Photography, Weddings

Something different for a Sunday

Well what a hectic few weeks it has been. A marathon run of weddings has kept me well and truly our of trouble for a while, and thankfully as things start to slow down for the winter season it gives me a bit of time to catch up with myself and make sure the waiting couples get the images from their big day as soon as possible. This week also saw the delivery of my first loxley album, the quality of this album is without doubt worth every penny of its higher cost. The couple were absolutely delighted with it, and to be honest, so was I! I can’t wait to produce more of these for upcoming weddings!

This afternoon will see me taking on a slightly different challenge, not something I like to back down from. A family member asked me to shoot a few images for his bands new website, and whilst not a typical portrait shoot, this will require some knowledge I already have and a little more creativity. I’m not going to pretend I am an expert in band photography, but I always like to face a challenge head on and see what I can do with it. Its nice to take on new challenges to keep myself fresh and be able to try different things. I am not guaranteeing that todays shoot will be the best I can achieve, but its a starting point.

Following on from the band photos, im then on the motorway up north for a meeting to discuss the next wedding on my calendar. Winter weddings are going to be another new challenge for me this year, with unpredictable weather and shorter daylight hours.

Lastly, with today being halloween that means that tomorrow is the first day of a new month, which is now known as Movember! No, that’s not a typing error, the Mo, slang for moustache, and November come together each year for Movember. The idea being to raise awareness of mens health issues and raise money for The Prostate Cancer Charity (TPCC), the UK’s leading prostate cancer charity.

So if you haven’t already, head over to http://uk.movember.com/donate/ and search for my name to make a donation. Go on, do it now!

Photography, Uncategorized, Weddings

Being a good wedding guest

So i’ve done plenty of posts on here about previous weddings, and I want to do more posts on here about helping brides and grooms plan their weddings. One thing that gets over-looked is the guests, do you just turn up, hand over a card with a voucher inside and head for the bar? There are a few things to consider if you look down at your doormat and find that a wedding invitation has been sent to you!

These aren’t put in any kind of order of importance, but they are all equally important:

Be on time.
It sounds simple and obvious, but there is rarely a good reason to be late, and only the bride has that privilege on her wedding day. Turning up at the same time as the bride or following her down the aisle is definitely not cool!

Make an effort.
The couple have spent thousands on this day and have been planning it for at the very least a year, more likely two! When thinking of who they wanted to share their day with them, they invited you, so why not return the compliment. Trainers have no place on a day like this. You’d be surprised at what people think they can get away with.

Sing
AT least have a go! They’re only hymns, no-one is judging you, it’s not X Factor, just let go and make the couple feel like everyone is having a fantastic day and are happy to take part. Show a bit of support, the couple have enough to worry about without a silent church!

Don’t take photos during the ceremony.
Most vicars or priests aren’t thrilled about the idea of cameras clicking and flashes going off during the vows, and have already given the professional photographer his orders for the service. If he isn’t allowed to take any, don’t make the vicar cross and ruin it for the couple! You have all day to take photos afterwards!

Dance
An empty dance floor is a sad dance floor. Cheesy music and weddings go hand in hand. No-one is asking you to be John Travolta, but it can’t hurt to have a go! Go on, give the couple a bit of support!

Crying Children
Not a huge amount you can do about this, they happy at every wedding and most couples expect it. If you think your child is likely to cry though, why not take a few toys along? There is often a small area at the back of the church for kids to play, and it means you then don’t have to completely leave the church and miss all the service!

Drink sensibly
Wedding receptions and drinking go hand in hand, its the biggest party of a couples life together, so why not. Just remember, its not your party, its theirs. Stop if you’ve had enough, and don’t forget to drink some water before bed, your head will thank you for it in the morning.

Turn off your phone
Easy to forget, I grant you, but it takes a second and guarantees you won’t have the entire congregation staring at you. I was at one wedding where a guest not only left her phone on, but answered it while the service was actually going on!

Extra guests
Your invite will have quite clearly stated if you are allowed to bring a guest or not. If it doesn’t, then don’t! Weddings are ridiculously expensive and often filled up to the legal capacity that a fire officer has allowed the room to hold. If you haven’t been told to bring a guest, its usually for a reason. Brides also don’t like calls from guests asking if they can bring one more, it makes them feel awkward, especially if everyone does it and they have to keep saying no!

