This Is Not Wedding Photography: Postcards From a Wedding Day

Postcards From a Wedding Day

First off I’m not here to put down wedding photography.  Wedding photography is very often very beautiful.  But there does tend to be a shorthand.  Whether it’s posing an sombre looking miniature couple amid massive Red Fir trees or capturing a romantically backlit bride and groom alone together for their first dance, these photos are images the couple will treasure.  But if you work in the industry you tend to see the same shots week to week, wedding to wedding, and they can start to feel a little like easy visual tropes.  And besides, beauty on its own is not really enough.  It gets boring.  So, for me, when photography focuses on what’s superficially beautiful it ends up feeling glassy and empty, and those images don’t tend to reward repeated viewing.  I’ve talked before about the beauty of the snapshot, with its inherent lack of artifice, and that’s what I want this entire set of images in this post to be about — a kind of experiential series of snapshots from the day — a day that just happens to be Anna and Adam’s wedding day.  So no detail shots, no carefully arranged shoes on mantelpieces, no dresses in trees.  Just straight-forward simple photography about people, in the British tradition of photographers like Tony Ray-Jones and James Ravilious.  Photographers who deliberately set about trying to capture something at the heart of the British experience, what it means to be Us.  None of the photos I’ve selected are about what the camera can do, they’re about what the people in front of the camera can do, and the random moments I spotted while I happened to be standing nearby with my own camera.  Not wedding photography then, but postcards from a wedding day.

Dedicated to Anna, Adam and Joe.  You know who you are.  (You’re in quite a few of the photos.)

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26 Comments

  1. Anna and Adam

    Oh Nick. I don’t even know what to say (and that is saying something). We are absolutely blown away. Speechless. I’ve just cried my way through the whole set, and split my sides laughing at loads of them too. We could not love them more. They are special in all the ways you talked about, and a million more ways too. Everything you wrote is exactly why I could think of no-one but you to take our photos, and you have given us so much more than we expected. I will think of something better to write soon, but in the interim, we just think you’re incredible and feel so very lucky to have had you there with us. So much humour, so much life, so much love, so many stories, so much character. I know no-one else who takes photographs like you, and very few people who take photographs with so much soul, life and good humour. You just cut right through all the fluff and guff and hone straight in on what’s true and incredible and real. Every one is a total joy to us. We are over the moon. Thank you so much. You have no idea.

    Reply
    • fern

      Oh. My. Gosh. I have literally just shed a tear, that picture where you are stood so close and his his hand is in your hair. Everyone boogying around you. Absolutely stunning. What a beautiful day! Congratulations! :) love this post!

      Reply
  2. Domi

    Hear hear! Excellent Nick :)

    Reply
  3. Hazel Thomson

    Stunning. Looks exactly how a wedding should look. Looks like a very love filled day. What a talent you are.

    Reply
  4. sam

    wonderful

    Reply
  5. Paul

    Awesome!! Loved looking through these Nick!

    Reply
  6. Charis

    Refreshingly beautiful & perfectly real. Totally understand why you had the honour of capturing this day :D

    Reply
  7. Lyndsey Goddard

    Wonderfully succinct in both text and pictures, as always.

    Reply
  8. Harriet Gill

    Perfectly imperfect. A true documentary

    Reply
  9. Stephen Bunn

    Nice work my friend, honest, timeless and true

    Reply
  10. Neil Thomas Douglas

    I like to think that it’s our job as wedding photographers to capture all these moments and add a few nice portraits of the couple as well.

    This is wedding photography, well part of it anyway.

    Reply
  11. Rob Ward

    What a great post. With superb shots to go with it. I’m not often moved to commment on other photographers post – but just loved this wedding.

    Reply
  12. Kristian Leven

    So soulful and honest; such a great set Nick.

    Reply
  13. Laura Babb

    Superb. Brilliant, brilliant pictures which focus on the most important part of the day: the story.

    Reply
  14. Nick Tucker

    Thanks everyone. This set is pretty much the culmination of everything I want my photography to do, so I’m made up it’s getting the response it has. Thanks again…

    Reply
  15. Andrew Billington

    Great set of photos Nick. A proper document. The textis spot on too.

    Reply
  16. sonia freeman

    beautiful images and Anna looked stunning

    Reply
  17. Karen Flower

    What an absolute pleasure. I feel like I’ve just found a shoebox of photos from someone’s wedding and lived the day with them. Wonderful.

    Reply
  18. Annamarie Stepney

    Beautiful and couldn’t agree with you more on your reflections on what it is to be a wedding photographer…sadly alot of this has got lost in recent years and the details have become too much of the focus instead of the love shared amongst people. Your set of images tell Anna and Adam’s wedding story beautifully and are everything that wedding photography should be… Beautiful. Honest. Fun. Love. So refreshing…and Anna you look gorgeous! x

    Reply
  19. helenfrancesca

    Just wept my way through the day. Thankyou so much for shooting my beautiful friend’s day. These pictures are magical, endless, dreamy, perfect. Superstar work x

    Reply
  20. Thea

    Amazing! All of it.

    Reply
  21. Bristol wedding photographer

    Loving the images from this set. Total love and simplicity in every single one., just what real documentary wedding photography should be about.

    Reply
  22. Alex

    Only halfway through the wedding pictures I realised they are all monochrome. It just confirmed what I felt from the very first frame.
    Thank you for experience. Good luck!

    Reply

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