Warley park wedding

Warley park wedding

Warley park wedding

I do so love a good wedding venue. Even better when that wedding venue is only just down the road from me. Golf club wedding venue’s tend to be a little more laid back than dedicated wedding venues, no strict adherence to timings, no fussy overbearing venue managers, and the day is allowed to “go with the flow”, so to speak. But on the other hand, they can be quite bland from a wedding photographer’s point of view. Too much open green space (not surprising really being golf clubs) and no features to add ambience to a wedding day.

Warley park golf club, really, is the exception to the rule, yes, it does have the big open green boring spaces but at the same time it also has the dedicated wedding venue, gorgeous backdrop lake and really is a photographers dream venue albeit on a smaller scale. The winding path down to the covered wedding pier, overhanging the really lovely lake, views into the distance. With prices starting from £2199, and no I don’t get a commission for plugging Warley park, it really is very good value for money.

The wedding of Lee & Gemma on Thursday the 18th June, what a glorious hot summers day this one turned out to be. Luckily 2015 has turned out to be quite good with sunshine almost on a par with 2014 and a couple whom relished having their pictures taken. With pre bridal shots taken at the Kilns hotel just a minutes drive down from Warley Park, a very nice Georgian country house hotel, lovely jubbly bridesmaids, bride to be laughing and joking and no sign of stress, in fact the opposite.

The day went exceptionally smoothly, the weather was perfect, Lee the groom very smart and laid back, Gemma the bride radiant in her flowing white dress and full of smiles all day.

The perfect Warley park wedding

Last not least Lloyd, the venue manager for helping everything run smoothly

Lee & Gemma, Warley park wedding.

Warley park wedding

crondon park wedding

crondon park wedding

Crondon park wedding

crondon park, a wedding venue I hadn’t been to in a long time. 17th century baronial hall set in the lush green Essex countryside, Golf course and a real little gem of a wedding venue.

The Wedding of Joe and Jodie was going to be a really buzzy wedding, joe the joker and full of laughter and up for a really good time, Jodie a little more reserved and very ladylike.

With Joe and Jodie’s wedding due to start at 3pm, plenty of time to get on with the pre bridal shots at the Greenwoods Hotel and spa, literally a minutes drive from crondon park its self. A wedding venue in its own right. An original Georgian style country house with original features and tastefully decorated Edwardian bridal suite.

As is the case with any wedding the weather makes a big difference, today the 12 th June was proving to be very, very hot so far, by 12pm the car thermometer was saying 24 degrees and by the time I had finished all the bridal prep shots, the thermometer was saying 27 degrees, baking! And the wedding hadn’t even started yet. In order to overpower the bright sunlight and harsh shadows, direct on camera flash would be needed to overpower the sun, not an ideal situation as I would have preferred off camera flash for better tonality, The groom, joe turns up twenty minutes before the bride was due to arrive so it was a quick rush to get groom and best men shots with the rings.

The wedding as with all venue style weddings was quick and simple all done in less than twenty minutes. Outside in the blazing heat, and I mean heat it was oh so very hot. With all the group shots and couples, individual shots to come, it was only going to get hotter. The highlight of the group shots had to be all the ushers and groomsmen with their hip flasks, looking almost like a military review of soldiers about to present arms to the queen, Hip flasks instead… Whiskey, I hope so. Nothing like a bit of Dutch courage.

From a photographer’s point of view, Crondon Park has a beautiful backdrop into the distance approach road, pond with water lilies and water reflection for those romantic couple shots. Enclosed laid to lawn courtyard with water features and all within a minute’s walk of the grand baronial hall. My only criticism of Crondon Park, no air conditioning, but with the typical British summer does it really matter…..

Crondon park Wedding

Why a pre wedding shoot

Why a pre wedding shoot

why a pre wedding shoot

Pre wedding shoots are big business now within the wedding industry. Photographers galore are offering pre wedding shoots or couples shoot or whatever you want to call it as probably another way to sell something to a couple before their wedding. Is it a good idea, yes, it can be, but most likely not for the reasons you’re thinking about. Yes, I want you the couple to have a perfect wedding as we all do. You’ve looked at the website, like the look of the wedding images, package is right and feel that this photographer has your tastes in mind as to what style of images you want on your wedding day, made an appointment, heard all the sales spiel and voila! Booked him or her. Did you book your pre wedding shoot, probably not, because just like most couples it never even crossed your mind to do so, but why would I need a pre shoot I hear you ask yourselves. Cheesy poses, in a local park in front of hundreds of people, no, not for me.

A pre wedding shoot from the right photographer, isn’t about getting cheesy crap poses that you feel the photographer has offered you just to add value to the package he or she has sold you. Or at least it’s not what I’m all about. I’m moulding those images I take of you and your partner to benefit you on your wedding day, moulding the photography to your tastes and desires of what you want your pictures to look like of you the couple on your wedding day. We meet up, preferably at your wedding venue a couple of months before your wedding keeping it all very relaxed and casual, cheesy poses, awkward poses, you’re not robots, I don’t think so, we’ll leave those to the amateurs. Slim, maybe a lower angle is better for you. A larger size than maybe the angle is better from slightly above. Chins or no chins, a right angle could be better for you, chubby arms, thin arms, thin face, large face, how the light falls onto you is a deciding factor on how you look good in front of the camera and the final images and lots more. Everyone’s different, I’m taking mental notes of each picture I take of you to decide how you will look in your wedding images. Weddings move at a hundred miles per hour and getting those angles and the light right only comes with experience and information about you Husband and wife to be if collected before hand in the right way and once i’ve created a pre wedding gallery and heard your positive and negative thoughts, I’m pretty much well armed of how to make you look good.

