documentary photography

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

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

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

 

 

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

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