This shoot was way back in November 2013 at Wycoller Country Park, near Colne; a beautiful, picturesque hamlet in deepest Lancashire. Perfect for our plans for a new front cover, featuring wedding attire by Charlotte from Legend Bridal Designs, hair &makeup by the talented pair Kerry Baker MUA and Duncan Fisher from L’Hairport, floral arrangements by Clare at Blush Rose – plus our very brave and talented models, Michelle Carter & Rowan Lewis Mitchell. The idea for the shoot was developed and organised by Maxine and the team at Little White Books – who, incidentally run the phenomenal Great Lancashire Wedding Show twice a year….a fantastic exhibition of Lancashire’s and Great Manchester’s finest wedding suppliers – well worth checking out if you’re planning your wedding.
So, duly we arrived at the location mid morning, to catch as much of the low winter sun as possible, for a more dramatic effect. Though the sun was out, it was still November and bitterly cold. Luckily there’s a cafe in Wycoller, so we set up camp there with hot tea and coffee to get us going. And boy, did we need it! 😉
Kerry and Duncan set to work on our brilliant models, who, incidentally braved the temperature on the shoot through gritted teeth, coats and more hot tea. Thanks guys! We had the idea already for the front cover, but our brief was to shoot extra images for editorial use for both the Little White Books magazine, plus publicity and advertising stills for the Great Lancashire Wedding Show. From website, social media, through to location banners and even billposters, our work was going global.…well, all over the North West 😉
We had to work quickly, since the sun was already starting to fade – even at 12.30pm, and with the temperatures falling further, it meant I had to shoot very quickly too, which, to be honest I prefer…and so did the models! The style of the shoot was a little outside my normal style, so I opted to work with reflectors, rather than location lighting. This gave me a much more natural look, and saved precious time on the day.
From the ‘couple’ shots for the GLWS, came our star, Michelle to be featured for the front cover. The light was perfect. Michelle was possibly two degrees from falling into a coma, and even I was cold. And I don’t feel the cold! In ten minutes we nailed it, with the expertly-timed (and obligatory!) warm coat being handed to Michelle in between ‘takes’ by Kerry and Charlotte. Ten minutes, nailed, in the bag…then the light was gone…
….and, HERE IT IS…..our cover image. We knew just looking at the back of the camera we’d got what we came for!
These images are a collection of alternative takes (sorry, once a TV director, always one!) from the morning and early afternoon shoot, forming into a collection for the GLWS library. Watch out for the images to hit social media any day now. If you come to any Little White Books events, you’ll see them printed as large banners and posters around the venues. I’ll also be at this year’s GLWS on November 9th – why not pop over and say hello?
With the sun fading quickly, we changed location and shot some images for the Great Lancashire Wedding Show – teasers, flyers, in-magazine advertorial etc. I as thanks again to our brilliant models, who braved tremendously unfriendly temperatures to give us images like these…
A quick five minute ‘warm up’, then we were on the final lap – a few more ‘couple’ shots for the GLWS…worth the pain I think!
My thanks especially go out to ‘The Team’ for producing this in such limited time and non-summer weather!
Here’s an example of some of my Bride Photographer Manchester portfolio. I’ve known and worked with Laura Mayers from The Bridal Make Up Team for a few years now (too many, she’ll say…) especially back to our previous career in TV commercials when Laura was our No 1 choice for ‘face painting’ (ha ha..). Recently, the BMT’s website has been updated, and we have shot some new images for both our folios. Recent examples include Paula Cruz Folio, and a recent folio shoot for Laura’s company. The Bridal Make Up Team are one of the premier hair & make up suppliers in the North West – and not just to the wedding industry, nope the BBC and TV production companies still keep Laura’s diary regularly filled.
These three models for our shoot are real people, real brides, and real clients of Laura’s. She did their hair and makeup at their three weddings last year. So, we gathered at one of the brides’ home in Formby for the photo shoot. It’s difficult enough getting one lovely bride ready on her wedding day, but three at once for a staggered photoshoot? Laura had her work cut out…and so did I as the ‘domino effect’ hit like a truck on our planned schedule…but we work well under pressure anyway. Good job too! The shoot was back in Autumn, so the folio contains a whole mixture of images of all three of out brides – both exterior, plus an interior studio set up to feature the hair and makeup styles Laura had created. Here, then are a few from the session…
Obviously I got to play too. This image above is one of my favourites from the day – a little ray of sunshine peeped through the blinds near sunset, and I just had to get this image. Complete with authentic film grain, I just love this ‘unglamorous’ beauty shot. It breaks the rules. Good! It’s going in my book…
With regards to the overall ‘look’ of the folio- each bride had her own colour grading and style, all very subtle, but different to create a three-part collection. We love these images. They show off Laura’s talent, plus my ability to plug a lamp in and get an exposure… 😉 Sometimes…when it’s cold outside, the allure of a nice warm studio environment with a never-ending supply coffee just ticks the boxes. Quite a contrast to my next few winter weddings coming any day now…
For the photographers out there, we used two Nikon D700 cameras, with 85mm, 105mm and 24-70mm lenses. Lighting was two Elinchrom heads with a variety of softboxes, reflectors and on-camera flash (yes REALLY!)
