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Shari & Neil - Cliveden & Hedsor House, Bucks

Shari & Neil were married at Hedsor House, near Taplow in Buckinghamshire, back in September. You’ll be seeing a fair bit of Hedsor over the coming weeks as, after wanting to shoot there for years, I had two weddings there within the space of a few weeks! Hedsor House is one of the best wedding venues in the country. In 2011 The Times placed it at no. 2 in its list of Top Regal Wedding Venues and last year it was chosen as Tatler’s ‘No. 1 Top Venue’ and Vogue’s ‘Dream Venue’. In short it’s a simply outstanding location for a wedding! Shari & Neil both work in the events industry and it really showed, everything was meticulously put together.

The day kicked-off across the road at Cliveden (an astonishing building in its own right) with Shari’s bridal prep and the pageboy and flower girls having a thoroughly good time. Despite being a wedding rife with emotion, it also felt extremely relaxed, which is a testament to Shari and Neil and a testament to their day. Following Cliveden, it was off to Hedsor for the main event. The wedding ceremony itself concluded with a bit of a surprise. A la ‘Love Actually’ a previously smuggled in gospel choir, the fantastic Gospel Singers Incognito, sprung from the mezzanine and launched into a spot of Bob Marley. It was ridiculously cool.

The day ended with an amazing fireworks display and lots of dancing. All in all, pretty much what a wedding should be! My thanks to Shari & Neil for having me and for being such superb clients and thanks also to Rob Sambles for coming along to assist. Below are a selection of my favourites. It was hard to trim this wedding down to size as I loved so many of them. Enjoy!

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Tony Hart on the RMW Love Lust List!

Rock My Wedding has, in the space of a few short years, risen to the top of the UK wedding blog pile. They’ve made their name on quality and regularity. They run a site which is always chock full of fresh content and the care with which that content is selected and presented gives the blog a curated feeling. It’s become a real beacon in our industry. Last year the good folk at RMW launched the Love Lust List. The ‘LLL’ is a directory of some of the finest wedding suppliers in the land. Organised by region and category the LLL allows for only 10 businesses per category per region and as such features some extremely choice wedding suppliers indeed.

I’m telling you all this because I’m chuffed to say that I’m now featured on the Love Lust List under the ‘Photographers, South-East’ category which confers the ’Rock My Wedding Seal of Approval’. Woohoo!

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This is pretty exciting news from my point of view, and in the coming days I’ll be featured on the front page as part of the ongoing ‘Rock My Wedding Rates…’ feature. So, for now, just thought I’d give you a quick update to let you know. There’s more to come this week in the form of a wedding to blog AND a Image of the Week post so keep your eyes peeled!

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Image of the Week - A Stolen Moment

Our Image of the Week picture this week is one of my favourite two or three images from the past few years. It’s one of those golden moments that played out perfectly.

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This photograph was shot last year at Jojo & Tom’s wedding at Cripps Stone Barn in the Cotswolds. The Stone Barn is a fantastic venue but from a light point of view it presents its own unique challenges. In certain areas the light is simply majestic, and then at other times you’ve got to work hard to get the best from it. Where the wedding breakfast is served in the Dutch Barns the photons cascade in, bathing the guests in gorgeous window light, and likewise, the Stone Barn itself, which is used for ceremonies has a fantastic half-wall of windows. However, running down the centre of the venue there is a walkway that extends from one end of the building to the other. It’s fantastic looking but as it’s essentially a tunnel, it tends to create very backlit situations. An opportunity and a challenge.

This image was shot following the speeches in a little bit of downtime before I took the Bride & Groom away for portraits. Despite being mid-June (the summer solstice no less) the weather was doing that distinctly British thing and, for the most part… raining! Jojo & Tom had just heard a truly raucous, hilarious and moving set of speeches and as their guests finished coffee/dessert etc they stepped away for a quiet moment. People often ask me whether this image was posed or staged. In fact, it was 100% organic. I’d been preparing lighting for the first dance and as I walked back into the Dutch Barn I saw them stood near the door. Anyone who remembers from when I blogged their wedding will recall that Jojo & Tom are a sickeningly handsome pair and this, plus the fact that they have the rare quality of being truly comfortable in their own skins goes a fair distance to addressing questions of a staged photograph!

Prior to photographs like this there is often a strange feeling. It’s hard to describe but it’s almost like a sense of foreshadowing. A truly unique, unprompted moment might just be about to happen in front of me! This is the exact reason that clients hire me and it’s always a rush when it starts to play out. It doesn’t always eventuate, but when it does, such as here, it’s deeply satisfying. It sounds odd, but of all the photography I’ve ever done, these moments are most closely comparable to wildlife photography. You’re literally ‘stalking’ the moment. That might sound a touch creepy (trust me, there’s no hiding in bushes involved!) but it’s a similar sensation. As the picture begins to come together, I want to position myself ‘just so’ - ready with the perfect framing, accurate focus and appropriate exposure in anticipation of the decisive moment. However I want to do all this surreptitiously, without drawing attention to myself or interrupting the moment in any way. As soon as the subject becomes aware that they are indeed, the subject, the opportunity is lost.

These many small decisions were made and balanced, quietly, in the few seconds between spotting the possibility and clicking the shutter, about 20m or so from the couple. All the while trying to seem interested in something other than the Bride & Groom. Tom was leaning on the open door, chatting to his new wife, and while that in itself made a great frame, it really crystallised when Jojo closed the space between them and they kissed. That instance is reflected in this image.

There’s so much I love about this photograph. Compositionally it just works. The geometry of the arm around the neck and the arm leaning on the door, the vertical lines mirrored in both the flagstones and the door frames, the isolation of the subjects in the window. From an exposure point of view this shot depended on their proximity to the light. If they’d been set further back then they would have been far more backlit and a silhouette would have been more applicable. That would make for a nice shot, and I got something similar at Steph & Neil’s wedding earlier this year, but the romance in this image is in the closed eyes, the half visible face and the relaxed poses. All subtleties that would have been lost in a backlit image.

For the techies and photo geeks this image was shot on the 5DIII with the EF 135L at f/2.8, 1/320th and ISO 3200. There’s an interesting addendum to those details. The 135L is my favourite lens of all time - the reasons why I’ll explain in another post. This image, possibly my favourite shot of 2012, was shot on the 135L no less than 10mins before it slipped onto the very same flagstones. I’ve had lenses take a tumble before, sometimes you get lucky and other times not so much. This time I wasn’t so fortunate. While the lens was intact, having only fallen 2-3 feet, the autofocus motor was shot and it needed a visit to Canon for repairs. I’m glad to say that it’s now back to full health! I ended up shooting the portrait session that followed without the 135L. I’m not one for superstition, but over the course of a year I shoot tens of thousands of frames with the 135. I see a sort of serendipity in the fact that this lovely frame was created just moments before the same lens knocked itself out! There’s some sort of poetry hiding in there.

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Cheynne & Donna - Blake Hall, Ongar

Cheynne & Donna were married at Blake Hall near Ongar in late September. It’s been a busy couple of months because it feels like ages ago! I came to know Cheynne & Donna through Cheynne’s sister Kelly, whose marriage to Danny I photographed back in June 2012. They are all (both Cheynne & Donna and Kelly and Danny) quite lovely people.

There’s nothing quite like a wedding for getting to know people fast, especially when it’s your job to document the day. After photographing two Edmonston wedding I feel like I know these guys particularly well. Cheynne and Donna chose a small ceremony with only their closest friends and family in attendance and then, come the evening, threw the doors open for a big party. Kelly & Danny did something similar on their wedding day and both resulted in beautifully intimate, personal occasions. The depth of sheer love and feeling between Cheynne & Donne was abundantly clear and there were moments during the wedding where the air simply crackled with intensity and emotion. To be entrusted with photographing a wedding like this, so loaded with gravitas, remains a genuine thrill. It was electric.

The weather was meant to be glorious, but it didn’t behave itself and as the ceremony itself approached there was a certain amount of back and forth as we tried to figure out whether indoor or outdoor was going to be the order of the day. Eventually showers forced us inside, but photographically I had no complaints as the window light mixing with the mood of the barn made for simply outstanding light. I’ve said it before, but speeches tends to be the part of the day that I find most moving. This bunch of families really know how to give good speeches. I’ve heard Cheynne’s father Cleve speak twice now at weddings and on both occasions he’s judged the mood to perfection. Cheynne is a wonderfully down to earth guy, frank and straightforward, but when he stood up to give his speech there was poetry in the words and fine oration in the delivery. It was pretty special.

My thanks to Cheynne & Donna for their warmth and hospitality, photographing a day like this is a true privilege. As usual, below is a curated selection of my personal favourites from the day. Enjoy and feel free to leave a comment!

Finally, a shout out to Sinead Carey of PaperGrace. Sinead was Kelly’s bridesmaid back in 2012 and in the course of a single year she’s built a company from scratch specialising in fantastically stylish wedding stationery. Not to mention she’s a lovely person and catching up with her was a real treat. If you need a Wedding Stationer, check out PaperGrace!


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Image of the Week - Flowergirls Framed

It’s been a while since we’ve had the Image of the week feature, but as the season is slowing down now, it seems like a good time to revive it. The premise is simple, I choose a photograph from a past wedding that I feel is particularly strong and discuss how and why it came to be. This week, we’re going to take a look at this image from Jess & Chris’ early August wedding.

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This one, for me, sums up what wedding photojournalism is all about. That is to say, documenting the events of the day in a way which goes beyond a simple record of who, where, when and why. This moment could have been shot very differently; with the little flower girls running, shot tight and straight on, with the bush to the left of the frame as the background. It would have made a perfectly lovely shot, but the same moment, photographed this way, becomes an infinitely richer and more arresting image.

This photograph was taken from inside Jess’ parents’ house. I’d just popped in to check on the progress of the bridesmaids and grab a couple of quick shots of the confetti being prepared. As I returned I stopped to photograph one of the bridesmaids who was doing her makeup by the light of the window. Jess was outside, seated for her own hair and makeup, under the lintel of the summer house. Initially I began to compose a photograph using the diamond shaped leading in the window to frame Jess and, as I did so, the two bridesmaids wandered into the shot. Occasionally as a photographer you find yourself in a situation where you can almost feel a really interesting shot coalescing around you. This was one of those. To begin with, the kids just stood with their backs to me, watching Jess’ makeup progress. That in itself would have made a lovely image but the bridesmaids were stood in such a way that I couldn’t frame them and Jess cleanly in different diamonds.

After a few moments of quiet contemplation they turned and dashed out of the right of the frame and in that brief moment I was lucky enough to get the shot you see above. I love the juxtaposition of seated, thoughtful, nervously excited bride alongside happy, rushing, carefree flowergirls. It’s about stillness and motion. The sense of movement came off nicely, thanks to their stride pattern, the sway in the hair and the leading girl being in midair at the point of capture. Finally, the leading in the window gives this image an extra something and helps to reinforce a sense of story-telling. It reminds me of framed vignettes, or the individual cells of a comic strip and instills it with an air of narrative that’d be devoid in a straight up portrait of the kids running. It’s one of my favourites from Jess and Chris’ wedding and even the season itself.

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TWIA - Regional Wedding Photography Finalist

Carl & Tills’, whose wedding I shot in Brighton in August, were kind enough to suggest that I enter the Wedding Industry Awards. I found out today that I have been shortlisted as a Finalist in the Photography category for the South East and London Region. Which is rather exciting! Many thanks to all my clients who were kind enough to vote on my behalf, I’ll keep you updated on how I progress!

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Emily & Tom - Forde Abbey, Chard

One of the real highlights of my job is the many interesting locations I get to visit and shoot. Emily & Tom’s wedding certainly falls into that category. Emily is also one of the most organised brides I’ve ever met. I first met her and Tom way back in September 2011! They were at Exeter University a few years behind myself and I was recommended to them by our mutual friend, Katie Stotter - cheers Katie!

When I’m shooting locations far from home, I tend to make sure I’m in the area the night before at the latest, to minimise the chance that bad traffic or roadworks can play a nefarious part in my role on the day. Emily & Tom were married at the lovely St Michael & All Angels Church in Rampisham, Dorset before heading over to Forde Abbey on the border of Somerset for their reception. Emily kindly insisted that I stay with the Groom’s party and found us a truly brilliant B&B - the wonderfully named Higher Kingcombe Lodge. I don’t generally stay with the wedding party in situations like this as the last thing I want to do is step on toes or have people worrying about hosting me, but the guys were fantastic and it was great to get to know everyone a bit better. I was even invited along to the spectacular post-rehearsal lunch at Tom’s parents house. I was astonishingly well looked after, my thanks go to Emily & Tom, their families and the Groomsmen for making me so welcome.

Rampisham church has to be one of my favourite’s this year. It’s a simply stunning setting nestled in one of the truly rural parts of the country. Perfect. The boys had opted for top hats and tails - a traditional look that you don’t see often enough these days - and Tom looked the archetypal English gent. In fact, this was in general, an archetypally English wedding. I’ve photographed a couple of very English weddings this year and although that’s not been the overriding intention, there’s something rather excellent about watching tradition pass off so stylishly and comfortably in a modern world.

Rev Linda Wilcock was fantastic at Rampisham Church and my thanks go to her for trusting me to do my job in a relaxed and discrete manner. Following the ceremony we headed to Forde Abbey to get the party started. The weather the previous day had been inclement to say the least - driving around Dorsets’ lanes in heavy rain and thick fog felt a bit like the start of the Rocky Horror Picture Show (less the singing) - but on the wedding day itself we were rather lucky. Drinks and photographs outside, some lovely light at times and an interesting sky!

Forde Abbey is a extremely handsomely situated. Unlike certain places, they don’t host hundreds of weddings a year and yet there are great big indoor spaces for receptions and amazing gardens that’ll rival just about anywhere. It also has a marked feeling of seclusion that’s rather rare; it didn’t feel as if the outside world was pressing in on the intimacy. From a photographer’s point of view, the beautiful cloister has a special place in my heart. The colour of the stone is something else and the combination of light, colour and foliage made for a unique portrait location. In the evening the guests had a couple of hours of casino time after the wedding breakfast, prior to Emily & Tom treating us to some silky moves on the dance floor! Later they departed through a tunnel of family and friends before being waved off into the night.

This has turned into a bit of a long post I’m afraid, but there’s simply a lot of people to thank. Particular mention must go to Charlotte Byrne for co-ordinating the day and to chef Nick Holt of Dorset Fine Dining. Tom’s father runs Capreolus Fine Foods and sourced much of the food so the grub was, unsurprisingly, superb.

Last but not least, Emily & Tom. You guys were MEGA. Below are a selection of my favourites from the day.


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Jessica & Chris - St John The Baptist, Wonersh

Jess & Chris live in South Africa and Chris is of Swedish descent, but their wedding, on a wonderfully sunny day in early August, had a unmistakable and quintessentially English feel about it. Wonersh’s lovely St John The Baptist and the adjoining walled garden was the setting for their nuptial celebrations and as you’ll see, quite a fantastic setting it was too.

We started off at Jess’ parents home before heading into Guildford for hair at Koko’s in Tunsgate. From there it was back to Jess’ parents home in Wonersh for makeup and the final stages of bridal preparation. I think you’ll agree Jess looked quite superb in her dress. Like a wise chap, Chris had decided that the Red Lion in Shamley Green was the ideal place to get proceedings underway and I met him and his groomsmen there before we all made our way to church. Chris and Jess are both serious endurance athletes/adventurers (despite the fact that they’ll pooh-pooh any such suggestion) and prior to a pint and sandwiches at the pub, Chris had begun the day with a ‘light’ 5 mile(ish) jog. Now, I’m not a runner and I recognise that 5 miles isn’t exactly a marathon, but this was the man’s wedding day! I was disturbed and impressed in equal measure.

Following the wedding itself, we moved into the Walled Garden which sits beside St John’s. Jess and Chris’ and both their families had gone to great lengths to transform what was previously an empty field into a simply outstanding reception venue. An open sided marquee bedecked with indoor trees, separate cake and refreshment tents and a children’s tent for the smorgasbord of ridiculously cute kids. Both the band and speeches were also particularly memorable. Chris, his best men and Jess’ father Ian are all fiercely intelligent and their ability to bend words to their will was quite something to behold. Befittingly, many tears were shed! The band for the evening, Saloon Star had been built up as quite the event and they didn’t disappoint. Top-draw multi-instrumentalist performers, great musicianship and crowd-pleasing knowhow of rare quality! Jess & Chris also happen to know some wicked dancers!

Jess & Chris were a delight to work with, and despite being adamant ahead of the day that they were ‘useless in front of the camera’ I’m sure you’ll agree that they look like they thoroughly enjoyed themselves! My thanks to everyone involved, and a special word to Jess’ mum Wendy for her extremely thoughtful thank-you phone call. As always, here’s a selection of my favourites - there’s a fair few, but I think it’s a wedding that deserves it!


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Preview: Emily & Tom - Forde Abbey

This weekend I was in Dorset & Somerset to photograph Emily & Tom’s wedding in Rampisham and their reception at the amazing Forde Abbey. More to come, but here’s a quick preview to whet the whistle.

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Wedding Fairs - Autumn 2013

The autumn wedding fair season is approaching and I’ll be attending two fairs this October.

