As a London wedding photographer one is faced with a relatively unique set of opportunities and challenges. On the plus side there is the wealth of fantastic locations and venues in the capital from the grand to the chic to the downright cool but conversely, and much less glamourously, getting around from venue to venue, sorting out the logistics of photographing a wedding can be extremely difficult.
Success starts with planning and and planning starts with meeting and communicating with the couple about to get married. A planning meeting a few days or a couple of weeks before the wedding day itself is vital. At this meeting you need to make sure that all of the key timings and locations are understood and make sure that it is realistic to get from one to another. If any problems are seen at this point it is still possible to sort them out. By the time the day itself arrives it is far too late.
After the planning meeting check routes and timings, make a time plan and plan to arrive at the first venue (usually where the bride is getting ready) at least half an hour early. It’s probably not necessary to arrive with the bride half an hour early but allowing plenty of time for travel and arriving in good time at this early stage of the day works wonders for the photographers stress levels!
In terms of which mode of transport to use this will depend entirely on locations. Rarely will it be best to use the car but if this is the best option research road works, route and parking options very carefully. I wouldn’t advise relying on public transport at all. Tubes and buses are notoriously unreliable and once you are stuck on them it is pretty much impossible to get off! Imagine the stress of being stuck on the tube when you should be photographing the bride arriving at her reception venue! In most cases taxi is the safest bet. If you get stuck in traffic there is generally another route, if things get really bad you can get out and walk or run and the chances are that the bride and guests will be driving so will be caught up in the same traffic as you! This is a good thing!
Clearly this type of approach requires that all of your equipment and back up equipment is portable. A photo rucksack is a good option as it is possible to hold quite a large amount of equipment, maps, food, and other essential items in a number of different pockets. Often it is also possible to strap a mono pod or tripod on and this can be invaluable in leaving your hands free. It’s vital, even with this portable pared down approach that the photographer carries the right equipment. Spare camera body and lenses are all vital, spare flash equipment and batteries as well as adequate memory for the day. We will look at some equipment options for different styles and approaches in a future post.