Friday, 31 October 2008

New Gadgets for posting !!

I downloaded some cool gadgets for my iPhone and thought it was time I tried them out ... the first is some software which enables me to post to my blog, so here I am ! The second is a very cool photo gadget which makes my iPhone photos look like they have been taken by various cameras, including a square format holga.

So, when Tess and I got back from our daily stroll, I took this photo and processed it as a holga shot :). Enjoy !

-- Post From My iPhone

Joining the best photographers in the World ...

Every year, and every week it seems, new photographers and photography businesses are springing up all over the UK, promising professional coverage of your special day. How do you, as a client, separate the true professional from the guy who went out and bought a natty new DSLR at the weekend and decided that wedding photography would be a great hobby for the weekends? The truth is, it's not that easy. Anyone can advertise in bridal magazines, online search directories, anyone can build a website and get some photos on there, making it look like they have been shooting professionally for years. So how does a true professional make themselves stand out in a saturated market?

For my part, I strive to produce consistent results week in week out. Each new wedding and portrait session I undertake receives the same, consistent level of professionalism and quality as the last ! I update my website galleries and blog with fresh photography. I make sure my products on offer are of a high standard with plenty of choice. But is it enough?

Well, the years I have put into building up my business seem to have paid off .... I have just had the honour of being accepted by the exclusive International Society of Professional Wedding Photographers (ISPWP). I'm in pretty good company there, with award winning names (to name a short few) such as Bebb Studios (Canada), Sean Flanigan and The Woods (USA) and DP Photography (London).

The society is committed to raising the standards in our industry and so membership is driven by strict requirements and is only permitted to those photographers who ...

  • have shot at least 50 weddings as the principal photographer (not as secondary/backup)
  • gain sponsorship by an existing ISPWP member (my thanks to Jesus Tirso of Decca Photography for this)
  • agree to undergo a complete website review
  • agree to operate their business in accordance with the Code of Conduct
  • have no unresolved complaints with the Better Business Bureau or other similar consumer protection organization
One of the most exciting aspects of membership is that I get to compete in quarterly competitions, judged by a panel of some of the best photographers on the planet ! They have just posted the results from the last quarter here so I have a few weeks in which to choose my submissions for the next quarter. Of course, I will post them here too :)

My thanks to Joe Milton, the founder of the society, for granting me membership to such a prestigious community, I look forward to being a part of it !

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Happy Birthday Richard !

Not a lot of people know that I am Stepmom to 2 boys, my husband's sons, Richard and Andrew. They're certainly not kids any more, with Andrew in his final year at Manchester Uni (studying maths, I mean, really, who would do that to themselves LOL) and Richard in his final year of apprenticeship as an electrician (trust me, that one comes in VERY handy haha).

Today, Richard (the eldest) turns 23 (remember being that young, guys? no, me neither), although when I texted him to ask what age he was (just checking) for the blog, he said 18 ... nice try, Richard, welcome to the wonderful world of getting old ! :) It wasn't that long ago that I was buying him his personalised number plate for his 21st (stepmoms get to buy the cool pressies !) - no, richard, no cool pressie this year, mate :)

Obviously I awsn't a part of the boys' lives until they were (I think) 8 and 11, so I missed out on all the yucky kiddy stuff and got to know them through the equally icky teenage angst years and now, latterly, in the cool, drive-us-to-the-pub years !

And so, without further ado ... a few photos ... just for the embarassment factor, you understand!

With Dad ...

Very cute :)

Happy Birthday, Rich ! Big hugs from Dad, Stepmom, Tig, Tom and Tess !!!

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Personal Post (Week 43)

October 26 is the 299th day of the year (300th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 66 days remaining until the end of the year. Wikipedia

This day in history ...

Wow, here we are on my last personal post of October ... I remember when I was a kid and we had 8 weeks off in the Summer, those 8 weeks seemed to last a lifetime, now? Sheesh, summer is well and truly come and gone, autumn is on the way out, fast, the clocks have gone back already and we are hurtling headlong into Christmas ! In fact, the Christmas adverts have started and are in full swing !!

So, this week finds us at Halloween, a "holiday" I deplore. Fireworks are the bain of my life, as my cats HATE them with a vengeance. It will certainly be interesting to see if Tess reacts the same way ... interestingly the usual bombardment of these awful creations should have already started, but thankfully this year they seem to be waiting until the actual holiday before beginning, thank goodness.

I shot my last wedding for 6 weeks yesterday, a truly intimate affair in a working museum (Erasmus Darwin Museum) in Lichfield. I had the rare treat of being able to take the bride and groom on walkabout for an hour around this historic town and will be blogging our adventures with some gorgeous photos in the next couple of days. I have a couple of portrait sessions booked in for November and a visit from my Mother to look forward to, but other than that the month has been set aside to get all my albums sorted, work on some marketing for 2009 and maybe take some time off to enjoy with my family (ie husband and animals) ... John gets pretty lonely on weekends while I'm working, so I intend to spend as much weekend time with him and the brood as possible before launching into my winter weddings in December :)

Tess is GREAT ! Honestly, we have the best dog in the entire world. She is a total sweetheart and loves everyone and every other dog she meets too. She is getting used to walking on the leash and has spent some fun time on Cannock Chase (where she gets her biggest, most tiring walks LOL). She is also growing at an alarming rate and her fur is changing to a lighter, prettier shade, she really is a gorgeous wee thing. The cats are still wary, but less so ... nuff said on that for now haha.

