Bridal Preparation.

Bridal Preparation photography

My name is Paul Massey and I am a Wedding Photographer, mainly based in Lincoln. I would like to share a short story about Bridal Preparation (or Bridal Prep) photography.

Love is in the air… and also in the wedding photo!

The people you love – your mom, the bridesmaids, best friends, sisters – they are here for you. With a passion for people watching, I want my wedding photography to include original snapshots of real, uncontrived, but also tender moments in time, encapsulating the excitement that is being felt.

People being people.

Weddings are where I ply my trade, but really, it is just “people being people” – they just happen to be at a wedding in that particular moment in time.

In those moments, I would like them to forget about me, the photographer.

And when in 50 years’ time they are showing their grandchildren the pictures that I had the joy to create – they can point to real moments and real people.

Back in time.

Through my work, I wish to take my client back to those precious moments in time when the wedding photo was exposed, so that they can see the event from the perspective of their guests.

When people approach me to shoot their wedding, they want an honest and sympathetic set of images, which tell the real story of their wedding.

They appreciate that their wedding day is a once in a lifetime event and they want to look back at my photography that replicates events that happened, naturally, throughout the course of the day.

A precious starting point

Bridal preparation is the starting point for all my wedding photography events and it can be at a bride’s house or wedding venue. It really doesn’t matter where I shoot – my career and personal obsession has always been to capture beautiful and natural images which become a powerful and inspiring starting point of a family story.

Beautiful portraiture or precious little moments, such as a father seeing his daughter for the first time in a wedding dress, or the bridesmaids seeing their best friend as the bride is just about ready to go.

These images are exactly what I am looking to produce at every wedding photography event that I have the pleasure to shoot.


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Fine Art Portraiture

The next area I like to focus on when I am shooting weddings is what I call fine art portraiture. This is where I aim to create beautiful and memorable images that have been composed and lit using my technical expertise and experience. These images are created rather than captured spontaneously and often I will rely on the type of lighting equipment  that is only available to pro photographers such as my portable studio flash unit.

These are the images that have the “wow” factor and really stand out. When presented expertly using the frames or acrylics that I use they make gorgeous works of art that my clients love to have in their walls.

Beautiful sunsets work fantastically well and I also shoot a lot at night to create gorgeous silhouettes and shape. Other examples are when I shoot into the sun on bright sunny days and of course my famous cigar shot.

There are opportunities at every wedding to produce images such as these and it is all about the ability to “see” an image that allows me to consistently produce images of this quality.

Below is a number of my favourite images I would put in this category.


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Key Moments.

Weddings are amazing days to be involved in and I never lose sight of the fact that the images I produce will be valued and loved for many years to come.

Although most weddings do follow a pattern of preparation, ceremony, group shots, speeches, cake cutting and first dance each and every wedding I shoot is unique and individual. When I am shooting a wedding I like to think that there are three main categories  my work will focus on and when all three are combined they create an album that has my own unique style and will consist of beautiful and creative images from your day that tell your story. These three categories are:

Key Moments, Fine Art Portraiture and Natural portraits.

The first category I will discuss are the key moments. I get such a thrill out of producing images from key moments throughout the day. These moments last for no more than a second, when not captured in a professional and creative manner these moments are lost forever, you may not even be aware of them and even if you are it will eventually fade from memory. This is all about emotion, reaction and expression, these images have all this and more.

Here is a collection of some of my favourite images that I have produced that I describe as key moments and it is images of this quality that have to be produced by a professional wedding photographer. Anticipation is paramount when producing these images as they cannot be reproduced.

Enjoy these images and next week Ill have a look at how I produce Fine Art Portraiture.

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Mothers Day

Well with mothers day coming up tomorrow I thought I would share some of my favourite images of mothers from weddings I have shot over the past year or so. Whether it is a bride with her children or a proud mother of bride or groom there will always be some very special moments to capture on a wedding day.

So have a lovely mothers day tomorrow and I will be looking forward to capturing plenty more moments such as these over the next year.

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Group Shots


Most people that know me or book me for their wedding know I am not a huge fan of the dreaded group shots, in fact it is one of the first things I say to couples who I meet at wedding fairs. I am a documentary and reportage wedding photographer and when I am shooting group shots this takes me away from what I am good at doing which is documenting your day in my natural and creative style. Fortunately most people that book me do so for that very reason.

Almost everyone who has booked me for their wedding has a tale to tell about a wedding they went to and all the guests had to hang around for hours while the photographer took endless group shots. It’s not fun for the bride and groom and its not fun for the guests and the majority of the group shots will not even see the light of day.


However, on saying this I also realise that for most people weddings are the only time the entire family gets together and I also know that mum and dad or your nan will want a nice family photo for the mantle piece, so it is important that I get a balance between producing an amazing story of your day, creating some incredible fine art portraits of you both and ensuring your nan and granddad have a lovely photo, so here are some of my tips to ensure we get everything we need on the big day.


