This Wedding of the Week warms our hearts on several levels, and not only because of the bubbling of laughter and intense emotion in nearly every photo, but also because we at Rf are very familiar with the photographer and the couple: the Surrey, UK-based destination wedding photographer Ed Peers was a 30 Rising Star in 2013, and he shot the marriage of Jennifer Moher (2014 Rf 30) and Hugh Whitaker (2015 Rf 30).
"Jen and Hugh first contacted me a couple of years ago and asked me to take some portraits of them whilst they were in the UK visiting family," Peers explains. "I already knew of their work and it’s always a huge honor to photograph other photographers. We spent the last light on a cold, damp winter's evening exploring some forests and a disused airfield not far from my home in Surrey (you can view the session here). Our time together was short, but awesome."
A little over a year later, though, Moher and Whitaker decided to tie the knot, and they called on Peers to be there to cover their backyard celebrations in their home in Canada. "My approach to photographing weddings is to let them unfold naturally and do my best to capture events authentically in order to tell an honest story," Peers says.
By the photos alone, it's easy to see that their story is full of heartfelt joy, contagious love and overwhelming emotion—especially during the ceremony between Moher's daughters, Ava and Addie, and Whitaker. "Jen and Hugh threw tradition out of the window, making for something unique and personal," the photographer says. "Nothing was done for the sake of it, but every part of the day had purpose and meaning."
Moher put up a blog post recently about what it was like, after having shot hundreds of weddings, to be the bride: "I learned that even though you put money and effort into making things look pretty, it is the people who are there that are the most important," she wrote. "It is the photos of those connections and relationships that I will look at and feel moved by 40 years from now. There were so many things that didn’t quite go as planned; I forgot to shave my legs, I only put nail polish on one hand and forgot to get around to doing the other, we walked right into a tree branch while walking down the aisle together, we meant to have a fire during the reception, and so many other missed little things. But none of that mattered. At all. I know this now more than ever. My memories of the day are of people and moments and not of things."
On Peers' side, the wedding was basically challenge-free, other than doing justice to the day, he says. "Being photographers themselves, Jen and Hugh had already considered light and schedule in favor of great photographs, and logistics were simple since everything was set at their home," he explains. "The challenge is always to keep your ears and eyes open so that you can position yourself to capture those special moments and interactions during the day that only happen once. Fortunately I thrive off that challenge and is one of the reasons I love photographing weddings so much."
Of course, there were countless highlights for Peers as well, like "the mutual embrace and incredible words shared between Jen’s girls, Ava and Addie and their new dad, Hugh," he says, "the beauty of their (former) home and the things it has seen, the strong sense of friendship and family… I could go on, but this day really encapsulated the essences of life and enforced why I love to do what I do."
The Gear Ed Peers Brought…
Cameras: Two Canon 5D Mark IIIs
Lenses: Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L, 35mm f/1.4L, 50mm f/1.2L and 85mm f/1.2L ("The 35mm and 50mm where used 80 percent of the time.")
Lighting: Natural/ambient light ("My speed light never left my car.")