Wedding Photography Workshop

A few weeks ago, back in February half term, I stepped out of my comfort zone and attended a Wedding Photography Workshop up in Leeds, which was being run by Steve Gerrard.

The girls and I had a family photoshoot with Steve last summer and I really liked his easygoing manner, so much so that we’ve booked in with him again this year.  It was his wedding photography that first made me follow him on social media – he does a lot of destination weddings (check out my two favourites – this one in Iceland and this one in Lake Como in Italy) and he has a distinctive funky style that sets him apart from all the other wedding photographers I’ve come across.

I love the way Charlotte is looking at Mike in this shot

Hands will always be my favourite thing to photograph

If I could take this one again I’d position myself differently so I could leave out the window in the background, but I loved Charlotte’s expression of genuine happiness too much to leave this shot out of the collection. Sometimes the moment matters more than the location.

I’ve dabbled in wedding photography a couple of times before – a local wedding photographer friend of mine (also called Steve!) has twice asked me to stand in as a second-shooter at the last minute when his regular assistant couldn’t make it.  I’m fully aware that I was a final resort but I’m incredibly grateful that he gave me the opportunity to shadow him, watching and learning as I went, and that he trusted me enough to let me loose amongst the guests with his camera.

I loved the whole experience and I learned a whole heap of stuff from him.  Plus, well, who doesn’t love a good wedding?  I knew that it would be something I’d love to add to my portfolio as my experience with photography grew, but capturing someone’s big day comes with a fair bit of added pressure.  With family photography, if you miss a moment it doesn’t matter too much as you know there will be more moments to come.  But with wedding photography, if you miss that key moment there’s no way of getting it back again.

‘Ey up! How fabulous is this graffiti wall?!

I really love this tender moment though it bugs me a little that I had to crop it square to get rid of a drainpipe in the background

As a result, when I found out that Steve Gerrard was running a Wedding Photography Workshop I jumped at the chance and booked on immediately.  I’m not normally that spontaneous, preferring to think things over before I invest, so I think that shows just how much I rate him – I knew that I would learn a lot from spending the day with him.

The Wedding Photography Workshop was held at Light Space Leeds, a collective working space where independent creatives can rent a desk instead of working in solitude at home, giving it a real community feel amidst the instagrammable exposed brick walls, hanging plants and overstuffed sofas.

There were seven of us in total and most were already working as professional wedding photographers and were simply looking to up their game.  I have to admit I would usually feel out of place in that scenario, worrying that I’m not good enough compared to everyone else.  But I immediately felt comfortable and settled as we sat down for a morning of classroom learning.

A sweet embrace

The way he looks at her…

Have I mentioned that I love capturing hands…? 😉 Even better if there is a wedding ring involved.

Steve is an absolute wealth of information and he shared tips, ideas, experiences and stories with us over the course of a couple of hours.  My notebook pages were soon covered in my untidy scribbles as I hurriedly wrote down all the things I wanted to remember.  At midday, Charlotte and Mike, our models for the day, arrived.

Charlotte is a wedding photographer herself (take a peek at her portfolio – such beautiful images!) and her husband Mike often second shoots with her.  She looked beautiful in her wedding dress and after getting acquainted we headed out into the streets to start shooting.  It was absolutely freezing and I really felt for Charlotte who was shivering in her dress whilst the rest of us were bundled up in thick coats, hats and gloves to protect us from the almost sub-zero temperatures.  She was an absolute trooper though and happily posed for us, making it look completely natural and comfortable.  I’m so grateful to her and Mike for stepping in at the last minute after the original models Steve had arranged were unable to take part at the last minute.

The area of Leeds we were shooting in was predominantly industrial and I have to admit I initially had my doubts as to us being able to get any decent shots – it’s just not the kind of backdrop you think of when you visualise wedding photos.  Somehow though, Steve made it work.  Who would have thought you could get cool images with a backdrop of peeling paint (which it turns out is fantastic for adding texture to your photos); garage doors (a pop of colour really works); a run down old basketball court (interesting lines and more colour) and grafittied walls?  I have to be honest – my heart still definitely lies with more natural and green locations, but it turns out that urban backdrops can be fun to work in too.

The car in the background bothers me, but otherwise who knew that a ramshackle old basketball court could make a cool backdrop for a wedding photo?

I have no idea what he whispered in her ear to get that kind of a smile but I can guess 😉

A couple that laughs together, stays together.

After a couple of hours shooting we headed into the warmth of a nearby restaurant for a late lunch – the sweet potato and chilli soup was exactly what I needed to defrost myself from the inside out – and then returned to the classroom for some more learning plus a critique of some images we had pre-provided at the start of the day.

I was a bit worried at first that I hadn’t got many shots – I tend to take a while to ‘warm up’ with my shooting and it felt like I hadn’t really found my rhythm with it properly that day, though I’m not sure why.  I decided to wait for 48 hours before looking though my work and thankfully ended up being pleasantly surprised when I looked through my memory card and realised I’d captured more than I thought.  Obviously I still need a lot of practice but I’m quite pleased with the little selection I’ve shared here.

