Saturday, September 26, 2009

Martin & Louise

Bank holiday weekend came and went as you know in a blur of weddings.  The second wedding that weekend was of Martin & Louise.

As you know I like to make an entrance but I don't normally make such a dramatic  entrance as I did at Louise's house. As the usher opened the door to let me in I tripped over the step and literally fell in through the front door, bashing my finger on the door frame and ending sprawled in a heap on the floor. Tres elegant!

The bridesmaids, who were all sitting elegantly in the lounge sipping champagne fell about laughing at my unconventional approach to breaking the ice.   Anyway, moving swiftly on:

I love roses, I think there is something really special about roses and Louise had decided to have lots and lots of them. They were gorgeous. Beautifully fresh and elegantly arranged, the florist (don't know who it was) should give herself a well deserved pat on the back.

Once Louise arrived back from the hairdresssers it was time to get the the make up on and into the dress. It always makes me laugh how one minute it's all calm and orderly and suddenly everyone is running round getting changed and wanting the bathroom at the same time, getting into their outfits and checking the last minute details.

Louise seemed to be very calm about it all. She was  a bit like a swan, all serene on top but flapping like heck underneath it all!  Here she is good to go and looking gorgeous and taking one last look in the mirror before heading off for the car waiting outside.

The ceremony and the reception were to be held at Mytton Fold and the plan was that the ceremony would take place outside. The rain had been threatening all day and right up to the last second it wasn't at all certain where it would take place. The hotel had set up for both an inside and an outside ceremony so the final decision was down to the bride and groom who decided.......


What a good decision, it was wonderful.

The ceremony itself was very moving and the extra dimension of being in beautiful gardens, listening to the birds made it extra special. The rain decided to hold off and the sun even came out for a while. It was warm, romantic and felt almost tropical. Bob and me had never shot a wedding outside before. We were both surprised at how much we enjoyed it. The light was beautiful so we took full advantage of it and also the ability to be able to move around a little bit more and shoot from angles we wouldn't normally be able to.

After the ceremony Martin and Louise went for a ride  in their wedding car. I should say in their special wedding car as it was my old buddy Peter from Special Wedding Cars who was there that day with his lovely old Buick.

As Martin & Louise went for their much needed breather, Bob and me spent the time having a laugh with .. er.. cough... I mean getting lots of photos of the guests.

 There was a toast master there who I've never met before his name was Roland  and he was wonderful. he gathered people together for me, held my camera while I climbed up my stepladder for the big group shots and generally made sure everything ran smoothly.  I would highly recommend him if you are getting married, (just because I want a Roland at every wedding!). He was superb.

This little chap here, Martin's nephew, was in grave danger of stealing the show, he was so cute.

When Martin & Louis came back we went for a little stroll round the gardens to get our special shots. I love this part of the day, it's just the bride and groom with me and Bob and  we can all relax a little bit away from the crowd.  Usually this is when we get our best shots as we have a stroll and a chat as we walk. Maybe stopping on a handy bench for a few minutes.

This is one of my very favourite images of the day. The look of love in Louise's eyes makes me emotional every time I see it.

After our stroll we went inside to cut the cake. This shot, admittedly not a traditional cake cutting shot is my favourite.

The it was time for the wedding breakfast.  As photographers we feel that this is a time to leave people alone. No one wants to be eating their meal thinking that at any moment they will be snapped shovelling in  a mouthful of roast beef and yorkshire pud, it doesn't make for good photography and it puts everyone on edge so we get out of the way till it's time for the speeches.  We love the speeches. Bob specially loves them as he's picking up material for next year when he is going to be the father of the bride. He's been writing his speech for ages now. It should good .. or just very, very long.

During the evening a man turned up with a strange looking contraption. As he started to assemble it it became clear that it was a huge chocolate fountain.  Very impressive to look at and it certainly was very popular.

There were sweets, mini doughnuts, fruit and all manner of things to dip into the luscious, white chocolate.  We were invited to help ourselves but I was very good and managed to only have a strawberry.  I felt very virtuous!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Brown eyed girl

A little while ago I was booked to shoot a portrait session for a young girl. Never having met her before I didn't know what was going to walk through the door. Would she be tall? Dark or fair? Vivacious or shy?   

If I'm truthful, what I was really praying for was that someone didn't come walking through the door like my daughter when she was a young teenager ie. moody, uncommunicative and grungy. Oh, the grunge - she did that in a BIG way for about 5 years.  I'm so glad she grew out of it into the lovely young woman she is today!!  

Imagine my delight when this bubbly, pretty, chatty girl walked in clutching a caseful of outfits and accessories, a smile as wide as a mile and an attitude I wish I could bottle and sell. In short, she was delightful.

