Love & Laughter – A Scottish Castle Wedding x

As you possibly already know, I don’t often shoot weddings. They are a specialty I’ve only just started to graze the surface of and my busy travelling schedule means I tend to cover just one or two each year.

On occasion, however, I find myself in the wonderful position of being asked to capture the moments of this special day for some important people in my life.  When my good friends Nicola & Dave got in touch to ask me if I’d be their photographer, I didn’t hesitate. I was delighted to be asked.

Wedderburn Castle was the stunning backdrop for a brilliant couple of days with their nearest and dearest. Both grand and welcoming, it was the perfect balance for their celebrations.

Scotland is well known for it’s “four seasons in one day” weather and true to form there was glorious, baking sunshine one minute and lashing rain the next. Our carefully planned locations for the photos morphed in to running outside whenever we got a break in the rain. Despite the weather, these two rocked their shoot and were game for getting out there – which meant we managed to capture images in the beautiful castle grounds.

Nicola’s gorgeous wedding dress was by Whistles and with a little help from Fabricated Bridal, the dress was absolutely perfect. Nicola is always beautiful, but on her wedding day she was particularly exceptional. Dave took the opportunity to get himself smartly kilted up by Slanj and proudly wore the blue Clark tartan alongside his Dad.

Team Bride were treated to some lovely pampering with their hair and make-up styled by Laura Mallace Mobile Hairstyling and KJ Shields Make Up Artist. It was one of the most relaxed wedding mornings I’ve been part of, lots of Ed Sheeran playing, party snacks a-plenty, the guys chilling out until the last minute, gorgeous gifts for everyone… As with all weddings, there were some last minute changes, and unexpected turns but it was all taken in their stride. Just the way you want it to be!

A lot of attention to detail from this Bride & Groom really made the day stand out as their own. From the Whisky map of Islay to personalised photo-place-cards; hilarious guestbook prompts to cheese, cheese and more cheese at the evening buffet – these little touches delighted the guests and stood out as moments to remember. Lorraine Graham Flowers added the finishing touches with beautiful summery bouquets, buttonholes and features for the ceremony and reception.

The ceremony was conducted by Humanist Celebrant, Penny Earle – Dave & Nicola had made the effort to tailor it so it was unique to them and much to everyone’s delight, they spent the whole ceremony smiling and laughing.

And then there was the dancing. The Sleekit Beasties provided the perfect mix of ceilidh and pop to keep everyone entertained and the dance-floor full. I don’t usually stay for the full night but since I was a guest as well as the photographer, I kept shooting until my cards were almost full! And then it was time for some rum and the Orcadian Strip the Willow!

Huge Congratulations Nicola & Dave! It was such an honour to be part of your celebrations and I’m so glad I got to capture so many happy moments for you to treasure. Here’s to many more years of love & laughter together! xx

Why I Love This Shot – Real Beauty

Fourth in my “Why I Love This Shot” series is one from my first Real Girls, Real Beauty project shoots. Lovely Hannah was my first ever model for this project and it’s a been an exciting journey since then with another 6 models photographed (two #RealGirls and four #RealWomen), two more #RealGirls due to have their shoots late next month and at least another five #RealWomen preparing to schedule theirs.

The #RealGirlsRealBeauty project is really important to me. Empowering girls and women to see their beauty in who they are and not just what they look like is vital. Especially in this industry where we’re taught to pose people to “look better” and we’re expected to edit out “flaws”. Recently, the project has evolved and I’m excited to update you all on the changes very soon.

I have many shots that I love from this particular shoot. Partly because I could see Hannah becoming more and more comfortable with the camera, me and most importantly, herself. We did a range of poses, with her favourite book, her teddy that she’s had all her life, her violin and her piano – all things she loves about herself and her life. I could pick a number to share with you but I chose this one. I chose it because it’s a moment when we were being silly and showing off her wonderful sense of humour. A moment where she relaxed completely and giggled. Showing her #RealBeauty with a smile and plenty of sparkle.

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The Glancy Family

It became pretty clear early on that to survive in this highly competitive industry, word of mouth was going to be a hugely important factor in my business. The same is true for most businesses but it’s quite obvious that without recommendations to friends and family, I wouldn’t have nearly as many bookings as I do now.

I’m always delighted when someone recommends me to their friends and family. It really is one of the highest compliments that they can give.

