to unconsciously do their thing whilst I photographed them… and oh my they look great!
3. OMG this is about to get real
Beth and Matt are one of the most laid-back couples we’ve met. They both seem to take life in their stride. It's this fact which makes me love this photo of the moment Matt realised he was about to see Beth for the first time on their wedding day at Fairlawns Hotel so much. An out of character 'holy cow' moment. It's a simple shot, but the emotion in it is tangible!
4. Tales of the unexpected
There's a good chance that you'll have seen this photo before, as it's been one of my favourites from this year for some time now. Imagine yourself walking from your wonderful church wedding ceremony, out into the spring air. A breeze picks up, lifts your veil, and attaches it surprisingly firmly to the church railings. You're stuck! What do you do? Start laughing of course. What does your husband do? Points and laughs to the point he can't actually assist you.
Being the gentleman that I am, my first instinct was to jump in and rescue Danielle from her predicament. Thing is I'm also a photographer, and I wouldn't have forgiven myself if I'd not captured the moment for posterity.
5. A moment to Dad's self.
Laura was the last of Peter's daughters to get married. So it was slightly inevitable that he'd be in a contemplative mood whilst the hustle and bustle of the bridal preparations went on inside the house. When he was dressed and ready, he sat in the corner of the garden taking a few moments to himself. Like the majority of the bridal preps I photograph, Laura's was full of laughter and fun, so I'm pleased I spotted Peter as a point of contrast, having a quiet moment.
6. Selfie satisfaction
I don't often partake in a selfie, as my cameras are a little too heavy to hold at the end of my arm to get the right angle. They do make for some great photo opportunities for Toby and me on a wedding day. We have to keep our eyes peeled, as blink and you'll miss them! I think we've both trained ourselves to spot them happening even when in our peripheral vision. We've captured some great selfies taking place throughout 2018, but this one stands out as my favourite. If you're going to take a selfie, this is how you do it!
7.The Bingo Unicorn
This photo, whilst not staged, certainly wouldn't have happened if Toby and I hadn't got involved in a wedding day, in typical Dignum style. Katherine and Rob wanted something fun to entertain their guests after their reception meal at Fazeley Studios. "Why don't you have a round of bingo" we said! Katherine loved the idea, but she had a lot on her plate, what with organising a wedding day. "Why don't you leave the bingo to us?" we said! How could she have known that we'd take her wedding theme of colour, pineapples, flamingos, rainbows, and unicorns to the extreme?
This is how you play Unicorn Bingo. Take one children's ball pit, and 90 balls. Hand write1 to 90 on the balls, and chuck ‘em in. Ask the happy couple to nominate a guest to star as the brilliant Bingo Unicorn. Place a unicorn head on the chosen guest, and adorn them with a pink 'Bingo Unicorn' sash. Then get them to stand in the ball pit. With their vision now hampered, ask them to repeatedly draw bingo balls so that bingo caller extraordinaire Toby can call out the numbers whilst wearing a fetching rainbow shirt.
I fear that this is the only time I'll get to photograph a game of Unicorn Bingo, but I'll always have the memories.
8. Let's have a photo with all the groomsmen!
This is my kind of group shot! Sadly I didn't come up with the idea, it just kind of happened right before my lens. As did all the best photos during Jon and Heather's wedding day at The Mill Barns. If we could have more hands on butts for 2019's group photos, that would be great.
9. Fickle lady luck
Finding great ways to entertain your guests on your wedding day can be a challenge. Amy and Neale had the excellent idea of casino games for their friends and family to play during their celebrations at Pendrell Hall. Everyone got to take the chances with games such as Black Jack and Roulette. Here's the moment where their little son didn't get the result he was hoping for on the roulette wheel. Lady lucky is a fickle one, better luck next time.
10. Bridal banter
I have three favourite periods during a wedding day. I love a fun-packed dance floor, the opportunity to capture some intimate photos during a couple's portrait session, and then there's the bridal preparations. In my opinion all the best ones are mainly about giggling, a lot. Soph's bridal prep was great example of this. Mucking about, having a laugh, and setting yourself up for a fun day. It was great spending time with the ladies getting ready at Hogarths Stone Manor, Soph's hair and make-up team, and the awesome lady that is Janet; Soph's mum.
11. Dad's totes emosh
Here's another shot from Dan and Danielle's day. This is Mike, a total legend of a father of the bride. He was positively beaming with pride literally all day long. His speech was pretty awesome too. This is the moment not long after he's seen his daughter in her dress for the first time. They now need to get in the wedding car so they can drive to the church. Thing is, he's struggling to hold it together, because he's too darn lovely.
I also take pleasure from the fact that Danielle thinks it's a little bit hilarious that he's trying not to bawl his eyes out whilst they rush out of The Moat House to the car.
12. Portraits by the bins anyone!
If there's a couple who rocked their wedding day in style, it's this pair. Their portraits around the colourful street art of Digbeth and the Custard Factory is easily up there with my favourite portrait session of the year. Photos by the big yellow bins, need I say more?
13. Kids at weddings
Kids at weddings deserves a whole blog post to itself. In fact that's such a great idea that I'm adding it to our blog list for next year. I particularly like this moment when this slightly chilly chap borrowed a jacket to stay warm. I think you'll all agree, he wears it well.
14. Rollers FTW
This photo is from the wedding that I'm actually currently editing. Becky and Sam's was our penultimate wedding shoot of 2018 at Blakelands Country House. There's a mixture of elements that come together and make me enjoy this photo. The lovely light, the interesting close crop, Becky looking pretty stunning, and the roller peeking into frame. Also I love a good black and white image.
15. This pair!
There are literally too many stories and anecdotes featuring Isabella and Alex to share in a single blog post. Isabella's antics during bridal prep could be a blog post all to itself. Suffice to say they were both very fun to photograph during a colourful and awesome wedding day at Fazeley Studios.
16. DOGS! DOGS! DOGS!
One thing weddings need more of: DOGS! We've had a few doggos join us to celebrate this year. This furry star joined the bridal party on the walk to the ceremony room at Hadley Park House, escorted the bride up the aisle, and then spectated patiently from the front row throughout the entire ceremony. Who's a good girl then?
17. From the darkness…
We've photographed more winter weddings this year. As much as warm sunny weddings are wonderful, with the sun setting so late during the summer it means we miss out on sunset shots (if the British weather is kind), and nighttime portraits too. It means that this year we've had the chance to experiment with various creative after dark photography ideas. This photo of Grace and Paul, who braved the chill winter night air, is a good example of what we've been up to. I'll leave mention of the PixelStick to Toby.
18. Lads on the dance floor
My last photo probably speaks for itself, but let me expand anyway. What's better than a packed wedding dance floor? A fun and crazy dance floor! Jon and Heather's day was rounded off by some energetic friends fun. These guys were a wonderfully loveable bunch of softies having the time of their life celebrating their mate’s marriage. It was bloody marvellous to capture. I like to image that the phone pic being taken by the two gentlemen is for future anecdotal purposes.
It was an insanely difficult task to select such a tiny amount of photos from our year. So just in case you're hankering for more, here's a whirlwind tour of some memories that helped make up our 2018:
If you're on the search for wedding photography in the Midlands or beyond, get in touch!