This particular image was part of a bridal brochure shoot for the Marriott hotel group. They had a healthy number of wedding bookings, but there seemed an obvious lack of engagement with the Asian community. A review of their wedding marketing image quickly revealed why. There were no Asian bridal imagery displayed anywhere.
It’s difficult to engage a target customer if they cannot see an established relationship with similar clients.
When organising a bridal brochure shoot, I visit the venue beforehand, looking for locations that are unique to that particular venue. If a bride likes a particular image within the venue’s brochure, and would like something similar in her own wedding album, then she’s already started her journey to booking that hotel. Wedding photography is very personal, and the imagery within a wedding brochure needs to highlight the unique aspects of the venue. Something to appeal to the bride and groom that can’t be found elsewhere.
I’ve often found the hotel tend to focus on areas that have always been popular with wedding photographers, not realising they have locations dotted around their hotel that are hidden gems. Unusual staircases, quiet corners with unusual chairs and a nice standard lamp, or the really ornate columns found in the reception area. They all make wonderful, and unique imagery that can only be found at that particular venue.
In this case, it’s a beautiful room that has a lovely large bay window at one end, allowing a nice wash of light through. That end of the room is utilised for the ceremony, and it has a really nice ethereal feel to it. At the other end of the room, the walls are decorated in a nice deep red, with lovely warm lighting and long padded benches along the wall. It gets little natural light, although there is some from a glass doorway through to the bar area. Of course, there’s a lot more natural light coming from the half of the room that is utilised for the ceremony, due to the aforementioned bay window.
The above image, although it looks as if it was taken after dark, was actually taken at 1130hrs. Our bride is sat at the end of the bench that is pretty much equidistant from the bay window and the glass door, so it’s the darkest area of the room. I wanted to capitalise on the warm ambience from the wall light, which necessitated a higher ISO than I would normally use for a brochure image. In this instance, after a couple of test shots, I settled on ISO800. Talking about the warmth from the wall light, I was conscious of the fact that once I introduce light, it could easily overpower and washout that rather nice warm glow I wanted to preserve. To help mitigate any possible washout, I chose to use a 30x140cm stripbox with a fitted honeycomb. This was placed frame left, with the head at shoulder height and the stripbox angled down towards our bride.
I had our bride turn her head towards the stripbox, allowing the light to nicely accentuate her wonderful cheekbones.
Lighting wise, I used an ELB400 with a single Action head connected to the B port, and firing at an output of 1.0
1/80th sec ISO800 f5.6
My wedding work can be found at weddingsbymichael.co.uk