Hygge Inspired Autumn/Winter Wedding

I feel very blessed to know and work alongside some fantastic people; local wedding suppliers who get me and my aesthetic.  It's one of the things I love most about my job. 

This week we brought to life a Scandinavian/Hygge inspired wedding shoot at the East Cliff Cottage Hotel in Bournemouth (you may have seen my first attempt at a Facebook live video).  It's a lovely little place, tucked just behind the main east cliff road, perfectly suited to this style of shoot, and would be an ideal location for an intimate wedding reception. 

A few years ago, Rob and I took a holiday in Copenhagen and instantly fell in love with the city, the people, their immense style and their way of life.  Last month, we flew out to Stockholm to continue our new found Scandinavian obsession, and the same feelings came flooding back.  It was clear what I wanted to do with out next collaborative shoot, and I knew just the right people to be involved in it. 

I delved into my copy of 'The Little Book of Hygge' and read up on the Hygge manifesto.  It has ten points, which cover the basics to what Hygge is all about. 

  1. Atmosphere - Turn down the lights.
  2. Presence - Be here now. Turn of the phones.
  3. Pleasure - Coffee, chocolate, cookies, cakes, candy. Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!
  4. Equality - 'We' over 'me'. Share the tasks and the airtime.
  5. Gratitude - Take it in. This might be as good as it gets. 
  6. Harmony - It's not a competition. We already like you. There is no need to brag about your achievements. 
  7. Comfort - Get comfy. Take a break. It's all about relaxation. 
  8. Truce - No drama. Let's discuss politics another day. 
  9. Togetherness - Build relationships and narratives. 'Do you remember the time we...?'
  10. Shelter - This is your tribe. This is a place of peace and security.

I'm pretty sure these points can be applied to literally every aspect of your life, including your wedding.  My hope from this post is that you can take some inspiration from our combined effort, and apply it to your autumn/winter weddings, wherever you have them.  We also wanted to show you that there is so much more scope out there for styling your autumn/winter wedding - it doesn't all have to be about red, silver and white.  

There is so much choice out there and available to us nowadays, it's so easy to forget or look passed the things we already have.  

Incorporate items you have at home.  

Most of this shoot was pieced together using things we all had in our own homes, and they came together perfectly.  You don't need to spend thousands of pounds on things you will never use again.  Why be wasteful when you already have everything you need.  Or at least buy something you will re-use or keep for the future.  

None of your guests will care an iota about the money you've spent/not spent on your wedding day - it's your wedding, not theirs!  What they will care about is how much love you've put into it and how much fun everyone else is having, the atmosphere on the day, the general feeling of love and togetherness everyone has on the day.  Believe me, I've been at weddings where I've felt part of the family and I've been at those where you feel very isolated.  You don't want it to be the latter. 

Okay, that's enough from me for now.  

Here's some suppliers you might want to be a part of your day. 

  1. For perfect venue decor and styling - http://www.lovebydesignweddings.co.uk
  2. For stunning floral arragements - http://www.with-love-from.co.uk
  3. For beautiful wedding cakes - http://www.thesweetsuitedorset.co.uk
  4. And for modern and relaxed wedding photography - ME!! ;)

Until next time,

R x

Source: http://www.rgw-photos.com

Autumn and Winter Mini Portrait Shoots

I was born in the spring so I have a natural affinity with that time of year, it certainly can be magical.  Deep down though, I just love the autumn and winter seasons.  I love the clothes, being able to get wrapped up in a big woolen jumper, scarves and gloves, drinking too much hot chocolate, and heading outside with my camera.  

The light at this time of year can be just incredible, shorter days and the sun sitting lower in the sky can create some stunning effects without having to use Photoshop.  These seasons also give me the time to combine my love of being outdoors with my other rather obvious passion.  

The festive season isn't too far away, and so what better excuse to have some stunning (and fun!) photos of you and your loved ones done.  Whether it's just for you, or to give as a gift to your mum, dad, granny or grandad, you can't beat an outdoor photo shoot. 

So I'm running an autumn/winter special for a mini portrait session - all for just £50! 

You'll get...

  1. A fun and relaxed 45 minute outdoor shoot in Bournemouth
  2. All of your edited photos to view, share and download on your own private online gallery - and if you really love them, you can order extra prints

T&C's apply:

  • All shoots must be paid in full in order to secure your session
  • Your portrait session will take place within Bournemouth (Coy Pond, Hengistbury Head, Moors Valley Country Park or Bournemouth Beach) so you must be able to provide your own transport to the location
  • Offer is only valid on shoots that are booked and take place on or before 1st March 2018
  • In the case of adverse weather, dates may be rearranged (subject to availability)
  • Portrait sessions may be gifted, but all T&C's still apply

So what are you waiting for...?

