I was contacted recently by a friend of mine trying to arrange a surprise present for her husbands 40th birthday. She wanted to create some photographs of her recently expanded family, so we booked in a family photography session in Bognor.
I had captured Cooper and Rafferty a couple of years ago at a toddler group photography session, but now that Edison had been born, their family photography needed updating. It was a great opportunity to get the boys into the studio for an hour rather than a quick 5 mins in a portable set up. It also meant I got to have some cuddle time! I just love a squidgy new baby!!
Sophie came well prepared, a massive feat with two busy boys and a baby less than 2 months old! I usually advise a change of clothes and some props…the boys chose so well, even baby Edison got involved in the swordplay!!
I try to encourage children to play as much as possible so the images created are natural, capturing the personalities on display, here’s some outtakes of the boys as they got more comfortable in front of the camera!
Sophie had planned to create a triptych of photographs using blackboard written messages. The studio, as well as being white has access to various coloured roll down backdrops so we were able to play with some low key black and white photography too. Here’s some cheeky ones as they practised their posing (and handwriting)….
The boys were brilliant, such fun to photograph, full of energy and cheekiness, I can’t wait to see how Edison grows and develops into this lovely family.
It’s been quite an exciting summer as yet another set of friends prepare to tie the knot this year and I have the pleasure of being their photographer. I have known Liz and Jack for a number of years now, but since they’ve been a couple, with Jack being at University in Canterbury, Liz in Chichester and their time together precious, I haven’t had the chance to really hang with them as a couple and get to know what makes them tick together. The engagement shoot in preparation for their wedding was a great opportunity.
To start off we visited a place close to Liz’s home called Brandy Hole Copse in Chichester. As we were trekking through brambles, warding off wasps and kicking playing toddlers off picturesque benches, Liz and Jack shared with me why this Copse was so special to them. It was where they had their first date, first kiss, where Jack asked Liz to officially be his girlfriend and then later asked her to be his wife! I mean, seriously! How romantic can you get?! To top it all off, Jack had even drawn Liz a picture at random (pre-dating) of the same clearing with a pond, trees and a couple hanging out before he had visited! Meant to be or what?!
I loved the light flares created by the dappled woodland when shooting into the light, and natural framing of the shots emphasised by the surrounding foliage. I could have spent far longer exploring, but the couple of hours at Brandy Hole Copse doing a photo-op recce was definitely rewarding as we plan to return on their wedding day and really come full circle in their dating journey. We detoured via Liz’s house to grab some much needed lunch in preparation for the next stage….Boxgrove Priory & Ruins.
I came to realise during our time together that Liz and Jack are an incredibly tactile couple. I decided to use this to my advantage as it made for some really romantic shots. The ruins are a wonderful backdrop for romance. As they are having their wedding reception at Boxgrove Village Hall it will be perfect to return here with all their wedding day finery and attire to capture some more portraits.
I’m hoping too, to be able to inject some youthful spirit into the wedding day photos as we are planning to bring the bridal party – consisting of their best friends, here for some fun shots!
The last part of Liz and Jack’s engagement shoot consisted of an impromptu trip to Bognor to visit the sea. Jack and Liz really got to know each other in Bognor at Opengate Church that we all attend, so they have spent much time at the beach or walking the prom together. As they will both be moving to Canterbury after their wedding, Liz really wanted to get some photos of them together at the beach, capturing those precious memories.
Again, I had great fun playing with light flares and rebelling against the photographers’ golden rule of not shooting into the sun….especially during the Golden Hour!! One of my favourite moments from this part was the moment Jack lost his footing on the moving stones as a wave rushed in whilst he was paddling and holding a shrieking Liz! They soon made up….as you can see!!
The beach in Bognor, along Aldwick Bay, was a lovely, quiet spot to finish the day. It was lovely to hang out with Liz and Jack and really get to know them better, as well as priming them for a whole day of being papped by two of us on their wedding day. I can’t wait!! Roll on September 6th!!
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,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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!!
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.
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!!
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.
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.
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!!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!