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Photography – one of the things that gets forgotten when planning a wedding

Tuesday, 25th November 2014

Written by Martin Neeves

D1894_273-wedding_reception in_Frankton_WarwickshireAs a wedding photographer I am aware that a great deal of thought goes into choosing a wedding venue.  However, one factor that I think is often forgotten in the venue choosing process is how practical it is for having wedding photographs taken.  I am not just talking about getting “fairy tale photos”. I often go to some venues and they are a photographer’s nightmare!  I will always endeavour to make the best of a venue, but I, along with many wedding photographers like to use natural light to avoid making your wedding look like the paparazzi have invaded with flash going off all over the place.  Also, available light looks far more natural than photos taken with flash.

Many wedding blogs cover the food, the style, the space, the geography, parking, power outlets for the DJ, colour, and the view, but few mention lighting or the photographic possibilities.  Talking to other photographers I realised that it is probably only something that is considered on the day or afterwards when the photos look gloomy.

Your wedding photos will stay with you and will be looked at for the rest of your lives - so you want them to look amazing. You will have a beautiful dress and a good photographer, but a stunning backdrop can complete the overall picture.  That said most photographers know that if they take good photographs that flatter you then the background is less important.  In fact, I would go so far as to say that you can have the best backdrop in the world but it can be ruined by poor photography.

A professional wedding photographer will be equipped with lighting for the “set-piece” photos.  But as I said, will you want flash and lighting sets glaring in yours and your guests’ eyes throughout the day?  Again, a professional photographer will have high quality lenses that are capable of capturing as much light as possible – you will see that they are bigger in diameter than an amateur lenses.  There are also some other tricks we can deploy, but I always think that photography should be one of the factors that should be considered during the decision making process for the venue.

So what sort of thing can be a problem?

Some historic venues that I have been to are very dark inside.  They have little natural lighting and utilise candles (or artificial candles).  While this may create a romantic atmosphere, such deliberately poor lighting will severely limit the options for your photographer.  I like to capture spontaneous images, often when people are in mid movement, so poor light restricts the manner in which I can record that spontaneity.  I can (and regularly do) work in extremely low light, but even I have a limit when I am forced to reach for my flash.

The most gorgeous rooms can look drab if they are badly lit.   However, dim lighting can make a very plain room look atmospheric, until the photographer takes a photograph with flash and exposes the tatty nature of the décor that was hidden in the dim light.  At one particular wedding venue I know, they keep the lighting so low that it is difficult to see expressions on the wedding guests' faces, making it difficult for me to know when to take photos at the "decisive moment".

On the subject of lighting, it is amazing how it can transform or destroy the mood and the space.  I always advise to visit the venue at the time of day you are getting married.  Is the sun going to blind all those sitting opposite the windows.  Photographing people who are squinting because they are being blinded by the sun does not make for a great photo.  Also, has the Hall got enough light, besides the problems for the photographer, who wants to spend 4 to 8 hours in a gloomy room?   

I have also photographed weddings where the venue itself is fine, but the options for the “set piece” photographs are severely limited.  The back-drop of a dual carriageway or some other unattractive view, the other side of what should be an ideal location makes for some cramping of the photo opportunities.

Some venues have the capacity to host multiple weddings or receptions at the same time.  I think it is a shame when two brides bump into each other at the venue, as each bride wants to be the centre of attention, but it is not uncommon for that to happen at such venues.  This can also lead to competition or queuing for the prime spots to get your “unique photographs.   Also, you may visit a venue during a special event when it has been really given a makeover.  Will all the decoration still be there when your wedding is going to take place?

When you visit a venue, think about the opportunities for photographic locations that are available. It is fine having some beautiful gardens, when you look at it is the spring or summer, but in the autumn or winter they are a mess.  Also, some parts of private house wedding venues may seem like great photo locations, but they are out of bounds because the owners keep some beautiful bits to themselves and don't allow public access.  On that subject, some priests, vicars and registrars will not allow photography during the wedding ceremony, so it is essential to check before making a booking.

Apart from the choice of wedding venue, much consideration should be given to the time of day for your wedding ceremony.  In the spring or summer you will have plenty of choice as you will benefit from long days with plenty of daylight until late into the day.  When the clocks are turned back for autumn and winter however, the daylight starts fading from 2pm onwards, so I would advise you to have your ceremony as early as possible to maximise the daylight and to give your photographer a fighting chance.

If you are dead-set that you want a particular venue that you think may challenge the photographic skills  photographer, then make sure you get a good professional wedding photographer who has a track record working a in a wide range of environments.  

If you would like to see more examples of my reportage wedding photography, please FOLLOW THIS LINK to view my full portfolio or CONTACT ME if you wish to discuss your wedding photography.  Alternatively, you could just give me a call on 07973 638 591 or on 01455 271849.

Here are some examples of how I am able to adapt to varying lighting conditions to produce great photogaphs of your wedding:

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East Midlands Best Wedding Photographer Regional Finalist

Friday, 31st October 2014

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I am delighted to announce that I have been declared an East Midlands regional finalist for the Best Wedding Photographer section of The 2015 Wedding Industry Awards.

Although I didn't enter the 2014 awards, I was a regional finalist in the 2013 Wedding Industry awards too, so it is great to be recognised as one of the best wedding photographers in the East Midlands again.

The competition is stiff as the Best Wedding Photographer category is one of the most hotly contested in the competition.  I would like to say a huge thank you to all the couples whose wedding I photographed this year who voted for me.  

If I win the regional section I will go through to the national finals for the Best Wedding Photographer section.  So, fingers crossed...

If you want to have your wedding day captured by an award-winning wedding photographer, then contact me at Martin Neeves Photography or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591.

Behind the scenes with Martin Neeves Wedding Photographer

Wednesday, 29th October 2014

Written by Martin Neeves

D2507-6-Leicestershire-wedding-photographer-Martin-Neeves Have you ever wondered what a wedding photographer gets up to behind the scenes before, during and after your wedding?  Your experience of the wedding photographer is probably limited to 2 or 3 face-to-face meetings with the photographer:

  • At a wedding fair
  • The booking meeting
  • At the wedding 

At the wedding you see the photographer looking like a swan (some may say more like an ugly duckling!) swimming serenely around your wedding – but how do they manage this without looking like they are swimming frantically below the surface.  Most wedding photographers have a well-tried process or system to ensure that they are well prepared and unlikely to be caught unawares on the important wedding day.  I certainly have mine, so I thought that I would tell you about it.

For me it begins at the meeting with you, where I make sure that I fully understand what you are expecting and how we are going to achieve this.  This is very important for me because, the original booking may be made between 6 months to 2 years ahead of the event (although I have just had some enquiries for 3 years ahead!).  Once this is agreed, then my process kicks in:

About a month before.  We will have a telephone conversation (which typically lasts around an hour) to discuss the itinerary for your big day, as I will need to know exactly what is happening at what time and where.  It is also a good time to discuss any special requests for posed group shots that you may have.  While the majority of photos I take at weddings are candid (as I specialise in reportage wedding photography), I am happy to take a small number of group shots.  Lastly, we can discuss any logistical issues such as car parking or any restrictions placed on me by the vicar or registrar.  

There is usually no need for a site visit before your wedding for venues that I have not been to before, as the majority of my shots will be reportage, so I will be following the action rather than having you and your guests following me for a day-long photo shoot.  I can easily find a suitable spot on the day for the small number of posed photos that you may request.

The day before.  I prepare my equipment very carefully as I don't want it to let me down.  This will include making sure that all my batteries are fully charged.  As I use DSLR cameras, I need to ensure that I have more than enough memory cards.  I always make sure that I have more spare cameras, lenses, memory cards and batteries – I work on the principle that something could fail and I do not want to be embarrassed.  For me the day before is like an inventory check – what do I need – have I got it – does it work?

I also check all the cameras and equipment to ensure they are working correctly.  I will check the sensors and lenses for dust spots and then I synchronise the clocks on all my cameras to ensure that all the photos end up in the correct order when I download them.

I also make sure that my car is filled up with fuel, the last thing you or I want to do is run out of fuel on the way to the wedding.  Finally, I make sure my shoes are clean and a shirt is ironed as (unlike many wedding photographers these days), I always wear a suit to weddings as i believe it is polite to look smart - plus it enables me to blend in with the guests more, which helps when taking candid photos of them.

On the day.  I arrive at the venue where the bride is getting ready at least 40 minutes before the time I am booked to arrive.   This allows for any traffic delays and it also gives me a chance to eat some sandwiches in my car before I start work as the bridal preparations often take place over lunchtime and if I don't eat then, it is likely to be  a long time before I can eat again.  If the bride is getting ready at the wedding venue, I usually take some general views of the the building and grounds before going to find the bride as it helps to set the scene for the day.

