I’ve known Adam for a while now through working at the Bournemouth International Centre and had the great pleasure of meeting his beautiful fiancée (now wife), Chloe, when we all got together last summer at Flirt Cafe for a pot of tea and cake.
I love meeting my couples for the first time; it's a little bit like going on a first date, where you're filled with a few nerves and excitement.
Meeting Lucy and Lewis was a fun evening. The coffee shop we'd agreed to meet at shut shortly after we arrived, so we spent another ten minutes trying to find an alternative place to sit and chat. Luckily there was a fish and chips shop nearby that was open, so we grabbed some cheesy chips and a cuppa (who said I wasn't classy?!) and laid the world to rights.
It was pretty obvious that we would get along and that working together would just be the best.
I'm finally getting back into blogging again, it feels like starting back at work after a very long holiday.
Tori contacted me via Facebook after I'd responded to her post about looking for a photographer. I think a lot of people (and understandably so) only search for suppliers within their local area. Personally I love to travel, whether it's in the UK or further afield, so it really doesn't phase me. When I found out the wedding would take place in Cambridge (literally a stone's throw from my old house), and they would have their reception at The George Hotel in Huntingdon, I knew it was for me. I also got to visit my family who still live in Lincolnshire, so everyone was a winner.
The George Hotel is a beautiful 17th Century traditional coaching inn, right in the centre of Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire. We started in the morning with the bridal prep, with hair and makeup by.... . The sun was shining giving the most amazing mix of light and shadow in their room. I always like the buzz of bridal prep, plus it's a great chance to get to know the bridal party and any other family members that are around.
The ceremony was held at the Cambridge Register Office, followed by some family shots on the lawn opposite, then came the dark clouds and rain just as we got into the cars to head back to Huntingdon and start the party. Tori and Glen are clearly a couple after my own heart, arriving fashionably late after a pit-stop at Costa on the way back.
I can honestly say that I had the biggest dinner (3 courses) that I've ever had at a wedding, and if I wasn't their photographer, I'd probably have needed a nap. I had a nice pot of tea, followed by a cheeky G&T, and it was time to party.
I know it's a fairly even split about whether to have kids at a wedding or not, and I know it's a personal choice, but I love having them around as they make for some awesome - and very often hilarious - shots! I've never seen a grown adult strut into the middle of the dancefloor with and inflatable guitar and rock out like they were an A List rock star.
Before I left I made sure I got a bag full of pick n mix (my treat for when I'm editing), had a few hugs and goodbyes.
Two weddings down, and this year is off to a cracking start.
As usual, there's a good selection of my favourites from the day below, and if you or someone you know are getting married and like my work, I would love to chat with you about your plans.
Until next time,
When Tom and Lizzy asked me to be their wedding photographer I was so happy, and then they told me the day would be at The Italian Villa and I was over the moon!
Wedding season 2018 is officially on!
To say I wasn't nervous (excited nervous) would have been a lie, in fact, I think I get as nervous as the couple themselves. I've been looking forward to this moment for so long now, that when the day actually came to be, it was very surreal. It was fabulous! The sun was shining - someone had heard my prayer - and it was a true spring wedding. The setting couldn't have been more perfect; The Italian Villa is a dream venue for most couples and local Dorset wedding photographers alike.
When I started in wedding photography I created a wish list, and this was right up there with the best of them. The Italian Villa and Compton Acres were the first place my husband and I visited after moving down to Bournemouth 11 years ago. I know exactly why couples love the idea of having their wedding there, it is pretty spectacular. The gardens are gorgeous at any time of year, but particularly in the spring and summer when they are alive and in bloom.
The groom, Tom, and his troupe were smart AF in their royal blue suits and Lizzy looked magnificent in her dress. Seriously, the dress was stunning! I'm a big fan of simplicity and elegance, and their day was all of that and some more. Little details like the bicycle themed cake topper, favours and those stunning classic bikes near the top table were a very sweet detail to match their love for biking. Tables weren't number, but named after places they'd visited together.
I'm usually all about the documentary angle on wedding photography, and their day was definitely captured true to this approach, but being in this venue made me want to step out of my comfort zone and try some more classically posed shots, I mean, you just have to! To not take a shot in the grotto would be foolish.
After dinner, we all headed downstairs to the Sienna Bar, where Echo Tape (formerly Marc and the Wild Things), their band for the evening, were set up ready to rock the party. Two tables of Tom+Lizzy's friends in particular, were a wedding photographer's dream. Necking a tray of shots, lunging in time to the music and basically having a bloody good time! I had a cheeky G&T and hit the sweet stand on my way out, and was pretty sad to leave. It was a truly great day!
