Emilie White, a French wedding photographer living in the UK, shared this wedding with me a few weeks back, and I loved not only how she was able to capture the sweet personality and intimacy of the celebration but also that it took place in, as White wrote in her email, the “non-famous side of the city.”
White met up with Rachel and Blake for a pre-wedding session a few months before they tied the knot, allowing the photographer and couple to become a bit more acquainted before the big day. “I love doing these [sessions], as it is really important for me to make my couples feel comfortable in front of my lens,” White says, “but more than anything it allows me to discover who they are, how they interact, what matters to them, which is fundamental in my storytelling process. I need connection.”
To White’s delight, the couple had a fairly laid-back celebration in store. “Rachel and Blake wanted from the beginning a really relaxed, informal and fun day where everyone can just turn up and have a great time,” she says. “It was exactly that, and it’s the type of wedding I love to shoot with beautiful emotions.”
One of the somewhat expected challenges of shooting in London is dealing with its fickle weather, but White says she and the wedding party were able to dodge the rain when it mattered most. The not-always-ideal scenery and backdrop were a different story.
“The registrar and the pub, where the reception took place, were within walking distance. It is not necessarily the most picturesque street in London,” the photographer explains. “Add to that the fact that the weather was constantly changing, and we did not have much time to venture far. This is where you need to learn to ‘see’ things even though you might not have an amazing view or sunset (which we sort of did for 5 minutes!). It is really important for me to take time to find beauty in ‘imperfect’ places or ordinary moments.”
(White actually feeds an ongoing personal project called See the Ordinary that explores that concept: “Learning to see extraordinary in everyday ordinary,” as she says. “It has definitely helped me push my creativity and challenges me everyday in appreciating the simple things or locations.”)
What stood out most to White was just how the couple and the wedding party felt like they could let go and be themselves in front of the lens—a wedding photographer’s dream, of course, but not always a given.
“I find that in England there is a bit more reserve in revealing your emotions (I don’t mean this in a bad way! It’s just what the French girl that I am has noticed!),” she says. “I think Rachel and Blake felt at ease. After the ceremony, Blake’s dad came up to me and kindly said that I managed to capture them as they are together in their portrait session, which meant so much to me.”
Cameras: Two Canon 5D Mark IIIs
Lenses: 35mm f/2, 50mm, 85mm and 135mm (“I am a sucker for fixed lenses,” she says. “My go-to lens is definitely the 35mm as it allows me to bring enough elements in the frame to tell the story unfolding and gives me that cinematic feel I love.”)