For me the day is broken down into several elements or phases:

  • Any photographs of the bride and groom preparing for the day.  This can make my life interesting as they are likely to be in 2 different locations, and possibly not near the wedding venue.  I normally spend around 45 minutes taking photos of the bride getting ready.  I obviously slip out of the room for 5 minutes when she needs some privacy to get into her dress before being called back in to take some shots of the dress being buttoned or laced up.  If the groom is getting ready at the same venue I can take a few shots of him then too, but there is usually a lot less to photograph of the his preparations than of the bride and her bridesmaids!  Often I just catch up with the groom at the wedding venue 30 minutes before the start of the ceremony to get some shots of the groom and his groomsmen as well as of the guests arriving.  It also give me a chance to introduce myself to the vicar, priest or registrar.
  • The ceremony.  This may be a church, a registry office, in someone’s garden or a venue where everything is going to happen.  This may be indoors, outdoors, or a combination of both.  I am normally allowed to take photographs very discretely from the front (without flash) throughout the ceremony, however some vicars and registrars place some pretty heavy restrictions on photography during the wedding ceremony (ranging from only being allowed to take photos at certain parts of the ceremony such as during the hymns, to not being allowed to take any photos at all), so it's always best to check well in advance to avoid disappointment on the day.
  • The Reception.  This typically starts with a drinks reception and it is a good time for you to chat with your guests.  It is also the time when I would take any posed shots you request, but I always advise to keep these to a minimum to stop your guests getting bored and to allow you more time to enjoy the company of your guests.  Then it's time for some food.  This may be called a wedding breakfast, lunch, supper, feast or party.  But this is likely to have a meal, dancing and partying.  These events are all different, but they are all great photo opportunities, but they require me to be on the ball to capture that one-off happening that may only last for a few seconds.  My years of working as a press photographer have equipped me with the fast reactions necessary to all those special but oh-so-fleeting moments.  I usually eat my meal at the same time as the guests eat theirs as there is no point in my taking photos of them with mouthfulls of food, however I carry on working between courses as there are some great photos to be taken then.
  • The speeches.   These are often at the end of the meal, although some couples have them at the start of the meal or even between each course, although this can can cause timing issues for the caterers.  The speeches can make for some great photos - especially the groom's reactions during his best man's speech!  The speeches are often followed by the cutting of the cake.
  • The First Dance.  I often set up extra lighting to get some really atmospheric shots of the first dance.  My coverage usually ends after the first dance, although some couples ask me to stay a little longer, which is not a problem.  I am happy to stay as long as required.

f6d803bae00421bf07d3817eb527a036 After the event.  On the day I always try to get back to my base to secure the cameras and memory cards.  Ideally, I like to upload the contents of the memory cards to my computer so I have effectively got an immediate back up.  In reality I take several back-up copies on external hard drives as an insurance policy. 

As it will have been a very long working day, I will then go to bed.  

After the event I then start processing the images.  Firstly, I edit the photos to choose the very best shots of each different subject.  I take all images in Raw format.  Raw format is unprocessed and captures the maximum amount of image data from the camera sensors.  Unlike JPEG which compresses data and loses some.  I want to have all the data so I can give you the best final image.   This is called optimising the images, so I can give you the best images possible.  This post-production work takes around 3 whole days (often more) to complete in order to produce photographs of professional standard.  CLICK HERE to see the difference that optimisation will make to your wedding photos.  Before completing the optimisation of all the photos, I usually optimise a small selection of photos to put up on Facebook to give the couple a sneak peek of their wedding photos.  The resulting photos then have to be archived, uploaded to my password-protected web-gallery, written to either DVD or a USB stick and a slideshow has to be made.

The Wedding Album.  If you have ordered an album, you will then choose which photos you would like in your album and send me the list of reference numbers.  It takes me around a day to design your wedding album before sending you a PDF preview for your approval, after which the order can be placed with the album manufacturer.

In conclusion.  I hope this gives you some idea of the amount of work that goes into recording your special day.  I believe that all the planning is what you deserve.  I have heard so many tales of woe where photographers failed to provide adequate photographs or turned up at the wrong venue.  I like to minimise the risk of something going wrong.

If you want to have your day recorded in an empathetic and artistic way with reportage photography, then contact me at Martin Neeves Photography or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591.

Reportage Wedding Photography “Like What I Do” – What’s That You Ask?

Wednesday, 22nd October 2014

Written by Martin Neeves

D2334-174 Some couples have either with a strong idea that they want the conventional, posed wedding package, while others will saythat they just want “natural” photographs that tell a story and record the day.  I mainly get enquiries for the latter as I specialise in natural, unposed wedding photography.

The main issue with the conventional “posed” wedding photography is that the flow of the day is broken up with a number of “scripted and posed” photo sessions.  They cannot be described as photo opportunities, but the world comes to a halt while the photographer gets his wedding party mannequins grouped together and posed like artists dummies.  While this is going on, the guests stand there trying to look excited and getting in the way as they take their photographs.

The alternative is what I call “reportage wedding photography" – sometimes known as “wedding photojournalism” or “documentary wedding photography”.  The message is very much in the name(s).  This is much less intrusive; it may still involve a few of the conventional wedding shots, but the photographer will merge into the background taking shots as they happen during the memorable day. 

D2356-279 Instead of posing the bride and groom at the milestone times like cutting the cake; the photographer will be ready to get in a good position to get that unique shot.  For me, it is easy – my photo journalistic background allows me to spot photo opportunities and get great shots on cue.

A reportage photographer will capture those little memorable events that occur during the wedding.  BUT, and it is a BIG but, they will do it in a candid and unobtrusive fashion.

D2469-14Unlike the traditional wedding photographer who will tend to want to control the pace that he or she takes the photographs and the wedding will revolve around them.

 A reportage wedding photographer is going to understand that you will still want a few group photos.  This may be a brief series of photos of just the two of you, if you'd like that or perhaps “the family”.  But the important factor is that the formal photographs will be a subtle, but small part of the day.

But importantly, the photographer will remain unobtrusive and sensitive to the fact that it is your wedding day, and will make every effort not to interfere with your enjoyment of your day.  I feel very strongly that your wedding day should revolve around YOU, not me!

So I expect you are thinking that this “reportage photographer” is going to just point that expensive camera, take hundreds of random photos and click and see what comes out at the end.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The reportage photographer has to plan ahead, assess the lighting in the environment around them as the day unfolds and plan their shots.  They then have to be ready when the “perfect moment” occurs and get that perfect shot.  No, probably not a long lens and hide in the bushes, we are not paparazzi.  In order to truly “tell the story” the reportage photographer has to be right in amongst everything that’s going on, listening but being unobtrusive – it takes skill.  That artistic photograph that catches the atmosphere and moment often happens in an instance and the moment is gone.  You cannot then recreate it (or re-pose it).

Done well, reportage wedding photography will result in a great and unique album that will tell the story of the day.  It will provide a very memorable record that everyone will be able to relate to because it will be “your wedding” and not just like someone else’s. It may also mean a wider choice of photographs. So not about snapshots; the photographer still has to be aware of picture composition.

If you want to have your day recorded in an empathetic and artistic way with reportage photography, then contact me at Martin Neeves Photography or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591.

The Park Inn Wedding Show, Nottingham

Tuesday, 21st October 2014

exhibiting at Park Inn

This will be my fourth weekend in a row of exhibiting at wedding fairs as I will be The Park Inn Wedding Show, Mansfield Road, Nottingham, this Sunday (26th October) from 11am to 4pm.

If their last wedding show is anything to go by, it will be a very busy show.  As usual, I will be showing lots of reportage wedding photos in a rolling slideshow and in my fabulous demonstration wedding albums.

To book your FREE TICKETS, just call 0843 4444 554 and mention my name.  If you are getting married in Nottinghamshire, why not come along?  Go on, you know you want to!  ;-)

Prestwold Hall Wedding fair

Tuesday, 14th October 2014

I will be exhibiting at Prestwold Hall wedding fair (near Loughborough) this Sunday (19th October) from 12noon until 4pm.  I photograph many weddings at Prestwold Hall and it is one of my favourite wedding venues in Leicestershire.  The building and gardens are stunning, the food is always first class and most importantly, all the staff are lovely.  They really know how to look after their guests.

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As usual, I will be displaying lots of wedding albums (both modern storybook albums and traditional matted albums) as well as a rolling slideshow of reportage photographs.  Oh, and I'll be there, so if you are planning a wedding, it would be great to have a chat about your big day.  You won't be disappointed!

Here's the address:  Prestwold Hall, Prestwold, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE12 5SQ.

