All posts in Wedding Photography

“I wish I’d asked you and not a friend!”

“I wish I’d asked you and not a friend!” were the words uttered in our local Post Office the other day by an old friend of mine who’d recently tied the knot.

I was in my own world, daydreaming and standing in line to post out one of our SUCH magazines to a recent enquiry when I heard my name called. After a couple of words spoken, she mentioned she’d read something of mine warning of the risks involved with getting a friend/relative to shoot a wedding (one who isn’t experienced with weddings anyway) and now realised I am indeed a wise dude with true words spoken! It’s never a kool thing to hear, as there are no second chances with capturing a wedding, something she now knows only too well having seen what a friend captured for them.

I won’t go too much into detail, but imagine the phrases; I was fighting back tears when I saw them, the only picture of us was signing the register, I wish I’d asked you, I’m just so unhappy with them… etc.

It’s awful to hear these stories (which we do often!) but even worse when it’s an old friend standing in front of you full of regret! Unfortunately it does happen often, and understandably so as shooting a wedding is not as easy as people think, so whilst you’re thinking about letting Uncle Bob shoot your memories as a wedding gift to save you a few quid, think about the end result; if you’re happy with a stack of iPhone pics on Instagram from friends/relatives then Uncle Bob may be for you, if you flick through bridal mags and love the awesome stuff, give the Uncle a miss and grab yourself an experienced wedding ‘tog… I hate hearing stories like these…

Service is everything

Service IS everything right? Agree? You hand over some hard-earned and expect a certain level of service depending on the amount you’ve handed over yeah? You rummage around in your pocket for the fiver to pay for your Scotch Egg and sandwich meal deal lunch in the petrol station and you don’t expect to be asked how your day is going and whether you’d like help in walking back to your car. Now you go and sink a years salary into a wedding and you want to be made to feel special, this is understandable- you want to be asked how your day is going, is there anything that can be done for you, can your drink be topped up? Imagine blending the two extremes and passing over the salary amount and receiving petrol station service levels… yeah, ain’t that a kool sounding idea! It’s the future right, surely this is what you really want? F*** off is it…

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away I had the dubious pleasure of extremes in service levels shooting a double weekend of weddings. Now this is viewed from my perspective as I stand back scoping people in my viewfinder akin to a legendary sniper, all the time listening with bat-like hearing to everything going on around me. I’m in the moment. I see all. I hear all. I am the eyes and ears of all things happening around me. I notice things. I notice when employees/staff attend to the couple and their guests’ needs, asking if they need a hand with their bags or their luggage, I notice them asking if guests need anything, I notice when they are asked if they’d like their drink topped up, I notice smiles and genuine attentive service, I notice no mobile devices on show, I notice shirts tucked in and tidy appearances, I notice when nothing is a problem, “of course Sir/Madam, I will go and find out immediately” I notice when the day is all about the happiness of the couple, everything revolving around them and their guests, I notice no litter, no dirty glasses left laying around, no spare chairs stacked in a corner, rooms hoovered from the day before, mopped dance-floors. I notice these things because I am observant, I am in the moment all day long, I watch everything and take it all in.

I also notice when the above is not present; when the staff are sullen, when timings are more important than the couple’s happiness, when staff stress and huff and rush about with moody looks on their faces, when no one seems to care about the couple and their guests, when bars are left unattended because of staff shortages, when dance-floors are sticky and dirty, when a couple’s day is rushed, when guests are left to fend for themselves, when staff emerge from kitchens still chewing food, when staff lurk in corners glued to a device screen, when everything is seemingly an issue, when money is more important than the customer.

I notice the difference between a venue training it’s staff to be customer-focused and a venue who give zero f**ks about guests and is only interested in rushing through as many weddings as possible to grab as much ££ as possible whilst they still can. Yeah I notice these things and I’m damn sure I’m not the only one. Buck your ideas up sunshine, a couple’s wedding day is important, it’s a big day in their life journey, help make it special or f**k off somewhere else where you’re not affecting someone’s special day…

Is this a smiling happy rant? No it’s not, I put 100% into a couple’s wedding day before, during and after, each and every time, no matter what is thrown at me, I push myself as hard as I can to deliver the best I can in every situation, I work damn hard for our clients, I stress inside at limitations thrust upon us by weather and by venues, all with a smile on our faces because this day is a one-off for a couple, and I expect the same from everyone else taking money from wedding couples. Does everyone live up to my expectations? No they don’t! Thankfully I am surrounded by wedding professionals and wonderful venues who have, and honour, the same exacting standards I expect, fellow professionals who know the couple is the most important aspect of a wedding day, venues who treat each guest as if they were the most important person in the world at that moment.

