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Thinking about having a photobooth at your wedding or party?

2013-04-11_0074 The photobooth has been around for a while and seems to be gathering pace as opposed to being a dying trend.  There are so many different types you can have from black taxis and passport photo booth style which print out pictures instantly through to more elaborate set ups with backdrops, furniture set and props.  You can make your own by providing a box of dress up, a polaroid camera, book and pen and theme the booth through your choice or props or backdrops.  You can either rummage in your local charity shops for props or companies such as Etsy

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Alternatively your photographer (i.e. me) may offer this as an optional addition to your package.

Here are a few reasons why I think photobooths work so well at weddings:

1.  They usually take place later in the evening when your guests are a little more, ahem, relaxed and in the full swing of the evening.  This means they will be ready to perform and it would be a shame not to catch your friends at their most entertaining and creative.

2.  Put a silly hat, wig or prop into someone's hand and suddenly the camera seems far less scary and your guests are more likely to pose for a photo rather than ducking into a camera-shy manoeuvre.

3.  The pictures provide a great momento for your guests of the evening.  I upload all of the images onto a private online gallery that your guests can view and order prints from.

4.  It's a source of interactive entertainment for participants and viewers alike throughout the evening.

5.  You can use chalk boards to have your guests write messages to the happy couple.

I really enjoy running a photobooth - it is a great opportunity to interact with the guests who I have been photographing all day and capture another side of them; relaxed, fun and often very silly!

Below are some examples of recent booths I've run including in a yurt at Lucy and Simon's wedding at Inshriach House (the team there went all out to help me decorate the yurt with some awesome props)  and those with the green curtain are from a wedding party at Shoreditch House.  I set up in a corner using what was available in the venue.

I always bring extra lighting and use my professional camera so that the images are as high quality as the rest of the images from the wedding.  The images can be edited for a more vintage style and are always supplied in colour and in black and white.

If you are booking me for your wedding then I will set up a photobooth for £250 for 1.5 hours after the first dance.  For stand alone photobooths for parties and other events I can provide a quote depending on length of time required and location.

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Salon Live at The National Theatre

Back in May whilst on yoga retreat in Formentera I met, over supper, a lovely woman called Helen Bagnall who told me about an event she had been running with friend Juliet Russell since 2008; Salon London.  This has now become London's best cultural monthly showcase of specialists from the worlds of scent, the arts and psychology. The salon was an Italian invention of the 16th century and was a gathering of people under the roof of an inspiring host, both to amuse and to refine one's tastes and increase knowledge, often consciously following Horace's definition of the aims of poetry, "either to please or to educate"

Helen and Juliet have effectively reprised this format to create a series of fascinating events that never fail to surprise and delight.  My first outing at private members club Adam Street featured the writer of Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain, Professor Elaine Fox explaining why you are a glass half-full or a glass half empty sort of person.   An awesome session by Rough Trade's Lucy Tesco offering samples of the soundtrack of the summer, and then mind reader Philip Escoffey who kept us guessing for days after.

The last session was featured as part of the Inside Out Festival at the National Theatre to investigate more about Marianne Elliot's production (now sold out) of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, based on Mark Haddon's novel adapted by Simon Stephens.

The speakers included Marcus Chown, known to many as the Cosmology Editor for the New Scientist,  will be explaining the secrets of life, the universe and everything and for one brilliant transcendent moment you will understand the quantum world  Staff Director Katy Rudd explored the workings of the theatre using lots of interactive audience participation and mathematician David Speigelhalter OBE Professor of Public Understanding and Risk talked the real numbers behind uncertainty, leaving you able to interpret statistics like a pro.

See here for details of the next event.  See you there... x

Mudrunner at Eastnor Castle

For all those people who think my life is all glamour, travel and beautiful models I wanted to blog about a recent job which I did with a good friend and colleague Colin Baldwin.  Colin and I worked together years ago at a marketing company and set a precedent for crazy trips and adventures back then when we drove together in a 7.5tonne truck to Paris to put on an event for Umbro to launch their photographic book celebrating football; One Love by photographer Levon Biss.  Since we've both become photographers I've been to Monacco and Camp Bestival with him and most recently was for his event photography company 'Peachy Snaps' to cover the Mudrunner event at Eastnor Castle.  We attempted this job a few months ago but it was cancelled at the last minute due to very extreme weather.  Quite a relief since we'd experienced the extreme weather all night in our teepees up on the hillside and had virtually no sleep between us. But the repeat event which was held over two days earlier this month was perfect conditions.  3,000 competitors turned up for the adult (10k cross country) and children (5k) races, many repeating the course on both the Saturday and Sunday.

My position was to capture as much of the action as possible at the start and finish point which were perched up on the hillside with a fabulous view over the estate.  Spirits were high and everyone had a smile on their faces.  From nervous excitement at the start to exhausted exhilaration as they staggered over the finishing line.  Kids as young as 5 (one little girl had been waiting for 2 years to be old enough to compete!) completing the race alone or with a parent or friend.  I was itching to be running myself and it's definitely on my 'to do' list.

