Trinity College, Cambridge, has to be one of the prettiest places in the world to shoot a wedding. I’ve been photographing weddings here since I started my career with a camera and I am always excited to return to this architectural gem. The beauty of its Great Court, the purity of its Tudor chapel, the soft light on its old stone – it makes an unsurpassable, memorable background for a young couple on their wedding day. I’ve photographed couples at the college in high summer and in a winter snow storm. I’ve photographed couples who met here when they were studying at Cambridge, and I’ve also photographed the Master’s daughter’s wedding. Below are some of my favourite shots from Trinity College weddings – capturing the beauty of the architecture, that unique Cambridge ambience of youthful energy and dignified history, and just people in the moment, enjoying coming together for a celebration of one couple’s commitment.
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The Photography: It’s that mixing of history in the architecture that makes it such an interesting and classic place to photograph, with phenomenal angles. The East Anglian light in the summer is always beautiful on the honey-coloured colleges and on the Backs. But it’s important, too, to ensure that the romantic energy of a young couple getting married – with their family and friends celebrating their love – translates to the photographs and isn’t over-taken by the classical location. Wedding photography is always about people in the moment, so you need to find the balance between doing a place like Trinity College justice and ensuring the focus is always, completely, on the bride and groom. Couples often hold their wedding in the chapel, their drinks reception (or cocktail hour) in the gardens and their wedding breakfast in the Great Hall. Those all require sensitivity to the different light and the different ambience in each location. One thing I like to do is to sneak my couple out during the wedding breakfast for a few shots; we do this quite swiftly and unobtrusively, and I find that most couples enjoy the chance to take a few quiet moments together, away from the throng, before heading back so they never feel they’re neglecting their guests. As one bride put it: ‘We felt we were getting some one-on-one time to relax but never felt as if we were away from our guests for too long or were removed from the party.’
The History: Trinity College, Cambridge, dates back to 1324 but the major buildings date from the 16th and 17th centuries. The golden stone is typical of the university’s ancient buildings but the scale of the Great Court sets Trinity apart when it comes to photographs. Of course, a lot of what Trinity is about you can’t capture in an image – the 34 Nobel Prizes, for example! And the great and glorious who studied here, from Francis Bacon to Isaac Newton to Byron, who famously kept a tame bear because dogs weren’t allowed in the college rooms. When asked what he meant to do with him, he replied, ‘He should sit for a fellowship!’