One of the albums that caught our attention recently belongs to James Lester and Lianne Potter, of James & Lianne Wedding Photography. James and Lianne’s album was shot on location at the beautiful Chateau Rigaud, in south-west France.
The main album was a 10×10” album with a Photo Cotton Cover, with two 6×6” duplicates, one in Sage and the other in Stone canvas. The album colour choices complement the rustic ambience of the wedding and its stunning rural location, captured in the photographs throughout.
The images show a relaxed family occasion, from preparation through to after-party, in the heart of the French countryside.
James and Lianne
We caught up with James and Lianne to find out more about this wedding and their unique style.
Where did this wedding take place?
James: We shot on location at Chateau Rigaud in the Dordogne region of France, surrounded by vineyards as far as the eye can see.
In this album, the majority of photographs were taken outdoors. What additional challenges did this bring to shooting?
Lianne: We had enjoyed lovely weather all week, but the morning we were due to head to Bordeaux from Paris we were sat on our balcony eating breakfast and the heavens opened. The thunder and lightning lasted for hours. From that point onwards the weather was tricky for the whole weekend, but we didn’t let it create an issue for us.
J: We mostly work in the UK so we’re used to it! We worked with the lighting we had and tweaked it in post-production. We only changed the original images slightly, simply to make them warmer and brighter. Aside from that, we used lots of window light for the indoor shots, which the chateau was great for.
You have captured the family looking very natural, playing games and chatting to each other. Do you have any tactics to make people feel relaxed in front of the camera?
J: We always approach every wedding as if we are guests. We dress as if we are guests and then try to mingle without influencing the day too much, if at all. We think it puts everyone at ease so that they feel we’re there to enjoy ourselves too, not just to work. The resulting images are much more relaxed and we can tell the story much more intimately by becoming a part of it.
There are a few children in this album. How do you tend to find working with kids?
L: Kids are always great for photographs! They have such a brilliant viewpoint on the day and are often so inquisitive and unabashed. Not only that, they’re always the first on the dance floor! We always love to get a few shots from the children’s viewpoint as they’re as much a part of the day as everyone else.
If you could sum up this album in three words, what would they be?
J: Intimate, energetic, rustic.
How was this album presented?
L: We made a main 10×10” album with a Photo Cotton Cover and two 6×6” duplicate parent albums, one in Sage and the other in Stone canvas.
Did you shoot with the album design in mind?
L: We always shoot to give ourselves options for great album designs, whether a couple has ordered an album or not. A lot of our couples come back for albums having seen their wedding photographs.
J: One thing we always like to do is shoot an image that will work well for the Photo Cotton Cover as we love these covers that Folio Albums produce. It’s always nice to have that option to have a great image that will work well with the specific covers in mind.
How long have you been interested in photography?
J: I studied photography from A-level all the way through to get a BA, and originally worked for newspapers and magazines as a freelance photographer.
L: I have an Art School background and have worked as a Super8 film maker, which gives us a strong foundation in lens-based media.
J: We joined forces after I did my first wedding and we realised we could create amazing work together as a team. We’ve been working as James & Lianne Wedding Photography for 3 years now.
What inspires/influences your photography?
L: We’re inspired by the families, the event, the getting-together of people. That’s what gets us out of bed in the morning and is always a true joy to photograph.
How would you describe your style?
J: It might be a cliché these days but I would describe our style as ‘documentary/reportage’, although that doesn’t fully describe it. When we try and describe our style, we always come back to explaining that we like to think of ourselves as one of the guests and the guests to think of us as one of them.
L: Without that interaction we wouldn’t have what makes our style distinctive.
Do you use any specific post-production techniques?
L: Nothing specific, but we spend time considering each individual image. We don’t like to think that one setting applies to all. Well, that and our secret sauce!
What is in your camera bag?
J: We shoot Canon and L series glass. My favourite lens is the 35mm.
L: My favourite is the 24-70mm. We get a lot done between the two of us.
What is your favourite accessory, other than your camera?
L: I keep a stash of emergency items for the bride and groom – from tissues to compact mirrors, to safety pins and paracetamol. There’s all sorts in there and something is always needed from it at every wedding. Our brides and grooms are always grateful for the emergency kit!
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt through your work?
J: To constantly review our work. Being critical of ourselves after every wedding has helped us grow and improve continuously. I don’t think there will ever be a time when we’re not looking to improve. There’s no benefit in comparing yourself to other photographers, just yourself, as you’re only as good as your last piece of work.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
L: We both enjoy being in a place with people who are so happy. Where else can you go to work every day and know that when you get there, everyone will be having the best day of their lives!?
Is there anyone or anything you would love to photograph?
L: I would love to be sent somewhere to shoot for National Geographic and be able to send pictures back to show people things they’d never seen before.
J: I’d like to shoot in the Arctic or somewhere equally remote and just shoot landscapes on film.
Where would be your ideal location to shoot a wedding?
J: I don’t think location matters. The best weddings for us haven’t been about location or even about weather, they’ve been about people. When families and friends come together to celebrate two people, that’s what gives us the best photo opportunities.
Click play, turn on HD and go full screen to enjoy this awesome album
Many thanks to James and Lianne for allowing me to interview them and for sharing their beautiful images. You can see more of their amazing work at jamesandlianne.com.