Keep up the outstanding work, fellow professionals and venues who care, and a huge f**k you to those who could not give a flying f**k…

Old Thorns wedding show

Another day spent at Old Thorns for a wedding show yesterday, seems like second home shooting numerous weddings every year for the past 11 years and two, sometimes three wedding shows a year plus a couple of supplier showcase each year also. Always kool to return [second]home… yesterday I was asked by another exhibitor (first timer) if I’d been to Old Thorns before, to which a fellow regular laughed and piped up, “haha, he’s part of the furniture here!” I’ll take that as a compliment 🙂

A slow start as downstairs was full, so it took visitors an hour before they started to trickle upstairs to where we were in the Gatsby and then it was mental for the rest of the day. Doors closed at 3pm but visitors were still flooding in to the Gatsby at that time, I didn’t start packing down until 3.30!

Anyway, a fab show and thank you to all the wonderful people I chatted to, Old Thorns for hosting and PMN for putting on yet another awesome show…

Rhinefield House wedding show

Yesterdays Rhinefield House wedding show was interesting; I’ve been shooting weddings for 20 years now (20 years!!) and I’ve never shot at Rhinefield House. It’s one of a few very well known and local wedding venues that I’ve not had the pleasure of shooting at. It’s always amazed me that these venues seem to elude my shooting prowess, perhaps they only allow their recommended suppliers to shoot there (which would be very strange behaviour indeed) who knows, but anyway, it’s stuuuuuuunniiiiiing… oh maaan I want to shoot a wedding there now!!!!

Where the **** did 2018 go?

Holy s**t, where did 2018 disappear to? Can anyone explain how time is accelerating? Are we flying through the universe faster and if so how come the clocks are speeding up? Any wise sages among us?

So, 2018 kicked my a**e completely, well not the first half, but oh my oh my, the second half well and truly beat the hell out of me!! Learned a few lessons, changing a few things, not going through that again…

And with last years trials and tribulations a savage memory burned upon my consciousness, we move forward with lessons learned toward a brighter future in a jolly and enthusiastic mood, looking forward to what this year will bring, the kool stuff we’re going to shoot, the awesome people we’re going to meet and of course you lot as always! Some of you are new to the gang (welcome/aloha/howdy to you), some of you are recent (hello again) and some of you are regulars (word up m*********ers), but of course you are all awesome!

I know it’s been a few months since I last penned one of these to you lot (blame the a**e-kicking second half of last year for that) so figured I best wish you all a Happy New Year an’all that as we’re already one week deep into 2019 already- we’ve all survived so far, only another fifty one of them remaining…

So what exciting stuff have you got happening this year? I know a stack of you have weddings to continue planning, some of you have albums to help design, some of you are way past that and just reading this on a tea break, maybe there are small ones due, small ones already here, small ones not quite as small, small things or families or pets (fur babies?) that you are looking forward to having a shoot with this year, who knows eh? Obviously if there’s anything non-wedding related to shoot that is on your to-do-list for 2019 then you know to holler at me or Sarah (Sarah is waaay better at the squidgy or furry portraiture than I am) and it’s always nice to see your faces again.

Right, my coffee is now cold so I best crack on with the next task. I still have weddings to edit so I can compile a best of 2018 (we shot some amazing stuff last year), albums to design, some of you to email and a Product Guide to go through for a 2019 refresh; we’re binning off some products, changing suppliers for our wall-hanging options (the wonderful and amazing Graphistudio are now offering awesome wall stuff) and generally trying to minimise and simplify stuff which is really bloody hard!!!

Go have an awesome day, be chill and sending out big hugs to you lot from Sarah and I.. until next time you lot…

Guest blog for Old Thorns Manor Hotel

Yeah… I did a spot of writing for an Old Thorns blog. It’s an amazing wedding venue we’re a preferred supplier for (wedding photography) and one of our fave places to shoot a wedding, so it’s been great to jot a few words down for them based around some images they really loved.

We’ve been shooting weddings at OT for the past decade and seen soooo many changes and it’s been wonderful having a working relationship with a venue for this length of time even through those changes- we must be doing something right!