I booked a really cool wedding today for an Aug 09 wedding ... thanks Amanda and David ! I am really looking forward to getting the pre-wedding shoot sorted ... Nice in April, here we come !

So, another week gone ... here is my photo of the week ...

Have a great week 44 everyone !

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Bodacious Intimates Sesh !

I love it when women feel comfortable in front of the camera ... it's even better when they feel comfortable enough to swan around in various skimpy outfits (or less), feeling and looking beautiful and sensual!

Delphine asked if I could shoot some boudoir with her for her boyfriend's birthday ... backstory ... she made him take down his FHM calendar (LOL) and had recently lost a whole pile of poundage, so wanted to give herself something to record that and give him something to ogle over :)

(Don't worry, he doesn't know I have a blog haha)

She arranged for smoky makeup in the morning and arrived with tousled, sexy hair and big eyes ! However, as she is currently undergoing a lot of work on her teeth, the brief was that all shots were to be close-mouthed, so that's what we did.

The output is going to be a coffee table book (presumably a very private coffee table !!) and this first shot is for the front cover, the wording is Delphine's special request ...

A few more faves from the shoot ... enjoy :)

Monday, 20 October 2008

Roz & Phil - PWS - Sutton Park

Roz and Phil are getting married in December, at Packington Moor, a lovely venue nestled in the countryside. So it seemed only fitting that we shot their Pre-Wedding Shoot in the glorious Sutton Park, a parkland oasis in the middle of the civilisation that is Birmingham ! Roz reckoned she wasn't very photogenic, yeah right, haha, take a look at these lovely photos and try telling me that again !

The park was stunning, filled with golden, autumnal colours and we were very lucky with the weather. In fact, I clicked the last shot and it literally started to rain !

I decided to play on the autumn tones in my processing ... I hope you like them :) Looking forward to seeing you both in December !!

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Personal Post (Week 42)

The Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything is numeric in Douglas Adams' series The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. In the story, a "simple answer" to The Ultimate Question is requested from the computer Deep Thought, specially built for this purpose. It takes Deep Thought 7½ million years to compute and check the answer, which turns out to be 42. Unfortunately, The Ultimate Question itself is unknown, suggesting that it is more important to ask the right questions than to seek definite answers.

When asked to produce The Ultimate Question, the computer says that it cannot, however, it can help design an even more powerful computer (the Earth) that can. The programmers then embark on a further, ultimately futile, ten-million-year program to discover The Ultimate Question, a process that is hindered after eight million years by the unexpected arrival on Earth of the Golgafrinchans and then ruined completely, five minutes before completion, when the Earth is destroyed by the Vogons, to make way for a new Hyperspace Bypass.


So, today, my Sunday started off, quite quietly and serenely, in the back of a police car ...

In other weekly news ... it has been a completely manic week, with scenes akin to Playschool here and there in the house, as I prepared for today's Autumn fayre at Crewe Hall. There was a fantastic turnout and so thankfully I had my assistant Delphine working with me - we were so busy at times I would not have been able to speak to everyone myself ! Thanks so much to everyone who dropped by ... thanks to those who booked and I look forward to meetings with those who wanted something a little more private !

Tess is doing really well. She is enjoying walks, long ones with Dad down on Cannock Chase (actually, it's been tough keeping her awake after that one LOL). She absolutely ADORES people, of all makes and shapes, new or old, and they love her right back. John quipped that he "knew he was in for a day of it" when he parked up at the Chase and noticed a woman pulling out of her parking space ... as soon as Tess jumped out of the truck, the woman stopped her car and came over for a quick Tess-cuddle !!! That set the scene for the rest of the walk, apparently. She is great with other dogs, even those off-leash and doesn't mind how big they are, which is great ... who wants a scaredy puppy, after all !

Tom and Tig are getting there, slowly ... nothing much to report on that front, they are little old men, after all ... apart from Tig getting locked in the living room the other night and bashing the door to let us know ... at 3am !!! LOL

So, no photos this week, been faaaaaar too busy with albums and prepping for the show ... however, I did manage to squeeze in a totally cool boudoir session, more soon.

For now, have a great week 43 ...


Oh right ! The police car. Well, let's just say I was in a hurry to get to the fayre and, well, my car is pretty powerful and smooth and, well *squirm* ... nuff said.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Autumn Bridal Fayre - Crewe Hall - 19th October

I haven't had the opportunity to exhibit at many fayres this year but I have been really looking forward to this coming Sunday's, being held at Crewe Hall in Cheshire, an absolutely stunning venue with grounds to die for !

