The House meadow rustic farm wedding

The House meadow

What a wonderful wedding venue. There are grand wedding venues all over the place from stately castles to he little mini venues, this place really does beat them all. Size isn’t everything and sometimes just the simple things in life can be just as exciting as the biggest. The House meadow is just such a stunning wedding venue.

Rustic farm wedding

As soon as  you drive into the house meadow, can feel a real sense of a charming rustic farm wedding. The darling buds of May comes to mind. That iconic Tv series from the 1980’s.This is what the The house meadow is all about. Beautiful summer days in the kent countryside. Lazy summer evenings, drinking wine and champagne, eating strawberries and cream, in a nutshell pure relaxation.

The house meadow is for the faint hearted, meaning to say this is the sort of wedding that you throw your cares to the wind, Chill out, Relax and just enjoy the day. No clipboard management here running your wedding like a well oiled conveyor belt wedding. Like a hotel or a huge venue organising every little time slot for you, “when to cut your cake”, “when to have your first dance”. This is all all about you.

The simple barn with all its nook and crannies and natural ventilation. On a blistering hot summers day, the perfect way to have your rustic farm wedding. From a wedding photographer’s point of view this is just the perfect wedding venue.

The lush Kent countryside and the long sweeping views into the distance make for just the perfect images. A little off camera flash to create those warm shadows, The natural light of golden hour for those warm earthy tones.  For just that intimate romantic moment the Meadow of buttercups and wild flowers over the beautiful lake with the sun in the background.

Suffice to say the house meadow is fully booked for 2019, almost all of 2020. A testament to its endearing charm of simplicity within a stunning masterpiece.

The House meadow rustic farm wedding

Elinchrom Elb400 Wedding

Elinchrom Elb400 Wedding

Elinchrom Elb400Hs

As an experienced wedding photographer, well versed in the use of speedlights for weddings I often find they have their limitations. Portable and easy to use, in bouncing the flash off a wall or ceiling to give that nice soft light and inside of a venue they work very well. Outside on an overcast day with a small aperture and depth of field and a low shutter speed, can produce a lovely evening sunset shot. My signature spiky sun shot is brilliant when using a speedlight, on Full power at F11,  the spiky sun comes out. Doing the same set up in bright sunlit daylight means having to get the flash extremely close to the subject. Just a couple of feet away and literally right on top of them. Not an ideal situation, any further away and they just can’t overpower the sun.

Elb400 research

Things needed to change for the better and the search was on for a better lighting system. With the majority of the weddings I film I do on my own and for the odd one or two have an assistant. More often than not someone just starting out and wanting to learn. So it had to be a portable system and easy to use for just me alone. I looked at the various options. The Chinese systems were nice and cheap but reliability could have been an issue especially when shooting forty to fifty odd weddings per year. This narrowed it down to three contenders. The Elb400hs. Profoto B1  and the  Profoto B2.  The B1 head was just too heavy and the B2 not enough power to overpower the sun and only 250 watts opposed to 424 watts and I don’t do TTL, manual all the way for me. The Elinchrome Elb400 won. The flash Center was the ideal retailer to buy from. Really helpful guys and more than happy to answer my questions. Felt really at ease with them.

The wedding of Sam and Sophie at the orchard suite in Maidstone was going to be the first real test of the system.  Perfect conditions for overpowering the direct harsh sunlight. Shooting at shutter speeds of 1/160 to 1/4000th of second and wide open apertures, something I could never do with regular speedlights. The system itself performed flawlessly and the ability to shoot at 4000th at 2.8 was superb. Overpowering the sun from several feet away with bare flash and with a lastolite Ezybox. Something I could never do with a speedlight. We even did a few shots with depth of field. But really the whole point of the system is the ability to overpower the sun, shoot wide open and get lovely Bokeh shots.

I ummed and erred before I bought this system wondering if £1420.00 was a worthy investment for such an expensive flash setup. I’m now a convert to Elinchrom flash systems. If I had a choice, would have made the purchase a long time ago. From a wedding photographers point of view, the Elb400 is a superb flash system. The flash head is as light as a standard speedlight. The battery pack is light and can be easily worn by its strap from a shoulder and  feels very light considering the job it has to and holds enough juice to shoot all the points of an all day wedding and coupled with the ability to get those wide open bokeh shots in bright sunlight, you can’t go wrong.

