Lake District wedding - Esther and Paul

I was lucky enough to be invited down to the lake district to photograph the wedding of Esther and Paul in the truly beautiful location of Loweswater.  With Paul being a tree surgeon and Esther recently qualifying as the first female tree surgeon in the Lakes the whole day had a theme of trees and wood and a really personal, natural feel. Absolutely loved it. I hope you enjoy the photos.

Esther choose not to have me attend her getting ready, a decision a really respect so the first job of the day for me was capturing the guest arriving and the getting some shots of the boys before the ceremony.

 

Esther arrived in style in the back of her Dad's Landrover Defender

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Peebles Family Photographer - Toddler early riser sessions

I'm really pleased to now offer early riser sessions for Toddlers.  Having a toddler myself has made me realise that their best time of the day is quite often the morning.  Lets face it most of them get up fairly early too don't they!  I always thought it was a shame to miss the lovely evening light with young kids as they are often tucked up in bed or at least getting tired by that point of the day.  The good news is the mornings have their own fair share of nice light too.

So why not take advantage and join me for an early riser sessions.  Just £50 and you will get the top 5 images yours to keep on digital download.

Megan and Phil

It's always lovely to be invited to photograph a wedding, it's really nice when its an old family friend though.  Although I did have a wee tear in my eye during the ceremony and that certainly didn't help me focus the camera.  Well done guys and wishing you many happy years together x

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Auchen Castle Wedding - Kirsty and Colin

A couple of weeks ago I was privileged to photograph Kirsty and Colin's Auchen Castle Wedding.  I knew from the fact that these guys were both Project Managers it would be a super organised and slick run affair and I wasn't disappointed! Not only that though, it was relaxed, fun and full of lovely people, just like a wedding should be.  Kirsty and Colin have the most amazing chemistry and I hope that comes through in the pictures, I really did enjoy working with them.

Details, details and of course shoes! Usually my first job of the day.

Getting ready was a relaxed and fun affair.

It's always great to spend some time with the boys in the morning as well.

Colin keeping an eye on the time.

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Sometimes rain is a good thing, some lovely glint on the rocks.

That moment just before....

Kirsty and Colin share a love of travel and choose it for the theme of their day.

Sometimes I get to jump on someone else photo opportunity!

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Especially when their phone isn't playing ball!

Aachen castle provides a stunning backdrop for portraits.

I love this one, Colin and Kirsty making their entrance to their reception, it just shows how much fun they are!

Speechs and smile :-)

Give a boy a big sword to play with....!

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Catch!

First dance and then lots more, great party!

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Congratulations Mr and Mrs Armstrong x

Edinburgh Engagement Shoot - Kirsty and Colin

I headed out into a lovely corner of the Pentland hills at the weekend to capture Kirsty and Colin a few months before their big day at Auchen Castle in April.  There was certainly a wee nip in the air but despite that and a bit of a breeze we had fun and they got that all important chance to relax in front of the camera. Although they were both a little nervous initially it was soon clear to me what a lovely natural couple they were and I really can't wait to work with them some more at their wedding!

The best of 2014

I'm just about to make the move North of the border to my new home Peebles in the Scottish Borders.  It's an exciting move and one I'm really looking forward to.  However, it's been a great year here in Yorkshire and I will miss this fantastic county.  I have no doubt I will be back to visit on plenty of occasions.

So here's just a small slice of my 2014 weddings....

It's hard to pick a favourite wedding of the year but if I had to it would be Claire and Phil's.  Starting in Whitby and holding the main party in Dalby Forest it had pretty much everything going for it.  Great people. great weather and a great party! All organised by the fab Woodland Weddings.

One of my favourite venues this year was the little BnB, Millgate House that Catherine and Paul discovered in the centre of Richmond.  What a gem and what a lovely intimate wedding. The gardens gave me so much opportunity to shoot some of my favourite portraits of the year.

Although not in Yorkshire the wedding of Nicole and John gave me a chance to get down with the cockneys, I'm afraid some of the rhyming slang was lost on me but this cross continental love affair was a great day.  The best part of the day for me was the amazing retro hair salon, Rockalilly cuts that the ladies spent most of the morning in.

