The Punchbowl Inn wedding

I met Glyn at a Wedding Fayre at the Mount Hotel and from there he and Jackie booked us for their wedding. A couple of weeks before Deb and I met them at the West Park to spend an hour getting to know each other and taking a few photo's. They are really a lovely couple, easy to get on with so we had a great time and got some lovely images. 

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The wedding day arrived in blistering heat and a packed Bridgnorth town as it happened to be market day. The ceremony was in the Town Hall, a beautiful old building (16th century I'm told), and passers by even joined a round of applause when Jackie made her way through them to the venue which was lovely.

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We then made our way to the Punchbowl Inn, Bridgnorth which has the most amazing views out over the Shropshire countryside and as the sun set it enabled me to get some lovely Golden Hour images. All in all the day went really well, everyone was friendly and welcoming.

Five question (actually 6)

I spend a fair bit of time going through wedding blogs, to see what's happening, what type of photo's people are doing, idea's etc so I was really interested when I read on the English Wedding Blog, 5 technical questions to ask your wedding photographer, and 1 not to. As I read through I thought it would be good if I answered them here, so here goes.

1. Are all of the images on your website taken at actual weddings?

Okay so to this I would say mostly. There are three photo's on the Wedding gallery that were taken during a course I went on and were posed by models. Apart from that, all the others were taken at Weddings I have photographed. While I only put a selection on, I would be happy to show clients my full galleries.

2. What is your backup plan, should your camera break? 

I shoot with Canon gear which I have found really reliable, as is most of todays camera's, however I always have a spare camera body with me should the worst happen. I also have several lenses, and while they are all used for different things, they can be utilised if necessary. My current camera's, I have two Canon EOS 5d Mk3's has two memory card slots so the digital images are always recorded to both cards at the same time, incase one should fail. Also I carry several more cards with me as well as spare batteries. Gear can fail, of course, but I take every step I can to ensure I can complete the day.

3. How will you store my images, how are they backed up?

As soon as I can after leaving the Wedding I will download the images to my computer so I have them on my hard drive and two memory cards. I will keep the images on the memory cards until I need the cards again, so the images will stay on those cards for a time. Once on my hard drive, I will copy them to an external drive as a back up. I also back up to a cloud service which at the moment is constantly running. Once edited I will deliver the selected images to the client on an online gallery which retains them for 12 months and I will also copy the images onto a USB stick for the client. Having done all that, I will also advise clients to make their own back up.

4. How will I get my final images and what rights do I have to them?

Like I said I will upload the final edited images to an online gallery and supply them on a USB stick. As the photographer I will always retain the copyright to them so I can use them for my business such as Social Media, advertising, etc but the client will have full licence to print and share the images with family and friends.  I am, of course, sensitive to the needs of clients and not everyone wants their wedding photo's shared on Social Media or portfolio's so I am happy to discuss individual concerns and I would never insist that I use the images against a clients wishes.

5. What type of editing do you do with the photo's?

The images I capture are called Raw images which means they contain all the data captured by the camera's sensor, as opposed to JPEG images which have been altered in some way in the camera. I use Adobe Lightroom mainly to edit the images and I will adjust things like colour, exposure, white balance, sharpness to improve the image. I will also use other techniques to enhance a photo in a particular style, such as monochrome or adding a vignette ( a darkening around the edge to emphasise part of a photo). Most photographers develop their own style over time. I will occasionally use Photoshop if I need something outside the scope of Lightroom. 

And what not to ask?

6. Are you a member of any professional organisations?

I think this was included because, while there are some excellent organisations, there are probably some that just ask you for a yearly subscription meaning anyone can join and this is not really a representation of how good a photographer you are. I am not a member of any organisation, I have no problem saying that, and I believe that the work you produce will speak volumes about you.

These weren't my question, just something I read about but I thought they were really relevant and not always something clients might think about so I am happy to share my take on them.

Hogarth Hall

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure pf photographing the wedding of Dave and Shaz at the Hogarth Hotel in Solihull. There is a risk with the weather at any time of the year but November could either be beautiful or horrible. Actually is was sort of ok. On the way over the sun was out and I was hopeful of getting some great outdoor shots but the cloud soon came over and, although we did get outside, it was only briefly because of the cold, at least the rain stayed off until later.

After seeing the groom and his friends off we drove to the hotel and went to meet the bride in a sumptuous room, complete with a four poster which provided a beautiful backdrop to show off the stunning wedding dress.

There was also a huge bay window with seating in that provided some great opportunities for photos as the light streamed in.

 

The reception took place in a marque attached to the hotel and was beautifully laid out and finished off with some wonderful table centrepieces supplied by the excellent Flowers by Schmize, (check her out on FB). All her flowers were stunning and I will showcase some photos in a later blog.

I managed to get some group photos outside before stealing the bride and groom away for a quick half hour photo session as there is a lovely little bridge in the grounds which is ideal.

All in all we had a wonderful day with an amazing couple and it really was a pleasure to be able to help celebrate their day.

Wheaton Aston Blessing

Last Saturday I had the good fortune to photograph a wedding blessing and party for some good friends, Vicky and Rob in Wheaton Aston church and afterwards at Bishops Wood village hall. The weather wasn't kind with strong winds, rain, clouds one minute and bright sunlight the next, all of which made for difficult photo conditions. Having done some indoor shots at the beautiful home of Vicky's parents, we managed to get outside in between bouts of rain but the wind didn't let up. Still I think we managed to get some lovely shots and all this despite me trying to knock myself unconscious on one of the low internal doors and that was before we had taken a shot!!