Here's a selection of my favourites from the day, I hope you enjoy. And if you're planning your wedding, I'd love to hear from you.
Until next time,
As you probably know by now, I absolutely love doing engagement/pre-wedding shoots. I also love Hengistbury Head, so combining both is perfect for me.
This shoot was perhaps a little different/unusual to most, as in, usually an engagement shoot is just for the couple. Or so people are led to believe. I'm all about bending rules, mixing things up, being different. Whatever way you want to dress it up. I'm not 'normal' and photography shouldn't fit a certain mold either.
The thing with me and children is, I don't have any of my own, so when I meet them for the first time we either hit it off straight away or it's an uphill struggle for those great shots. When I met Jack and Stacey's son, Leo, it was an instant hit. In fact, if I'd kept all of the pebbles he was giving to me from the beach, I probably would've been so weighed down I may not have made it home. He certainly was a cool character with so much energy.
The sunlight was amazing but the wind was something else; ice cold and biting. Definitely not ideal for this type of shoot, but I've never let a bit of weather stop me yet. We had a good walk along the beach, then passed the cows, or the 'Moos' as Leo called them, and then we had a tantrum on the Mudeford Spit side. It was all a bit much for him and an ice cream was needed.
Don't think for a second that an engagement shoot has to be just the two of you, and neither should it be about standing in front of trees making heart shapes with your hands together. It can be whatever you want it to be, and wherever you want it to be. It's your shoot, so make it about you!
Here's a selection of my favourites from this cool (in both meanings of the word) day.
Until next time,
The last couple of months have been pretty great, ending 2017 on a high with a New Year's Eve wedding, and going straight in to 2018 with a whole bunch of pre-wedding shoots lined up. And they haven't stopped coming in. Since booking all of my 2018 couples, I'd say that at least 90% of them have reconsidered their initial decision to not have an engagement shoot.
And good for them (and me), I say!!
At the end of the day, there really is nothing for you to lose. You get to spend more time with your amazing photographer, and let's face it, as you'll be spending the most time with them out of all of your wedding suppliers, you may as well.
I know, I know, you hate having your photo taken.
Don't worry, we're not all paparazzi from the 1980's. Some of us have boundaries too and know when close is too close. Or something like that.
I treat my shoots the same way as my approach to the big day itself -- documentary style with a sprinkling of creatively posed shots. The best thing about this is, you'll get some practice in before the big day comes around. Being awkward in front of the camera is one thing, but why run the risk of winging it. After all, you wouldn't hire a cowboy photographer who winged it on the day, right?!
Anyway, last month I got to do a few more engagement shoots, one of which was with Lucy and Lewis, who will be tying the knot at The Salterns Hotel next month on the 7th April (the day after my birthday!). We had a great day hanging out in and around Bournemouth town centre and the beach. It was really nice to be able to mix it up with a more urban setting, and loved our shots down on the beach, too. I think my personal favourite has to be the one of little Annie. She actually stopped just off camera, then wheeled herself back to give me that questioning look. Bloody hilarious!
I love it when my couples are totally game for whatever you suggest on an engagement shoot. Although I think I'll wait until the summer before I go under the pier again... it was FREEZING under there!!!
Here's some of my favourites from our day together. If you're looking for your wedding photographer (or would like to know more about my lifestyle portrait shoots), why not send me a message and book in.
Until next time,
You know that wedding season is kicking up a gear when you have a whole bunch of pre-wedding shoots lined up. A couple of weeks ago I got to shoot my second of many - and it was a really good one!
I have a few places that I fell in love with when we moved down to Bournemouth, and since becoming a wedding photographer, I love them even more. Moors Valley Country Park is up there with the best of them for me. I love that feeling of getting lost in the woods, disconnecting from everyday life and being able to take in some of this planet's truly wondrous natural beauty.
The majestic pine trees seem to go on forever when you look upward at them. At this time of year there is something quite magical about being in the forest for a couple of hours, what with the feet of the trees being laden with amber ferns.
I was so pleased when Adam and Chloe decided upon Moors Valley as the place they wanted to have their pre-wedding shoot. Although it's pretty busy at the weekend, especially the first weekend of half-term, you can still get lost and away from everyone else for some romantic and atmospheric shots of the two of you.