Bring a friend, a loved one, the whole family and if you have one, bring your dog too. 

Source: http://www.rgw-photos.com

Family | Lisa+Paul

I've always felt incredibly lucky living on the south coast, being surrounded by such stunning locations like Hengistbury Head, I'd be a damn fool not to make use of them.  Work just doesn't feel like work when you get to have a day out and take photos of such a fun family.  

It's more of a 'work-out'.  Walking for miles, sometimes running after folk to get that shot.  Put it this way, I sleep pretty well after one of my location shoots.  All that fresh air, a nice big dinner and a good slug of gin all help.

My second visit to the head in as many weeks saw me having a perfect day out with Lisa, Paul, their two daughters, Neve and Lauren, and Millie the dog.  I've never known a dog that wants so many cuddles or who goes for so many toilet breaks.  I can honestly say that I had a great couple of hours walking around, chatting to, laughing with, shooting a load of photos of, and getting to know this totally genuine, warm and funny family.  I would do it again in a heart beat. 

Guys, your gallery is almost ready, so in the meantime please enjoy this lot (some of my favourites from the day). 

Until next time,

R x

Source: http://www.rgw-photos.com

Pre-Wedding | Alice+Jemma

A couple of months ago I met up with Alice and Jemma for a coffee and a chat about a project I'm working on. They agreed to a couple's shoot with me, then a few weeks ago Jemma text me saying they'd got engaged. 

Bloody brill news!

We all met up at the Hiker's Cafe at Hengistbury Head, the sun had come out and we set off for a walk.  It's a brilliant location for this sort of shoot; loads of open space, the beach, the woodland and the head.  Personally, I love it round on the beach with all the colourful huts and luckily, so did the ladies.  It's always a bonus when you can have a good laugh and a decent conversation with your couples like you've known each other for years.  

I loved hearing all about their wedding plans, and was blown away when they told me the big day was next year - they're some seriously organised brides-to-be. 

I fully believe that we are destined to meet, that eventually our circles will move close enough to become concentric.  
You can feel it's so, you know when it's true. 

Love is a beautiful gift. I feel truly blessed to capture it.

Here's a few more tasters from their shoot.  Your gallery is almost ready, I can't wait to share it with you! 

Until next time, 

R x

Source: http://www.rgw-photos.com

Love - Avril+Tracy

Photography for me is art, it's expression, and it's therapy.  It allows me to interact with others and tell their story the way I see it - vicarious art, if you will. 

I first met Avril and Tracy after I ran an advert on Facebook - seriously not as dodgy as it might sound.  I was looking for models, real couples, to be a part of a series of shoots I'm planning for 2018, where I'm working alongside a whole bunch of other talented wedding suppliers.  Models are great because they're beautiful, but they're rarely believable, and I love to showcase REAL love and emotion in my work. 

And I found it in the form of these two gorgeous ladies.

Tracy was notably nervous the day we did their couple's shoot in Christchurch.  I don't blame her, as I would be too if the shoe were on the other foot.  I tend to allow my couples free reign of what they want to do, where they want to go and what they want to wear, as I prefer them to be as natural and comfortable as possible.  

Getting to know these two has been a gift to me.  If there's one thing I really love about my work - and I struggle to class it as that - is the ability to connect with so many people, getting to know them, all their little quirks, their stories, and they in turn get to know me.   Avril and Tracy have some beautiful stories, some that really resonate with me on a very personal level, and they share a love that is unique to them,  a love that was a dream to capture.  I know this sounds a little corny, but I really feel like I've made some incredible friends and can't wait to see what their future brings.  Here's to you ladies!!  

"We are full of stories to be told."

Until next time,

R x

Source: http://www.rgw-photos.com

Hitched - Daniel+April

How do you know when they're the one?  

Believe me, when you meet them you know.  I'm speaking from both sides here, as both a photographer and as the couple.  It's a similar feeling you would get in almost any situation of meeting someone for the first time.  

When I met Daniel and April, it was very clear that it was a good match, both for them as a couple, and as a whole for us all working together.  They were clear with what they wanted and also what they didn't, and that ticks so many boxes for me.  I'm pretty straighforward which makes for a great collaboration when your couple are on the same page as you. 

Anyway, fast forward a few weeks and we headed out to Swanage for their pre-wedding shoot.  April was nervous as hell, and I think Daniel might have been too.  To be honest, I am as well, but I try not to let it phase me anymore.  I just get stuck in, let you do pretty much what you want and I snap away to get the best shots.  I hate telling people what to do, or how to stand, as it generally makes for a more uncomfortable couple than you begun with.  

Fast forward another month and their wedding day had arrived.

