Weddings

ERICA AND TOM'S ROMANTIC EASTBOURNE WEDDING

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Another last minute phone call from my pal Kirstie Blake: "My dear friend has just been let down by her photographer, can anyone help?"   And the next morning, I am hurtling through Sussex on a glorious sunny July Saturday to the rescue. 
 

I instantly fell in love with Tom and Erica's cool, retro Peacehaven bungalow, and it wasn't long before I'd fallen for them and their friends and family too!

Some weddings are all about the planning, some are all about the style, and some... some are all about the warmth of feelings, the strength of commitment and love from friends and family. 

Wanting nothing but the best, Dad booked a classic chauffeur-driven Daimler to drive Erica to the town hall.

And who couldn't help but be totally smitten by the Britain's youngest best man!?  Aw... so cute!!

and while the groom waited nervously...

a romance appeared to be blossoming between the best man...

... and one of the ladies in the congregation.

though nothing could distract from how beautiful the bride looked as Dad lead her down the aisle

There were tears and smiles at Eastbourne Town Hall.  With more than their share of challenges, this young couple came through for each other in a big way.

with more than a little help from the littlest, cutest best man ever ever ever

the signing of the register

the walk down the aisle, with a littlest best man now a bit grumpy and no doubt in need of some sugar

 What is lovely about Victorian Town halls, like the classic one in Eastbourne where Tom and Erica held their wedding ceremony, is the mix of colours, the wonderful architecture, the mix of natural and modern lighting and the melange of municipal rigour with a gentle, relaxed local atmosphere.  

Of course nothing expresses the joy and excitement following the wedding ceremony than confetti

and while a lot of wedding photographers won't use a wide angle, I can never resist squeezing in that little bit of extra action, because it is as much the guest's day as it is the bride and groom's.

After the formal shots, we had a little bit of time to run off for some romantic photo down time at Burling Gap.  And no trip to the south downs in the summer would be complete without... an ice cream.

as the saying goes, what's yours is mine, and ... erm... well that's it really..

Birling Gap and Crowlink, near Eastbourne in East Sussex, are part of the world famous Seven Sisters chalk cliffs, one of the longest stretches of undeveloped coastline on the south coast.  One minute you can be walking on ancient downland, the next you could be rockpooling below towering cliffs of chalk. Spectacular, unspoilt views of the sea can be seen from all angles. The beach below is ideal for seaside picnics with its rock pools and areas of pebbles and sand. It is a great example of a marine nature reserve.

Also, great for a bit of a snog, after your wedding.

but the fun didn't end with just one ice cream and a bit of a snog...

... and we were off to East Dean for a full-on Hog Roast.  Just look at the delight on those kids' faces...

then of course there were the speeches...

... the cake....

.... the cake down the bride's cleavage....

... the cake in the groom's face...

and then a proper, bonkers knees-up party

and also, thankfully, a beautiful South Downs Sunset 

Do please feel free to leave a comment, if you enjoyed these pictures, and thanks for reading. 

x

Adam

SAMMY & CRAIG'S SPRING ENGAGEMENT, VIRGINIA WATER

I met Sammy and Craig in a teeming bar in London's Paddington Basin development.  Despite the terrible January weather, or maybe because of it, the bar was jammed full of people to the rafters. Amidst the yelling and laughing and the loud music and the swell of human bodies, this beautiful young couple seemed to be able to separate themselves from the craziness and the hubbub, as if they existed in their own little world of peace and affection.  

It's important to meet a couple  before you take on shooting their wedding.  Wedding photography is a very personal and often intimate relationship.  If you don't get on, if there is no chemistry, then you can be sure that will be reflected in the day, and in the final pictures.   I have yet to meet a couple and not hit it off with them, and Sammy and Craig were no exception to this, their warmth and easy relaxed manner being something I knew would be reflected in their e-shoot. 

Part of any shoot is about posing.  You can't just say to a couple: "sit there and be yourselves, stand there and snog".  But there are times, as with Sammy and Craig, when a couple has that easy, relaxed way about them, when the natural affection just comes across, and then it is best to let them be themselves and to just gently, subtly place them in the right settings.

With, sure, just a little direction, here and there. 

We chose to shoot the engagement in Virginia Water, a lovely little town which takes it's name from the lake in Windsor Park nearby.   Nestled between Windsor, Ascot and Sunninghill in leafy Surrey, it is best known for the park, woodlands and waterfall that enfold the lake and is Crown Estate property. 

As well as the famous totem pole, which we didn't have time to get to, there are also historic Roman Ruins - originally the remains of a three-thousand-year-old Phoenician city known as Lepcis Magna which were given to George IVth as a gift.   While once, they would have made an amazing, atmospheric backdrop to any shoot, they are now fenced off, making them a nice enough background, but not quite the photographic wow factor we were looking for. 

Still, the sun was shining.  We had been gifted that rare and beautiful thing, a perfect English spring afternoon.  So we grabbed a few natural shots at the ruins, and made our way to the waterfall. 

A magnet for tourists, not just from the UK, but all over Europe, the waterfall at Virginia Water gave us that fantastic glittery light, with some gentle shady spots where Sammy and Craig could relax in each other's arms while I coped with vertigo and tourists.  

Many might think that a crowded tourist attraction is the worst place to shoot in, particularly as these shots were taken on the little bridge directly in front of the waterfall, and on a path deeply trodden by almost anyone who comes here.  In fact, it's probably the best way a couple and their photographer could warm up for the public marathon appearance that is their wedding day.  If you can relax with your photographer, and be at ease in front of the camera in public, then that bodes very well for your big day, when you may well be appearing in front of hundreds of people. 

As you can see Sammy and Craig had little trouble relaxing in front of the camera, and this may be in part down to the choice of lenses.  Unlike a lot of photographers, I carry a 70-200 portrait zoom, which means I can work at a slighter greater distance from my couples when necessary, which helps them feel the session is more discrete, more relaxed, and gives them space to laugh and love.   Also, I am a firm believer that every shoot should be fun.  Whether it's a couple shoot, a wedding shoot, or a high-end corporate or commercial shoot, there should be fun and laughter. 

So there you have it, a simple mix of two people in love, of black and white and colour, of horsing around, and just walking had in hand.   No forced poses, no awkward, constrained set-ups, no crazy complicated lighting, and absolutely no stress.  What every shoot should be - an easy mix of joy, fun, love and laughter.  Thanks Sammy and Craig for a great afternoon, can't wait for the wedding day at the Royal Berkshire Hotel.  Gonna be amazing!