Elinchrom Elb400 Wedding

Alex & Jenny Crabbs Barn Wedding

Alex & Jenny Crabbs Barn Wedding

Crabbs Barn

Alex & Jenny Crabbs Barn wedding. April showers. I think not this year, more like the middle of summer. As we all know the weather in the UK can be a bit weird, to say the least. Lovely warm almost summerish days in April and next pouring in early May and as we move into the Britsh summer hopefully blistering hot days. From a couple’s point of view, this is what they want although not too hot!. But not so much from the photographer’s standpoint. We want slightly overcast puffy white clouds and a little bit of shade, on a perfect wedding day the sky will be overcast with no chance of ugly shadows appearing in people’s faces, in the eye sockets, panda eyes so to speak or dappled shadows from the leaves of trees overhead. Lots of manual flash in high-speed sync to create those lovely warm out of focus background shots or the sunny 16 rule for lots of depth of field. This also gave me a chance to try out my latest lens. The Sigma 35mm1.4 ART, a truly stunning lens with a sharpness unparalleled and normally third party lens’s aren’t as good as the main manufacturers so this one is exceptional in image quality and just as good as the Nikon equivalent. The wedding of Alex & Jenny at Crabbs barn was going to be just such a beautiful warm day at the end of April.

Dedicated wedding venues all have their best spots for those unique and intimate shots and Crabbs barn is no exception. The walk from the cottage to the Rustic Tudor looking barn, The lover’s kiss of just married over the field gate to the stone tiled dance floor and with brilliant staff to attend to all your needs. Crabbs barn has all the features of a lovely private wedding venue. And to top it all off a beautiful shot of the couple in a stunning sunset setting at the end of the evening.

Jenny the stunning Bride and the Groom Alex looked pretty good as well. A wonderful wedding with lots of Laughter and fun had by all.  And with a little photoshop trickery even Thomas the cat came to the wedding.

Alex & Jenny Crabbs Barn wedding

Northcote House Wedding venue

Northcote House Wedding venue

Oh my, what a wedding venue! As a wedding photographer, we get to see our fair share of wedding venue’s that we all love film to at and Northcote house wedding venue is definitely one of those more exclusive venues.
Northcote house has the appearance of a grand 18th-century neo-Georgian opulent manor house. In fact, it was built in 1931 by the president of the British American tobacco company. A photographers dream. Northcote house has it all, the grand double staircase with its moon dome, The medieval stone carved balcony. High ceilings, grand fireplace. superb gardens and the facade of a classical English country mansion. Lots of off camera flash and a really good excuse to get the Fisheye lens out to exploit that staircase.

The civil ceremony wedding of Matthew and Wayne in late April 2017 was going to be a wedding to remember. I love weddings and with a love for photography, the two go hand in hand. So when I get the chance to film at a classical wedding venue, great!. Even better is when that wedding is a same-sex couple. Now don’t get me wrong I really enjoy a heterosexual wedding but a gay wedding is something else, quirky and unpredictable, all in a good way. The Bridal prep or in this case the Guy’s prep. The struggle to get the Bow ties on (Wayne!). The nervousness of the impending nuptials, not really that much different from a girl and guy wedding. The walk down the grand staircase to the joy of all the family and friends, and a few tears….

The service and then the look of joy that its all over and the tension begins to fade (Matthew!). The walk back down the aisle. Northcote Wedding venue really is what wedding dreams are made of. Confetti shot with the boys which appeared to almost blind them, or that could have been the sun, difficult to say which. But anyway it was good. Speeches with lots of emotion and laughter then it’s party time and boy this lot know how to party and everyone’s up for it. I’m sure Waynes’ brother in law taught Wayne to drink a bottle of wine through a straw, that’s another wedding blog from the brother in laws wedding from last June. Suffice to say Northcote house is one of the best wedding venue’s i have had the pleasure to film at. I would normally highly recommend Northcote to get married in but sadly Matthew and Wayne’s’ wedding was one of the last as the venue is due to close on the 10th May 2017 and turned into a retirement home.