I have never set foot in Upwey before, but by god is it a gorgeous place!  The sun was shining, in fact I had to take off my jacket I'd worn for the day - a sweaty photographer is not a nice sight.  We did morning prep at April's mum's house, a beautiful limestone cottage.  Everything was within walking distace of their house, which is very handy and gives me a chance to get all of those strolling shots I love so much (take note future couples, hehe).  I even learned a new skill that day of tying the ribbon to the wedding car.  Tick! 

A glorious church ceremony followed at St. Laurence Church, with an afternoon tea-cum-picnic reception at the village hall right next door to the church.  The family and couple's shoot was done in the ever-so-stunning Upwey Wishing Well gardens.  Amaze!!  With evening festivities taking place a staggered walk up the village at The Old Ship Inn.  A massive thank you to the newlywed couple for allowing me to take them into the corn field and tick off a shot from my wish list. 

I always think each new family are my new favourite, and I kind of hate myself for saying this, but Dan and April, your families were seriously awesome!  And we got some wicked moves from April's mum and dad on that dancefloor.  Check out some of my faves below, and get in touch if you'd like me to capture your big day! 

Bridal Flowers - Fiona Penny at Sunflowers 

Bride's Dress -  Butterfly Brides, Poundbury 

Cakes by Dan's sister, Ellie - Instagram: @bristowbakes

Bridesmaids hair and make-up - Morgan Brown Hair & Beauty 

Venue Decorator - D Dee's Bespoke Parties  

Bride's hair and make-up -  Leanna Stibbon Makeup 

Ps. the G&T's from the pub are served in HUGE goblet style glasses which gets a massive tick from me! 

PPs. Those outfits the groom, best man and ushers wore... very nice!! 

Until next time, 

R x

Source: http://www.rgw-photos.com

Family | Lana - One

To say I'm fortunate in the work that I do is an understatement; I have the best job I could think of!

I get to connect with new people every time I go on a new shoot, I get to share in their lives for a day, sometimes longer.  I get to see babies grow into toddlers, and toddlers into children.  I'm lucky enough to see couples get engaged, and then say 'I do'. 

This is the second of three shoots I will do with Gina, Daryl and their seriously cute daughter, Lana.  We all met at Compton Acres, where Gina and Daryl were married a few years ago, and also happens to be one of my favourite places to visit in Bournemouth - I could get lost in their gardens for hours.  

So we had an afternoon celebrating their wedding anniversary and Lana's 1st birthday (officially on the 23rd September), wandering around the gardens, sharing in some giggles and some more grizzly faces.  She definitely knows how to work the camera, so I'm expecting big things for her second birthday next year.  She's not so keen on the stepping stones in the Japanese gardens, however.  You can see her reaction in the photo highlights below.  

It was all rounded off with an awesome slice of chocolate cake and tea/glass of red wine for the happy couple in the cafe afterwards.  All in all, an ace day out! 

If you would like to book me for a fun family shoot, get in touch, I'd love to hear from you.

Until next time, 

R x

Source: http://www.rgw-photos.com

Hitched - Jason+George

Well, what can I say about this one...

This was a first - a first of many more to come, a dream come true, a day filled with truly beautiful moments.  Ever since I proposed to Rob back in 2008, to our civil partnership ceremony in 2011, to our upgrade to marriage in 2015, to being a wedding photographer myself, I've wanted nothing more than to be able to capture these precious moments for another gay couple. 

After much wishing and dropping a multitude of hints on my Facebook page, to writing a blog that almost instantly got the attention of George and his now husband, Jason, I finally got what I wanted.  My mum always said that you make your own dreams come true, and as always, she was right.  You are the builder of your own dreams, so there's no point just dreaming them, you have to chase them and make them come true. 

Thursday 24th August was the day Jason and George's dreams came true, and the moment they said their 'I do's' I had to hold back a tear or two.  That moment made me feel every emotion I felt the day Rob and I said 'I do' to one another.  

It was similar to our day on so many levels: A town hall ceremony at the Bournemouth Town Hall, followed by the reception at The Dudsbury Country Club, attended by their closest family and friends.  The boys suits were from Zara and River Island, the beautiful wedding cake from Pandora's Bakery in Ferndown, and flowers/buttonholes from Amore Flowers.

Best of all for me, was I finally got to make use of my coloured smoke flares.  I've been dying to use them, and both grooms were totally up for having a few shots done with them.  

For those who don't already know, George is a fabulous drag artist known as Marilyn Mountbatten, and Jason, a drag DJ, Miss SeeQueen.  Go follow them on Instagram, or better still, go see them live at Cafe Jagos before they head off on their next big adventure together, to London. 

You guys helped make a dream of mine come true, so I wish you both the brightest future together.  I hope all of your dreams come true. 

As always, here's a selection of photos from their day.  Enjoy!

