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Saturday, 14 November 2009

Annual Report Photography

I'm just in the process of archiving off my hard drives and came across this project from early last year. The Woodland Trust had just bought Brede High Woods and commissioned me to photograph it for their annual report. Although it's quite large, Brede is not an easy place to photograph, there are only a couple of places where you can get any sort of overview and even then only as a fairly thin ribbon of trees (I did suggest a helicopter but sadly it wasn't within their budget). With a two week deadline it wasn't possibly to be too choosy about the weather, so a lot of time was spent trudging round the woods in the rain, covered in mud, looking for locations - great fun!

As a bonus I woke one morning a couple of days before the deadline to discover that a bigger than expected pile of snow had been deposited over the South East. It made for a slightly hairy drive to get over to Brede (we're not exactly used to driving in snow here), but you can't turn down an opportunity like that.

The snow didn't last long, the sun came out at about 9.30 and it had pretty much all melted away by midday, but it was lovely while it lasted.

Despite a lot of rain and grey skies over the two weeks there were a few periods when the weather and light were fantastic. In the end the photo's were used on a double page centre spread in their annual report and also on their annual fund-raising campaign brochure, a very nice result for one of my favourite projects.

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Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Jodie and Mat's Wedding at Easthampstead Park, Wokinghham

I was doing a wedding fair a little over a year ago and had just finished talking with a bride (who's wedding I'm covering in a couple of weeks) when Nina grabbed my arm and said "You'd better come and meet Jodie - she's just booked you", which was a very pleasant surprise.

Jodie and Mat had their wedding at Easthampstead Park, which is a very attractive wedding venue in Wokingham. I hadn't actually met Mat until the day of the wedding as he couldn't make it to the wedding fair, but he is very easy to get on with and has a wicked sense of humour.

At the venue I bumped into a very nice photographer called Mark Lawrence who was running a photo course there that day with about twenty students. They were very well behaved and kept away from the wedding, although it was funny to see Mark every so often, looking like the Pied Piper (with better accessories) leading his troupe the other way along a corridor, loaded down with equipment or disappearing into the shrubbery brandishing reflectors.

Believe it or not Jodie kept telling me how she wasn't very "girly" and felt uncomfortable not to be wearing jeans and riding boots. Now I have no doubt that Jodie looks awesome in jeans and riding boots (and if I ever have to do a shoot for "Horse and Hound" I'll book Jodie to model for it), but there is no way under the sun that anyone will ever convince me that she does not look girly:

How can you round off a perfect wedding day? Fireworks! Nina wouldn't agree with this as she hates them and hid inside as far away as possible, but Jodie and Mat had arranged fabulous fireworks display that went on for ages:

Easthampstead Park is a lovely wedding venue with plenty of space to accommodate group photo's inside if the weather isn't too good and extensive grounds to explore if the sun is out. You can find more information on their website:

Mark's photography course looks like it is very informative and great fun, so if you want to brush up on your photography skills you can contact him via his website:

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Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Anna and Anna's Civil Partnership at Northbrook Park, Farnham

When we first met up with Anna and Anna at Northbrook Park we knew they were going to have a good day - we just spent two and a half hours laughing! Having a look at my previous work and looking round the venue was very much a side issue to the serious business of having fun.

Fun aside, Northbrook Park is lovely, very light and airy with lots of interesting little corners in the gardens which seem to go on and on. It also has peacocks, which is always a big plus.

Rather foolishly I had assumed that having a couple both called Anna would make my life a little easier. The second that you get them together and say something like "Could you turn to your left a little please Anna... no, sorry the other Anna" you suddenly realise that you were very much mistaken.

I don't think I've ever come across two people more excited about their day. Everyone gets an element of nerves, but mainly they were more like two small children on Christmas morning and at times were literally quivering with excitement.

I think that this photo probably sums the Anna's up best. It's supposed to be a romantic doorway shot, instead they just fell about giggling. We got some traditional ones eventually but this is my favourite:

Anna and Anna's day turned out to be everything we expected and more, everyone had a brilliant time and the weather was amazing. Northbrook Park is a fantastic venue and the service is excellent. If you are getting married in the Surrey area I strongly suggest that consider it and take a look at their website.

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Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Nadiya and Nick's Wedding in a Yurt

Strictly speaking I suppose it was a Teepee on steroids rather than a Yurt (and I realise that you had spotted that immediately), but we started out calling it the Yurt and it stuck. Still it's pretty neat whatever you call it:

Nadiya and Nick had their ceremony at Hastings Register Office with Nadiya looking stunning in a fifties style red and white dress with a red hat and veil and her bridesmaids in black dresses - it worked! It some ways it was quite spooky as Nadiya is so similar to our friend Taz, looks, sense of humour, the things she comes out with, they could almost be sisters.

Once again the weather gods smiled on us, although I get the feeling that Nadiya and Nick would have fun even if we'd had thunder, lightning and hailstones.

And of course the Yurt was well provisioned, you do have to plan ahead when having a wedding in a field:

The children even had a Pinata to play with. These are becoming ever more popular, although I'm sure it's only a matter of time before the Government bans them. I realise that to a certain type of person it may sound a little odd to hang an artificial donkey from a tree by it's neck and then invite small children to beat it with a stick, but before any over-zealous action group starts pressuring No 10 to churn out yet more legislation, please note that children can tell that it's just a game and that beating real animals is a bad thing to do.

