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Family portraits, children newborn & toddler photography in Bognor Regis Chichester Worthing West Sussex East Sussex Brighton Portsmouth

tender moments

Mr & Mrs Brigstock | Hendall Barns, Uckfield.

May Bank Holiday was a busy weekend. On the glorious, sunshiny Saturday my destination was a stunning wedding venue, Hendall Manor Barns near Uckfield, North of Brighton. The couple, Emma and Paul had planned for their wedding ceremony and reception to be held here. Joining me on the journey was Jim, of Jim Elliott Video and Photography. The venue is in the middle of rolling green fields which just invite you to stop, take a moment and just view the world. It really is stunning.

There was a sense of calm when we arrived, helped I’m sure by the professional and friendly staff at Hendall Manor Barns who were ensuring all things were set and in place as planned (and doing a wonderful job of chasing up the delayed flowers!). Paul was looking remarkably chilled out as he was waiting during the final stages of the set up, happily taking time out to pose with his brothers who were taking the role of Best man and Usher for the day. Emma & Paul’s son Oscar was also there waiting, playing with some other children and being incredibly well behaved (I need tips for my children!!).

Paul and his groomsmen
Paul staying serious with his brothers.
Where's the aeroplane?
Oscar and his friends

Paul,his groomsmen and son didn’t go for the traditional buttonhole flower accessory. Instead, Paul had commissioned a jewellery maker, Alexandra Howard to make some lapel badges and tie pins for them all to wear. These looked amazing, a steampunk style that really complemented the slim-fit blue suit with black trims that Paul was wearing.

No buttonholes here...
Custom made jewellery, steampunk style

With perfect timing, Emma, her parents and bridesmaids arrived in a vintage VW split screen Campervan supplied by Delux Wedding Hire based in Crawley, West Sussex. I learnt 2 things: 1) the camper was called Candy after its Vintage White and Apple Red colouring. And, 2) I want one!! Emma looked beautiful wearing a strapless ivory gown with incredibly delicate fabric flower details along the décolletage and hips, finished off with a veil. Her bridesmaids complemented her perfectly in deep purple-blue dresses.

Vintage Campervan
Arriving in style in Candy
Candid capture through the glass
Vintage style entrance in a VW Camper van
Emma arrives in the VW Camper with her girlies
delicate flower detailing on the wedding dress
Gorgeous detailing

While Emma completed the legal conversation with the registrars the rest of the guests settled themselves into the main hall at Hendall. This brick barn building is flanked on its lengths by ginormous windows which allowed light to stream in and bounce off the walls creating a really warm feel to the room. It was a real pleasure to witness the interactions between Paul and both families as the start of the ceremony drew closer.

Paul comfortably waiting for his bride
Not nervous at all!
Mother of the bride looking glamorous
Mother of the bride looking glamorous
Something has tickled Paul's Mum!
Something has tickled Paul’s Mum!

Suddenly in a flurry the registrars returned. The atmosphere changed from jovial chit-chat to a quiet, nervous anticipation. This is one of my favourite moments during a wedding day, I feel that knot in my stomach and sense the adrenaline start to course through my body from the excitement of what is about to happen! From where I stand I am able to capture the visible emotion and anticipation of the groom as well as the emotions and expressions of the bride as she walks towards her beau. One of my favourite shots of today was during this moment. Oscar, their son, crept from his seat to peep past his father’s legs to watch his mother arrive and walk towards them. Paul’s nerves were visible, as was the simultaneous tenderness towards their son.

All heads turn to admire Emma
Here comes the bride
tender moments
A sneaky peek from Oscar
The first look
The first look

It was a pleasure to watch Emma and Paul exchange rings and vows (and a kiss!!) during the ceremony. Their friends and family looked on proudly as they married, then of course Oscar stole the show by joining them as they signed the register!

the kiss
You may now kiss the bride
Signing the register
The unofficial witness

After the ceremony we were able to whisk the new Mr & Mrs Brigstock away to the gorgeous and varied grounds at Hendall Manor Barns….but not before I spied the Best Man looking decidedly nervous for his next big role….the speeches, while Emma & Paul played around with the Camper oblivious to his near panic!!

Speeches next
You can’t hide the nerves!!
Candy the Camper

Now, the grounds at Hendall really are beautiful. If you come out of the main wedding and reception area there is an array of areas that are just crying out to be used as a backdrop. The first place we used was the car park barn. This may seem like a bizarre place to settle, but when doing the recce of the location a few months previously I spotted these wonderful railway sleepers used as a wall. Lovely textures that lend itself to both colour and black and white photography.