The wedding of Donna and Benoit in Harrogate early in the spring introduced me to spray on make-up for the first time as well as one of my favourite shots, mother and daughter.

It might have been a cold October day but the sun shone for Christine and Peter at the stunning Ravenscar hotel, overlooking Robin Hoods bay.

The Martin Family

I was privileged enough to be asked to photograph the Martin family whilst they were all visiting the UK from Canada.  They wanted to plan their shoot around a visit to York so I suggested museum gardens as it's nice and central and provides a great backdrop!  We had a great hour with a variety of different shots taken and I think it really shows how much you can get out of just an hour if you get a family group together.

Uncle Simon is pretty proud of his new nephew Sam!

Uncle Simon is pretty proud of his new nephew Sam!

Lorraine and Andy

Lorraine and Andy were married at York registry office a few weeks ago. I like the registry office at York because it has such nice light and no dated carpets! We headed round to the museum gardens for a photo session after.  It was just a quickie but what a lovely heartfelt day and great peeps! Here's a few of the portraits.

Claire and Phil

I was really looking forward to Claire and Phil's wedding at Dalby forest.  It's a place I spend a lot of my free time in and I was excited to shoot my first wedding there.

The photography coverage actually started at their intimate registry office service in Whitby before they headed back down to Dalby for the main event.  Claire had decided not to have me along for her 'getting ready' part of the morning.  It's a decision I really respect actually, the choice to keep that special part of the day private to just close friends and family!

Despite the weather threatening a bit it actually turned out nice for the service and a few portraits down on the seafront afterwards.

Then we left the beautiful seafront of Whitby behind and headed down to Dalby forest.  Claire and Phil went off to get there glad rags on and I headed off to meet some guests.  I knew they had a glamping set up and I was really impressed with the whole layout from Woodland Weddings. It was great fun capturing the guest getting their tents set up and starting the drinking!

The details were simple but beautiful, just the way they should be!

Thankfully the wind dropped and the sun shone as Claire and Phil arrived for their hand fasting ceremony.  Just like it was meant to be!

Part of the ceremony was receiving the elements of earth, wind, fire and water (or beer) from their close friends.

Then you jump a sword and it's time to party!

You don't have to go far as a Dalby forest wedding photographer to find an amazing spot for a portrait.

The competition for the best cork popping quite literally went up with a bang!

Fun and heartfelt speeches and thank you's followed.

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Then the party really started!

The dance floor was never empty and kept rocking late into the night.

A huge thanks to Claire and Phil for inviting me along and congratulations and wishing many happy of years of marriage to the new Mr and Mrs Smith, thank you for letting me be your Dalby Forest wedding photographer.

Catherine and Paul

I was privileged enough to be invited to photograph a small part of Catherine and Pauls day in Richmond a few weeks ago.  It seemed like fate as my name is Catherine and my husband is called Paul, so I knew it was going to right up my street.  I wasn't disappointed as this small and perfect little wedding was at such a great venue and I had a great tim producing some of my favourite portraits I've done in a while!  Great day to be a Richmond wedding photographer.

The wedding ceremony was at the registry office and just a short walk from the amazing Millgate house.  Here's just a small selection from this great venue to be Richmond wedding photographer and I hope you enjoy them!

A fantastic dress and lovely details just finished off a great afternoon.

Smiles with your family are one of the best things about weddings and Catherine and her sister were no exception.

So huge congratulations to Catherine and Paul, what a perfect day and thanks very much for inviting me along!

The wedding photographers kit bag

I get asked quite a lot by potential clients if I have the right equipment to photograph their wedding, especially when it comes to the UK weather.  So I thought I'd put together a little post whilst it's sunny in the garden about what is in my kit bag and why it is in there.  So if your already a client or your thinking about becoming one you can see exactly what I carry in my bag of tricks, hopefully explained without too much technical jargon and camera wizardry!

This is what I turn up with on my back for most shoots.  I have a few little other emergency items which stay in the back of the van but the small person with the huge heavy bag on...that's me!

So open it all out and it looks like this. 2 digital camera bodies, 5 lenses, 3 flash guns, 3 radio transmitters, 2 memory card cases, batteries (lots of), 2 honeycomb flash adapters, 3 flash diffusers and feet, 2 flash clamps, 2 flash stands and umbrellas and my Granda's old film camera!