Catthorpe Manor Wedding Fair

Wednesday, 8th October 2014

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I will be exhibiting my wedding photography at Catthorpe Manor (near Lutterworth and Rugby) this Sunday (12th October) from 11am to 3pm at their wedding fair.

As usual, I will have lots of sample wedding albums on display as well as a rolling slideshow and I will be there to answer any questions too.  Entry is FREE and there will be lots of other excellent wedding vendors there too.

Catthorpe Manor is on Lilbourne Lane, Catthorpe, near Lutterworth, LE17 6DF.  If you are planning a wedding in Leicestershire, Warwickshire or Northamptonshire it would be great to see you there as this wedding venue is close to the border of all three counties.

If you can't make it to the wedding fair, but you would still like to discuss your wedding photography, please give me a call on either 01455 271849 or on 07973 638591 or you can contact me via my website.

Different ways of using your wedding photographs - from the Wedding Photographer Leicestershire

Monday, 6th October 2014

Written by Martin Neeves

martinblog I was listening to a conversation at a recent wedding and 3 of the ladies were discussing the different ways that the wedding photographs had been used by them and their friends.  One announced with a wicked smile on her face that she used it as a target on the dart board because she was divorced, but I thought that was a bit extreme.  Aside from target practice and the traditional methods of albums, frames and DVDs, none had anything more innovative to offer.  

As I was driving home from the photographing the wedding, my mind wondered around various ideas.  Here are some of the things that crossed my mind.

Wedding Photograph Album. Straight away I knew that there are many options for albums.  There are a wide range of albums available these days, ranging from budget to expensive.  I covered this is a previous blog about Wedding Album Choice, so won’t labour that point further. Suffice to say I offer some great albums.

Wedding Scrapbook.  This is a combination of an album and other memorabilia put into a scrap book format.  This can have orders of service, menus, garters, place name settings etc.  It can be a bit bulky and should be planned before the wedding so that correct items and photographs are collected on the day.

Wall Photographs.  Most wedding photographers can provide high resolution, large and small format photographs in a variety of frames to be hung on your wall. These can not only provide a decorative effect for your chosen room, but also act as a permanent reminder of your memorable day.  As one of my previous clients said, it allows me to remind him every day how lucky he is.

Print Canvasses.  These come in much the same format as the wall photographs, but are provided as high quality prints on canvas and look like a cross between a painting and a photograph.  They are usually printed on a polycotton canvas and mounted on a wooden mount stretcher.  A good canvas print will provide a real focal point for visitors to your house.

Framed Wedding Photographs.  These can be set on your mantelshelf, dressing table, side board or even on a wall.  You need to think carefully about the type of frame you are going to use.  These range from the conventional styles to some quite wacky formats.  They also come in a variety of sizes.

Multimedia Albums.  It is fairly routine these days for wedding photographers to provide their photographs in DVD format.  These can be then be displayed on TV, laptop, tablet etc.  If you are thinking of this, you need to discuss the fine detail before the wedding.  Some photographers will provide a set number of images on a DVD or USB stick and others will set it up as a real multimedia experience that is almost like a video.

I have seen many people who use these digital images as screens savers on PCs, Laptops, Tablets and Smartphone.  They can also be used on Digital Photo screens, acting like a slide show form of the Framed Wedding Photograph.   

Wedding Photographers Website. Some wedding photographers offer the service of not only viewing your wedding photos on their website (or third party websites) but also have a permanent page on the site.  There can sometimes be issues of about ownership of the photos and it is harder to get high quality images off these sites. But they do provide a great place for your family and friends to view the album before buying their copies.

Photo Montage.  Done well, a photo montage of your favourite shots can be a very effective piece of wall art.  My only reservation is that quite a few of the so-called photo-montages have just looked like a series of photos stuck on the wall – almost a bit DIY.  A good photo montage can look like one continuous image.

Pinterest.  Pinterest is a social media image website that is growing in popularity. Brides and grooms are more frequently displaying their favourite wedding photographs on this site.  But there is a factor many forget, they need to check the copyright issues about public display that their wedding photographer has in his/her terms and conditions. 

Novelty Wedding Photographs.  I have seen the following advertised in some websites:

>   Table mats.

>   Mugs.

>   Lap trays.

>   Wallpaper – a bit too cheesy and egocentric to my mind.

>   Facebook

>   Christmas card if near to the event.

>   Inside cupboard doors

>   Thank you cards

As you see there are quite a few different ways of displaying your wedding photographs.  All of which are better than using form target practice on a dart board.

If you want to find out how Martin Neeves Photography can help you if you are looking for ideas about  different ways of displaying your wedding photographs then contact me or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591.

Colwick Hall Wedding Spectacular

Thursday, 2nd October 2014

Colwick Flyer for FB

I will be exhibiting my reportage wedding photography at Colwick Hall Wedding Spectacular this Sunday (5th October) from 11am to 4pm.  Colwick Hall is a stunning country house hotel set in the beautiful Nottinghamshire countryside and they will be hosting this huge wedding fair, which is so big that they have called it a "Wedding Spectacular"!  If you are planning a wedding in Nottinghamshire, this is an event not to miss.  The full address is Colwick Hall, Racecourse Road, Nottingham, NG2 4BH.

You can Pre-Register FREE OF CHARGE by going to http://www.whoopevents.com/?p=2055 and once you've selected the number of tickets you want (ADULT MORNING or ADULT AFTERNOON only) just apply Coupon Code NOTTSFREE to reduce the price to zero. Then just go through the checkout to give us the email address to send your tickets to.

I hope to see you there!

Wedding Themes - Thoughts From The Hinckley Wedding Photographer

Tuesday, 16th September 2014

Written by Martin Neeves

D2463_157 We have all become used to the conventional wedding, where you turn up at the church or registry office, the bride wears white and we all sit down etc etc etc.  While most weddings are still conventional, there has been a growing trend over the past 20 years for “themed” weddings.  Some are quite tasteful but some verge on the bizarre.  The themed wedding ranges from decorative theming or wedding stationery, to the whole dressing up and role playing approach.

I was chatting to a friend and we got on to this subject and we came up with a very varied array of themes.  This led me to wonder just how many we could come up with.  Here are a few that came out of our discussion, perhaps you might want to think of a few more:

Colours.  This is a simple one; the whole wedding is themed around a colour.  It is really just a play on the conventional wedding but moves away from cream or white – not too adventurous.

Era.  This takes the form of a wedding inspired by a period in recent history.  I have actually photographed one that took its theme as the 1920s flappers.  All the guests joined in the fun.  A similar theme would be the Great Gatsby.  This also maintains the standard format we are used to for the wedding day, but gives a sense of style.  Done properly this can add a very high class style to the marriage day.

Pagan or non-mainstream religious wedding.  Some time ago I photographed a pagan wedding. I could “get that” because they were using the ceremony as part of their spiritual beliefs.  I guess you could argue quite strongly that this is not a themed wedding but just their style of wedding, but for me it was obviously something I had not been familiar with previously.

D2463_083 Period/ Historic Dress.  The next move in style uses more historic scheming, such as Tudor, medieval with all the period costumes.  Again this can be quite theatrical, but it can also stray into the more eccentric wedding style.

Cultural.  This is not the obvious situation where an Asian family wear their cultural dress.  No here the wedding take on a theme that is not of their culture.  This is where the theme takes on a more of a fancy dress, almost role-playing approach to styling.  

Beach Wedding.  This is again a US/Australian theme, but I do know that it has happened quite a few times in areas like Newquay in Cornwall.  Often this has been where either the bride or groom or both have been surfers. These weddings can be totally beach themed all the way through and the wedding celebration and reception all take part on the beach.  It would seem that this would only be appropriate for a mid-summer wedding as it could get quite chilly in the evening (or freezing in winter).  

Movie/ Game themes.  There have been a few wedding based on movie themes like Star Wars, Harry Potter, Shrek, Super Mario, Alice in Wonderland, and other Disney characters.  This is a cross between fancy dress, fantasy and fan worship.  If the theme is just a case of using themed decoration then it is just a conventional wedding.  But when the whole wedding party and guests adopt the theme it is definitely something else.  This is seen as being a “pop-culture” wedding theme.

Steampunk.  Now you might not be aware of what Steampunk is - it is a sub-genre of science fiction.  It features steam-powered machinery, usually inspired by 19th century industrialized Western civilisation.  It is inspired by Jules Verne and H.G. Wells and sundry modern authors.   It is a cross between fancy dress, Era theming.

Super heroes.  This takes the form of perhaps a particular super hero, say super man and super woman.  It can just be general super hero themed where the bride dresses up as Wonder Woman) and the groom Batman. Here are some of those themes

Zombies - The Walking Dead.  I have seen a few magazine articles showing this style of wedding.  It always seems a bit odd to me because a wedding is supposed to be a celebration and the zombie “culture” is about death.