If you drop in on The Bridal Make Up Team’s website, you’ll see these images ‘for real’…that is unless Laura has been too busy to update it…
Well – here it is – finally revealed! The latest issue of the Little White Books magazine, and who got to shoot the front cover? Yep, me…with a lot of help from some very patient friends… 😉
Following on from the last project, the LWB Team assembled on a beautifully wet June afternoon, to produce the new cover image, plus a editorial for inside the magazine too. The weather had been glorious all week, but obviously when it came to our shoot, the rain fell…and fell..and fell, soaking the ground beyond a practical working level. So, undeterred we still ventured up to Beeston Manorfor the shoot. This project was less about me being a Beeston Manor Wedding Photographer, than being Ray Mears, dealing with and ‘surviving’ what I can only describe as “a swimming pool with grass!”
Eventually the rain slowed and we could see blue sky, but it was too little, too late, as we had to shoot and get something in the bag. Struggling under umbrellas, to keep the beautiful wedding gown dry and safe – Joanne and Kristina on Makeup and hair duties, plus Clare and Andrew on Styling and Jewellery did their very best to get our fantastic (and patient!) model Kirsty ready. I could hear the subtle giggles from the gang too, as a wet ‘tide mark’ started climbing my trouser legs. As the shoot progressed, so did the marks, like my jeans were acting as straws. Perfect! I’d no spare clothes with me either…so the giggling and subtle pointing got worse…ha ha…bloomin’ hilarious guys!!
So…with the rain finally stopping, we got to work, now with diminished time available for the ‘look’ of the shot. The pressure was on to produce, and we did. Simple as, everything fell into place after a few lighting tests (and a change of bin liner for me to lie on). Kirsty was great and smiled through the whole ordeal. Did I say it was cold too…in June? Yep, it was, but our model bride soldiered on and we hit shot after shot. The sun broke for a few minutes, so Glynn, who was in charge of the Land Rover moved it into a new position, to maximise what light we had, and to minimise the heavy black clouds rolling in for a further attack on our setup (and my tidemark!)
I’m breaking one of my own rules here – these images are work in progress, and not the final, print-ready versions…you’ll have to grab a copy of the new LWB magazine to see them. These images show subtle changes in colour grading and film emulation, to give a slightly dated look to the work – nothing too OTT though, all very tasteful. I used a Nikon D600 camera for this shoot, for the extra resolution – and though handled most of the shoot perfectly did hiccup a couple of times…that’s why I still love my D3s / D700 combination.
I’m not going to blow my own trumpet here, that’s not my style..but the results almost turn me and the team into liars about the conditions we had to endure…oh how we suffer for our art… 😉
…and a BIG mention to the crew for their massive help, sarcasm and general one-liners to make this project run like a Swiss watch…
Well – it’s official! The latest copy of Professional Photographer magazine has just come dropped on my doormat, announcing entries for their Professional Photographer Of The Year 2013 competition – and I’m one of the four judges.
I’m deeply humbled and honoured to be part of such an esteemed publication – my constant source of reading all things professional in the photographic world ever since I was at College – and now I’m part of the editorial judging team for the competition. Wow!
It really means a lot to me this one, and I’m really looking forward to seeing the quality of entries for the various categories over the next few months. If you are a photographer – go for it! This competition carries so much kudos, and the depth and breadth of the entries – in all categories – is just amazing!
I’m obviously interested in the entries for the Weddings category – just to witness the quality of work from fellow wedding photographers from all over the world, and see their stunning work ‘on the table’…
Good luck to those of you entering this year’s PPOTY…and sorry, no bribes accepted! 😉
Looking at the work from this Year’s overall winner (I won’t name him here – just in case!!), you’ll see why the competition is so respected. The winning image for 2012 is just incredible, and one of those shots every wedding photographer would want in their folio. Check it out in this month’s issue and see for yourself.
So, get those entries uploaded to the PPOTY website – and it’s onwards and upwards for me, and looking forward to the finals!
Laura Mayers, from The Bridal Make Up Team contacted me recently to shoot some new material for their website. I’ve known and worked with Laura for around twenty years, mostly in our previous existence in the film and TV industry. These days, Laura and I meet a handful of times a year whilst ‘on wedding duties’ (I gave up the film game three years ago now). I’d like to work with her more, but alas, our diaries just don’t seem to synchronise since we’re both so busy! Which, is nice in one way… 😉
So, on a relatively quiet Wednesday afternoon, we set up to photograph some new material – close ups of eye detail, lips and other more ‘technical’ images, plus a collection of ‘looks’. Model duties came via Model Mayhem, where Mina was booked for Part One of the project. The project is currently ongoing, and will feature a range of models and styles for the website – something I’m looking forward to shooting.
