The Rise of The Real Wedding with Real People

Already that title doesn’t even make sense, because aren’t all wedding couples real?

Claire & Christian, Windermere Wedding, Jay Emme Photography

Soph & Matt Wedding 160716, Jay Emme Photography

Fulham Hurlingham Club Winter Wedding in London

Alex & Dave, Eastnor Wedding, Herefordshire Wedding Photography, Jay Emme Photography

Well, yes of course. Wedding couples are real, when a real wedding is on display. Don’t forget that styled shoots are staged to all hell, and any “love” between “the couple” is most likely acting, or they’re a real couple trying to re-enact their love but on camera.

Which is totally fine.

Except, it’s not totally fine for me, because it just doesn’t work for me.

I’ve agonised for ages over advertising with wedding blogs, and doing styled shoots, and all that malarky which is supposed to help me “find my ideal clients”. No doubt it works, otherwise people wouldn’t bother doing it, right?

But for me it doesn’t work. Because I want to photograph REAL PEOPLE. I want to photograph people who are having the most fucking amazing day, the best party ever, an ultimate celebration. People who honestly didn’t give a shit about how perfectly the table roses matched the flower girl’s tights, or whether it was going to be gale force winds or blaring Sahara desert sunshine.

Claire & Christian, Windermere Wedding, Jay Emme Photography

I want to photograph people who literally just want to spend the day celebrating their marriage to their best friend.

I’m not even fussed where they do it, either. Some of my favourite weddings so far have taken place in a forest, on a beach, by a lake, in a town hall, and in (quite literally) a back garden. And they’ve all been amazing, because they’ve all been REAL PEOPLE doing the thing which they’ve wanted to do the most – GET MARRIED.

More and more of my ideal, perfect clients AREN’T finding me via wedding blogs and directories and the like. Which is freaking me out, because now I’m all “well where the hell do I find them, if they’re not looking on wedding blogs?” But it also made me realise that the reason I gel so well with my clients, is because they want someone like me who is just going to get on with the day, not make a fuss about the details, but basically shoot the day as it happens without excessive posed stuff. Or super dramatic flashy stuff. Or stuff that should win a bajillion awards.

I don’t ever, and won’t ever, win a bajillion awards, because I’m “not shooting the right stuff”. People being people isn’t the “right stuff”. I’ve been told it “doesn’t stand out”.

Hans & Sarah, Bath Wedding Photography, 300814

Alex & Dave, Malvern Wedding, Worcestershire Wedding Photography

Alex & Dave, Malvern Wedding, Worcestershire Wedding Photography

But I AM shooting the right stuff. Because what I’m shooting is THE EVERY ESSENCE AND WHOLE POINT OF A WEDDING DAY.

Two people getting married (which is pretty freaking AWESOME and WONDERFUL and AMAZING), and more often than not, sharing that massive event with a bunch of people they fricking adore. Including Great Granny Maud, who insists on removing her dentures before squeezing your cheeks of her choice, and planting a big juicy kiss on your face.

Sofie & Richard, Scampston Hall Wedding 120915, © Jay Emme Photography

Claire & Nick, Kirkham Grammar School Wedding, Jay Emme Photogra

Emma & Mark, Bedern Hall, York, May 2013

Isn’t that the point? Isn’t that what it’s supposed to be about? Isn’t that the main focus? Or am I missing some really important points?

I’m pretty certain that someone’s feathers, somewhere, will be ruffled. And you know what? That’s totally fine, because I am not here to be a people pleaser. I have my beliefs and I know what works for me. I don’t for one second think that my way is The Right Way. Because there IS NO right way. (Otherwise we’d mostly be royal failures, and only one style or ideal would come through as a true winner or some shit like that.)


I’m ranting, and I’m frustrated, and I’m annoyed.

I wish I could make things easier both for me and for my clients, present and (hopefully) future. I’ve done weddings over and over again; I wish there was a way that I could say… “Ok, look. You know what? Yes the thing doesn’t match the other thing. And someone forgot to put the missing thing in that secret place. And yes, your Uncle Bob is indeed being a bit of a dick with his camera all up in your face, so just tell him to put the bloody thing down and go enjoy the day. Enjoy YOUR day, with FAMILY and FRIENDS. Also, yes your dress is going to get dirty, and your suit will probably get lipstick on it, and it really is ok to pass out for a bit before you get back to the party. Oh, and you know as well as anyone that it’s futile to ask those brilliant kiddos to smile for the camera, because what they actually want to do for the camera is far more interesting and far more true to who they are.”

Cate & Jan, Germany Wedding Feldberger Seenlandschaft, June 2015

Barbara & Peter, Sonnenalm Kampenwand wedding photography, Germa

Rosie & Nick Hawes, The Old Library Custard Factory, Birmingham

“But at the end of the day…you won’t care. Because today you’re getting married. Your details aren’t you. Your location isn’t you. Even your outfit isn’t really you. YOU are you. You and your partner. And what you’re going to do on that date…THAT is what matters. THAT is what is real. Wedding blogs and directories and allllll that other stuff..they won’t give you that. They’ll give you ideas for everything else, which will probably help form the rest of the day. But it’s not the be all and end all.”

I photograph real people, having real fun, having real belly laughs, shedding real tears, sharing real moments. Being really silly, being really emotional, being really excited, being really nervous. Maybe laughing until you feel you might throw up, or crying so hard you can barely catch your breath and finish your vows. Maybe dancing like your life damn near depended on it, or basically, just being a damn cool…fox.

Nicola & Martin - Hindley Hall Golf Club wedding photography, Wi

Paula & Phill, Barns Hotel Bedford Wedding, Jay Emme Photography

Beautiful Indian Wedding at Tatton Park in Cheshire, Jay Emme Ph

The Empire Leicestershire, Asian Wedding Photography

Rosie & Nick Hawes, The Old Library Custard Factory, Birmingham

I think my photography is good, and it helps me love love what I do.

But I love what you do even more, and when YOU are real, and genuine, and you bring your REAL personality to the party, THAT is what I want to photograph.

Thanks for reading…I hope you have an amazing wedding day. xx

Cate & Jan, Germany Wedding Feldberger Seenlandschaft, June 2015

Cassie & Nick, Witley Court, Worcestershire Film Wedding photogr

Barbara & Peter, Kampenwand wedding photography, Germany wedding