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Category Archives: Thoughts and Rambles

sunset at Longstowe Hall Cambridge


Weddings can be a bit stressful at the best of times and there is nothing more likely to cause problems than timings running out of hand! Here’s a list of the top five times when things might go a bit awry!


1) Hair and make up – allow ample time to do your hair and make up, now I’m not an expert in this field (however I do live in a household of females!) but I do know from many years of experience that it ALWAYS takes girls much longer than they ever expect to get ready! If you are doing your own hair and make up it might be a good idea to have a trial run before hand and get an idea of the time it might take. Similarly if you are using a professional get an accurate estimate of timings and then allow plenty of extra. I’ve photographed countless morning wedding preparations where hair and make up have run late and it can have a stressful knock on  effect for the rest of the day if you’re not careful.


2) Fastening your dress – some wedding dresses only need a quick zip up however dresses that need to be laced at the back can take a considerable amount of time! Try to get some tips from the dress maker about how to lace it up and also involve whoever will be actually helping you into the dress on the day as well. Again it’s a good idea to have a practice run as it can be a bit tricky and you will also need to be getting into your dress at a time of the day when you might be feeling time pressured and possibly emotional as well. Again, allow plenty of time to enjoy the experience rather than get stressed and pressured.


3) Your drinks reception – this can easily become a bit compressed in terms of time if you or your guests arrive a bit late after the ceremony or if the venue calls you in to dinner a bit early as often is the case. Bear in mind that from a photographer’s point of view I will need to photograph the venue, the reception tables, details and cake, family group photographs as well as bride and groom portraits during this time. Personally I also like to have time to photograph people enjoying themselves, chatting and interacting too. You will also want to have some circulation time as well as a chance to have a little time to yourselves to just soak up the atmosphere! If possible allow an hour and a half at this point in the day – an hour can feel rather rushed and two hours or so tends to feel a bit protracted.


4) Receiving Line – there is often confusion about when receiving lines are due to take place and this can cause a number of issues. Generally the line happens as you go into dinner but often venues will call the start of the line half an hour or so before dinner is due to be served – sometimes this eats into your drinks reception time and then becomes problematic for all of the reasons above! Basically they always take much longer than you could possibly imagine and you need to factor in around half an hour or so PLUS the time for the drinks reception.


5) Get on with the dancing! – you’ve booked a  band or a DJ, you want to have a party and get the most fun for your money so, after dinner and everything is ready to roll GET ON WITH IT! Many many weddings have a period of time after dinner and before the band starts where time is simply wasted because no one gets things going and keeps and eye on the time –  before you know it the band have only got time to play one set before the venue’s finishing time and you lose out!


If you are planning a well timed wedding and would like your expertly photographed then get in touch with me!



Throwing rice and confetti at a wedding at Elsworth church Cambridgeshire


Weddings are crazy events in many ways – when else would you wear a massive dress or full suit and eat a hot three course meal in the middle of the day at often the hottest time of year!


Inevitably over the years we have inherited a number of wedding “hand me downs”  that, frankly, really deserve to be sent back to where they came from two centuries ago. However we do like a bit of tradition in the UK and there are very few weddings, no matter how “different” and “personal” they are trying to be, that manage to completely shake off at least some of the pointless and dated traditions of the past!


So, without further ado here are seven pointless, outdated, silly and ridiculous wedding traditions that we still like to keep!


1) Catching the bouquet – so the idea here is that “all the single ladies” (how I hate it when the DJ plays this tune when the bride is actually throwing the bouquet) are desperate in their lonely plight of singledom and, desperate to find their own happiness, the one that catches the bouquet will be the next to marry. Come on …really! Have you ever seen the unladylike rugby scrum of clammering painted fingernails or seen the results of a jumping stilettoed foot landing on another? I wouldn’t be that keen on proposing to anyone who was competitive enough to catch it anyway!


2) The brides parent’s paying for it all – you must be joking! Have you seen the prices of photographers these days – never mind the rest of it! As the father of two girls I really don’t think that this is a good idea at all – I would want to see some commitment from the bride and groom (of the financial sort) and also from the groom’s parents. More seriously you really do lose all control of your wedding if you aren’t paying for at least some of it yourself.


