It's amazing where time goes. I can't believe this wedding was way back in October. October is such an amazing time to get married - there's a lovely smell in the air, the air is crisp and the leaves are turning. Loved that Ben & Mel had orange feature in their wedding, something you don't see often and they did it so well.
So last August I shot a beautiful wedding, laced with amazing tones of yellow and a couple so in love they could do nothing but grin all day. When I arrived at their ceremony venue my jaw dropped, there's something about The Chantry that is just magical - it makes me want to just grab a backpack and head to New England and photograph little white wood chapels! I'm so lucky to be shooting again there next month but when I had an enquiry for another wedding there last week I went to point them at this post and actually found that although images were included in my end of year round up posts I never actually blogged this wedding which is a crime as it was beautiful!
So check out Emma and Rom's amazing humanist wedding at The Chantry with a reception at Emma's parents in Isfield, near Lewes. Romain is French so this wedding was a French/English fusion wedding and love that French men walk their Mum down the aisle before they get married!
I actually have no idea how to begin writing this post. I think I'll just start from the beginning!
So a bit of a back story about Sassy & Ian's wedding. Anyone who follows Rock'n'Roll Bride will have seen this cautionary post about having your photographer friend shoot your wedding. Wellll.. if you look at the photos below you might see someone familiar or two. Yes, Sassy and Ian were the couple in that post and the whole reason for them renewing their vows were because she wanted some kick ass photos to treasure forever. No pressure for Neil and I then!
So we all met at Heathrow airport and, me and Neil pulled up our flight socks, and we all hopped on a plane across the world! I have only ever travelled to Europe so flying this far was a pretty big deal to me and I was a bit weirded out watching the little inflight thing that tells you what countries you're flying over.
What followed was a couple of hazy, fun days with very little sleep in Bangkok. I think arriving at the roof top speak easy bar will be etched in my mind forever, it was definitely one of those moments when you just take a deep breath and realise something inside your heart has just been opened.
We then flew to Surat Thani to then get our connection to a boat which will whizz us across Chieow Laan Lake. Chieow Laan Lake was my kinda place - it was created to provide an ethical and sustainable source of energy when tourism in southern Thailand increased. I honestly felt like I had just arrived in paradise as we sat drinking a beer on that boat, driven by our super cute designated driver for the trip! We were also joined by our tour guide for the trip - a humorous and kindly soul who made our trip even more magical.
We arrived at our destination, some floating raft houses. Words can't describe this place - there's a few hours of electricity per day and the toilets are all ethical self flush type things. There's a small dining/cafe area where you can buy rum for peanuts and where people serve you banquets of amazing Thai food in abundance. You wake at 5am where you roll out of your bed into the massive expanse of warm limestone lake for a swim, and in mine and Chris's case, having a quick chat with the morning flurry of baboons.
You then board a boat where they give you wildlife tours and throughout the days, jungle treks and various exploring. We used all this time for the first few days to scope out where Sassy and Ian were going to say their vows and have photos.
Which brings me to the renewal itself. At 5am Chris and I sneaked into Sassy and Ian's room to catch them having their morning cuddle before we joined Neil by the lake for photos while the sun came up. In the days leading up we commented how the weather was perfect, hot but breezy and cloud passing. But on the morning of the renewal the sun pounded down.
Monks arrived for their Buddhist blessing and I'm going to let the images take over from here but before I do I want to say that in all my time shooting weddings I have never seen a love that touched me so much as Sassy & Ian's. I just about held it together for the reading (don't look up Emma, just don't look up) but lost it and blubbed my way through the rest of it. It was such a huge honour to be a part of something so amazing for such an incredible talent in the wedding industry and her wonderful hubby.
I also have to say what an immense pleasure it was working alongside Neil and Chris. Both are incredible, professional and wonderful people.
You can also see the official vid here. It's a corker!
Before Christmas I thought it was going to be so much easier to break my end of year posts up this year into a series of 12 days of Christmas posts. But then I saw wedding round ups by other photographers and realised I do actually need one of those for myself! I photographed more weddings than ever in 2013 and I really feel like I've grown as a photographer this year. A wedding round up is a perfect way to celebrate all the weddings I photographed in 2013 and I cannot wait to push myself further in 2014.
You can read my write up of the year here but I'm going to let the images tell the story of my year. Now, there are rather a few I'm afraid but it was so hard whittling it down. I worked it out as averaging around 3 per wedding - soooooo tough to choose!
For the wedding photographer among the readers of this post, I will be covering my shooting style and how I keep inspired in my Wedding Photography Bootcamp at Photography Farm week, check the details out here.
So I owed it to myself to do a reflective post this year. So as I sit here at my new desk space (no more working from home madness for me!) supping tea I've been compiling some of the things I've done this year and I'm somewhat shocked at what I've packed in this year.
As you may know, I've been summing up my weddings in a series of 12 Days of Christmas posts but I wanted to also reflect on the other achievements too.
This year has seen me doing a number of successful one to one sessions, I put my fear of public speaking aside and gave a couple of workshops for Photography Farm - which is such an honour. I've been to the French countryside, and a separate visit to Paris and I spent some of December in Thailand where I shot an epic vow renewal, seen the most beautiful sights I've ever seen and drank cocktails on a very high rooftop overlooking Bangkok . I was short listed for the Wedding Industry Awards and received mind blowing feedback. I've given a talk for the Big Issue, I've been interviewed by a few blogs and MBP Photographic (coming soon!) and I was asked to Photography Farm for the mighty Farm Week where I'm giving a few workshops. I also wrote a from the heart (not something I find easy) post about What I See.
