Thursday, 31 July 2008

A Much Needed Revamp !

So, notice anything different? LOL I certainly hope so :)

I finally managed to find some time to get around to looking at my site and blog. I do all my own design and that, in itself, has been my downfall in the past - I am not a designer (well, that's obvious, I hear you cry) but decided in my infinite wisdom that I would design my own business "store front". I looked ok for a while, but I felt it was starting to look dated and needed a revamp.

I decided to go with a crisp, white site, with some beautiful images to really set it off. I found the new font (my name) in photoshop and absolutely love it, it is very "me". The word "photographer" emphasises that the business is solely and exclusively owned and run by me, no team, just little old me !

I hope you like the changes ... there are more to come, with new galleries of some beautiful images I have taken over the last year to 18 months - it's always good to keep work up to date, right? So I do hope you will check back and let me know what you think as it all comes together.

And you will let me know if there are any typos, right? RIGHT?

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Fun in the Sun with Models ... and lots of Cameras !

Being a full time photographer is often a lonely existence ... spending many hours alone, processing client's images, dealing with e-mails, blogging, all of that, alone in front of a pc (boo hoo, I know LOL), but on occasion it is great to be able to get together with other photographers to have a bit of fun. That is exactly what I did on Sunday - I arranged for a bunch of us to meet up in Birmingham, at the Bar Estilo in the Maibox, for lunch then on to shoot a couple of models we had arranged. One of the models, Ellie, you have seen before, but we needed a "bride" and so Steve Sutton jumped in at the last minute with a friend of his, complete with designer wedding dresses - yuuuum.

I had expected to just shoot while there, but as there were some photographers who wanted to know how I did certain things, I wound up talking, a LOT (sorry guys haha). We looked at various locations (after getting moved on from the Mailbox - sheesh) and found a little oasis in the middle of the city - the tower and portico of St Thomas's church and an adjacent peace garden. The sun was shining so we had a lot of fun with light and shadow. Ellie and Laura were absolute stars and even managed to work in all that heat (hitting 30 degrees at one point) - thanks girls :)

One of the photographers posted to his blog and had some lovely words to say about me, too (blush).
My thanks to all who made it ... one of whom made a 10 hour round trip just to listen to me !!

Here are some favourites from the day ...
Ellie ...

Laura ...

Steve ...

This guy managed to sleep through the entire shoot ... LOL

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Mid Life Crisis ...

At least, that's what I am beginning to wonder about my husband ... as he nears his half century next year, he is getting a little more crazy every day ! LOL

While I was down in Kent this weekend, he was off to buy a new toy ... I knew about it, of course (he's not THAT crazy JUST yet !) but unfortunately I wasn't around to go look at it and help him pick it up. He has been after one of these things for a couple of years, but only recently seriously got around to researching the different makes and models, second hand prices, etc. Of course, the price of fuel was not a consideration, these puppies don't get much to the gallon, no matter which model !

And so, I give you ... the new toy ... (drum roll ... actually, when you see it, dueling banjos might spring to mind !!) ... the Ford Ranger pickup truck !

OK, so I got to play with photoshop a little, something I don't get to do enough of (yeah, probably overdid it here and there haha) but the truck is pretty cool, it has a load of bull bars and lights, scrummy big wheels and is a king cab, which means there is more space in the back, but the rear seats are a joke - you will NOT catch me perched on those things !

So, Johnnie, enjoy ! Oh, and for the next mid life crisis, any chance of a Lamborghini?? :)

Monday, 28 July 2008

Wedding Day for Sarah & Mark

This particular blog post has a bitter sweet taste to it for me and will touch on sadness as well as joy, so bear with me.

I received a communication from a dear friend (and fellow photographer), David Pearce on Friday morning to tell me his little baby son, Oliver, had died suddenly. The shock and sadness that came from reading, and re-reading, that information is still tangible. On a practical note, David had a wedding booked for the Saturday, in Kent, and so he was asking me if I could find someone to help him. I am a member of a wonderful photographic community, the DWF, and so of course I immediately started to ask if someone was available. Long story short, as I was free, I decided that I would dearly love to help David out. Another friend and fellow photographer, Helen Bartlett, said she would work with me, a huge relief.

I travelled to Helen's home in Cambridge on Friday night to collect her and we then stayed at her parent's home in Blackheath, London, a mere 45 minutes drive to the first location for shooting the next morning. We shot the preps in our own unique styles, then headed off to Upnor Castle in Maidstone for the ceremony. David was there to shoot the ceremony and it was a wonderful opportunity for me to give him huge hugs ... there are absolutely no words that can be said in this situation, what can anyone say, after all.

