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Kim and Ste – Wedding Photography Cheshire

On Saturday 14th April 2012 Kim and Ste were married at the Belle Epoque in Knutsford, Cheshire. I had the great pleasure of joining them for part of their day and sharing in the happiness of their beautiful wedding. The venue is a gorgeous setting with a romantic ceremony room and a pretty roof terrace. I headed straight for the dining room to capture some of the details before the guests arrived.

I always love the special touches to a wedding that truly personalise it for the bride and groom. Kim and Ste went travelling together after university and the tables were named after their favourite countries. The top table was named Thailand where they are headed on their honeymoon.

Individual cupcakes formed a tower of cream icing and these glass bowls of sweets were a huge hit with the children and looked pretty too.

The three flower girls were dressed in ivory trimmed with lace to match that on Kim’s dress. They waited patiently for Kim to arrive as the guests took their seats for the ceremony.

They didn’t have to wait long until the cheers of the bridesmaids announced Kim’s arrival. With their deep blue dresses and silver shoes the five bridesmaids were simply stunning. The bridal party carried bouquets of white tulips, perfect for a spring wedding.

The bride stole everyones heart in a vintage gown of delicate lace and a beautifully edged veil with a long train. The vintage hair slide complimented the dress perfectly and it was a proud Dad that walked his daughter down the aisle.

The ceremony was simple and very sweet. Rings were exchanged and the deal was sealed with a kiss.

Then it was time to celebrate with all of their loved ones. Everyone headed out onto the roof terrace for a few photos in between the April showers.

It was easy to see how close Kim is with her girls who laughed and cried along with her throughout the day.

The speeches were funny and touching and yes, I shed a few tears but then nearly all the girls did and some of the men too, so I wasn’t alone. When Ste spoke about his new wife with such love and adoration it was easy to imagine the happy life they will share. I would like to thank them for letting me join them on their special day and wish them both a long and happy life together.

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Wedding Photography at Aspire

I’m just back from Cumbria having attended my second course at Aspire Photography Training. This was a two day course on wedding photography with Catherine Connor and Jane Breakell teaching business strategy and a full day of photography with wedding photographer Lisa Aldersley. I have to say that after  two days my brain was completely overloaded and I hope I can understand my notes because I’ll never remember it all!

Catherine (who managed to lecture despite dying from a horrible cold!) and Jane are so positive and encouraging they manage to make success in your business sound inevitable. They give so much confidence you come away so excited to get started. I love their whole ethos of going the extra mile for your clients and building relationships as you go. Business can be about being nice to people!

The second day involved a wedding and engagement shoot with photographer Lisa Aldersley who has the most infectious enthusiasm for her job I have ever known. I defy anyone to spend anytime with her and not want to be a wedding photographer! Certain phrases of hers have stuck with me and I will be repeating them to myself often.

The engagement photos were shot in very cold weather but Kate and David were fantastic. They seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves despite the rain and wind. They were actually married a few months ago and are so sweet together.

Lisa aims for a very natural style and so does very little in the way of posing couples. It was more a case of looking for some nice light (tricky in Cumbria!) and then capturing the natural expressions as the couples are themselves with each other. I love the way the trunk of the tree echoes Kate and Davids posture.

I love the little heart. Rachel Hayter is the stylist on the shoots at Aspire and I always admire her props and the way she puts things together.

These two were real gigglers and spent most of the day laughing with one another, so cute! I think this is my favourite but honestly there were a lot to choose from.

I loved this wall as it is so typically Cumbrian and the warm clothing really captures the day. The textures are all good too, I like the knitted hat with the fur and the wall.

See what I mean, giggles all day. I don’t know what the joke was but I hope they remember what a good time they had! I could post loads more but I’ll leave it at that. An engagement or pre-wedding shoot is such fun and a real chance for couples to get to know their photographer ahead of the big day. I’ll be offering all my wedding couples a pre-wedding shoot as part of the package. I loved the idea of turning images like these from an engagement shoot into a guest book for the wedding. I wish I had done that with my engagement photos which are still sat in a drawer somewhere!

I’m on to editing the wedding shoot now so there is lots more of Kate and David to come!

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Senior Style

I had the great pleasure of doing some head shots for the beautiful Hana today.  It certainly makes life easier when your subject has done some modelling before. I also tried to bear in mind the advice of Peter Hurley who has this amazing video. You can really see what he’s talking about with the difference in these two photos.