We ‘borrowed’ the front steps of this old church to get a couple of slightly more traditional wedding shots

One of my favourites from the session – I love black and white shots so much

It was totally worth the five hours I collectively spent on trains & in taxis and the very reasonable price I paid for the Wedding Potography Workshop.  If wedding photography is something you’re interested in adding to your skillset; if you already offer it and want to improve your shots; or even if you do a completely different kind of photography, if you get the opportunity to attend one of Steve’s workshops I’d absolutely encourage you to do it – you’ll come away with practical experience, plenty of tips and more confidence in your work.

Brightly coloured garage doors = fun and funky wedding images

The final shot of the day, taken in a run down old alleyway. But I don’t see anything other than the connection between Charlotte and Mike and that’s exactly what wedding photography is about

More Posts

25 Comments

  • Reply March 13, 2018

    Karen Beddow

    These are absolutely beautiful. I keep meaning to try and talk to you about how much you’d charge to come and take some photos of our extended family soon? Would love some shots and whilst Matt could take a lot of them he can’t be in them if he’s taking them!

    • Reply March 13, 2018

      Chloe Ridgway

      Oh gosh, thank you Karen! If you send an email to me at hello@picturetakermemorymaker.co.uk we’ll sort something out – I’d love to come and photograph you and your family!

  • Reply March 13, 2018

    Steve Gerrard

    Great job Chloe. Love the variety. And thanks for the kind words.

    • Reply March 13, 2018

      Chloe Ridgway

      Thanks Steve! And I meant every word 🙂

  • Reply March 15, 2018

    Charlotte

    Ah Chloe, I’ve only just seen this! But thank you so much for the lovely words and photos! Great read and me and Mike love these shots! ❤️❤️❤️

    • Reply March 16, 2018

      Chloe Ridgway

      Thanks Charlotte. I’m glad you like them so much 🙂 Thanks again for modelling for us in the freezing cold!

  • Reply March 16, 2018

    Esther Diaz

    The photos look great. Looking forward to more of your works! 🙂

    • Reply March 16, 2018

      Chloe Ridgway

      Thank you Esther, that’s a very kind thing to say.

  • This workshop sounds amazing and perfect for you Chloe!! You managed to get some really beautiful shots and the ideal start to your wedding portfolio. I wish you all the best of luck with your new photography venture xxx
    Heledd – Running in Lavender recently posted…Best of Beauty Boxes by A Model RecommendsMy Profile

    • Reply March 17, 2018

      Chloe Ridgway

      Thanks so much Heledd – it was challenging but fun, just the right combination!

  • Reply March 18, 2018

    Jo - Not A Frumpy Mum

    The photos are gorgeous, I love the moments you have captured between the couple. Those looks are just beautiful. xx
    Jo – Not A Frumpy Mum recently posted…Eleanor Oliphant, The Goonies and New Buys #LittleLovesMy Profile

    • Reply March 19, 2018

      Chloe Ridgway

      Thank you Jo, that’s very lovely of you to say. The ‘moments’ are my favourite things to photograph.

  • Reply March 19, 2018

    Morgana

    What a wonderful workshop and such a great experience for you. You have an eye for those gorgeous moments Chloe. You really are so talented x

    • Reply March 19, 2018

      Chloe Ridgway

      Oh Morgana, that’s such a kind thing to say. Thank you. I think it’s more about being in the right place at the right time to be honest, I just love the details of moments of connection between people.

  • Reply March 21, 2018

    Suzanne

    Gosh you’ve really chosen some fabulous backdrops to these photographs Chloe. Sounds like you’re doing brilliantly learning as you go and Steve is clearly a wealth of knowledge! What a great set of photographs.

    • Reply March 24, 2018

      Chloe Ridgway

      Thanks for your kind words Suzanne. Credit for the backdrops goes to Steve – he chose all the locations, we just learned from him and applied it. Aren’t they fab though? There’s nothing like that near where I live!

  • Reply May 29, 2018

    Chen W

    Great photos, Chloe. Hoping to see more of your work soon!

    • Reply June 2, 2018

      Chloe Ridgway

      Thank you!

  • Reply July 3, 2018

    mahir

    Great work, Chloe with Charlotte
    and the words are really awesome with you place the picture above and out of them i love the one-shot which is really awesome and that picture is above in which Charlotte looking mike.
    great work

  • Reply July 11, 2018

    Rich

    Great photos and way to step out of your comfort zone. Wedding photography is never something I have wanted to venture into. But you appear to be very good at it. Keep up the great work.

    • Reply July 12, 2018

      Chloe Ridgway

      Thanks for your kind comment Rich!

  • I took a wedding photography workshop many years ago too. It helped me out tremendously. I am glad you had a similar experience. Great photos too!

    • Reply July 30, 2018

      Chloe Ridgway

      Thank you! I don’t think we ever stop learning really do we?

  • Reply July 24, 2018

    JasonRider

    Awesome photos. Wedding photography is not easy for me. But you did it very well. Great Keep it up.
    Looking for more photos

    • Reply July 30, 2018

      Chloe Ridgway

      Thank you!

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.