A look back at 2016 weddings

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2016 weddings – a review of a year

2016 – what a year. Lets skip over events outside of wedding photography, subject of many a wedding speech in the latter part of the year. #brexitdisaster. For me, the busiest year of weddings ever and I’ve shot 500+ over the years. Not a month clear of weddings. A summer of weddings, than gave me one weekend off, apart from one away with the family, which of course once we had booked the holiday, became a popular date for enquiries (Same thing happening for next year too!). Edited a wedding sat by the swimming pool in Sardinia. One weekend off, that ended up in A&E and a wedding that following weekend, popping painkillers. (Very close to losing use of my left arm…)

A year of weddings in two castles, one French chateau, several tipis in fields, one Circus Big Tent, one winery vat room, several pubs, two gardens, two hotels, two university chapels and several trips on boats.. A famous photojournalist as a wedding guest, a groom from a favourite band of my daughter’s. Watched an actress on the stage in London’s West End in 2015, shot her wedding in 2016. Weddings with glorious sunsets, weddings with cold rain. Hot and cold, bright and dark, large and small weddings, even one with a BBC film crew and one with some naked cyclists!  Most importantly, with clients who understood reportage wedding photography. Non-religious weddings outnumbered the religious ones, three to one. Many new venues but also old favourites like Dewsall Court and Southend Barns and new favourites like Clock Barn. Two weddings in 2016, in which a bride and groom for next year, were in the wedding band.  Wedding guests who were previous bride and grooms – same pattern next year!

It was also a year in which I was asked to be one of four judges, from around the world, on a international wedding photography competition. The International Society of Professional Wedding Photographers, summer contest. Here are the winners. It was an interesting process, selecting twenty images for each of the twenty categories, from over 5000 images, sent in by wedding photographers around the globe. Often it meant judging images that were a very different style to my own – lots of images with very heavily applied photoshop for a start! By the far the most entries were in the ‘bride and groom portraits’ section, rather than captured moments form a wedding day. Looking at the final results, seems I didn’t often agree about the top 5 placings. But still, some great wedding photography in there too!

Weddings for me in 2017, began in January. So far, half the bookings are from couples who attended weddings I shot this last year and before. The others, they found me searching google for ‘reportage wedding photography’. Couples looking for storytelling rather than traditional setups. Natural, honest storytelling, not fashion shoots or contrived images.

So here are a few images from 2016 weddings…

Some favourites from 2016

So, some favourites from 2016 weddings and very briefly why? Images I like and I think reflect how I shoot a wedding.

2016 wedding images by Martin Beddall

Bride waits with her father. What can I say? I love this expression. A real humour to this wedding.

Groom gets ready with his best man

Groom gets ready with his best man. The low angle, the light – the way the arms are parallel. A reportage image.

Father sees his daughter the bride

The bride’s father arrives to take his daughter to the wedding ceremony. Sometimes you have to gamble with finding a position, sometimes luck helps. The way the fingers didn’t obscure her father’s face, with the bride reflected in the mirror opposite (and not me too!) Anyone who says luck has no place in photography… talking rubbish.

Bride and her mother

As the family head out of the hotel room, on their way to the ceremony. A moment between a bride and her mother. It’s the look, the eye contact – doesn’t need words!

Glimpse of the bride

A glimpse of the bride. Light, simplicity, colour.

Tearful flower girl

Tearful flower girl. The expression of the young girl, mirrored by the expression of her mother.

Forgotten the wedding flowers

Bride arrives at the church and her expression changes, when she realizes she left her flowers at the house. A real moment – reportage wedding photography

Town Hall hotel wedding ceremony

Wedding at Town hall hotel. The light, the expression, the eye contact – the happiness!

Canterbury cathedral wedding

Canterbury cathedral crypt wedding. Reportage wedding photography is about the quiet, gentle moments too. As the bride prepares to walk down the aisle.

wedding dance

Wedding dance. The expressions from family and friends as they watch the bride and groom dance.

getting onto the wedding bus

Heading for the wedding bus. A moment between the bride and a wedding guest already on the bus.

Happy face

The bride’s sister with the groom’s sister. What else? The expression caught!

