Engaged couple together on steps of an Avoncroft Museum building as photographed by Avoncroft Museum pre-wedding shoot photographer Clive Blair

Jamie, who is super nervous about having his photos taken sent me this message after their Avoncroft Museum Pre-Wedding Shoot:

“Just wanted to say a massive thank you for Sunday; you made Lizzie and I feel so much more comfortable and at ease during our photo session! Can’t wait to see the photos.”

Then, after seeing their photos they both sent me this message:

“These images are amazing. We’re are both so happy with the way they’ve come out and can’t wait to share them with our family and friends.  You’ve made us even more excited to have you document our big day. We can’t thank you enough.”


When Jamie said they’d like to arrange an Avoncroft Museum pre-wedding shoot, I knew I was in for a treat shooting in this open-air museum of rescued buildings which have been relocated to its site in Stoke Heath, Bromsgrove. I’d never been to Avoncroft Museum before, only ever hearing about it over the years and seeing images from other photographers. This location is a feast for the eyes with so much to see and do.

How to Get Relaxed During Your Pre-wedding Shoot

How do you get someone relaxed during a portrait session if they hate having your photo taken? That was the challenge set me for this Avoncroft Museum Pre-wedding photo shoot for Jamie and Lizzie.

I’m like Jamie, I hate having my photo taken and if asked to smile for the camera, I feel it can be a bit unnatural especially if I’ve nothing to smile/laugh about that that particular moment in time. So this is where the documentary, unposed style of shooting comes into it’s own.

My style of shooting/plan for the session is never to aim for the smiley-smiley-into-the camera-photos. I belive if it comes naturally, all good and well. If not, no worries. I’d much rather capture somebody’s genuine emotions rather than make then pose or show an expression that’s unatural to their personality.

So for for Jamie and Lizzie, I let them interact freely with each other, while I move around discreetly photographing them from different angles.

Sometimes I gently prompted/encouraged them to chat about things like: Their wedding plans so far. What have they still got to sort? Have they finalised their guest list?

One of my favourite prompts is to ask the groom-to-be to tell his bride-to-be what sort of dress he thinks she’ll wear on their wedding day. That usually brings fits of laughter as the bride thinks “Are you kidding me? Green with purple spots! Yeh right!” At that point I’m using a longer lens so can’t hear what he says as they snuggle closer. It’s none of my business. Its only their interaction and reaction I’m interested in capturing.

Would you like an Avoncroft Museum Pre-wedding shoot?

If you’re planning your wedding or would like a pre-wedding shoot at The Avoncroft Museum, I’d love to be involved. Feel free to contact me.

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What Is a Documentary Wedding Photographer?

This is an often asked question. In simple terms it means being an observer and recorder of your wedding, with little interference. If you’re familiar with Star Trek, think of it in terms of The Temporal Prime Directive: To visit, to watch, not to interfer and to bring back a record.

Read More About My Documentary Wedding Photography

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