Have you ever considered having a ukulele band at your wedding? Nor me... but you should! Nadiya and Nick had the Bohemia Ukulele Band for the evenings entertainment and they are brilliant and play all sorts of things, not just George Formby... go and book them now before you miss out! We ended up giving three of them and their gear a lift back to Hastings in the dead of night and can cheerfully confirm that they are even madder than they look.

Having your wedding in a field is a bit of a risk, but if you have the sort of family and friends that don't worry too much about the weather it does give your day a real buzz with a relaxed party atmosphere. The field doesn't have it's own wedsite so I can't link to it, you'll have to find your own. If you want more details of the Bohemia Ukulele band though, you can see them on their website -

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Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Victoria and Jason's Wedding at Buxted Park

It's been a rather hectic few weeks and there is quite a lot to catch up on, so let's rewind to the beginning of last month with Victoria and Jason's Wedding at Buxted Park. Just outside Uckfield, Buxted park is one of the leading wedding venues in Sussex and is extremely popular with couples wanting their wedding in a traditional stately home.

Victoria and Jason were great fun to spend the day with and really went out of there way to make sure their guests had a great time. One of the highlights was the bouncy castle that they had provided to keep the children entertained and once they had bored with it everyone else made sure it didn't go to waste. One of my favourite moments though was finding the increasingly rare cigar shot:

Buxted Park has some great locations for wedding photographs, both inside and out. We were once again lucky with the weather and went for a short walk around the grounds in the late afternoon, in reality you could easily spend the entire day wandering around, but of course your guests might wonder if you'd got lost or been savaged by ravenous squirrels or something.

We also just managed to squeeze in a quick sunset photo, which was followed up later by another wedding party letting off Chinese lanterns into the night sky, a very unexpected treat that luckily didn't result in large tracts of Ashdown Forest going up in flames (although the photo's would have been great!).

The wedding cake was supplemented with some very stylish cupcakes made by her bridesmaid, Lucy. Lucy has just started out the the cake business and from what I have seen of her work she will be a great success, she doesn't have a website yet, but feel free to contact me if you would like her details.

Buxted Park is a stunning wedding venue, or alternatively a very elegant holiday base to explore the surrounding areas of Sussex, you can find more details on their website.

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Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Tracy and Graham's Wedding at St Peter's and Shepperton Studios

The weekend before last saw the wedding of Tracy and Graham at St Peter's Church, West Molesey and Shepperton Studios. Tracy got ready at her sister's house, just round the corner from St Peter's Church and was fortified for the long day ahead with glasses of champagne and a plate of Marmite on toast. This is probably not an obvious combination for breakfast, but I found myself staring at it, salivating like a starving man at a hog roast.

About mid-morning we had a fly-past by the next door neighbour's flock of racing pigeons. Given that we were off to Shepperton Studios later it felt a bit like a scene from Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds", but we all arrived at the church without looking like extra's from a horror movie.

The excellent Rev Peter Tailby conducted a very upbeat ceremony that had everyone laughing in a way that actually served to re-enforce the importance of the day rather than trivialise it.

After the wedding we went down to the Thames at Hampton Court to quickly get a few photographs before heading off to the reception. Tracy and Graham had suggested that I go with them in the wedding car rather than taking mine and trying to park, which was very thoughtful and did make things a lot easier.

Then it was off to Shepperton Studios, which is a lovely and very well run venue. Receptions there are held in Littleton Park House, rather than on a film set, but you do get to sit in the chairs used in Braveheart and bounce on a bed that is also quite famous but I can't remember why.

As well as a very cool looking DJ, Tracy and Graham had an excellent live band called Risk providing music for part of the evening and Tracy took the opportunity to join them on the saxophone. Over the years I have had some very talented couples getting involved in their own wedding entertainment, but a bride playing the sax in her wedding dress is a first - she was brilliant by the way!

All too soon it was drawing to a close, Tracy and Graham had managed to pack quite a bit into their day and it flew by, the weather had turned out fine and everyone had a great time. Shepperton Studios is a great venue and well worth considering if you are getting married in the area and you can find out more information from their website.

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Sunday, 2 August 2009

Mary and Nick's Wedding in Leatherhead

A couple of weekends ago I covered Mary and Nick's wedding at Leatherhead Register Office. Mary is originally from Ireland and her family came over for the week before to help her get everything ready, which I believe was quite a party in it's own right. We arrived in the morning in time to go with Mary and her sisters to Sue Jane Hairdressing in Horley and they all came out looking fantastic.

Mary had chosen a lovely white dress from Infinita Brides along with Rainbow Club "Hattie" shoes. The flowers came from Chesterman Florist of Caterham.

The ceremony took place at Leatherhead Register Office, which is a rather attractive old building just off the town centre, with lovely south facing gardens.

After the wedding ceremony the reception was held at the Plough and Furrow in Smallfield which is a traditional country pub, with a very well done contemporary look inside. As a surprise Mary's family had arranged some Irish dancers to come and give a demonstration which was truly impressive and got everyone jumping about - I was jumping about trying to get photographs of them and avoid being kicked!

The evening finished at Mary and Nick's house where they had covered their large back garden in a set if interlinking marquees. This was rather good as it resulted in a number of separate rooms that you could wander through, a bit like Ikea under canvas.

Mary and Nick obviously had a brilliant day, they were both grinning from ear to ear the whole time and I suspect that a lot more Irish dancing went on far into the small hours.

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