As you may have previously read in Phil's round up here
; 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'.
With that in mind we've decided to each select eighteen images for 2018. 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.
It's time for Toby's turn…
Hello you absolute lovelies! I’ve had the fun task of choosing 18 of my favourite pictures from 2018 to share with you. There were literally thousands of images to go through. I’ve eaten a lot of mince pies. They’re not necessarily all my “best” work; one is even an outtake! What they do have in common is that they all show some wonderful moments from the fab weddings Phil and I have had the honour to shoot this year. We’ve been to great places, met amazing people, and have had loads of fun being part of the weddings days of some really awesome couples.
Fun maths fact: 2018 is the product of two primes: 2 x 1009. So is 2019: 3 x 673. See: entertainment AND education!
On to the pictures!
1. The calm before
Pete and Hannah’s wedding at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens was in July. Ooooh, it was a hot day! The ceremony room was lovely and cool, however, with fantastic light. Here are Pete and his son having a quiet moment together before the guests started to arrive. I like the geometry and perspective leading you in to the picture.
2. Not-so calm before!
When you book The Dignums for your wedding photography, we come as a pair! That means you get pictures of both of the couple’s pre-ceremony preparations, if you want. I was on groom and groomsmen duty for John and Heather’s Mills Barns wedding in August. I immediately realised what a fun day it was going to be with these lovely, warm, hilarious people. There was a field in front of the house where the chaps all got ready, so we went out for a few minutes. This is what happened.
3. Light fantastic
Jason and Laura’s wedding took place in the beautiful St Mary & St Chad’s in Brewood, before moving on to the celebrations in a marquee in a field a few miles away. I’ve got a picture from the evening for you in a bit.
The church was crowded, with lots going on - even Laura and Jason’s dog attended the wedding! But by holding my camera close to the lovely old tiled floor I got a picture where it’s all about the couple, and that gorgeous light.
4. Shoot from the hip!
A very cool and clever photographer of mine named Ange Ward-Brown taught me a trick this year. If you hold your camera at hip level, rather than to your face, people are less likely to notice what you’re doing. It means you have to practice framing a shot pressing the buttons without looking through the viewfinder, but when it works out, you get shot like this. These three gentlemen were enjoying catching up and doing a spot of people-watching. There was a football match on that afternoon too, and out of nowhere they produced phones and tablets upon which to watch the action. I sneaked a picture of them doing that, too.
5. Making an entrance
Marquees can be tricky things to navigate. These big white temporary structures may have little external contrast; no big oak doors like a church. They may be erected in a field, with none of the usual cues like a path leading up to the entrance. So it’s entirely forgivable if you can’t find the way in, and have to improvise.
6. Page boy and bridesmaids
Here’s another one shot from the hip, and Neale and Amy’s wedding at Pendrell Hall in September. Pendrell is a beautiful genteel venue set in the Staffordshire countryside. Phil and I love it there - we’re always made so welcome. These three seem to have a stillness an poise beyond their years in this image - I really like it.
Look who knocked a glass over during the speeches!
8. Jude - coping - just about!
Jude did almost all of the organising for her village green wedding in Trysull herself. She did a fabulous job of it, and is one of the most unflappable people I’ve ever met, but her she is with her granddaughter straight after the ceremony with a look in her eye that all parents will recognise.
9. Fill the frame!
Another one from Heather and John’s Mills Barns wedding. I love this sort of unposed shot with loads going on. There’s even a man inside a balloon!
10. Lion untamed
Not every wedding has a great big Chinese lion as part of the celebrations, but the groom Peter is a member of a martial arts group who also do this! I was crouched right in front of the awe-struck crowd to get this shot, right before the lion jumped forward at me. I’ve not had a lion jump at me before, and the shock caused me to fall back onto my bum with a shriek! Yes, before, you ask, Phil did get a picture of it. 🙈
See our Instagram.
11. About face
I have no idea what was going on, but just love the expression on this lady’s face here. These are the moments that we photographers live for!
12. Queen of the air/inflatable guitar!
Katherine and Rob’s wedding at Fazeley Studios in Birmingham will go down in history as one of the most legendary weddings ever. I got to put my registrar hat on, with special permission to conduct their ceremony. But that was just the beginning. The theme was unicorns, pineapples, and flamingos. I know. There was bingo, with first prize being a life-size cardboard cut-out of the Queen. I know! And then in the evening we were treated to a gig from two of the actual band Queen (I think) themselves! I KNOW!!
13. Ready for the floor
Here are Matt and Simi absolutely owning their wedding dance floor. I love the colour from the disco lights, and the way my off-camera flash freezes the action into a real moment of drama and fun.
14. PixelStick outtake
You may have already seen some of our night time light-painting images with swooshing ribbons of colour or flames behind our subjects. These pictures are enormous fun to do, but take a little bit of setting up. We use off-camera flashes, and Phil running behind our people with the glowing PixelStick itself, as I shoot a long exposure. It doesn’t always go according to plan. Sometimes a flash fails to fire. Here, the PixelStick itself didn’t light up. But Sophie, Jon, and friends looked so awesome there was no way we weren’t going to include this in their album!
15. Photo booths done right
Curradine Barns is a beautiful wedding venue set in the Worcestershire countryside, and it was on a roasting day in August that we shot Georgina and Alain’s wedding there. We had such a fun day mingling with the guests, and there were loads of children all having an amazing time too. I sneaked up to them making excellent use of Curradine’s in-house photo booth, and got one of my favourite shots of the day.
16. Hundred House; a thousand words
Kate and Ollie tied the knot at Hundred House; a unique and quirky Shropshire wedding venue. Their day was wonderful from start to finish. Bride and groom preps were fun, they had an amazing registrar 😏
, a fab party with loads of fun guests, and the setting for some really beautiful late-night shots.
17. My favourite shot of 2018
I’ve got Beth and Matt (and son Freddie, family and friends) to thank for this one. Our happy couple held their wedding at Fairlawns in the West Midlands. This evening dance floor shot has all the elements of the type of photograph I really enjoy: lots going on, unfiltered emotions, expressive eyes and hands, and a little bit of comedy. ❤️
18. Surprise fireworks! 😲
We’d just started to pack our gear away at the end of Laura and Jason’s lovely marquee wedding celebrations, when a family member sidled up to us and mentioned that some fireworks had been organised as a surprise for the bride and groom, and were going off in five minutes! We have never unpacked our gear again so quickly. Fortunately everything fell into place, and this was the result.
Hungry for more, here's a whirlwind tour of some memories that helped make up our 2018:
If you're on the search for fun and relaxed wedding photography in the Midlands or beyond, get in touch!