This was a wedding I've been looking forward to for a while - ever since meeting the utterly charming Alice in Stoke Newington last year. Not only is she the most natural beauty but she is relaxed, creative and had chosen the most wonderful venues for her wedding. First up getting ready at The Zetter in Clerkenwell, as photogenic as a hotel can get, and then the short stroll through Smithfields to the oldest church in London, St Bartholemews. A cavernous space founded in 1123 as an Augustinian monastery. Having photographed there before I knew that the light and colours are like a painting. Unusually I attended the rehearsal a few days before to meet the characterful Father Peter who provided the most entertaining and authentic service I've been to in a while. He made the wedding about Jack and Alice entirely. It felt incredibly personal and accessible. Fortunately for October we had a lovely warm day and so walked straight from the church and on to St Johns. I've never eaten there before so it was a real treat to be seated with the guests and have a chance to enjoy some of Fergus Henderson's renowned food.Read More
An intimate and personal Hampstead Heath wedding at the beautiful Burgh House followed by a party at The Star in Hampstead.Read More
It always feels like a huge privilege to be present and to photograph such an intimate wedding as this. Just very close family and friends of the couple gathered in the drizzle at Islington Town Hall. Fortunately Jason and Eugenie were happy to meet up before the ceremony so that we had a chance to wander the streets around the town hall and capture some portraits of the two of them - well technically 3 given that Eugenie was 7 months pregnant :-)Read More
Spotlight on one of my favourite London wedding venues - Islington Town HallRead More
Happily I had a second opportunity to shoot at the marvellously unique London wedding venue that is The Asylum in Peckham. The building itself is a grade 2 listed chapel built in 1826 for the use of the residents of Caroline Gardens. Bombed in WWII the chapel has been derelict since then and reduced to it's simplest elements. It's essentially four walls and a roof with a raised alter platform at the end but the light is divine and the painted walls create a dreamy and muted backdrop. You can no longer have a sit down meal at the chapel but you can stay for drinks and canapés after, which is what A & S did before heading off to The Lordship pub for a hearty pub supper. Oh, and did I mention that Anna wore a purple gown? Perfect.
I don't think I have a single couple who come to me and say 'we love having our photo taken!' More often I have couples trying to figure out how they can spend less time in front of the camera and more time with their family and friends enjoying the day. I'm pretty good at striking that balance - enough time that we can create some really special portraits of the two of you in a natural and relaxed way whilst getting you back to your guests for most of the reception time.
One way in which to speed up the process on the day is to have a pre-wedding shoot. This can be a great opportunity to create some imagery for your save the date cards or wedding website if you have one. It can also be good if you are soon to move home or if there is a special spot in London where you got engaged or have great memories.
But... it also serves as a fantastic way to start to feel relaxed in front of the camera so that on the wedding day you not only trust me but we can work together to more quickly create those wow images where you really look and feel relaxed and yourselves.
One of my favourite engagement shoots from the last year was David and Louise in London. I usually suggest sunrise or sunset to capture the best light. Sunrise being preferably as the city is so quiet at that time - and since we did this shoot on a bank holiday Monday we had the place to ourselves. No awkward audiences and an incredibly special experience. We started out at St Paul's and wandered down to the Embankment. Whenever I get an opportunity to see the city with fresh eyes like this I fall in love with London all over again.
Sometimes everything just goes incredibly well at a wedding and it's visually very spectacular. This was a wedding I had really been looking forward to. Their ceremony took place at their family home on the front lawn, the ceremony was open air with the stunning backdrop of the house. A whole gaggle of children (I lost count) and dogs accompanied Phili down the aisle. After the ceremony guest walked over to a reception in front of the main house. A highlight being the wing walker performance (Phili had for a short time held the record for the youngest wing walker in the world - amongst her many other achievements!). The final stop was the teepee marquees in the woods filled with flora and fauna. I don't think the day could have been any more perfect - at home, filled with family, friends, children and dogs and a glorious summers day. I was literally in my element.