Sunday 6th October 2013 - Englemere Ascot, Berkshire SL5 7JR

Sunday 20th October 2013 -
Northcote House, Taplow, Bucks. SL6 0HX

Fairs are a great opportunity to meet me, see some of my albums and get a feel for my coverage without any pressure to commitment. I’ll be about all day, from 11am to 3.30pm and would love to meet you if you’re planning your wedding. 2014 is filling up faster than any previous years so if you’re considering booking me, come along and say hello!

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Charlie & Nat - St John's Churt, nr Farnham

I met Charlie while at University in Exeter and we quickly came to realise that we’d pretty much spent life up until that point narrowly avoiding one another. We’d gone to school’s that played sport against one another, had a number of mutual friends and generally been much closer than the average six degrees of separation, yet we’d never met. Charlie’s also a photographer and has shot a variety of great work including The Ride Across Britain, some fantastic equine photography and being an adventurous sort, all manner of expeditions and escapades.

I first met Nat when we all sat down together over dinner to discuss wedding photography. As a soon to be qualified doctor, Nat is clearly the brains of the outfit. That said, she also has a ridiculous appetite for adventure, Charlie and her met on a Raleigh International expedition to Borneo and then together they spent time in New Zealand climbing mountains and surfing waves. Basically, they’re a perfect pair.

I covered the full day for this one, from Nat’s getting ready at the lovely Collier’s Farm in Fernhurst, through the ceremony at St John’s Church in Churt and then back to Charlie’s parent’s house in Hindhead for a particularly memorable reception. I always like to make note of fantastic people I’ve run into in the course of my work and particular thanks must go to two people I met during this wedding. First off Tania Stephenson-Oliver of TSO Bridal Beauty who was wonderfully professional and lovely to work with. Tania’s one of those make-up artists who is not only great at the core elements of her job but also great at all the ancillary stuff like being a calming and reassuring presence throughout the morning. Basically she looked after Nat like a true pro.

Next up, my thanks to Rev. Tony Whitaker at St John’s. Tony was brilliantly inclusive from beginning to end, allowing Charlie & Nat to have their ceremony their way, all the while retaining the solemnity and reverence that’s appropriate for church weddings. From a photographer’s point of view Tony was fantastic, he trusted me to work in my own discrete manner and was helpful throughout.

Nat & Charlie really went to town with their wedding reception. The setting was perfect and everything looked so well considered and appropriate. When I saw Charlie a few days prior to the wedding he was calmly building the bar and assured me (despite the seeming evidence to the contrary) that everything would come together in good time. He was right of course. From welly wanging to bunting to fire pits and the evening noodle bar the whole wedding was a testament to Charlie & Nat’s can-do attitude. Basically it was awesome! It really could have been a multi-day event because there was almost too much good stuff to fit into a single day!

I’m going to shut up in a moment and let the pictures do the talking. Here’s a selection of my favourites including a few informal groups I shot on my new Polaroid 195 Land Camera. My thanks to Charlie & Nat for having me, it was a genuine pleasure to shoot for you and share your day. Cheers guys!


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Steph & Neil - Stone Barn, Cotswolds

Steph & Neil’s wedding was my second visit to the Stone Barn in as many years. It’s a little bit out of my usual stomping ground, but it’s a fantastic venue and ever since shooting Jojo & Tom’s wedding in 2012 I’ve been keen to go back.

I’ve been very much looking forward to blogging this wedding as it is one that will live long in the memory. Steph & Neil are both really relaxed and their day very much reflected that. They allowed plenty of time to enjoy themselves, their guests and the astonishing weather - at the time it was the hottest day of the year I believe. The day began at Cats Abbey which is literally a stone’s throw away on the other side of the A40. The morning progressed in a wonderfully casual fashion, upstairs on the mezzanine Steph and the bridesmaids getting hair and makeup done while below the boys watched the deciding Lions test match (and I endeavoured to avoid the scoreline!). Above all there was a palpable sense of calm and contentedness - fine weather, great location, fantastic party on the horizon, what could be better!?

The wedding itself was lovely and as Steph & Neil had asked for only limited coverage of the ceremony it was really nice to be able to soak it all up a bit more than normal. Stone Barn is an incredible structure and although it conducts civil ceremonies there’s something unmistakably Church-like about it when a wedding ceremony is occurring. Following the ceremony we emerged into glorious sunshine for some of the best confetti I’ve experienced in ages. A huge long tunnel of family and friends, wonderful light and guests eager to throw!

Neil & Steph’s first dance needs particular mention. It became clear during the toasts that Neil has something of a penchant, and ability when it comes to the matter of fancy dress. A long line of Neil’s suitably impressive former costumes was revealed to us during the slideshow section of Best Man Mark’s speech/character assassination. Some were funny, some apt (note Neil’s more-than-passing resemblance to Boris Becker) but all were fantastically well done. So, when Neil tipped me the wink to let me know that the first dance might include some ‘costume changes’ I was expecting big things. Oh how it delivered.

With no particular song to call their own, Steph & Neil had explained to me that they’d decided to go with the zeitgeist and chosen Get Lucky by Daft Punk ft. Pharrell Williams. As the first dance approached Neil disappeared and Steph was sent onto the dancefloor solo. As the awesome Ambassador Band vamped the intro and the guests looked on in heightened anticipation the mood built to fever pitch…. and then… the circle of guests parted and Neil emerged. Clad in a fetching velour jacket the man of the moment calmly donned a Daft Punk style helmet that he’d not only acquired but also customised (with red LEDs) to read ‘STEPH’ before confidently boogieng out to meet his beautiful Bride. The crowd went NUTS.

This recollection may sound like melodrama or mere enthusiasm but seriously, I can’t emphasise enough how awesome this scene was. I’ve never seen a wedding congregation go as bonkers for a first dance or the Bride & Groom enjoy it so much. The energy was intense and had me grinning like a maniac; I’ll remember it forever!

Steph & Neil were fun fun fun and simply great people to work for. Big hearts, yet fiercely intelligent and uniquely gifted when it comes to throwing a massive party! My thanks to them for being truly awesome.

As always, below are a selection of my favourites from the day. I’ll be back to the Stone Barn in 2014 and I’m looking forward to it already.

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Novana & Kenny - Oakley Court, Berkshire

Novana and Kenny’s wedding at Oakley Court was an interesting change from my regular wedding coverage. For a start their day included a Chinese Tea Ceremony, a wedding tradition that I’ve never photographed before. Essentially the Bride and Groom take turns to serve tea to their respective parents and other important wedding guests and in exchange are presented with gifts. In practice however, the ceremony is full of subtleties and a symbolic language all its own - frankly it was fascinating! I know the traditional English wedding ceremony like the back of my hand, but trying to keep one step ahead of proceedings with the tea ceremony was an interesting reminder of life in my early days as a novice wedding photographer. Despite extensive research, I didn’t have the cumulative experience and muscle memory that I’ve developed over years of shooting western ceremonies and therefore it was an exciting challenge that had my senses fully alert in anticipation of the next element!

I cover a lot of small intimate weddings, but this wedding was particularly intimate, with only around 20 guests. Additionally the day didn’t feature an evening/dancing section which meant that instead we focused a little more heavily on creative portraiture than is typical in my photography. Oakley Court is a stunning setting right on the Thames and it lent itself fantastically to portraits. My thanks to Novana & Kenny for being fantastic to work with, I’m sure you’ll agree that Novana’s dress is something special, and also a big thank you to the staff at Oakley Court for being superb. It may not look it, but this was the hottest day of the year (at the time) and it was exceedingly humid all day. Still what an improvement on last year’s summer! As ever, below you’ll find a sequence of my favourites.


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Helen & Dominic - Northbrook Park, Farnham

I met Helen & Dom at the Farnham Maltings wedding fair back in September. Helen’s mum Angela is a photographer in her own right and therefore their choice of me as their wedding photographer represented a vote of confidence but also the additional pressure of being watched at work by a peer! Thankfully I received a lovely email a couple of weeks back saying that they were “absolutely THRILLED” with the outcome. The email even included an attached photograph of Dom checking out the photos on an iPad while on honeymoon in Kenya. The wonders of technology!

As a couple these guys are fantastic. I get on really well with all my clients, but there are some people that I feel almost miffed to not know on a personal level! Helen & Dom are just the warmest, most friendly people you could hope to meet and it’s been really great getting to know them. The love between them is palpable and their wedding was a fitting testament to a manifestly strong relationship.

Helen & Dom’s wedding took place in June. They were married at Rowledge Church and then headed back to Northbrook Park in Farnham for their reception. Northbrook has quickly jumped to the top of my personal list of favourite venues. It’s literally got everything, including some amazingly pretty gardens, loads of indoor areas in case of rain, the best wedding breakfast space - bar none - that I’ve ever come across (the light is wonderful!) and even on site cottages that are perfect for before or after the wedding. As is usually the case with my photography, the coverage started in the morning with Helen’s bridal prep and ran all the way through until the close of play. This was a good thing as it meant I got to witness not only a really moving weeding, but also some ridiculously accomplished and assured ‘Gangam Style’ from Dom’s dad!

My particular thanks obviously to Helen and Dom but also to Angela. Thank you for putting your collective faith in me and letting me follow my eye and shoot as I saw fit. I’m really glad to hear you loved the pictures!

As ever, here’s a mix of some of my favourites from the day. These are all shot on the 5D Mark III on a variety of lenses including the 17-40L, 35L, 50 f/1.4 and the 135L.

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Nicki & Jonny - South Lodge Hotel

It’s the busy season so the blog has been suffering. I’m going to make a concerted effort over the coming days to catch up! First off, Nicki & Jonny’s fantastic day from back in early June.

After a couple of really gorgeous days, the weather was looking highly promising for Nicki & Jonny’s wedding at South Lodge Hotel near Horsham, but come the day itself the morning brought with it bucketfuls of exceedingly heavy rain! While Nicki & Jonny got ready, we all watched the weather with fingers crossed and breath baited as Cassie, South Lodge’s wedding planner and Mark the toastmaster, calmly prepared for both the possibility of an indoor or outdoor ceremony. With little more than half an hour to go, the skies cleared and the sunshine appeared. Outside it was!

Blessed with some really fine weather for the rest of the day, Nicki and Jonny’s wedding was great fun - relaxed, full of love and genuinely uplifting. They’re also a properly hot pair so photographing them seemed pretty straightforward! I’ve enjoyed shooting at South Lodge on both occasions I’ve worked there. Much like at its sister hotel Lainston House, the quality of service and the professionalism of its staff really shines through. Not to mention that the grounds are beautiful and off-roading in the golf buggy is always good fun!

My thanks both to Nicki & Jonny for being simply excellent people and to South Lodge for being such a cracking venue. Now, enough chat, time for some pictures!


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Novana & Kenny - Preview

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Helen & Mark - Cain Manor, nr Farnham

Having photographed the weddings of a few couples from amongst this particular ‘crowd’ I really feel like I’ve come to know them well, and made some good friends amongst them. I met Helen and Mark at Nancy & Rich’s wedding last year and in simple terms, they’re just lovely people with great families and fantastic friends. The day began at Helen’s parent’s house for Bridal preparations, followed by a stop at the pub with the Groom and Groomsmen before heading off to Church just round the corner in Farnham. A word of thanks to Reverend Karen Richardson at St Thomas on the Bourne for being so friendly and welcoming. Photographers sometimes meet hostility in places of worship, and, regardless of the rules laid down, what I always remember is the tone. My aim is always to be as discrete as possible while still doing my job and Karen was great in this regard. Relaxed, kind and fair.

The reception took place at Cain Manor, a location I’m coming to know really well after shooting there a a few times in the past. The weather was fantastic, the speeches poignant and hilarious in well-considered measure and the dancing was a thing of wonder. Phil Bryant, I’m looking at you - funky chicken is served! My very best congratulations to Helen & Mark, thanks so much for having me and for being exceptionally good fun.

As always, here’s a selection of my favourites, all shot on the 5D3 with a mixture of (mostly) primes.

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Nicki & Jonny - Sneak Peek

On Friday I shot Nicki & Jonny’s wedding at Southlodge. We had a fantastic day and there’s plenty more to come, but after a quick flick through, here are a few to get us started!


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Ryen & Marcus - Fentafriddle, Trebarwith

Ryen & Marcus’ kicked my 2013 season off in style a few weekends back with a fantastic wedding in Kernow. The 1st thing you have to know about these two dudes is that they have the same hairdresser. As you can imagine, coifed perfection! The 2nd thing you need to know is that Ryen made her wedding cake on the morning of the wedding, while seemingly completely and utterly chilled-out. I’ve never seen that before. Seriously impressive combo of nerve and skill!

In all seriousness, they were just lovely people to be around and I had a blast shooting the day. Fentafriddle is positioned on a wonderful rolling hillside overlooking Trebarwith Strand and the view is simply amazing. Given it’s sea-facing position the wind can be quite strong, but every time I’ve shot a wedding there the weather has been glorious. Ryen & Marcus’ day was wonderfully still throughout and the sun shone for the vast majority. The day was hugely relaxed with the photographic emphasis on photojournalism, but during the creative session we also (quickly) shot a roll of film. I say quickly because, as is so often the case with weddings, things were running a touch long and we were butting up against sunset and a fast-approaching absence of light! I’ve been considering introducing some medium format film to my creative portrait sessions for some time, so many thanks to Ryen & Marcus’ for being open to the idea. It was fun to use the 500c/m in the heat of a wedding!

Anyway, time for some pictures. As always, here’s a selection of my favourites:


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Preview - Marcus & Ryen @ Fentafriddle

The 2013 season got underway on Saturday down in Cornwall. Here’s a brief hors d’oeuvre from Marcus & Ryen’s awesome Fentafriddle wedding. Main course serving soon!


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Jenny & Andy - Hartsfield Manor, Betchworth

Here’s one from late last year - Jenny and Andy’s intimate wedding at Hartsfield Manor in Surrey. This was my first wedding after getting back from a wonderful holiday (the first in ages!) but thankfully there was no chance of post-holiday blues as Jenny and Andy were just immensely good fun and reminded me how much I love my job.

The focus of my coverage has always been documentary photography, but I always say to brides that, if they’re up for it, it is worth spending half an hour during the wedding day to take some relaxed portraits. I call this window of time the ‘creative session’ and basically it’s an opportunity for me to take a little more control than I do for the rest of the day, and make the most of what a venue has to offer. Often it involves going outside in the cold. It can be hard to brave the cold in a gorgeous strapless dress, but Jenny was an absolute trooper and was totally onboard with the “30 minutes now is worth it in the long-run” school of thought!

I never make my couples devote time to things they don’t want to, but a short period of time spent on portraiture, come rain or shine, is (IMHO) time well spent! I’ve never once had a bride look through her photographs and say ‘wow, these are nice but it sure was cold!’, the cold/rain/snow tends to be forgotten pretty quickly once the pictures are in hand.

Hartsfield Manor has a wonderful staircased entrance hallway and so stepping into the cold was only necessary on a couple of occasions, for the rest of the day everyone was busily enjoying good wine, fine food and the company of their nearest and dearest. I had a fantastic time, I particularly enjoy photographing relatively intimate weddings like this, and my thanks go to Jenny & Andy for choosing me and then being such great people to work with.

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Upcoming 2013 Wedding Fairs

Over the coming weeks I will be exhibiting at a couple of wedding fairs. 2013 is getting fairly booked up now, but there’s still spaces (particularly in the winter months) so if you’re on the lookout for a wedding photographer and were considering my work, do come along and say hello. I’ll have lots of full weddings to show you, beautiful new sample albums and my portfolio in large format.

Sunday 17th February 2013 - Farnham Maltings, Farnham, Surrey GU9 7QR

Sunday 24th March 2013 -
Hedsor House, Taplow, Bucks. SL6 0HX

Above all, it’s a good chance to meet me face to face and ask me any questions you may have. The wedding fairs run from 11am to 3.30pm and I’ll be there all day. I hope to see you at one, the other, or both!

Comments

Diana & Colin - Lainston House, Winchester

Diana & Colin were married on a lovely warm day in early October at one of the most gorgeous venues I’ve ever worked at. Diana & Colin live in New York, but are originally from near Winchester, so it was a return to home for their nuptial vows. They are two of the smartest, most intelligent people I’ve ever met, true polymaths and interested in everything - such an exciting couple to work with! Diana is utterly stunning and looked astonishing and I’ll not deny it, by the end of the day, I had a total man-crush on Colin. If anyone’s seen I Love You, Man, Colin is Jason Segel.

Lainston House was a bit of an unknown quantity for me prior to this wedding. I’d heard of it and knew it was one of the Exclusive Hotels group but that was about it. Frankly, it’s possibly the gem in the crown. It’s beautifully proportioned, ridonculously picturesque and with the superbly high level of service that comes with all the Exclusive Hotels.