In the US it is common to have a senior photo shoot (taken in your senior year at high school). I think this is a great idea and wish it would catch on a bit more here! Anyway, Hana is actually in her last year uni but I had in mind those senior shoots when I was taking these. I wanted something quite modern, edging towards urban without being too serious and grown up. Not bad for a quick mini-shoot in the back garden, and I got to try out my lens that I have on hire, a 70-200mm f2.8 L.

I have some more girly style shoots planned for Hana, we didn’t really have the lighting for what I wanted to do today, but hopefully I’ll be seeing her again soon for a completely different look.

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Tel Aviv

Today I thought I would channel my inner Brett Harkness and mix it up with some travel photography. Also fellow photographer Charlotte has been blogging about her recent New Zealand trip here which reminded me that I hadn’t shared these yet.

Firstly a little disclaimer. I love to travel but haven’t had the opportunity to do so much since the children came along, so my travel photography is therefore somewhat rusty. I have never been to the Middle East let alone Israel and I was only there for 3 days so this post comes from the perspective of someone who has very little understanding of the country apart from the news reports that usually involve mortar bombs. Also I am in no way religious so apologies if I offend anyone by saying the wrong thing.

So these are a collection of random observations from a brief visit to Tel Aviv and one evening in Jerusalem. Let me just say I will go back and one day I will take the children when they are old enough to appreciate the history of the place. Or maybe before that just to enjoy the beaches. I loved Tel Aviv. I don’t know what I was expecting but it wasn’t the relaxed and friendly atmosphere that this city has. The people in Tel Aviv know how to chill out and have fun. On Saturday the pristine beaches (I watched them get harrowed every night) are filled with families enjoying the sun, eating at the many restaurants, playing games, windsurfing, you name it. The beaches are dotted with playgrounds for the children and gyms so you can watch fit people working out while you eat ice cream! There was dancing that went on all day and lots of squash games against the side of buildings in the street. A huge boardwalk means you can walk along the beach pretty much from one end of the city to the other and here kids are riding scooters, skateboards and little bikes. The only things I noticed that weren’t quite in keeping with this atmosphere were the military planes that were always flying overhead and one guy in shorts pushing a pushchair with a semi-automatic rifle on his back. Probably an off duty soldier.

During the week,  the beaches are as you can see pretty much empty. Israelis work even harder than they play and industry here is growing. There is a lot of construction and renovation going on. Hotels are modern and comfortable although not particularly flash. But the food is amazing! Most restaurants were kind of eclectic with dishes ranging from French to Thai in style but it was all delicious. The Israelis invented drip irrigation and I should have probably realized that as half of the fruit and veg I buy at the supermarket comes from Israel the fresh produce is outstanding. I particularly fell in love with the tomato salads for lunch and the mint tea with huge sprigs of fresh mint served in glass mugs.

Traffic in the city seemed light compared to most other cities I know. They have those bike rental stands where you can pay at a machine and take a bike and drop it off at another stand somewhere. The children’s favourite holiday is Yom Kippur because nobody drives at all and the kids can ride their bikes all over the city all day. The Israelis that we met were not particularly religious. Much like us they celebrate holidays but did not regularly go to temple, they considered themselves Israeli rather than Jewish.

South of the main city is Jaffa, which is the old Arab part of the city. It is now a bit of an artist’s quarter with lots of boutiques opening up and pretty little cafes and restaurants. It has a great market though and you can buy wonderful antique furniture, cheap scarves, jewelery and all the usual Arab market trappings. Haggling is a must but I’ve been hassled a lot worse in other places.

Neve Tsedek is the area of the train station that has been renovated and is now a sought after residential area as well as a nice place to shop and eat. We had dinner one night at Dallal which I would recommend. It is very pretty, has fantastic food and great service. Generally service in Israel takes a bit of getting used to. Israelis are curt to put it mildly. Its not meant as rudeness and once you get used to it its fine but don’t expect smiles and pleasantries as the norm. I did find that in the more touristy pricey restaurants the staff were much friendlier.

One afternoon I walked around Neve Tsedek on my own and took pictures of the many beautiful doors. They are all different and unusual. I felt very safe here as I had been assured I would be. Children were walking home from school on their own and there were lots of families with babies. Everyone was very friendly.