Until next time, 

R x

Source: https://www.rgw-photos.com

Collaboration - Chameleon Bridal Boutique and Love By Design Weddings

It's amazing how quickly things can turn around.

This time last year, I was very close to throwing in the RGW PHOTOS towel for very personal reasons.  The very same reasons that made me think twice about that decision.  Over the last few months, I have seen quite dramatic changes to the way I work and the people I now work with.  

It's blowing me away!

I now have a little team of suppliers who I collaborate with on a regular basis - who'd have thought I would ever be saying that?!  We share similar ideas about the direction we want our individual businesses to go in, and we all feel the same way about working alongside one another.  One of these suppliers, as you must be well aware of by now, is Rachel from Love By Design Weddings.  

We have worked together with Natasha - With Love From - on a coastal chic inspired photo shoot - which you can read more about here - and since that worked out so well, we now work together  at Chameleon Bridal Boutique, where she dresses the windows.  I don't get involved with the actual window dressing, Rachel needs no help with that.  She adds a theme to the windows once a month, giving the stunning bridal wear an extra something special.  It helps bring them to life and hopefully gives future newlyweds some inspiration as to how to dress their wedding venue.  

I could go on and on about how good her products are, but to see them for yourself is the best way, so here's some photos from my last trip to Chameleon.  This month's theme is 'Travel', and everytime I look at these photos, it makes me want to fly away somewhere. 

Where is your dream destination?

Until next time, 

R x

Source: http://www.rgw-photos.com

Spoilt For Choice - Choosing Your Perfect Wedding Venue

One of the things I love the most about living in Bournemouth - and subsequently running my business from here - is being surrounded by so many stunning places of natural beauty.  We have the New Forest, Moors Valley Country Park, The Jurassic Coast, The Purbecks, Brownsea Island, and so many more.  On top of that, an almost endless list of venues that fill these areas, which you couples get to choose from. 

Basically, we are spoilt for choice. 

For me as a wedding photographer, it is one of the most amazing things, to firstly be invited into a couple's special day, but on top of that, to get to work within these venues - that's just incredible. 

I've been very fortunate in the (comparably) short time I've been a wedding photographer, by having a portfolio that is now made up of completely different venues for each couple I've photographed - with the exception of just two.  Next year also, the venues I'll be covering weddings at are all different.  So far I've worked at the following: The Legacy Rose and Crown Hotel, Merley House, Passford House Hotel, Poole Guildhall (twice), Bryanston School, Les Bouviers.  This year I still have weddings at Bournemouth Town Hall, Dudsbury Country Club, St. Laurence Church in Upwey (with reception and evening at Upwey Village Hall and The Old Ship Inn), The Holiday Inn - Southampton, and Gorwell Barn, Abbotsbury.  

Next year I've got a growing list of fabulous venues which include: The Hilton - Bournemouth,The Italian Villa, The Old Hall - Ely, The George Hotel - Huntingdon, The Sibson Inn, The Chine Hotel, Newbury Rugby Club, The Orangery Suite, Spitbank Fort, Kingston Maurward, Barford Park and RAC Woodcote - Epsom to name a few.  I'm absolutely loving the variety.  

I've always been a bit of a dreamer, and was always told that unless you win the lottery, you are the builder of your own dreams.  I stand by this.  So in light of this, when I first started down this road of becoming a photographer, I purposely made a 'wish list' of venues/types of weddings I think of as my dream list to photograph.  

The List - or at least a portion of - in no particular order:

  • Same-sex weddings 
  • Bournemouth Beach wedding (obviously)
  • Kew Gardens (and any other botanical gardens)
  • London/Urban wedding
  • Theme weddings (especially Star Wars!)
  • Destination weddings - New York would be amazing (because I LOVE to travel)
  • Festival weddings
  • Barn weddings
  • Cinema/Theatre wedding
  • Forest wedding

Specific venues would include: The Barbican Centre, The Southbank National Theatre, The Sky Garden (Walkie Talkie building), The Shard, so basically most well known buildings in London. 

Anyway, I digress.  Getting back on topic, I suppose what I'm trying to say is; I fully understand the dilemma couples must face when it comes to planning their wedding.  They're a political minefield anyway, but to add on top of that choosing where to hold the day can be (but hopefully won't be) a nightmare.  

I remember planning our wedding.  Rob and I did the guest list first, then sorted everything else out around that.  We live in Bournemouth, most of Rob's friends and family who came live in fairly close proximity, so the only challenge was whether we held it here or nearer my family.  Both options caused the similar issues - namely travelling distances.  So we thought about it some more and came to the conclusion; it wasn't about making our families happy, but rather about making us happy.  So we landed on London and had a bloody good long weekend there.  So that would be my advice to all of you future newlyweds; choose somewhere that makes the both of you happy, reflects you as a couple and the guests that join you will enjoy it all the more for doing so. 