Diana & Colin knew what they wanted, but they were also extremely relaxed. They pretty much left me to do my thing, always something I enjoy. The day begun with Diana getting ready on one side of the hotel with Colin and the boys on the other. Impressively one of the bridesmaids had given birth to her first child just a few days prior yet was on-hand to do a fantastic job attending Diana. Impressive commitment! The wedding ceremony itself took place in the rather unique Dawley Barn with its wrought iron beams and gorgeous brickwork and then afterwards everyone spilled out into the almost summery warmth for a long, chilled outdoor reception. So often wedding receptions are cut short - to the day’s detriment in my opinion - with the result being a sense of rushed tension rather than an enjoyment of the relaxed euphoria that goes hand in hand with having just tied the knot. Diana & Colin got this part of the day wholly right, with bags of time, and games on hand to make sure relaxation didn’t become boredom. It was perfect.

The evening consisted of some of the best speeches I’ve ever witnessed, fabulous dancing from the bride and groom, hilarious (and I do mean extremely amusing) dancing from one of the ushers and the best bacon rolls known to man. There’s quite a number of pictures in this post, I simply found it particularly hard to cut down. Hopefully you’ll enjoy them. Feel free to leave a comment, it’s good to talk! Have a great weekend!

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Happy Clients! - 2012 Wedding Photography Testimonials

Anyone who has ever asked me about my work has likely been told of the roller coaster of emotions that I experience over the course of an individual commission. From the excitement of a new booking, through the anticipation of preparation, pre-game nerves, the adrenaline of the day itself, post-game euphoria and then later the satisfaction of a completed edit in which all the hard work, vision and individual decisions coalesce to form the finished article.

There is, however, another stage. Another cycle of nerves and fulfilment. After delivering the finished set of images, the wait for the clients approval. Photography is a subjective topic and although I never sign off on a wedding edit without having fully met my own personal standards, there’s always a shred of doubt until you hear back from a happy client. There’s nothing better than hearing that you’ve pleased your Bride & Groom, it’s just massively rewarding. Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to receive some incredibly thoughtful thank you messages, testimonials and emails from my clients. Here are a few from 2012:

Hampton Court House Wedding, Bridesmaids

“Just a quick note to say WOW! Colin and I were brought to tears (of happiness!) by your photos. They so beautifully captured our day and the emotion we felt, it was as though we were living the day again. You have a real talent and the photos were just beautiful. Thank you.“

Diana & Colin - Lainston House, Winchester




“All the photos look fantastic, and are exactly what we were after, thank you so much, they are fab!”

Lisa & Iain - Northcote House, Ascot


Wotton House Wedding Bride & Groom Portrait


“Firstly thank you so much for the great job you did on the day, everyone was very complimentary and it was better than me and Jenny could have hoped for. Secondly we are very happy with the photos, again they're exactly what we wanted and everybody loves them. They capture the day perfectly. Thank you again for the beautiful photos.”


“I know Andy already has, but I just wanted to say thank you myself for the photos, and for your work on the day. The photography was so important to us, and I was really (really) nervous about having my photo taken, but you made us feel as relaxed as possible, we genuinely enjoyed having you there and working with you. We sent the website link to our friends and a few people have told me they cried looking at the photos (and not just our mums!) which I thought was really lovely and shows how much they enjoyed them.”

Jenny & Andy - Hartsfield Manor, Betchworth


A bride enjoying a giggle at her Stone Barn wedding nr Aldsworth

“The pictures are AMAZING thank you so so much!!!!!!!”

Gemma & Luke - Southlodge, Horsham



“I just wanted to say thank you again for all of your help on our wedding day. You were absolutely fantastic, and all of our guests were very complimentary. If there is anything I can do for you with a reference of endorsement please do let me know.”

Ellie & Matt - Cain Manor, Farnham



“We've looked through all the photos - AMAZING! Thank you so much for doing such a brilliant job. It was a wonderful day and going through the photos really brought it back to us! You had quite a few compliments - lots of guests commented on your magical ability to be everywhere at once, and remain virtually invisible at the same time! My friends Julia and Iain, who are already married, said they wished they'd had you for their wedding! I hope you enjoyed yourself as much as we did.”

Amelia & Leon - The Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn


Frimley Hall Hotel Wedding, Bride Signing The Register


"Thanks, we had a great time on honeymoon and a wonderful wedding day topped by the most wonderful photographs. We are absolutely thrilled, Thank you! We have shared the link and received many, many compliments on your behalf."



"Tony, just wanted to echo Cathy's comments and say what an amazing set of photos you delivered, we were blown away by them and couldn't have asked for better."

Cathy & Pete - Islington Town Hall & The Snooty Fox



“We absolutely love our wedding photos and everyone who has seen them has been so complementary and said how wonderful they are. My sister said they are some of the best wedding photos she has seen (and she's been to quite a few weddings!) We thought you were fantastic on the day, especially considering you were there right from me getting ready in the morning till the very end, and apart from the group shots obviously, we didn't really notice you (in a good way!). We are really grateful to have such lovely photos to complement our memories of the day and we will definitely treasure them forever.”

Natalie & Joe - St John Fisher, Merton & Private Garden Wedding, Effingham

Bridesmaids at a Stanhill Court Hotel wedding play in the gardens


“We've had a first look through and the photos are fantastic. We had an amazing day, everyone has commented how much they liked your method of getting involved and how non intrusive you were.”

Gemma & Rob - Wotton House, Dorking



“We had a look at the photos yesterday and were so excited. I am so happy with them they look stunning so thank you very much! It was a pleasure to have you there on the day.”

Emily & Paul - Brighton Bandstand & The Terraces



“We had a wonderful day thank you - and thanks for your hard work on the day.  We really appreciated it.  Although I wanted to look through the photos when we got back late last night Kieran convinced me to wait until this morning when we had recovered from our long journey home!  And I'm glad I did because we've had a great morning looking at all 400 of them. They are fabulous.”

Jennie & Kieran - Leeds Castle


Guests at a Snooty Fox wedding relax

“We have looked at all the pics. What can I say other than fantastic!! Everyone who has seen the pics so far have been blown away and have made comments on how they hadn't even noticed you'd taken pics, clearly so at ease with your presence they were. I am so happy that we made you our choice for our wedding photographer! I would recommend you in a heartbeat to anyone who needed a photographer to capture their day perfectly!”

Jay & Michelle - Stanhill Court, Crawley



“Tony, the internet in the atlas mountains is pretty weak! its taken us all day but we have finally got through the album, We LOVE the photos you have done such an amazing job.”

Jojo & Tom - Cripps Stone Barn, Aldsworth


Royal Military Academy Sandhurst wedding congregation on steps of Old College

“Tony, what can I say? The photographs are absolutely f****** amazing! Thank you so much.”

Alexander & Narishta - Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst



“We saw the pictures last night when we got back and we have to say they’re amazing! Really, really pleased with them so thank you so much. We and my parents got so many questions about whether we already knew you as they thought you were one of our guests that offered to do the photography! A wonderful reflection of how comfortable you made us feel and honestly we couldn’t have wished for a better person to take the pictures of our special day.”

Kelly & Danny - Monkey Island, Bray-on-Thames


Bridesmaids at a Monkey Island wedding in Bray-on-Thames

“Incredible, words can't really describe how beautiful and emotive the pictures are for me. They have brought back so many highlights and happy memories from the day (and some forgotten moments!!!!!). The preview of your shots have got me so excited - I can't wait to see the rest. Its what I wanted captured of our day but is so much better then I imagined :-) Made me well-up. I love the pics of you with Phil, they really made me and Rich chuckle :-) Everyone was so complimentary about you on the day and the comments we're starting to get over the photos are just lovely. You're an amazing photographer.”

Nancy & Rich - Guildford Register Office & Dunsfold Park



“I just want to reiterate what I said to you on the day; I (and we!) was so pleased that you photographed our day. Whilst you were obviously there in a professional capacity, it was really important to us that you also felt relaxed and comfortable, and I really hope you were. The whole day was truly fantastic and you were also part of making that day special - I can't say thank you to you for helping to make our day exactly how we had hoped it would be. If I can write any sort of testimonial just let me know and we'd be more than happy to recommend!”

Lisa & Tom - St Michael & All Angels Church, Pirbright & Brooklands Hotel

A bride and groom celebrate at Dunsfold Park


“As you can imagine we have been over and over the pictures and along with everyone else are thrilled with the results, the slideshow captures the day from start to end and we are over the moon with what you have done for us. We cannot recommend you highly enough.”

Adam & Karen - St Nicholas’ Church, Pyrford & Foxhills, Ottershaw

Upwaltham Barns wedding, bride and groom go for a walk.

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Ellie & Matt - Cain Manor nr Churt, Farnham

Ellie & Matt’s wedding at Cain Manor in Churt nr Farnham was one of the happiest I can recall. Ellie is an old mate from Uni days and truly a great friend. I’d shot at Cain once before, for Jane & Simon’s wedding back in 2009, and it was really nice to return. I was fairly new to wedding photography the first time around and it felt like somewhere I wanted to revisit and see how I’d progressed.

I like to think I’ve got pretty good at being comfortable in an otherwise ‘girls-only environment’ on the morning of a wedding, and the whole process is usually pretty relaxed while being plenty of fun. It’s mostly about finding the right line between courtesy and light banter, but above all it’s about putting people at their ease. I’ll often crack a joke about my deep knowledge of makeup which I’ve gathered purely via the action of osmosis…. what?! It’s true! However, when you really know the bride, it’s always easier to know where that line stands. On the morning of Ellie’s wedding we chuckled a lot! Her bridesmaids were fantastic and it was great to finally meet her sister, Abi, who I’ve felt like I’ve known, third-hand, for years.

One of the great things about venues like Cain Manor is the proximity of everything. It’s secluded and spacious without key areas feeling remote from one another. Ellie & Matt were the model of punctuality, but as if to add to the nerves of the day, the M25 decided to be foul and throw a traffic jam in the path of one half of the Best Man duo. The half, sod’s law determined, that who was entrusted with the Orders of Ceremony. For Ellie & Matt this resulted in a squeaky bum ‘hold-short’ as the big moment approached. While I felt their pain, it made for a great photographic opportunity. The consulting of watches, the nervous glances and the heightened anticipation makes for great documentary material! Thankfully everyone made it in time and after a short delay things got underway. I’m happy to report that all nerves have subsequently settled!

Despite being late September, the weather was largely fantastic and the skies beautiful. My abiding memory of Matt & Ellie’s day will be a throughly fantastic time had by all. No pretence, just the right level of ceremony, but above all a desire to have a truly memorable time with friends and family. I left their wedding feeling seriously energised about my job. This is, undoubtedly, what it’s all about.

Anyway, time for some pictures. As usual, these were all shot on the 5DIII, with the exception of the overhead of the Bride & Groom walking down the aisle (this was a remote 20D). A collection of lenses were used including the 35L, 50 f/1.4 and 135L. If you have any questions or thoughts, please leave them in the comments at the bottom of the post, it’s good to talk!


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Amelia & Leon - Lincoln's Inn

Yesterday I launched my newly refreshed 2013 Wedding Photography Portfolio and today I’m sharing a wedding that features a couple of times in that portfolio, including the opening image. This post is the first in a series that will bring the blog up-to-date with the remaining 2012 weddings that I have yet to share.

Amelia & Leon were married in late September at the wonderfully picturesque Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn. I had to do my reading here to discover the exact nature of an organisation, that previously, I’d only briefly heard of. Lincoln’s Inn is one of the four surviving ‘Inns of Court’ - essentially professional associations of barristers. Amelia’s father is one of the society’s Benchers, and as such is extended certain privileges, amongst which, access to the beautiful Benchers Lawn which sits in the shadow of the Inn’s Great Hall.

I know Amelia from school days but we’d lost contact over the years, so it was fantastic to receive an email from her in December 2011 enquiring about wedding photography. Leon is a native kiwi but has been over here for sometime and is quite simply a fantastic bloke. A lovely couple with a clear vision for their photography.

The Chapel at Lincoln’s Inn is one of the most interesting I’ve ever worked in. Huge and beautiful and unusual for featuring no central aisle but rather two off-centre ones. Amelia walked in on her father’s arm up the left aisle (as you face the altar) and walked out down the right aisle with her new husband. I enjoy such idiosyncrasies! Unfortunately the chapel was very firm on limiting photography during the ceremony itself so I had to content myself with shooting Amelia’s entrance, the signing and the exit. Nonetheless, a fantastic location for a wedding! The light streaming in through the huge window at the rear of the chapel as Amelia entered was something of uncommon beauty.

Amelia & Leon emerged into glorious autumnal sunshine and after a drinks reception on the Benchers Lawn, we stepped into the Old Hall for a finger buffet tea. Speeches seemed all the more impressive given the venue and as a setting for dancing and a party the Hall was pretty special!

As you’ll certainly notice, Amelia & Leon are seriously hot stuff and photographing them was a privilege. The Undercroft beneath the Chapel is one of the richest locations I’ve ever worked in, I literally could have spent three hours happily shooting the multiplicity of angles it offered. Sadly, we didn’t have that long (!) but the opportunity to photograph there, with such a knockout couple, was a lot of fun.

My thanks to Leon & Amelia for a superb day and for being such superb clients. As I mentioned previously, Amelia walking up the aisle gets my current portfolio underway, so if you enjoy these, take a wander over to the main website and have a browse.

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2013 Wedding Portfolio Online!

My 2013 Wedding Photography Portfolio is now online and ready to preview. It is simply 100 images that encapsulate my style and approach. It took a while to put together; reducing 80k images down to the pure essence of my work was a considerable challenge! My thanks to Charlotte, my fantastic girlfriend, for helping me to be brutal and honest in equal measure. She knows most of my brides by name now despite only meeting a few!

2013 is beginning to fill up, so if you’re on the hunt for a Surrey and Hampshire wedding photographer, or know of someone who is, then take a look at the full portfolio here and if you like what you see, drop me a line.

2013 Wedding Photography Portfolio
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Cathy & Pete - Islington Town Hall

Although I aim for a classic, ageless style in my work, I truly love shooting weddings that diverge from the traditional. Weddings are unique events and I’m a particular fan of those that place family, friends and down to earth values above glamour and glitz. All weddings are fantastic, but I guess I’m simply saying that that’s how I’d do it. Cathy & Pete had a wedding just like that.

We kicked off at Islington Town Hall before making our way over to The Snooty Fox in Highbury which is owned by Cathy’s brother’s girlfriend. Despite all being in central London, the route from ceremony to reception took us neatly down a gorgeous little canal walk that’s artfully hidden between urban streets. It’s the sort of place that you could walk right past and unless you were looking for it, miss it. I did a recce (as I always do) ahead of the day itself and when checking it out on Google Maps prior to heading up I simply couldn’t believe that there was anything there. A genuine wonder and huge respect to Islington Council for such a gem. As you’ll see below, we stuck around at the Town Hall, which is beautiful in its own right, to take some images in the lovely corridors while Cathy & Pete’s guests got ahead of us, before doing a ‘walk and shoot’ in the river walk.

The Snooty Fox is a fantastic, characterful pub and as good a location for an intimate wedding reception as I can think of. There’s nothing like packing a pub that looks like this with lots of merry people to make for some fun images. After some of the best bangers and mash I’ve ever had the pleasure of (thanks guys!) we popped back to the river walk with Oscar, Cathy & Pete’s little boy for a few portraits. I love doing what I’ve come to call ‘creative sessions’ where I work directly, one-to-two, if you will, with the bride and groom, and the photos we take during these windows are often amongst my favourites, but photojournalism and quiet observation are still central to my work. A wedding like Cathy & Pete’s, at least in part thanks to the choice of venue, was simply chock full of moments, conversations, interactions and vignettes that are the heart and soul of good photojournalism. Add to this the lovely ‘transitions’, the periods of movement between one location or ‘chapter’ of a wedding and another and this is the sort of day that really lends itself to my style.

As always, here are a selection of my favourites. I took the train up for this gig and therefore travelled a bit lighter than usual. As normal, this is the 5D MkIII with 17-40L, 35L, 50mm f/1.4 an 135L but the dancing is lit a lot more simply and I shot a bit more ambient evening stuff, something I used to do a lot of and enjoyed focusing on again.

P.S. Oscar wasn’t the only little one at this wedding. It featured an understudy cast of some of the most expressively fantastic little people this season!

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Natalie & Joe - Garden Wedding

Finally time to catch up on some blog posts. There’s plenty in the pipeline so it’s going to get busy around here. First up, Natalie & Joe’s church and garden marquee wedding from late August.

When I met Nat and Joe and it became clear that Joe was an ex-Exeter boy I knew that we were going to get on famously. My former university is noted in holy writ for the production of first-rate people, and so it was with Joe. As for Natalie, anyone who has chosen Exeter University alumni as their partner for life clearly doesn’t want for taste. All joking aside, terrific couple, fantastic day. Joe’s father is the Deacon at St John Fisher Church in Merton and had been specially trained up to preside over his son’s wedding. For Joe it came as a bit of a shock when, on the day, he found out that it was in fact Dad’s ‘debut’! Trepidation which, it turned out, was entirely unneccessary as Mr Kavanagh Snr did a sterling job.

Following the ceremony with the weather looking highly suspect we briefly dashed out to the common to grab some portraits before the heavens opened and then made tracks for Natalie’s parents home in Effingham and the rather impressive mega marquee that had been cunningly affixed to the house. It was great fun chatting to the Exeter people at the reception and with a flower girl who encapsulated the term ‘loveable rogue’ there was never a dull moment! Below are a selection of my favourites, and if anyone can name the tall narrow tree in the wide vertical portrait below, then let me know as it has me flummoxed.