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Rosie and Brad's Somerset Wedding

Rosie and I have been friends from when we were about 13 and I arrived at her school in the middle of the second year.  Everyone else had already found their friends and I was all gangly and shy and awkward.  She took me under her wing and became my best friend.  We both ended up going to university in York; she to study philosophy, politics and economics and me to study english and history of art.  In the first year we lived together, partied together and rowed together - getting up at the crack of dawn to hit the river. We've always stayed in touch but our lives took very different directions as we got older.  Whilst I headed for London for a somewhat frivolous career in marketing and events, travelling around the world putting on parties and encouraging people to drink more of my client's brands, she took a more serious direction into the RAF and our meetings became less.

But she has always been a true friend and it made me so happy to be able to photograph her wedding to Brad (whom she met in the RAF eight years ago) as they were married in Somerset at St Peter's Church, between their new home in Pylle and her family home in Barton.  The sword party as they exited the church was pretty exciting - I've not photographed one before - the men were super handsome in their uniforms.

The reception was back at their home - a newly extended farm cottage with a field for her horse, and chickens in the garden.  The marquee was beautifully decked out and the surprise show was Morris Dancers (very west country!) who entertained the guests who had to huddle in the marquee away from the rather extreme winds and then torrential rain than let loose after the ceremony.

I was rather lucky to have my partner Christian second shooting with me for part of the day - we've recently started doing more work together and it's really quite exciting to see how complementary our styles are....

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Flowers by Mundy's Florist

See the full link to the gallery here.  Password is Brad's surname.

Help me to photograph David Beckham!

I don't usually enter competitions, although I should, but I was tempted by this one currently being run by Adidas.  They are looking for someone to photograph David Beckham - what's not to like?  I prefer shooting women to be honest but I guess I could handle having Mr Beckham in front of my lens.  I've only been able to enter one picture and I chose one that I took of Jax on the recce shoot we did in Formentera recently.  The theme of the competition is 'Take the Stage' and I love the sense of freedom in this picture as Jax is taking the stage in a very intimate, expressive way. If you like the picture please help me have a chance in the competition by voting for me here before the competition closes on 27th May - you don't need to register, just enter your email address and dob.

Thanks!

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Katie + James' Wedding at Swallows Oast, Ticehurst

I first met James nearly two years ago in Glasgow when I was photographing a wedding for Amanda and John. He hadn't even proposed by that point but I'm delighted that he and Katie had already decided that they were going to use me as soon as they were engaged! After a lovely engagement shoot in Dunorlan Park in Tunbridge Wells near their home I was really excited about the wedding which was taking place in the gorgeous main barn of Swallows Oast. Despite driving down from London in hammering rain, as soon as I arrived at Katie's parent's house the sun came out and stayed out all day, although too late to go ahead with the ceremony outside. It felt like a summers evening as after the meal everyone gathered outside to throw confetti and for katie to toss the bouquet to the usual female excitement and male nervousness!

Make- up by Caroline at Powder & Glow

Flowers by Bespoke Floral Designs.

The food was provided by Capers Catering provided the meal which was finished off with a dramatic, sparkling (literally), profiterole pyramid.

You can view the whole wedding album and purchase images here. The password is James' surname.

And lastly a warm thanks to Amanda and John whose wedding I photographed in Glasgow nearly two years ago on the same day as the World Bag Pipe Championships, which was taking place in the park opposite! They did a beautiful reading for Katie and James and it was wonderful to see them again.

Claire + Lee's Wedding at The Barn at Bury Court

Only six months ago I photographed Katie and Alex for their engagement shoot and then their wedding at Great Fosters, and last month I had the opportunity to photograph Katie's sister Claire at her wedding to Lee.  I'm quite disappointed that there are only two Lee sisters in the family as both weddings have been an absolute delight to photograph - obviously they are beautiful girls; but they also have a great style and taste. The venue for this wedding was The Barn at Bury Court in lovely leafy Hampshire, just down the road from my parents.  The rape fields were in full yellow blossom, there were horses in the fields next door and the church was picturesque.  The morning started grey and we had heavy showers throughout the day, but when the sun did break through it was glorious and there was lots of time for the guests to enjoy the fabulous grounds.

By the time I had arrived in the morning the grand main hall was already dressed.  Claire has such amazing eye for detail and had put so much time and effort into every little detail which were all deeply personal to them as a couple.  Every part of the day was touched by her creativity, generosity and joy and I am very grateful to have been a part of this lovely family's life again.

Claire was so relaxed all morning and even the rain didn't faze her.  It helped that she had such a great bridal party who kept the fun and laughter going throughout - Claire gave them each gifts from from Westwood Rocks, which along with the heartfelt messages in the cards brought a few tears.

Claire and her bridesmaids had use of The Oast Cottage on the grounds to get ready in which overlooked the gardens.  They had their hair done by their friend Catlin and make up by Christina Panzini.  Her dress was by Alfred Sung which she personalised with belt and straps herself.  Both the shoes and jewellery were from Mamfii Bridal.

