Nothing to panic about for Maurice and Carolyn

Nothing to panic about for Maurice and Carolyn

WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY

CAROLYN & MAURICE - 22ND APRIL 2017

I can confidently say that Carolyn and Maurice are the oldest couple whose wedding I have photographed. I can also add that they are one of the nicest! It was an absolute joy to photograph their wedding which had quite the eventful beginning which left everyone wondering if it would happen at all!

As the guests began to arrive to the chapel in Devizes, I started to hear whispers that the organist had not arrived. Now out of everybody that could be missing at a wedding, the organist is definitely not the worst. However..... I also discovered we were also waiting on the registrar! 

Maurice and Carolyn however stayed calm, and showed that they were just so happy to be in the moment that nothing was going to ruin their day. After a minor delay however, the ceremony began.

After the ceremony the wedding party moved onto The Seven Stars Inn in Bottlesford for a marquee reception. The marquee was beautifully laid out for Maurice and Carolyn to enjoy the afternoon with their closest family and friends. The sun shone bright for their day, and lit up the inside of the marquee making my life a lot easier. I stealthily moved around the edge of the marquee capturing images of the guests and key moments, including a touching speech by Maurice.

Carolyn&MauriceBlog8.jpg

How do I prepare for my pre-wedding shoot?

How do I prepare for my pre-wedding shoot?

WHY DO I NEED A PRE-WEDDING SHOOT?

The Pre-Wedding Shoot is the ideal opportunity to get rid of any nerves about being photographed before the big day. The more relaxed you are in front of the camera, the better your photographs will be, and the Pre-Wedding Shoot is the perfect time to experiment and discover how you wish to be presented on camera. There is no right or wrong way to pose, or how to be on camera. Photography is very personal and subjective, so what is right for one couple, will be totally wrong for another. It is not every day that a couple has professional photographs taken of them, so it can be crucial to have the experience of being photographed as a couple before the big day, and to feel relaxed with the photographer who will be asking you to look a certain direction, or stand slightly differently, and understand why these sort of things are being asked.

I like to to keep the shoot as relaxed as possible and create a bit of a contrast with the wedding day itself. The wedding day is usually very formal dress which is what the majority of people require for the occasion, but it can be nice to capture some images in a more informal manner before the day. It's important that as a couple you get to know your photographer, as well as it being a great chance for the photographer to learn about your personalities as individuals, and as a couple. The result should be that you look forward to having your photographs taken on your wedding day, rather than dreading the moment.

HOW TO PREPARE FOR YOUR PRE-WEDDING SHOOT?

LOCATION

The first thing to consider is location. This should be somewhere that reflects you as individuals. There is no point in choosing to have the images captured in a city if you spend most of your lives in the countryside. It can be nice to choose a location that means a lot to you as a couple. For example this could be a place that you had your first date, or have enjoyed going or where you spend a lot of time. This can lead to your images having more meaning for you, especially when you look back at them in years to come.

CLOTHING

You should also consider what to wear. It can be nice to have a few changes of outfits to choose from on the day and change into in order for your images to have some more variety. Again I advise to keep it relaxed and wear clothes that you feel comfortable in and reflect who you are.

WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH MY PRE-WEDDING PHOTOS?

First and foremost enjoy them! The images from your Pre-Wedding Shoot will provide nice memories, and capture a moment in time to sit alongside your wedding photography for years to come. I choose to provide 10 of the best images from the shoot for you to keep before the wedding day. It can be invaluable to see these images before the wedding day to inform your photographer which images you prefer best, and this can have the advantage of allowing your photographer to capture images that you feel flatter you best on your wedding day.

DISPLAYING YOUR PHOTOS

You may wish to use one or more images from the Pre-Wedding Shoot on your wedding day, either in a signing frame or guest book, or presented on a canvas.

MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR PRE-WEDDING SHOOT

However you wish to have your Pre-Wedding Shoot, whether it be in a country park, an urban area, or a favourite location, a Pre-Wedding Shoot can be an invaluable part of your wedding photography package. My advice is to enjoy it and make the most out of the experience, and you will learn much about your photographer, about you as a couple, and gain comfort  and understanding when being in front of the camera.