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Emily & Paul - Brighton Bandstand Wedding

I previewed a couple of images from Emily & Paul’s fantastic Brighton Bandstand wedding back in July. I’m busily catching up with blog posts of late so I thought it was time to share this one in greater fullness. I really enjoyed this wedding. I know I say that all the time, but I really really did. It came at a point in the season where things were very hectic, I was pretty tired and it massively reinvigorated me and reminded me how much fun this job can be.

Emily & Paul are lovely chilled out people and were intent on having a laid-back day. The sun shone, the drinks flowed and the people partied. It was a riot. Lewis Hamilton even made a cameo appearance. These images don’t need too much by way of explanation, so without further ado, on with the show. Here’s a selection from one of my favourite weddings of 2012. For the photographers amongst you these were shot on the 2 x Canon 5DIII with a range of lenses including the 17-40L, 35L, 50 f/1.4 and 135L.

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Jennie & Kieran - Leeds Castle

I meant to blog this one some time ago, but it was in the middle of the crazy season and blog posts fell behind. Better late than never!

When I met Jennie & Kieran last year and they told me they were getting married at Leeds Castle I was seriously excited. It’s a pretty astonishing venue and its tagline ‘the loveliest castle in the world’ is big on truth and low on hype. Jennie & Kieran are a fantastic couple, really down to earth, very organised and very much my sort of people. Despite her incredible efficiency and brilliant orchestration of events, Jennie couldn’t control the weather. Unfortunately, after the day started bright and warm - this was mid July - it wasn’t long before regular summer was replaced by British Summer™and we had ourselves some rather torrential rain. Driving home on the M20 was an exercise in wheeled-boating that I am not keen to repeat anytime soon!

The wedding itself was a different matter of course. (Wedding Day + Epic Castle) x Lovely People = Fantastic Time Had By All! Seriously enjoyed this one. Despite being indoors more than we hoped, the nature of a castle is that the rooms are large enough and the ceilings high enough for everyone to spread out and enjoy themselves. One of the real joys with a venue as sprawlingly large as Leeds Castle - it’s a good long walk around the moat - is finding the angles that work well photographically. Sometimes the locations that are most visually spectacular to the human eye are somewhat more demanding to box into the confines of a viewfinder frame. I love this sort of challenge.

Jennie & Kieran were unfailingly calm on the day, a couple clearly at peace with their decision to tie the knot and absolutely sure that they’re right for one another. That’s a special thing to photograph and something I really enjoy trying to commit to ‘film’. My thanks to them for letting me share their day, for picking such a ridiculously superb location and being unfailingly welcoming, enthusiastic and fun all day long. As always, below are a selection of my favourites from the day:

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One For Now - Ellie & Matt: A Sneak Peek


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Wedding Fairs 2012/13

Bookings for 2013 are beginning to pick up pace so I thought it might be useful to let you know which wedding fairs I will be exhibiting at over the coming months. I’ll be available at all the shows below to chat to you about your day, my approach to photography and to show you some work and sample albums. I look forward to meeting many of you.

23rd September 2012 - Farnham Maltings

28th October 2012 -
Beaumont Estate

13th January 2013 -
Brooklands Hotel

17th February 2013 -
Farnham Maltings

24th March 2013 -
Hedsor House

With the exception of the Brooklands Hotel fair, these fairs are all arranged by Prestige Wedding Fairs. The Brooklands Hotel fair is arranged by Silver Lined Wedding Shows. Do visit their websites for more information. Free admission is standard at all fairs.

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Gemma & Rob - Wotton House, Dorking

Gemma & Rob’s wedding in August was my 2nd visit to Wotton House in as many months. Gemma was one of the most conscientious brides I’ve ever encountered (very much a good thing) and clearly knew what she wanted from her photography and made a real point of doing her research. We chatted at two wedding fairs before our initial consultation and Gemma asked all the right questions. This may sound like I’m poking fun, but in all seriousness it’s great from my point of view to work with people who have clear ideas about what they want from their wedding photography.

Shooting the same venue twice in the space of a few months presents its own challenges. It’s important to come up with new ideas and not simply shoot the same stuff in the same way. Staleness is definitely the photographer’s enemy. Once again the service at Wotton was superb and everyone was incredibly well looked after. As for Gemma & Rob, a friendlier couple you’d struggle to meet. If you ask my girlfriend, she’ll tell you that I gravitate towards (and bang on about) warm, down-to-earth people. So it was with Gemma & Rob, a fantastic family who were just great fun to hang out with. Connor, the pageboy was a total dude. Occasionally very shy, but mostly full of life and a tremendous sense of mischief. He features in quite a lot of the images below and was an ever-present source of dynamic images!

I also had a highly serendipitous meeting with Glenn Aitken. In what can only be described as one of the most coincidental and jaw-dropping conversations of my life, it transpired that not only is Glenn intimately familiar with the small collection of islands we had JUST booked a holiday too (he lived there for years working as a musician and photographer) but he also finds himself back in the UK thanks to a record deal with a label that my good friend Ruth works for. “Yeah, I know Ruth” was frankly a gobsmacking revelation after a conversation that revealed a whole host of ever-more surprising commonalities. Glenn is a friend of Gemma & Rob’s and a singer/songwriter who suggests a blend of the Finn brothers and Gary Barlow. As a Crowded House fan, I consider this a seriously good thing. Glenn also does an awesome loop pedal performance. Anyone who has seen Imogen Heap or KT Tunstall will be familiar with the concept; it makes for a kick ass live show. On the night he performed a standout set, something I’ll remember in years to come. Gemma & Rob’s day was certainly a fun one.

Rob is in the process of buying a dSLR so in a year or two he’ll probably be putting me out of a job. Until then, here are some of my favourites from the wedding!

For the photo geeks, these were shot on two 5DIII’s with the 17-40L, 35L, 50mm f/1.4 and 135L.


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Jojo & Tom - Stone Barn, Cotswolds

How ridiculously hot are Jojo & Tom? Yahuh? This was like Greek Goddess meets Ralph Lauren model and I got to shoot the wedding. Fun fun times. I normally don’t blog as many images as this, but I found it hard to pick. Add to the mix a wicked venue, rain that stopped at all the opportune moments, a massive wedding party including a best man who looked a lot like a famous singer (you’ll spot him) and bevy of stunning bridesmaids and it was hard to go wrong.

Jojo & Tom were married at the Stone Barn nr Aldsworth in the Cotswolds and the whole affair dripped style from beginning to end. From - as the boys would say - ‘strong’ suits to Mustangs for wheels, this wedding was a sight to behold. Jojo had warned me repeatedly that Tom wasn’t a fan of being in front of the camera, but on the day they were both super relaxed, and great to work with. To be honest, with genes like their’s I think I had a decent leg up!

Jojo got ready at the boutique Barnsley House hotel while Tom and the gents were at the Wheatsheaf Inn just down the road in Northleach. Both were seriously lovely. If you’re having a Cotswolds wedding and are looking for great locations to get ready, I’d recommend either.

My thanks also go to Jessie Thomson who helped plan and co-ordinate the day. She was a real winner and a great help to the smooth running of proceedings. She even nipped off to bring the engagement ring back for photos. What a star.

Anyway, as ever, a selection of my favourites. A few more than usual, but hopefully you’ll agree it’s worth it. These were all shot on the 5D3 with a selection of 135L, 35L, 50 f/1.4 and 17-40L. My beloved 135L took a tumble during the evening and so I had to send it off to Canon for some TLC. Thankfully it’s back and rocking my world as normal.

Cheers to Jojo & Tom for letting me shoot their wedding and for being so astonishingly sexy.

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Emily & Paul - Brighton Preview

I shot Emily & Paul’s wedding in Brighton this past weekend. For the first time in ages we got truly fantastic weather and given the seaside location this seemed both apt and fortuitous! I thought I’d share a quick sneak preview, seeing as my blog posts are somewhat behind at the moment (!) to whet everyone’s whistle!

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Freddie & Sarah - Wotton House

Sarah & Freddie were married at Wotton House in mid June under (miraculously) sunny skies! I went to school with Freddie and so not only was it a great day to shoot but it was fun to catch up with some people I haven’t seen much of in years.

Wotton House is a pretty sizeable venue and has some particularly spectacular gardens with a fantastic vantage point above them which offers some interesting options for shooting from height. I’m photographing another wedding at Wotton later in the year so I’m getting pretty familiar with it. It’s sometimes the way that you don’t shoot at a venue for years on end and then in the space of a few short months you shoot there regularly! Such is the way with Wotton. When you shoot weddings week in week out, one of the things that sets a location apart is the quality of their staff. Wotton was exceptional. Frank, who largely ran the day, was a total legend. Boundless energy, attention to detail and a great guy also. Big recommendation!

Sarah & Freddie had a butterfly theme so when a butterfly landed on Sarah we knew we were having a good time! He was a bit tired and on his last legs and not really willing to budge, but nonetheless I’m sure there’s good luck in there somewhere! Anyway, here are some of my favourites from the day, as ever shot on the 5DIII and a selection of lenses.

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Laura & Rich - Hampton Court House

Laura & Rich were married at St Nicholas Church in Shepperton over the Jubilee long weekend. Their reception was held at Hampton Court House, a venue I’ve shot at a number of times over the years and it was great to photograph there again. I also had the pleasure of working with Toastmaster Jay Tough (what a name!) for the first time since 2009. Jay is a genuinely first rate toastmaster and a terrific bloke also.

It’s always interesting shooting at a venue that you know well. The aim is to try and use the familiarity to your advantage while not simply shooting angles you’ve used before. At the same time, there are sometimes bizarrely similar moments in similar places. One such moment occurred this time around as a group of little ones congregated beneath the same tree, without direction, at a similar time of day, in very similar light, turned and looked right at me. It’s not an exact replica of an earlier photograph, but it’s oddly familiar. Take a look:

2012 - Laura & Rich’s Wedding

2011 - Emma & Justin’s Wedding

Sometimes that’s the way of things and it highlights to me the importance, as a wedding photojournalist, of knowing the venues and the plan. Some locations are simply great photographs waiting to happen. The setting is there, the light, the composition, just awaiting a moment. I often talk about how great photojournalism is more than merely turning up with a camera and looking at what’s in front of you. Undoubtedly that is its essence, but I’m a big believer in the power of anticipation. Anticipation works on a number of levels, from minute to minute, second to second and over more lengthy periods of time. In one scenario it may simply be a case of pre-positioning yourself on the other side of the door a bride’s about to walk through, but on a longer timescale it’s possible to visit a wedding venue two weeks before the day itself and conduct a recce that pays dividends in the heat of the moment. Where will the sun be when? Which door is used for what? etc etc. Anticipation can be an investment as well as an instantaneous payoff.

Laura and Rich were a pleasure to work with and in particular they had some really cute kids at their wedding who made for fantastic subjects. My thanks to them all for having me.

As ever, here’s a selection from the day. If you have any thoughts, pop them in the comments below.


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Alex & Narishta - Royal Military Academy Wedding

Alex & Narishta’s wedding was one of the most distinctive I’ve ever photographed. There was so much about this day that set it apart from a ‘stereotypical’ wedding. First up it was at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. The Royal Memorial Chapel, which played host to Alex & Narishta’s nuptials would be better described as a Cathedral. A huge building thick with heritage, gravitas and grandeur. The opportunity to shoot a wedding at the RMA was a real thrill. Years ago I used to work there as a civvy contractor for the Army Medical Directorate (AMD) in the Former Army Staff College (FASC). As Alex will tell you, the military loves their acronyms! The camp is vast and when I worked there I only saw a small corner of the place so it was great to explore some of the more famous spots camera in hand.

Last year I watched a really interesting three part BBC documentary about officer cadets training at Sandhurst and during one point in the wedding day, while moving from the Chapel to the steps of Old College for formals, I suddenly recognised a location that had featured in a clip during the documentary. It was fascinating and bizarre in equal measure.

Alex is a member of the TA and has served in Afghanistan amongst other tours and is a thoroughly likeable and incredibly interesting guy. Narishta is a doctor and her family is from Sri Lanka. A more colourful and identity-laden day you’d be hard pressed to imagine. I really enjoyed shooting Alex & Narishta’s wedding and Alex’s ability to stay cool in full blues, under blazing sunshine, while preparing to get married and while giving speeches to 260 guests was seriously impressive. Narishta was also very laid back but her beautiful sari was probably better suited to the weather conditions!

I’d particularly like to big up Mistah J who DJed the evening. He’s just getting started but he was seriously slick and I’d never have known that he was new to the game unless he’d told me. Really friendly guy also. I also met some lovely people in the shape of Videographer Chris Towndrow and his second (and also) stills photographer Caroline Ellison.

Here’s a selection of my favourite images, all shot on the 5DIII.

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Kelly & Danny - Monkey Island

The South-East is simply chock full of outstanding wedding venues. The weekend before last I shot at a new one for me, Monkey Island in Bray-on-Thames. Not only is it beautiful but it reminded me of the awesome adventures of Guybrush Threepwood and his nemesis the ghost pirate Le Chuck. For those to whom that means nothing, do your geeky research!

Kelly & Danny are fantastic people and I’d been really excited to shoot their wedding since our first meeting last year. They wanted a small, intimate ceremony followed up by a fantastic party and, from a photography standpoint, relaxed was the name of the game. Photography that observes the day rather than controls it. Definitely my sort of clients!

When I visited Monkey Island a couple of weeks prior to recce the location, our main concern was whether the Thames would continue to rise and sweep the whole place away. The April and May rains had been relentless and hopes for an outside ceremony were wilting. Oh how contrary the English weather can be! On the day itself the sun finally put his hat on and baked us all. From morning till night hardly a cloud was seen and blue skies prevailed. Kelly looked truly stunning, Danny exceptionally dapper and they were both ably attended by a tremendous wedding party. Seriously, what superbly lovely people. The speeches were particularly memorable. Any long-term readers will know how I feel about great speeches, but honestly, the intimacy of the occasion and the sincerity of the words made them especially powerful. In particular I’ll remember the usher, George - all of about 12 or 13 - making a speech with the poise and self-assurance of a professional orator. Ladies and gents, it was something very special!

Photographing smaller weddings (in terms of guests) is always an interesting challenge as it makes it that much harder to hide in the crowd. With less people moving around the opportunities for carefully crafting composition are sometimes richer, but the emphasis has to be on patience and observation. Without controlling people directly, often you have to wait for the elements to fall into place. This is one of my favourite aspects of wedding photography and it made for a thoroughly enjoyable day’s coverage. As always, here are a selection of my favourites, shot on the Canon EOS 5D Mark III.

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Photobooth - Gurntastic!

I’ve been offering a Photobooth as part of my wedding packages for a couple of years now and it invariably proves incredibly popular. Guests love it and end up having a really fun time. The idea is simple. A camera on a tripod, a studio flash setup and a box of props to ensure maximum hilarity. To take the picture, guests press a footswitch on the floor so there need be no interference or unwanted ‘direction’ from me!

Most people go for an eclectic mixture of wigs, toy revolvers and shades, while others prepare to plump for something less outlandish and more traditional. Every once in a while though, someone drops some genuine comedy gold. For me, the image below falls firmly into that category. The last image of the night from Richard & Laura’s wedding at Hampton Court House on Monday, this phenomenal gurn is simply top drawer!

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Nancy & Rich - Dunsfold Aerodrome

I know Nancy from my involvement in the Dunsfold Wings and Wheels Air & Motoring show and when she asked me to shoot her wedding I was thrilled. She and Rich are wonderfully fun-loving and laid back people and from the off it was clear that their wedding day was a departure from ‘the usual’.

Time is a commodity often lacking in wedding days, the limited hours are crammed with 101 things and although everyone has a superb time, the sense of haste and hurry is palpable. Not so with Nancy & Rich’s wedding. I began the day by visiting a quintessential greasy spoon, just round the corner from me in Deepcut, to photograph Rich’s final breakfast as a free single man. A more genuine and welcoming guy you’d be hard pressed to meet, Rich is known as ‘Pig’ by his friends and, although it’s down to his surname rather than his appetite, that didn’t seem to be wanting despite the momentous nature of the day! After watching Rich tuck away breakfast in short order, I headed over to Nancy’s house to shoot the preparations. With makeup done and hair fixed it was off to Guildford Register Office to do the deed. The ceremony was full of love, laughter and a few genuinely hilarious moments and, once the formalities were completed, we all made our way to Dunsfold for the reception.

What a reception! With a Caterham/Lotus kit-car day in progress those who were feeling brave were offered rides in the passenger seats as grinning petrolheads did their best to perturb coifed hairdo’s. Afterwards, there was plenty of time for guests to catch-up, relax and enjoy the newly-appeared sunshine. As I said above, most weddings feel quite tight from a time point of view, in contrast Nancy & Rich’s wedding felt like the perfect embodiment of a relaxing sunny Saturday. (With the addition of some rather nippy cars).