Newlywed Portrait
Just hanging out in a car park…as you do.

We then walked the scenic route round the grounds using pathways and greenery as the main components for the composition of some more photos before coming to the Manor House. This is the owners private dwelling, but they very kindly allow us to use it for the photographs and boy am I glad! I couldn’t resist asking Emma and Paul to sit and chat for a moment on some small steps leading up to a summery, yellow door. This door makes me want to rethink my own exterior colour scheme at home!!

Hendall Manor House
Nobody’s answering the door…

Popping through a side gate into the private gardens we came to the piece-de-resistence….the pillars. For those that don’t know Paul, he is a singer, a rock singer, and I felt the unplanned & unposed shot as he lifted their entwined hands in the air was befitting for his craft and personality. As we continued to spend some time in this area we really got to see the love and happiness that was bouncing between these two. Emma could not stop smiling and laughing as they chatted and posed and chatted some more.

We did it!!
Thank you Wembley
Hendall Manor House
Just hanging around, swinging in the breeze
Hendall Manor House
These guys just can’t stop kissing!!

Our last point of call as we returned Emma and Paul to their guests was to capture some shots of them with their families and friends before they sat down to their meal. Again, the location couldn’t be more perfect. Back in the central courtyard there are some steps leading up to the barn and its large glass doors. This provided an opportunity to capture the reflection of the blue sky that blessed the day without getting any of the sun-squint in peoples eyes! Winners all round. I even found some new assistants for the afternoon.

Blue sky perfection
The new family together
Start 'em young!!
New talent to keep me on my toes

As we called it a day and left Emma & Paul to enjoy the rest of their celebrations I have to say it was a glorious day. The bride and groom looked so happy, the venue was a dream and I got home well before dark ready to prepare for a wedding the following day! What a privilege to be part of such a lovely wedding. Thank you Mr & Mrs Brigstock, and congratulations!!

Emma & Paul
Emma & Paul
The new Mr & Mrs Brigstock
wedding day photography, london photographer, central london, devonshire terrace

Mr & Mrs Jennings | Devonshire Terrace, London

For those that know me, May the 4th is usually spent enjoying my birthday… *ahem* 24 *ahem*!! This year however I found myself hotfooting up to the City of London with my trusted 2nd Lee to shoot the wedding of Maria and Stuart.

Bride & Groom portrait in London
Just leaning on a post in your wedding day suit, as you do…

What a fabulous day it was. We started the day finding Maria and Stuart at the Doubletree Hilton Hotel in Tower Hill getting ready in their respective rooms,of course, Maria had the bigger of the two….what bride wouldn’t!! While Lee was busy with the boys and their struggles to tie ties and attach cufflinks with one hand, I was on hand with Maria, her mother, and her bridesmaid Lauren. Aside from the make-up and hair, and the fabulous something blue (a gorgeous pair of blue Manolo Blahnik stilettos) my favourite capture of the day must have been the look on Maria’s face as she opened her gift from her husband-to-be…a gorgeous diamond bracelet. Of course, this became a new accessory for her bridal outfit!

Mulberry cufflinks, London wedding
These new cufflinks will go on…
London wedding, Manolo's
A little Manolo Blahnik to make you walk tall
Diamond, London wedding
Maria opens her lovely wedding day gift from Stuart

As Stuart and the boys were finishing up their drinks and preparing to head to the venue, Maria was putting the finishing touches to her outfit and hair. It was a real privilege to be there to capture those precious and intimate moments of emotion between mother and daughter, and awe from the flower girl arriving and getting her first look at the beautiful bride.

Doubletree Hilton, Tower Hill London
Stuart and his Groomsmen enjoy one last tipple before the cabs arrive
Mother of the bride, Hilton, Tower Hill, London
Maria and her Mother share a touching moment
London, Doubletree Hilton, London wedding photographer
As Maria greets her page boy and flower girl, the look on her face says it all. Utter awe.

A short taxi drive later and we arrive at Devonshire Terrace in Central London. Being in the centre of the financial district, it is usually closed on weekends, except for weddings, so it was really nice to have an urban oasis in the middle of the city that was relatively tourist free. The building Devonshire Terrace is situated in is impressive. Imagine (with lego, my visual brain says) building the deep, outer walls of a rectangular block 6 storeys high leaving the central space free of building, instead turning it into a usable courtyard space protected from the elements by a glass roof.

