'Never work with animals or children'... or so the saying goes! I've had a couple of shoots recently where i've been left to ponder why this phrase exists, and honestly, I can't disagree with it more. Maybe i've just been lucky, but I can't help but think the people who coined the phrase must have been trying to ask children and animals to do things which feel unnatural and incongruous to their nature!
For me personally, if I was asking children or animals to stand still for ages or pose in uncomfortable positions, I might well agree with the statement; I'm sure it would be stressful for all involved and the photos would most likely be as uncomfortable to look at, as they were to take! But from my own experience, neither children nor animals like to stay still for periods of time... they like to explore, run around and have fun... surely that's a better thing to try capture?! Real people (and animals), doing real things.
We're not Victorians any more and we certainly don't have to stand frozen in a straight line for every photo!
As a rule, longer days and drier weather seem to be more comfortable conditions for everyone... hence why most weddings are booked for summer days I suppose! But despite the lack of leaves and the cooler temperatures, winter is still a great time for pre-wedding shoots if you find a good spot.
Low-light if the sun is out and soft light when cloudy both make for interesting photos and a splash of colour in the background really helps too... see below at Bressingham Gardens.
Pre-wedding shoots (sometimes termed 'engagement shoots') are one of my favourite kinds of photography sessions. Not only are they a chance to update a Facebook profile pic, but they also work in becoming more comfortable and relaxed in front of the camera... meaning you'll know what to expect on the big day!
Aside from this, they're just another opportunity for me to meet up with my couples, have a natter and explore some of Norfolk and Suffolk's most beautiful countryside!
Pre-wedding shoots are always included in my wedding packages free of charge :).
This year has been incredible for me... a lot of hard work but i've genuinely loved it all! I thought i'd create something of a 'best bits' post but i've been really struggling to limit myself to 10, so i've cheated and gone for 18 for '18... that's fine right?!
It's a reasonably cliché thing to say, but absolutely true all the same... Wedding days are all about the couple . Not necessarily as an ego-boost, but instead in the sense that a Wedding day can (and should) act as a means of expression. The fusion of your favourite people, ideas and themes will result in a day that is undoubtedly 'you'... Taz and Becci rolled with this notion and made a truly unique day full of quirks and authenticity at Godwick Hall and Great Barn. Have a browse of the photos below featuring a Steam Engine, a Ceilidh and a really awesome couple.
Autumn Weddings seem to becoming more and more popular... The length of the day may not be quite as long as a summer Wedding and it won't be quite as warm (not necessarily a bad thing for a thinning ginger-haired individual like myself). But for me, the colours, tone and quality of the light makes autumnal shoots really special.
The photos below are from an October wedding at Kersey Mill in Suffolk, around 20 minutes from Ipswich. I nipped out for a short walk around the grounds with the couple, who were totally on board with my candid and documentary style of photography. Come rain or shine, there are positives to be found in all weather conditions... but I definitely have a soft spot for low autumn light!
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of working with the very talented Megan Duffield Photography, and she asked if I could document groom-prep whilst she covered the bride's side. The day was filled with horses, an awesome couple and chilled-out guests... all set in the beautiful Suffolk countryside. The day was also serenaded by the Harry Potter soundtrack during reception and wedding breakfast (my geeky weakness)... what's not to like!
There are numerous wedding venues dotted all over Norfolk; from the stripped back and indie-styled sites, right through to the historical manor houses oozing with grandeur. In one way or another most bases are covered in order to provide every bride and groom with all the raw memory-making materials.
It would be reasonably fair to assume however, that prior to the wedding, most venues do not hold a particular significance to the bride, groom or many others present. As a wedding photographer, I travel around Norfolk and Suffolk a fair amount and see a good variety of locations… this August however, I was providing the photography for a couple at Bressingham High Barn and had to travel all of 200 meters from my house to get there! Not only is the venue local but it also belonged, until relatively recently, to my grandad.
My initial feelings for being involved with a wedding here were very positive. After all, I know the site inside and out and for convenience it couldn’t better, I was aware there would be something of a reflective nature to this wedding though. Toward the end of my Grandad’s ownership, some areas of the site were undoubtedly less cared for than they perhaps could have been… he was 98 years old though so I think he can be forgiven! As a young boy this wasn’t a bad thing at all however, there were a number of barns, sheds and unused buildings I would often end up exploring - fancifully hoping to be swept into a Famous Five type adventure. But alas, I never found the gold bars or ginger beer.
It was an odd experience therefore to walk around these buildings that were once damp and dusty and are now the polar opposite. I must admit the barn looks fantastic and the venue also shares a postcode with Bressingham Steam Museum and Gardens, allowing for a good mixture of eccentricity and beauty respectively.
On the day it was very much a matter of putting my feelings of nostalgia to the back of my mind. After all, weddings are about the future as much as they are the past and cliché though it may sound, it is the bride and grooms day more than any other! Luckily, with a camera in hand I am easily distracted; getting sucked into seeing the world through a viewfinder, I didn’t have to work hard to avoid reflective thoughts. Toward the end of the day though, seeing so many eye-smiles, belly-laughs and emotion, It did dawn on me that my own happy memories of the place will now be shared in a different but similar fashion by couple after couple each time they revisit the site. It’s just the way time works I suppose, but its a reassuring thought. Nostalgia is golden; an old hand we’re holding… the hands can be different but they all grip just as firmly.
