“… Then just when the guests think it can't get any better, people are directed to wander around to the Great Conservatory, which for me is the real jaw-dropper…”Read More
London boasts many grand locations. And while many have significant individual strengths like location, decor and history, I think The St Pancras Renaissance is one of very few in the UK capital to have it all.
I greatly value my position as an official supplier to the hotel; working there is always a delight. It’s also yielded some of my favourite wedding commissions over the last couple of years since the hotel opened after a lavish upgrade.
So, a great venue was in the bag. Now, enter Paula & Sam - and these guys are cool. Whenever we’d meet they would burst through the door, scooter helmets in hand, happily windswept and keen for a chat. From our first meeting on a freezing winter’s night, I knew these two would make great subjects.
Their day was an eclectic mix of personalities, fun, emotion and that oh-so-rare thing - laid-back formality. With everything wonderfully overseen by the events team at The Renaissance, the day zipped along at a pace with not one dull moment.
I’ll let Paula explain - how from their perspective - they felt it all went…
“As soon as Sam and I met Mark we knew he was the right person to photograph our wedding day. Relaxed, warm and an exceptional listener, he instantly understood our brief and never tried to change our vision, rather offer support and work with our ideas.
We started the journey together and our subsequent meetings (always with a coffee and an exciting story to tell) were filled with enthusiasm and a comfort it was going to be okay on the day. His photography is incredible – a beautiful mix of formal, black & white and our favourite – capturing special poignant moments throughout the day...”
In fact, for me this wedding had only one downside: suit envy. Now, I’m pretty sure Sam put his trust in Burberry on his wedding day. And I am therefore planning an intense spot of January sales shopping.
As usual here are only a handful of my personal memories as seen through the lens. Click any thumbnail to enlarge...
It took a nanosecond to email back after Maria Yiannikaris at Mirror Mirror Bridal asked if I was available to come and shoot some catwalk couture material. Alongside some the biggest names in bridal fashion, Mirror Mirror was showing its latest collection and needed to document the evening for press and PR use.
The event was a lavish affair in conjunction with Brides magazine. Combine a runway full of models and freedom to shoot whatever against the spectacular backdrop of the ballroom at The Mandarin Oriental in London's Knightsbridge - it was a pretty good gig for a weeknight!
It also shows that wedding photography isn't all about actually being at weddings. There are so many areas within the industry to explore photographically. From specialist supplier shoots through to portraiture of company bosses, it's a varied world offering rich detail and flamboyant personalities.
I have always loved working in an environment with strong lighting. There are endless opportunities to use the light in front and behind your subject to create something with great contrast and visual punch. Add to this the buzz of excitement in the room as the girls strutted their stuff and you have a dramatic canvass on which to paint with the camera.
Here are just a few from the event. Click any thumbnail to enlarge or navigate with the arrows...
This is probably best filed under 'if you can't beat 'em, join 'em'. They say photography is all about capturing the moment - and this was about capturing somebody else's.
Smartphones. I couldn't live without mine, and they just get people shooting more pics, which makes them brilliant in my book. To the many photographers who moan about wedding guests whipping them out at every opportunity, I say: get over it.
I really think this shots sums up the fun side of a wedding reception. When a few friends get together and smile for somebody else, it's a shot. But this example came at the end of the day and my work was almost done after a terrific shoot at The Renaissance Hotel, St Pancras. With this in mind it was just nice to get into the huddle and create something a little different..
If you ask me, London is the greatest city in the world. It has the lot. The streets are filled with a million fashions encased by every kind of architecture and there are places of interest to suit every taste and need.
Much of my time is now spent working in this city and my enthusiasm just grows and grows for our wonderful capital.
My personal relationship with the city began as a very small boy being shown around by my parents. Every weekend is was another sight or sound.
Then, many years later when I started my A levels, it was with tremendous pride that I hopped on to the train every day to attend college near Euston station.
My photographic relationship with the city started a few years later with some PR shoots via motorsport industry sponsors – an area in which I worked for over 15 years.
Leaving that world behind, it came as a big shock to have my very first London wedding commission at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, just off The Mall. Gulp. Nerves = huge motivation.
Since those initial inspiring days I have been so lucky to forge relationships with many truly amazing venues and shoot in some of town's greatest spaces, from the most famous hotels like Claridges, and The Savoy to vast churches such as Temple Church and cathedrals like Westminster Abbey.
I’ve also shot weddings in more than a few of the city’s quirky spots. Variation is key. I believe that being able to shoot well regardless of the location is something a client should demand of a good photographer.
I love the feeling, energy, excitement, drama and heritage of every nook and cranny of our sprawling gem of a city.
So here is a little pictorial celebration of some of my favourite places to shoot... I hope you enjoy them (click to enlarge)
Andaz is one of those hotels which gives a photographer more and more, depending on how much you search. Prior to this shoot, I'd eaten there once, met Nicola and Antony there once, but never really had a chance to recce because it's such a busy, public location.
Located right next to London's Liverpool Street Station, the hotel is what I'd call an 'inside/outside space'. The drinks reception was in a very spacious area, lit by natural light, but all inside - therefore weather-proof. This alone makes it a very popular venue with couples and I really enjoyed the commission as I could also use significant elevation and record the feeling of space in several shots.
Nicola and Antony were fabulously laid-back and just rolled with the day. I was given my usual 'do your own thing' brief and a nice set emerged as a result. I won't overplay the fact that the location was literally 2 mins walk from my train home, but...
So, a stylish couple and a venue at which you don't care about the weather. But what did the weather actually do on the day? It was warm and sunny. Oh, the irony...
As usual here is a small selection from the day. Click on any thumbnail to enlarge...
This recent shoot will always stick in my mind as something fun, stylish and wealthy in character.
Pegah and Sam are Iranian and shooting a Persian wedding was a first for me. The location was a private residence and although it doesn't look like it, the day was blighted with frequent showers.
The detail of the wedding ceremony feast, the guys in black tie and a lovely, happy bride made the day constantly interesting and its laid-back nature made for simple, personal photography and pretty close to ideal from my perspective. We've met up since to shoot some portraits, such was the extent of their enthusiasm for the final results. A great day and a great couple.
As usual I haven't included the whole shoot, but here are my favourites from the set. Click any thumbnail to enlarge...