"Kev, can we book you to shoot a bridal feature for our magazine? We've got access to Kelburn Castle to do the photoshoot and we're getting bridal gowns from Alanas Bridal Lounge and Dream Brides!"
Fantastic! One of Ayrshire's most beautiful wedding venues (okay, we're a bit spoiled around here as we have LOADS!) , dresses from two of Scotlands' top bridal gown retailers and a feature in a high quality magazine? Count me in!
"Excellent! Wait til you see the model we're using - we found her working in a bar and she's stunning!"
Oh, isn't that just wonderful? So, she looked good when someone was drunk? What could possibly go wrong? Well - I was wrong. When the team from Ayrshire Magazine turned up and introduced me to Aimee I had to admit that they were on the money when it came to picking a model. This girl was not only drop-dead gorgeous, but she worked her backside off and was an absolute dream to photograph.
On bridal shoots, like this, I prefer to only use the same equipment which I use on a real-life wedding. As an Ayrshire Wedding & Portrait photographer, I believe that this allows me to demonstrate just how much you can create without taking every piece of kit from your studio. At the same time, any prospective brides who may read the magazine can see the sort of work which I can deliver even though it may not actually be a real wedding.
As I like to arrive early, I had already scouted a few likely locations to shoot, so I took Keri (the magazines Creative Director) around to confirm our plan of action while Kelly took control of Aimees' hair and make-up.

Now, I know we had access to a lovely big castle, but here's the thing; I live in Scotland. It rains here. A lot! So, when I get the chance to shoot outdoors, I take it. Thankfully, Kelburn Castle has some really nice features throughout the grounds - including a waterfall! The path to the waterfall naturally takes you to a nice high viewpoint which would have made a nice enough shot, but I firmly believe that if that's what the magazine wanted, they could have asked anyone to take the shots.

 Thanks to Keri Attard for some of these behind-the-scenes shots 

So, I explained to Keri that I wanted to shoot from an alternative angle, which would involve me getting ankle-deep in the water (a bit shallow compared to some of my shoots, but still...) and would also require me carrying Aimee through the stream to get to where I needed her to be. So that was it - wet feet time for Kev.

The Cotton Carrier is invaluable on shoots like these, where I can take two cameras low to the ground (or, in this case, water) without worrying about lenses getting dirty or wet.

The clearing where the waterfall sits is surrounded by steep walls and high trees, so it has a natural pool of light which, aided by the overcast day, meant that I didn't need any additional lighting equipment or modifiers. All I had to do was ensure that Aimee was posing in a way which caught the natural light on her dress and face.

As nice as this shot was, I just felt it wasn't dramatic enough. So, my Fujifilm X-Pro1 camera  & Samyang 12mm lens was rested just above the surface of the water to give me this:

 The low viewpoint adds a new dynamic to the shot.

A step to my right helped blend Aimee and the waterfall as one.

 Standing up and switching to the X-T1 with Fujis' excellent XF35mm f1.4 R lens gave a more 'conventional' shot which shows the dress, from Dream Brides, beautifully.

Aimee then swapped into a stunning Sophia Tolli dress from Alanas Bridal Lounge. We mixed up some indoor shots, using just the daylight streaming in through a large window and a reflector, for some casual bridal portraits. We then moved outside to the forest and used a medium soft-box-umbrella (which looks a bit deformed in the pics, thanks to me accidentally knocking it over) to give a small amount of fill-flash.

Giving Aimee some direction on her poses.

 I just had to throw in one black & white shot for myself :)

For the final dress, I opted to shoot indoors again, using the window light from a setting sun, aided by a white reflector, to concentrate on some detail shots of the dress and headpiece.

Making a fraction of a second... last a lifetime.


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