So yeah, a cracking venue to host a wedding and a fabulous team there to help wedding couples, so here’s the blog we featured in (click the link below)

6 of our Chris Such Favourites

You may think I’m a lazy git

OK, OK, it’s nearly March and I’m only just posting about how fab our 2017 wedding season was! Whilst other ‘togs were talking about this in December last year, I thought I’d be different and wait until the rush was over…

…nope, we’ve just been busy doing stuff like designing client albums, a couple of new display albums, our first wedding and wedding show of 2018, a bit of an upgrade to our working space (why does a weekend job always take longer than planned eh?) and all that exciting stuff of meeting new couples fresh on their wedding planning journey; this year is going to be rather hectic!!!

And y’know what? Creating a slideshow from my favourite memories of last year is not a 5min job either- it was soooo tricky trying to narrow it down to a sensible number and even though I had to be ruthless in the end and cull a load out (otherwise the slideshow would’ve been 10mins long and you’d have fallen asleep/switched tabs to that cat video on FaceBook you’ve been tagged in) I still ended up keeping too many for a sensible length slideshow!

Oh well, moving on, my fave moments of 2017; each one triggers a kool memory for me from being in the moment with the people involved, so if you fancy taking a gander click here and chill out for 3mins.. (click HD option if it doesn’t automatically do so as fuzzy images are rubbish!) It is a touch too fast for my liking but it won’t take up too much of your time to check it out either!

Enjoy… 🙂

Rownhams House wedding on a cold December day

Hoooooly sheeeeeeeeet, a chilly start yesterday for Alex & Kat’s wedding but a gorgeous sunny day so no complaints from us! And we were at Rownhams House which is rather a tasty Hampshire wedding venue. 

 

Another all-day affair so early morning preps. for us with Sarah shooting Kat at her parent’s home and me shooting Alex at his parent’s home before heading off to the local church. The fab thing about a sunny day at this time of year is the low arc of the sun which throws lovely shadows, gives a wonderful colouring and makes for great imagery with available light shooting, it’s like a sunset for a few hours. Fabulous… 

 

Anyway, the church ceremony gave Kat a lovely surprise in the form of their two dogs being outside the church door as she pulled up inside her chauffeur-driven Rolls, oh they went slightly crazy and tried to jump up as dogs tend to do, not so kool whilst wrapped in an expensive wedding dress! Alex was inside the church obviously, with his brother being the supportive Best Man doing his best man duties and before you know it, the 40mins have passed and we’re all outside into the ‘warmth’ of a December sun. Nailed a couple of formals outside the church door and a couple of Alex & Kat (it was the church they were married at after all) and then jumped in the car for the short(ish) drive to Rownhams House with the heating on (a change from the air-con for once!) 

 

Rownhams had the log fire roaring… ahhhhhhh… we let everyone warm up a bit (us too) shooting some naturals indoors and then did a few naturals outside (brrrrr!) dragging folks out a few at a time to avoid the risk of hypothermia. We also managed to coheres Alex and Kat outside for a few portraits in the fading light before they went to sit down in the warmth to scoff and drink. Speeches, sorted, a couple more relaxed formals around a settee of mildly alcohol enhanced bridal party stuff and off to the coach house for the evening reception with added Christmas jumpers, cake and dancing to a band. We finished off our evening with a few cigars and a short session of portraits with Alex and Kat before we jumped back in the car to drive home with the heating properly on… another fantastic day of catching memories for a wonderful pair… 

 

May the Force be with you, Force 5 gales though

A wedding with a subtle Star Wars theme, so May the Force be with you was indeed Force 5 gales instead! Another sunny and windy wedding, good ol’blighty eh! Hey at least they’ve both been sunny and windy, totally thankful for that, as wind and rain is not a kool combo to coheres couples outside.

Luke & Jenni are a totally chilled laid back couple, so were easy to shoot even with the wind we had. They live opposite Southsea Common so The Queens Hotel was an obvious choice for them, and the gardens there are enclosed somewhat so we had some shielding from the hurricane winds. It was when we strolled across the Common that things got a bit frisky!

Anyway, I digress… only a half day shoot for us, well actually just me solo shooting this one, because of being a half day; so I rocked up for a couple of pre-shoots with Luke and his Best Man chilling, ploughed through their ceremony and outside to enjoy the awesome sunshine. And wind. Shot a bunch of kool naturals wildly spinning wheels between shade/sunshine lighting, nailed formals on the lawns and stairs for the larger groups and then buggered off with the pair of them across the Common to use the kool architecture of the war memorial for a few sneaky portraits of them away from the prying eyes of guests. Wind. Jeez it was windy, t’was rather tricky finding places where it wasn’t threatening to blow them away cartwheeling across the common like tumble weeds but we found a couple of spots, shot them tasty and then back across the common to release them for feeding time.

