Kate Noakes commissioned me as a portrait photographer just before Christmas. Kate works as Director of Innovation & Change for a well-known restaurant and is also about to launch her own consultancy in the same vain. She therefore required some professional portraits and headshots to accompany her new online presence.

The brief was to shoot a variety of portraits within her home-office environment, against a backdrop and outside. After a further chat about locations and poses we got started on some formal yet relaxed portraits of her at her desk. I decided on a 2-light setup for these, with the key light above and close to Kate at 45 degrees just off to camera-left and a second light illuminating the background office space. The close-up of Kate was taken from slightly above to give her a warm appeal.

The next shots we did were against my portable white backdrop to give her the alternative of some standard corporate headshots. These were lit with a similar key light as well as a rim light to make her red hair pop.

The last ones were taken against the backdrop of her beautiful garden with one key light at 30 degrees to camera-left and using the 70-200mm to give more of a blur to the background.

It was a fun and interesting morning. Kate loves to push herself with new challenges both personally and professionally so it was great to get to hear her stories while photographing her. She is a true professional and it was a pleasure to get to know and photograph her.

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Wedding Photography gives me the opportunity to meet a lot of different people and the initial meeting over coffee that I offer all couples, whether they book me or not, is always really exciting. What are their interests? Will we hit it off? What sense of humour do they have? Do they have a massive scary dog?

I always say it’s important to meet your wedding photographer before you book them so you can see if there’s a connection – after all you spend all day together so you want to feel comfortable!

I knew straight away I wanted to shoot Cara & Nick’s wedding. Both teachers, they had a great chemistry together. A fun-loving, high-energy rapport which is infectious when in their company. Cara is a PE teacher and her natural, vivacious energy shone through when she spoke about their planned day. Nick, from Northern Ireland teaches Business and has a smart, dry sense of humour. This would be a good one.

And it was. Cara’s morning preps with her bridesmaids were filled with stories and fits of laughter as well as cosy moments with her lovely Mum & Dad (still one of my favourite “father-of-the-bride-sees-daughter-for-the-first-time” shots!)

Their Catholic ceremony was held at Our Lady of The Annunciation Church in Croydon (lovely, spacious and light modern church) and their guests were then shuttled off to Westerham Golf Club by Routemaster.

The heavens opened as we arrived at the golf club but it didn’t last long. During welcome drinks insde, I kept one eye on what the weather was up to and we got lucky. I loved the couple shoot with these two. So natural together, anyone could see how happy today had made them. They laughed, joked, kissed and cuddled. Magic.

Nick’s Irish family really got the party going with his mates letting loose on the dancefloor to Nick’s Dad taking to the mic. What a voice! And one of Cara’s friends topped it off with a fab solo dance to Tina Turner’s Rolling on The River.

And that’s how it rolls. From a brief meeting in a café to a living room in Shirley, to a church in Croydon to a dancefloor in Kent. A brief glimpse into a couple’s life, of their families and friends. A momentary friendship between two people and a photographer. One that will stay with me. Hopefully one that will stay with them.

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As a wedding photographer I often travel all around the country shooting at all kinds of different venues. Golf clubs, old schools, stately homes, beaches and barns. I had been recommended again by Lou & Alex (thanks again guys!) to photograph Claire & John’s wedding which was held at Colchester Castle in Essex. A beautiful example of the UK’s many castles and one that boasts the largest keep built for a castle that can be found in the whole of Europe. The castle’s visitors can venture below ground for a tour of the vaults and the foundations of the site’s previous inhabitant, the temple of Claudius. And this was an extra treat to which Claire & John’s guests were treated.

As a historian and lecturer, Claire (or Dr Jones!) wished to be married somewhere with a fascinating past, and on a recent visit there, decided with John that the castle would be perfect. And it was. After a pint in the local pub The Foresters to steady the nerves with his friends, John and his Best Man and Page Boys made their way through the castle grounds and up to the intimate castle’s chapel. With its high vaulted ceilings, the chapel is an elegant and romantic ceremony venue which came to life with Claire & John’s beautiful vases of flowers.

Claire’s favourite colour is peacock blue and so that colour could be found peppered throughout their day. Her blue shawl echoed her amazingly vibrant shoes and John’s tie and pocket square and the wedding breakfast tables in the charming Cloisters Restaurant of the nearby Greyfriars Hotel were tastefully decorated with a peacock feather at each place.

Project Manager by day and DJ by night, John loves his music and it plays a big part in their lives. The breakfast tables were each identified by their own 7″ vinyl classic and after some fun dance moves choreographed for their first dance, Claire and John and their guests got down to some fabulous songs by the band.

It was a fabulous day of fun, love and laughter set in the past to celebrate their commitment to the future.

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At the end of the second day of being the event photographer for Mr Dilly’s World of Wonder shows at Brighton Marina, I took the opportunity of doing a few creative portraits of Mr Dilly, aka Marcus, as we had about half an hour before the events team arrived to dismantle the circus tent.

Marcus had brought along his smoke machine so we were able to inject a bit of drama and give some of the shots the feeling of him just about to appear through the curtain from backstage and a few from the front where he is bursting through! I set up a two-light system – one key light lighting Marcus from the front right with reflector to fill the heavy shadows and another behind him to illuminate the smoke and add to the atmosphere.

Marcus was great, despite being exhausted after putting on 3 shows that afternoon and he was really pleased with the outcome in such a short window of time. Ta-da!

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After being the event photographer at The Bookchat Roadshow for The Book Activist recently, her husband Marcus was keen to book me to photograph a couple of dates of his fantastic interactive storytelling shows – Mr Dilly’s World of Wonder – at the Brighton Marina.

Mr Dilly was performing at the Brighton Marina every Wednesday throughout August and asked me to come for two consecutive Wednesdays to capture six different stories to add a wide spread of photos covering most of his repertoire. We also took some time at the end to make the most of the props and a smoke machine for some creative portraits which were great fun! I’ll do a short post about them tomorrow. I must say, I’ve not had so much fun on a shoot for a long time and all the children and their parents who gathered to hear Mr Dilly’s high-energy and hilarious storytelling had a whale of a time!

It was tough not to get caught up in his storytelling and Mr Dilly’s ability to draw laughter from the adults as well as the children resulted in many a case of camera-shake. Of course the children couldn’t wait to be called up on stage to be a part of the tales. To swashbuckle as a pirate, growl at Goldilocks or slay a dragon for England but when Mr Dilly ventured into the audience to cast an adult into the story, most grown-up eyes fought to catch anything other than Mr Dilly’s gaze.

There were however some good sports who obliged and after being adorned in outrageous costumes and fighting the initial stage fright, they became completely immersed. For this is Mr Dilly’s special bonus skill. The art of bringing out one’s inner child. For forty-five minutes, a dad in a giant, furry Balou onesie forgot about being embarrassed and skipped, crawled, sang, roared and generally acted the fool. And he loved it.

And so there it is. Mums and Dads might be forgiven for preparing to sit through another summer holiday afternoon of mediocre children’s entertainment, but that was not to be. Parents and children alike were transported from inside Mr Dilly’s circus tent to another world. A world full of laughter and lore, of history and hilarity, of stories and smiles. A World of Wonder.

As Mr Dilly puts it, “Get The Happy!”.

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