Halloween theme.  I guess this might work if you got married on Halloween, but I am not sure how it works in May or June.  It seems to be mainly something that emanates from the US, I have not come across it in my 27 years of being a professional photographer.

Adventure/Hobby weddings.  There have been more and more weddings where the bride and groom have been keen on an adventure sport.  I have seen (but not attended or photographed) weddings that use sky diving, scuba diving, bungee jumping, climbing, abseiling and many others. This might make it more difficult for the wedding party to take part and photography might be challenging. 

In summary, I expect some of you will think I have made up some of these themes, but take a look at this site as an example – The Weirdest, Wackiest Wedding Themes Ever and you will see I am being quite conservative.

I must admit I have more experience in more conventional weddings, but would be more than happy to bring my skills to these unique events.

If you want to find out how Martin Neeves Photography can make your day memorable with a great album to look back on then contact me or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591.

Your Wedding Photographer Is Your Worst Enemy. 10 Ways to Defeat them.

Thursday, 4th September 2014

Written by Martin Neeves

enemyphotographer

If you are not careful your wedding photographer can become your worst enemy.  You have one shot at your wedding; you do not have the option of a reshoot.  It is not unusual to hear horror stories about the wedding photographer from Hell.  Google the term “bad wedding photographers” and you will see what I mean.  Stories about “the wedding photographer from hell” abound online and this can be for a number of reasons.  So the wedding photographer is going to be your worst enemy unless you plan the photography for your wedding fully and with the right photographer for you. 

1.   They will be bossy and steal the show.  Make sure you talk to them before the wedding and agree what will be photographed.  Let the photographer know the order of the wedding, when you want any posed photographs and where.  When you first meet them before the wedding, if they are very opinionated, drop them like a shot.  There are lots of bossy and shouty photographers, but that doesn't mean you have to book one for your wedding.

2.   They keep asking you what photographs you want AT the wedding.  Make sure you have met them before signing them up and check a few basic things.  How many weddings have they done before?  Can you speak to previous couples? Make sure you have discussed any posed photographs you want and those that they suggest.  A good wedding photographer will not be fussing around on the day “wondering” what he or she will shoot - especially if yours is not the first wedding they have ever done.  Make sure you get an experienced professional.

3.   The person who sold you the package is not the actual photographer on the day.  You arrive at the wedding and the person you met (and whose portfolio you were shown and loved) is not the person doing the job.  They have sent a substitute, the junior, the apprentice, a part timer or an amateur photographer.  Again, this is something that you need to be clear about when you agree the contract.  I would be worried if the person who does the “selling bit” tells you that they will not be the photographer on the day.  Otherwise, your brief will be relayed to a second person who was not part of the original planning meeting – they are then going to have to interpret a discussion they were not party to.  

4.   They want to do it their way.  They tell you what is going to happen and want to take wacky photos.  They ask the guests to perform all sorts of bizarre poses – granny might not thank you for being asked to make a fool of herself.  This comes down to making sure that you fully understand the photographic style that the photographer specialises in.  Styles can vary, but there are three main types typesReportage wedding photography (also known as documentary wedding photography, which is a very natural, un-posed and candid record of the day), traditional wedding photography (all formal posed shots) andcontemporary wedding photography (mainly posed, but more of a fashion shoot in style).  If you are “madder than a box of frogs” then fine you will find an off-the-wall photographer great fun.  But if you are expecting traditional wedding photography then make sure the photographer is not “madder than a box of frogs”.  Also, if you want reportage wedding photography, don't restrict your photographer by giving him or her a long list of posed photos as you will not be making the most of their skills.  Most will be happy to take a few posed shots for you, but you will get the best out of them by just letting them "do their thing".  If you really want lots of formal posed photos (and you are prepared to spend most of the day being directed by the photographer) then book a traditional wedding photographer instead.

5.   They dress like a tramp or out of synch with your wedding.  They are ultra-trendy or turn up in jeans and T-shirts.  What they are effectively doing is disrespecting you and your guests.  They are professional people and should dress accordingly.  It is definitely a point to be discussed with the photographer during the planning meetings. 

6.   They dump their kit in the middle of the floor.  They come with loads of bags and equipment that gets left in the middle of the floor or in the way of guests.  The venue, the church and everything has been decorated to complement your wedding then this disorganised lump goes and makes it look untidy.  Make sure they have somewhere to store equipment when it is not needed, even if it is in their car boot until they need it.  A good photographer will only bring the equipment they need to do each element of the job because they will have planned ahead, but if they do need extra equipment, they will leave it in a discrete place.

7.   They disrupt the wedding ceremony.  They use flash, make lots of noise, fidget with their camera equipment or move around intrusively during the ceremony.  A good wedding photographer will not want to do anything that will take the attention off the couple and the vicar, priest or registrar and they will work in a very unobtrusive manner at this most important part of the day.

8.   They take ages to deliver the photos.  It is obvious that you will want to see your photos wedding photographs as soon as possible.  Digital or conventional photographs require time to process and optimise, but make sure you agree a timetable with the photographer before the wedding day.  If they have a backlog of work (which can happen from time to time as weddings are seasonal), they should let you know and keep you informed of their progress.

9.   They quote a price for the wedding and then try to charge extra after the event.  This often happens when a photographer has not planned correctly or the client has not been clear about what their expectations are.  If the photographer does not provide a contract or agreement that details all aspects of the project, including the agreed prices, then do not get involved with them.  Obviously, if you ask the photographer to stay later than agreed or order a bigger album, you must expect to be charged more.

10.   They turn up late or at the wrong location.  It has happened, not occasionally but quite a few times.  A good photographer will confirm the exact venue, its location, the wedding timings and will plan accordingly. 

So to summarise, if you allow them to be, the wedding photographer can be your enemy.  However, if you engage a professional who understands your needs fully, then you will not have an enemy but a friend.  Plan well in advance, meet the photographer well ahead of the wedding and agree what is and isn’t going to happen on the day.  Above all, choose a photographer whose style of work fulfils your needs and whose personality is warm and friendly.  Do this and you will have a happy day.

 

martinneeves

If you want to find out how Martin Neeves Photography can make your day memorable with a great album to look back on then contact me or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591.

Wedding Photographs with Style - Wedding Photographer Warwickshire

Monday, 18th August 2014

Written by Martin Neeves

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You know that your wedding album should capture those precious memories of your big day.  But - BUT - BUT - BUTBUT - have you noticed you look through so many wedding albums produced by “professional photographers” and they all seem to look the same?!  Sometimes you look at the shots from wedding photographers and it seems that only the faces, dresses and people have changed.  The poses are all the same, the layout looks similar – it is as if the photographer works to a formula.  Now a formula assumes commons themes and variables – but I bet you want your wedding and it memories to be unique.  I despair when I see this because it is not only doing the bride and groom justice – it is lazy.  It is a "thumb up bum and brain in neutral" attitude and it is insulting to the couple.

You know what I mean by a “formula approach”.  For most couples and their families, the wedding ceremony is exciting, fun, emotional and everyone is full of joy.  Bride gets ready, bride arrives in car, bride walks up aisle with father, vicar does vows, bride kisses groom, pose outside wedding venue, reception, speeches, lots of laughter, a few tears, cake-cutting, first dance etc – etc…. At each stage, the traditional wedding photographer poses everything and gets a bit bossy (or extremely bosy and shouty in some cases!).  His/her whole needs must be met and can take hours out of your special day.  Every so often the whole proceedings grind to a halt while the photographer stages his/her next shot to “recreate” the ceremony and make those most "perfect" wedding photos.  The bride or the groom or others in the family just want to hug and share the joy of the day but they just can’t because of that fussy photographer.

It amazes me that this complete disruption to the special day is the accepted norm – “It’s just the way wedding days are”.  The photographs are pristine, stage managed and the wedding group looks like a bunch of shop window mannequins.  And yes, everybody will say the photos are beautiful and “what a lovely day”.  But if you take a close look at the faces they look nervous and uncomfortable.  Let's face it, if you ask someone to smile, they will never smile naturally.

But is doesn't have to be like this.  You can have a few traditional posed shots, but why not get some spontaneity into your wedding photos?  Why not make sure that the wedding photographer blends into your wedding - without you having to work in his photo session as pseudo fashion models?  Now there is a thought!  Why not hire a photographer who is going to produce some wedding pictures that have style, creativity and soul?  You will not just have a “nice” wedding album, you will have one that is full of memories and that is alive.