David shot the ceremony while I took a break, then we carried on with some formals and bride and groom shots. The venue was beautiful, the guests all soaked in the wonderful sunshine and drank champagne on the terrace. I managed to get up onto the castle turrets to take the large formal shot, but I think there may be a few worried faces in that photo - I was well and truly precariously balance, I can tell you ! LOL

David went off home to be with his wife, Sarah and other son, James, so Helen and I headed off to capture the speeches and evening goings on. We managed to have some more fun with Sarah and Mark and their bridal party too :)

Here are a few of my favourites from the day ...
The preps and some detail shots ...

Waiting for Sarah to arrive at the Castle ...

After the ceremony ...

One of their guests was being "ribbed" for looking like a famous person, so he pretended to be being "papped" LOL

The speeches ...

Fun with off-camera flash ...

Helen ...

David ...


Here is a beautiful photo of Oliver, taken by David minutes after he was born last August (it would have been his first birthday on the 9th) with proud Mum, Sarah. To read the story of his birth through David's writing and photos, click here for the blog post.

Finally, I would like to add ... David, Sarah and James, my heart and my thoughts are with you during this terrible tragedy ... may you find strength in each other and those around you to get through.


Thursday, 24 July 2008

A Great Assistant ...

I have been spurred to write this post by 2 things ... the first was a list I got sent on the requirements of a good wedding photography assistant, the second was a photo that landed in my inbox this morning, but more on that later ...

As many of my current clients know, I usually have an assistant with me on the day ... these may be people who want to go out and learn something to improve their "hobby" skills, or it may be someone out of my area who is looking to start their own photography business and wants to shadow me to see how it is done. I have 2 regular assistants who you have either seen or read about on here, Paul and Delphine, both of whom I trust on the day to help me get the job done smoothly and professionally. Thanks guys :)

So, here are a few requirements for a great assistant ...

- they know where I am at all times and don't get in my way or in the way of the shot

- they don't panic when the going gets stressful

- they don't mind being my cart horse or servant for the day (meant in the nicest possible way !)

- they know my kit bag as well as I do and can pre-empt what lens and camera body I might need next

- they let me know how many shots are left in my camera when they hand me it and know when to swap the cards out, filing the filled cards correctly and safely

- they are fabulouos people-herders when it comes to the formal shots and work well with the bridal party to get it all together

- they know how to hold a video light or flashgun off-camera - they are my human lightstands :)

In a nutshell, this is a very close-knit relationship on the day, we work well together and, because we have similar personalities, we all get along with my clients, something that is extremely important to me as this goes a long way to helping me produce great images on the day !

OK, the photo, then ... I have to admit that since I started my own business I have loved being the photographer, being the person who records the story unfolding on the day ... I used to assist and second shoot, years ago now, but have not done it for a while ... until, that is, Peter Prior (remember the Eastbourne blog post?) asked if I wanted to tagalong to a wedding he was shooting at one of my favourite, local venues, Sandon Hall. I was free (it was a Friday) and so I said yes !

I think I will stick to shooting from now on ... I was pretty bored (sorry, Peter) and I think this photo Peter sent me says it all ... I would have been stuffed without that iPhone :)

Monday, 21 July 2008

Wedding Day for Sara & James

Last Saturday found me at the beautiful Crewe Hall in Cheshire. A stunning location, combined with glorious weather and a fun couple assured us of a great day !

James has been calling a few times in the week leading up to the wedding, so I knew they were excited and definitely up for some fun with the photos ... that certainly came true and really shines through in the selection here :)

Sara got ready, surrounded by her family and girlfriends, at her parent's home ... I was trying out my new 85 mm lens and she was certainly up for some bridal portraits ... I had a lot of fun finding just the right locations and light in order to get her looking great (like she needed my help LOL)

Then it was off to Crewe Hall to meet up with James and his guys, before Sara arrived and the ceremony got under way. Now, there is a mortifying story I must tell ... I promise, if you book me for your wedding at Crewe, this will never happen again ! The ceremony was well under way and I went to position myself a little closer for the "kiss" ... I moved, stealthily, across the bay window, pushed myself back so as to be a little more discreet ... suddenly, there was an almighty noise reverbarating around the room ! The registrar clutched at his heart, I jumped a couple of feet in the air, the whole room, including the bride and groom, looked around in shock ... then all eyes fell ... on ME ! I had inadvertently knocked the controls for the rather heavy window blind which had started to come crashing down the window ! Well, suffice to say the whole room rolled around in fits of laughter, I was absolutely mortified, but, as Sara told me later, it relaxed their nerves and helped get them through the last part of the ceremony ... PHEW !

The rest of the day went as planned, with fun and games for the photos on the terrace, then off to the wedding breakfast for some funny, some poignant speeches. I was fearful for Sara's makeup a couple of times ... and James's face when the bridesmaids raffled off his X-Box will stay with me a long time LOL

So, here are a few faves ...

Sara and James, I would like to wish ou both a very long, happy marriage ... and I wish you continued good health, Sara ... you go girl ! :)