Shooting portraits on an airfield was an interesting experience. Dunsfold is actually quite a big, open, desolate space in some ways so we had to seek out the best spots quite carefully. Nancy & Rich are really into dog agility and so we thought it proper to include their three gorgeous dogs in the photographs! Complete with matching neckerchiefs and full of energy they were fantastic fun. I’ve never seen a dog bounce quite as high as Lucca. Dog meets cartoon rabbit would be a fitting description!

So, as you’ve probably gathered this was one of my most memorable weddings for a long time. It’s not every day that I get to meet my long lost brother - a chap called Phil who, despite my denials, actually looks a LOT like me (see here) - shoot pictures on the Top Gear Test Track and work with a couple who really got to the heart of what a wedding should be about. Family, friends and having a fantastically memorable time. Nancy & Rich were a pleasure to work with from beginning to end and couldn’t have been more welcoming. I love shooting weddings like this! Thanks to them both.

As ever, please find a selection of my favourites below. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

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Nancy & Rich - A Quick Preview

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Emma & David - Upwaltham Barns

The A283 and the A285 that run down through Petworth and on to Chichester are some of my favourite driving roads in the entire world. The landscape is simply breathtaking, with rolling hills, sweeping views and the sense of being in a valley that’s somehow shielded from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the South East. In short, it’s a stunning bit of England. When I met Emma & David last year and they told me they were getting married at Upwaltham Barns near Petworth I was pretty excited. I wasn’t familiar with the venue, but the setting is so beautiful that I knew I was in for a treat.

Emma & David’s day included a fair bit of rain but, thanks to ingenious eBaying on Emma’s part, there was a considerable quantity of umbrellas to go around. Their wedding ceremony took place at St Mary Magdalene Church in Rusper, another location that is astonishingly idyllic - talk about a beautiful church! Afterwards, we jumped in the cars and made our way over to Upwaltham, stopping at the Duncton viewpoint for a couple of photographs on the way.

David’s speech was one of the most moving I’ve heard in a long while and fantastically delivered too. It had Emma welling up despite herself and it felt pretty special to be in the same room, capturing it as it all played out. Following speeches, the three of us stepped away for some creative portraits. With the weather finally breaking we had a great time in the walled garden and although Emma & David had warned me that they weren’t comfortable in front of the camera they certainly looked it! They’re a fantastic couple and I really enjoyed working with them. Also, Emma has the most flawless skin of just about any bride I’ve ever photographed! A ‘tog’s dream!

Anyway, as ever, a selection of my favourites. Thanks to Emma & David for choosing me as their photographer and let’s all collectively keep our fingers crossed that it doesn’t keep raining till Christmas!

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LATE AVAILABILITY - 15th September 2012

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Due to a postponed wedding I am now available for Saturday 15th September 2012. If you’re getting married on that date, have yet to engage a photographer and like my work, I look forward to hearing from you. Get in touch.

Comments

Image of the Week - Wanna Play?

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The core of my wedding work is built around observation. Like most photographers I’m a total gear nut who constantly hankers after the latest and greatest cameras, but despite this my most valued piece of equipment is a keen set of eyes. Seeing a scene clearly - as a distinction from simply ‘looking’ at a scene - and constantly being on alert to the situation around you is more important than any camera, lens or accessory. Weddings are incredibly event-rich occasions. From the big obvious moments to the smallest gestures, glances and interactions, there are literally thousands of opportunities an hour. The key is in identifying the interesting ones and building an image around them.

I’ve always been a fan of the ‘sideshows’ at weddings. That is to say the small, often unnoticed events that tell their own stories. They’re simultaneously self-contained but also add detail and colour to the story of the wedding day as a whole.

The image below is from back in 2009 and was shot at a wedding party in London. The bride and groom had been married overseas and were having an evening reception to celebrate with those who couldn’t make it out to the ceremony in the Caribbean. The room was jam packed and although there weren’t many kids in attendance there were a few, and understandably they looked universally bored. Except these two. As the hubbub continued 6ft above, down below knee height this Games Master and her would-be suitor were engrossed in a spot of Nintendo.

I love moments like this. The complete ignorance of the party above and their absorption in the game is wonderful. I love the light cast from the screen onto the girl’s face, the incongruous mixture of casual and formal and the total lack of camera awareness. I got lucky frankly. In another world on another day a photographer crouching to ground level to capture the world from their point of view may well have proved distracting, making the picture less about the moment and more about their reaction to me. Thankfully the game was a good one and the concentration absolute!

This was shot with the Canon 5DII and the EF 50 f/1.4. Exposure was 1/30th, f/2.2, ISO 4000.

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Justyna & Tom - Frimley Hall Hotel

Justyna & Tom booked me relatively late in the day, only a couple of months before their wedding date. Thankfully their church and venue couldn’t be closer to home so recce and venue visits couldn’t have been easier. Justyna is from Poland and Tom’s a Camberley lad and they were married at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Church in Frimley the weekend before last. Our Lady Queen of Heaven is about 4 mins in the car from me, but their reception venue, Frimley Hall Hotel is even closer - 2 mins at a push. Despite being so close, I’d never shot their before.

Justyna began her day with hair and makeup appointments in Camberley before heading back to Frimley Hall to get ready. The weather on the day was not kind, but then again when of late has it been?! Apparently the weather in Poland was a balmy 27℃ and gloriously sunny but we treated to more rain, dreary skies and the sort of weather we are world famous for complaining about!

There were lots of Polish family and friends in attendance and it was great to sit on one of the mainly Polish tables for a short while during the wedding breakfast and hear epic tales of 7-day Polish weddings! One of the funniest things about the day was repeatedly being asked; “Do English people dance at weddings?”. Despite reassurances that we could boogie with the best of them, skepticism remained high right up until the moment the music started. The English contingent did us proud and while, it has to be said, the Polish had significantly more ability, we put our ultra-conservative stereotypes to bed!

Justyna is an absolutely beautiful girl and very relaxed in front of the camera and both her and Tom were fantastic in making the most of photo opportunities as the rain poured and drizzled and the light toyed with us! Tom’s brother David did a superb job as Best Man and was huge help to me throughout the day - my thanks to him.

Here’s a selection of my favourites from the day. This was my first wedding to be shot entirely on the new Canon 5D MK III’s. They were fantastic and while I am itching to get my hands on the delayed battery grips, the camera fitted into my workflow very well. Enjoy.


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Lisa & Tom - Brooklands Hotel

Lisa & Tom were married at Pirbright Parish Church (St Michael & All Angels) followed by a reception at the new Brooklands Hotel next to Mercedes Benz World. They confided early on that they were real foodies, and as such, had chosen Brooklands, at least in part, for their fine food - their wedding breakfast was a 7-course extravaganza! On the day itself we were blessed with really gorgeous weather, lovely light and a tremendous day that will live long in the memory.

Lisa’s father, Franco, is Italian and rarely have I encountered such immense hospitality. His attentiveness to everyone present was superb, myself included. At one point I assured him that all was well, I was being well fed and watered and generally being looked after brilliantly by the staff at Brooklands and I encouraged him to enjoy his daughter’s wedding. I said something along the lines of “That’s very kind Franco, but please, don’t worry about me, I shoot weddings every weekend and I’m just fine” to which his response was “Ahhh, but you don’t shoot Longobardi weddings every weekend!”. He had a point and it pretty well sums up the welcoming nature of the whole gang - an awesome couple, an awesome family.

Brooklands is an interesting venue and one that’s quite different from the majority of locations I photograph. It’s got a sleek urban feel about it and the opportunity to shoot something a bit different was both a challenge and a treat. The majority of wedding venues are countryside locations, or if not, sport their own gardens. Brooklands is much more stone and steel with little in the way of soft vegetation and I really enjoyed working with such a different aesthetic.

As usual here’s a selection of my favourites from the day, I hope you enjoy them.

For the photographers amongst you, these were mostly shot on the 5DII with a couple shot on the 5DIII (the last three images). I received the 5DIII on the Friday morning and as I hadn’t had a chance to get familiar with it I really only employed it late in the evening when I’d already got plenty in the bag. Lens wise, these include image from the 17-40L, 35L, 50 f/1.4 and 135L.

P.S. I shot this wedding whilst quite unwell. I’d like to thank Juliet McKee, Guy Collier, Chris Geary, Chris Beaumont and above all Kieran Doherty for rallying round and offering to help in any way they could if I’d been too sick to shoot. Thanks also to Charlotte, my awesome girlfriend for offering to carry bags. Finally thanks to Lisa & Tom for understanding the predicament and being so cool. In the end, things were fine, but all credit to them for their taking the situation in their stride.

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Image of the Week - The Blessing


Apologies for the delay in posting an image of the week, I’ve been busy getting the wedding season started and enjoying a week away.

This week’s image is from Gabriella & Tone’s wedding back in June 2011. Gabriella’s folks live near Henley-on-Thames and have a wonderfully beautiful garden in which the marriage blessing took place. Two of the main tenets of my approach are to show the day from the perspective of those who were there and to create a body of work that gives the viewer the sense of being part of the wedding, whether they were present on the day or not. This image does both. By getting in amongst the congregation I was able to frame the photograph between two heads, giving a sense of seeing the moment as a guest might have viewed it.

The actual perspective is somewhat different. This was shot on the 135L, my all-time favourite lens, and due to the focal length, the guests in the foreground and the couple in the background have been seemingly brought closer together. This helps with the image by removing the perception of distance that existed between the congregation and the ceremony and accentuating the framing qualities of the two heads.

The weather during the ceremony was touch and go - rain was a real threat - but the cloudy skies and late afternoon timing contributed to some gorgeously soft light. The final aspect was waiting for the connections to appear in the image. It’s sometimes challenging to combine multiple significant expressions into one picture, as people react to different things and different moments; but during the reading Tone’s reflective expression and the eye contact between Gabs and the reader came together. It’s a real favourite of mine.

For the togs out there I shot this on the 5DII with the 135L @ f.4.0, 1/800th, ISO 800. Till next week!

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Adam & Karen - Foxhills

Karen & Adam’s wedding was the first of the year for me. It was also the last wedding I’ll shoot entirely on the Canon 5DII. An interesting juxtaposition or start and end. With the first 5D Mk III integrated into my working kit and the second enroute, the 5DII’s are making way. Feeling sentimental for those troopers!

Karen & Adam are a wonderfully chilled out couple. Right up until the moment of marriage it was pretty clear that Karen in particular was entirely unfazed and completely confident in their commitment to one another. It’s rare to see such nervelessness in a bride! Adam admitted to a few nerves of his own, but even so he was also remarkably calm. I usually feed off the collective adrenaline, but the pervasive sense of certainty was an interesting and not unwelcome change! Their day was overcast, windy and more than a little cold, but thankfully the rain held off throughout.

I haven’t shot at Foxhills before but it was a fun experience with a tremendous staff. Events Co-ordinator Chris Collard and Ross the Toastmaster did a superb job. Karen & Adam’s church was lovely and intimate though I was limited in what I was allowed to shoot during the service, partly due to space and partly due to constraints placed upon me by the church. The Reverend conducting the ceremony was a hoot, truly memorable and original and he also happened to look just like Bill Gates. See if you can spot the likeness!

As usual, here’s a selection of my favourites and my thanks to Adam & Karen for being such warm and relaxed clients. Best wishes for the future Mr & Mrs H!

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Rob & Steph - Clandon Park

With the 2012 wedding season due to kick off for me this Friday, I was spending some time the other day making sure 2011’s weddings were all fully archived and tidied away. In doing so I realised that I’d never actually got round to blogging Rob & Steph’s wedding at Clandon Park nr Guildford. I shot Rob & Steph’s engagement session a few months prior to their wedding so came to know them particularly well. I don’t usually do engagement sessions, but they were especially keen to have some photographs done ahead of the day itself and I found the experience really great fun. It’s sometimes hard not to see the very best in people when you spend such an incredibly happy day with them, and I know I bang on about great clients, but Rob & Steph really are immensely lovely people, the sort of people I hope to stay in touch with and hear from in years to come.

Steph begun the day at her Dad’s house - another equally lovely guy - a short drive from both Church and reception venue. After a really great morning, in which I discovered that I’d been to school with some of Steph’s bridesmaid’s friends (small world!), I headed off to Wotton to meet Rob and his groomsmen. St John the Evangelist is a gorgeous church and in the cold bright December light it looked stunning. I tend not to feel the cold a great deal when I’m shooting a wedding and so if in doubt I tend to forgo a jumper. After seeing guests and Rob’s family inside, I stepped outside to wait for Steph’s arrival. It was pretty chilly, but expecting her imminently I figured it’d only be a brief wait. As it happened, half way to church they realised that they’d forgotten Steph’s bouquet and so had to head back to retrieve it! I am convinced this was all a ruse on Steph’s part to keep Rob honest, but she assures me it was a genuine mistake!

I shot the service from the back of the church as I’d been requested to be very discrete. It’s sometimes challenging shooting from the back, but thankfully there were some lovely sight lines that worked well with where Rob & Steph were seated. Following the service it was on to Clandon Park. Clandon is a huge building with an incredible aspect and a magnificent Marble Hall. The wedding breakfast gave way to some first rate speeches and the special guest appearance of Rob’s Super Ted bear - exceptional stuff! The Vaulted Undercroft, where the evening reception took place, is a really fun room to shoot in. It’s curving white vaulting makes lighting it a blast and yet it’s relatively low ceiling keeps things feeling really energetic and intimate. All in, it was a fantastic way to end the 2011 season. Here are some of my favourites from the day, a selection I found particularly hard to whittle down!

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Image of the Week - Eye Line

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Today’s Image of the Week is from James & Jenny’s wedding at Loseley Park back in May 2011. Loseley is an absolutely stunning venue and the Great Hall is a particularly impressive room, steeped in heritage. It’s amazing to look at with the human eye, but it’s a challenging room to shoot in because it’s tremendously busy. It’s covered in paintings, ornaments, suits of armour and the walls themselves are a real mixture, featuring hard wood, stone and a variety of paint styles. In a room with these characteristics, finding a clean background isn’t possible, and so composition becomes especially important. Finding a strong composition helps focus the viewer’s eye and allows the subject to overpower distractions such as a cluttered background.

James was one of the most heartfelt Groom’s I’ve photographed and was pretty choked up as Jenny walked down the aisle. He held it together like a trooper, but the emotion was plain to see. I always try and be efficient with my movement during a wedding ceremony, limiting it to that which is absolutely necessary. As such, in some wedding venues, I stay put for most of the ceremony; selecting my spot based on a combination of factors including light, angle of view and scope for variety. As Jenny made her entrance, I’d decided that a shot I particularly wanted was her arrival at the end of the aisle and the connection that would pass between Bride and Groom as James first clapped eyes on his lovely wife to be. The anticipation was palpable, emotion running high and I wanted to show the electricity in that moment.

I shoot with my right eye to the viewfinder and this allows me to open my left eye and see the scene outside the frame. I don’t always shoot this way, preferring to switch between ‘off eye’ open and closed, but in this instance I opened my left eye just prior to Jenny reaching the end of the aisle. I’d been centrally composed on James, but seeing the entire front row craning round for a look, I locked my focus on James’ face and recomposed to include the full complement of ushers and onlookers in the front row. The 5DII is a tremendous camera, but it’s off-centre focus points are not one of it’s strengths. While I might rely on them in bright sunshine, I tend to avoid using them for critical indoor images like this as I find them hugely unreliable. Because of this, I prefer to focus recompose when possible, particularly when I’m in AI Servo mode - as I am for the majority of a wedding day.

When it came to post processing, the main thing was to crop the image down to a pano to further accentuate the linear effect of the turned heads. The black and white treatment is one of my standard b&w presets, tweaked as usual to best suit the image. The b&w helps to further simplify the scene, bringing the faces to greater prominence and stripping away the distraction of an extremely colour diverse frame.

For the photographers amongst you, the image was shot on the 5DII with the 35L @ f/2.8 1/1000th ISO3200. I could have got down to ISO1600 perfectly happily, but the aisle had been shot moments prior and was substantially darker than this scene which was relatively well lit by a high window to the rear right of camera.

It’s one of my favourite images from the day, I hope you enjoyed the story behind it.

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Image of the Week - Light & Composition

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The last couple of weeks have been pretty hectic with consultations and wedding fairs, hence the delay in posting an IotW. I’ll try and post a second IotW later this week to get us back on track.

It’s sometimes hard, and often counterproductive, to condense the tenets of good photography. Nonetheless, over the past five years I’ve been trying to do just that. Perhaps a better way to describe it is an effort to roughly rank the varied, and sometimes competing, elements that are present in great images. What’s more important, timing or posing, DOF or composition? On one level, these are complete unanswerables, often moot and hugely dependent on mood, intent and subject. Nevertheless, I find the ability to offer some loose ‘sovereignty’ to one area of photography over another can be helpful in knowing where to begin. It helps bring order to the thought process. It’s a bit like getting into a suit. It doesn’t really matter whether shirt or trousers go on first, but if you do up the trousers before you put on the shirt, you’re going to have to undo the trousers to tuck in the shirt. Yet somethings remain pretty fixed. For example, Pants after trousers doesn’t work unless your name is Clark Kent.

It’s taken a long time to hone in on any sort of maxim that holds together, but in the last two years I think I’ve got there. Photography is such an opinion driven subject that an all-encompassing edict is impossible, so unsurprisingly what I’ve settled on is narrow in its scope. Nonetheless, I think it’s useful.

