The Cigar Shot.

Why I Love These Shots


The Cigar Shot


As a wedding photographer it is essential to have a selection of unique images that set me apart from my competition. Photographs that when produced are instantly recognisable as my original work.


I like to think that I have an individual style of wedding photography, but I definitely have a number of images that I shoot at weddings that are uniquely “Massey Photography”.


One of these is my cigar shot. I have been shooting this image for about four years now and the first time I produced it I won an award at the SWPP convention.


Each Shot Is Different

I love the fact that no matter how many times I shoot this image, they are all completely different, but they all have an edgy and strong feel to them. I will always produce them in black and white and give them a really contrasty and punchy look.


I also love the fact that I will provide the groom and his friends with an image that is impossible to recreate without the complex lighting technique I need to use to create this shot.


Of course, this image is not limited to the boys and I do love it if a bride or the bridesmaids want to get involved… Although the outtake photos are very funny at times when people are not used to smoking cigars, but I would not dream of sharing those.


So here is a selection of some of my favourites and, of course, I’ll be shooting plenty more like this at my next weddings.



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Wedding Guests.

The Big Picture of Your Wedding Day.

I love to tell the story of your wedding day through photography and every wedding is a great story!

I love capturing the detail, the style, the vibe and tone – slowly building the character of the album and the spirit of a new life, where two families and two special people share the feelings of joy, excitement, commitment and loyalty.

The key moments that occur throughout the day and gorgeous images of the bride and groom are the essential elements of my routine. That, as well as the smiles and the presence of your guests, your close friends and family members that are all there for you on the special day.

I have shot weddings where friends have travelled half way across the world to be there for the bride and groom and, as a documentary wedding photographer, it was essential to capture the presence of these wonderful, positive and dedicated people and their involvement throughout the wedding day.

I love to just observe how the day unfolds and see those moments when people are not aware of me shooting them – this allows me to capture images which scream authenticity, sincerity and the excitement of the moment!

These moments tend to occur either directly after the ceremony or during speeches – the conversations and reactions to speakers and humourists within the party demand exceptional attention of the lens.

By the time these speeches and conversations take place, most wedding guests will be used to me being there and shooting away, allowing me to produce great wedding images at a moments’ notice. It is all about anticipation and readiness, because there is always the potential for a great image to be produced at any time. The challenge is to ensure each image is composed perfectly at the moment the image is created

When I am designing the wedding album, I like to focus on including many great images of the guests, showcasing the experience of being part of a family, a circle of friends and a community. This element is often times noticed by potential future clients at wedding fairs when they see my albums. Your guests are a massive part of your day, they make up your story and to me they are an essential ingredient of the big picture of your day.

Here are some great examples of my work that really showcase my ability to produce beautiful images of guests from the day.

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Gorgeous, fine art portraits.

The best moments in life, captured in timeless images

As a documentary wedding photographer, my objective is to record a faithful and natural visual account of your special day, capturing the subtle details, the colourful emotions and timeless expressions of love, commitment and affection – most of the time you will not notice my presence, as I document one of the biggest days of your life.

Timing is key

During the wedding day, there will come a point when I will create truly stunning, knock-out and iconic images, which I describe as fine art portraits. These images can only be produced with an exceptional take on creativity, a developed vision and expert technical knowledge. This is possible through many years of experience and experimentation in the Documentary Wedding Photography industry.

Every wedding venue has character

Every wedding venue has its own special features. When it comes to Wedding Photography, I look for these features, which I know will work visually and can be utilised to create something truly timeless, inspiring and visually amazing. Perhaps this will be a certain angle or a brief moment of natural lighting which will be the key element, resulting in the best conditions to capture the perfect expression of love between two people.

Documenting precious memories with iconic images

Beautiful images can only be produced with expert technical skill, imagination, vision and creativity. At every wedding event, I challenge myself to create an iconic image, which will be unique to myself as a professional photographer and my client.

The image below was from a few years ago at Normanton Park hotel. It is a great example of making great use of natural lighting – I love this image and I still exhibit it at wedding fairs all over the country. The light to produce this image lasted a very short time and it was essential to grab the moment when it arrived.


This image from Louise and Sam’s wedding shows the importance of capturing a visually complete moment. I just love the way the bride and groom are framed perfectly by the trees as they are silhouetted by the setting sun.


Natural frames are something I always look for. I love the graphic and stark effect they create, especially when produced in contrasting black and white. This is a great example from Stuart & Kerry’s wedding shot at The Old Vicarage in Southwell.

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Documentary style wedding photography.

Why I love documentary-style Wedding Photography.

I find myself in very enviable positions at weddings, especially when I am situated at the front of the wedding ceremony room.

Such positions give me the perfect vantage point to use my many years of experience in professional photography to carefully curate the tiniest details in order to create memories which will define the wedding ceremony. A once in a life time event, which will live with the bride and groom forever.

The magic of wedding photography is in the small details

Through wedding photography, I have had the pleasure to act as a witness to the most precious moments in peoples lives. The significance of these moments is revealed in the pure expression of love, beauty and happiness at the exact moment a bride enters for the start of the ceremony – and my job is to document these moments creatively and beautifully.

The art of hiding in plain view

Capturing the most important and genuine moments at a Wedding Ceremony requires timing, anticipation and sometimes a bit of luck

The timing and opportunity to capture a powerful moment requires full-immersion in the wedding followed by a certain level of anonymity. A kiss can last for just a few seconds, but with careful composition and expert timing, I use my experience to capture these images beautifully without being intrusive.

I do not want to shoot hundreds of photos and hope for the best, I want to get “the shot” and be as economical and as precise in my approach as a professional wedding photographer as I can.

Anticipation and timing is my own personal mantra when it comes to documenting real moments, real emotions and real people during a wedding.

Louise and Sam: a complete wedding experience, captured in powerful images

There are two photographs that I particularly love from the Louise and Sam wedding ceremony which took place at the Holthorpe Hall.

For me it is all in the expression of Louise’s parents. Her mum looks like she has her breath taken away and her dad looks the proudest man alive.


This image of Luke from September is so full of emotion and is just perfectly composed and for me is almost the perfect documentary wedding photograph. Talia and her father are just approaching Luke and it is this instant just before they meet that has been captured beautifully.


Finally I would like to share an image from a couple of years ago with Lizzie and Duane, again I just love the looks between bride and groom at the precise moment they meet at the alter, a beautiful photograph that really shows the love between a young couple.

Let’s connect on social media!

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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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