The very natural English garden flowers were by The Lavender Hill Company.

The fantastically creative food was by Jacaranda Catering and we ate tomato tarte tatin with rocket pesto, caramel goats cheese and wild rocket salad followed by butterfly lamb and for desert fresh berry and elderflower jelly with lemon posset, crushed meringue and vanilla ice cream or millionaires chocolate shortbread pudding.  AMAZING!  (I'm so lucky I usually get to eat the wedding meal - massive perk of the job)

I was delighted to be working with Dan the videographer of From the Hip who also shot Katie's wedding.  Later in the evening Coco Photobooths set up a brilliant photo booth.

You can view the whole album from this wedding, and purchase prints here.  The password is Lee's surname.

Laura + Alan's Engagement Shoot at Glasgow University

I've shot several weddings at Glasgow University and the cloisters there are beautiful so I was delighted that Laura suggested we meet there for their engagement shoot.  They looked totally fabulous for their shoot, and with Laura having modelled in the past it was a treat to shoot them.  She was a total professional despite it being SO cold and wet.  We were shivering under the arches most of the time but her smile was gorgeous, real and infectious. I offer a complimentary engagement shoot with every wedding package.  It only takes an hour or so and is a great opportunity to get to know each other better and for a couple to get used to being in front of the camera so that by the wedding day the whole experience feels a lot more natural.

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Loving oysters

I was having supper at my favourite place in London to have oysters the other night, Tom Conran's Irish Pub, The Cow on Westbourne Park Road and it reminded me of a set of images I took earlier in the year at The Jersey Oyster Company which I hadn't got around to posting yet.  My family are from Jersey and my uncle is involved in growing oysters.  He took me down to the oyster beds where the oysters are placed in metal bags and held to the beach in order to be subjected to the tides.  They are later taken to the grading shed and packhouse behind my grandparent's house in St Martin with the larger oysters retrieved and the maturing oysters returned to the bags for further growth.  It's a fascinating process and quite labour intensive.

Chris + Meghann's Wedding on Barra (Outer Hebrides)

During quieter times I like to make the most of my destination weddings and so a wedding in Barra, the Southern most island of the Outer Hebrides, became a week long road (and boat) trip for me and mum in early June.Chris and Meghann are Americans who somehow found my details and got in touch. As a MacNeil, Meghann wanted to celebrate her Scottish heritage by marrying on the Isle of Barra, at the seat of the MacNeils, Kisimul Castle; situated on a tiny island in the bay of Castlebay. Given the journey involved getting from Pasadena where Chris and Meghann and their families live to Barra it was close family only.You can fly to Barra (it is the only airport in the world that has scheduled beach landings!) but mum andI decided we had time to take the slow route which involved me collecting her from Inverness airport (she coming from Gatwick, me coming from Inshriach House’s folk festival Insider, a little worse for wear) and driving to Oban for the 7 hour ferry crossing to Barra’s Castlebay. With only about 1600 residents, island life is a little different to life on the mainland. Our B&B (Tigh Na Mara Guesthouse) host looked quizzically at us when we requested keys for our rooms, ‘you won’t need those here’, he assured us. How refreshing.I joined the family for the rehearsal on the tiny castle out on the bay and the wind and rain whipped around us. The next morning however, the sky was blue and the waters calm. I loved the intimacy of a wedding of only 11 people (including the bride and groom) and the setting couldn’t have been more picturesque. It was a joy to spend time with them and their lovely families and they invited me and mum to join them for the wedding meal at The Castlebay Hotel that evening after I had stolen them away for a half hour for some informal shots on the beach. After honeymooning in Italy they are now back in the US and have a summer of celebrations to share their marriage with wider friends and family.

Alice Mary Lynch - Dollmaker

Alice and I went to primary school together in Somerset many, many years ago.  As the daughter of two artists (James and Kate Lynch) creativity was in her blood and she was so obviously talented.  It was no surprise that she combined art with fashion and went on to work for John Galliano/Christian Dior followed by designing for Sonia Rykiel.  She bumped into my parents recently which prompted me to get in touch and check out what she has been doing.  It's so utterly gorgeous and unique that I had to share it.

Now living in Paris she takes inspiration from the fashion world combined with travel to create bespoke, personalised hand-made dolls created from the stories of the client commissioning the doll as well as personal keepsakes such as ribbons, fabrics and momentos.  She makes dolls for occasions such as births, marriages or just as a beautiful gift.

Alice says:  "I love imagination and humour, people who have their feet on the ground whilst dreaming, the poetry in everyday life.  I like a certain vulnerability whilst standing strong, 1930's cabaret, dark, shiny and mad, and silen films.  I like the circus, the colours when the lights go down, the trapeze artist making an entrance.  I like it behind the scenes, there are stories there, and toys and childhood, and history on our doorstep."

If you want to commission a doll from Alice, you can find more information at her website, blog or Facebook page.  All photographs taken by Alice or Sakura Fischer.