When shooting a wedding, engagement or family shoot, its normal to look for the little nuggets of emotion shared between people; particularly when adopting a documentary style of photography. Faces are usually the most common ways of sharing how we feel (obviously)... whether it be a teary grin or belly laugh! Recently however, I have found myself drawn to the moments where faces aren't always present... its odd but I think as a viewer, when we see people hugging, holding hands or walking off into the sunset, we don't always need to see a face; our minds just sort of fill in the rest. The story of the photo becomes much larger as we let our imagination explore the world around the image also. I'm not saying you could shoot a wedding completely without faces... that would be a disaster! But now and again, a photo 'without' can really 'add' something.
A couple of weeks ago I had a lush little country-bumpkin photowalk with these two. They were both keen for some stylish looking photos whilst insisting they wanted them to look natural and unforced... totally up my street. The best moments are often just before or just after you think you're ready for a photo, and as a result I often end up taking a lot more photos than I need... I think this little collection prove its worth it though! :D.
Pre-wedding or 'engagement' shoots are quickly becoming one of my favourite things. I love to get know my couples on a more personal level and having an extra set of photos almost acts as insurance incase the weather on the wedding day is less favourable. It also gives an opportunity to become more relaxed in front of the camera and no one wants to feel uncomfortable on their big day!
Keep it real with natural wedding photography.
Get in touch if you'd like a pre-wedding shoot!
Last week I met up with a couple whose Wedding is just down the road from me at Bressingham High Barn ... (and their dog Barney). I've decided as a result that all dogs are most definitely welcome for future pre-wedding shoots! Really can't wait for the wedding this August now... all set to be a cracker!
A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to be invited along as a recommended supplier to an open day at Applewood Hall, in Norfolk. As well as chatting to lots of lovely couples about their approaching wedding day, it was also great to meet up with a few of the other suppliers. Although we may work in different areas; hair/beauty, flowers, fashion, photography etc. we're all under the same Wedding Industry umbrella and it was great to have a natter with everyone!
We decided to have a bash at collaborating, and although you couldn't quite call it a 'themed' shoot, we made use of three great dresses, funky tropical flowers and some on point hair and make-up. Really enjoyed the event as a whole and definitely looking forward potentially others in the future!
Julie and Derek got their colours spot on for this wedding... It was part way through April and the Cherry trees had decided to blossom just in time. These pinks, whites and greens were echoed in all the flowers on show, table dressings and smart attire... lovely jubbly!
Family shoots always tend to be pretty fun affairs, but with their energy and relaxed demeanour, Jenna, Claudio and crew made it just so, so easy. On top of that, i'm the lucky sod who is being flown over to Portugal next month to record their wedding. Genuinely. Can't. Wait.
Yesterday I had a great photo-walk/catchup/pre-wedding shoot with a couple whose Wedding i'm shooting in June at Applewood Hall in Banham. I was getting all hyped about incorporating spring flowers into this shoot, but with the long winter we've had, spring hasn't quite sprung in Knettishall Heath. Instead, we were lucky to avoid rain and went for a more 'moody' colour palette. Sam and Adam were brilliant. They navigated between the pony-poo and brambles expertly and I'm really psyched to record their day later in the year!
Everyone loves a snowday... essentially a giant natural reflector, the snowy ground gives a really even lighting to a lot of subjects. Yesterday, I couldn't resist but go back to my roots of wildlife photography or 'snowtography' ahem... I don't think i'll be taking up standup comedy.
The winter is almost over and colour is finally seeping back into the world. It must be an innate reaction to see spring flowers and blue skies and give out a little satisfied sigh... I did that this morning seeing Cherries on the brink of showing off their blossom. I make a habit of suggesting my favourite season is the one we're currently in... until the next is on the horizon, and i'm very much looking forward to spring popping it's head back up!
Last year was a good one for me photographically. It was my first year taking on family and wedding shoots and although I obviously learnt a lot and I have genuinely loved every minute of it... Cliche I know, but cliches are often truths.
Seeing as its the end of one year and the start of another, I must take a second to say thank you to everyone who took a chance on me over the last 12 months, and to plenty others for continued encouragement. It's entirely your help that puts me in the position I am now :).
With plenty more weddings booked for 2018 but still spaces remaining i'm eager to get my teeth into the year. One Wedding is 200m from my doorstep and another is in Portugal... well over 2,000,000m.
You never really know how life will take you (whoops another cliche), but i'm more optimistic than I have been in a long time.
A couple of weeks ago I was taking photos for a great couple at a late May Wedding. "Perfect weather" for a Wedding according to most people there... hot and sunny all day and not a hint of cloud. Most photographers would agree however that strong, high sunlight is not always indicative of flattering photos. My immediate thoughts were to head straight for the shade of the trees, the light is balanced and no annoying under-eye shadows. The more photo's I took however, ultimately meant I needed new locations and some without the parachute of shade. My old camera; a crop-sensor model, always struggled to achieve the dynamic range I wanted, so I was reluctant to shoot into the sun for fear of silhouettes and blown out highlights... on a hunch that my new camera would do a better job however, I tried it... and I'm so pleased I did! A little work in Lightroom brought out all the raw data I wanted and the results were really, really pleasing. Veils and hair were backlit, distanced nicely from the background and the photos are truly representative of the "perfect weather" on the day. For future reference, i'll use the light, not hide from it.
Fresh back from a Wedding Photography Course taught by 'The Trained Eye' and I'm feeling inspired. Learnt a variety of skills from award winning photographers and seasoned professionals... I've always believed I have the ability to take a good photo, but I now feel I have something of the business knowledge and techy-website know-how to go along with it.
Raring to go.