Monday, 15 June 2009

Oxfordshire's well-kept beautiful secret...

Every so often I have the exciting experience of discovering an amazing new wedding venue in Oxfordshire that I'd never heard of before. Ben and Beccy's wedding was one of those privileged occasions - even more, I'd driven, cycled or walked past this place for the last 5 years and never even knew it existed.

Headington Hill Hall is now part of Oxford Brookes but has a long and illustrious history (as do most old buildings in Oxford), only the briefest fraction of which stayed in my brain. But it was lovely nonetheless.

The wedding was even more special given Ben's expertise in photography - specialising in nature and landscape photography, I felt very privileged that he chose Simplicity to cover his wedding. He was wonderfully gracious about everything too, leaving us to work in our relaxed, candid style and as a result, we had a completely un-stressful day in blissful sunshine, surrounded by lush greenery, fantastic artitechture and beautifully photogenic people. Take a look.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Struggling to find a perfect venue? How about this one...

Oxfordshire is well known for some incredible wedding venues, and Bradley and Sally chose (in my humble opinion) one of the best. Eynsham Hall near Witney is a fantastic manor house with, apparently, 3,000 acres of land. The house and its gorgeous gardens were enough for us, though - we had a great time snapping away at the couple and their wonderful guests and came away with some really relaxed and natural shots, which contrasted well with the grand architecture. Luckily, we get to shoot more at Eynsham Hall next year, with a couple more weddings booked in the diary... I'm looking forward to it already!

Bradley and Sally

Some well-dressed guests

Plenty of opportunities for photos...

Smiles all round! The sun is out!

Outside in the afternoon sun...


Boules at sunset. How civilised.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

The pipes, the pipes are calling...

It's not every weekend you get to go through the centre of Reading with a parade of wedding guests, led by a man in a colourful skirt playing the bagpipes, taking photo after photo of smiling people. But this particular weekend was one of those occasions.

Married in Reading Minster by the groom's father, Tim and Elise walked out of the fabulous church with massive smiles which seemed never to go away for the rest of the day. Especially when being gawked at by the hundreds of Saturday shoppers who were somewhat stopped in their tracks by a line of guests, dressed in their finery and led by the happy couple and a tartan-adorned piper. I used up a good portion of a memory card during that.

A few of my favourites...

Getting ready...

The Shoes

The Ring

The Church

Reading High St. didn't know what had hit it...

We didn't really need to tell these guys what to do...

A touch of vogue...

The churchyard provides a fantastic backdrop

The Reception

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Never work with whom?

It's always an honour to be asked to photograph someone's wedding - it's the most important day of their lives, and they're asking to remember it through your eyes (or at least your lens!). People sometimes ask me whether I feel a lot of pressure because of this - fortunately, my approach to weddings is all about taking the emphasis of the photographer! No-one wants to stand in a line for four hours whilst the photographer bosses them all about. And, conversely, the best shots are the ones which allow the couple to later look back at the day through the eyes of their guests, family and friends, as well as bringing back their own happy memories of the day.

One of the best ways to view a wedding is through the eyes of a child - everything's new, exciting, everyone's a new friend, and the outfits are the best thing ever. Until the opportunity to slide down grassy banks comes along. So, here is a journey through a wedding; as seen by the children that make it so fun!

Boys like cars. Girls, less so, but if it's pretty, they'll be very happy to stand near it.
"One day, I'll have one like this..."

"This is more my scene - time to become the most important person/princess of the day.
What's that? I'm not the most important person here?"

Pretty much anything that shows up fingerprints, will.

Pretty in pink!

They're great smiles; but in truth, they're made slightly nervous by the size of my camera compared to theirs.

"Time for a nap..."

"What's down here? Probably going to get muddy."

"Worms and mud I can deal with. But girls? With tennis balls?"

One of the most important things is to give children the space they need to have fun. This was shot using a telephoto lens about 30m away from the fountain - they didn't even know we were there!

Here comes the sun...

Well, the summer seems to be arriving in force - last weekend took us to rural Oxfordshire for the beautiful wedding of Laura and Tim in Berrick Salome. What can I say about this lovely couple? As you can tell from our pick of the day's shots, there were smiles all round, all day, and the sun had his hat on and was certainly keen on coming out to play with the happy newlyweds!

At times in the distant past, I've been known to complain about the harsh light of a summer's day - but more and more I love the defining nature of it, and the high-key shots it allows you to get. As a well regarded fellow-blogger and photographer said, "Show me an image with a good amount of internal contrast [lots of lights and darks] and I'll show you an image that will look good anywhere, on any paper!"

It makes things harder, yes - but what's life without a little challenge? And just because something's a little more tricky to get spot on doesn't mean it's not as good! A good example - the couple in the church, photo below; backlit from a huge window with light streaming in, south-facing windows high up casting a beam of light straight onto the bride's back, and deep shadows behind the groom. Modern cameras are usually ok at guessing the correct exposure to use, but in situations like this, it's up to the human behind the viewfinder to get it right... Hard work? Yes. Worth it? Definitely.

The bride ...

... and her proud father.

The groom ...

... and his new wife!

The afternoon sun ...

... and the happy couple.