Gifts
If you have been invited, said yes, but then find you can’t make it, send a gift anyway. You don’t have to take it to the reception, the couple probably wouldn’t want it there anyway, its more stuff for them to take home. Simply post it, or visit the couple a week or so before the wedding and give it to them then. You can always wait until after, traditionally you have up to a year after the wedding to send a gift!

RSVP
You may put the invitation on the side and decide to post it off another day, but don’t forget that the couple are basing a lot of their meals and finances for the day on who will be there. If you plan to go, or even if you can’t make it, do make sure you let the couple know as soon as possible!

First dance
Let the couple finish this before you jump up, its the last formality of the day for them. So hang on unless they or the dj invites you.

Speeches
They may be long, they may be a bit dull, the best man may not be funny, but let them finish and don’t heckle them. Often the people giving speeches will have been dreading this moment for months and probably haven’t eaten much of their dinner thinking about it. Be kind!

Confetti
Yes! Bring it! Confetti is cool and not enough people bring it now. This tradition is not ready to die out yet and the couple LOVE the confetti shots in their album. Do remember not to stand in front of the photographer though, he needs to capture this moment, and no matter how expensive his camera is, its not x-ray!

The Photographer
Naturally i’d have something to say on this, but quite simply don’t get in their way. They are being paid by the couple to be there and get all the shots they can that the couple will treasure for most probably the rest of their lives. Having your head in front of the couple while they kiss will not win you brownie points! Sometimes the photographer only gets one chance at a photo, whereas you will get several and can always take a shot when the photographer has finished anyway!

Photography, Weddings

The wedding of Emma and Billy

I always look forward to helping my friend Phil out at weddings, as they are always lovely people and lovely locations, always very easy to photograph. This weekends wedding proved no exception, based at a beautiful 500 year old family run hotel The Old Rectory Hotel in Redditch.

After meeting the groom for a few shots before we got to the hotel, it was soon apparent from the cloudy weather that although the couple would naturally want a warm sunny day for their wedding, we had some great diffused lighting from all the clouds to create perfect photographs for them! A common misconception is that the best possible weather for photographs is sunshine, when in reality this can be just as difficult for a wedding photographer as rain or wind. The problem with bright sunshine is that although people associate it was summer, relaxing, and happiness it makes for difficult photos. In direct sunlight people often wince, and its hard to get people to open their eyes, plus all the white in the photo, including the brides dress is over exposed and often the detail in the dress can be lost. Then there is the dark shadows, under the eyes, making people look like panda bears! Not forgetting the washed out colours. In reality, as much as the couple didn’t want a cloudy day, it really was best for their photos!

We met up with the bride and her friends in the hotel room getting ready, and tried to capture some of the fun and emotion of the bride getting ready for the climax of her big day. I love this part of the day more than anything else as its an often overlooked part. Not all brides think about having photographs taken when they are getting ready, but so much planning goes into who is going to be where and who will be doing what and picking who up. There is so much excitement and emotion in this part of the day that for me it is almost as important as the ceremony itself! Of course brides always feel a little self concious about being photographed with no make up on, but thats not what this is all about, and taking photographs that the bride is thrilled about is obviously our end plan. So far I have never had a bride complain about her getting ready shots once she has seen them, and inevitably they end up in the album! Emma chose quite a unique 1920’s theme for her wedding and looked fantastic in her dress! Some of her friends had also dressed to match the theme.

After the ceremony we had some unexpected help from the lady who ran the hotel in rounding up people for the group shots quite efficiently and made sure we got these done quickly just in case the grey clouds decided to drop some rain on us.

For the speeches I borrowed Phils zoom lens and instantly fell in love with it. Its now at the top of my “to buy” list for next year!

Here are some of the photos from the day!

Photography, Weddings

Gemma and Andy – Lake Vyrnwy Hotel

Having known Gemma a number of years I was delighted when she asked me to photograph her wedding, and even more thrilled when I saw the setting of the location. Situated overlooking the lake itself, Lake Vyrnwy Hotel offered a fantastic opportunity for some great photos. Naturally, being Wales, we couldn’t guarantee sunshine and blue skies, but the day stayed mostly dry until after sunset and everyone had a fantastic day. Gemma and Andy looked fantastic, and the day went pretty much without any glitches. The band arrived early evening and at this point I had already set up a back drop and studio lights to capture some portraits for the couple, a feature I am thinking of including in future weddings if it proves popular enough.

Here are some of the shots from the day!