Featured Wedding Photo: Bridal party pose for photo - on a tractor! By Berkshire-based wedding photographer Ashton Lamont.
Ashton Lamont offers an affordable professional wedding photography and video service throughout the South of England. Ashton Lamont is owned by Peter Riding and Peter shoots every wedding personally from his base near Reading in Berkshire.
Reading Berkshire is a terrific central location from which to reach the surrounding counties of Oxfordshire Hampshire Surrey Buckinghamshire and of course London. Peter often travels much further afield as you will see on visiting the main Galleries Page, where around 200 weddings can be browsed.
Berkshire and the Berkshire borders are blessed with having what is probably the densest concentration of gorgeous wedding venues anywhere. Just take a look at the Venues Page.
Most couples book Peter to shoot all day, typically starting with the girls getting ready and finishing shortly after the first dance. Much shorter coverage is available for some dates and locations. You'll find some suggested packages on the Prices Page; all of these can be varied to suit you.
Again most couples choose an informal relaxed style of coverage with the emphasis on storytelling or "reportage" and with a minimum amount of time spent posing for photos. But if you prefer a more classical approach with lots of elegant finely posed groups - maybe you have friends and relations attending from distant lands who you seldom see - thats absolutely fine. Peter does not impose a style on you.
Peter includes the option for high definition video in all the packages, or as stand-alone video coverage. Browse the Video Page for more details and lots of sample videos.
This article describes the coverage typically provided by Ashton Lamont when shooting your wedding day. It is based on client feedback from hundreds of wedding shot by full-time Reading Berkshire based professional photographer and videographer Peter Riding over the past decade. Of course you can provide as much or as little input for your own day as you wish - there are no rules!
It can also act as a guide for the legions of amateurs wannabes and part-timers grappling with their first weddings; it won't teach them how to work their cameras, it won't jump in and replace their faulty equipment, it won't make them miraculously unintrusive on the day, it won't get dawdling guests together for group photos, and it won't appease their brides heartbroken on seeing the results from over-promising under-delivering enthusiasts. But it should ensure they do at least capture the most important parts of the day! Sorry guys but swans and sunsets nice as they are just don't give you the skills you need; or an insurance policy.
Often the day begins with some photos of your venues - even before Peter visits the girls and the boys to shoot the getting ready. These are called "establishing shots" and help to set the scene and context for what is to follow. The next photo shows the bride's old university - where she chose to have her wedding - and the university's own onsite chapel. These photos cannot help but bring back memories of happy days in the minds of her old university friends, of which there were many in attendance:
Everyone hopes for mild weather and blue skies on their wedding day but there are still some great photos to be had if it doesn't work out that way, such as the church shrouded in early morning mist in the next photo:
If the good weather arrives as ordered then some real chocolate box style landscape photos can be shot. The next photo, which features the popular venue Wokefield Park Reading Berkshire, is from a November wedding and Peter made a point of shooting it in the early morning whilst the weather conditions were good:
If you've chosen to have photographs of the girls getting ready Peter usually starts this around two hours before your ceremony time; any earlier tends to be too early as most brides like the photos to commence when they are on their way to becoming the "finished article" rather than at the crack of dawn. But the choice is yours. Typically coverage starts with detail shots of the dress, shoes, flowers, jewellery, and so on. You can never have enough shoes - apparently - so lets start there, with a flamboyant design:
Shoes don't need to be white or light to be classy as you can see in the photo on the left. Most brides do choose a light colour though, and some decorate the soles with the words "I-Do" to match the grooms soles which may say "He-lp"; both visible to the guests when the couple kneel down at the front of the church:
A garter adds a nice touch and can lead to some rather risqué shenanigans later in the day when the groom may have to remove it with his teeth cheered on by the guests:
Perfume - particularly of the designer variety such as the Vera Wang product in the next photo - and jewellery look great in album spreads:
Oh and a Jimmy Choo handbag, with a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes included for good measure:
Dresses do of course play a huge part in the whole wedding experience and if Peter is shooting the "getting ready" part of the day he will aim to photograph the dress full-length as well as lots of close-up detail. These make great spreads at the start of wedding albums - take a look at the Albums Page for lots of samples - as well as giving brides an easy way of showing the dress to friends and colleagues who perhaps could not make it to the wedding. White dominates the choice of colours but there are plenty of brides who are happy to look outside of the normal. Just look at the shade of red in the next photo. This dress was shot in the opulent surroundings of the Forbury Hotel Reading Berkshire and the surroundings were deliberately included to emphasise the chic boutique vibe:
And how about blue? With dragonfly embroidery? The groom was not about to be upstaged by the brides extravagant dress as you'll see in his new romantics look in the next photo. Shot at another one of a kind wedding venue - Silchester House near Reading Berkshire:
Cats are invariably very curious about what is going on whilst the girls are getting ready. They often try to "claim" some wedding paraphernalia so watch out where you lay those dresses if you want to avoid your expensive creations accessorised with paw prints and fur! There are some lovely photos to be had of the family pets on the wedding morning - probably some of the best you will ever have of these little friends, and something to treasure in years to come. Who could resist stroking these two fellas in the next photo:
Family dogs often find themselves shut outside, locked away, or shipped off to a friends house on the wedding day. Well who wants big muddy paws everywhere? Some get to stay and a semi-formal posed photo such as in the photo on the left or a fun one such as the dog dressed for the occasion on the right work well:
Some dedicated dog owners even bring their pets to the wedding. These two in the photo on the left were more interested in keeping an eye on Peter photographing the wedding than in watching the ceremony. The little fellow on the right was a bundle of energy but also a co-operative poser. He was a great hit with the guests:
Whatever your chosen mode of transport - and this might include anything from walking to parachuting (apparently!) - there are always some great photos waiting to be made. The next photo illustrates a bride and groom arriving by horse and carriage at the impeccable Highclere Castle near Newbury Berkshire:
Carriages do of course leave you vulnerable to the weather so make sure you chose one which can offer some protection from the elements. The couple in the next photo sure were glad they did so as the heavens opened:
Musicians can bring a real touch of class to your wedding ceremony whether they be harpists violinists or string quartets. The style of music is of course entirely your choice. You may prefer a restrained classical number such as the flower duet from Delibes’ opera Lakme (as featured in the iconic British Airways advert), or maybe a more pseudo-modern score like She Said Yes from the Mumfords!
It is important to keep in mind that musicians can occupy a great deal of space but space is always in short supply during ceremonies; OK maybe not in large churches but definitely in most country house hotel civil venues. This can impact on your photography and video coverage if everyone needs to be in the same place at the same time - so plan ahead!
Live music adds tremendously to the ambience of the day and does make for some terrific photos for your album. Video will trump photos every time for this subject so don't skimp on your video coverage. In the next photo we can see a harpist and a string quartet in the thick of it:
Individual close up photos of the performers can bring back the memories as so much detail can be seen. Its often the case that the musicians are known personally to the bride and groom so the photos are particularly valuable:
The period between the end of the wedding ceremony and the start of the wedding breakfast is known as the cocktail hour. Its a great opportunity for socialising with friends and relations from faraway places who you might not meet all that often, whilst everyone indulges in light hors d'oeuvres and of course a few drinks. You can add a real bit of zing to it by including some live music. A band playing trad or dixie jazz can really get those feet tapping, whilst a saxophonist can bring a Frank Sinatra ratpack vibe to the afternoon:
Music wafting through a sunny garden is a lovely indulgence; your own jazz band aboard a riverboat takes it to a new level. The River Thames flowing as it does through Berkshire provides lots of riverboat opportunities:
The cocktail hour might also feature other entertainments such as butterfly releases, dove releases, birds of prey, magicians, and ball games. The butterfly release in the next photo included one of the participants deciding to return to us and perch on the brides hand! We had heavy rain showers on the day but managed the release during a break in the weather. Shot at another popular Berkshire wedding venue the Swan at Streatley just north of Reading:
Every type of wedding celebration is welcomed by Peter, from simple register office, romantic renewal of vows, blessings, to extravagant Asian weddings with hundreds of guests.