3) Inviting Extended Family – am I alone in having rather unusual distant relatives that I only see at weddings and funerals? Surely your wedding is about having people around you that you love, care about and get on with and that you can really celebrate with. Surely gone are the days when we have to invite people to your wedding just because you should – it’s not being uncaring, it’s just being realistic.


4) Giving away the bride – Ok, I can see the point of the tradition in this and I would want to walk my daughters down the aisle but the whole idea of either of them being my property to give away is a bit Medieval. Would I want to have the potential groom to ask my permission to marry my daughter? Yes he had better do and I vet the boyfriends like Scotland Yard….no, only joking – I think you have to equip your children as best you can to make the best decisions they can and then support them whatever – gulp!


5) The bride and groom not seeing each other just before the wedding – why?


6) Throwing rice rather than confetti – last time I photographed this the pictures were lovely and the wedding and the couple fantastic but I HATE people throwing rice at me. It hurts, it gets all in my clothes and is spikey, it gets into every nook and cranny of my camera bag and it sticks in your hair. Rice was designed for eating with curry and beer and that’s the only thing it’s good for….I remember one very rainy wedding where the guests threw rice, in the rain, and it all landed on slippery church flag stones – can you imagine the mess!?


7) Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue – if you’re worried that the happiness of your marriage is dependant on gathering and wearing some old jumble then just DON’T GO THROUGH WITH IT! It’s on a par with black cats crossing your path, not walking under ladders, not sneezing on Tuesdays and other such hocus pocus clap trap!


I hope all of that was helpful – maybe a bit contentious? Do you agree with me or have you got any traditions you can add – leave a comment and let me know!

Bride being congratulated after her wedding

From an early age we are all conditioned to “smile for the camera”. Just think about it for a moment, most of the time, when anyone points a camera to take a picture the photographer’s subject or victim will freeze with a silly grin on their face. We all do it and there is something deep within us that makes us behave like this. Why don’t we just photograph each other “doing stuff” getting on with our everyday lives and being, well just more normal?!


The whole posing thing or playing up for the camera has become, in many ways, a social phenomena – look at the current selfie culture for example – in many ways this is a sort of backlash against the whole smile and look nice for the camera thing as many of today’s teenagers send grotesque selfies to each other in an attempt to look the most gross and disturbing! In many ways I think this is quite healthy in that at least they are not obsessing about how perfect they look- it’s a sort of visual send up of themselves or a kind of ironic posed picture – portrait satire if you like!


Perhaps we also do it out of a slight fear and concern for the viewer of the image. Subconsciously there is always a concern about what the viewer will see, how they will experience you, what they might do with the picture – do you trust the photographer?


Terrifyingly most of us automatically smile. The false happiness and the reassurance to the viewer that we are having a good time, everything is fun  – we also want to appear friendly when the viewer judges us – you’re not going to be there to defend yourself, all the viewer has to go on is your expression. Next time someone takes your photograph just try not smiling- it’s really hard, you have been well and truly brainwashed!


So where did all this static smiling and posing come from? It’s certainly weird that it’s considered normal and even more weird when you consider that modern cameras are more than capable of freezing movement, action and everyday events.


I think the answer is two-fold:


Firstly, early cameras were incredibly slow. The exposure time, or the amount of time that it took to take the photograph was often several seconds and during that time the subject had to remain absolutely still. Think of those stiff and starchy Victorian photographs – they looked stiff and static because they were – in fact in Victorian times they fitted you into a brace that looked like an instrument of torture to keep you still whilst the photograph was taken. The camera had to be static and mounted on a tripod. As camera technology has progressed we are now able to take an image in a fraction of a second but our psyche is still lagging behind.


Secondly it’s incredibly difficult to take a meaningful “action” photograph. So much so that it can seem a bit odd seeing yourself in a photograph in motion or maybe from a view other than straight on. But we now have the technology to do so – even most phone cameras are capable of freezing action and taking quick images and, in the proliferation of the digital age we are technically liberated from the static shackles of the past.


Yet, subconsciously we are still thinking like Victorians.


We are censoring our memories. Creating a false tableaux each time the shutter is pressed. Lying to our viewers.