The ceremony was fantastic. As the groom, Stuart, nervously waited for his bride, Maria was busy having some photos with her bridal party under the large brick arches that connect the courtyard to the outside world. Then she arrives, a beautiful vision in an ivory bejewelled gown with stunning satin corsetry and a fashionable tulle fishtail skirt.

Devonshire Terrace, London, Wedding photography
Those precious moments before Maria goes to meet her Groom
devonshire Terrace weddings, London, wedding photographer
This shot gives a great look at THE DRESS, but also an feel for the venue, Devonshire Terrace

Maria surprised her new husband by hiring vocalists and musicians who popped up out of the congregation as the ceremony finished, performing ‘All You Need Is Love’, inspired by the film Notting Hill. They also sang the new Mr & Mrs Jennings back down the aisle to a rendition of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered’

I had planned to take Maria and Stuart out into the London streets to capture some urban portraits of them both. Immediately out through the arches provided some fantastic backdrops with which to compose them. They were a great couple to work with who were very happy to be papped on their special day. We went for a series of candid and artistic poses as well as some more traditional shots. One of my favourites was the an edgy edit I did where the (now filthy) underskirts of Maria’s dress were exposed. This appealed to my alternative creative side.

wedding, london, devonshire terrace, photographer, portraits
Those first moments where a drink and a catch up is much needed!
wedding photography London, kiss portrait,
Well, it may not be the famous painting….but pretty close I reckon!!
wedding photography London Devonshire Terrace,
You would never know, 50m on there is a constant stream of traffic and pedestrians. We got lucky!
wedding dress, Manolo Blahnik heels, blue shoes, london wedding photography
Something for the dry cleaners….

While Maria, Stuart and their guests sat down to enjoy their meal Lee and I took a well earned break to devour the amazing tapas style food that was on offer and do what all good photographers do…..talk gear & shots and drink coffee!

The rest of the evening continued in good cheer and celebration. Speeches were delivered, toasts made, champagne drunk and dances danced. First up on the dance floor were the page boys and flower girls who well and truly rocked out before Maria and Stuart took to the floor for their well choreographed first dance.

Bridal party portraits, London wedding photography, Devonshire Terrace Photographer
Well, with kids, what else is there to do?!
Wedding day first dance, children, bridal party, wedding photography London
Before anyone else got to boogie, these little guys rocked!!
wedding day photography, london photographer, central london, devonshire terrace
Mr & Mrs J take to the dance floor

Maria had thoughtfully provided some comedy props which came in incredibly handy, especially when coaxing the shyest of the party to be photographed. This is certainly something I would recommend doing, especially if a studio photo booth isn’t feasible.

wedding photography in London, Devonshire Terrace wedding photography
As a rule, every wedding couple have to have at least one picture of their photographer!!

As the night for us came to an end and all our gear was re-packed and loaded into the car, we began the journey back to the South Coast with our eyes on lookout for a coffee stop! The wedding of Mr & Mrs Jennings was a fabulous day. A lot of fun and a wonderful experience. It was a pleasure to be able to play a part in their day. Congratulations Maria & Stuart, wishing you a lifetime of blessings and happiness.

wedding photography in London, Devonshire Terrace wedding photography
One Last kiss for us to capture under the arches of Devonshire Terrace, London

Never Work With Children or Animals……

For years I’ve heard people say to me “never work with children or animals”. Not being one to do as I’m told, one day I thought I’d give it a try.

What’s the worse that could happen I wondered?? Collapsed set? Tears & tantrums? Accidents of the bodily fluid type? Being bitten? My camera being used to stir sand?

A few years on, I can say: Yep, pretty much all of the above has happened, and more!! But what no one ever mentioned was how much fun it is….the smiles from these cute kids as they try and suss me and the camera out; the hilarity of a dog trampling and slobbering all over the set; random toddlers who want to join in and play despite screaming blue murder 5 minutes before. Then I’ve got parents in my periphery vision doing ANYTHING to get their kids to smile and laugh. I should have a candid camera set up just for the potential YouTube clips.

Yeah, so my knees ache from cruising around on a hard floor. My coffee gets cold and I always miss the Toddler Group cake, but the best thing?? I get to play with the toys!!

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