York is one of the most photographed towns in England. With features such as the original roman walls, the amazing York minster and Clifford’s tower, it’s easy to see why. Hundreds of thousands of tourists are attracted to York every year and millions of photos are taken. Most people will be happy to point and shoot just to document their visit but if anyone wants to take it up a level, I have some tips.
1. Lets start with York’s jewel in the crown, the York minster. Photographing the minster can be a really difficult challenge. To start with, it is 60m high and therefore very difficult to fit in the frame. To make it harder, it is surrounded closely by tall buildings and trees. Many people choose to make a panorama to fit it all in but it usually ends up looking distorted and surreal. The best angle is blocked by a large tree right outside the main entrance. The rear is covered in scaffolding and will be for the foreseeable future. The sides do create some good opportunities. You can snap it through the trees from the park, allowing you to fit the whole height of the building in and creating some more unique snaps. My favourite angle is front and low. I can get some great shapes against the sky and still be close enough to see the amazing details. With a bit of editing in photoshop, the image can be turned to black and white and adjusted to be more dramatic. It is so easy to create fantastic images of the minster if you think outside the box a little.
2. The walls. These are a massive tourist attraction and jam packed with people when the weather is nice. This is exactly the problem with getting a good photo of them. If you have the patience, you may be able to wait for small gaps but the best bet is to simply attack them in the morning when crowds are less. The walls are unlocked at dawn but the times can vary depending on the weather. If the walls are icy, they stay closed. One of the best locations is from on the section of wall closest to the station. This view gives a great long perspective and the minster can be seen in the background. Unfortunately the council have allowed some extra ugly buildings to be built very close to the wall and they can impede on the right side of frame. It’s very unfortunate because it is the difference between a good and a great photograph. Another location is in the section closest to Gillygate. It’s the most scenic section in my mind with beautiful overhanging trees and views of the minster from across the deanery. In spring, the daffodils cover the banks of the walls and make for a very spectacular sight.
3. Clifford’s tower. Most people can get a good photograph of this one. Unlike the minster, other buildings do not crowd it in. Unfortunately there is a car park all across one side but you can easily shoot across the top of them. Spring brings the daffodils and with it come the photographers. It’s truly a great sight to see this medieval fortress completely surrounded by blooming flowers. It’s hard to get a bad picture at this time of year. Simply get down low and close to the daffs, aim the camera at the tower and set it against the blue sky. Beautiful!
4. The Shambles. This is one of England’s most photographed streets. It’s historical buildings lean in to create perfect lines for what is called the rule of thirds. In the case of the shambles, this would be to aim the camera so that all of the lines within the image converge on a single point 1/3rd from the bottom of the frame. As with most of York’s attractions, this popular street is usually pretty crowded so the best times are at dawn and dusk. It is also a great one to photograph at night when you are guaranteed a clear street. There is enough light in the little street to easily light the scene and it is a nice warm hue which looks great against the black sky.
Fantastic Theme Wedding Ideas
Do you want your wedding to really reflect you and your spouse? Think outside of the box, get creative, and make your wedding the event of the year!
Think about what got the two of you together in the first place. Think about the things that you are both passionate about, and plan your wedding accordingly. It doesn’t matter what the theme is as long as you have fun, create beautiful memories, and enjoy your day.
Theme Ideas to Get You Started:
Are you outdoorsy? Did you meet on a hike? Did you meet at a dog park? Did your romance blossom because of a common interest? Use those commonalities to plan the perfect wedding just for the two of you. Perhaps you want your dogs to attend your wedding and act as ring bearers. Maybe you want to ride down the aisle on a horse or ride off with your love into the sunset. If camping is your passion, use it to plan a down to earth, fireside ceremony.
Are you a movie buff? Do you and your spouse share a love for the old classics? Plan a wedding with a Gone with the Wind or Casablanca theme. Everyone loves old-fashioned romance! If revisiting history isnít your thing, plan a futuristic wedding using Avatar or Star Wars as a theme. Stranger things have happened!
Holiday themes are always fun. Halloween and Christmas have all sorts of possibilities! Add a Christmas tree in the corner and request that guests bring an ornament to decorate it with. So many memories will be gathered, and you will be set to decorate your own first Christmas tree together. A monster motif for Halloween could include jack o’lanterns on each table and dancing to The Monster Mash. Santa or The Great Pumpkin could even make an appearance if there are children who might need a bit of extra entertainment at what they consider to be a boring party.
Make it a mystery. Murder Mystery theater is becoming ever popular. Why not make your wedding reception a Who Dunnit? It could be fun for both you and your guest.
Have a pig roast! Nothing is more fun or memorable than a great barbeque in your backyard. Why not hire a DJ, make it casual, and forget all of the stress of the formal details?
It may sound over done, but Beach Weddings have never been so popular. Get married barefoot, have a bonfire, and perhaps an Elvis impersonator to come serenade you with some of his classic beach songs. The photographs will be gorgeous.