The first and I guess most important piece of kit I carry are my 2 Nikon D600s. A perfect wedding photographers camera, full professional capability contained within a small discrete package. Why 2? In my opinion every wedding photographer should carry 2 cameras as a matter of course.  The most important reason is just in case 1 goes wrong.  As annoying as it would be for me to have to change lenses all day long it's not going to be as bad as you missing out your wedding photographs.  The second reason is the extra versatility it gives me with lenses.  I can have two different lenses fitted meaning I can be photographing the same part of the day with lot's of creativity and variety.

Lens choice is something that is personal to every photographer and there is no right or wrong answer as to which ones to use.  Some choose to shoot on 'prime' lenses only with no zoom and some can shoot the whole day on just 2 zoom lenses.  After a bit of experimenting I find a combination of the two approaches works best for me.  I find when things are a bit more static in the morning of a wedding I get the most out of my prime lenses (an 85mm 1.4 and a 35mm 1.4 if your photographically inclined) which give me the chance to capture both candid and portrait work in pretty much any space and light. Once things start to get a bit fluid then the versatility of the zooms is usually what I'm craving and I will almost always swap over to them from the ceremony onwards. (70-200mm 2.8 and 17-35mm 2.8, if your interested!)  I can now let the camera do a lot more of the moving for me so I can be discrete and a bit more flexible as people move about. So that only accounts for 4 of the 5 lenses.  The 5th is my macro (makes little things look big), something which I guess I could manage without if I wanted to.  However, it's something I choose to carry even though it only ever takes those few shots every wedding, the details just wouldn't be the same without it!

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So let's talk light.  There are purists out there that won't use flash, it would be great to take the moral high ground and only use natural light, (my kit bag would be half the size and loads lighter for starters!) but I'm afraid sometimes it gets a bit dark and rainy in this country and with the best will in the world I can't control the sun (however much dancing I do). So even though I do prefer to use natural light whenever I can sometimes there is no avoiding it, I have to get a bit flashy!

I carry three flash guns.  One I use on my camera and two of them to use off camera.  As well as the need just to light things in a simple and effective way because it's just a bit dark or there aren't any windows taking the flash off the camera means I can get a bit creative with it as well. That night time shot, with the rain drops all lit up? Thats off camera flash.  It's all done through the magic of Pocket Wizards, unfortunately I don't carry a miniature Gandalf around with me to ward off demons, just some radio transmitters to fire my flashes.

I also like to make use of some honeycomb grids to keep the light going just where I want it too. Spillage is just embarrassing!  With my stands and clamps I can pretty much put my flashes wherever I want them so if you see me standing on chairs clipping things to window frames and curtains that's what I'm doing.  Last but not least a couple of umbrellas come in handy on rainy days just to make sure everything is nice and bright when the photography has to move indoors. Nobody wants a dull group shot after all.

There's a few other emergency items in the back of the van, real umbrellas (not flash ones) to keep off the rain, great if your willing to embrace the weather and go for a rainy shot. A blanket for you or sometimes me to sit or lie on and lot's of spare batteries on top of the ones in my bag, you can never have too many! 

So if you were wondering if I had all the right equipment to photograph your day, whatever the weather then I hope you will agree with me that the answer is yes I do.

Harrogate wedding photography

I was lucky enough to be invited to photograph the wedding of Donna and Benoit recently at the Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate. Firstly I love Harrogate and secondly Donna and Ben are a super fun and relaxed couple to be around so I knew the day was going to be fab!

As I drove towards Harrogate in the morning though the weather took a pretty nasty turn and the rain was coming down!  So that left me hunting round the hotel for indoor spots to capture the dress, shoes and all the other vital Bridal details.

I have to confess I normally only whisk away the brides shoes but at a special request from Donna I roped in the help of flower girl and top assistant Letecia and went off with lots of sets of boxes under my arms.

The smallest shoes here belonged to Georgiana, Donna and Ben's daughter.

The girls got ready at the hotel and I had my first experience of airbrushed make up.  I tell you what ladies it's worth considering for that extra special touch on your big day.