The day went really well, the blessing was held in the small but lovely church in Wheaton Aston and provided the usual photographic challenges with light and white balance but this is nothing unusual. I did try for a confetti shot outside, which , in a strong wind can be quite tricky but we went for it anyway, then onto a whole group shot in a small church yard. We eventually got everyone in shot but I needed to be up higher and having forgot my stepladders, and essential piece of kit, I was contemplating climbing onto the church wall. My wife and glamorous assistant, Deb knows me only too well and sensing doom, did some quick thinking and got me a chair to stand on. 

The party was at Bishops Wood village hall which had been wonderfully decorated inside, there was a live band who were excellent and the food was perfect. All in all a wonderful day.

Any wedding or blessing is not complete without flowers and my good friend Schmize did a perfect job. I can highly recommend her so please check out her page on facebook. I certainly hope I can work with her again at future weddings.

Client delivery solutions

 The next phase of my business is sorting out the delivery of images to the client and I am offering an online gallery, a short video and a USB package.

Firstly I want to talk about the video as it will probably be the first thing that I deliver to clients and will be a sample of a few of the images, with music in the background and is intended to give a preview of the wedding as early as possible to the client. It is basically a video slideshow that I can edit, add captions and music and then deliver to the client using an email link and I can also post to social media. I think it just offers something different from flicking through a gallery, where you can just sit back and let the video play. As I said, it is intended to give clients an early view of some of the images from their day but it certainly can be added to if a full slideshow is asked for. I am using a company called Animoto which is very easy to use and offers a number of different templates and licensed music. Here is an example from my sons recent wedding. You will need to click the play button then the HD button (lower right corner) to get the images looking at their best.

The second part is the online gallery which not only offers the client a beautifully presented gallery but allows them to select favourites for any albums they might want later so I can access them and get on with designing the album, but also to order individual prints directly. 

The USB package is the final client delivery option which consists of a clean and simple design, with my logo on the box and USB stick, and put together in a presentation bag. I have had it done in black and white, in keeping with my general website theme and a style that I really like.

For both the online gallery, printing and USB package I am using two companies that work alongside each other and I am really impressed with all the things they offer. The printing of albums and single prints, canvasses etc are done by One Vision Imaging , a local company based in Coventry and from whom I have had some excellent products. The online gallery and USB package are from  3XM Solutions  who work with One Vision so that any orders made via the online gallery are processed and delivered by One Vision. A solution that I am very happy with.

Wedding Locations . The Moathouse, Acton Trussell

The Moathouse at Acton Trussell stands a few miles from the village of Penkridge in South Staffordshire and is yards from the local Chuch of St James.

On driving up to the location you may be forgiven for wondering about the close proximity of the M6 but honestly, during a recent wedding, I was never aware of it so it isn't an issue. What will delight you hopefully is the canal that runs alongside and provides a perfect backdrop to the days celebrations.

At the front of the hotel is a small lake that offers many great photo opportunities. The main room opens onto a small terrace which was perfect for guests to chat and enjoy the canapés while more photo's were done with the canal as a backdrop. Later on this benefits from the setting sun which can give a lovely backlight to portraits and hopefully, if conditions are right, a lovely sunset. 

The staff were welcoming and very helpful, going that bit extra to provide a screen, projector and speakers so we could show a short video message from absent friends. Nothing seemed too much trouble.  

The room where the reception took place was decorated beautifully and there are other rooms where guests can relax and enjoy some quiet during the busy day.  When the meal was served we were not disappointed, and the evening buffet was no exception. All in all I found it difficult to fault anything on the day we were there. We stopped overnight in a modern spacious room with a huge comfy bed and the following day we enjoyed a wonderful breakfast with family and friends.

If you are looking for a location in that area I definately recommend the Moathouse and better still if you need a photographer give me a call.

Moathouse Wedding, Acton Trussell

This wasn't just another wedding, it was the wedding of my one and only Son and his beautiful bride. It is something that had been in the planning for quite a while and seemed to be forever a way but suddenly here it was. The night before we entertained the groom and his groomsmen at out house where they certainly hydrated themselves well. The next morning they were round again for breakfast and getting ready. I had several shots planned in my head and I started off with the rings shot as I was fortunate enough to have had them entrusted in our care. That done, Deb's nephew arrived with what I can only describe as a loud muscle car in the shape of a bright red Mustang. It oozed sex appeal, speed, and testosterone, a thing of beauty and served so well to transport the Groom and Best man to the venue later. I got a few of the girls getting their make up done and then it was time to get changed. Suit on I glanced at the clock to find that I had no time at all and the guys were getting ready to leave so in the end I got none of them.

On to the venue then, The Moathouse is perfect. Near to a church, although not used on this occasion and backing onto the canal which gave a lovely atmosphere while we mingled and drank on the patio while eating mini fish and chips and hot dogs. 

We had organised a video of messages from friends and family who couldn't be at the wedding as they were abroad, and some poignant images of passed relatives. The staff were very helpful in getting this set up and I anticipated many tears later.

The speeches were done before the meal which worked really well as we had eaten something earlier so no one was desperately hungry. I have to say they were brilliant, I cried with laughter and emotion at the same time and all three did themselves proud. A wonderful meal followed interspersed on my part, with much hugging of family and friends and more tears. I know I am a big girls blouse but once you go through something like this it really brings home how valuable family and friends are.

The afternoon melted into the evening quickly as more people arrived and the room became a dance floor to which the younger members (and some of the older ones.... nice one Mom!) really got onto the swing of the day and had a blast. 

Before long it seemed, it was half 2 in the morning and I was ordering my final pint of larger with a few remaining friends in the library before slipping quietly into a happy coma. Breakfast was also excellent and shared with my wonderful family and friends. 

Bride and Groom are honeymooning in Barbados but I'm glad I'm still in wet damp cold England. In the end I got some images I am very happy with, not too many though as I was there to enjoy the day but enough to keep me happy.