If you decide to go with a theme wedding, make sure it represents you and your spouse. Themes can be as classy or as casual as you make them. Make the most of the choices you have and the services you have available to you. Many businesses these days will bend over backwards to accommodate your wishes. Take advantage and make it memorable!
Digital cameras are getting better and cheaper. Decent digital SLRs (Single reflex lens) (Those big cameras that professional photographers use) are now affordable to the point that for under £500, almost anybody can buy one. It’s not just the price that makes them enticing either; these cameras also pack a punch with great quality results. They’re surprisingly good when compared to cameras worth over £1000. Obviously the photographs are never going to be quite as good but to the general consumer, the difference is hard to spot.
A photographer who understands the process that happens every time you release the shutter will understand why a low price range camera just won’t cut it for professional photography.
It’s a vast difference even though the commercial world of advertising is telling you otherwise. Too often have I seen ads portraying some over artistic individual capturing stunning photos with perfect lighting, depth of field and colour.. then the ad ends showing some tiny point and click camera. It’s just not true. It fools people into believing that it’s the camera that does all the work, that the camera will turn you into an artist, that the camera, the camera, the camera.
I’m sorry to shatter the belief but it’s not the camera that takes the great photograph.
So how does this rant relate to wedding photography? Well unfortunately there is a growing number of people who buy these cameras and then believe that they can simply decide to be a professional photographer. Some are camera nerds who will hamper on for hours about the features and functions of their ‘Canon this’ or ‘Nikon that’. They’ve looked up all the specs, understand the way it works and told everyone all about their fancy new camera. Then along comes the soon to be wed relative who is looking to save a bit of money on their wedding. The conversation usually goes something like this: “Oh you’re getting married? You know my brother is into a bit of photography and he’s just bought some fancy new camera, maybe he could do it!” “Oh cool, how much do you think he’ll charge?” “I’m sure he’ll only want like £100 or something”.
So because the bride has been led to believe that it’s the camera that makes the great photo, she’ll be happy to get a cheap photographer.
The brother ends up shooting the wedding. Badly. He spends too much time thinking about the ins and outs of his camera and less time understanding art. He has no training in how to pose people, no understanding of the play of light, no natural flair for photography. The hapless bride will get her cheap wedding photography and she’ll get some OK photographs at the end of the day but unfortunately they probably won’t be anything to look back on with pride.
I know this will probably only make you all jealous but I have to brag. I’m off on holiday at the moment in the Canaries. I’m staying at an amazing resort called Baobab on Gran Canaria. It’s really very impressive. The weather is ok at the moment but getting better over the next few days. I’ve scouted the area a bit and it would be a great location for a wedding or honeymoon. Also lots of nice photography locations. Anyway, see you all back in cold old York sooner than i’d like.
Cheers to all!
York Wedding Photographer.
Venue Matters- Choosing Where to Hold Your Wedding
Your wedding day is likely to be the most memorable of your life. With that in mind, choosing where it is to take place is an important decision. You and your future spouse, your families, and your future children will reminisce your wedding for years to come through photographs and memories, so make it you, make it what you want.
There are endless possibilities on where and how to hold weddings. The first thing you must do is sit down with your partner and discuss your vision, your wildest dreams, your perfect wedding, perfect photographer. Use that discussion as a starting point. Once you have settled on a date, you can seriously consider your best options on where the wedding is to take place.
Take your personalities into consideration. If you are both outdoorsy people, you might want to consider a wedding that includes your interests. Outdoor weddings have always been popular, but make sure that you take some things into consideration before setting your mind on one. The most important thing to consider is: What if the weather does not cooperate? We cannot control Mother Nature, so be sure to have a back-up plan in case she decides to raise her ugly head. Perhaps a wedding involving hobbies such as horseback riding or rock climbing is your dream. Make it happen!
Stranger things than weddings on a mountainside or in a barn have happened. Botanical gardens or even a beautiful back yard are also great options for an outdoor wedding.
If elegant and traditional is more your idea of a perfect wedding, there are many options. The ceremony can be held in a church with the reception happening at a different location (this can be an ideal if you have invited only a certain number of people to the reception). Both can be held at a hall where guests do not have to travel from one place to another. Many churches also offer their parish halls as possible locations for the post-wedding celebration.
Decide how large you want the wedding itself. If you want a small, intimate wedding ceremony and a large party afterwards, you may want to go with a justice of the peace in your living room followed by a huge shindig at another venue. If you simply want to go off with your future spouse and tie the knot, consider a Destination Wedding where you, a few close friends and family, or witnesses travel on a cruise ship or to a faraway place to hold the nuptials. European castles are romantic and beautiful for weddings, but if you don’t happen to live near one, don’t plan on having a plethora of guests!
There are always the ever popular Vegas wedding chapels. If that is your thing, and you want to share it with more of your friends and family, Vegas can be a great destination, easily accessible, and fairly inexpensive for your loved ones and your happy day.
Whatever you decide, wherever you choose, make it your day, make it memorable for you, and enjoy every minute of it!