Before Donna got into her dress there was time to dash off for a quick portrait of this handsome bunch, enjoying my Harrogate wedding photography out in the rain whilst the boys stayed dry!

Although the dress shop had warned Donna it might take 45mins to get into the dress her bridesmaid Adele made light work of it so she didn't need to stand around for quite so long.

Georgiana had spent the night with her Dad and arrived just in time to get all dressed up and have a picture with mum.

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The flowers came out the fridge just in time for their close ups as well.

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The ceremony took place downstairs in the Rose Room.  The registrar was an old friend of Donnas and that added a real personal touch, she had a tear and a tremble in her voice by the end.

The rain was still coming down after the ceremony so we grabbed a few portraits indoors and kept our fingers and toes crossed that the forecast was right and we were due for some sunshine later on into the evening.

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The reception and speeches are always one of my favourite parts of the day. I get to capture things as they happen and see everyones smiles and laughs.

Ben didn't disappoint with his speech and he had laughs and tears from pretty much everyone.

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And then the sun came out for some fantastic Harrogate wedding photography.

Like all good wedding it was ended with a stonker of a party.

Huge congratulations to the new Mr and Mrs Lockwood and well done on a fantastic day x

Engagement - Claire and Phil

After being rained off a few times in May it was great to finally get together with Claire and Phil at Brimham Rocks for their engagement shoot.  I love Brimham Rocks, there are so many interesting shapes and such amazing scale to play with when it comes to photography.

Claire and Phil are great fun to be with and we had a great laugh jumping around the rocks.  Claire even got brave and got up a bit high sometimes, worth it for some of the lovely shots.

It was great to be able to convey the sense of scale that really hits you at Brimham Rocks.

Although they started out feeling a bit awkward I think they relaxed as we walked around and had some fun with the shots.  It's clear to see how close these too are and what a great pair they make.

Can't wait for the wedding in Dalby Forest in August this year.

Handmade Albums

I have been thinking for a while about how to make what I offer you guys completely unique.  Something that caught my eye was making my own albums.  I really wanted to be offer my customers something a little different that is completely personal and unique.  So I set about learning how to make albums.  

I tried several different methods but I settled on coptic binding as the first technique that I would master.  The main reasons being how flexible it is a way to bind books and also how versatile it it allows you to be.  It was originally used by monks to bind bibles and histories before modern binding techniques were developed, so I love the fact that I'm also using a traditional craft and keeping it going in todays mass produced world.

I've been practicing behind the scenes making simple notebooks and fun items for kids. It's been a steepish learning curve and theres been a bit of cursing and lots of tangled binding thread!  However, I decided to get my first album underway using some reclaimed wood to make the cover.

Here's what I started with....

First job on the agenda is folding and shaping the card.

Once thats done and I have created my 'signatures' or pages for the album they need to be stitched together.  I decided to twist up two different threads for a more decorative finish.

Stitching in the first signature to the cover with the aptly named 'cover stitch'!

Some time and some stitching later.....

The next element to think about for me was how to make it personal by adding names, text or decoration to the covers.  I decided in this case to use some pyrography! That basically involves using a heated metal pen to burn your chosen design into the wood very much along the lines of branding.  It means that I can do any text or design on the computer and then transfer that with a steady hand and some patience to the wood itself.

As I will be using this first handmade album to display some of my family photography I decided to go with a phrase that's the cornerstone of my photography in general and how I try to think about life.

I'm really pleased with this technique and the finish it gives to the product, it's a bit nerve-wracking putting the final designs into the wood because there is no going back if you get it wrong.

All thats left to do after that is mount the photos.  There's plenty of options for how to do this.  I used a few different ways with this album.  Filling the whole page to make it flush mount.

Using  a bit of negative space to show off the images.

Or maintaining the flush mount look by pre designing the layouts and printing up flush.

So there we go, my first handmade album. I'm now going to embark on a range of different designs. There are so many different materials and stitching patterns that can be created.  I kept this first one pretty simple but I'm excited about making them more decorative and coming up with new stitching patterns.

What's going to be best of all is working with families and wedding couples to create something completely unique that reflects them.  Theres so much you can do with this and things that you can include, I hope that my photography clients will be equally as excited to have me design and make them something handmade, personal and high quality!

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