Below I've posted a few photos from the venues I've covered weddings at, so expect a follow-up to this post at some point next year.  

Until then, 

R x

 

 

Source: www.rgw-photos.com

Collaboration - A Vintage Woodland Wedding

The day finally arrived! 

After being rained off on the original day we had planned to do the shoot, this time the sun was out and the light was just perfect.  As much as we'd talked about and planned this, there were certain elements that had been kept secret even from me, which I suppose is fair enough given that social media drives our businesses these days, and you don't want to give it all away before the big day. 

So we arrived at the wooded area Vicki had chosen as our location, unpacked and trekked with all of our gear into the woods.  Luckily, there were no bears, but plenty of wild mushrooms, slimy logs (yuck!) and mosquitos - I have the bites on my arms and ass to prove it.  Back to the photos.  Once we'd got everything to the site, it was immediately clear in my mind that we had to recreate a pseudo-Alice in Wonderland/Mad Hatter's Tea Party set.  

If you're wanting this theme for your wedding, believe me, we can pull it off for you!  With Vicki's glorious vintage china and Lucie's mind blowing cake creations, how on earth could you go wrong?!  If you're in any doubt, just take a look at their pages (links below).  I suppose you'll be wanting to see some photos...well feast your eyes! 

Until next time, 

R x

Vintage China Hire - www.grannyschinacupboard.co.uk

Stunning wedding cakes - www.lucielovestobake.com

Source: www.rgw-photos.com

Daniel+April - Pre-Wedding

It's been a bit of a whirlwind meeting this amazing couple.  We met at Circo Lounge, Bournemouth about six weeks ago for a cuppa and a chat about their wedding plans, with little over ten weeks until their big day.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love a good challenge.  

Meeting a couple for the first time - as with meeting a photographer for the first time - can be a daunting thing for some, but it was quite clear from the minute we said hello that things would go well.  Anyway, to cut a long story short, they booked me (hurray!) and I couldn't be happier to be working with such a loving couple.  

There is something about spending time with another couple, and seeing how they interact, those magical little moments where there's a glint in their eye. It's unmistakable and irreplaceable. You know when they're meant to be.

So here's a decent bunch of photos taken during their pre-wedding shoot last week in Swanage.  Bring on the wedding next month! 

Until next time, 

R x

Source: http://www.rgw-photos.com

Les Bouviers: A Wedding Showcase

Last month I spent a glorious day capturing the wedding of Chris and Debbie, and today I was able to return to their beautiful wedding venue, Les Bouviers

Today was a first for me.  Attending a wedding showcase is something I would recommend all those new to the wedding industry should do at least once.  It's a great way of understanding and seeing another level of what your potential clients want/expect from us, the suppliers.  Although the showcase itself was a quiet one, it's all part of the process of learning to be a better wedding supplier.  

The venue itself is set in a few acres of wonderfully lush green gardens, just off Arrowsmith Road. It's a perfect example of a 'blank canvas' venue, which is ideal for all of those D.I.Y brides and grooms-to-be, and is so on trend right now in the wedding world.  It enables you to fill a venue with your personality and is a great way to be truly creative with your big day. 

If you are one of those couples looking for a wedding venue in the Bournemouth area, I would seriously consider giving this one a viewing, and come in with an open and creative mind (or I could suggest a few fellow creative suppliers to do that for you).  

Today the main function room - which overlooks the expansive gardens - was decked out beautifully by Party Proppers, venue stylists based in Wimborne.  The colour scheme was a gorgeous deep purple - very romantic.  They've been working the wedding scene for well over fifteen years now, so well worth a call if you're looking for something similar for your wedding. 

Anyway, I've included some photos below from the day, so you can see for yourself. 

Until next time, 

R x

Source: http://www.rgw-photos.com

Love is Love

Hi guys and gals! 

So I'm officially back from my days off with the other half - did you miss me??

I've had five brilliant days together with my wonder-man, Rob.  We celebrated his 21st... ahem, 37th birthday, spent a day playing computer games (both massive geeks!), had a wonderful night in Brighton, a day at Moors Valley Country Park, and a day at Compton Acres.  Side note: I can't wait to do my first wedding there in March!!

So what's the reason for this post, I hear you all ask?

Well, when we were in Brighton, we got to walk hand-in-hand and watch other same-sex couples doing the same - it was truly heartwarming.  Brighton was the first place where we shared a night away together back in the early dating days.  Before we came home, we were stood at the Victoria Square fountain, I was taking a photo and Rob tapped me on the shoulder - a couple were meeting there.  What's so special about that you might ask?  It was two young guys, one was waiting by the fountain as the other approached, they immediately went to hug and kiss one another, and then the guy who was waiting by the fountain took the hand of his partner and span him around - it was the most romantic scene I have witnessed in a very long time. 

