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Wednesday, 17 September 2014

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Splash the wedding

As Jennifer Gibson prepared to dip her toes into the chilling water of a Lakeland waterfall there was a brief moment of apprehension.

But it wasn’t long before she was being splashed with water as photographer Steve Yates captured the unique moment.

Dressed in the stunning bridal gown she had first worn on her wedding day months before, these shots were being taken as part of a Shoot the Dress photo session with Derwent Photography, Keswick.

She had already been photographed on the nearby fells at the top of the Newlands Pass and the shots in the water were the final ones of the day.

Jennifer won this photo session in a competition in Cumbrian Weddings last year with the prize of a Shoot the Dress photo shoot worth £1,000 from Derwent Photography.

Shoot the Dress is a trend which started as Trash the Dress, created by American avant garde wedding photographer John Michael Cooper. His images of brides floating in lakes, posing by bullet holes or even having their dress set on fire soon caught the public’s imagination, helped by features in publications including the New York Times.

While Derwent Photography’s version isn’t quite as extreme, photographer Steve is always willing to push the boundaries to get those shots you might not have been able to get on your wedding day.

And with Jennifer, 23, being willing to take a risk she now has a stunning set of eye-catching shots in her bridal gown to complement her album from her wedding day.

“I wanted to wear my wedding dress again,” says Jennifer, from Workington. “My sister-in-law pointed out the competition and when I was told I had won I thought there must be a catch because I have never won a competition before.

“We didn’t have a professional photographer at our wedding and I really regret this so this was another chance to have photos taken in my dress.”

When Jennifer rang Steve to arrange the shoot he asked her if she had any hobbies that they could incorporate into the shoot.

“I said I was up for anything,” she remembers. “Steve said that he had a location for the shoot in mind and I was fine to go with that.

“When I arrived to meet Steve for the shoot he checked with me that I was still OK with what I said on the phone and I said yes.

“He mentioned the idea of a waterfall but I didn’t really know what to expect.”

Jennifer had changed into her wedding gown before arriving on location and wore some casual shoes to get to the shoot location and then put on her wedding shoes.

Steve took photos on the fell side before they headed for the waterfall Newlands Hause and this unusual sight of a bride posing for photographs on the fells on a September day attracted several interested onlookers.

“As we were walking up to the waterfall Steve kept asking me if I was OK with it,” Jennifer recalls. “I felt like I had known him for ages and trusted him.

“Tourists saw us and started taking photographs of us.”

At first Jennifer sat on the edge of the water and put her feet in to test the temperature and then flick up the water and after a couple of shots she got under.

“It was freezing,” she remembers. “It took my breath away.

“I had to lean back into the water, it was so cold it was difficult to smile but I have no regrets, it was a brilliant experience.”

There was a dressing gown ready for Jennifer to change into when the shots in the waterfall were taken and she says her bridal gown was cleaner after being in the water.

“Jennifer was very brave,” says photographer Steve. “We have shot brides in water before but never this waterfall. I’ve had my eye on it for a while. It had to be somewhere that was easy to reach and close to the road so that Jennifer could get changed and keep warm afterwards.”

Jennifer’s prize included the three-hour photo shoot on location, 30 images in a bound book and a canvas or framed wall print and Jennifer and husband Thomas loved the images so much that they found it hard to choose for the album. Jennifer and Thomas shared their wedding day with Jennifer’s brother Allan and wife Kimberley in a double wedding at St Michael’s Church, Workington on June 5 last year followed by a reception at Hunday Manor Hotel, near Workington.

n Your full guide to wedding photography and videos: pages 7, 8 & 9

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