Everyone does military service in Israel for at least one year and I saw lots of young men and women in uniform. In the past the women have usually taken more administrative roles but more recently they are taking on more active jobs. Those that I saw were in the paratroop regiment. The national service causes some tensions with the ultra-orthodox Jewish population. (These are the guys all in black with the big hats.) They don’t do national service because their religion prohibits it, instead after school they continue their religious studies. The problem is that if you haven’t done national service you are unable to get a job in Israel. This means that many of the ultra-orthodox jews live in poverty and have to be supported by the state or they end up begging on the streets of Jerusalem. It is a situation that neither parties are happy about but a difficult one to resolve.

I could write a lot about Jerusalem but as I was only there in the evening I don’t have many photos to share. All I will say is that it is a fascinating place and well worth a visit. The complex layers of history are astounding and I found it so strange to hear about Jesus from a Jewish perspective.

My last random observation is that of cats. There are lots of stray cats particularly in Jerusalem. I’m guessing they don’t have much of a rodent problem! Weirdly though I did not see one stray dog, just a whole lot of pampered pooches from Labradors playing ball on the beach to handbag dogs eating from their own bowls in restaurants. Israel would be a good place to live if you were a dog.

In short, great place, well worth a visit. Its only a 5 hour flight from London and great for some winter sun. It has beaches, shopping, great food, and incredible history. Like I said I only scratched the surface and I will be going back to take another look at Jerusalem and visit the Dead Sea and Galilee as soon as I can.

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Grrr…Lion

This is Soloman. He lives at Dartmoor Zoo Park  and I took it last year at a photo shoot there. The owner of the park is called Ben Mee and he wrote a book called We Bought A Zoo. The book became the current movie starring Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson. I hope Ben made loads of money out of it and that the zoo will go from strength to strength. If you are ever in Devon do pay a visit. It is quite small and not the flashiest of zoos but it is great for photographers and the kids loved it. Soloman is the most beautiful lion I have ever seen and is not at all why I am upset with Lions at the moment.

I use a mobile me account and so have had to upgrade to Apple’s Lion in order to be able to transfer my email over to iCloud. It is one of those annoying things about computers where one small irritation causes a chain of events that leaves you frustrated and penniless. My computer worked fine, I was happy to leave well alone but I kept getting these emails from mobile me saying I had to switch to iCloud or I would lose my email address. In truth I had a bit of time but I thought I’d get it done so I didn’t forget.

So then I had to buy Lion. This actually was okay. It’s not too expensive and I can sync everything on iCloud, not sure I need any of the other features but okay. It took ages to download but in fairness that could be our broadband. The installation was fine, I know a lot of people have had loads of trouble so I guess I am lucky here.

But now my old version of Photoshop, it’s CS which I should have upgraded years ago, won’t work. A new version of Photoshop is going to cost me an arm and a leg (why is it so expensive anyway?) and until I get one I can’t play with any of my new textures that I was just starting to have fun with. So I’m having a major sulk.

On top of that my computer needs more memory and probably a new video card. It was having trouble running Aperture and Photoshop at the same time, which I need it to do, and I bet with a bigger better PS it will be even worse. So anyway, I had some more flower pics to show you but I can’t finish them now so you have a lion instead!

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Textures

Uh oh, I have found textures and much like my actions obsession I can see textures becoming my new best friends! I love them on these flower pictures. The crocuses are over now so I promise not to saturate the blog with any more purple photos!

I’ve recently done a mini course on Finding your Style over at Clickinmoms and it has made me think about a few things regarding my photography. There were a few exercises to do to help you identify what sort of pictures you enjoy taking and I have come to the conclusion that my style is a lot more pretty and girly than perhaps I allow myself to be. I think Pinterest is great for this sort of thing. If you look through the boards that you have created you can really see trends and identify the ‘style’ that you enjoy. It then becomes much easier to be true to that style and makes you work harder to create images that you really love.

I’m still not sure if its completely me or if it is just a phase in my development but for now I’ve come over all vintage and flowery. I want white vintage wooden furniture, pastel prints and pink peonies. I want backlight, haze, starbursts and fairy wings. Oh, and my new textures. Call me crazy but I think I just remembered that I’m a girl.

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