Leeds, England-based photographer John Hope cuts to the chase when describing what he loves about shooting weddings in general and portraits in particular: "Fake smiles just don’t cut it," he declares. "I’m always on the lookout for dramatic lighting and striking backdrops to create something a little more arty and epic that will demand some wall space."
Cue the nuptials between Kate and Gareth, shot by Hope in Manchester last December. He had plenty a creative moment during their ceremony, says Hope, which took place in the grand setting of the Manchester Cathedral, with a reception that followed at a private members club called On The 7th, located in Media City ("where a lot of the filming in the north of England takes place").
Hope says the theme of the wedding was classic/city style to match the setting. "The boys looked slick in tailored navy suits and ties, and there was a simple but classic white colour scheme for the florals," he recounts. "The best man is married to a photographer who was attending with him as a guest. The bride- and groom-to-be asked her for photographer recommendations and I’m pleased to say they chose me!"
"Manchester Cathedral is a stunning setting for a ceremony and contrasted nicely to the urban setting by the river for the reception," says Hope. "Throw in that gorgeous winter sunlight and I was like a kid in a sweet shop for the couple portraits. It obviously helped having such a game and relaxed couple who looked so good on the day."
For the shot of the bride and her dad walking down the aisle (below), Hope says he had spotted the pool of light ahead of the ceremony and knew the bride and her dad would have to walk through it. "I just waited for the right moment," he says.
Hope says the only real challenge of the day came in the room where the wedding breakfast was held (below). "It was tricky to light with a low roof and the guests crammed in, so I was pleased to get this shot," Hope says. "I opted for a two-strobe approach. One flash cross lighting—which lights up the glasses here and gives a nice rim light to the groom —the other centered and bouncing off the ceiling."
This final frame (above) was Hope's little experiment of the day. "I had this idea to get some coloured cellophane and cut a hole in it to shoot through," he says. "I think it worked well, especially with the backlit subject."
John Hope's Gear:
"I'm a single-body shooter, using a 5D Mark III and Canon prime lenses: 28mm f/1.8, 35mm f/1.4, Sigma 50mm Art, 85mm f/1.8 and a 135L. I also use Canon Speedlites with Yongnuo triggers."