Wedding Planner: Albion Parties // Marquee: LPM Bohemia // Catering: Essential Party Ingredients // Production: Sound Artist Management // Florist: Miranda Fairhurst // Videographer: Reel Vision // Invitations: Pemberly Fox // Venue: Charlton Park Estate
More and more frequently couples are veering away from the larger traditional wedding venues to have their wedding receptions in local pubs. This is especially true for many of the London weddings I shoot where the ceremony happens at a local registry office or town hall and then the guests can either bus or even walk to a nearby pub. Often it's a local favourite of the couple which gives it a personal and intimate connection. Pubs tend to be relaxed, informal and flexible and offer a cool and contemporary decor. They are happy for you to decorate and to run the day as you want it without sticking too rigidly to timings and rules. Food is often big sharing platters and traditional and substantial pub grub that is always popular. It can also be the cheaper option - some city pubs close at weekends so don't ask for a cover charge whilst other pubs are happy to close to regulars if you can cover a minimum spend.
Some of my favourite London pubs...
This one is pretty local to me and also to my brides Alice and Sinead, in the heart of Stoke Newington. They took their guests here after their Islington Town Hall Wedding for an informal party and speeches. For the full wedding see the blog. Filled with quirky artworks and with a cute little outdoor patio.
Fantastic locally sourced food, a big open and light dining room with another room upstairs for the disco. They also have a outdoor patio. As with all of the pubs I'm mentioning, the staff are welcoming, friendly and laid back. Blog coming soon.
Another one close to me in Dalston is The Roost. This converted victorian pub is now a venue and shoot space only venue. Filled with an eclectic mix of wall finishes, furniture, props & art work, it can be as creative and malleable as you wish. The old bar, commercial kitchen and mature garden space are at the heart of the building leaving the rest as both a colourful & blank palette. It also has a basement club to surprise your guests with as an evenings finale. To see the full wedding of Charlie and Lucy see the blog here.
4. (South) West - The Fox and Grapes, Wimbledon
A bit smaller and darker so less ideal for photography but great location on Wimbledon Common with great spots for taking pictures. Cosy and traditional food.
A perfect pub to follow an Islington Town Hall wedding as it's only a 10 minute walk. They have a small room upstairs which seats around 30 people. It's light, intimate, the food is impeccable and I really love shooting in this space. For the full blog for this wedding click here.
From the adorable local church to the countryside reception, Rosa and Andy's wedding was a delight to capture. A beautiful August day in Ingham punctuated with individuality....after all not many brides and grooms cycle all the way to their seats at wedding breakfast! Other favourite moments for me include the first marital head to head taking shape in the form of tug-of-war (with an extra special pair of shoes for the task) and an idyllic first dance outside in the fresh air. Wonderful!Read More
The actual important things to consider when choosing a photographer.Read More
It's always fun to shoot at a new wedding venue and I'd been looking forward to photographing a wedding at South Farm in December when Natalie and Paul booked me last minute for this summer. With a picturesque outdoor setting for the ceremony, an Asian tuk tuk on standby as the getaway vehicle and gorgeous grounds this was a pretty dreamy wedding to photograph - not to mention how beautiful Natalie looked.Read More
I had two almost simultaneous enquiries for this same date in July and had to make a decision but Kate made a very convincing argument as to how much fun and how beautiful a wedding at the Pergola Hill and Garden would be. Having photographed a styled shoot there before I knew what a fantastic setting it was and so it was decided.Read More
Visiting Santorini has definitely been on my bucket list for photographing a wedding so I was hugely excited when Roxy and James, who I had met an another wedding in Tuscany got in touch to tell me about their plans. I tend to just fly in and out of places and on to the next thing at this time of year but I decided to extend my stay to be able to see a little more of the island as I doubted I would be back unless for another wedding.
End of September is getting towards the close of the season out there which means less people (although it still felt pretty crowded) and more changeable weather. I prefer it a bit cooler so it suited me to be exploring away from the scorching summer heat but it did mean that the wedding day was a little cloudy and so the backdrops were not really the picture postcard azure seas but a rather more gentle hazy light.
I’m going to blog about the wedding more soon but I just thought I would share some of my tips from my vast knowledge having spent three days out here!
