The Le Manoir Wedding Behind THAT Image

When you win an award for an image, it is often easy to focus on that and that alone when, in fact, the picture was just one that was created as part of a couple’s big day. We create hundreds of images as we document the entire event and so I thought I’d put some context around the beautiful bride in this particular Le Manoir wedding picture!

I first met Marisa to talk about her wedding at Le Manoir where we sat and had coffee (and maybe, just maybe a little Lemon Drizzle Cake – if you ever have the chance should try it! Lush!) and chatted through her day. And it struck me then, just how lovely she was; really gentle and quietly-spoken. And beautiful.

Having agreed to photograph their wedding (I was already excited about it!) we had a planning meeting to make sure I had all the details of their day mapped out and a note of any particular images they’d like – this is something we always do; I really like having a plan in my head even if it doesn’t go that way on the day – which so often it doesn’t! We had pretty much gone through everything when Marisa, almost blushing, asked if she could have one particular picture, promptly waived her iPhone at me and showed me a handful of images from Galia Lahav. I wrote the following in my notes afterwards: “She [Marisa] wants a picture of the back of her dress – we discussed the shots at the top of the steps by the pond.”

Little did I know then that this single, fairly innocuous, note would result in a national award!

Roll forwards to the big day and it was perfect. Le Manoir is always the superlative setting for a wedding but, on a sunny August day, there really is nowhere better.

A glorious outdoor ceremony, jovial, friendly guests, and a bride and groom who were a) chilled b) stunning and c) fantastic company to be around. Well, there you have the ingredients for a magical day. And, boy, was it.

And so the time came to capture some images of the couple. We always try to do this as quickly as we can so that the bride and groom aren’t apart from their guests too long, however things are a little different at Le Manoir as it is such a beautiful place to spend time chilling out in the sunshine and, so, we take a little more time and relax.

With a couple like Marisa and James, it’s easy of course. We meandered our way through the gardens, grabbing champagne (well, they did – I never drink alcohol while working no matter how much merry guests offer it!) as we went. And we arrived at my favourite place in the entire venue: the pond.

I don’t know what it is about this tranquil spot but there is always a lovely quality to the light down there and, importantly, it’s a permanently dry patch just beneath the Yew tree (irrespective of the weather) and it’s here that I had visualised the image that Marisa had described to me.

Marisa has a wonderfully gentle way about her and I wanted to capture a little of that more than I wanted to create a sultry fashion image. And, in the end, it’s her very nature that makes the resulting image quite so engaging. All I had to do was position her high on the steps so the dress could be revealed in all its glory, her stunning bouquet in her hand (care of our friends Fabulous Flowers) and just asked to her to twist so her face was lit beautifully and to rest her fingers on the wall, knowing she would do it in her own elegant way.

As a footnote, there is very little Photoshop work on this image (or any of the other images for that matter) just the removal of a lighting cable that runs across the wall. The light, the location and the gorgeous bride are all that was required. Oh, and that exquisite dress! And the award? Oh, yes forgot to say: it was the Master Photography Awards UK Bridal Image Of The Year 2014/2015.