80th Birthday Party at The Izaak Walton

80th Birthday Party at The Izaak Walton

EVENT PHOTOGRAPHY

80TH BIRTHDAY PARTY - 4TH MARCH 2017

This event saw me travelling up to The Peak District to the beautifully located Izaak Walton Hotel in Ashbourne. I had been asked to photograph a momentous birthday party with family members travelling far and wide to be at this special occasion. Sandwiched in between two days of horrendous weather, we were fortunate to be greeted by bright sunshine on arrival. I took advantage of this to take some outdoor shots of the venue before people started to arrive.

My task on the day was to capture some natural photographs of people enjoying themselves. As more and more people arrived I was able to blend more in to the crowd, and people were soon unaware that they were being photographed. In these circumstances I locate myself in different areas as to be able to capture a number of faces and angles, and keep my eye out for nice moments of interaction between people. 

The cake design was fantastic and brilliantly replicated on mugs which each guest had at their table place. These were all colour coded and after the starter were used as a way to make people move from one table to the next so more conversations could be had with different family members. A great idea and great for me to be able to capture more variety of images. 

The one non candid photo was taken after the main course. I noticed the clouds were starting to come in and thought rain could be on it's way so I quickly gathered everyone together for a group photo before they went back inside for some cake. A lovely event to photograph with a lovely group of people.

Storm Doris gets an invite to Hyde Barn

Storm Doris gets an invite to Hyde Barn

Wedding photography

bex & SImon - 23rd February 2017

Si & Bex got married at Hyde Barn House near Stow-on-the-Wold in The Cotswolds. A beautiful spot in the English countryside.....and a venue that is fully open to the elements. The 23rd February 2017 was the day that Bex and Si tied the knot, and happened to be the day that Storm Doris brought 60 mph gusts across the country! On stepping out of my car at 10.30am, I immediately became very aware that this was a day that indoor photography would be the order of the day! Luckily Hyde House Barn is a beautiful venue with many inside areas for guests to enjoy, and for me to capture some memorable images. The gusty winds were so strong that it was indeed difficult to even stand, let alone pose for photographs. Simon, the groom, was due to arrive at 11.00am so I took the chance beforehand to capture some close up details of the venue and the beautiful touches that Bex had hand made for the day.

Simon had arranged for button holes and cuff links to be distributed at the venue which gave me a really nice chance to capture the groomsmen preparing for the day. This was a really nice touch as they had something to focus on whilst I captured some natural images of them going about their business. After this the guys enjoyed a pre-wedding drink and greeted guests on their arrival.

The Bridal Preparation is always one of my favourite parts of the day to photograph. The bride making those final touches, the looks between friends and family members, and mixture of excitement and anticipation before the big moment make it a quite unique environment to capture some beautiful and memorable images. The space provided by Hyde House Barn was the perfect place for these preparations. A large well lit room with plenty of lit mirrors and areas for friends and family to relax. The perfect place for this moment of the day and great for some candid photographs with my favourite 70-200m 2.8 Canon Lens.

The first moment Bex's dad came into the room to see his daughter on her big day was one of the moments that makes wedding photography so special. It was an honour to be able to capture this moment which was so special for both Bex and her dad. I focused on a combination of shots of both the bride and her father, using the mirror to help get alternative angles and create some artistic images, as well as some details that provided some special moments.

The ceremony was a real celebration of two people in love, surrounded by people that really care deeply about them. That shined through as people applauded as the couple tied the knot. Again Hyde House Barn provides the perfect place for a ceremony with it's well lit space.

Bex had requested that I capture a photo of her niece's together. Often moments such as the one below organically present themselves, and as a result feel more natural and spontaneous. Having two daughters of my own I have taken many photographs of cute little girls over the last few years and I took a few images before this one to gain their confidence. I was happy that I caught them in this moment as they smiled beautifully for the camera.

The speeches provided a perfect combination of comedy and heartfelt moments that kept guests equally warmed and entertained. The father of the bride's speech in particular was great fun as he mixed his compassionate comments with some comedy messages written on the back of his cue cards. The one seen in the image below brought the house down in laughter. The best man who had travelled all the way from New Zealand for the big day had some very kind words to say about a couple that he had a spent a year with in New Zealand soon after they got together.