Outstanding photography begins with two simple elements: great light and great composition. If you combine these two elements and forget the rest, I’d argue that you won’t go far wrong. Light is the magic element in photography but its texture, colour and consistency varies immensely. Great light brings great drama. Composition on the other hand is the photographer’s primary art and what separates us from someone who simply points a camera.

For an Image of the Week post it may seem like I’ve spent a long time talking about something other than the picture at hand but, to be honest, everything I said above is condensed in this week’s photograph. Great light and composition are the making of this picture. It was shot at Hampton Court House during Emma & Justin’s wedding last August. It was shot at about 7pm, just as the ‘golden hour’ was starting. The golden hour is a term that refers to the hour or so prior to sunset when natural light’s colour temperature warms and, when the sun is out, goes golden. It’s a fantastic time to shoot as the light is less stark than when the sun is high in the sky and the colour brings life to an image.

These two little flower girls were absolutely adorable however all the being good had rather taken it’s toll! The Guests were finishing their meal and so when the opportunity to play outside presented itself it was far too good to resist. Hampton Court House is a bit like the book Watership Down - bunnies are EVERYWHERE. The gardens are literally awash with them and they hang about until you get very close indeed. This shot was after a couple of informal group photos with the girl’s parents and with the light so lovely and the bunnies in the background it was simply a matter of arranging the elements in a workable composition. I placed a bunny between the girls to give the sense that they were looking right at it and made sure not to disturb them. I wanted to bring an undisturbed quality to the picture.

A great image is often a simple image and frankly, the light and composition are all that this image required. It’s one of my favourites from the day because when I look at it, I literally feel the warmth of the sun on my skin and find the sense of peace and tranquility is palpable. I hope you enjoy it also.

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Image of the Week - Wave!

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This is the second instalment in the on-going image of the week series. Zoë & Ben’s wedding was back in June 2011 and was one of my favourites from last year. After getting married in St James’ Church in Elstead, the plan was for Ben and Zoë to lead a convoy of cars the short distance back to Zoë’s parent’s gorgeous home for the wedding reception. The distance was pretty short, so a convoy seemed totally plausible, and they had just the car for the job. Ben’s Mum owns a gorgeous vintage Morris - my research suggests it’s a Model 8 Series II - and thanks to a family friend it had been lovingly restored for their wedding day. Trust me when I say, this car oozed style.

When Zoë first explained the plan for this part of the day, along with thinking how fun it’d be, I really wanted to try and capture it in an evocative, motion filled shot. A convoy is all about movement and Elstead is a lovely picturesque spot. I know it relatively well as we go for the occasional chinese there and I drive through it quite often on the way to my girlfriend’s sister-in-law. There’s a great narrow bridge where the road out of the village crosses the river and it’s surrounded by all manner of rich vegetation and leafy trees. The shot I had in mind included the speeding Morris, an excited couple, a road stretching out behind and a sense of motion.

One of the parts of a wedding day that I worry about most are the logistics. I’m constantly anxious about uncontrollable elements such as traffic jams, parking spots and breakdowns. Thankfully, in Elstead, I didn’t have to worry too much about traffic and I drive a new reliable car. Nonetheless it’s a small village and finding convenient places to leave your car can be tricky. When considering this shot my main concern was getting from the church to the end of the bridge - where I wanted to shoot the picture from - in time. The post ceremony period of a wedding is normally a pretty excited, fast flowing affair and I didn’t want to miss it to get in position for the convoy shot. That said, getting into and out of a car, while carrying two cameras and a bunch of lenses takes a small, but not insignificant period of time. To this end, I figured it’d be quicker to walk from the church to the photo spot rather than get in the car, drive the short distance, park, get out and then walk to the exact spot.

This plan would have been ideal save for one mistake. I seriously underestimated how far it was on foot! What I thought would be a 3 minute walk was more like a 10 minute jog! As I walked and realised that the bridge was further than I’d imagine, I decided that missing this shot was simply not something I was going to let happen. As such I broke into a camera laden jog. Fine over 10 or even 50m but over the 700 odd, that Google Earth informs me it was, distinctly less so. The entire time I feared the sight of a Morris racing past or the sound of a vital piece of camera equipment detaching itself and bouncing loose. Luckily the gods were good and neither occurred. I arrived with no sign of Morris in sight.

I found my spot, which I’d scouted in a previous recce (though not the route march to it!) and selected my 17-40L. I wanted a wide angle to show the road stretching away behind Ben & Zoë and intended to wait till the car was as close to me as possible before pulling the trigger. As my breathing and heart-rate normalised, I stood and waited. And waited. And waited. I begun to worry that in my focussed, head down run I’d missed my targets as they’d gone sailing by. Considering this I came to the conclusion that it was highly improbable and that they were probably behind me. After a few more minutes and following a few false alarms, the distinctive maroon nose of the Morris appeared, horns tooting, bouquets waving.

I love Canon’s 5DII dearly, it is my favourite camera and arguably the best camera body I’ve ever used. I’ve used the layout for such a long time that I find it extremely instinctive. Nonetheless, it has it’s weaknesses and frame rate is one of them. Even at a relatively slow 30mph, through a wide angle lens like the 17-40L the car starts very large and then becomes very big very quick. I didn’t want the Morris too deep in the frame but neither did I want to catch only half of it. With only 3fps or so, I couldn’t afford to machine gun the shutter and so it came down to timing the composition. Thankfully I got lucky and as promised Zoë was whisked past waving like her life depended on it. The delay, it turned out, had been due to the
difficulties assembling a multi-car convoy in the confines of a small village green. Understandable really!

I was pretty pleased with the way the image turned out, it included all the elements I’d hoped for, had been considered but not staged and the fun and excitement of the moment shines through. I shot the image on a 5DII using a 17-40L wide open at f/4 with a shutter speed of 1/320th, ISO 200. I wanted a touch of motion blur, hence the choice of shutter speed and I panned with the Morris as it sped past. The 5DII gets a bad rep as far as AF goes and I’d love to see it improved in a forthcoming replacement (please Canon) but it does a decent job and hung on during this fairly difficult scenario of closing speeds, panning, busy scene and shifting light.

I’ll be back next week with another Image of the Week, if you’d like to see more of my work, then please take a moment to view my portfolio.

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Image of the Week - Castle Steps

I’ve been meaning for some time to start an ‘image of the week’ feature focusing on some of my favourite images. The idea is fairly straightforward, spotlight an interesting image and discuss it. That’s pretty much the gist of it, nothing too labourious or long-winded. Hopefully it’ll be of interest to both prospective couples and photographers alike. I’m sure the frequency will vary somewhat, sometimes becoming fortnightly or monthly and at other times being every few days. Nonetheless, I’ll call it image of the week for simplicity’s sake. To get us underway, I thought we’d start with the image below:

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This was one of my favourite images from 2011 and is from Lucy & Ollie’s wedding at Gorey Castle in Jersey. Mont Orgueil, to give the castle its formal title, is a vast coastal fortress and the walk from bottom to top is considerable. Wedding day or not, the only way up is via the steps. I’d flown out to Jersey the day before the wedding to recce the locations and I’d really liked the look of the winding steps that linked the higher Grand Battery to the lower areas of the castle. On the day itself the majority of the guests made their way up to the Grand Battery for the drinks reception fairly promptly while Lucy & Ollie remained at the bottom for a few minutes.

This not only allowed me to race to the top but also allowed the stairway to clear of people. I positioned myself towards the landward edge of the Battery, which looks down onto the steps, and while keeping one eye on the stairway photographed the guests mingling and the band entertaining. When I spotted the Bride and Groom approaching I turned round and made sure they weren’t looking. The shot I had in mind was observational rather than interactional and what I envisaged was a birds-eye view without direct eye contact. The edge of the Grand Battery overlooking the steps has a low wall. I’m quite tall, but it was certainly beneath waist height for me. I’d pre-framed the image and found that I wanted as wide an angle as possible to include as much of the sweeping, curving steps as possible. However, to get the angle just so and to include as little of the wall closest to me as possible at the bottom of the frame I found I had to lean out a fair bit! With the low wall and the issues with framing, I found myself adopting a rather unusual, somewhat hilarious, semi squatting, semi spread-eagle position as I effectively gripped (read ‘humped’) the curved wall in front of me with my legs and knees. Thankfully guests were too absorbed in having a good time to notice…

The frame was shot on the Canon 5DII with a 17-40L at 17mm. I wanted to include a reasonable amount of detail in the rising walls so I shot the image at f/5.6. Although they didn’t spot me, Lucy & Ollie had the good form to walk hand in hand, in a perfectly centred spot midway between the two walls. As I saw the Bridesmaids following on behind I chose to wait until they entered the frame. The distance between the two pairs was simply good fortune but made for a nice balance to the frame. The final timing of the shot came down to two things, firstly gait - timing the shot such that the Bride & Groom were in a nice spot in their step pattern - and the unknown quality that may or may not appear. As luck had it, just as I pressed the shutter, Lucy held her bouquet out the side as she linked arms with Ollie. It’d have been a nice shot without this, but the action adds a certain quality, both in isolating the bouquet and emphasising the couple.

I’m predominantly a fan of this shot for its composition. I love the snaking line of the steps, the separation of Bride & Groom and the bridesmaids, their central placement on the walkway and the texture of the stone. It’s always satisfying to see an image ahead of time and then for it to come together in the camera. Planning played a part, but luck was a massive factor too, both in terms of the timing and in the placement of the subjects. I could have staged it, but that’d have run counter to both my nature and detrimental to the ‘truth’ of the image.

If you’d like to see a larger version of the image it’s currently featured in the initial slideshow that visitors can find on my website homepage.

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Dan & Nicole: Noir Collection - Fentafriddle, Cornwall

I’ve been meaning to post this for a while.

This was a very special wedding for me. Dan and Nicole are great friends of mine and two of the loveliest people you could ever hope to meet. Dan’s a superb sculptor, artist and cracking photographer while Nicole’s an illustrator of rare quality. These are artistically gifted people. Dan’s brother Fred is no slouch either - he’s an astonishingly good film maker. You may have seen his black and white Take That Reunion documentary “Look Back Don’t Stare”. He’s not half bad with stills either. Understatemento.

Given all this, I was chuffed to bits when Dan & Nicole asked me to photograph their wedding. They knew what they wanted from their pictures, and run-of-the-mill it was not. The clarity of vision was so refreshing. After discussing the style they wanted in their pictures, I was given a huge amount of freedom to shoot what I saw fit. I was aiming for a tight, observational, quirky, humour-filled, photojournalistic set.

The initial plan was to shoot the entire wedding in black and white. An October day in coastal Cornwall contained the possibility of quite awful weather and grey and more grey was what I’d envisioned. However, come the day itself, it was sunny, dry and very very warm! Cornwall in the sunshine is a riot of colour so after much thought I decided that the best approach was two distinct edits. The original concise b/w set - the Noir Collection - and a second cut, including colour - the Colour Classic Collection - with a more conventional treatment. Below are excerpts from the Noir Collection. I’ll post some favourites from the Colour Classic in due course.

Dan & Nicole’s wedding was my idea of how a wedding should be photographed. The focus was on friends, family, the day and the celebration. The photography happened, but it wasn’t the ‘event’. The wedding was allowed to be itself. Dan’s parents own the highly wonderful Fentafriddle near Tintagel and after a service at St Michael, Porthilly we all made our way back there for the reception. It’s three months on and the hairs on the back of my neck still stand up when I think about photographing this wedding. It was brill. Thanks to Dan & Nicole for letting my photograph such a particularly awesome day.

For the photographers amongst you, these images were shot on a Canon 5DII, a Canon A1 and a Fuji X100. I used a 35L and 135L on the 5DII, and a 35mm and 24mm on the A1. The film stock was a mix of Tri-X 400/100 and T-Max P3200.

Here are a selection of my favourites from the day, I hope you enjoy.


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Featured on Style Your Wedding

Style Your Wedding is a newly-founded wedding blog from a lovely lady called Dina Mystris. Dina is getting married in 2012 and in getting stuck into the complexities of planning a wedding she found the possibilities, options and sheer range of suppliers both wonderful and astonishing. Thanks to the internet and awesome blogs like Rock ’n Roll Bride and OMG I’m Getting Married Dina began to find the wedding peeps that really spoke to her and the abundance of possibilities started to feel more like a playground, less like a tidal wave! This was her inspiration to start Style Your Wedding, which, she describes as “a way of sharing some of  the things I come across in my wedding journey”. Sounds like a good plan to me!

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While I am not Dina’s wedding photographer - she’s chosen a great guy called Gary Lashmar - she asked whether she could feature me on Style Your Wedding. I was happy to oblige and the feature went live the other day. It includes an interview in which I discuss how I became a photographer, my style, the highlights of my job and some words of advice to those on the hunt for their own wedding photographer. There is also a selection of shots from my wedding portfolio and a couple of non-wedding related images. If you’re interested in reading a little more about me and my photography, head on over to the article at Style Your Wedding.

Many thanks to Dina for inviting me to be featured on Style Your Wedding, it’s turning into a great blog - well worth a visit. I’d like to wish her the best for her own wedding, I look forward to seeing the pictures!

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Emma & Justin - Hampton Court House

Emma & Justin were married at Teddington Parish Church prior to their wedding reception at Hampton Court House. They’ve been one of my favourite couples this year, great fun, incredibly lovely people and both members of the warmest, most welcoming families I’ve met for a long time.

Justin is American and a Michelin-starred chef. Despite the haut-cusine, Emma has my sympathy. If organising a wedding isn’t stressful enough, an American fiancé entails the need for the mind-bogglingly complex and highly stringent “Marriage Entry Clearance” - the requirements are simply astounding. Given these dual stresses, Justin must have been terrified of the ire of his future wife when he decided to fall of his motorbike a few months prior to the wedding! All joking aside, it was great to see Justin whole and healthy come the wedding day. It must have been an extremely anxious time for all involved so well done to Justin for doing his bit and making a good recovery!

This was the second time I’d shot at Hampton Court House and it really is a wonderful venue. Let me list some of the reasons I love it so much:

- It has a huge garden that includes two amazing ‘grottos’ and more wild bunnies than Watership Down. The place is overrun (in a good way) and they’re all incredibly bold.

- The interior is superb. The main hall complete with minstrel gallery, a huge red dining room and a conservatory/orangery that is probably my favourite place to shoot dancing anywhere.

- It sits alongside Bushy Park which, as you will see, has it’s own particular benefits!

The day was a huge success and the weather kind once again. Every wedding day is different from the last and although photojournalism is my bread and butter, in the evening, I like to sneak off with bride and groom for 20 or 30 mins and shoot some portraits. I always have my own personal favourite elements from the day and photographing Emma & Justin in Bushy Park’s evening light with an honour guard of red deer made for a particular highlight!

Emma & Justin’s wonderful flowers were done by Steph Turpin of Fairy Nuff Flowers. Steph is one of my twitter amigos and, if you are social media inclined, she is well worth a follow. Her username is @fairynuffflower.

As always these are a selection of my favourites, thanks to Justin & Emma, the UK Border Agency and the red deer!


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Rachel & Stewart - Dulwich Picture Gallery

Shooting in unique locations is one of the highlights of my job. There are literally thousands of wedding venues about these days and, with that in mind, it’s a shame that there are so many identifit locations. That said, with a bit of hunting there are plenty of genuinely distinct, characterful venues that completely buck this trend. Rachel & Stewart were married at Dulwich Picture Gallery in London, one of the most individual and interesting locations I’ve shot this year. With Van Gogh’s famous self-portrait hanging in the ‘Masterpieces of the Month’ loan-exhibit at the far end of the gallery, and special instructions not to photograph ‘him’ the sense of history was something else. Aside from Vincent, the vast riches on the gallery walls were free reign and made for - without doubt - the most outstanding wedding breakfast setting I’ve yet to encounter.

The wedding morning was a taxi-fest of epic proportions. With Rachel in one flat, Stewart in another, parking always dubious and a hairdressers and pub to also visit prior to the commencement of ‘events formal’, I felt a bit like David Cameron on a busy day. It was actually immensely good fun and made for an interesting dynamic because I didn’t spend long in any one place.

Rachel & Stew were incredibly good fun and great to work with. A race to the cake (and then back again) ought to be compulsory at every wedding! Amongst heartfelt speeches, Stewart’s was particularly poignant and after some very powerful words and not a dry eye in the house the tears were stowed and some exceedingly funky dance moves showcased. Thanks so much for letting me shoot your wedding (and for picking such an excellent venue), it was a blast!

My thanks also to Lucy at the Picture Gallery and the Rod the custodian for being incredible warm and helpful.

As always, below are a selection of my personal favourites.


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Lucy & Kel - Stoke Charity

Lucy & Kel live in New Zealand and therefore arranging the details of their wedding photography presented it’s own unique challenges. I met Lucy only once prior to the wedding day and didn’t get an opportunity to meet Kel until the day itself! Normally I’m insistent upon both meeting Bride and Groom ahead of the wedding day and on having an initial and a pre-wedding consultation. In this instance it just wasn’t possible and without a flight to NZ (which seemed a touch excessive) it wasn’t going to happen. Nevertheless it was a great day to shoot and things ran very smoothly.

