Real people, real moments, real stories; capturing life's most precious moments.

Welcome to my blog - hopefully I've updated it recently. If not, it's probably because I'm too busy - sorry!

8 ways to keep your smallest wedding guests entertained.

April 25, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Candid child photography at a wedding

The picture is mine, but the words have been taken from a blog written by The Tudor Barn, a beautiful wedding venue in Bucks. 

Every wedding has certain guests. There’s the portly uncle who struts around the dance floor like Patrick Swayze. The quiet ‘Goth’ cousin, sitting in the corner, who you only invited because your mum told you to. And the tipsy bridesmaid who has a little too much prosecco… at 9.30am.

But there’s one kind of guest who can make or break a wedding. The child. They can be either delightful or demonic. So how do you keep the kids engaged so that they don’t ruin your special day? Here are some ideas…

  1. Treasure hunt – The grounds are huge here at The Tudor Barn, Burnham. A treasure hunt will keep them occupied for a good hour or so as they follow the clues. Make sure everyone gets a prize too, so no tears.
  2. Goody bags – Get activity packs together to keep them busy at the table, including puzzles and colouring. Tailor them depending on their ages. But stick to crayons, not felt-tip pens. Many venues (including ours) don’t allow pens as they can damage the linen tablecloths.
  3. Disposable Camera I-Spy game – Give every kid a cheap disposable camera and a list of things to photograph. And off they go…
  4. Garden games – You can hire all kinds of games through The Tudor Barn. From giant Jenga and Connect 4, to crazy golf and table tennis. Guaranteed fun. Just ask us what’s available.
  5. Arts & Crafts table – Organise a table full of creative things to do. Beads, tubs of Lego, loom bands… Maybe get one of the older kids to oversee everything.
  6. Dance off – Set aside 10 minutes of your disco time for a kids dance competition. It’ll also wear the darling little cherubs out. Bonus.
  7. Face painter – Always popular with kids. You might get one or two grown ups having a go as well (like that tipsy bridesmaid we mentioned earlier).
  8. A big cage – Kids just love being confined to a cage in a soundproof room! (That’s a joke, of course. It doesn’t have to be soundproof!)

If you have a wedding to organise, I hope this has been helpful.

 


Family photography in the snow

March 20, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Don't you just love when it snows? That excited feeling waking up in the morning and knowing that it's snowed without looking outside, because of the special quietness after a snowfall.

I took my long 75-300 mm lens along with my sister and dog to try and get some real action shots. We chose a spot with lots of snow and a reasonable background and Jane started throwing snowballs at Dora the dog. It's much harder than it looks! I kept the aperture fairly small (f7.1) because I know from experience that I won't be able to get sharp images when the dog is moving so much. I put the camera on burst shooting to maximise my chances of getting a good shot, but then found that the focus point was sometimes moving on to the background. So I put the lens on manual focus which worked well, so long as Dora stayed roughly in the same plane. Here are a few of the images I got:

Dog catching snowballsAcrobatics in the snow dog trying to catch snowballsdog trying to catch snowballs   Playing with the dog in the snowPlaying with the dog in the snow

Running with the dog in the snowRunning with the dog in the snow

There was quite a bit of fiddling necessary in Lightroom afterwards as the contrast was huge with white snow and a dog that's nearly black! I lifted the shadows quite a bit, increased the clarity and warmed the images up a bit as it makes me feel better! I hope you like them.


Why I love this picture

March 01, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

A wedding couple sitting in front of a muralA wedding at The Vineyard Hotel and SpaA private moment This picture was taken in front of a wall mural at The Vineyard Hotel and Spa at Stockcross near Newbury. The mural depicts, as is written on the hotel website:

"Judgement of Paris

In 1976, in small room in a Paris hotel, a strange thing happened.

Something that changed a centuries-old status quo and rocked the 'civilised' world to it's roots.

A cataclysm, or a revolution, depending on your point of view.

In a blind tasting with some of the leading French wine aficionados of the day, Californian wines were chosen over France's very best. Big names were knocked right out of the park in a comprehensive whooping."

On first looking at the photo the background appears to be guests, with very strange expressions! I love the young couple's oblivion to their busy background - they only have eyes for each other.

There were many beautiful places inside and outside to take pictures of the bridal couple and I have many more favourites from this wedding!


Photographing the wedding ceremony

January 23, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

This is a difficult one to get right - the photographer/s need to be close enough to be able to see what is going on but far enough away not to impose on proceedings. I tend to come in with the bride and stay towards the back of the aisle to get full length shots of the couple and the room (be it a church or register office). 

shooting down the aisleshooting down the aisle

My assistant comes in with the groom and stays towards the front to get pictures from the other side. Sometimes these two angles line up brilliantly!

shooting from in frontshooting from in front

Simon has kept the depth of field small to let maximum light in, but you can still see the lovely expressions of the bride's family in the background.

From the back of the church I use my long length lens which is perfect for zooming in to get "closer" to the action.

zooming in the photograph the exchange of vowszooming in the photograph the exchange of vows

This church was a very colourful Catholic church on a hilltop town in Italy.

Civil wedding ceremonyCivil wedding ceremony

For smaller registry office weddings I don't bring an assistant along and try to be as discrete as possible by keeping back from the bride and groom but using my zoom lens again. 

Posed pictures are really nice to have, but I love capturing the emotions of the day through photographing not only the bride and groom, as above, but also family and guests sharing the celebrations with their loved ones. 

Tears are not always bad!Tears are not always bad!

Capturing the emotionCapturing the emotion

Tears are not always bad! 

Photographing the wedding ceremony is not always easy as we don't use flash, which would be far too intrusive. Instead we have to work with whatever light there is and make the most of it. 

shooting against the lightshooting against the light

Isn't it great to be able to document these amazing times in a person's life? I often have tears in my eyes, even when I've only met the couple once or twice! I feel very privileged to be a part of these days. 


What a difference the light makes

October 18, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Last Saturday I took some pictures of Mayella, who is in the process of building a new website for her healing business. The pictures had to be natural looking, show Mayella's spirit and sense of fun and also, of course, to make her look good! We went to Lacock as I know the good spots for background and light as I teach portrait photography there with Lacock Photography.

For this first picture I got Mayella to turn her face towards the light; the shading on her cheek gives good definition and helps to narrow the face. The shade of a tree takes away light from above. 

Portrait photographPortrait photograph

We then moved into the open and I put the sun behind Mayella. To give sparkle to her eyes I shot through a metallised reflector to light the face. 

Back lit portraitBack lit portrait

What a different shot! The light is softer and more even which is good for more mature subjects. The sun makes the hair appear white. The background is far enough way to make it appear soft and diffused. The reflector is an important part of getting the light right, but you could use anything that reflects light back into the face - even a white t-shirt on the photographer would help! 

For this next shot we walked down to the stream in Lacock and had a little play. Hands are often difficult to photograph well - what do you do with them?! Leaning against something helps, especially if your model also leans towards the camera which makes for a flattering picture. 

Relaxed style photographyRelaxed style photography

On our way back to the car we walked up an alleyway at the top of the village and stopped by the gate for a picture. The light here was good, but not quite where I wanted it, so I asked Mayella to look towards the light and laugh hysterically - it sounds ridiculous, but you have to wait until a natural laugh takes over - try it! I moved Mayella around  so the background bushes would frame her. The lighter background gives depth to the image. 

 

An example of narrow lightingAn example of narrow lighting We had a lot of fun taking these images, and many more, and Mayella loved Lacock, which she had never seen before. I look forward to seeing them on her new website.