Walking into the tipis

Walking into the tipi. Tipis are great, but they are very dark. A gamble on position but paid off as they raised their arms before entering.

Older couple dancing

Wedding guests during the dancing. No flash just high iso and what ambient light there is – to capture atmospheric moments.

Naked cyclists

Naked cyclists. Every wedding needs some passing by.

Wedding car arrives in the rain

The wedding car arrives in the rain, in the dark. It’s different!

Emotional wedding speech

Emotional wedding speech. Reportage wedding photography is about emotions ( so often hidden at British weddings) but here the groom’s mother watched her son, thank her.

Wedding dance

When the bride gets a lift from her friend.

What they said in 2016

I’ll leave the last word from some of the couples over the last twelve months. Some I will see again, at weddings, in 2017.

Martin produced far more than just photos of our wedding. He gave us a perfect photographic time capsule. His dry gently humour, unassuming manner, coupled with his utter professionalism and attention to detail enabled him to blend into the background and work his magic! The composition of our photos are superb, you can feel the love and laughter in each frame. Superb after service with images and album are the icing on the cake. Wonderful.”

The reportage, documentary style capturing the day naturally as well as with artistic, quirky shots were exactly what we wanted and he absolutely delivered. We, and our guests, hardly noticed him all day and he caught so many special moments brilliantly. What he provided told the story of the day beautifully and, most importantly, my wife is very, very pleased.

On the Wedding day itself Martin was professional, calm and blended into the background; capturing beautiful moments without disrupting the flow of the day for our guests. Our photographs are exquisite – they document the day perfectly. There is an intimacy and realism in Martin’s photography which I suspect comes from his earlier work as a photo journalist for leading news organizations. His work shows subjects as they really are, in natural and unforced settings.

Martin photographed our wedding 4 months ago and we are still getting compliments about “how great the photos are, how well he captured the atmosphere, how he managed to pick up on all the important details, how they tell the story of the day and how amazing that he managed all this whilst being totally unobtrusive”. We couldn’t agreed more with all of the above. Martin is a true professional in photojournalism and I’m so grateful he captured the day, in such a perfect and beautiful way.

Martin did an amazing job at our wedding, I couldn’t have asked for more. The images he presented us are simply stunning and are timeless. We wanted a photographer to capture the beauty of our day and this is what Martin did.

My photos were nothing less than absolutely stunning. Martin truly captured the big day, and incredible little moments throughout. My father told me he plans to fly Martin to the USA for my sisters wedding he loved Martin’s work so much – now all she has to do is get engaged !

Martin excelled all expectation. From our first conversation to the finished article, we could not have wished for more. Martin was not only approachable and friendly but most of all, his work was truly exceptional. Our wedding was in a wine Chateau, which posed many challenges, not least of all lighting conditions. A keen photographer myself, I can only dream of creating the images he produced – each telling its own story, never simply a picture but real works of art we will treasure always.

Fantastic pictures that captured the spirit of the day!

The use of lighting, the unique style and the natural feel of the photos. It was breathtaking. He was not intrusive, even capturing our quiet moments when we thought we were alone! Looking through his photos, we could relive our special day, from my tears watching my wife-to-be walking down the aisle, the laughter while listening to the best men’s speeches to our “well-practised” first dance. His work was simply magical.

Martin was a fantastic at delivering our vision of our perfect wedding photographs and a thoroughly nice person! The photos were online a few days after our wedding on a blog and when we returned from our honeymoon, the high resolution versions were delivered to us in a beautiful presentation box in both colour and black and white. Some of the pictures he took were truly stunning pieces of artwork in their own right and captured some really special moments.

Martin was absolutely excellent. Whenever I thought “that would be an incredible photograph” he was right there behind me already on it. He was on every moment without being intrusive which allowed us to enjoy the day without having to pose. Therefore the photos acted as a story book of the day which is exactly what we wanted. He captured intimate moments without us even realising and the images sum up the personality of our day perfectly !

Best photos. Listened to what we wanted. Got great coverage. Advised about how to get the best out of the venue and the staff. Martin met with us in a local country pub a month beforehand to understand what we wanted. We discussed colour vs b&w and what kind of thing we were looking for both in the ceremony and just afterwards. He listened to all that we asked for, used his expertise to get the shots that we really wanted. In every respect we are very pleased we chose Martin.