So, Why a pre wedding shoot, yes, you want to print invites, you want to see how I work, am I easy going and great to get along with, of course I am!, but really I’m doing it so we get it right on your wedding day.

Wedding 170 Queen’s gate

Wedding 170 Queen’s gate

wedding 170 Queen’s gate

I do love a good wedding venue, 170 Queen’s gate, one of the wedding venue’s in London and possibly kensington’s best kept secret. That said, I would normally avoid doing a wedding in London, if it’s not the logistical nightmare of getting to the venue it’s going to be the severe lack of parking. The congestion charge, awful traffic and if that’s not enough and decide not to drive, use the tube instead, it’s going to be dragging around all my very expensive gear on the tube.

170 Queensgate has been just that venue. A Victorian grade two listed venue, beautiful traditional banqueting rooms, walled garden, just around the corner from the Albert hall and Hyde park. In all honesty, you wouldn’t think this was in the middle of South Kensington. Beautiful Victorian rooms all with original fittings.

The civil ceremony of Annette and Jo. A lovely quiet, laid back ceremony and a photographers dream. The day was warm, slightly overcast with the cloud thickening but no sign of rain, twenty five guests. The garden grounds where heavily shaded but still light enough, letting sunlight in when it appeared.

The first shots were going to be outside the Albert Hall, five minutes away, great place to get brilliant images, not so with the masses of tourists getting in the way, the couple were up for it and to keep the set up simple and flexible, a single Speedlight, bare flash off camera, remote fired with pocket wizards, Nikon D4, a 17-35mm enabling me to get down low and dramatically set the couple against the Albert hall.

Back to the Gore hotel for some honeymoon suite shots with Jo and entourage, then back to 170 Queen’gate for the ceremony. The couple looked lovely, a bit nervous, but hey, it’s a wedding, the tears flowed and the love in their eyes was plain to see. (Always makes for the best images)

Wedding 170 Queen’s gate

Cooling castle Wedding

Cooling castle Wedding


Cooling Castle Wedding

The wedding of Andrew and Jennie at Cooling Castle in Kent.

An idyllic location for a wedding, Cooling Castle has to be the venue to get married, a 14th century castle, massive twin turrets, ruined castle walls, fantastic views of the Kent countryside and all within easy reach of major transport links.

Take those castle features and plonk right in the middle of it a Wedding venue. Cooling Castle barns, an extremely well run and organized wedding venue and a wedding photographers dream, superb backdrops, lovely courtyard garden and very helpful and accommodating staff, an excellent toastmaster, more than willing to help get those wedding images in the bag.

This was going to be a real cosmopolitan day of a wedding. The middle of April 2015 was turning out so far to be the hottest day of the year, so far, 27 degrees, blistering hot, crystal clear blue skies. Not ideal conditions from my point of view as the wedding photographer, (we prefer some cloud), lots of fill flash, dodging the shadows and harsh sunlight, for the couple, couldn’t have asked for better.

With Jennie’s Scottish Canadian background, family from across the globe, the images were proving to be what I had hoped for, throw in a Scottish piper and a few kilts, lots of Scottish humor

The wedding breakfast begins and the Russian singing waiters (secret up till that point) open into a chorus with roses flowing and lots of laughter, surprised, all the guests were, what a difference it made to a normal wedding breakfast. Andrew’s initiation into the Scottish clan was an excellent show by the father of the bride, sure the whiskey was maybe a little too strong for him.

The best part of the day was yet to come, Daughter and Dad dance, started all traditional, very slowly opening up all of a sudden into a highland fling and what a cracker it turned out to be, getting everyone off their seats and joining in with clapping and toe tapping. A superb end to an excellent day and an excellent wedding for Andrew and Jennie.

Cooling Castle Wedding

Salmeston Grange

Salmeston Grange

Salmestone Grange

Salmestone Grange, Margate, a unique 14th century wedding venue in Kent

This was going to be a wedding with a difference, a 14th century Benedictine monastic grange. Originally owned and farmed by monks of St Augustine’s Abbey later converted into farmhouse dwellings. Uneven floors, low ceilings, and the scent of times gone by. As Historic houses go, Salmestone Grange has to be one of the best preserved medieval granges in the country.

As a wedding venue, Salmestone Grange, Margate is a venue all to its self, lovely grounds, the duck pond, a real 14th century chapel in its back garden (and not a fake one).

The good point about Salmestone Grange, being a dedicated wedding venue, there’s no emphasis on time keeping as there is with other wedding venue’s, which really makes a difference to the ambience of the day. All very relaxed, and dare I say it again “very friendly staff”, bit of a cliche in almost every blog but they really were very friendly. With the choice of either a civil ceremony wedding or the use of the 14th century chapel there really is nothing like it in the area all rolled into one. If I did have one negative criticism, would have to be the weather, considering the same time last year was baking, this year was overcast, not cold, could feel the rain was trying to break through and just as we were finishing the group shots, the sky opened up. On a perfect summers day I would consider the grange to be a wedding photographers dream. Lots of places and little nooks and crannies to pose couples, if it rains plenty of cover, if the sun is too strong, lots of cover from the harsh sunlight. No ugly cables and modern architecture to get in the way of a perfect shot. With the use of little bounce flash to the side and behind off the flint stone walls, a lovely finish to any image.

Richard & Claire’s wedding day