Spotlight: Kathryn Edwards
In this series we are sharing some of the wonderful photographers who make up the NineDots Community. Finding out what makes them tick and the what, why and how behind some of the work they are most proud of. Today it’s Nottingham Wedding Photographer – Kathryn Edwards shares her favourite 3 images and why she loves them so much.
WHY WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY?
I have been photographing weddings for over 10 years. In fact I went full time exactly 10 years ago. I know that because my son is 10, and I had a baby and became a full time wedding photographer in the same year. That was a hard year. My son was 6 weeks old when I shot my first wedding. I won’t go into too much detail about breast pumping at weddings and being utterly exhausted all the time. But let’s just say in a male dominated industry the spaces for female wedding photographers to talk about these things didn’t exist like they do now. I am veering off the question. But wanted to highlight some of the issues that affect female photographers differently to males. Anyway, from that year on my business snowballed and I was shooting weddings full time and enjoying every single one. My favourite thing about being a wedding photographer is actually the moments of the wedding itself. Not just taking pictures, which I obviously love. I enjoy meeting new people, chatting with the grandmas, listening to the speeches, and definitely having a boogie at the end of the night. One of my favourite compliments I receive from my couples is that their friends and family thought I was an old friend because I blended in so well. Or someone will come up to me and say “it looks like you are enjoying yourself.” I generally am. But I also feel like that is a big part of my job – to look like I am enjoying myself, so that everyone else does too, and then that’s what you get in the photos. People enjoying themselves with you!
Kathryn’s favourite 3 photos
I am a big fan of bridal portraits in window light and these photos in the morning are a bit of a signature shot for me. They are always quite dark and theatrical, with a beautiful stillness about them. There is something lovely about that stillness after the buzz of getting ready, where the bride has a moment to compose herself. Just the act of looking out of the window brings a beautiful sereneness to the photo. Having said all that, the one I have decided to showcase was taken before I took the bridal portraits. It has the same dark theatrical feel and the same stillness. But I chose it because of the accidental element I only noticed in post production. Or certainly after I took the shot. I would like to say the composition was completely planned or staged. But the truth is Hannah’s dad just walked into frame (reflected in the mirror) and I took the photo without even realising at first that he was there. He couldn’t see her getting ready at The Venue in Halifax. So I think this adds to the quiet anticipation of the image. I like this image for all the reasons mentioned above. But also I think it represents my style quite nicely. I love the theatre. I trained as an actress so I have a background in theatre and film and still tread the boards from time to time. I also take photographs of productions at my local theatre and I think without even realising it, this influence seeps into my wedding photography. It informs the way I use light and the way I tell the story of the wedding day. This moment captures all those things quite nicely.
I took this photo in Lockdown. It represents everything that 2020 was for me! Hannah and Joe (a different Hannah to the above) like many of my 2020 couples had to postpone their wedding. But they decided that as well as having a larger celebration in 2021, they would still get married in 2020 with an intimate ceremony in Norfolk, followed by ice-creams on the beach with their nearest and dearest. I think restrictions were 12 or 14 for ceremonies at the time. I communicated a lot with my clients during lockdown, and nine-dots was a great source of support during that time. I will talk about that later. So I ended up shooting 10 small weddings in 2020, and I loved every single one. They were all so special and intimate and Hannah and Joe’s day will be forever burned in my memory. It was very low key, with Hannah just wearing a nice tea dress and veil, which I loved. After the ceremony we parked up in Sheringham, and wandered down to the beach stopping for ice-cream on the way. I can still remember the delightful feel of the sand between my toes and paddling in the sea on a warm September afternoon. In the end everyone took their shoes off to paddle in the sea and it was such a lovely moment. Joe rolled his trousers up and ended up completely soaked. After this we went back to Hannah’s parents home for a barbecue and cake. They welcomed me like one of the family, which I felt I practically was since embedding myself as the family photographer. I had already photographed Hannah’s sister’s wedding a few years previously and also Hannah’s mum’s graduation when she got her PHD. So it was so wonderful to return. Perhaps this is another reason I’m drawn to this photo as it represents more than the sum of its parts. It reminds me of a very difficult time, where my couples fought against the odds to carry on regardless. Where such beautiful simple moments like paddling in the sea with an icecream in hand can be all that a wedding needs to be. Where I put my feet in the sea for the first time that year and forgot about everything that had happened in the past year and just felt at peace with the world.