But how do you find that sort of photographer?  Well you will need to plan early to break out of the humdrum routine.  You have to find that photographer who understands that the wedding is about you and people who celebrate your memorable day.  It is not about a fashion shoot of “Barbie dolls”.  It is a happy memory that can be recalled forever.  

A documentary wedding photographer will be more unobtrusive and will not get in your way.  Your job is to enjoy the day - their job is to record it.  The wedding photographer should become part of the wedding - more like a professional wedding guest (albeit, with the skills and experience behind a camera that not many wedding guests will have).   I use a style called “reportage” where I bring that thought, creativity and flair to producing an album of photos that looks amazing.  By photographing you and your guests while you are enjoying yourselves, it ensures you look your best and it brings out the characters of all present.

Using this more creative approach to produce your treasured wedding photographs, means you will approach the process with great excitement and not trepidation.  That is because the wedding photographer understands that they are there to serve this wedding and to capture special moments when they occur.  Of course there will be occasions to “pose” for a picture but that does not mean bringing the wedding day to a halt.   My experience ensures that you will have an album of spontaneous, candid and stylish wedding photographs that are full of life – and they will be treasured memories.  I really can bring the day back.

If you want to find out how Martin Neeves Photography can make your day memorable with a great album to look back on then contact me or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591.

Remembering your wedding day in Leicestershire and Warwickshire

Friday, 1st August 2014

Written by Martin Neeves

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Your wedding day is a memorable day in your life, but it will be over so quickly.  The danger is that if you do not plan for it, your memories will become jumbled and a blur. One of the main way of keeping the memories alive is to have an album set of wedding photographs that really capture the day.

I know that it is important that whether your wedding day has a short ceremony or involves a late night reception, you will want to have beautiful photographs.  This will allow you to have memories that allow you to recall the little things that happened during the day.   Taken well, your wedding photographs can tell the story of your wedding day so that you can cherish your memories for ever

You will want to remember the first time your saw your bride walk down the aisle or your eyes met your husband’s after you had walked down the aisle.  Equally, when looking back on those epic photographs you will be pleased to see the smiles on faces relishing your important day.  Consequently, the wedding photographer needs to be one of the early booking you make.

It makes sense to book your wedding photographer early so that you get the right person for you.  Not only must you love their style of photography, but you must like them as a person, as you don't want to share your big day with someone that you don't get on with.  A bossy and shouty photographer can ruin a wedding day.  Remember, wedding photographers are often booked up well I advance, especially if they are good.  I have recently been taking bookings for 2016!

I have heard many brides and grooms being advised to try to slow down and enjoy the day.  The reality is it will seem to go by quickly. I have now photographed so many weddings that there are some things I feel help you put everything in its place and allow you the tie to enjoy the day both during and after the day.

Firstly plan everything beforehand and try have people responsible for everything that needs to happen on the day so you do not have to get involved.  There is growing trend for people to hire wedding organisers or planners, however, these are not really necessary.   If you feel that you do not want or cannot afford a wedding planner, then many brides and grooms to get their Best Man and/or Maid of Honour to be the trouble shooters on the day.  Sometimes it may be a sister or brother.  For this to work they need to fully understand what you want to happen so they do not make things upon the hoof that are not in accord with your wishes.  Also, don't get too obsessed with all the minute details on the day.  If something doesn't quite go to plan on the day, don't worry, just go with it and enjoy your day.

Secondly, those people who are necessary for the success of your wedding, like cake makers, caterers, vicars, wedding car chauffeurs, videographers and photographers should have a rough timetable for the day, with critical times highlighted.  Make sure they understand what their critical times are, but don't give them too many pages or irrelevant details, otherwise their critical information will be lost. Ask them what their contingency plans are for dealing with emergencies; for example will the photographer have extra cameras and equipment in case of equipment failure?  You would not expect my contingency to be my IPhone for wedding photographs if my primary camera failed, that is why I always bring back-up equipment.  Incidentally I have heard stories of wedding photographers having camera failure and resorting to using makeshift replacements.  This is unprofessional and disrespectful to you.

I hope that these thoughts will help you enjoy your day and have some splendid memories to help you look back with joy at your wedding photos.

If you want to find out how Martin Neeves Photography can make your day memorable with a great album to look back on then contact me or call me on 01455 271 849 or on 07973 638 591.

10 Quick Tips About Wedding Album Choice in the Leicester and Warwickshire Area

Monday, 21st July 2014

Written by Martin Neeves

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One factor in a wedding that often gets forgotten until too late or takes low priority or gets the “saving money” touch is the wedding album.  Do not forget that you remember your actual wedding day through your precious photographs. You will want to hold them close to your heart, but get it wrong and you could be filled with regrets later.

I thought it would be helpful if I set put 10 top tips to ensure you have great memories to look back on:

1.   Not creating a wedding album.  The album is the memory you have of the great day.  It is becoming more common for wedding pictures to languish online without proper presentation.  Don't make this mistake!

2.   Only having a CD of digital files instead of an Album.  After all you can print the photos when you want them and “printed albums are so yesterday”.  Great idea, but CDs do not last forever.  The first CD-R disc produced claimed to last in excess of 40 years. DVDR discs have a claimed life of at least 100 years.  The reality is that CDs tend to degrade after 10 to 15 years.  Also, you might not be able to read your CD photo album in a few years if technology ceases to be fitted with CD players.  Once printed the conventional album is there for life and longer.

3.   Making your own wedding album.   While top quality albums can only be purchased from professional photographers (as consumers can't buy them directly), some couples say they will buy and design their own album.  Although making your own wedding album can save you money, you will likely end up with an inferior product.  also, many couples who opt for files-only coverage find that life takes over after their wedding, so they never actually get around to designing their album.

4.   Not talking to your photographer about the Album.  This is a common mistake.  The initial meeting with your photographer to create your wedding pictures is only the first step in the final presentation of your wedding day.  You cannot agree totally what photographs will go in your album at this stage because you haven’t seen the final images.  So the important final step is to work with your photographer to create an album that will be a family keepsake for generations. Both you and your wedding photographer will have a specific vision of the results and process; make sure that they are aligned otherwise when the photographer shows you the final results they may not match your expectations.  The most appropriate presentation of your wedding photographs is a wedding album.  Talk to the photographer about the album options and what can be achieved with the different types of album.  Discuss with your photographer about creating an album.  Remember that each photographer will have their own unique style for designing wedding albums.

5.   What style and quality of album?  Think about what it is going to look like in 15 to 20 years’ time – or longer.  The style will reflect the class of the wedding.  The top line albums are library bound to give a better appearance.  Are the photographs embedded into the pages using professional print techniques or are they being put in an album under a thin film that keep peeling - peel and stick albums? Why would you want to unpeel the photographs later? – They are a permanent reminder.  I have seen albums produced by professional wedding photographers that look like they have been purchased at a department store (or in one case a pound shop) and after 3 or 4 years they look awful – some memory to keep for ever! Ring binder wedding albums or ones with removable pages look cheap.  Also the ring binders usually degrade and start releasing the pages, spilling your valuable wedding photographs on the floor in a heap.

6.   Attention to detail in album production.  I read this comment on an online blog by a lady after her wedding:  “I Would Prefer That My Name Be Spelled Correctly On My Wedding Album”.  She had seen loads of proofs before the album was produced but nowhere did the cover feature, even though it is an integral part of the album.

7.  "My photographer won't let me choose the photos for my wedding album."  It is impossible for a photographer to choose which photos are to be included in an album as he or she will choose on photographic merit alone as they will not know the relationships each couple has with their guests.  It is therefore important that couples choose which photos go into their album and then let their photographer design the layout for them.

8.   Does the photographer have some examples?  The photographer wants you to sign up to buy an expensive album, but does not have an example of a finished product.  This will allow you to feel the quality, or lack of it.

9.   What size and style of photographs will he/she produce?  After all you are looking for a bit of a wow factor and if all you are getting is 6 x 4 photos then you could go to Boots and get those.  Are they being optimised for print and produced on high quality paper?

10.   It’s going to cost me a fortune.  It is true that there is a wide range of prices for wedding albums, but it is exactly that – there is a range and you can still get quality for sensible prices.  Martin Neeves mainly uses 2 types of album, both of which look amazing.  These are Jorgensen Traditional Matted Wedding Albums and Graphistudio Storybook Wedding Albums – take a look at some examples.  

If you want to have a look at some sample albums I produce, please give me a call on 01455 271 849 or contact me by email

The Worst Advice I've Ever Heard About Choosing a Wedding Photographer in Leicester

Monday, 7th July 2014

Written by Martin Neeves

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How often have you heard a bride and groom say after their wedding that they are disappointed with their precious wedding photographs?  Sadly most couples only realise how important their wedding pictures are after the big day - it is then too late.   Comments like:

  • Our wedding photos are boring and lack emotion.
  • We spent all day being bossed around by the photographer, so we didn’t have time to talk to all our guests.
  • I waited ages for the photos.
  • I am now too embarrassed to show people.
  • It has made me hate my own wedding.
  • The photographs are horrible, dark and blurry.