A couple of months ago I was working with the Glancy Family. You may recognise the boys in the photos. They are the sons of my good friend Kim and I’ve taken their photos a few times now. Especially Christopher’s. He’s so used to me having a camera in his face now that we could barely distract him from showing me his toys long enough to get the shots.

I loved this shoot because it was a little bit of a challenge. It was the first time I’d worked with teenagers, a toddler and a baby all together. They all needed their own space and time to be comfortable in front of the lens. When sessions are short and time-pressured it can get a little tricky at times. In some instances this could easily boil over into a stressful shoot but my experience has taught me to wait them out. If I’m relaxed then my families will relax.

And sure enough, some silly songs, a Darth Vader toy and a few glasses of juice later and we were well underway with everyone happier to be themselves despite a camera in the room. Photographers are entertainers and baby whisperers too you know! xGlancy, Lorraine - Sneak Peek WR

 

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Wedding Nerves…

I always said I wouldn’t be a wedding photographer. I have so much respect for those who carve their careers out in this part of the industry. It takes hours of dedication to their craft; the ability to work with large (sometimes unruly!) groups; a cool head in stressful situations with those one-off-moments and a mountain of pressure to capture them all.  It didn’t seem to be for me. Not with my ambitions to capture family portraits and find a place in the ever competitive and demanding field of wildlife photography.

But then I was at a friend’s wedding in Italy and of course I had my camera with me so I took a few shots. I had so much fun capturing the love and the laughter, it was an amazing day!bigabow blog wr

I had so much fun in fact, that when my other friends got engaged, I offered to help out and take photos for them.

I almost instantly got cold feet and second guessed my decision to offer my services. Not because I didn’t want to help my friends and be a part of their big day, but because I had an overwhelming sense of doubt in my ability to do it well. I was nervous and unsure of myself. This was the first time I was going to be the main photographer at a wedding. In my rush to help I’d put myself under the very pressure I’d said wasn’t for me. And so the worries began.

But I made a promise to a friend and I was going to keep it. I listed the things that were concerning me and set about tackling them. I went through my manuals again and reminded myself of things that had slipped from my memory. I researched and practiced the shots I wanted to take and more importantly, the shots the happy couple wanted me to take. 

It turned out my biggest concern was the indoor lighting. Not an unusual worry for a photographer, but certainly one I was used to having more control over or the fun of dealing with natural light outdoors. So I found tutorials and classes to attend to help me improve and get better. It made me feel more confident on the day. The last thing anyone wants on their wedding day is an anxious photographer.

The day rolled around a few months later and I was a mixture of nerves and excitement. Fueled by a heady mix of sleepless-night-compensated-for-by-too-much-coffee and pure adrenaline, I headed over early for the celebrations.

I really needn’t have worried. It was another day of love, laughter, family and friends. I was so grateful to be part of it. It wasn’t a perfect shoot. Things went wrong as they always do. The best laid plans gave way to mishaps and changes but the important part of the day remained. My two friends were getting married in a room full of love. There’s nothing better. I understood why wedding photographers dedicate their lives to capturing these happy moments.

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Just a few weeks later, a friend I hadn’t seen in years got in touch. He had found my instagram account and my website. Turns out he and his fiance love my style of photography and had been looking for someone to capture the moment at their wedding a couple of months later. I was available and delighted to be asked. My first official wedding booking was confirmed.

And then came the nerves again. Except this time they were more easily put back in their place. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a firm believer in a little bit of nerves and adrenaline being essential to keep you sharp before any performance but there’s a fine line and excessive nerves are no good to anyone.

Once again the day was beautiful and it was so wonderful to be a part of it. The happy smiles from reunited friends and family; the sunshiny day in the stunning Scottish Borders and the love between a bride and groom who danced the night away together. Davy & Siobhan Wedding July 2016 Square WRIt seems I may found my niche in this crazy world of Wedding Photography. My couples have both been in touch to thank me for taking the stress out their big day.  As it turns out, I’m ideally suited for couples who want to capture moments to remember but aren’t keen on being in front of the lens. They want someone who they can trust to put them at ease, to have control over the shots on the day and to know they won’t be asked to pose for hours away from their guests. My style of photography lends itself well to just that and I’m excited to be looking towards a future that involves more wonderful moments between happy couples.

For now though, I’ll still enjoy having my camera with me at all my friend’s weddings. I rarely go anywhere without it. Who can resist those happy memories?

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