  • Send me over a list of the “must have” group shots you would like on the day, try and keep to no more than 5-6 as this can still take up to 30 mins or so depending on how cooperative your guests are. Do not assume I have a set list of family shots, I do not know if your mum and dad are still together or if you like your step mum, I do not know if your aunty is hugely important in your life or not.



  • Give me enough time, I normally like to get these in the bag fairly sharpish after the ceremony, so before your brother has really started drinking or your nan has gone to the loo. There is normally time after the ceremony and before you sit down for dinner for this, I like to do the everybody shot first and after this we can run through the “must haves.”



  • Its good to have some helpers on hand, best man and ushers are great for this as they will know most of your family members and also let people know in advance if they will be needed for any group shots and also roughly what time these will happen.



There, not so painful really, and even with my group shots I like to get a bit of life and energy into them, here are a few of my favourites.


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Winter Weddings

I love photographing winter weddings, in fact this year I have had more weddings in December than I did in August, but they can be a little trickier to plan and when it comes to photography there are a few obvious issues that you do need to bear in mind, so my next blog post is how to get the best out of your winter wedding.

The Venue

It sounds obvious – but choose your venue carefully. There are some fantastic venues that I work at regularly that work really well for winter weddings such as Stubton Hall, Stoke Rochford Hall and Kelham Hall. They all have great outdoor space but also there is is also plenty of interesting indoor areas should the weather be too awful to shoot outdoors.

Ideally you should visit your venue at around the same time of year as you will be getting married and make sure you look around the whole venue, are there indoor places for photographs if the weather prevents you getting outside?

Be Prepared

Please don’t be that bride shivering in a strapless dress in the middle of winter. Embrace the season! Having a winter wedding opens up a whole new world of jackets, boleros, shrugs and shawls. Umbrellas are an essential addition, they make great props and I have been producing some really beautiful images recently using umbrellas to create a really romantic silhouette with my bride and groom.


Winter weddings are a completely different beast to photograph than a summer event. Less light, bad weather, dark venues can all be tricky situations to deal with. I have the experience, technical knowledge and equipment to ensure that I can create imaginative, creative and beautiful imagery in any conditions. Portable studio flash units are essential and my trusty redhead lights ensure that I always have reliable and professional light sources that enable me to work in any conditions and produce the WOW images that my clients love.

The Photographs

This brings us on quite neatly to the photographs. Ok, you might get lucky and have a glorious winter’s day with crisp clear skies and not a hint of rain. Perfect. Or it might tip it down all day. You have to have some realistic expectations of what images you can achieve. If you’ve got your heart set on a massive group shot of all the guests but your venue doesn’t have anywhere to accommodate this indoors, you’ll have to accept that this might not happen if the weather is against you. I have rarely had a wedding where the weather has been against me all day, maybe once or twice, but let’s not mention those ones, so even on bad days there is normally a break in the weather to get some essential outdoor shots, so I may come running up to you at some point and grab you both and insist it is time to get outdoors for some photos

The Timeline

I know I keep banging on about light but it’s pretty fundamental to photography and this is why your timeline is quite important. In summer, when it’s staying light well into the evening you don’t have to worry about the light running out. No such luxury in those winter months when the sun can be setting before 4 p.m, so if you have a 3pm ceremony we will not have any daylight at all. Time to get the lighting equipment out.

And Finally….just go with it

You’ve chosen a winter wedding – so you know it will be cold if nothing else. Don’t be that bride who refuses to take a step outside in case her hair gets a little ruffled in the wind or the underside of her dress gets a little dirty and damp. Honestly, by the end of the night no-one will care how clean or otherwise your dress is but I promise, when you get your images back you’ll be so pleased you trusted me and braved the elements.


Here’s a selection of some of my favourite winter weddings.


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Why Have a Wedding Album?

I firmly believe that all my clients should invest in a wedding album. We are now the most photographed generation ever and according to a survey by Samsung it is estimated that 630 million photos are taken each year, however, only 23% of these will ever be committed to a print or an album, that is almost 500 million photos taken annually that will be lost on obsolete or damaged hard drives never to be seen again. There is also a very real fear that we could lose so much vital information that tells future generations how we live our lives, personal photos of holidays, Christmas, birthdays and family gatherings are all recorded digitally and uploaded to social media, in 50 years’ time will we even have this technology anymore?

To invest in my photography is to invest in preserving your memories and your stories which is why I only use the best quality albums and frames available worldwide. This ensures that my work will be archived and future generations will be able to enjoy them and see you on your wedding day or see themselves as a new born baby.

I recently found an old suitcase stacked full with old photos from my childhood and teenage years and this brought back so many memories,; an old family photo we had taken in the 70s, a wedding photo from my mum and dad’s wedding and a photo of my mum as a young girl amongst others. If these photos had been taken on a mobile phone as so many family photos are today there is no chance they would have been around now.

So preserve and protect your memories and do not just rely on digital packages, have the best quality products you can from me and you know that you grandchildren will be laughing at your wedding photos in 75 years time. 


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