I feel very fortunate. Not only because I get to do what I love for a living but because I also get to meet some really lovely people.

I recently met for a coffee with The Book Activist, aka Victoria Dilly, and her husband Marcus to discuss being commissioned as event photographer for her upcoming Bookchat Roadshow event. The Book Activist is a school librarian and passionate advocate of the joyful pastime of reading. Keen to promote the benefits of reading, her vision is to reach as many children and parents as possible, to encourage reading for pleasure in a bid to help inspire them to pick up a book and let their imaginations run wild.

To this end, she has launched the Bookchat Roadshow. An event that travels to local schools, inviting many popular children’s authors to give talks about their passion to captivate their young readers’ imaginations, discuss the importance of reading and thrill the children by reading excerpts from their latest novels and signing the children’s copies! The Book Activist hopes to take the roadshow all around England.

We met at the peaceful Drury’s café in Hove and as soon as I sat down with my coffee, I liked them and wanted to work with them. Both Victoria and Marcus have a passion for encouraging children to thrive, whether that’s in confidence, creativity or imagination. Having a passion for something is evident in your words and your eyes. And recognising this in someone else is wondrous. I was excited to help them spread their word.

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It is always nice to be recommended by couples whose weddings I have photographed. It gives credence to what I do. Confirmation that I got it right for that couple and that they want to tell their friends. And it’s always nice to catch up with the original couple. Lou & Alex recommended me to their friends Amy & David who were getting married at Brighton College. Amy had been one of Lou’s bridesmaids and now Lou had the same honour at Amy’s wedding, so it was nice to be asked to be the photographer once again. And lovely to see that Lou and Alex were expecting a baby!

I travel all over the country shooting weddings so it’s special when I get to go to work in my home town of Brighton. The beautiful Brighton College is just a stone’s throw from my old flat in Kemptown and is a lovely setting for a wedding with its Gothic Revival architecture. Amy & David’s ceremony was held in the intimate and elegant Hordern Room followed by a blessing in the Victorian chapel. It was a romantic duo of ceremonies peppered with contributions from their friends and family – readings were given by Amy’s Mum and David’s Mum and Sister, one of Amy’s friends played the piano whilst the register was being signed and one of Amy’s other friends sang beautifully as they both entered the chapel, flanked by the rest of their loved ones. One could tell that Amy & David had put thought into the proceedings. That they’d wanted to include their significant others. Wanted it to be a celebration not just of their love for each other, but also for their families and friends.

I knew Amy was creative and that she’d put a lot of thought and effort into the table decorations so I arrived early to photograph the Great Hall before the ceremony. I’ve had to include a larger than usual selection of the table decorations here as words simply do not do Amy’s creative eye justice. She created a decorative masterpiece, I couldn’t stop photographing it. I’ve not seen such a beautifully eclectic collection of retro curios pieced together so artistically for a wedding breakfast, even by professionals. And when the guests were seated it looked special. Not just around the tables but up above, Amy had hung strings of clear globe bulbs from each corner, leading to a collection of vintage lampshades in the centre of the hall, giving them a revival of their individual styles as they dangled over the afternoon’s proceedings. It was stunning.

After some cracking speeches, including David’s hilarious and romantic one, we left their guests for a few photos amongst the fishing boats down on the Kemptown beach with the pier in the distance. And when we returned, the Great Hall had been transformed for the evening party. Amy’s bridesmaid got up on stage to join the band for a rendition of Mustang Sally to top off a day that was special to Amy & David not only because it was a day that they declared their love and devotion to each other but because they made their family and friends, who obviously mean so much to them, integral to their day.

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A few months back, I was commissioned to shoot new products over two days for Brighton-based fire safety specialists Fireco ahead of their launch. Now the launch has taken place, I’m now able to show them off! Part of their professional range, the Dorgard Pro is Fireco‘s latest door retainer which holds open doors to commercial buildings and releases their locking mechanisms when an alarm is sounded, the Transmitter which is the central hub, monitoring all Dorgard units and the Repeater which extends the range throughout larger properties.

The first shoot utilised my portable studio lightbox to capture the ‘hero’ shots of the products and the second shoot was a location shoot at the University of Sussex‘s corridors, student union bar, cafeteria, lifts and science labs.

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When I arrived at Jess’ parents house to photograph her preparations, I felt instantly welcomed. As the wedding photographer, it is such a pleasure to turn up to a house where the family are warm and inviting as they prepare for the happy day ahead. It could be all too easy to treat the photographer as ‘hired help’ on the day but this was not to be today. I was greeted and treated as a friend.

Jess’ Dad Ian helped me carry the dress outside to their beautiful garden and we stood and chatted in the welcome morning sun about my work and his pride about the day ahead. It’s one of the best things about my job – meeting good people and sharing in their happy day.

Jess was surrounded by her loving family while getting ready and the smiles were plentiful. Meanwhile, a nervous Chris waited at St John’s Church in Shirley as the guests arrived. A lovely touch to their day was that the vicar had come full circle – he had also married Jess’ parents in the same church years before and this was to be his last ceremony. A fitting ode to love and its longevity.

It is a pleasure to photograph for such a young couple who are as clearly in love as Jess & Chris. During their couple shoot around the lake at Westerham Golf Club they needed little encouragement to share a kiss and a cuddle.

I’ve seen my fair share of memorable best-man speeches and Chris’ best man’s one was up there. A mix of sentimentality, groom-humiliation and gasps of incredulity from the guests ensured that the evening kicked off with a bang.

The day ended the way it started. With smiles, laughter and lots of love. Between a Bride and Groom. Between their families. Between their friends. And between them all.

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One of the most important things to keep in mind on your wedding day is to have fun. It can be easy to get distracted with worrying about the details – whether the flowers will arrive or if the caterers will remember Uncle Pete’s a vegetarian. It’s a big day and there’s a lot to organise but it whizzes by in a flash and you want to remember enjoying your wedding day.

Kellie & Tim were all about the fun. Their wedding was held at the beautiful 19th Century Woldingham School for Girls in its own chapel and then after in the old country house. Set within its own 700 acre grounds, there were plenty of options for some romantic photos of Kellie & Tim and also for some fun ones with their bridal party.

With Kellie being originally from New Zealand, her family and friends ensured there was a lively Kiwi presence which helped stoke the fun factor and guarantee Kellie & Tim’s day went off with a bang.

It was a big wedding at a grand venue but Kellie & Tim were relaxed and made organising a wedding seem effortless and like a whole heap of fun and despite being ‘at work’, I had a ball! There was laughter in make-up, laughter exchanging rings. Laughter during group photos and laughter on the dance-floor. Kellie & Tim had a magical wedding day but at the same time, they kept it real. Perfect.

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