I've photographed singers, bands, DJ's (including Adam Buxton and Craig Charles) and even an amazing theatre production in one of the oldest theatres in the country.
I've also continued to shoot food and lifestyle as well as teaching a few still life classes. Then there's been the weddings! So many amazing weddings, so many amazing couples.
Lesson's have been learned on running a sustainable business, I feel I've evolved as a photographer and have made plans on how to move forward with that.
When I put it all like this I realise it's been a heck of a year! Phew. I think I need to lie down. But all in all I feel out of all the years I've been working as a photographer this year is the year I've grown most, as a photographer and as a person.
2014? Well, we'll see! I'll be continuing to shoot for amazing couples but I recognise that other work is so important in keeping my wedding work unique to me so a new commercial website in in the making.
I want to say a HUGE thank you to every single couple who I've worked with this year, all the musicians and labels, every single person who has liked, commented and shared any of my work - it never goes unnoticed and I'll never be able to express how much it means to me. To friends that have been unfazed by my not being around much this year and to all the photographers that inspire me. I've met some amazing people this year and forged some important friendships.
I hope you enjoy this set of images, there's street, portrait, personal, travel, bridal fashion and all sorts! Some of them were taken on my iPhone, some on my Contax film camera and the rest on my Canon.
Happy new year and let's make 2014 kick ass for all of us.
So I'm off to Thailand today for the awesome Sassy's vow renewal. I can't tell you how excited I am - not only about visiting somewhere I've always wanted to but also because it's going to be such an honour to be a part of something so personal. So company for the cat is sorted, all print orders and albums have gone out for Christmas, the out of office is on and I figured I should leave you with another of this years weddings. And what better wedding to leave you with than this colourful, music focused shindig. Gemma & Forbes are ultimately cool and you'll see we have a lot of couple shots - they were so up for it! Love.
I will take any excuse to visit Bournemouth and it just so worked out that I had two weddings in a row booked for the weekend of Emily & Mark's wedding and you can see the other here - two very different weddings but equally lovely! Emily & Mark were married in the amazing Bournemouth town hall and then everyone made their way out to the edge of the New Forest to The Three Tuns pub in Bransgore, the village in which I lived for a short while! Needless to say I knew the area well and whisked Emily & Mark away for a little drive and a bit of quiet time for their couple shots - with the backdrop of the New Forest coupled with the moody sky and ponies (!!!).
Music by the ever amazing Disco Wed - friends and all round amazing DJ's!
Emily has been contributing to Whimsical Wonderland Weddings as a real bride and you can see their feature here for more on their wedding.
Ah, the good old Duke of Yorks. One of the lowest lights venues (no natural light) I've shot at but one of my faves nonetheless. I mean, imagine getting married in front of the big screen, then getting to play clips of Airplane! to your guests while the register is signed?! Mark and Vanessa were married at the very end of September and hired a bus to take everyone to Vanessa's parents where they had a HUGE marquee with lots of Tuaca (a Brighton shot fave) and dancing. Both Mark & Vanessa have a wicked sense of humour so there is lots of laughing going on!
Flowers by Kate Langdale
Marquee by Findon Marquee Hire
This time last year I photographed a wedding at Wandsworth Town Hall and it became a bit of talking point. Little did I know I would be returning the following year at the same point in the season to photograph another gorgeous wedding. Wandsworth Town Hall is so full of history and character - oodles of marble and long corridors. And perfect for Nicola & Gavin who live just across the road who wanted an intimate ceremony. After their ceremony their guests headed off to the nearby Armoury pub (new South London fave) while I hung out with the two of them to do some couple shots and take a little wander down together.
The Armoury is a small, cosy joint with a roaring open fire and some proper down to earth staff. The decor is unpretentious and the details on the table honest and fun. Gavin also ordered some ale of his choice from a local brewery and kept their gathering simple and laid back. As a result they had a perfect wedding that suited the two of them down to the ground.
As we hurtle into winter, I'm gearing up for my winter bookings, it's hard to imagine that just 5 weeks ago I was swimming in the sea on the morning of Paul & Alex's wedding. Anyone following my blog will know that I used to live in Bournemouth and always looking for an excuse to visit. It just so happened that both my weddings that weekend were down there. Woo-hoo! Alex and Paul organised their wedding in super quick time and live just above the stretch of beach that the amazing beach hut lives. Many people ask me where I would get married - and the hut would be it, I love love love the girls that run it, you get married on the sand and Bournemouth is one of my favourite places in the UK.
Alex and Paul themselves are not only an awesome couple who are very much in love but am certain you'll agree they're a handsome pair too - they rocked the camera for their couple shots. We ended up with some really editorial looking images and I found it really hard to be selective for this blog post!
A fellow photographer asked what makes a stunning wedding on Facebook the other day and I couldn't help but think of this wedding. For me a stunning wedding is one that doesn't try too hard, just reflects the couple and their personality and has a kick ass venue.
Lucy and Rick had just that - as a couple they are smart, warm and just bloody good fun to be around. Their wedding was beautiful as a result. They were married at Dulwich College with a beautiful humanist ceremony and had a reception at Battersea Mess & Music which is just a perfect London venue - elements of a pub with a huge room for feasting and dancing!