Storm Doris put pay to much of the outside photography that I would have otherwise have had planned on the day. This did not ruin anything in my opinion as we captured some lovely moments inside, and with a winter wedding in England, the plan was always for much of the day to be that way. I did however take the chance later in the day, as the wind died down to the lesser 30-40mph gusts, to take the newly wedded couple outside for a few shot under the slight cover of the arch.

The evening celebrations were full of lots of fun, and the silliness was provided by Fun Pod Photo Booths - www.funpod.co.uk - with guests dressing up for some fun photographs. These were then placed into a guest book where guests could write a message to accompany the fun photos. A great memory for Bex and Si to look back at from a great day at Hyde House Barn.

How do I find my perfect wedding photographer?

How do I find my perfect wedding photographer?

what style of wedding Photography is right for me?

A strange question for a wedding photographer to be putting out there you might imagine. Surely as a photographer I should be selling myself and saying to everyone that I am the only man for the job...... stop your search now, look no further!

Well every photographer has their own style and way of working, and you need to find the right person to photograph your wedding day. This wedding of yours will only happen once. Without the right photographs, you might not have images that best represent your memories of your special day. Plenty of photographers can do a perfectly good job but you need to decide what is right for you. For some people I might not be the right person and I'm not afraid to say that because I would rather see a couple getting the images they want from their day than not provide the right style that they are after. Yes photographers can adapt, but any photographer will develop a style, and that should be a major factor for a couple choosing a photographer.  I could list a number of different styles - traditional, journalistic, fashion, artistic etc. but the truth is that wedding photographers will generally combine a number of these styles in their photography and it can be a minefield to find the right person. The best advice I can give is to look through photographers portfolios and decide if you like their images, and if their style suits what you are looking for then get in contact with them and take it from there.

photography style

I would describe my style as largely very natural, as I aim to capture a true representation of the day as it happens. I aim to be as unobtrusive as possible during the day and often couples will remark that their favourite images are those when they did not realise they were even being photographed. It is of course critical to also provide couples with portraiture, for which I aim to provide a style that is modern and meets a clients desired feel. Crucial as it is to capture some beautiful portraiture that will provide treasured memories of your wedding, this section of the day does not have to take forever, and certainly should not distract from the couple's enjoyment of their wedding day. You will have to decide how to plan your day, and photography will become a factor that will need to be worked in to your plans. All of this can be discussed when meeting with your photographer.

what will be covered in my wedding photography meeting?

Once you have found a photographer that you like and it has been established whether a photographer is free on the date of your wedding, they will ideally suggest a meeting. In my opinion this is crucial as there is so much more to learn than just the details of the day. I always want my couple's to get to know me and feel comfortable that I am the right person to photograph one of the most important days of their life. At this stage I will get to know the couple better, asking them questions to establish what photography would best suit and reflect them as a couple.

what wedding photography package is best for me?

Many wedding photographers will offer all sorts of packages. Some may offer different lengths of coverage, others different numbers of images, some with or without a pre-wedding shoot. None of this is worth anything though if they are not the right person. If you are talking to the photographer that you truly want for your wedding day, then you have made the ideal first step to finding a package that is right for you. A wedding photographer will have a price structure that will include specifics of what they can offer for you, but if this is not quite what you are looking for but the photographer is what you are looking for, then do not be afraid to ask for an adjustment to be made. It is your wedding day, and your photographer should be offering a package that is right for your day. This leads on to my next big question?

how much should i spend on wedding photography?

Now there is no correct answer here. Crucial factors are to find a wedding photographer who not only can provide you with the right sort of images that you desire from your wedding day, but is also the sort of person you want to be a part of your day. You need to decide how much that is worth to you. I'm not going to say that by spending more on your wedding photography you will get better images, but to find someone that ticks all the right boxes, it will be a factor in your wedding day budget. Should it be such a big factor? Well photographs, and video for that matter, are the only things that will provide you with those special memories for years to come. The reason that there is a price to pay is because you are relying on a professional to provide a service to capture those precious memories. Not only is it a highly skilled role requiring thousands of pounds worth of equipment to complete the job, but is also very hard work that involves hours meticulously editing details from your wedding day. Wedding photographers are not swimming around in piles of cash, they are working very long hours and constantly looking at how they can reinvest their earnings into new lenses and equipment to further enhance their work. Of course we love it, otherwise we wouldn't do it! I always try to provide a package for my clients that is good value, and am very conscious of not over charging. But I take the role very seriously and to provide a professional service there has to be a price that reflects this level of professionalism and hard work.