Lucy’s aunt owns a lovely house in the gorgeous village of Stoke Charity, near WInchester. The village church of St Mary & St Michael is just a stone’s throw away. A more convenient and quintessentially English setting for a wedding you’d be hard pressed to find. St Mary & St Michael is not the biggest church by any stretch of the imagination and, when packed with guests, the pews were jam-packed as were most of the aisles with additional chairs. I tend not to move a huge amount during church anyway, but I simply didn’t have the option in this case!

I photographed the day from the watching of home movies in the morning through until the close of celebrations in the evening, as the dancing wound up. After speeches, Lucy & Kel’s guests lit chinese lanterns. These are a reasonably familiar sight at weddings these days, but they also had a huge bonfire, an event that I’ve not seen at a wedding before and a great incentive to stay outdoors as the evening turned chillier! The 14yo pyromaniac in me enjoyed it immensely!

Many thanks to Lucy & Kel and all their family, friends and guests for being such fun. Now then, how about some pictures?!*

*Of late, my wedding write-ups have been getting longer and longer. I’m going to reverse that trend as I’d like the images to do most of the talking!

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Emma & Richard - Gorcott Hall, Warwickshire

Richard & Emma were married at Holy Trinity R.C. in Sutton Coldfield with their reception at Gorcott Hall, a charming (and rather hard to find) Tudor Country House. I really liked Emma and Richard, they are thoroughly kind, well-read/travelled, thoughtful people - very much my cup of tea - and being with them on their wedding day felt a lot like being with people I knew far better.

The day started at Gorcott Hall where Emma, her bridesmaids and much of the family (from both sides) were staying. Gorcott is an interesting venue. It’s a family home which once a month is vacated for the purposes of weddings. With a large kitchen and an excellent staff busily preparing breakfasts, the calibre of which cannot be truly appreciated on the nervous morning of a wedding, the sense of home away from home was disarming and delightful in equal measure. Once Emma was made up, hair-doed and into her gorgeous dress it was time for me to dash off to church. With Gorcott Hall to the south of Birmingham and the church to the North, I was somewhat concerned with the possibility of temperemental traffic causing a nuisance. Thankfully the roads played ball throughout the day.

Emma & Richard’s priest, Father Michael, wins the Tony Hart award for best character of 2011. Father Michael is of Vietnamese origin and his marriage service a sight to behold. He is a gifted public speaker and though he struggled with the pronunciation of Richard’s middle name I have rarely see a congregation so attentive and engaged. He’s also a genuinely lovely chap and it was a pleasure to photograph a wedding in his church.

Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches present uniquely different challenges. R.C. Churches tend to be larger, more recent and more structurally-open inside. Anglican Churches sometimes have more picturesque settings, but the R.C. Churches tend to be infinitely lighter and tend to allow for much better lines of sight. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy photographing weddings in Anglican Churches because I really do, but it’s a welcome change to have access to the more sympathetic angles that are so common in R.C. buildings. On arriving at the church, my first port of call was rigging a remote camera to get an elevated angle of the aisle from a location that I wouldn’t be able to access personally (and quietly) during the service itself. I place a lot of emphasis on discretion in church - the day is about the couple and not the photographer - and so being able to move noiselessly and reducing movement to a minimum is important.

Following Church it was back to Gorcott Hall for the wedding reception. As I mentioned before, Gorcott Hall is an easy place to miss. On my first recce earlier in the year it took me two sat-nav’s, a Google Map and about 20mins to find the place. It’s elusiveness lies in the placement of it’s entrance - directly off the latter stages of a slip road onto a fast dual-carriageway. While everyone else is busy speeding up, you’re trying to swing in Gorcott. Tucked away it may be, but the time you invested in finding the place is rewarded upon arrival. It’s a gorgeous house that feels roomy and large, but not excessively so. It has grandeur and homeliness in fine balance.

Emma & Richard’s reception had some great touches. Garden games in the form of croquet, giant jenga and giant connect four, a hog roast buffet for the evening and a very distinctive band who sported a singer with a truly amazing voice. I particularly enjoyed shooting the dancing at Emma & Richard’s wedding. The arrangement of band, dancefloor and the geometry of the room seemed to work well from a photographic point of view.

Anyway, enough chat, it’s time for some pictures. As usual a selection of my favourites from the day. Emma & Richard were particularly keen on having a larger percentage of colour images than I normally deliver. I believe I achieved this in the full edit, but the selection below seems to be about half and half. This, I think, says a lot about what I am personally drawn to! Many thanks to Emma & Richard for choosing me as their wedding photographer, I hope you enjoy the selection.


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Lucy & Ollie - Mont Orgueil Castle, Jersey

You may have seen my sneak peek from a few weeks back with a couple of images from Lucy & Ollie’s Wedding in Jersey. That post promised a fuller post, and much delayed, here it is.

Mont Orgueil, or Gorey Castle as it is know to the natives is one of the most fascinating wedding venues I’ve ever shot at. Any archeology geeks may have seen it on a recent BBC TimeTeam programme that aired earlier this year. Located on Jersey’s east coast the castle looks out towards France and has what may loosely be described as a ‘commanding’ position! It’s simply a highly impressive place to stage a wedding. With Lucy working in London and Ollie based in Jersey, the preparation and planning that went into their day was considerable. Nonetheless, cometh the hour, cometh the bride and of all the weddings I have shot this year, Lucy & Ollie’s sticks in the memory.

Jersey isn’t exactly the other side of the earth, but overseas weddings always bring with them a particular logistical challenge and it was interesting to see how this played out in Jersey. I hadn’t had any opportunity to scout the area before arriving but luckily the weather was fine and the beauty of the island made for a permanently stunning backdrop. The wedding was my first visit to the Channel Islands and I was curious as to what to expect. It took all of 24hrs to fall head over heels in love with Jersey. As someone who has only fleetingly seen the draw of big city life, the relaxed vibe and beautiful scenery ticked all the right boxes for me. It helped that the sun blazed and the wedding was extremely charming, but trust me, Jersey is worth a visit.

Lucy & Ollie’s day itself couldn’t have been better. The day prior it chucked it down all day and the wind on the castle was easily gale force. Luckily come the wedding day the skies cleared and the howling wind was replaced by a warm and gentle breeze. After a quick early morning recce thanks to my ace island guide in the form of Ollie’s father I met Lucy at Ollie’s flat for her bridal preparations. Her sister’s boyfriend Ryan is a chef but he could as easily be a florist. He spent the morning preparing the bouquets as if he’d been doing it for years.

Lucy & Ollie were married in St. Martin’s Parish Church which has a lovely long aisle and an excellent choir. One particular highlight of the day was the abundance of quality motor cars. Lucy was delivered to the church in a gorgeous red Morgan before being whisked away in an equally handsome blue one. In addition the bridesmaids arrived in considerable style by way of a huge vintage Cadillac. Following the ceremony we took the scenic route to the castle with Ollie’s brother and I leading the way in the ‘camera car’. Sitting on my knees on the passenger seat of a drop-top SLK, arms wrapped wrong the headrest for frankly quite minimal safety while shooting out the rear is certainly the most adventurous wedding photography experience of the year. Before setting off I asked Ollie what the Police were like in Jersey. “Relaxed” he assured me. “If it’s a Wedding, we’ll be fine”. Luckily we didn’t encounter any officers and therefore didn’t have to test his confidence in the local establishment…

The drinks reception was held on the castle’s Grand Battery, a huge open topped area with stunning views. Frankly, the whole thing was a photographer’s playground. My only disappointment was that I only got to shoot for one day! The wedding breakfast took place lower down the castle’s main structure with a surprise fireworks display to follow and as much riotous dancing as could be possibly wedged in.

This was one of those weddings where I truly sat back and said “Wow, I love my job”. Thanks to Ollie and Lucy for letting me shoot their wedding, it was an immense privilege, they were model clients and just a joy to work with. As ever, here are some of my own, personal favourites from one of my favourite weddings this year.


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Nicola & Tom - Hook House Hotel

Nikki was a bridesmaids at one of my early weddings, back in 2009. Thankfully I must have made a good impression as I was delighted to hear from her again late last year when she got in touch to enquire about the possibility of me photographing her marriage to Tom in July.

Nicola & Tom were married in the peaceful and secluded Dogmersfield Church nr Hook in Hampshire with a reception just round the corner at Hook House Hotel. It never ceases to amaze me just how many wedding venues there are in this neck of the woods. I’m familiar with many of the local venues, but Hook House was a new one for me. It’s a real gem, a classic Georgian building with extremely well manicured gardens.

The day had a couple of unusual and notable moments. Firstly, shortly after I’d arrived at the church, as the first guests were arriving, the RAF Red Arrows could be seen flying in the distance. Hook’s not far from RAF Odiham so my guess was that they were practicing their display in the vicinity of the airfield. A short while later, just as Nikki’s Bridesmaids were arriving we were treated to unusual occurrence number two. The church is situated next to a field which surrounds the driveway of the adjacent Dower House. The field had been recently mowed and there was a fair bit of dry cut grass sitting loose. Nikki and Tom were blessed with great weather, and the combination of warm, still air combined to form a brief, but rather impressive dust devil. It was genuinely one of the weirdest sights I’ve ever seen - like something out of The Wizard of Oz. At first my eyes couldn’t comprehend what I was seeing, but with Bridesmaids arriving in the opposite direction I didn’t have long to gawp. Nonetheless, amazing!

Finally, shortly after our arrival at Hook House Hotel, as if timed to the minute, the Red Arrows flew directly over the assembled wedding party and their guests. I went to school with one of the pilots, Red 5 Flt. Lt. Zane Sennett and I can vouch for the fact that a flypast like this, when arranged, costs a pretty penny. It was a superb sight, and lent a real buzz to what was already an amazing day.

My thanks to Nicola & Tom for being such a lovely couple to work with. Nikki had expressed some concern to me prior to the day that she was quite seriously camera shy. I assured her that she wouldn’t spend the whole day feeling like she was being photographed, and I hope that shows in the images. To my eye she was a natural in front of the camera and like most Brides spent the whole day smiling broadly! As ever, here are a selection of my favourites.


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Gabriella & Tone - A Garden Wedding

Gabriella & Tone were married a few weeks ago at Gabriella's parents stunning house nr. Henley. The wedding had the nicknames Glastonbury and Tent City due to the excellent marquee setup that had been prepared for the wedding. It was well needed too, as the weather on the day was extremely changeable! Nonetheless the wedding blessing was successfully completed before the heavens opened again and in the brief respite we were treated to some gorgeous light. Evening mood at it's best.

Gabriella has one of the most interesting faces of any bride I've ever photographed. She's beautiful and hugely expressive - a face which, alone, I could have photographed all day. Add to that two stunning bridesmaids in the form of Camilla and Nina and from a photographers point of view I was completely spoilt! Tone isn't too shabby either. He bears a striking resemblence to a famous rugby player. I spent ages trying to figure out who he remind me of, only to have this cleared up during the Best Man's speech. Clearly I wasn't the only one to spot the similarity - let me know if you can name his doppelgänger!

The ceremony was at 6 in the evening so there's quite a few shots from the gorgeous, leisurely, bridal preparations. These are a selection of my favourites, I hope you enjoy them.

















































































































































































































































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Lucy & Ollie - Jersey, A Sneak Peek

Lucy & Ollie's wedding in Jersey has been one of the highlights of my wedding calendar this year. I've been looking forward to the trip immensely. They were married this weekend just past and while I won't have the full edit ready for a little while yet, here's a quick sneak peek of a few images I liked on the first run through. I'll be posting a fuller selection in time.



















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Zoë & Ben - St James' Elstead

Zoë & Ben were married a couple of weeks ago in Elstead, Surrey. I seem to book a lot of work by recommendation these days and Zoë's bridesmaid Caroline was also the sister of, and bridesmaid for, Jenny whose wedding to James I photographed back in May.

Zoë & Ben's wedding was all about the fun. Zoë's parents have a gorgeous house in Elstead and having met Zoë & Ben there twice for our consultations I was pretty excited about the day as I saw all the preparations coming together. Zoë spent the morning at her parents house before heading off to St James' Elstead for a stylishly late arrival. We'd been worried all week about the weather but as she arrived at church looking truly stunning the clouds parted and the sun shone!

Wedding days mostly follow the same pattern but it's the small differences and details that really make each one personal and unique. From saying "I do" when you mean "I will" to a set of superb readings and a cameo of tremendous organ freestyling by the Best Man, Zoë & Ben's service flowed between the intimate, joyful and downright funny in all the right ways. I was sporting a massive grin throughout!

Following the service we headed back to the house in a convoy of cars back lead by Zoë & Ben in Ben's mum's recently refurbished, and achingly cool, open top Morris. I had a shot in mind of the Morris whizzing past me on the bridge out of Elstead. I got it, but I didn't bank on how far away the bridge was on foot. I figured it'd be quicker to walk it than load the car, drive down there, jump out and shoot the picture, so like a fool I decided to walk it. With only a couple of minutes headstart and realising it was more like a 10min walk than a 3min walk I decided it was time to break into a fast jog/run for fear of missing the shot. Clearly those days of my youth spent in the cadets saved me. Running while laden with two large cameras, lenses and a belt pack is remarkably similar to a tactical march with rifle and bergen! I apologise Elstead. The sweaty photographer of some weeks ago was I.

The run was worth it. Zoë & Ben came flying past, hooting and waving, the top down and rain nowhere to be seen!

The reception was held in a wonderfully decorated marquee at Zoë's parents. Zoë's mum Gillia did all the floristry - which looked superb - and the combined team effort that went into themeing and decorating the garden was fantastic. Zoë's dad and brother were putting the finishing touches on things when I arrived in the morning, but not a moment of panic or time pressure was evident and we arrived back to a seriously funky reception.

The evening was a complete blast. One of the best receptions I've ever shot. Amazing energy, fun, good times and love shared by all. As for the speeches, everyone killed it. In particular Best Man Dan produced a blinder with a speech so good I think he should start writing for the Queen at Christmas.

I know I've written a mini-essay here, apologies for that. It's really down to the fact that I simply loved this wedding. It's always nice to work with a couple who have a real vision for their pictures. It really helps when you know that you're on the same wavelength as your clients. Thank you to Zoë & Ben for letting me be a part of their day, for being truly welcoming and utterly game when it came to pictures. I immensely enjoyed myself and I hope you did too.

Below is an extended selection of my favourites. Enjoy!






























































































































































































































































































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Hannah & Oliver - St Matthias & Old Finsbury Town Hall

A few years ago I shot Jane & Simon's wedding. Jane went to Uni with Hannah and that's how I came to meet Hannah, by way of recommendation from Jane. I've never shot a wedding where church and home were so close together. Hannah got ready at her and Ol's flat in Stoke Newington. Their church was, quite literally less than a minute away. On foot. Awesome stuff.

St Matthias' is a lovely church to shoot in. Wide, open sight lines, plenty of light and a clergyman (Father David Lambert) who is very accommodating of photographers makes for a cushty shooting environment! The reception was at the Old Finsbury Town Hall on Rosebery Avenue. During the week, the OFTH is better known as the Urdang Academy, or simply 'The Urdang', a performing arts school. On my recce visit a few weeks prior to the wedding it was really interesting to see the academy in 'work mode'. The pupils were incredibly polite and friendly and clearly they do some stunning stuff there. As a wedding venue it's really unique. Grade II* Listed, the building is an unusual mix of architectural styles and flourishes. The brick structure is in the Free Flemish Renaissance style while in the porch and countless areas inside Art Nouveau touches abound. The Great Hall is one of the largest reception rooms I've ever shot in. When you're popping out a 300mm lens to shoot candids of the top table between courses, you know it's a big space!

Many thanks to Hannah and Oliver for being such great subjects and all of the wedding party and guests for being so welcoming. Here are a selection of my favourites from the day. For the 'togs out there, these images here were shot with a mix of 17-40L, 50 f/1.4, 35L and 135L lenses on 2x 5DII.


















































































































































































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Dan & Gemma - Hagley Hall

Dan and Gemma are old friends from Uni days. I knew Dan through my 2nd and 3rd year and only got to know Gemma briefly in the final term of our final year as 'Dan's new girlfriend'. Now, a number of years have past (too many to bear counting) and Dan's 'new girlfriend' is now his 'new wife'! In the early days of working as a wedding photojournalist many of my clients were friends and acquaintances. These days it's far less the case so it was particularly special to shoot the wedding of someone I know so well.

The day started with me covering Gemma's bridal preparations at her parent's home just down the road from the wedding venue, Hagley Hall. It was a really relaxed start to the day with loads of time to get ready, drink champagne, eat breakfast (note that the champagne came first!) and generally be in nothing even approaching a hurry. As you'll see from the images below it was a mirror-laden morning. I tend to prefer to let things follow their natural course with minimal intervention on my part and with mirrors left right and centre, many of my favourites seem to be reflection shots!

Hagley Hall is a large private house in the Palladian style and with the rather beautiful Hagley Church only a stone's throw away it's a really superb wedding venue. The state rooms are large and bright and the renovated downstairs area makes for a first class location for a proper party. The weather, though otherwise fine, was punctuated by some seriously strong winds. Despite wearing a veil, Gemma did an excellent job of controlling the situation!