For anyone else who has recently got engaged, and you are thinking of having a pre-wedding/engagement shoot, this is definitely somewhere for you to consider!
Here's a selection of my favourites from our morning in the woods.
Until next time,
I remember having a conversation with Rachel - one of my wedding supplier buddies - about this site she advertises her venue styling business on, she seemed pretty successful with her bookings from it. So I gave it a try and signed up to the same site.
It's funny how the world works, because within a day of our conversation, along came Rhonda.
Rhonda and I chatted via email for a couple of days before nailing down a time for us all to meet and grab a coffee together.
Mark and Rhonda were instantly a couple I knew I could work well with. They wanted things to be kept nice and simple, not too much emphasis on posing; I knew there and then this would be my type of wedding to photograph. During our meeting, I mentioned about having a cheeky pre-wedding shoot with me before the big day came around (and I always try so hard not to sound like a windows salesman at this point, because it really is a great idea to have one). There was a slight look of hesitation as they both looked at one another to agree on it, but sometimes you just have to trust your wedding photographer - we're not all crazy!
Initially we talked about Coy Pond being the place to do the shoot; it's a lovely secluded spot at the top of Bournemouth Gardens, but at this time of year, it's not much to look at. So I suggested Branksome Dene Gardens and the beach. They're always nice and quiet if you get to them at the right time, and as luck would have it, that was the case for us.
I always like to think that my style of working as a wedding photographer is that of 2% creatively 'posed' shots, 98% documentary/reportage, and always 100% fabulous!
Sometimes I get the impression that people think I'm a little bonkers - and I am - when I ask them to go and stand against walls, but they always thank me afterwards. It never seems to matter what said wall looks like, it ALWAYS makes for a cool, often striking background for your 'posed' shots.
Anyway, I prattle on too long. Here's a bunch of beautiful shots we got when this supposedly nervous couple (total pros!) went out for a walk with me and my camera. I can't wait to shoot their wedding at the end of March!
If you're thinking about booking in your pre-wedding shoot, what are you waiting for, give me a call.
Until next time,
I often feel like I'm passed my best when it comes to partying on New Year's Eve, but when you get the offer of being the photographer for a wedding on New Year's Eve, do you turn it down? HELL NO!!
I'll start off by saying that Richard and Helen are the coolest - as in 'cool as a cucumber' - couple I've come across to date. Nothing phases them or stresses them out, which helped in making the day so bloody enjoyable.
I got to their house a little earlier than planned, which gave me time to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee (a real rarity on a wedding day for me). Usually when I arrive for the bridal prep, the finishing touches are being applied, but today, the make-up was only just starting to go on. It was great to be able to relax and get to know Helen's family a little bit before heading out for the ceremony.
The weather forecast wasn't ideal and would probably send a million bride's heads spinning, but true to her style, Helen wasn't bothered. We'd spoken about it and she was prepared with her umbrellas. You know when a couple really want this day, because they're ready for anything. On the way up to Gorwell Barn, we had all the weather; rain lashing down, wind, thunder and lightning, and the ribbons on the cars took a good battering.
When we arrived I couldn't believe my eyes, the barn was seriously stunning. The tables were understated and elegantly decorated, ready for their afternoon tea reception (I'm a real sucker for a vintage china tea cup), with the most amazing halos hanging above them. The halos were made with seasonal foliage and dotted with simple white flowers -- just amazing!
A beautiful and touching ceremony later and they're hitched!
Barrels stood handsomely with stacks of mince pies, a bar with real ales, and plenty of gin, hot chocolate and mulled cider for guests to enjoy. It really was perfect. A wedding breakfast followed, with a beautifully understated afternoon tea. I even got a stand for myself and so much tea, which always makes me happy *wink wink*.
After everyone had eaten and just before the cake was cut, we got our sparkler game on, and had a spin on the shot roulette. This lot know how to party, and why the hell not, it's New Year's Eve y'all!
The cake was cut - which the bride made with her own fair hands - and it was time to bust some moves. First dance was amazing, with music from the best band I've seen at a wedding before - KOAST - you must check them out if you're planning on having a band at your wedding! Their version of Miley Cyrus' - 'Malibu' had all the feels. And to top off the day, we had freshly made stone-baked pizza from Jalopy Pizza - well worth staying on for!
So yeah, that's pretty much it for this particular wedding. Enjoy this extended preview of images from the day that was Richard+Helen's amazing New Year's Eve wedding.