It makes a welcome change from shooting natural documentary-style wedding photography; working in a studio environment- wherever that is, brings a new set of challenges and disciplines to the photography and the overall approach. Plus there’s regular coffee on hand from the kitchen area!
I opted to use the Nikon D3s using only a 105mm macro lens – a beautiful optic for photographing close ups of ladies’ faces in ‘High Definition’ 😉
I used a couple of Elinchrom heads, plus a variety of softbox, umbrella plus large reflectors and diffusers to create the images you see here. These images form part of my new folio too, and will be added to a new ‘People’ gallery to be launched soon.
If you’re getting married and looking for one of Manchester’s top Make Up Artists for your big day, why not drop in to the Bridal Make Up Team website and see the quality of work for yourself.
And – if you’re a model or MUA looking for portfolio images, why not get in touch and book me for your shoot? Just the thing for a dull Wednesday morning… 😉
I fully agree with everything here….and so do the clients who commission me for their wedding photography…
My parents have exactly 18 professional images from their wedding. Eighteen. I know them inside and out. I could describe each image to you so well that a sketch artist would be able to recreate them.
How do I know them so well? Because I’ve looked at them hundreds of times. I’ve looked at them hundreds of times because they were on display, in an album. An album that was made by a professional, filled with prints made through a professional lab and bound in a book available only to professionals. From the time I was a little girl I was fascinated by it — seeing my parents so young, my grandparents and aunts and uncles surrounding them. It was a simple leather book, with the images slipped in and preserved behind plastic but it held up surprisingly well over time. Even though I looked at it more times than I could count. Even though this May those images will turn 42 years old.
But what about couples that marry today? What if they decide to forgo an album? What if they decide it’s not worth the cost? How many images do you really think they’ll put into frames? Five? Ten? Maybe that first year married, they’ll have a bunch. But then, kids comes along. Baby pictures replace wedding pictures in those frames. They move, things change. In 40 years, how many pictures do you think their children will know by heart? How many pictures will they have even seen?
Today, a lot of couples think just getting the disc of images is “good enough.” Here’s the problem with that thinking: it’s not true. Not by a long shot.
Don’t get me wrong, I think that getting the files from your day is great. Today’s couples probably get up to 1,000 images from their wedding, WAY more images than my parents did. After all, what happened to all those other images from my parents’ wedding day? They probably sat, negatives in a box, at their photographer’s studio never again to see the light of day. So I think it’s wonderful that couples get ALL their photos. But what worries me is that even with that option, it won’t mean that today’s couples will necessarily be better off. My fear is that today’s couples will actually end up with LESS than what my parent’s got in 1971.
Think about it, will the computers of 2055 even have DVD drives? USB ports? Will they even have hard drives at all? If the past is any indication, the answer is no. You know what the big technological advancement was when my parents got married? Eight-track players. What if their images were stored on the equivalent of that? How in the world would I see those images today?
But you know what never becomes obsolete? What never goes out of style? Photographs. And not just any photographs. Not photos printed at a drugstore. Professional photographs, printed by a professional lab. Those are the photos you find in an attic. It could be a 100-year-old photo, but it still looks good. Because back then, the paper photographs were printed on was high quality and developing them was an art form. There were no machines that spit out pictures onto cheap paper with inexpensive ink. I actually have to stop myself from intervening when I see people at those automated machines in a drugstore. Whatever they’re charging, it’s too much. Because those prints aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. They will fade. They will curl. They will not stand the test of time. Not even close.
Your memories are worth more than that. And your wedding images? They are worth TONS more than that. These aren’t snapshots from a vacation. They aren’t pictures from your iPhone. You cared enough about these moments to hire a professional to photograph them. Follow that through by having a professional print them. Have that professional print the pictures you put into frames and have them design you a high-quality wedding album that you will cherish for decades.
If you purchase an album through your photographer, you can see a sample in person. You can touch and feel it and make sure it is worth every penny.
I know that albums are expensive. That’s for good reason. They are custom-designed books, usually hand-stitched and hand assembled and made just for you.
But of all the things you spend money on for your wedding, your wedding photographs are the ONLY thing that will increase in value over time. As the years pass, you’ll be more and more glad that you have them. Especially, if you can experience looking through them by flipping through a gorgeous custom-designed album instead of sitting in front of your computer and clicking “next” with your mouse.
So, figure out a way to make it happen. Figure out a way to afford that album. Forgo a centerpiece. Cut back on your guest list. Opt out of the vintage car you’ll drive in for all of 20 minutes.
Don’t just do it for you. Do it for your children. Do it for your grandchildren. Because when they root around in your attic in 2075, they will have no idea what do with a USB key anymore than they would with a laser disc player.