Weddings can be nerve wracking times even for the most laid back of guys, but on arrival at the church I found Dan - always a man with a ready smile - on fine form. Gemma turned up in style, in her Father's Maybach. I nearly spat my breakfast when her Dad showed me round the car. I'll admit that I initially thought he was joking when he mentioned that this would be her mode of conveyance!

I've met some seriously lovely people so far this year, and at Dan & Gemma's the prize was a three-way tie between Gemma's two lovely bridesmaids Emma and Rosie and Dan's brother and best man Joe. Despite spending 3 years of Uni together I'd not met Joe prior to the wedding rehearsal. Joe should start running classes in 'Best-Manship' - he was that good. He was attentive to the needs of everyone on the day, delivered a fine speech and has the gift of being able to talk to just about anyone while putting them all that their ease in an instant. Cheers guys for being such a terrific wedding party.

I've shot wedding for people I know before, but rarely in front of so many friends that I know personally. It was an interesting proposition and one that, though by no means unpleasant, made me feel distinctly 'watched'. There's something very different about standing up in front of crowd you don't know and another where you've shared so much with so many faces. It was an intriguing experience!

Right, enough waffle from me. As ever, below are a selection of some of my favourites. Dan & Gem - thanks very much for letting me cover your day, I hope you're thrilled with the pictures!
























































































































































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Marianne & Mark - Odiham All Saints

I last shot at Odiham All Saints Church back in 2009 when I photographed the marriage of Andrew & Louise. Rev Gary Keith, the Vicar, made a real impression on me back then for being particularly welcoming and incredibly accommodating as far as photography goes. I like to be as discrete as possible in church, but it's also helpful if I can move in a quiet and relatively unrestricted manner. I don't move a lot and I don't get too close to the couple during the ceremony, but Gary's approach to photography is refreshing and I'm thankful for the trust he has placed in me on the two occasions I've photographed in his church. Cheers Gary!

Marianne and Mark were married at Odiham All Saints on 20th May. The extreme wind of recent weeks was relenting on the day and the weather played nice. Following the ceremony we headed 3 mins down the road to Marianne's Matron of Honour's stunning house. As an avid rider, Claire has lots of land and the marquee and open space was the perfect setting for a warm spring wedding. Mark and Marianne are a brilliantly energetic couple (as the evening pictures show!) and shooting their day was a huge amount of fun. I'm particularly happy with the evening portrait set we shot. We were really pushed for light and ended up shooting just after sunset. Photographers go on and on about the 'golden hour' before sunset, but shooting after sunset (the 'blue hour' as a photographer friend of mine named it) was a real revelation. The light was soft and gentle and though a challenge for my equipment I'm really happy with the results! Twilight ftw!

As usual these are a selection of my favourites, starting with the morning coverage through until the end of a truly raucous party. Fully Funktional, the band on the night, were one of the best groups I've come across in my time, friendly, talented and with bags of musicianship. I highly recommend them. Anyway, without further ado, some pictures:









































































































































































































































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James & Jenny - Loseley Park

James & Jenny are friends of Corinne & Felipe whose wedding I shot back in 2009. They are a truly lovely couple and their day was a blast to photograph. Loseley Park is one of the closest wedding venues to me, yet somehow, I've managed to miss out on shooting there until now. Shooting at Loseley is like going and doing pictures at Pinewood studios, the variety of locations is superb! The house itself is stately and ornate with a magnificent Great Hall that has a brilliantly eccentric authenticity to it. The Walled Garden is one of the best kept gardens I've ever come across, and as a wedding photographer is simply overflowing with an abundance of possibilities. Finally, the Tithe Barn is refreshing in that it doesn't look identical to every other Tithe Barn's I've shot in!

This wedding was full of great moments and extremely emotional. A real heartburster - the love between these two was totally palpable! Jenny looked stunning in an extremely elegant dress with a long sash and was attended to admirably by Bridesmaid's Caroline and Chrissie. James and his Ushers looked equally dapper in really classy morning suits. I approve lads!

Jenny's father David was a particularly excellent host on the day (I seem to be having superb luck with Bride's Father's of late!) and worked tirelessly trying to offer me drinks and excuses to avoid my duties! Despite heavy rain forecast for the following day we got really lucky and had fine weather throughout. Thank you to James and Jenny for being such a terrific couple, a pleasure to photograph and for allowing me to share in their day.

As ever, these are a selection of my favourites. For the 'togs amongst you these were shot on two 5DII's with a mix of 35L, 135L and 17-40L lenses. I also used a 50D as a remote camera.

P.S. Thanks to Corinne for making the downright moreish Macarons!






























































































































































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Danielle & Rick - A Wedding Celebration Sneak Peek!

Last year I ran a competition in which the winners would receive wedding coverage of their day, free of charge, from yours truly. Danielle & Rick were those lucky winners. Dan & Rick were married in Sri Lanka in April and unfortunately the prize didn't include overseas coverage. More's the pity for me as I didn't get to enjoy the stunning scenery and warm sunshine!

On their return Danielle & Rick planned a wedding celebration party at the Hadlow Manor Hotel near Tonbridge for everyone who couldn't make it out to Sri Lanka. I was lucky enough to shoot the party yesterday evening, and had a blast doing so. Wedding celebrations/parties are always slightly different to shoot than a standard wedding. It's hard to put my finger on exactly how they differ, but there's subtle difference beyond the obvious lack of a marriage ceremony. More laughter, less tension/anticipation and a slight change in general mood. It's interesting.

Danielle & Rick were awesome and I couldn't have been luckier, they were both lovely and their families likewise. A warmer, more welcoming set of people you'd be hard pushed to meet. The whole thing was extreme fun times! Anyway, time for some images, below you'll find a selection of some personal favourites from the evening.

Photographers P.S. One of these is shot with the X100. Can you tell which without checking the EXIF?

















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The Wedding of Michelle & David

Michelle & David were married at St. Leonard's in Chelsham last weekend. St. Leonard's is one of the prettiest churches I've ever photographed and Michelle and David were extra lucky with what turned out to be quite charming weather. The reception followed at Woldingham Golf Club, 5 minutes down the road. The day was a massive bundle of fun and positive emotion and photographing it was a blast. The below are some of my personal favourite images.

It's worth mentioning that, I've shot at a number of golf clubs in my time, and I've not always been impressed with the staff and general approach to weddings. The staff at Woldingham however were awesome. My thanks to Angie in the weeks beforehand and Jan on the day. Extremely helpful people who are a real asset to the course. Thanks guys.








































































































































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Michelle & Dave - A Sneak Peak

The wedding season is upon us and things are starting to get busy in that regard. These are a couple of sneak peaks from Michelle & Dave's wedding which took place last Saturday. A really lovely couple, I'll be posting a fuller set on the blog in the coming weeks.










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New Year's Promotion


Happy New Year! Welcome 2011! I hope you all had an exceptional 2010 and a really wonderful Christmas.

To usher in the New Year, I'll be running a promotion offering a 10% discount for any wedding coverage booked during January 2011. The rules are simple - if you book between January 1st and January 31st I'll offer you a 10% discount on either my Classic or Premier coverage packages. The promotion is valid for weddings on any future date as long as the booking is made during January 2011.

So, if you're on the search for a wedding photographer, please take a moment to view my portfolio and consider making an enquiry. If you're within an hour and half of Camberley, Surrey, I'm always happy to drive out to visit you. Initial consultations are always free and there's never any pressure or obligation. They tend to be a good opportunity to discuss things in greater detail, for you to view some sample albums, and to ask any outstanding questions.


The January Promotion makes my Classic Coverage £855, (a saving of £95) while the Premier Coverage is only £1080, (a saving of £120). If you'd like further information, then visit my contact page to make an enquiry. I'll be happy to reply with my PDF wedding brochure and answer any questions you may have.

All the best and have an absolutely fabulous 2011, I hope the headaches aren't too bad today!

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Recent Testimonials

I'm working on updating my website and wanted to share some of my best Testimonials from 2010 with you before we move on to 2011:

"Have I mentioned I bloody LOVE them??? Good. I LOVE THEM!!! You are so talented. Thank you so much. You worked so hard, and we really appreciate it! We'll be recommending you to everyone we know."
Beth Gorman

"We just wanted to send a quick e-mail now to say that we're absolutely bloody delighted with these photos. You've captured some fabulous moments and brought an amazing day back to life for us. Thanks."
Dave Gorman

"We just wanted to say a HUGE thank you for the amazing photographs.... We’ve been looking at them all weekend and absolutely love them. You’ve done an amazing job and everyone we’ve spoken to has commented on not only what a massively talented photographer you are but also what a lovely guy you were and how unobtrusive you were through the day! We didn’t even notice you most of the time (in the nicest possible way!) yet you have some incredible shots. The church photo’s are stunning, I cannot tell you how much we love them. It was also brilliant that you stayed right until the end of the night, some of the party photo’s bring back instant memories of the day so thank you for putting the hours in!"
Peter & Kayla

"We just got back today - wonderful time, but completely exhausted - just had to look at the photos before we give in to the tiredness... and they are absolutely fantastic!! Thank you so much! You've captured so many of those tiny special moments which I had forgotten about, but which are just wonderful to see again! We love the ones of the little ones (Samuel and Mia), all the family shots of everyone enjoying themselves - and the photos of the church are amazing too - the sky looks amazing!!"

Caroline & Darren

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Rob & Alanna's Wedding - Farnham Baptist Church & Alton House Hotel

Rob & Alanna's wedding was my last of the season and despite the oncoming winter and the obvious chill in the air, the weather was gorgeous and bright. Rob & Alanna are members of the same church as Penny & Al whose wedding I photographed a few years ago. Alanna's been suffering from M.E. but you wouldn't have guessed it on the day as she was a picture of warmth, elegance, energy and joy. Rob & Alanna's wedding service was slightly longer than most that I cover which was a real treat. Often the ceremony is over in a flash and the additional time made it feel poignant yet relaxed.

My thanks as always to the couple, they were both brilliant people and Rob is the most organised groom I've worked with to date. He's a manager by day and his attention to detail was impressive to say the least! A particular note of credit to Rob & Alanna's magician Will McDermid. He was brilliant and his manner impeccable. Anyway, on to the pictures. As always, here are some of my favourites:





















































































































































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Lisa & Luke's Wedding - Guildford, Surrey

Lisa & Luke's wedding was a lovely low-key affair that occured last Friday at Guildford Registry Office. It was the smallest wedding I'm covering this year and by far and away the wettest. It was a really intimate day with less than 30 guests and despite the weather everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves. Lisa & Luke's friends and family had real game as well - nothing but unbridled positivity about the photographs despite being such a wet day - they were impressively unfazed by it all.

Just to give you an idea of how wet it really was - I came inside after shooting pictures at the castle and my fingers had gone all pruney. Like when you spend too long in the bath. Also, despite using rain covers, one of my Canon 5D Mark II's started misbehaving due to moisture. Folks, it was a deluge! Nonetheless I think we got some good images, particularly as we braved the rain at Guildford Castle. These are some of my personal favourites.























































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Peter & Kayla - All Saints, Binfield & Stirrups Country House Hotel

The first thing I did after arriving at Kayla's folks house on the morning of her wedding was to detach their curtain pole from the wall. Oops. In my defence, I did test it, it felt perfectly secure and everyone assured me it'd be fine to hang the dress from. Double oops. Luckily we got the one hiccough out of the way first thing and the rest of the day was superb. My apologies to Kayla's parents for the curtain pole incident, thank you for taking such wanton destruction so graciously! Hopefully the wedding images will pay my penance.

The day was gorgeous weather wise - one of the best this year and it was unseasonably warm for much of the day. Kayla and Pete are an absolutely lovely couple and their guests really knew how to party. A special shout out to the chap in the waistcoat who was busting the most incredible dancefloor moves all night. You sir, have my respect.





































































































































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Debbie & Graeme - St Nicolas, Cranleigh & Wildwood Country Club

Debbie and Graeme were married at St. Nicolas church in Cranleigh with a wedding reception following at Wildwood Golf and Country Club in Alfold. I have a particular history with Cranleigh, and this church in particular, because as a boy I went to school in the village and sang as a chorister in the church. I hadn't been back since, and I was surprised at how beautiful the church is. Clearly as a young teenager I wasn't paying nearly enough attention. It's a perfect setting. The church hadn't changed and it was good to see the Rector hadn't either. Rev'd Canon Nigel Nicholson was still there, and as far as I could tell, hadn't aged a day. Things were quite strict during the service so angles were somewhat limited. This is always a bit of a shame as I place a real importance on discretion yet it's not entirely in-understandable given the very distracting approach I've seen from some photographers.

The whole day was very touching. Debbie and Graeme are such a genuine couple and I loved their down to earth nature and friendly approachability. It was good fun from beginning to end. Thanks also to their guests who were hilarious and great to chat too in equal measure. Good times.

For the camera geeks, these images were shot mostly on the 5DII with a few on the 50D using Canon 50mm f/1.4, 135L and 17-40L lenses. As always, here's a selection of my favourites:




































































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The Wedding of Alice & Paul

Paul & Alice got married on a typically rainy August day! The settings were beautiful and when the sun did come out from behind the clouds it made for some really dramatic imagery. The day started at St Mary's Church in Ashampstead before moving on to Mapledurham house for the wedding reception.

Paul has a share in an aerobatic biplane and his friend Simon flew his own aircraft, the stunning Extra 300, for a jaw-dropping aerial display. The weather also relented enough for the lighting and departure of chinese lanterns. This was a real highlight for me as a photographer and something I've been wanting to shoot for a while.






















































































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An Indian Wedding







































































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Paul & Alice - Sneak Peak

A quick preview of my most recent wedding. The rain lashed it down for much of the day but that didn't come between us having an amazing time and getting some great photos, especially when the sun popped out! Here's quick sample to whet your appetite!









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The Wedding of Caroline & Darren

Caroline & Darren were married last weekend at the gorgeous and very historic St Mary's, Oxted. The weather started out gorgeous and got progressively worse as the day went on, but thankfully that didn't interfere much with proceedings. The reception at Alexander House Hotel in Turners Hill was equally lovely. The hotel is set in gorgeous grounds and many thanks to the staff who were especially attentive and helpful! Huge thanks and congratulations to Caroline & Darren for letting me share their day, it was a pleasure to photograph.









































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Lydia & Nikos' Volcano Wedding - Thursley

Just over a week before our English country wedding in April 2010, a volcano erupted in Iceland, spewing volcanic ash in to the stratosphere. As a result, UK airspace and subsequently most of the European airspace, was closed to all air traffic. As days passed, it looked increasingly likely that my fiancé Nikos’ family would not make it to England from Greece, including his sister Kaliniki, a professional photographer in Athens, who was due to take all our pictures.

So, slightly desperately, I googled “Photographers, Guildford” expecting to have to call a huge list of people in order to find anyone that would be available, let alone someone I was happy to take our photographs.

I spied a name on the google-list that somehow appealed - Tony Hart. I called him without even looking at the pictures and, purely by chance, he was free. We chatted, we shared a few common views on how wedding shots should be taken and we agreed for him to come out and meet us. What serendipity! I then looked at the pictures and found that he was exactly what we were looking for - lots of simple, unposed shots, often in Black and White, which caught the moments of the day perfectly. They were taken candidly, and often without the subject knowing the photographer was there. I think it was fate!

And, happily ever after, the family did make it to the wedding, but I’m so glad we had Tony there, he was a consummate professional and his shots capture all the special moments of a happy day.

Shoes - from Pinet in Bond Street, London. A lucky find in the sales! Dress - Design by Jenny Packham, found in Clifton Brides in Bath. It was the first I picked out and the last I tried on. It was perfectly simple and so elegant. The silk chiffon moved so beautifully. Bridesmaids dresses - I suggested they stayed with my colour scheme of pale and bright pink and pale green but they chose their own dresses. I didn’t see them until the day. They both chose Coast, Daisy in dashing bright pink and Eleanor elegant in long pale pink.

Groom’s suit, shoes, shirt and tie - From Reiss, their cuts really suit Nikos’ build. I was there to give advice but in the end it was Nikos’ choice as to what he wanted to have. Good choice I think! He insisted on wearing stripy socks of blue, yellow, pink and white. Flowers - masterminded by my mother, I only stipulated the colours. She, along with two family friends did all the church displays which were in a soft, English country style. Bouquets, button holes and marquee flowers were done by florist Angela Weaver.

The wedding was held in St Michael and All Angels, Thursley, Surrey. My godfather Reverend Peter Muir conducted the ceremony. We then moved on to an English pub lunch in the Three Horsehoes, also in Thursley. The food was amazing, especially the spit roast beef! - Lydia Mina




















































































































































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Great Fosters Wedding - Ade & Sheila

Ade & Sheila got married recently at Great Fosters in Egham. They're an absolutely gorgeous couple, as you can see, but above all they're just lovely warm people. A hugely fun wedding filled to the brim with good moments.

As for Great Fosters, I'm a massive fan of the venue, both for it's intrinsic beauty and also for the quality of its staff. They seem to have a significant number of those rare individuals who are both consummate professionals and incredibly personable with it. My thanks to Jill and Martin for making my job easier and for being so helpful.







































































































































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