- Hire a car!!! Or a buggy. The island is tiny and it’s so much fun to scoot around and the views from the roads are spectacular (I did get beeped at by locals several times for rubber necking at the views and swerving around the roads). A car means spontaneity and a sense of adventure. There are regular buses around the island though so it’s not absolutely essential
- Book an average hotel. One realisation I had on this trip was although I was disappointed not to have the budget for one of the grand sea view hotel along Oia or Imeriogli it did mean that I was way more active than I usually am. I love a comfy sun lounger, ace book and incredible view (with a glass of something cold close to hand) but on this trip my modest but comfortable and clean hotel in Fira (Renas Suites) meant that I was keen to get out and explore
- Find a great spot for sunset. I’d scouted out the area around the wedding venue (Le Ciel) for great spots to take Roxy and James for their couples shots. Further north along the coastal track in front of the hotels (and a great hike if you are staying around there) is a couple of beautiful and typical churches. Unfortunately the night I took R & J up there was literally 6 other brides, a gaggle of photographers, a drone… and smoke grenades *face palm* . I was a little embarrassed to take them there but they gamely pushed on through. Unfortunately the sunset was not so spectacular that night but the following night it was peaceful up there with beautiful views over the other islands in the bay
- Caldera views and Cape Akrotiri lighthouse - with a 3am wake up for my flight I arrived tired in Santorini early afternoon. I intended to have a nap but once I got behind the wheel I just kept driving. I loved the sense of freedom that being on a small island gave me to explore - and the fact that you can literally see from end to end and across it’s breadth at most points. I headed south to the more scrubby and sparsely populated end of the island. The views over the bay looked towards the Southern tips with the towns dotted along the peaks of the cliffs. At the end i found a light house and many couples (this was to be a common theme every where I went). As I headed back towards Fira I stopped off at Good Heart Tavern, one of the many tavernas strung along that road for some late lunch overlooking the sea.
- Ammoudi Bay - I drove the car to the furthest tip I could find and that led me down on to Ammoudi which sits at the bottom of a steep cliff atop which perches Oia which is literally breathtaking. When I first arrived on the island I was puzzled by the white tipped cliffs - snow?! - but then I realised that it was the stretches of white houses along the key coastal points. There are lots of great seafood restaurants on that bay and I then walked, along with some horses, the 200 odd steps up the cliff and into Oia where I sat and had my Greek salad perched high up over the bay. Oia was uncomfortably full of tourists but it was a must see to get a sense of the architecture of the towns which cling vertiginously to the edges of the cliff, gleaming white and interspersed with with it’s signature blue of church roofs and pools. Not for the faint hearted. I did have a twinge of envy seeing tourists lolling in their private pools with a pretty epic view - although not so private.
- Perivolas Beach - the beaches in Santorini are mainly pebbly or volcanic sand so don’t expect stretches of golden shores. Quieter than Kamari beach was Perivolas Beach further south around the coast. You can sit for free on the loungers or eat lunch in many of the great restaurants. I had a delicious crab salad (for 2) at Sea shore?
- My final stop before the airport was breakfast (chip and feta omelette - better than it sounds!) at the south end of Kamari beach. It’s a bustling little town and the beaches tend to fill up quickly on the free sun loungers.
After three days I felt really connected to the island and it’s features familiar to me. I loved the simplicity of it, the spectacular views at every turn. And there is nothing like travelling alone to really stretch your curiosity legs. I’m glad I’ve had a chance and hope I get to a chance to return.
So you've chosen your date and found a fabulous venue, the next task is to consider the timeline of your day. As most new brides and grooms have never organised a gathering for 100+ people this can be the most daunting part of the planning. Having been been to hundreds of weddings so can help you with designing a timeline which will make the most of the day from a photography perspective.Read More
Following on from the morning Bar Mitzvah ceremony at the Holland Park Synagogue the guests reconvened for more elaborate festivities at the fabulous Sumosan Twiga. Organised by Foxes Events and with the event spanning the three floors of the restaurant, guests moved from cocktails and canapés on one floor, to the most delicious spread of sushi on the next and finally into the basement club until the early hours.Read More
Photographing in grand old architectural gems such as the Holland Park Synagogue, one of the oldest in London, is always a treat. This was one of my first outings with my new XT2 Fuji cameras and the light was beautiful to work with. I'd never witnessed a Bar Mitzvah before so it was a fascinating insight into another culture.Read More
Sarah and Simon chose to become Mrs and Mr at Cornwell Manor, a hidden gem of a venue which was formerly a hunting lodge set in the heart of the Cotswolds. A late afternoon ceremony allowed for the rains to pass and the afternoon was spent outside in the sunshine. A proper English country garden wedding.Read More