I met Hazel and her mum, Lottie, at a wedding fair back in 2018. We hit it off right away as we ending up chatting about our love for Studio Ghibli films amongst a tonne of other stuff. We simply clicked. Since then we stayed in touch and I had the pleasure of meeting her sweetheart, Paul, and their gorgeous pooch, Kirby. Whilst keeping in touch we arranged their engagement portrait session and discussed all of their ideas for their big day.
The day started off at Paul’s families Airbnb, just in the centre of Norwich. It was a gorgeous space with quirky yet elegant interior design- I wanted to move in the moment I walked through the door. I arrived just in time to capture them putting on the final details of their outfits, as they were all congregating in the living space, having a game or two, with beers in hand and having a good ol’ laugh. Some of the groomsmen really enjoyed being in front of the camera and decided to work their best poses! It was in the small, candid moments where magic happened, like Mark (Paul’s Dad) helped him to put on his jacket and the small, yet meaningful, looks between the groomsmen whilst they were gaming.
Over at the Maids Head Hotel, Hazel got ready with her bridal party. They got ready between two rooms; Hazel was having her hair done whilst her mum lovingly watched and supported her. Her bridesmaids, relatives and friends got ready next door. I have never seen a bridal party be so hands on with helping Hazel get ready. They all gathered round whilst she was putting on her dress and each member had a part to play in making sure her outfit was complete. It was really magical to witness this moment unfolding. As we went down the stairs to go to the taxi, we discovered the taxi had left without notifying anyone. The hotel staff kindly called the taxi people to try to solve the problem, whilst I called ahead to let Paul know what had happened. Some people might have had a meltdown or at least felt sad or angry that this had happened - but not Hazel. In fact, she took it in her stride. Hazel and her bridal party decided to walk to the ceremony venue, strutting through the streets of Norwich as passersby congratulated her and complimented her. One girl said to her mum, “She looks like a princess!” Lottie later expressed to me how much this moment meant to her and how it was really special to walk through Norwich to have so many strangers say such lovely things about her daughter.
Paul was waiting at the top of the aisle with his best man, Theo. They were chatting away and waiting patiently for Hazel and her bridal party to walk down the aisle. The ceremony took place at Norwich Castle, in the Benefactors room which was built over 900 years ago by the Normans (how cool is that?!). Hazel walked in to music featured in Studio Ghibli films, this added a whimsical, magical touch to the ceremony. Lottie provided a beautiful reading which brought a tear to many of the guests’ eyes. After the ceremony, we were greeted by Kirby, who was dressed up and ready to take some pictures! However, he wasn’t so keen for the confetti line and thought that it was a bit too much for him. Once the confetti line was over, we made our way to the location where Hazel and Paul had their first date to take some couples portraits. We slowly made our way to the reception venue (Anteros Art Foundation), stopping along Elm Hill to grab more portraits as more passersby congratulated the two of them.
At the venue, the guests were waiting in the courtyard to welcome the couple. Decorated with Studio Ghibli themed pieces, retro gaming models and objects they had collected from their travels to Japan, the venue truly told their story and love for the Japanese movies and gaming. They even had a chill out room set up with retro board games, colouring books and retro computer games. The food was a gorgeous, vegan Japanese buffet which kept the guests coming back for more! To finish the meal were cute, vegan cupcakes in a wide variety of delicious flavours. Shortly after the meal, I noticed Hazel had taken herself to the chill out room to read through her speech quietly to herself. She explained she felt nervous and emotional about reading it because she felt like certain parts would make her cry. Before long, the guests gathered in the courtyard to hear the speeches by Lottie and Hazel. Both speeches were truly heartfelt and moving, bringing smiles to the guests and lots of happy tears for Hazel too. During the speeches, the evening guests had started to arrive, which meant party time was nearly upon us! The cake was brought out and Hazel and Paul cut it with gusto! They explained to me they had been practicing cutting bread at home to get ready for the main event! I love these two so much! :) <3
We then wandered into the main hall, guests gathered around the sides to watch Hazel and Paul’s first dance. Theo was the DJ, poised and ready to press “Play” when the time was right. It was a really lovely first dance, full of laughs and singing, with a spin or two thrown in to the mix. Once the song was over, everyone clapped heartily. Paul called up his mum, Mary, and danced with her. Moments later, their close family and friends all got involved as they grabbed each others’ hands and danced the night away. I really didn’t want to leave!
There are so many photos from this wedding which I would love to share in this blog post, but I chose challenge myself and narrow it down to just 20 - damn you, Katie! If you would like to see more click here to see the full gallery.
Ceremony venue: Norwich Castle
Wedding reception: Anteros Art Foundation
Hair: Twist and Twine Hair Design
Cake: The Iced Vegan
By reading the title of this blog post, I can imagine a lot of you are conjuring up a certain episode of Game Of Thrones in your minds. Well fear not, I did not photograph the Red Wedding (could you imagine if they hired a photographer for their wedding - I know a photographer would not have existed in the GOT world - so maybe an artist interpreter.. or something?!), instead I worked with some awesome wedding suppliers to create a styled wedding shoot based around the colour red.