When we got home, I was going through the photos on my computer and looked through the photos from our civil partnership back in 2011 - there was probably a maximum of 50, all taken on the phones/compact cameras of our guest as we didn't hire a photographer (doh!) - and it got me thinking... Mainly that I wish we'd had a photographer that day, and about how much it means playing that part in another couple's special day.

I know I bang on about this all the time lately and it's probably driving some people nuts - I'm sorry (not sorry) - but I mean this, that it would be everything for me to be involved in another (or many) gay couple's wedding.  I've had two wonderful years of photographing so many beautiful couples with many more to come, but I'm still waiting for the day another gay couple book me as their photographer. 

I've tried many ways to attract more same-sex couples to RGW PHOTOS, and almost got there with one.  So I've put my thinking cap on again. 

I would like to offer a FREE couple's shoot to all you gorgeous gay guys and girls - how's that for aliteration!  You don't need to be getting married (just yet!), but ideally be planning it in the not-too-distant future.  

What do you get?

  • A free (yes, FREE!) photo shoot with me
  • All the photos lovingly edited by me
  • An online gallery to view, share and download all of your photos
  • One mounted 10x8" print of your choice from the shoot

Ideally the shoot will take place in the Bournemouth area, and all travel will be covered, but if you want to do the shoot somewhere else, all I'd ask is for a contribution toward my travel. 

If you're interested, get in touch, I would love to hear from you!  You can email me at: richard@rgw-photos.com - message me on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/RGWPHOTO - or just give me a call on 07533 401199. 

Until next time, 

R x

Source: http://www.rgw-photos.com

Collaboration - A Coastal Chic Styled Mini-Shoot

By now, you've probably heard me going on about how good it is working with other local suppliers.  Well, for those of you who think I'm talking out my a***, you'll be eating humble pie soon. 

In less than a month, I've got to know some fabulous, talented and inspiring, like minded people who just so happen to be local wedding suppliers.  There's no room for berating and competing with other wedding industry folk - after all, that's far too bloody easy to do.  It seems too difficult for some people to actually contribute and support. 

Anyway, a long story short, we did it.  We shared some ideas and got together last Wednesday down at Boscombe Overcliff for a coastal chic themed styled photo shoot.  God, that was a mouthful.  It was great fun seeing what others do, and getting involved, helping with the set up of our shoot.  After all, most people think that as a photographer, all I do is turn up with my camera and take some pictures - I wish it was that easy.  I like to get involved.

Rachel and Natasha brought so many cool things along.  It's really incredible to see how much talent these women really have and chic is most definitely the right adjective for their goods.  It's hard to believe that most of Rachel's items are homemade - there is so much attention to detail, it's crazy!  As for Natasha, her artistic floristry is so elegant - I couldn't believe that some of the arrangements were artificial.  The combination of natural and artificial flowers was genius, and you would have never known.  So, this will be a regular thing, and I'll be doing another later this month - a woodland themed tea party shoot.  WITH CAKE!!!  So you haven't seen or heard the last of us yet. 

Well that's enough from me for now, so here's some photos from the shoot. 

Until next time, 

R x

Source: http://www.rgw-photos.com

Collaboration - It's good to work with other businesses.

Starting out in the wedding industry is so easy... said no one, ever! 

Two years of blood, sweat, tears and a lot of frustration later, and I can finally say that things are starting to come right in my little world as RGW PHOTOS.  I jumped in head first thinking it would be an easy ride to a flourishing business and an easier life - and I was a fool to think that way.  There have been many instances where I've been asked if I do it all myself and the answer is, YES.  There have been an equal amount of instances where people have asked if I ever assisted other wedding photographers, before I went it alone, and the answer should have been yes, but it was, NO.  Shoulda, woulda, coulda.  Sound familiar?

I had quite a lot of confidence and belief in myself at the beginning, constantly telling myself that one will lead to another - which technically it did - but the reality of it all doesn't always match up to what was in my head.  

After putting it off for the last two years, I've finally started to make a concerted effort to network with other small, local wedding businesses.  You might wonder, 'why didn't you do it sooner?'.  Good question.  The answer is, I have no bloody clue!

Not all other wedding industry folk/businesses are as forthcoming with useful tips to point you in the right direction.  Which is the most bizarre thing.  I don't personally know their reasons why they are so resistant (I've got my theories), but the truth is, there's not always a lot of support from business to business. 

Until now. 

A few weeks ago whilst doing my regular trawl through Facebook, I came across a page for wedding businesses like my own called Build Your Wedding Business With TWE.  Since joining the group I have met up with and organised styled shoots with three other businesses - Love by Design - With Love From  and Granny's China Cupboard.

Love by Design is a local venue decoration business run by Rachel, based in Christchurch near Bournemouth.  