I've got some stunning new albums to show, all with weddings from this year, so nice and fresh, some new booth photos and a special offer for anyone booking wedding photography before the end of October (this is open to anyone, not just those who come to see me on Sunday !) Here is the handout for the fayre :)

This year, instead of directing you to my website, I have funky handouts, including a DVD slideshow set to music which you can take home and enjoy. I'm hoping to have internet access so we can pop onto the website to take a look while we chat about your day ...

I hope you get the chance to drop by ... my booth is located in the new glass extension just before the corridor to the bistro .. come see me then go have a glass of wine !

Monday, 13 October 2008

Kerry & Gareth - Baden Hall - 4th October

I had the privilege of shooting Kerry and Gareth's wedding ... on my birthday :) I arrived at Kerry's parents (after dropping Matt off at Gareth's) to be presented with a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a birthday card, complete with lovely personal message from them both ... to say I was moved would be an understatement !

Kerry was a nervous wreck shortly before heading off, although her girlfriends were keeping her laughing and filling her full of vodka LOL With her hair and makeup all done to absolute perfection, it was time for the off ... to meet an equally nervous Gareth !

The ceremony was beautiful and for a nice change Matt and I were granted access all areas ... a real treat ! We came out to a drop of rain, but that could not dampen anyone's spirits and the guys were good sports, standing out in the rain for every photo opportunity.

Baden Hall was, as always, gorgeous, the guys' accessories and choice of flowers, favours and cake were classy and understated, very much the theme of the day :) The speeches were a huge laugh (in fact, I think I have a photo of Matt shooting and laughing at the same time somewhere haha) which made it fun to shoot !

So, as always, a few faves from the day ... thanks for the lovely birthday, Kerry and Gareth, and best wishes to you both for a long and happy future together ...

Preps, nerves and a champagne flute filled with vodka ...

Ready to get hitched !

Romance and fun at Baden Hall ...

Fun friends and hilarious speeches :)

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Personal Post (Week 41)

October 12 is the 285th day of the year (286th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 80 days remaining until the end of the year. Wikipedia
It's funny how quiet the house is this week, with just me and the pets most of the time ... that said, Delphine came down on Monday and Tuesday to help me with some album designs (she totally rocks at those!!!) but we were both holed up in the 2 offices and so it really didn't feel as manic as last week and the weekend.

Albums are top of the agenda at the minute ... with so many weddings this year hardly unexpected, right? Here is a slideshow of Claire and Mark's (my design, this one) which has gone to print ... this is a digital album (the images are the page, type thing) and I have also ordered a replica sample album for myself, can't wait to see them :) Enjoy !

A big week for Tess this week (and us, of course) ... final injections on Monday, which meant a long trip in the car (vets), then out and about with me Wednesday (getting used to car travel) and again Thursday (fitted for a collar and got a new bouncy ball as a treat!) ... we had to wait 5 days for her injections to really kick in before being able to take her out, nightmare as she is so full of beans and needs a bigger outlet than the back garden ! She is growing at quite a pace ... some more recent photos ...

I ordered a canvas for the dining room (above the piano) of this one ... there are 2 face canvases of the cats and one of me in my wedding dress (a la Jerry Ghionis) so the only missing person is John ... oh well, he's here in person if not in canvas LOL

Tess is loving her new collar, in fact she got used to it right away ... actually, she is very accepting of most things and we are very pleased with her progress and how she is settling in ... delighted, in fact ! We skyped Belfast Friday night, which was fun, she got to completely ignore my parents LOL, far too busy chasing the cat toys around the room to worry about someone trying to get her attention on the computer !

Isn't she beautiful? Sigh ...

John has decided she is old enough for beer ... Tess isn't quite so sure :)

The cats are still wary, but I am sure they will get there in the end ... as a reminder that I do actually have cats, remember Tig? haha

Well, that's this week over ... I finally got my birthday pressie picked up from John today ... a new HD DVD player which is currently hooked up playing Dr Who DVD's (complete first 3 series ... thanks Mum) with HDMI cabling and EVERYTHING ... WOW WOW WOW !!!

Stay posted over the duration of this week ... a wedding, an e-session and a bridal all to come !


Louise's Glam 30th Birthday Shoot - Moat House

Louise called me a few weeks ago to ask if I could come and do some portraits of her and her husband right before her 30th birthday party, to be held at the Moat House in Acton Trussell ... she was having her hair and makeup done and would be in a glam frock, so she wanted to record the occasion !

Matt and I arrived and had a glass of champagne with Louise before we headed out to catch the sun as it was going down ... the light was absolutely beautiful and so we just couldn't resist a bit of play with sunflare.

Once the sun went in, the chill came out to play, so we headed indoors and set up some candles, throwing a warmth into the photos ... Louise has the most beautiful skin and her eyes were shining, making for some gorgeous portraits.

Here are a few of my favourites from the shoot ... enjoy !

The inspiration for the sillhouette shots comes from Matt's Se7en series, a good example is this one on his blog ! Thanks Matt !