Knowing James and his aversion to rollercoasters, I was pretty shocked to open Instagram one Sunday morning to this image… it’s exactly the kind of photo you *should* have from a wedding at one of the UK’s best known theme park attractions, but not the kind of photo many will have.

Of course, our Facebook community loved it, sending it zooming into the 100 Club at record pace, with a lot of questions about just how it was shot…

bride and groom on a rollercoaster

I was pretty excited about shooting Kirsten & Dans wedding at Dreamland in Margate. Dreamland is one of the oldest theme parks in the UK and has recently been restored and reopened.

I hate rollercoasters with a passion, I’m always the one holding bags. All the guests at this wedding had the opportunity to go on any of the rides at the park and Kirsten and Dan queued up to get on the rollercoaster. I spoke to a member of staff who told me where the best place would be to try and get a photo of them coming down one of the drops on the rollercoaster. So I stood there, and got a shot of them dropping down, but
it was pretty uninspiring. Me being me, I wondered if it would be possible to get on the rollercoaster and actually get a shot of the couple at the moment that they dropped so that I could see their faces more clearly.

The health and safety bods were not having any of it. They, naturally, worried about my camera flying off and smashing someone in the face, or me falling off and dying. After going through how I proposed to do the shot
and having to quickly download a copy of my liability insurance to showthem, they let me on to get the shot.

I was hoping, they would put me somewhere in the middle, with the couple behind me. The only thing worse than getting on a roller coaster, is being at the front. Well, they put me at the front, with the couple in the seat
behind me, I was also strapped in quite tightly, with my camera strap fed through the seat belt too to stop it flying off.

Anyway, the coaster starts. On this rollercoaster there are two main drops, a small one first and then the big one. So I decided to get my settings right on the small one and then try and get the shot on the big one. My problem now was that I didn’t know how I was physically going to get the shot, as I couldn’t turn round and I was strapped in tight.

So… I closed down my aperture to f9; I figured on a wide angle like the 20mm I was going to have a lot of depth to play with. I wanted an element of motion, so I slowed my shutter down a bit. I set my camera to interval mode, and fired off a shot every one second. I then held my camera above my head, facing behind me and prayed that I’d got them in the frame. Whilst we were going round the corner heading to the big drop, I quickly checked to make sure it worked and got ready for the drop. I turned my camera to face them and down we went. My second shooter managed to get a shot of my face as it dropped and you could see I was hating every second of it. As we got off the rollercoaster, I quickly checked to see if I had got the shot and breathed a sigh of relief as I got one shot perfectly framed and with a great reaction from the couple.

Needless to say I’ve avoided rollercoasters since then, but I know I would do it again if I shot at Dreamland.


Nikon D750
Nikon 20mm f1.8 lens
ISO 100 f9 1/160th