When starting this project, I knew that I wanted to go for something a bit different, perhaps tapping into my own tastes and elements that inspire me. I started looking at “Rock ‘n’ Roll Weddings” on Pinterest, which came up with alternative couples, leather jackets and industrial venues. I liked what I was searching for but felt like the images were repeating themselves and I wasn’t feeling particularly inspired. I then started to search for colours. I came across several moody toned images, featuring lots of blacks and golds. I began to feel more excited about the project and delved deeper as I discovered some ethereal bridal portraits, particularly outside and using berry tones. That’s when it hit me that red should be the main focus for the wedding, particularly in the styling. Using red as the main colour meant I could use accents of white and green to bring the palette together. I made the bold decision to avoid a classic white wedding dress. White wedding dresses only became popular after Queen Victoria’s wedding in 1840. Prior to that, a bride could wear whatever colour she liked, but it would have been desirable to reflect the social status of her family. Later on, many people assumed white was used to symbolise purity and virginity, however the symbolism was never the original intent. All of the clothes are from ASOS apart from the models’ shoes and the white shirt worn by Rob.
With this in mind, I searched for suppliers who would be able to provide alternative wedding supplies. I wanted to capture the day as though we were going through a wedding day itinerary, focusing on both the details and important wedding moments. I did not want to over pose the models as I wanted it to reflect my wedding style: happy, relaxed and candid. I let them chat and have a laugh, just like I would with any of my couples. Photo taking should be seen as fun and enjoyable for all involved. One fun element I really wanted to include was bubble confetti. I first came across this on a photography forum and thought the idea of using bubbles instead of flowers was a really interesting modern twist. I armed the suppliers with bubbles and they really went for creating this whimsical effect! Have a lil read at how the other suppliers interpreted the theme, what fun ideas and suggestions they have for alternative weddings and anything they currently offer.
Every bride has their own preference for hair and make-up, whether is it natural, super glam or alternative. In the 1960s, brides started to get more creative with their make-up choices, using various colours and products. Eyes were kept minimal with a pop of colour else where on the face. Rebecca Morello went for a similar style, opting for natural eye make-up and dark lipstick as the pop of colour. Rebecca also suggests matching your eyeshadow or lipstick to the colour of your flowers. It’s a bold statement that’s sure to give you that extra wow factor that you’ll see in your photos for years to come. Floral crowns or individual blossoms blended into soft curls are a key 2019 trend. If your inner fairy queen is calling, answer her prayers with some minute blooms such as Gypsophila or Soleirolia Soleirolii. Rebecca is offering all 2019 brides £50 make-up for their wedding day and £25 per bridesmaid. Bargain! :)
So you know the look you are going for your day, now the challenge is to find a location that embodies that! The Keeper’s Green is an open field with countless possibilities. The field has lots of beautiful features including: a log cabin, a wildflower garden, willow walk, a fire pit, stunning scenery and so much more. Having so many options, means there are so many ways you can personalise it and that comes with endless photo opportunities! Perfect! This wonderful locations also comes with a tractor, so you may arrive to your wedding in style! The venue is also available for birthdays, parties and festival hire, so no matter what your celebration entails, The Keeper’s Green has it covered!
The invites are the first sneak peek into your wedding adventure, so give your guests a little hint for what is in store. For our outdoor wedding, Alex Tsoncheva used greenery to suggest where the wedding will take place. You can also use the invites to show off your colour scheme or theme. You can then carry on this design through the use of other stationary on your wedding day, such as, name places, menu, order of the day, table plans and anything else you can come up with! Wedding planning can be quite stressful, so put your own flair into your day and make sure you enjoy every moment of it. Alex reminded us of a wise quote from RuPaul “That is the key to navigating life - don’t take it too seriously. That’s when the party begins.”
Flowers are bloomin’ beautiful. Megan @ Bridget’s Flowers recommended going for a dried bouquet as this trend is becoming popular again. The stunning warm hues and interesting textures of unusual blooms, seed pods and dried grass suits both modern and vintage themed weddings. The pretty, pale bouquet Megan prepared for the shoot compliments the vibrancy of the red dress and suit, whilst bringing back hints of a traditional white wedding, creating an ethereal, romantic bridal look. Dried flowers are easy to preserve if you are planning on keeping your bouquet as a keepsake.
