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Behind the lens: vintage weddings

7 February 2011 No Comment

Heather ShukerHello, I’m Heather and I’m a photographer. My favourites jobs are covering vintage, hand-made and DIY weddings; they’re full of creativity and originality and with all the unique details are a dream to shoot.

My first romance with all things vintage and retro was during my student years in Manchester, and although I no longer have any of my finds from this relationship, I’m pleased to say that the affair with vintage was resurrected again on becoming a photographer and moving to Brighton.

Brighton is full of vintage shops bursting with treasures, especially the North Laine, the home of my faves – Snoopers Paradise, Tramp and Kate & Aud. Vintage and Brighton are a happy pair; they go together like birthdays and cake!

As for the photography bit, I dipped my toe into wedding photography a few years back and last year noticed that more and more couples were creating unique, DIY and vintage weddings. Yippee, I thought, and couldn’t wait to get stuck in.

Vintage wedding in Rye

So when bride-to-be Helen contacted me to photograph her and partner Dan’s vintage inspired 1940’s tea party wedding in Rye I was thrilled!

The tea party was held at the delightful Ship Inn and the wedding ceremony was at Rye Town Hall, which dates back to 1742 and still has it’s very own town crier, a fabulous character called Rex who dates back a few years as well!

Vintage wedding in Rye

Rye is a charming little town built around meandering cobblestoned lanes that are dotted with little tea and antique shops; it’s so terribly British (the Americans would love it!) .

Finding suitable locations to photograph wasn’t a challenge with the cobblestones, ‘the house with two front doors’ and a river to work with. However, when selecting locations to shoot, it’s important to consider the distance between each as you have to think about the bride, plus dress, plus heels!

Vintage wedding in Rye

I had about 30 minutes to shoot of the newly weds, which is pretty normal, and timings cannot slip – they were the main attraction at the dinner after all!

As with all my photography, I let things evolve rather than over-direct. At a wedding, the photograph session is often the couple’s first time alone and away from all the hubbub so I also tend to opt for a long lens which creates natural shots and gives the couple breathing-space before going back to their party.

Vintage wedding in Rye

However, I couldn’t resist directing a little bit with the old Victorian lamp-post, which was just crying out to have Dan and Helen to swing around it.

Taking influence from old Victorian wedding photographs, I wanted to get a few of the stern and stiff un-smiling images typical of that era. The style of early photography mimicked that of classical portraiture where only children, drunks and labourers were depicted smiling!

Vintage wedding in Rye

Helen and Dan created a vintage 1940’s tea party with candelabras, tea-pots for table names and china tea cups for the champagne toast! Helen’s mum and Dan’s Gran scoured charity shops for their unique finds.

Indeed, charity shops and car boot sales are full of china trinkets, and if you shop well it works out cheaper to buy old crockery than to hire. What’s more, you get to keep them or sell them on again – there’s certainly the demand.

Vintage wedding Rye

Coming soon – Heather’s top tips for creating the perfect vintage wedding.

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