Speeches, more naturals, another lil’sesh with the pair of them around the hotel and then jumped in the car, job done (well the capture bit anyway!)

Fab couple, fab day, here’s a few teasers of what I shot for them 🙂

Sandhurst Royal Military Academy AND Warbrook House wedding photography, spoilt we are I tell ya!

“Clusterf**k… this is what we wish to avoid, what is known in the Army as a ‘Clusterf**k” said an organised Johnno.

“Major F**kup will not be in attendance” replied Such.

“I like you n’all, but shut the f**k up” chimed in Nat (this was later in the day, but whilst I’m quoting eh!)

So the profanity aside, and anyone who knows me, will already know that I’m not one to profane (I leave that for Sarah to cover) we were totally spoilt on a sunny day shooting a wedding at Sandhurst Royal Military Academy and Warbrook House. Two very different backdrops, both stunning venues to have the privilege of shooting at.

Our journey started a few months prior when a local couple chose us to shoot their day and I nabbed a grand tour of Sandhurst as I shot the pair of them for an engagement shoot and venue scout at the same time. Lovely couple Johnno & Nat are, so was looking forward to shooting their awesome day at awesome venues with awesome sunny weather.

F**K ME IT WAS WINDY.

Military precision itinerary in hands we rocked up early to Warbrook House to shoot the bridal preps. Sunny. Cake and coffee. Nice. Nat looking fantastic. Awesome.

I left Sarah to crack on as I buggered off and sped off to shoot the lads (no speed limits were harmed in the making of this shoot.. honest..) like f***ing miles away in the next county! Found them opposite Sandhurst. Got my pass into Sandhurst. Sorted. Shot them boozing it up and dressing Johnno into his finest military dress stuff, y’know all shiny polished swords, boots’n’sh*t. Handsome lad all sorted.

Back in the car to speed (within the speed limit) back to Warbrook to catch final bridal stuff as Sarah had jumped aboard the supplied Routemaster with the wedding guests en route to Sandhurst. Boom…nailed those and then back in the car to break the land speed record (on private ground obviously) en route back to Sandhurst AGAIN, to catch Johnno et al before guests arrive.

Parked up. Not even close. Run with heavy gear bags. Knackered already. Have I beaten the guests?  Where the f**k are they? tick-tock… Bride arrives. Where are the guests?? “Go horse and carriage a bit more, we have no guests. No I’m not joking!”

20mins later.

Ahh there are guests on the horizon. Wait, what? They are supposed to be dropped off at the chapel! Crack out the 200mm Such and shoot the guests walking. Bus driver got lost and dumped them where I’d parked my car… hahahaha no I shouldn’t laugh as we’re now running late.

*throws away military precision itinerary*

Stunning chapel. Padre kool as, totally way more laid back than most civvy priests/vicars. Excellent. Sarah is over there, I’m up the other end (no, not like that you filthy minded reader!) so we capture some kool stuff.

Get your swords out lads (stop it reader!) for the sword arch and we’re outside again in the bright sunshine. Naturals. Walk to the front of Sandhust for the grand frontage for the formals. Just stunning. Like totally stunning.

Gale force winds.

One guest actually blew away. Not sure if she’s been found yet, but she was only a last minute add-on so no one was too bothered; well, they didn’t seem to be at the time, everyone was trying to hold their dresses down and wigs to their heads so didn’t bother trying to catch her as she blew away. Cries for help were ignored.

So we somehow managed the formals, using sign language as wind was too strong to hear even the shoutiest of shouts, and then a quickie sesh with J&N down by the lake (not like that! Shut it!) before escaping the localised hurricane back to Warbrook. Sarah took the bus, J&N took their horse and carriage AND vintage car, and I had to steal a lift back to my car as it was an interstellar distance away so I stood a chance of getting back to Warbrook on the same day!

I even beat J&N to Warbrook where they had yet another sword arch. No wind. Excellent.

Shot more stuff.

Rest time whilst they scoffed.

We scoffed.

Shot more stuff.

Evening stuff.

Bloody awesome day, stunning venues, bloody lovely couple. Privileged. Knackered. Have a few image highlights to check out what we did… 🙂 x