I love everything about this photo and it takes me right back to that moment. Which is entirely what photography should do in my opinion. I loved this wedding and there were so many moments I could have chosen. The couple were super fun and it was a great vibe from beginning to end. From getting ready in freezing cold Bell tents to the bride being motored to the wedding in her dad’s sidecar whilst playing the theme to Wallace and Gromit, to the gorgeous tipi reception at The Hidden Hive to getting caught in the rain during couple portraits. The latter being my moment of choice. Although I took many beautiful portraits by the lake in the evening sun, but this rainy portrait, remains my favourite. It just reminds me of the fun and laughter Stephanie and Tommie were all about in their relationship. It was April last year (it seems like longer but I did an epic 51 weddings last year, so this feels like a lifetime ago!) and the weather was really mixed. Very cold in the morning, pouring with rain in the afternoon and gorgeous sun in the evening. Typical British weather basically. And everything that makes a British wedding so brilliant. I always tell my couples not to worry about the weather and just to embrace whatever strange and wonderful weather is thrown at them. Luckily I attract the kind of couples who are just like Steph and Tommie, and are generally willing to embrace the elements. But these two just went one step further. It has always been a dream of mine to photograph a couple in the rain just getting absolutely soaked and not giving two hoots about it because they are so desperately in love. It appeals to the romantic side of my personality and my love of movies. Think of the end scene in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’. Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard embracing in the rain, absolutely soaked, rain dripping off them, with not a care in the world because they have found each other and are so in love. I am a sucker for a romantic movie. So that’s what I wanted from these two. As we were running through the rain to get back to the Tipis before getting absolutely drenched (I have photographs of this too) I said, “ooh just stop. This could be my dream ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ moment. Can you just have a passionate kiss in the rain?” They obliged me. Stephanie was holding Tommie’s jacket because he had been a gent and taken it off so she could hold it over her hair and he was holding her bouquet so she could use his jacket. It was bright and sunny moments before this photo, so we didn’t think to bring any brollies with us. I love this photo because it is romantic and impulsive and fun and just takes me back to that moment and this couple. I just love it.
WHY NINE DOTS?
I actually joined Nine-Dots after entering a competition at Elevate Photography Conference. My name was pulled out of a hat and I got free membership to the community. The group had been on my radar for some time through connections to Elevate and via other photographers I knew. But I hadn’t taken the plunge. I joined just before Lockdown, and honestly the group was invaluable during that time. I loved how resources were shared so freely to help photographers through a difficult time. New contract templates, email templates we could send to clients and other useful tips and information. I feel like the photography community as a whole really pulled together during the pandemic, with everyone helping each other out, which was so wonderful to see. Ninedots really encapsulated the spirit of that and I was impressed with how they existed as a support network for photographers in that time. I enjoy dipping in and out of the Facebook group and feeling like a part of the community. I feel like those in charge have handled some difficult situations in the group with thoughtfulness and sensitivity and I think it’s great that female voices are being showcased. I think it’s really important that spaces are carved out for women in all industries. Wedding photography being no exception. As with anything, men and women approach things differently due to very different experiences,. So being able to see yourself represented is important. I am not interested in awards, accolades or competitions. But I am interested in sharing my story. Because having a voice and sharing my experience and being listened to is of more value to me as a woman. I appreciate ninedots listening to the voices of others. And I look forward to hearing from others too. That is what community is all about.