Blessings are often chosen by couples who need two wedding days - for one reason or another. It may be that their "proper" wedding is not recognised in law in the UK and therefore a second civil ceremony is needed. Or if friends and relations are spread across the World as in the next photo. Our couple had their first wedding in their now home country of Australia, then had a blessing conducted by a civil celebrant for all their UK friends here in the UK:
The next couple had a Humanist ceremony following their register office ceremony - the Humanist ceremony alone would not have been enough to complete the legalities. The double tipi seen in the next photo together with the outdoor ceremony and native american themes certainly provided a unique experience for everyone:
Hindu wedding ceremonies are full of colour so are a photographers dream. They can be very long - often several hours - and elaborate, so Peter is careful to talk through with the bride and groom exactly what will happen when and where. The getting ready may include henna tattoos for the bride and girls before the wedding day. See the intricate henna in the next photo plus the ceremony in progress at the Hindu Temple Reading Berkshire:
A full-on Hindu wedding ceremony is a total joy to photograph and video. It can be tricky because guests are not accustomed to remaining seated as they would during traditional English weddings, and this can be a real curve-ball for inexperienced photographers. Professional photographers need to think ahead and be able to react quickly and positively to unexpected circumstances. It can help to chat through the timeline with the priest beforehand. Fortunately most priests are enthusiastic to help in every way they can. Similar circumstances are encountered at most Chinese, Muslim, Nigerian, and West Indian weddings as well.
Islamic wedding ceremonies have many traditions of their own, and are often spread over several days. The ceremony featured in the next photo was shot at Baylis House Slough Berkshire, a popular venue for Muslim weddings. The Imam comes onsite to conduct the ceremony. Don't you just love the outfits!
Many weddings include couples of mixed ethnicities. We have an Asian bride and an English groom in the next photo shot during their civil ceremony. The proud father accompanies his daughter, then bride and groom pose in their Asian clothing later in the day:
The wedding featured in the next photo had a Nigerian groom and a West Indian bride. Our bride donned her spectacular Nigerian costume for the evening:
Lots of Nigerian wedding guests guarantees a feast of colours. The next photo shows the traditional Nigerian ceremony in progress on the left, and on the right the following day the English church wedding ceremony:
And the guys. These fellas had their civil partnership ceremony at the Tudor barn on the Berkshire Buckinghamshire border:
Chinese is another culture with a host of photogenic traditions queuing up to be photographed on the wedding day. The next photo shows a Chinese tea ceremony in progress, plus later in the day when the bride and groom drink a toast at every table during the wedding reception:
Posed photos with family and friends can be a priority at Chinese and other Asian weddings. Peter does not impose a style on his clients and if you like the idea of lots of posed photos that is absolutely fine:
Its a priority for most brides that the wedding cake is photographed in all its glory. After all they do cost a heck of a lot and other than the photos there is precious little to help remember these magnificent creations after the wedding day. Usually Peter shoots the cake once it is place just before the start of the wedding breakfast. This comprises a range of photos including the whole cake plus several detail variants. The wedding cake in the next photo was made by the world famous Maison Blanc artisan bakery:
Perhaps a more playful wedding cake design appeals to your tastes, such as the Shaun the Sheep themed cake in the next photo. What fantastic detail!
After the wedding ceremony and the cocktail hour follows the wedding breakfast or reception. And of course the speeches. Speeches are normally made by the Father of the Bride, followed by the Groom, then the Best Man. Occasionally the bride may also speak, as may some other guests. Traditionally the speeches are made at the end of the wedding breakfast but increasingly they are made at the start.
Many couples now choose to have the speeches before the meal in order to help the speakers relax and enjoy their meal without the worry of their "performance" at the end. This also means that if you book a short duration package you may be able to include the speeches - which are a terrific photo and video opportunity.
In the next photo the little guy on the left grabbed the best man's speech and proceeded to mimic him to the delight of the crowd. In the photo on the right the best man delivers his speech as a rap complete with the appropriate accoutrements!
Live music during the evening reception can certainly get the whole room heaving in no time at all, anything from the folk-like rhythms of a ceilidh band - where the bandleader teaches the dancers all the moves on the fly - to favourite rock and tribute acts:
For a band you can't really do much better than The Fab Beatles seen in the next photo performing at the evening reception:
Maybe the Blues Brothers are more your style:
You can get in touch with Peter anytime via the main Contact Page.
You'll see that Ashton Lamont Professional Photo Video is located very close to Reading Berkshire and is easily reached from the nearby M4 M3 and M25 motorways.
Event organisers, venues, and clients requiring evidence of Ashton Lamont's Public Liability insurance cover of £5,000,000 can view and print a copy of the certificate here.
All content on this site is the copyright of Peter Riding of Ashton Lamont. Do not steal. I have a very particular set of skills I have acquired over a long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. Do not steal now, and that'll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you do steal, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you. (With appreciation to Bryan in "Taken").