Martin was great from initial contact, through to delivery of the pictures in a lovely custom box. The pictures were beautiful, and captured the people at the wedding, despite less than ideal lighting or . We hired Martin to avoid the usual staged wedding photos, and he just got on with capturing the day as it happened! It was great to have trust in him to do his job properly, and made the day run smoothly. As someone who has seen a lot of weddings, he also had some handy tips on the day!

After months of looking, I finally came upon Martin’s work. He was immediately a stand-out photographer, capturing the uniqueness of every wedding beautifully. Martin didn’t fail to deliver for our wedding, it was stunning & his pictures reflected our day perfectly.”

I didn’t want to pose for photos, I wanted someone to capture special, real moments of the day without either mine or my guests day being affected, Martin did this perfectly, the only time I really knew he was there was when I opened the door to him that morning, the rest of the day Martin was a true professional and the photos that came from our day were something else. Martin captured everything perfectly from the bride and groom to our family and friends, The photos are out of this world.

Martin was the perfect choice for our wedding. We had a relaxed festival vibe and wanted the photos to reflect that. I also get very uneasy in front of a camera so Martins documentary style suited me perfectly. So well infact that I actually forgot he was there!

As an actress I’m used to having my photo taken and cameras being around, my husband not so much! We could never capture a photo without him pulling some sort of strange face. Martins style of shooting meant there was hardly any posing which resulted in images that reflected the emotion of the day rather than a facade. He was just excellent !!!!!!!

To be honest, we had left it a little bit late so all of the photographers in our initial budget were all booked up. After extending the budget a little bit we found Martin on a Google search and he was available. The vast and beautiful portfolio on his website meant we were instantly won over. His website is very mobile friendly which is so important as most of my research was done on my phone on the train. if a website wasn’t mobile-ready, I would instantly cross them off the list! The decision to spend just a little bit more was the best decision we made!

His work as a documentary wedding photographer simply blew everyone else out of the water and I had looked for one far and wide – when I came across Martin, I knew I’d found what I was looking for.

After reading Martins blog and seeing his portfolio of work on his website myself and my husband were keen to see if we could book Martin for our wedding. His ethos looked to match exactly what we were looking for – someone to capture the day as it happened as neither of us are big fans of posed photos, that was never going to be part of the day. After our initial enquiry we had a short skype call to talk through where we had got with wedding plans and to sort of “meet” one another. Martin instantly put us at easy, and we knew that he was the guy for us. His relaxed but professional manner meant we had complete confidence that we’d found the perfect person to capture our wedding day – and he really didn’t disappoint!!

I don’t like having my photo taken and prefer photos that have really captured a special moment between people rather than a falsified smile and this is what Martin offered. A friend of the family who happens to be an artist recommended Martin and as soon as I saw his website I knew why. Martin didn’t fail to deliver and in fact completely exceeded my expectations.

I have an interest in photography and wanted a high quality result – technically and aesthetically. Use of depth of field to capture subjects and frame them in the moment, capturing the emotion was something we really wanted. Martin’s photographs online did all of this so we were very keen to get him onboard. We did look at many photographers but Martin’s photographs were the best we saw – exactly what we wanted – and we were very very pleased he was available for our day. We would thoroughly recommend Martin to anyone. First class photography.

We both wanted a documentary style photographer as I really dislike my photo taken – not good for a bride! I started my research and the composition of Martin’s work, his use of light and shade and the way he captures genuine emotion in each frame made me desperate to be able to book him. We were not disappointed.

We wanted a very discrete photographer who took photos undetected throughout the day of “real” emotions and reactions to capture a true reflection of what happened.

I wanted something that didn’t look posed or contrived and that honestly captured the spirit of the day.


Thank you again to all my couples this year, for trusting me to document your wedding days and your kind words afterwards.

Planning a wedding in 2017? Please do get in touch if this style of reportage wedding photography appeals to you?



[…] this was of interest, here are some other end of year posts….2018    2017   2016 […]

Great work Martin. Black and White of the bride waving at her father is really sweet.

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