On went the music and the make up, the lights were turned on and the constant stream of changing outfits and backdrops started. We had a brilliant shoot that went waaaaaay over the allotted time because we were having so much fun. 

 Neither punk, goth, chav, emo or any other category that young people get lumped into, Chloe was happy  and comfortable enough to be herself and  she completed the shoot with enormous enthusiasm and, strangely enough for someone who had never done it before, enormous professionalism and maturity.  Superb.

Here are a few of my favourite shots from the day. 

Monday, September 14, 2009

Boudoir fun

It could be horribly misconstrued that title, couldn't it?  I'm talking about boudoir photography, what were you thinking?

Last Saturday, while you were all having Barbeques and enjoying the Indian summer sun, me and this client were in the studio shooting some gorgeously sexy and glamourous images of her.  Obviously modesty and respect for my client prevents me from showing you images that would allow you to identify her while you're walking round Tesco but here are just a couple of little snippets for you.

The low key (dark one ) was shot straight into the light because I like to play around with the lighting and I thought that it suited the outfit she was wearing at the time as it looked very theatrical.  Doncha just love that lens flare? Fabulous - if I do say so myself!

The second one was inspired by a photographer called Horst P Horst. He was one of the pioneers of fashion photography and his work was amazing. His images first appeared in French 'Vogue' in 1931 and his career as a top fashion photographer spanned several decades.  I can only aspire....sigh.
Horst P Horst  1987
Yes, ok - I do realise mine's  upside down. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Nik & Nicola

The first of our bank holday weekend weddings at Mytton Fold was the lovely Nik & Nicola.

Bridal prep at Nicola's mum's was chaotic, lots of laughing and there seemed to be bridesmaids everywhere!! As with any good party, everyone congregated in the kitchen.

All I can say is it's a good job there were plenty of people for brewing up duty!

Nicola's dad wisely decided to take himself into the living room out the way and watch golf for half an hour after walking in the kitchen, and finding all manner of girly type activities going on, including one person sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor to paint her toenails. Like I said - chaos, just the way I like it!

This little chap wanted to show me his cufflinks. I was a bit bemused for a minute when I noticed they said, 'father of the bride' till I realised that he'd borrowed his Grandad's cufflinks to show me. I know I'm getting older and policeman look younger by the day but flipping heck, even to me he looked a bit young to be the bride's dad!!

The dress was stunning. Ok, I know you can't really see it on this picture, you'll just have to take my word for it till later. I loved the 'blue room' with it's lovely soft light, it made a nice backdrop for the dress photos.

Over at the grooms house they were just having fun!! Everyone had got ready early and ready to rock and roll. The grooms dad (4th from left) has the brightest, biggest million watt smile I've ever seen - and he smiled all day long.

Bob shot about a million pictures of the groomsmen cavorting, they had a whale of a time.

The wedding was at a catholic church in Padiham. What a lovely service. The priest was brilliant and allowed us to shoot whatever and wherever we wanted to during the service. As normal, we moved around very little. We believe that the congregation should be looking at the bride and groom, not at us wandering around, so we stay as low key as possible during the service and of course we never ever use flash during the service as it's far too intrusive. We got some amazing pictures. Bob took his usual perch in the balcony and had a ball shooting the fantastic stained glass windows and gorgeous details in the church, all nice for background pictures in the album. After Nicola and her dad started their walk down the aisle I got to my place at the front of the church to get the close up shots of the ceremony.

After the church it was a quick leap into the car and dash to get to Mytton Fold to get there before the bride and groom arrived. God bless sat nav!

When we arrived at Mytton Fold, unbelievably it was warm and sunny! What happened? It was pouring down in the morning.

We rattled through the group shots, as normal we did them back to front so that the big group shot was done early on then everyone wasn't waiting around for ages for their photo.

Although Nicola and Nik wanted a lot of group shots, we managed to get through them fairly quickly as everyone was so good natured about it and were all in the right place at the right time. Getting people together for their group shots can be not dissimilar to herding cats but Bob did a brilliant job of rounding people up. I could take him on every wedding - oh. I forgot. I do!

We went for a stroll round the beautiful grounds of Mytton Fold. Picking photos to put on here was really hard as there are so any nice ones to choose from. The one below I've included because I know Nik really likes it. What do you think?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Craig and Melissa

Craig and Melissa's wedding took place on 15th August. They had booked us for our top level package so we spent most of the day with them. I went to the bride's to do the bridal prep pictures while Bob went over to the grooms house to get a few shots there. As far as we know, we are the only company who do both bride and groom prep. Why do we do both? Because we love it - and we are incredibly nosy and don't want to miss out on anything ( only half joking there!).