HOW SOON SHOULD I BOOK A WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER?

So you have seen a wedding photographer's portfolio online, you have had a meeting and feel that they are someone you can not only rely on but get along with on your wedding day, and you have come to a price and package that is perfect for your requirements. How soon should you book them? My advice would be book them immediately. Just like wedding venues, wedding photographers can get booked up way in advance and the worst situation would be to miss out on the perfect person for your wedding day.

But everything has to be perfect for you. Your wedding day only happens once. Do all you can to make it special and keep those memories safe.

Marquee Reception at Family Farm

Marquee Reception at Family Farm

A Look back at some of my favourite weddings

Sian & Simon

Main Picture (above left) - Canon 5D Mark ii with EF24-70mm - 58m, F2.8, 1/1250, ISO 400.

The night before the big day, Sian stayed along with her bridesmaids in a remotely located boat house. This made for a very relaxing morning of preparations for the bridal party, and a great opportunity for photographs as the house benefitted from beautifully diffused natural light from windows and skylights. I advised Sian that a spot by the French doors looking out to the lake would be an ideal place to take advantage of the natural light for applying her make up I was able to capture a number of elegant images as she relaxed in the moment. The image above was one I was very happy with as her pose, which was completely natural, is perfectly captured with the soft light creating a nice even exposure across her face.

Main Picture (above top left) - Canon 5D Mark ii with 70-200mm - 105mm, F2.8, 1/60, ISO 1600

My second photographer Maggie was following the guys in the morning, and when I arrived at the church Simon seemed in good shape. As the moment came ever closer for Sian to walk down the aisle, I captured a few moments as the nerves finally set in and he took a few moments to compose himself. The couple looked very comfortable as they  conducted their vows.

Main Picture (above) - Canon 5D Mark ii with 24-70mm - 70mm, F4.0, 1/125, ISO 100

As Sian and SImon left the church they were swarmed with friends and family offering them congratulations. The group photos were organised to be taken at the church grounds and making sure these were taken was at the back of my mind, however this was one of those instances when I didn't want to ruin the moment  for the couple and the friends and family wanting to celebrate the occasion. It was also a really nice moment to take some natural photos of happy people which is what weddings are all about after all. As Sian and Simon headed towards their wedding car, I sneaked around the other side to get an alternative view and caught this lovely moment as a very happy Sian turned towards the car and landed her eyes on my camera which was focused through the back doors of the car.

Main Picture (above right) - Canon 5D Mark ii with 24-70mm, 40mm, F4.0, 1/60, ISO 400

Simon was lucky enough to have parents who owned a farm with land big enough to accommodate such a large gathering. It was also an ideal place for some fun portraiture. I left second photographer Maggie photographing the guests, and took the couple away for a few relaxed moments alone in front of the camera.

This clothes line for ladies hats, was not just a quirky solution for guests, but also proved to be a nice photo opportunity.

Main Picture (above) - Canon 5D Mark ii with 24-105mm, 35mm, F4.0, 1/40, ISO 100

The meal, along with the speeches, were held in a marquee on the grounds of the farm. The natural light in marquees is generally very good as they act like a big lightbox, diffusing the light from the sun and creating a nice even soft light over all the guests. The wedding was in mid summer so the longer days meant the light was ideal during the speeches.

Main Picture (above) - Canon 5D Mark ii with 24-70mm, 24mm, F3.0, 1/80, ISO 400 with EX580 ii Speedlite

As the sun went down it was time for the dancing to start. Sian and Simon had a rocky uplifting first dance and invited the guests to join them leading to this lovely moment. I positioned myself just in front of the DJ and as Sian threw her arms in the air, I fired off a couple of exposures firing my flashgun into the roof of the marquee ensuring a soft light fell on the couple. It's moments like this that I really enjoy about photographing weddings, when people are thoroughly lost in the moment and forget the cameras presence, allowing for great natural images like this.