If you're planning your special day and would like me to capture your story, please get in touch for a chat.
Until next time,
Some of us are super confident and some of us are not. Some of us love having our photo taken and some of us do not.
That's the reason why I love a good pre-wedding shoot. Regardless of which one of these applies to you, you will always feel better for having had a pre-wedding shoot come your big day.
I met Jessica very briefly at a wedding I did in March this year, she was one of the guests and a friend of the bride, Clare. And now proof that word-of-mouth exists and pays off. We met up earlier this summer at the Hilton Hotel in Bournemouth, had a lovely cuppa and a chat about their plans (and took in the view of the Level 8 Sky Bar). Glorious.
It was pretty obvious from the first meeting that this was going to be a good one. For one, I'm ticking off another of my wish list venues. Secondly, I'll get to have a couple of cheeky cocktails afterwards with them in the fabulous Sky Bar.
Like a lot of couples, they weren't initially sure if they wanted to have a pre-wedding shoot, but after dropping a little hint in a later message, Jess decided they would have one. Go on girl. Like I've said earlier, not everyone is comfortable in front of a camera, so this is why it's a good idea to take your photographer up on the offer of having a pre-wedding shoot. You won't regret it, I promise. You'll get to have a nice little morning or afternoon out somewhere, you'll get extra photos to look through on your anniversary, and you'll definitely feel much more relaxed on your big day. Trust me!!
Just don't go out the night before your pre-wedding shoot like a certain someone did (I'll mention no names, Gavin. Haha!)
So we met mid-November at Coy Pond, near Westbourne. It's a lovely quiet spot in the Upper Gardens that run the length of Bournemouth down to the sea. No one really comes up this way, so if you're not much of an extrovert or into public displays of affection, it's a great little spot for you. Plus, there's a beautiful pond with ducks to feed (if you want) and lots of trees, which at that time of year have all got there autumnal shades going on.
As always, I like to keep it pretty simple and relaxed. We went for a walk up and down the gardens, did a little posing practice - because I do love a good wall shot on your big day - and I want you to be ready for the few posed shots we will do. The rest of the time is me snapping away getting some great shots of you, ready for me to put my cinematic edit spin on them. Like this little lot below.
Massive props to Gavin for doing this shoot, he wasn't feeling it, but the boy done good.
Until next time
When I met with Dave and Stacey for the first time they were having kittens...literally. We had one of the most efficient first consultations I’ve had thus far. I remember leaving wondering whether we had spoken about everything we needed to, panicking a little because the meeting wasn’t even half the time I usually spent with my couples. I must have perfected the art of a short-and-sweet meeting, because it all turned good in the end.
Before we knew it, the day had arrived.
I had virtually zero sleep the night before as my nerves kicked into gear - that’s right, we photographers get nervous too. Not even two large whiskeys sent me off.
When I arrived at the hotel, Stacey and Lou (Stacey’s singular bridesmaid) were the coolest customers I’ve seen. Game on! She was ready.
Dave on the other hand was pretty nervous, and I don’t blame him. Standing up in front of a room full of people - regardless of how well you know them - is cause enough to make anyone nervous. He’s not a man of many words and doesn’t wear his heart in his sleeve, but the words he said during his speech were definitely the right ones.
I always come away from a wedding feeling a mixture of emotions, but mainly happiness because I’ve been able to spend a day with a bunch of people who all love one another, and you can’t help but have some of that rub off on you.
Seriously guys, thank you so much for having me there and being able to share in your day, and capture those moments for you all!
Only one more to go now...
until next time,
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.
- Atmosphere - Turn down the lights.
- Presence - Be here now. Turn of the phones.
- Pleasure - Coffee, chocolate, cookies, cakes, candy. Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!
- Equality - 'We' over 'me'. Share the tasks and the airtime.
- Gratitude - Take it in. This might be as good as it gets.
- Harmony - It's not a competition. We already like you. There is no need to brag about your achievements.
- Comfort - Get comfy. Take a break. It's all about relaxation.
- Truce - No drama. Let's discuss politics another day.
- Togetherness - Build relationships and narratives. 'Do you remember the time we...?'
- 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.
- For perfect venue decor and styling - http://www.lovebydesignweddings.co.uk
- For stunning floral arragements - http://www.with-love-from.co.uk
- For beautiful wedding cakes - http://www.thesweetsuitedorset.co.uk
- And for modern and relaxed wedding photography - ME!! ;)
Until next time,
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,
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,
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,