I know Melissa takes a look at the blog from time to time so - hello!!!!! Big wave!!!!

Bridal prep involves taking lots of pictures of the details of the wedding. I always think that it's the details that get forgotten. One shot of a small detail can trigger a whole host of nice memories. The number of times a bride says, "oh yes, I'd forgotten all about that." These times are intensely personal and we always feel it's an honour for us to be allowed in to peoples homes at such an important time.

It had been raining heavily all morning so the emergency bottle of liquid sunshine that had been brought back from holiday was opened. Guess what? It worked!! The sun was shining within minutes!

Here's the bride and groom with her Dad. The wedding was at a church in Knuzden and the reception was at Astley Bank in Darwen. Not far to go home then!! It's gorgeous at Astley Bank. The gardens look almost tropical and the house is a superb example of Victorian architecture. I love working there.

The weather held out for most of the day - except for one point while we were doing the special shots and then the heavens opened! We got stuck under the smoking shelter in the garden and eventually had to make a dash for the house. Bob used our big triflector as an umbrella to hold over Melissa while she picked up her skirts and made a dash for the house. The photo below was taken later in the evening when the sun had come out again - along with the midges!

This was one of those weddings where everyone just decided to get on and enjoy themselves. The atmosphere was lovely. Bob and me were kept busy as guests came and requested extra group shots of themselves with family and friends, everyone just threw themselves into it. Brilliant!!

These three images below are my personal favourites from the day. Sometimes (stop reading Melissa) we sneak in a few pictures for ourselves when we do a wedding. I loved the light coming through the window and the flare which gives this first shot it's low contrast, dreamy look. When we take a shot we can visualise how we want the finished article will look and I knew this would look great with an antique finish. The technical imperfections have worked to our advantage to create the mood I wanted. Not that I am comparing my work in any way to the work of one of my favourite photographers, Julia Margaret Cameron, but the influence is certainly evident.

It would look a bit incongruous in the album - but do you know what? I love it.

This next one is a bit gothic. I'm a fan of vignetting, from hardly noticeable light touch to draw attention to the centre of an image or, as in this case, a whacking great dollop of it. A lot of my personal work is quite dark, it must be bringing out my inner Goth!

Bob took this image. We enjoy playing with the light and often decide to shoot straight into it. The warmth and glow as well as the low contrast are what makes this a favourite. What do you think?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Not a crime

Not usually one for getting onto a soapbox and shouting out to the masses, I have come across a campaign that I feel passionate enough about to support.

As any photographer will tell you, taking photographs in public places has become a bit of a dangerous sport in England. The British Journal of Photography makes this statement:

" Increasing concerns about terrorism, paedophilia, health and safety, personal privacy and plain old paranoia about pretty much anything Her Majesty’s subjects get up to has resulted in a deep mistrust of photographers.

Police routinely invoke anti-terror legislation to prevent photographers from carrying out their work, and photojournalists are constantly filmed at public gatherings and their details kept on an ever-growing database. Tourists, particularly foreign tourists, are also targeted by police, as was the case with an Austrian father and son recently who made the mistake of photographing a building of an extremely sensitive nature—Walthamstow bus station.
Put simply, Britain has become a no-photo zone, and so if you fail to comply, you may find yourself liable to attack, arrest or harassment. Recognising that Britain is not the only country where such a draconian anti-photographer culture is developing, the British Journal of Photography is beginning an international visual campaign to raise awareness."

I was taking photographs at an event in a local park and was loudly challenged by a chap who saw me. A male photographer friend was challenged both loudly and aggressively while walking through the park with his camera on his shoulder and the lens cap on!! This is pure nonsense. Everyone who carries a camera or takes photographs in a public place is under suspicion.

Enough is enough, now it's the turn of the photographers to shout. Why not add your voice to the call?

Don't you love it when clients turn into friends?

The other week I was sat, as is my daily routine, slaving away over my computer processing photographs, when the phone rang and made me jump out of my skin as I'd been engrossed in what I was doing.

The person on the other end of it turned out to be one of my old clients from my House of Colour days. We'd got on really well at the time but lost touch when I moved on so I was delighted to hear from her. After meeting up for a coffee and catching up on a lot of gossip we arranged a photo shoot she'd been wanting for her and her family.

The family all turned up on the appointed day with their changes of outfit and a brilliant attitude. They were in the mood to have fun - and it showed. Some rocking music, a lot of laughter and we had a party on out hands. Brilliant!!!

No formal shots for this lot then! We had a whale of a time. They all came back the following week to see the images. I love it when they cry as they view their photographs - as long as it's tears of happiness, obviously!! There were enough tears from Mum to float a ship. Result!!

Next week I have a boudoir shoot booked. Can't wait. Watch this space.