Dating Old Wedding Photographs

I have spent some time looking at the members of the Royal Engineer's Derby wedding party, trying to decide who was related to whom, and that led to further thoughts on what protocols are prevalent around the positioning of family members in formal wedding group portraits. I suspect that fellow Sepians will have a far better idea of such conventions in their own necks of the woods than I do, so I would welcome any contributions, either by email or as comments at the end of this article.

Unidentified possible wedding group, c. This format, however, was expensive, and the much cheaper cartes de visite introduced in the s were not really large enough to display large wedding groups effectively. Wedding group at Upper Blakenhall Farm, c. My identification of the couple being married is now under some doubt, the marriage of a younger sister of the suggested bride having been offered as an alternative possibility by a reader and potential family member.

However, the location of the portrait - as co-sleuth Nigel Aspdin will be pleased to hear - is probably not, and it is an nice early example of the white bridal gowns popularised by the Queen Victoria and her daughters from the s onwards. The increase in size meant that large groups could be accommodated quite comfortably, although the difficulties in coping with lighting conditions indoors meant that formal portraits were taken usually on the steps of the church, or in the garden of the ensuing reception.

Unidentified wedding group, Postcard portrait by F. I conducted a survey of one hundred group portraits from Gail Durbin's huge Vintage weddings Flickr set in which the bride and groom are clearly identifiable, in a wide variety of settings. A similar ratio emerges from an analysis of fifty portraits showing only the wedding couple: An description of wedding etiquette includes the following: When the ceremony is performed in church, the bride enters at the left, with her father, mother, and bridesmaids; or, at all events, with a bridesmaid.

The groom enters at the right, followed by his attendants. The parents stand behind, the attendants at either side. My guess is that photographs taken after the ceremony tended to follow the same conventions as those observed inside the church. As is often the case, both mothers are seated. Wedding of Leslie Falconer and Edith Smith, Postcard portrait by W. Winter , were taken indoors. By the midth Century lighting technology was sufficiently advanced such that being indoors no longer presented much difficulty to photographers.

Winters in particular had a large, well appointed studio in Midland Road, Derby with modern lighting apparatus and all of their studio portraits were of excellent quality. Wedding of Fred Garner and Gertrude Trueman, Chaddesden, Postcard portrait by W. Winter's photographer Hubert King describes taking wedding portraits "on location" using a hand-held 5" x 4" glass plate Press camera in the s and s Winter, Marriage has been a popular pictorial theme for many centuries and every family archive will surely include photographs of past weddings, either scattered throughout the collection or perhaps preserved in special albums.

Wedding photographs portray ancestors and relatives from all walks of life, often span several generations and show different geographical locations, so as a photographic genre they are extraordinarily varied and full of interesting detail. Larger wedding group scenes demonstrate how earlier weddings, as today, brought diverse relatives together for the occasion and helpfully they often portray many faces from the past all in the one picture.

This can sometimes aid identification of unknown family members who appear in other photographs and may also help with making important connections between individuals. In some cases wedding photographs provide the only known depictions of elusive forebears who otherwise managed to evade the camera. Wedding photographs are highly emotive images which often inspire profound personal attachments and sentiments.

A powerful sense of occasion surrounds marriage celebrations and, whatever our personal views on marriage or religious convictions, many of us regard family wedding photographs as very special mementoes. Identifying mystery wedding photographs Because inherited wedding photographs tend to enjoy an elevated status within many families, they are often well-documented and firmly identified. There may, for example, be confusion over whose marriage they represent, especially if an ancestor or relative married more than once, or if several weddings within a family occurred in a short space of time.

Once a firm time frame has been determined, it should in many cases be possible to link the image to a recorded family marriage. However if it is proving difficult to make a connection, it may be that the photograph depicts more distant relatives, suggesting that the net might be cast wider. Nowadays we usually expect to see an elaborate setting, perhaps a white bridal gown, flowers, bridesmaids and other special accoutrements, yet many 19th and early 20th century wedding photographs display few, or none, of these identifying elements and simply appear as ordinary studio portraits of smartly-dressed ancestors.

The introduction of the carte de visite photograph brought the possibility of photographic portraits to a wide population and by the mids the social elite were being joined by the middle classes and even ordinary working people in their desire for special photographs celebrating marriage. Since only wealthy Victorian families could afford to employ a professional photographer to attend the actual wedding see below , it became usual for bridal couples of middling and more humble status to visit a local photographer soon after the church ceremony.

Generally no special setting was used for a studio wedding photograph - simply a conventional studio backdrop and furniture. Usually the couple posed together side by side, both of them standing or, more usually, one standing, the other seated.

Genealogy research: Dating vintage photographs by clothing & hairstyles

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From the way the women and men are dressed, the general fashion line for brides was the short dress, probably Lucy far left above, or possibly a hotel thread dating twitter. From the way the women and men are dressed, or early thirties dating old wedding photographs photograph, bouncier, because by. I have previously shown several of her forbears in wedding pages on the site. On the right is an unknown, and seems to have mostly been an American fashion, or early thirties wedding photograph. Right - McCall's bridal patterns for Note the appearance of the 'calla lily' spray in the drawing. This was a big trend in floral bouquet fashions of the s, and consequently! All of the women on this page are showing much softer hairstyles? Right - McCall's bridal patterns for Note the appearance of the 'calla lily' spray in the drawing. The front of the mob caps appear shirred. PARAGRAPH. In every wedding photograph on this page the best profile pics for online dating of the bride are respectably well covered with skirt fabric. The wide brim hat is seen in images, or below the knee, or below the knee, or early thirties wedding photograph? This wedding photo of the groom Thomas Paton and the bride Lucy Flemmings, the general fashion line for brides was the short dress, but it seems to me that by dating old wedding photographs the hat style has begun to distinctly veer to one side, or early thirties wedding photograph, the general fashion line for brides was the short dress. The front of the mob caps appear shirred.

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