Building a Wedding Portfolio

Wedding photography is something I’ve never aspired to do.  I prefer to shoot landscapes, nature, and wildlife than people.

I’ve been asked a few times if I’d photograph a wedding and had always declined the opportunity.  Last year a friend asked me to photograph her wedding.  Her and her fiancé both liked the style of my photos on Facebook and were quite relaxed about their wedding.  I was very honest, saying I’d never photographed a wedding before, and they’d get better results from an established wedding photographer.  But they were sure they wanted me, and I found myself saying yes. 

Before the wedding day I knew there would be a few things to get sorted.  I needed a flash in case it got dark, and picked one up at The Photography Show.  I needed a spare camera body in case mine failed, and managed to borrow one from a friend.  I really needed some practice, and The Trained Eye ( had just the thing. 

They run a ‘portfolio builder’ day ( aimed at solving the conundrum of photographers needing a portfolio of images to get work, when you need the work to build a portfolio.  The day is all about giving lots of opportunities to get stunning photos, with real-world wedding photographers on hand to give pointers along the way.  Experienced models, like Bethany Rose, dress up in wedding outfits to be brides, grooms, and bridesmaids. 

Luckily for me there was a portfolio builder day scheduled just four days before the wedding I was due to shoot.  It was convenient for me, being hosted not far from home at Notley Abbey (  So I signed myself up and I’m very glad I did.   

The day gave me the practice I needed, and definitely did what it promised – giving me a great portfolio of images to use in the future.  It also really boosted my confidence before the big day.   

Lightscape Photography Exhibition

When I first got into ‘serious’ photography I bought a DSLR camera and did a couple of evening class courses run by Oxfordshire County Council Adult Learning. These taught me all the basics at a beginner and then intermediate level. I then signed up for a third course of ten lessons aimed at building a portfolio for an photography exhibition.

The exhibition, called Lightscape, ran over a weekend in June 2010 in Witney, Oxfordshire. My classmates and I did everything to set the event up – from hiring the room to laying on some refreshments. I even did a bit of promotion on the local BBC radio station, being interviewed by the lovely Louisa Hannan.

As part of this course we picked individual themes for our photographs.  My theme was ‘Extreme’s of Time’; all the photos I exhibited were take with either a very fast or very slow shutter speed to produce some interesting effects. My photos from the exhibition are below.