In my job I’m very privileged to meet people from a whirlwind of different backgrounds, ethnicities and cultures. One particular occasion that sticks out in my mind however was a wedding at the Law Society in Chancery Lane, London, between Wing Hang and Imran.
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It was a pleasure to work with this wonderful couple and to fuse two beautiful cultures; whilst both parties were born in the United Kingdom, Wing Hang’s family stem from Hong Kong, while Imran’s family are from Pakistan. I spoke about the wedding photography project with the couple and they told me they wanted a traditional wedding incorporating both their backgrounds, so I was looking forward to the new challenges this would present to me.
Phase one: reportage photography
With so many intricate patterns and delicate final touches to prepare, as you can imagine, the getting ready phase took some time! I went into reportage photography mode and followed the bride closely as she got her hair and make-up done. With ornate headpieces and henna tattoos, there was a lot to capture here, but it was a pleasure and Wing Hang looked every inch the princess.
Unlike Western cultures, Wing Hang and Imran were allowed to see each other before the ceremony, and they even helped each other put the final touches on with their flower pins. They had to look the part – the portrait photographs were just minutes away!
Formal portrait photography before the ceremony
Breaking tradition once again, we decided to take the formal photos before the ceremony (arguably better as there is less chance of make up running with happy tears!) We had just one hour to put together a multitude of shots, but the two handled it like professionals.
Next came the ceremony, which was a wonderfully intimate and emotional time that encompassed both cultures. All of the traditionally-dressed guests filled the room with an array of colours and there was a harp player in the background which really brought everything together.
Wedding reception photography in a reportage style
Later came the reception, and I could see that Wing Hang and Imran had spared no expense when it came to providing for their guests. In particular, the cake and sweet corner looked simply divine, and catered for all tastes with an impressive mix of Chinese and Pakistani culture.
The newly-married couple entered the reception area to the sound of traditional drum beats, before taking part in a Chinese tea ceremony. This involves the couple kneeling in front of the guests to serve tea before receiving gifts.
We finished the evening with some informal group photographs on the stage before I worked with the couple on their own to capture some final portrait shots. In particular, I loved photographing them outside standing within a ring of tea lights. I used a flash from behind to create a sharper silhouette.
As the big day drew to a close, the couple said goodbye to their guests and I set about turning their photographs into a collection of beautiful memories. I really hope I get the chance to capture another wedding at the Law Society – this venue really lent itself to their vibrant array of themes with its vast 19th century open spaces from the Reading Room to the stained glass windows. It’s a photographer’s playground and is certainly ideal for more upscale ceremonies. Wing Hang and Imran were wonderful to work with and I wish them every happiness together.