When it comes to alternative weddings, creating a mood board is extremely helpful. Especially when it comes to cake. Look on Pinterest for ideas regarding colour, shades, design ideas, textures and anything that catches your eye - even if the images aren’t actually of cakes! Take all these ideas to your meeting with your cake maker, they will then be able to take all the mixed up ideas and create a variety of designs to suit your theme and budget. The main thing is to research your cake makers, as some will specialise in certain areas others don’t, which can be key to creating the alternative style you want. For our outdoor wedding, Stacey’s Cakey Bakes created a cake perfect for a dark fairytale. The cake was designed like a tree stump, coloured in black with a beautiful bark texture. Around the cake, Stacey places roses, buds and vines to give it a romantic twist.
Party Time! You’re ready to dance the night away! Who better to celebrate your day than with Globe Trotter Cocktail Bar. They offer two set ups: horse box or flower wall bar. Both set ups are perfect for a festival feel, outdoor wedding. If you’re looking for something a bit different, Globe Trotter Cocktail Bar have you covered. You can also rename the cocktails to tie in with your wedding. Say if you were going for a Game Of Thrones Wedding (sorry, back to that concept again!), you could name the drinks after the different places, characters or houses. Amy @ GTCB advised that previous couples have named the cocktails after the bride and groom.
As you can see, we had an absolute blast photographing this styled wedding. I highly recommend these suppliers and strongly believe they will help to make your day freakin’ awesome! I’m incredibly passionate about creating photos that are full of character and tell your story through creative reportage and ninja photography skills! If you would like to find out more, drop me a message here or check out my price list here.
If you’re seeing more from this shoot, follow the link below.
The Red Wedding Gallery.
It takes both the sun and the rain to make a beautiful rainbow.
That’s right. I’m starting this blog with a quote from Cinderella. If the shoe fits, or in this case, the quote fits, then wear the quote with fabulousness. This quote definitely sums up the weather we experienced during this shoot. It was sunny, then cloudy, then drizzling, then windy, then torrential, then back to sunny; it could not make up it’s mind at all. But it does not matter. We were chasing rainbows and making the light work for us.
The beautiful Eleanor modelled for these photos whilst the ever so talented Beth Atkins created the stunning, natural hair and make-up look. Ele sent me a message, asking to shoot an alternative lingerie shoot as she feels frustrated by seeing “boring lingerie shoots” popping up everywhere. She wanted me to help jazz up the lingerie look by bringing in a lazy Sunday, yet edgy, twist - totally up my street!
We shot at my house, after an exhausting and non-successful search for an indoor location, which turned out to be the perfect location. I mean, where else are you gonna spend a lazy Sunday? Home is the perfect place, right? Taking photos in a location that you have previously shot in can be challenging because you do not want to fall in to the trap of repeating the same shots over and over again. However, on this shoot, ideas were flowing very naturally and I was eager to use the small space to my advantage. We used my conservatory and the garden, which closely surrounds the conservatory, so that there was a clear link between internal shots and external shots. This also helped to keep the colour scheme consistent.
We shot four looks and shot all (except one of them) inside the conservatory and outside in the garden. The lighting was the most challenging part of the shoot, for both inside and outside set ups. Windy conditions meant we had limited time with direct sunlight before clouds pushed their way in front of the sun at irregular intervals. Patience is a virtue. We couldn’t help but laugh when we composed the shot and got the pose just right when the lighting would change and alter everything. Quickly, I would change the settings on my camera and take some photos before the lighting would change, yet again, and I would have to alter the settings back to how they previously were. When we noticed the passing clouds were only small wisps, we would sit patiently and wait for the lighting to change back to how it was. Although the conservatory is a beautiful, bright space, it was quite difficult to shoot indoors when the direct sunlight was pouring into the conservatory. This is due to the shadows cast by the window frames. I tried to use this element to my advantage and compose Ele so that the shadow placement was deliberate.
Mixing it up a bit, I dug out my glass prism from my camera bag. Glass prisms are great for creating dreamy reflections and pulling light into the frame. Whilst taking these beauty shots with the prism, we noticed the prism was creating a rainbow along the wall perpendicular to where we were shooting. Excitedly, we jumped up, switched position to shoot with the rainbow. However, my excitement meant we lost where the rainbow went. Using a prism, whilst enjoyable to experiment with, can become a bit arduous because any minuscule change in position can create a completely different effect. The changing lighting conditions meant the rainbow was not always present whilst moving the prism around. Carefully changing the position of the prism, I kept making strange “ooooooooOOOOOHHH-AH!” noises as though the sound would help lure the rainbow back. We so desperately wanted the rainbow to be where we previously spotted it. We couldn’t help but laugh at how so much effort was going into a simple beauty shot. This is when Ele decided the shoot should aptly be called Chasing Rainbows. A few moments and strange noises later, the rainbow was back in the perfect spot and we snapped some gorgeous beauty shots - possibly some of my favourites from the shoot.
I adore the photos from this shoot. I am thoroughly enjoying shooting with direct sunlight at the moment. If you follow me on Instagram, you will see that a lot of my recent shoots have incorporated shooting with direct sunlight. Hopefully the weather will remain bright so I can venture out, camera in hand, to take some more shots like these.