With Love From is a florist catering for weddings and other occasions, run by Natasha and based near Bournemouth. 

And Granny's China Cupboard is a vintage china hire business run by Vicki, catering for weddings and other events, based in Canford Heath, Bournemouth. 

I've since done my first collaborative shoot with Rachel from Love By Design at a local bridal boutique, Chameleon Bridal Boutique, where Rachel will be dressing the windows each month.  I've attached a sample of the shots we did.  Tomorrow we'll be getting together again for another shoot, this time on the beach near to Boscombe Pier, and working along side Natasha from With Love From and her beautiful floristry!  Keep your eyes peeled for a follow-up blog on that. 

I'll be writing a blog featuring these wonderful wedding businesses, each one will showcase the shoots we'll be working on together.  This is more of an introduction for them, there will be plenty to follow, I assure you. 

My main point is, there are others out there who are in the same position as you are, who are more than willing to help you out.  Even if it's just to meet up, have a coffee and a chat about what you're up to.  At the end of the day, you don't know where these chats might lead and who will be willing to lend a bit more assistance than you first expected.  They're not all know-it-alls who hit the ground running.  I'm a firm believer than business breeds business, and if we're all a little more open to helping out someone else, we all stand a chance of growing and becoming a success. 

Until next time,

R x

Hitched - Chris+Debbie

Rewind to August 2016... A beautiful, warm summer evening and a near treacherous walk to Les Bouviers, the reception venue for Chris and Debbie, the bride and groom-to-be.  I couldn't have been happier to finally reach my destination, and a warm and welcoming couple. 

We sat and had a drink, chatted about a lot of things that weren't necessarily wedding related, and got onto the subject of architecture - I knew it was a good match! 

Fast forward to 3rd June 2017 and the big day had arrived. 

The sun was shining, the guests were arriving, Chris was nervous (like really nervous!!) and everything was falling into place nicely.  A beautiful church ceremony later and we have a very happy newlywed couple.  

This was the first time I have worked alongside videographers, which was great for me, as my style isn't based around formal group shots, posed and staged beyond belief, so while they organised their shots, I snuck in and stole some great candids, so thanks boys! 

I loved all the little finishing touches to the venue as details are my thing; the sweet table with its very own ferris wheel; the popcorn machine (YUM!!) and of course the cake, wow, what a cake! Elegant and minimal, and the smell of the white chocolate was to die for.  The best part of the day for me was being able to talk to so many of Chris and Debbie's family and friends.  A lot of the time, because of my documentary approach, few people feel like they can talk to me - they very often say they didn't want to disturb me - but honestly, come and disturb me, I love a good chin wag (any excuse for a break, ha ha!).  

Hands down, this wedding featured the funniest best-man speech I've heard.  I was laughing so much I almost forgot to take photos of it, so future couples, they better be good! 

The evening wore on and everyone hit the dance floor, all to be shown up by a little dude named George.  Time to call it quits then I guess. 

Until next time, 

R x

To shoot or not to shoot...? Why you should have a pre-wedding shoot.

So you've recently got engaged to the love of your life and are now in the midst of planning your dream wedding.  Congratulations to you both!! 

You start buying all the best bridal magazines, taking day trips to the venues you've always wanted to get married in, the list of guests is getting longer, you've decided on the theme, and you've booked you wedding photographer.  Looks like you've got things under control.  

When you had your consultation with your photographer, you noticed that the package you want/have booked includes a pre-wedding/engagement shoot and you're wondering whether it's worth it, or whether they may knock a bit off the price if you don't bother with it.  All fairly reasonable thoughts to have.  Then you think, 'Why are they offering it in the first place?'.  

Just to clarify, this blog isn't meant to sway you towards booking me as your photographer - unless you really want to ;) - more to let you know the reasons why you should take your chosen photographer up on their offer of that pre-wedding/engagement shoot.  I'd say I'll give you five reasons, but I'll probably give you more. 