Northcote wedding venue

Newlands hall wedding venue

Newlands hall wedding venue

Newlands Hall wedding venue

Now here is another cracking little wedding venue. Newlands Hall wedding venue. Situated just outside of Chelmsford Essex. 15th Century manor house. Full of character. Newlands hall is one of those little gems of a wedding venue slightly off the beaten track. The original manor of ‘Newlanda’ or newly won land and listed in the Domesday book 0f 1086. legend even has it that the Tudor estate of Newland hall was a lodge for Henry the eighth. An excellent wedding venue with its sweeping drive leading down to the venue. Hidden from the main road. The House decorated with a light and airy Georgian feel,  manicured lawns, the Grand marquee for the wedding breakfast and also for when it rains and even a moat. For the discerning Groom with priorities in hand, there are even the attached carp fishing lakes to relax and enjoy after (or even before) a hectic day of getting married. Newlands Hall doesn’t feel like a managed business more like someone’s family home with all the rustic charm of a typical country house. Lots of little nooks and crannies for those exclusive shots of the couple for the wedding album, the lawn with the Hall as a backdrop feature and the Barn for that romantic shot of the day.

The wedding of Paul & Jackie in July of 2016. As with any British wedding, the day is dependant on the weather. We all know how unpredictable the weather can be in this country. One day pouring with rain and the next beautiful warm sunshine. Well, what a  lovely summers day for a beautiful wedding was this turning out to be. From my point of view as the photographer of the day, not so much, we hate the harsh midday bright sunshine. Why I hear you ask. Shadows, lots of ugly shadows. In an ideal world, a wedding would have some cloud but still be bright enough to use the natural light and a touch of flash to give some shadow to the face which is all controlled by me. Place the subject under trees but then we get shadows off the leaves and all over their faces, Which doesn’t  look very good. Out in the open with their backs to the sun, Better no shadows,  But flash and lots of it has to be used firing directly at the wedding party so no silhouette is formed by the backlit sunshine.  Preferably lots of off camera flash. Get the balance of the flash and the backlit sunlight right and you have a very pleasing image. Luckily a very relaxed wedding. With the heat of the day keeping everything subdued, more time to concentrate on getting decent images and using the bright sunlight to my advantage. Although there are lots of disadvantages to filming in bright sunlight one of the advantages for me is my spikey sun shots which I love doing. The couple in a nice relaxed natural embrace. Full power bare flash on a stand with remote triggers and my fav lens, sigma 15mm fisheye. Get down low and shot done. Not every photographer’s cup of tea, but I love it.

All in all a very nice wedding and a highly recommended wedding venue for those couples who want intimacy from a smaller but more inclusive venue for their wedding day.

Newlands hall wedding venue

Moor Hall Aveley

Moor Hall Aveley

Moor Hall

A delightful little wedding venue. Moor Hall Aveley wedding venue. A lovely venue for intimate weddings, absolutely beautiful grounds, the sweeping driveway.  This was to be my first time filming a wedding at Moor hall and hopefully will never be my last. Of the many weddings venues i have filmed weddings at, from massive castles to small intimate country style pub wedding venues. i must say that Moor hall has to be one of my favourites. The manicured lawns. The secret garden with the shepherds hut with its quaint rustic style decor or even the pink room laid out in classical victorian finery. With just a touch of pink!. As wedding venues go, Moor hall has the subtleties of a grandiose mansion house. Without the feeling of being just another wedding to cater for. Staff are attentive and friendly with out being overbearing and no one micro managing the day which is a plus point. From a wedding photographer’s point of view, perfect. superb backgrounds, lots of leafy shaded areas to diffuse the harsh summer sunlight added with a touch of off camera flash to add shadow and subtlety. As for the wedding of Russell and Emily in late October 2016, a real indian summer wedding, beautiful warm sunshine coupled with a balmy summer evening, what more could one ask for on their wedding day. Lots of outgoing friends and guests, full of fun and laughter with just a hint of the cheeky father of the bride to spice things up a bit. Or maybe it was the large light letters spelling out on the dance floor.

If your looking for a wedding venue with a personal feel, yet will give you the refinements of a big venue, then Moor hall aveley could be the wedding venue you’re looking for.