The wedding photographs cannot be redone once the day has passed.  Too often the photographer is one of the lowest priorities in wedding budgets – after dresses, cars, flowers, cake etc.  This is a strange attitude, as after the wedding, your photos will be the only lasting memory of the best day of your life.  

To help you avoid the mistakes of others, I thought it would be useful to highlight some of the worst advice I have heard about choosing a photographer for your wedding.

1.  We have someone in the family (a mate down the pub – my cousin etc) who is a dab-hand at photography

Wedding photography is very different to taking photos of a subject you are passionate about.  More importantly, the difference between a great amateur shot and a professionally taken wedding photograph are streets apart.  

Maybe you have a brother/friend/cousin/uncle niece etc who just graduated art school, or an uncle who “has a great camera” or a mate who wants to get started as a professional photographer. As a great sweetener, they “will do it cheaply” or “for free”.  So what can go wrong?

  • They are not experienced at predicting and capturing candid moments.
  • They are not experienced at handling people professionally for any posed photos requested.
  • They do not have the correct equipment to do the job – it takes much more than a work-a-day DSLR with the slow lenses that they are normally sold with.
  • They do not have the appropriate lighting equipment or flash - or if they do have it, they don’t know how to use it correctly and they don’t know when to use and and when not to use it.
  • They do not understand the issues of lighting at a wedding – how to light in a darkened room etc, or more often, how to work with available light in extremely low light.
  • They are not experienced using their equipment under pressure so they spend the whole day trying to work their camera, while missing all those great moments that make up a wedding.
  • They do not know how to do-post production optimisation of photographs.
  • They do not use RAW image files.
  • They do not have back-up equipment in case of camera, lens or flash failure.

Think about it: If you're choosing a wedding photographer, then choose a wedding photographer.  Remember: Owning a great camera, doesn’t automatically make you a great photographer.

2.  She can do it at a great price and undercuts the competition by a mile

A good wedding photographer will:

  • Pay taxes
  • Be insured
  • Invest in high-end professional gear.
  • Take time to ensure high-grade post-production and printing.

So if a photographer is dirt-cheap, ask yourself “Where are they cutting corners?”.  To do a wedding shoot takes quite a few hours on location at the church or registry office or venue.  Then there is the Reception.  Coverage will usually take up the whole day.  When they have taken your precious photographs, they need editing and optimising to get them to a professional standard.  Then when you have chosen the photos for your album, the album layout has to be designed.  Each wedding represents a whole week’s work for a good professional photographer.

3.  They do occasional weddings as a fill-in

Wedding photography needs an experienced eye.  You do not you don't want the photographer using your wedding for practice or making basic mistakes. 

Planning to take photographs at a wedding needs precious thinking and a good understanding of dealing with the unexpected issues that will occur.  

4.  They do hundreds of weddings a year

Alternatively, if someone is shooting 100+ weddings a year – are they doing multiple weddings each weekend or hiring an associate to take the photos for them.  Be sure that if they do it all themselves that they can handle the heavy workload, otherwise you could be waiting a long time for your pictures.  Also, if they are doing that many weddings each year, are they just churning out the same boring photos at each wedding and will you be getting the best out of them?  I strictly limit the number of weddings I shoot per year as I like to keep fresh and give couples the best service possible.

If they use associates, is this an equally talented colleague, a random freelancer or a part-timer? Make sure you know who is going to be holding that camera for your wedding day.

When you phone up or meet are you talking to a sales person or is it the photographer?

5.  The venue recommended him

Early in my career, I shot a wedding at a gorgeous local venue and asked the coordinator if I could drop off a sample album for him to show his future clients. He told me I could -- for a price. Maybe I was naïve, but I didn't realise that some venues sell spots on their "preferred vendor" lists. Many wedding venue brochures have adverts by wedding vendors, giving the impression that they are recommended by the venue, but in reality, they just paid for the advert.  Of course, this doesn't apply to every venue -- some offer excellent recommendations because they like to see gorgeous images of their venue floating around on the web. But always double-check recommendations against friends, online reviews and your wedding planner before plunking down a deposit. 

6.  Can you get on with the photographer?

They may have a great portfolio – but he/she is going to be all around you for the day – do you like them?  Does their style of photography suit what you are looking for?  I like to do reportage wedding photography that is unobtrusive and brings the day day back by capturing the character and emotions of all involved.  when I take a handful of posed shots, I do so with a smile as I want the couple and their guests to have a good time.  

Not only do you have to like the photos your photographer takes, but you have to like your photographer.  Beware of wedding photography mills (they exist!) where you talk to a sales person, view their best sample images, and then get stuck with a minimum-wage photographer with minimal experience to match.

To avoid getting burned:

  • Ask to see a complete wedding (or several!) - not just a few “lucky” shots from different weddings. 
  • Along with the photographer's personality, does their photographic style match your wedding? 
  • If you're still having trouble deciding, check out review sites such as Free Index to hear what their clients really think of them.

7.  Your part to play

Make sure you have given the wedding photographer a good brief of your expectations – do not expect him/her to be psychic.  If you are having a traditional wedding photographer, you should discuss the extensive list of posed photos to be taken.  However, if you have booked a reportage photographer (like me) don’t give him or her a long list of posed photos as they will not be able to take any candid shots while they are working through your list and the reason you booked them was their ability to document the day candidly.  it is important though, to discuss your itinerary for the day and also a handful of posed shots (if required).

It’s important (and polite) to provide food and refreshments for your photographer.  If he or she is working for you all day, the last thing you want is their mind wandering off your photography and onto how hungry they are feeling.  

Here are some articles that highlight costly mistakes:

If you want to ensure that you are going to have wedding photographs to be proud of, please give Martin Neeves a call on 01455 271 849 or contact me.

Dodford Manor Wedding Photography - Sarah and Andy's Wedding

Friday, 13th June 2014

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Please CLICK HERE to view a selection of photographs of Sarah and Andy's wedding at the excellent Nortamptonshire wedding venue Dodford Manor.

When most daughters tell their fathers that they are engaged to be married, their first thoughts are usually of overwhelming joy and happiness, but when Sarah told her dad that she and Andy had just got engaged, his first thoughts were of panic!  Not because he didn't approve of the engagement (far from it), he was panicking as he realised he had to finish renovating his prized classic car in time for the wedding.  

It all started in 1985 (the year Sarah was born) when her dad, Steve, brought an old Morris 8 that needed to be completely re-built.  The renovation dragged on for many years and turned into a long-term project that everyone thought would never be completed.  As Sarah grew up she used to wander down to the garage to see her dad working away on his beloved classic car, but not much progress was being made.  Many years went by and Sarah grew up, but the car still wasn't finished.  Steve had always promised Sarah that he would have the car finished in time to take her to her wedding in it, so when Steve heard about the engagement and that Dodford Manor had been booked for the big day, a very real deadline had been set and it was approaching fast!  From that day on, Steve worked tirelessly, day and night on his car as there was no way he was going to break hsi promise to Sarah on her wedding day and true to his word, he finished it - just in time.  

When I arrived at the house to photograph the bridal preparations, not only was there much activity with hair and make-up for Sarah and her bridesmaids, there was much activity in the garage as Steve was giving his treasured car a last-minute polish.  Sarah looked amazing and I have to say that her dad did her proud as the car looked fabulous too and it even started first time!  Steve looked so proud as he walked Sarah out to the car to take her to Dodford Manor to get married.  And justifiably so.

After Sarah's very special arrival, the rest of the day went perfectly.  Here are some of the other wedding suppliers who helped to make the day go so well:

Sarah's wedding dress was by Eternal Bride of Warwick, her hair was done by Klickersof Rugby and her make-up was by Emily from Pink Chocolate in Clifton-upon-Dunsmore.  The wedding flowers were by Roseanne at Perkins Florist of Duston and the caterers were Jenkinsons of Stafford.  The very talented guitarist Andy Nash played for the processional and recessional of the wedding ceremony and entertained the guests during the drinks reception too.  After the wedding breakfast, the band Purple Cloud of Funk (from Buxton) and DJ Paul McQuire of Wedding Jam stepped up the beat and got everyone on their feet - including the bride's grandmother!

After the wedding, Sarah and Andy sent me this lovely message: "We have been really pleased with every aspect of the service we have received.  We absolutely love the photos and how you've captured the day perfectly.  Everyone commented on how nice you were and that the photogrpahy was unintrusive.  We wouldn't hesitate to recommend you."