  1. No one likes to feel awkward  -  I'm guessing this is the first time you've been engaged?  Being in front of a camera and a photographer can be a daunting thought - believe me, that's why I'm the photographer - so why not take that out of the equation.  I was always told that practice makes perfect, or least makes you better at something.  The same applies to having your photo taken.  You're bound to want a romantic shot (or ten) of the two of you to look back on, and the photographer will want only to give you the best photos they can.  
  2. Practice makes perfect  -  As I mentioned in the point above, practice does indeed make perfect, or at least better at what you're doing.  The photographer you've chosen will want to direct you at some point, regardless of their style.  So a pre-wedding shoot will allow you a bonus couple of hours - or more if they're a generous photographer - to spend going over ideas and getting you relaxed in front of the camera in readiness for your big day.
  3. No one likes to feel awkward...pt.2  -  Going back to my first point - no one likes to feel awkward.  If nothing else comes of it, you will enable yourself extra time to get to know one another.  Your photographer will be able to see the chemistry you have as a couple, what you feel comfortable with and most importantly, what you don't.  
  4. It's a day out with an added bonus  -  On top of getting a bunch of extra photos of you both, you will have a great day out.  For example:  I like to choose a location within Dorset - there are a multitude of them - or to visit the venue.  We have a coffee, some cake, and then I stand you up against a wall and shoot you.  Kidding!!  Forget I'm there and enjoy yourselves.  Just like on your wedding day, your chosen photographer will use their skills to document you in an unobtrusive way, most likely without you even noticing.  If you go to your venue for the shoot, you'll already know the best places for photos on the big day.  Bonus!!
  5. They're really good fun!  -  It's not like going to one of those photo studios to have your family portrait taken.  You know the sort, the ones with the fake backdrops of Christmas trees or beaches, or whatever they have nowadays.  No.  You'll most likely be outdoors somewhere you've been together and enjoyed, or have wanted to go to for a while.  And like I said before, there could be cake involved.  I also like to bring some other extras with me, like sparklers or coloured smoke grenades to give your photos an extra pop. 
  6. It's probably included in the package, so what the hell!  -  If none of the above has managed to convince you, then hopefully this will.  It's more than likely included in the package you've booked or are about to book, so just go for it.  It's not like you've got anything to lose, just more to gain.  Honestly, you may kick yourself for not doing it, and there's nothing worse than seeing a friends, falling in love with their photos and thinking 'If only I'd done it'. 

Well, there you have it, six bloody good reasons why you should have that pre-wedding shoot after all.  I could've added more, but I think there's enough in there to convince you.  If you're still not convinced, send me a message and we can have a chat. 

The photos are from a pre-wedding shoot I've done. ;)

Until next time, 

R x

Hitched - Lauren+Chris

What a gorgeous day it was!

Well, earlier on in the day I was starting to think there would be a good downpour.  Thankfully it all blew over and the sun came blazing out.  

Lauren and Chris have been together for 7 years and first met whilst at school together, making this a real life childhood sweethearts wedding - totally sweet!  They were married at Poole Guildhall, in their Robing Room, and followed it by a low key reception back at their house.  For anyone wondering whether there's really a need to go all out in order to make it a special day, the answer is clearly, NO!  It is what it is, and most importantly, what you both want it to be.  

This was by far the most intimate wedding I've had the pleasure of being photographer at, with the Bride and Groom, and their closest four relatives.  They were also my first 'ceremony only' couple.  So after the ceremony, we all went for a casual walk down Market Street towards Poole Quay, which is perfect for me as a documentary wedding photographer, allowing me to capture all of the perfect moments as they happen - real smiles and laughter.  The reactions from Joe public were hilarious and wonderful - it's amazing how nice everyone suddenly becomes when they see a wedding party walking by.  We also gave the staff at Harlees fish and chip shop a good laugh when we stop in for a can of pop.  

We finished the afternoon with a shoot down at Lake Pier, near Rockley Park, just for the newlywed bride and groom.  A perfect location for this type of shoot, and just because it was a location shoot, didn't mean it fell into the typical style of pose and shoot.  It was lovely to see a couple really be themselves, having a nice walk, catching the fresh breeze and having a good old smooch!  

All in all, a bloody good day! 

Wedding Dress from Pascali  //  Hair and Make-up by The Cutting Crew

Here's a selection of my favourites from the day. 

Until next time, 

R x

Mads+Nate+Bump

I know that not every photographer likes to give discounts or run competitions, but I'm not every photographer.  I quite like doing things a little bit differently to others. 

Michaela was a recent competition winner, for the contest I ran just before Mother's Day.  She was given the prize by her sister-in-law, Beth, who was also my second bride back in November 2015.  I love to do my portrait shoots outdoors, so they can really embrace my documentary style, and also, so those I'm photographing can have a more relaxed and enjoyable shoot. 

Anyway, I'm digressing slightly.

We talked about the shoot, and Michaela had decided to have a family-cum-maternity shoot.  Bonus!!  I've wanted to do a maternity shoot for a while now, so two birds with one stone and all that.  Mads was a flower girl at Beth's wedding and Nate was just a little cutie/page boy.

Letting kids be kids, allowing them to act the fool and tell you to "take that photo upside down" is just wonderful.  Most people react to a camera by freezing up and smiling weirdly, and it's no different for kids.  So we talked nonsense about dinosaurs and space hoppers, running around like lunatics and jumping up to the clouds on their trampoline.  The rest is history, and the photos will be treasured.  Word to the wise, watch out for my next contest. ;) ;)

Here's a selection of my favourites.

Until next time, 

R x