How I Documented the Making of a Wedding Dress

David Castro

Acquiring been a marriage photographer for the past fifteen yrs, I have found my reasonable share of white wedding day dresses, but ahead of focusing on weddings, I was fortuitous plenty of to attain a minimal expertise in the style industry, capturing for publications, doing the job backstage at trend demonstrates, and masking both of those London and Paris Fashion Months.

These early experiences in my profession, paired with a broader fascination in documentary pictures, have intended that for a long time I have desired to file the course of action of making a wedding ceremony dress, from the layout phase by to the wedding day day alone.

Rapidly ahead to 2019, and my preliminary simply call with Emily and Lewis about their wedding ceremony photography, and Emily occurred to mention that her mother would be earning her wedding day costume for her. Of course, I saw my prospect and questioned if they’d be fascinated in me documenting the system. It aided that each bride and groom are also unbelievably innovative and could see the potential in the job.

As nicely as shooting concerning 30-40 weddings each and every yr, I like to do these sorts of individual tasks from time to time. Earlier I’ve created portraits of the longest-married pair at each marriage ceremony I shot that specific 12 months, and I also did a task in which I photographed newly engaged couples, at a single of the huge marriage ceremony fairs in London.

I see these wholly self-funded jobs as a throwback to the variety of projects I would do at artwork college. I really feel it is significant to press myself creatively, with the shackles off from my usual marriage get the job done, and I would really encourage any skilled photographers who may be examining this, to do the similar.


From a technological issue of watch, I required to approach this unique undertaking with an open up intellect, and with no preconceived strategies. I wished the job to evolve the natural way in response to what I was photographing, and experiment with a vary of distinct cameras and strategies. My only constraints were that I wished the undertaking to be in black and white. I felt that this would bring cohesion to the sequence as a total, and I realized I wanted to existing the pictures in guide sort.

A lot of the project was shot digitally (additional about the cameras I made use of down below) but I also wished to return to capturing on film and printing in the darkroom. I shot on Ilford Delta 3200 so that there was a obvious distinction involving the electronic pictures and the grain of analog movie.

An essential aspect of the task for me was the postproduction. The task, and in truth the wedding day itself, have been delayed by the COVID pandemic, and throughout my visits to photograph the costume getting made, I realized what an interesting relatives historical past there was, and how this was created visible all-around the house. I wished to involve these features to insert context to the work, but also to get away from the strict linear/chronological way in which documentary photography is usually introduced, and I desired to embrace picture manipulation much too.

There are illustrations in the e book of photomontage, photograms, and portray with developer alternative.


Inspiration for the project arrived in lots of types, from the documentary function of photographers like Eve Arnold and William Klein to the creativeness of Nick Knight and his influential SHOWstudio web page.

Eve Arnold was a single of my quite earliest influences. I’ve always been struck by her compassion, recognition, and sensitivity that comes as a result of in her pics, and obtaining been lucky ample to have some of my work highlighted on SHOWstudio, I’ve always adopted Nick Knight’s job intently, and have normally been surprised by his willingness to experiment and thrust the medium of pictures.

A person of the first triggers for the job on the other hand was observing Nick Waplington’s “Working Process” exhibited at the Tate Gallery, in which Waplington experienced documented the planning of Alexander McQueen’s Horn of A good deal vogue assortment in 2009. I enjoy the range of Waplington’s apply.


All the electronic illustrations or photos in the reserve and the the greater part of pictures from the wedding day were created on my Sony A9, but it looks to me that with the developments in camera engineering of late, has also occur a variety of predictability. I needed therefore to introduce an factor of chance and serendipity back into the process, which I feel goes hand in hand with the delayed gratification of shooting on film, employing old lenses, and printing in the darkroom.

I shot with my grandfather’s aged Zeiss Ikon SLR, which is the incredibly very first digicam that released me to photography, and shot on a disposable digital camera and Polaroid.

I also required to make certain that I used my lovely significant format digital camera, a classic Ansco 4×5, which I believe that dates back again to the 1950s. Doing the job with substantial structure is a slow approach, and so there is only one extremely cautiously staged picture in the e book. The destructive has been drum scanned to extract as significantly detail and dynamic range from the detrimental as possible.

E-book Design and style and Printing

I feel it’s the ambition of every single photographer to create at least a person e book in their vocation, and I’m unquestionably no unique! I experienced underestimated just how long it would consider although, and it was a steep learning curve, but eventually very satisfying when a double-webpage spread comes collectively.

I was distinct from the outset that I did not want the book to resemble a wedding album. Alternatively, I wished to choose my cue from the picture books and artist monographs that I have collected in excess of the many years. The course of action began by producing 6×4 inch prints of anything I’d shot, just before both montaging photographs with each other in Photoshop or placing them straight into Pixellu’s Wise Albums layout program.

Some illustrations or photos were being finally dropped from the closing edit, before building an A4 dimensions maquette, and Queensberry, who printed the e-book, pretty kindly built test prints that I was in a position to lay out throughout the flooring, in get to get the job done out the sequencing.

The remaining guide is a 14×10 inch portrait format e book, printed on Queensberry’s Tintoretto paper which has a stunning watercolor texture to it.

About the author: David Weightman is a wedding photographer primarily based in Surrey, Uk. You can find more of his get the job done on his website, Instagram, and Facebook.

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