If you would like to see more examples of my reportage wedding photography, please CLICK HERE to view my full portfolio or CONTACT ME if you wish to discuss your wedding photography.  Alternatively, you could just give me a call on 07973 638 591.

Halstead House Farm Wedding Photography - Karen & Tony's Wedding

Sunday, 11th May 2014

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If you are looking for the perfect location for a rural wedding in Leicestershire, look no further!  CLICK HERE to view a small selection of photos of Karen and Tony's wedding at Halstead House Farm, Tilton-on-the-Hill.  Halstead House is an elegant Georgian house set in the rolling Leicestershire countryside (between Leicester, Melton Mowbray and Oakham) with it's own lake (pictured above).  Next to the house are two Victorian barns that have been converted for rural weddings and functions.  It is all still part of a working farm, so your guests will be able to enjoy seeing farm animals in the farmyard.  Brides are often seen leaning over a gate making a fuss of the cutest piglets you have ever seen.

Karen and Tony and left nothing to chance when decorating their wedding venue as they had collected lots of vintage objects such as an old mechanical typewriter and an old sewing machine and set them up on display in the barns.  Leicester florist CK Flowers also put on a beautiful floral display to really make the wedding look special. 

Karen and her bridesmaids' make-up was expertly applied by Catherine at Blush Beauty Box in Loughborough and Karen's beautiful weding dress was from Dona Nicole in Leicester.

While most of my coverage was candid and un-posed reportage wedding photography, I usually take a few posed shots of the bride and groom and their friends and family.  Halstead House has a huge lake at the bottom of their garden that proved to be very picturesque and while I was taking a few posed shots of Karen and Tony, their guests were treated to ice creams from Lees Ice Dreams.  I have met Lee of several weddings and he always seems to have a big queue of people wanting more of his ice cream, so he must be doing something right.  

After an excellent wedding breakfast from the superb in-house caterers at Halstead House Farm, the wedding guests danced the night away on a dance floor supplied by Premier Events UK and had lots of fun posing for fun photos in a photo-booth supplied by Picture Blast.

If you would like to see more examples of my reportage wedding photography, please CLICK HERE to view my full portfolio or CONTACT ME if you wish to discuss your wedding photography.  Alternatively, you could just give me a call on 07973 638 591.

Belvoir Castle Wedding Photography - Renata & Serge's Wedding

Monday, 14th April 2014

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CLICK HERE to view a small selection of photos of Renata and Serge's wedding at Belvoir Castle - a truly majestic Leicestershire wedding venue and the perfect setting for a fairlytale wedding.

Although the wedding was in Leicestershire, it really was an international wedding as the groom is French, the bride is Brazillian and many of their guests couldn't speak English.  I was very grateful to some multi-lingual guests who were able to interpret for me as they had to relay instructions for the formal group shots.  Luckily, it wasn't too much of an issue as 95% of my coverage is always unobtrusive reportage photography as I find the photos are much more natural and it leaves the couple and their guests free to enjoy their wedding day without having a day-long photo-shoot.

Some of the other wedding suppliers who helped to make so special were Melanie Rhodes The Bridal Hair Stylist and make-up artist Rachel Liney who made the female members of the bridal party look so beautiful.  I have worked with rachel on many weddings and she always does a great job and is always lovely to work with.  The castle was decorated with stunning floral arrangements by Zinnia Flower Boutique of Bingham and their impressive wedding cake was supplied by Couture Cakes.  The very talented Leicester harpist Soraya Vermeulen really set the scene by expertly playing her harp before and during the wedding ceremony asn well as afterwards during the drinks reception in the castle gardens.  Soraya is a superb player and I would highly recommend her.  She was represented by DG Music who also provide other bands and musicians for weddings and corporate events.  DG Music's director David Graham was on hand in the evening to play the piano during the wedding breakfast.  Again, another first class player who really added to the granduer of the day.  Finally, Renata and Serge were driven away in style in vintage Beauford, supplied by American Pie Limousines.

If you would like to see more examples of my reportage wedding photography, please CLICK HERE to view my full portfolio or CONTACT ME if you wish to discuss your wedding photography.

Leicestershire Wedding Venue - Catthorpe Manor Wedding Fair

Wednesday, 9th April 2014

I will be exhibiting my reportage wedding photography at Leicestershire weding venue Catthorpe Manor this Sunday (13th April) from 11am until 3pm, at their wedding fair.  Catthorpe Manor is a lovely country house near Lutterworth and close to the Warwickshire, Leicetsershire and Northamptonshire border.  

I will be displaying lots of weddings albums (both traditional matted albums from Australia and modern storybook albums from Italy) as well as a rolling slideshow of my unobtrusive reportage wedding photographs.

The full address is: Catthorpe Manor, Lilbourne Lane, Catthorpe, Near Lutterworth (and near Rugby), Leicestershire, LE17 6DF.  Entrance is FREE!

If you have just got engaged or have been planning a wedding for a while, please come along.  There will be lots of other quaity wedding vendors there too.

Wedding Photo-Video Fusion Films

Thursday, 27th March 2014

I have just teamed up with an excellent Leicestershire wedding videographer to offer combined coverage of your wedding in both stills and video for just £2,100.

Here is an shortened example of a wedding photo-video fusion film:

 

Mythe Barn Wedding Photography in Warwickshire: Tiffany & Leigh's Wedding

Friday, 14th March 2014

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CLICK HERE to view a small selection of photos of Tiffany and Leigh's wedding at Mythe Barn in the village of Sheepy Magna, near Atherstone, Warwickshire.  

This was the first wedding I have photographed at Mythe Barn and I was very impressed with the venue.  The barn has ben extensively refurbished and fitted out to the highest standards.  Their attention to detail was superb, the staff were lovely and the food was great too.

I have been so busy recently, that I have been a bit slow with my blogging.  I actually shot this wedding last July and Tiff and Leigh announced the happy news during the speeches that they were expecting their first baby.  I was delighted to hear that their beautiful baby daughter has just arrived and I couldn't be more happy for them. 

Ashorne Hill Wedding Fair in Warwickshire

Monday, 17th February 2014

I will be exhibiting my reportage wedding photography at Ashorne Hill wedding fair near Leamington Spa, Warwickshire this Sunday (23rd February) between 11am and 3pm.  

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 Ashorne Hill is a stunning wedding venue which comprises of a beautiful grade II listed manor house (for the bridal suite, wedding ceremony room and drinks reception) adjoined by an ultra-modern building for the wedding breakfast, all surrounded by 35 acres of beautiful grounds.  I enjoy photographing weddings at Ashorne Hill as the old building gives really classy backgrounds and the new building has huge glass windows which gives fantastic light during the reception.

I will have lots of sample wedding albums on display (both modern storybook albums and traditional matted albums), along with a slideshow of lots of my photos.  If you are planning a wedding, it would be great to see you there.  Oh, and entrance is FREE!

FREE Tickets for Huge Nottigham Wedding Show

Monday, 10th February 2014

I am pleased to announce that I will be exhibiting my photos and wedding albums at an exciting new and very large wedding show in Nottingham this Sunday (16th February).  

The wedding show will be open from 11am to 4pm and it will be held at the Park In by Radisson, Mansfield Road, Nottingham, NG5 2BT.  CLICK HERE to view the Park Inn Valentines Wedding Show website.  You can have 2 FREE TICKETS to the show by sending an e-mail to carole@WhoopEvents.com and give her your wedding date, mobile number and address - she'll send you FREE TICKETS.

Every bride will get a goody bag (while stocks last), free parking and WiFi.  There will be lots to taste, see and hear and there will be access to bargains, special show offers and money off vouchers.

It looks like being a really busy show, so if you are planning a wedding in the East Midlands, there is no better place to be this Sunday.  I look forward to seeing you there!

Warwickshire Wedding Photography: Emma & Martin's Wedding in Warwick & Leamington Spa

Tuesday, 14th January 2014

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CLICK HERE to view a small selection of photos of Emma and Martin's wedding at St. Mary Immaculate Church in Warwick.  

Following the wedding ceremony, I took some posed shots of the happy couple in the Mill Garden which (as well as being a beautiful garden) has stunning views of Warwick Castle. After the short photo shoot, we all headed back to Leamington Spa for their wedding receiption at Leamington Town Hall.  They surprised all their guests by performing an Argentine Tango for their first dance which they had secretly been practicing.

 

Prestwold Hall Wedding Photography: Naomi & Andy's Wedding

Tuesday, 7th January 2014

D2344-86-Prestwold_Hall_is_a_stunning_wedding_venue_in_Leicestershire

CLICK HERE to view a small selection of photos of Naomi & Andy's wedding at Prestwold Hall, Prestwold, near Loughborough, Leicestershire.  

The very talented pianist Lee Reed provided musical entertainment during the ceremony and drinks reception, while Guy Morris of Mojito Events privided the disco.

Video Testimonial

Monday, 30th December 2013

A huge thanks to Becca and Bob Dickinson for their lovely video testimonial of me as their wedding photographer.  I photographed their wedding three years ago and I recently had the pleasure of taking some baby portraits of their young son Ollie.  They kindly agreed to film this video testimonial for me.  

Catthorpe Manor Wedding Fair

Monday, 4th November 2013

I will be exhibiting at Catthorpe Manor wedding fair this Sunday (10th November) from 11am until 3pm.  Catthorpe Manor is a beautiful country house situated near Lutterworth and close to the Leicestershire/Warwickshire and Northamptonshire border.  

As usual I will have lots of weddings albums on display (both traditional matted albums and modern storybook albums) as well as a rolling slideshow of reportage wedding photos.

Entrance is FREE and the full address is: Catthorpe Manor, Lilbourne Lane, Catthorpe, Near Lutterworth (and near Rugby), Leicestershire, LE17 6DF.

If you are planning a wedding, it would be great to see you there.

 

 

Prestwold Hall Wedding Fair

Monday, 21st October 2013

I will be exhibiting at Prestwold Hall wedding fair this Sunday (27th October) from 12noon until 4pm.  I photograph many weddings at Prestwold Hall and it is one of the finest wedding venues in Leicestershire. 

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I will be displaying lots of top-of-the-range wedding albums (both modern storybook albums and traditional matted albums) and loads of photographs.  Oh, and I'll be there, so if you are planning a wedding, it would be great to have a chat about your big day.

Here's the address:  Prestwold Hall, Prestwold, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE12 5SQ.

Another International Award!

Friday, 20th September 2013

I am pleased to announce that I have just won another international award for one of my reportage wedding photographs.

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This photograph has just won 9th place in the Wedding Photojournalist Association (WPJA) 2013Q2 contest in their Food & Drinks section.  The WPJA is an international professional organisation that is only open to documentary wedding photographers and it's competitions are open to photographers all over the world, so I am pretty chuffed to win this award.

Prestwold Hall Wedding Photography: Pauline and Arthur's Wedding

Monday, 16th September 2013

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CLICK HERE to view a small selection of photos of Pauline and Arthur's wedding at Prestwold Hall, Prestwold, near Loughborough, Leicestershire.  

The very talented Pete Hartley (AKA The Wedding Violinist) provided musical entertainment during the ceremony and drinks reception, while Guy Morris of Mojito Events privided the disco.

Blog Article Interview

Monday, 2nd September 2013

I have just been featured in a blog article interview about my business: http://www.greenapplecommunications.co.uk/case-studies/adapt-and-prosper/#more-739

 

The article is based more about how I have had to adapt my business over the years, especially with regards to social media marketing, and it is more biased towards the wedding side of my business.

Ashorne Hill Wedding Fair

Sunday, 1st September 2013

I will be exhibiting at a wedding fair at the stunning Warwickshire wedding venue Ashorne Hill near Leamington Spa, Warwickshire this Sunday (8th September) between 11am and 3pm.  

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Ashorne Hill is a unique venue for a wedding as it comprises of a beautiful grade II listed manor house (for the bridal suite, drinks reception and wedding ceremony room) adjoined by an ultra-stylish modern building for the wedding breakfast, all surrounded by 35 acres of beautiful grounds.  I enjoy photographing weddings there as you the character of the old building and great light from the new building.

 

As usual, I will have lots of sample wedding albums (both modern storybook albums and traditional matted albums).  If you are planning a wedding, it would be great to see you there.

The Grey Lady Wedding Photography: Philippa & Martin's Wedding in Newtown Linford, Leicestershire

Monday, 12th August 2013

Please CLICK HERE to view a selection of photos of Philippa and Martin's wedding at All Saints Church, Newtown Linford, Leicestershire and reception at The Grey Lady restaurant in the same village, which overlooks the very picturesque Bradgate Park.

Look out for their very impressive wedding cake which was made by Dominic of David North.

D2334-159_And_they_lived_happily_ever_after...._with_lots_of_laughter.

Prestwold Hall Wedding Photography: Rachael & Rahul's Wedding

Tuesday, 30th July 2013

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Please CLICK HERE to view a selection of photos of Rachael and Rahul's wedding at top Leicestershire wedding venue Prestwold Hall, near Loughborough.

 

Two wedding suppliers that helped make the big day go so well were Rachel Liney who did Rachael's hair and make-up and Elegance Chair Covers who dressed the the dining room.  Everthing else, from the cake, the flowers, the briedesmaid dresses, the favours and programme for the day were made by Rachel and Rahul themselves.  Talented, or what?!!

 

 

Prestwold Hall Wedding Photography: Sharon & Darren's Wedding

Sunday, 30th June 2013

Here are a few photos of Sharon and Darren's wedding at Prestwold Hall near Loughbrough, Leicestershire:

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D2288-033-The_bride_is_ready_in the_Silver_Room_at_Prestwold_Hall_near_Loughborough_in_Leicestershire

D2288-039-Portrait_of_the_bride

D2288-042-the-brides_mother_helps_the bride get ready_for_her_wedding_at Prestwold_Hall

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D2288-048-photo_of_bride_walking_down_the_stairs

D2288-053-bride_and_her_father

D2288-070-the groom_puts_ring_on his_brides_finger_at_Prestwold_Hall

D2288-077-the brides_parents_look_on_proudly

D2288-078-the_first_kiss

D2288-079-signing_the_register

D2288-081-smiling_bride

D2288-086-unusual_wedding_photos

D2288-093-wedding_couple_walk_back_down_the_aisle

D2288-104-the_happy_couple_enjoy_a celebratory_drink

D2288-106-big-group_photo_of_the_whole_wedding_party_at_Prestwold_Hall_in_Leicestershire

D2288-110-The bride_and_her_sister

D2288-124-bridal_party_run_towards_the camera

D2288-135groom_kisses_the_bride

D2288-138-posed_wedding_photo

D2288-149-portrait_of_the_bride_and

D2288-151-black_and_white_photo_of_the_wedding_guests

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D2288-224-photos_of_wedding_guests_during_the_meal

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D2288-254the-grooms_speech_at_his_wedding_at_Prestwold Hall

D2288-255-wedding_guests_enjoy_the speeches

D2288-259-the_best_mans_speech

D2288-264-the_wedding_couple_laugh_at_the_best_mans_speech

D2288-273-bride_and_groom_cut_the_cake

D2288-278-the first_dance

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Here are some of the other wedding suppliers that made the day so special:

Wedding flowers: Flowers by Sarah

Chair covers: Nobilty Chair Covers

Wedding sationery: Olive Weddings

Wedding cake: Sue Eggleston of Eggleston Cakes and Flowers

Wedding dress: Emma Hunt

Bridal hair & make-up: Rachel Liney

Bridal hair accessories: Gillian Million

Pianist: Robert Cromwell

Disco DJ: Guy Morris of Mojito Discotheques & Events

Band: Analogue Haze

Wedding suit hire: Hugh Harris

My Stand at Prestwold Hall Wedding Fair

Wednesday, 26th June 2013

Here's a photo of me and my stand at Prestwold Hall Wedding Fair on Sunday.

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Plenty of couples braved the blustery weather to come to the wedding fair.  It was a pleasure to meet them and to show them some of my work.

 

Prestwold Hall Wedding Fair

Tuesday, 18th June 2013

I will be exhibiting at Prestwold Hall wedding fair on (Sunday 23rd June) from 11am until 3pm.  I photograph many weddings at Prestwold Hall and it is one of the finest wedding venues in Leicestershire.  Their wedding fairs are usually held in the main house, but they have just converted their cow sheds into a superb function venue which lend itself to less formal weddings, so this time, the wedding fair will be held there in order to promote the venue.

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This will be the first wedding fair where I will be able to proudly show off my posh new branding.  The new roller banners have just arrived and more goodies are arriving tomorrow.  It's so exciting!  I will also be displaying lots of top-of-the-range wedding albums and loads of photographs.  Oh, and I'll be there, so if you are planning a wedding, it would be great to have a chat.

 

Here's the address: The Cowsheds at Prestwold Hall, Prestwold, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE12 5SQ.

 

Welcome to My New Website and Blog

Friday, 14th June 2013

Welcome to my posh new website.  I hope you like it.

All new blog posts will appear here, but if you wish to see older blog posts, please CLICK HERE to view my old wedding photography blog.

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