Cheltenham – Pittville Park engagement shoot

Emma & Mark are having their Grittleton House wedding at the end of August. If we have the weather we had for their engagement shoot in Pittville Park, Cheltenham then everyone will be happy. We always try to aim for the best location and the best light for any shoot and engagement shoots are no exception even though we include them as a complimentary addition to the wedding package. Your images are as important to me as they are to you so it’s something that we take care and put the effort in for.

We met Mark and Emma at Pittville Pump Rooms just as the sun was setting and left as an amazing, colourful and loud Asian wedding arrived.

Did we do a good job?

“Kevin I just wanted to thank you again for the fantastic photos. We are so unbelievably happy with them” – Emma

We love Grittleton but Pittville Pump Rooms looks like a beautiful venue too so if you are getting married there or somewhere else and love our style then get in touch. We would love to hear from you.

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Guest post – Choosing a wedding videographer

We like to ensure that our couples work with the best suppliers. If we get asked for recommendations we are confident that we are referring suppliers that can match our standards. For me consistency is an obsession so to give our couples the best experience we only recommend suppliers that are at the top of their game. We have invited some of our friends and associates to guest post on our blog so that you can see who we recommend and be assured that if we’ve passed them your way you are getting an exceptional service.

In the first of the series of guest posts we asked our favourite wedding videographers “Ido Wedding Films” to tell us about themselves and to share any hints and tips for couples looking for a wedding videographer for their big day.

So it’s over to Russell to tell you about Ido –

At Ido Wedding Films we create beautiful and contemporary wedding films. Our goal is and always has been to rid the world of cheesy, old-fashioned wedding videos and instead capture weddings in a discreet and cinematic way.

Based in Bristol we cover the whole of the UK and often find ourselves in London or even overseas, having covered celebrations in Cyprus, Dubai and France. This is one aspect that we really love about capturing weddings: seeing so many different cultures, traditions and venues that ordinarily we wouldn’t have the opportunity to.

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This makes us really appreciate every wedding, whatever the style or budget, whether it’s a traditional English manor house or festival-style rustic barn.

Something we always try to replicate in our films is a couple’s personality and style which we can gauge quite well from the day itself. Couples choosing their own music helps too, but a manor house often suits quite cinematic and symmetrical shots whereas you can be a bit more freehand with really shallow depths of field for more rustic occasions.

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One concern that our couples quite often have is how we work with wedding photographers; I think a lot have either heard of or can imagine horror stories of each getting in the way of the other. We can honestly say we’ve never had any problems, and actually the majority of our referrals come from wedding photographers – a testament we hope to how well we work together! Kevin and Carol are no different and we’ve had the pleasure of capturing a number of weddings with them now.

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In terms of coverage on the day, something we’ve always done is capture a day based on events rather than time; weddings often, if not always, overrun and we hate the thought of calling time in the middle of the speeches or first dance. Instead our coverage encapsulates events however long they take, for example from the guest arrivals in the morning until the guest dancing in the evening.

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The main differences between our packages is how many camera operators there are, from one to three. Of course more is better but we also understand that every wedding has a budget, and regardless of the number of cameras we always strive to create a really beautiful film that captures the day in its entirety. It’s this that sets us apart from other wedding videographers too; we provide both a feature length version of your film along with a much shorter highlights cut. The highlights are great to show to friends and upload online, whereas the feature length includes your ceremony, speeches and guests and is a more comprehensive film for you to look back on in years to come.

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Our biggest tip to couples would just be to do what you want. We’ve covered so many different weddings of varying traditions and cultures that you soon realise that there is no right, wrong or normal way of doing anything. Just do what makes you happy, comfortable and enjoy the day for yourselves.

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Bristol Downs Engagement shoot – Lara and Darren

..or Lara & Vet

I love a challenge so when Lara suggested we meet at the water tower on the downs in Bristol I agreed, unaware that The Downs is essentially open playing fields. So the challenge – Make an open field on a cloudy day look interesting.

Challenge accepted.

Lara & Darren are getting married in Pembrokeshire on the west coast of Wales in June and we are exceptionally excited about it. It’s the start of an epic week for us. You’ll have to wait until June to see the images from that but in the meantime here’s my favourites from the engagement shoot.

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Bartley Lodge, New Forest wedding – Tara & Rob

We were recommended to Tara and Rob for their wedding at Bartley Lodge Hotel by Kate & Ed whose wedding we had shot in September last year. It’s always fantastic to be recommended as it means we’re making people happy and that’s what it’s all about.

We arrived at Tara’s parent’s house in the morning to find Mum, on the drive, in her robe, fixing the decorations on the car. When we went inside there was all the excitement of the girls getting ready, having hair and make-up done while Dad looked online for cravat tying instructions. Once ready Tara looked incredible in her dress and swept down the stairs for Dad to escort her to the car.

We set off ahead and after some sat nav issues and a huge amount of flapping (New Forest = no signal), we got to the Church to meet Rob and the groomsmen. It was a beautiful ceremony, the priest being a long friend of the family and having known Tara since she was a little girl. After the ceremony there was time for some confetti and group shots outside the church and then off to the reception at Bartley Lodge.

Bartley Lodge hotel is a beautiful little country hotel tucked away in the New Forest. We must have passed it many times but never turned up the drive until now. The weather held off for us to get portraits in the gardens followed by the speeches including, unusually, a Bride’s speech. After the tears and laughter the party started and they rocked into the night.

Now that Tara & Rob are back from an envy inducing honeymoon in the Dominican Republic we met them and made Tara “cry from beginning to end” as they came round to view their images and relive the day.


If you are having a New Forest wedding, at Bartley Lodge or anywhere else and love what we do then please get in touch. We would love to be invited to your wedding.

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Black & white wedding photography

When I started out I decided that one way to be unique would be to shoot in all colour, no black & white. That lasted probably one wedding.

I’ve always felt that my style is “graphic art” in nature, meaning that each image looks like a scene in a graphic novel. Each image is a scene within itself and could be lifted from the pages of a comicbook. That doesn’t sound like a typical romantic view of wedding photography but it’s the way I see the world. If you have a look through the wedding gallery or the black & white gallery you may start to see what I mean. Every image has its place in the story of your wedding but it’s told in a unique way (but without speech bubbles).

I think that black and white fits perfectly within this mantra and who knows, maybe there’s someone out there who would like a completely black & white wedding. If you would or if the images inspire you then get in touch. It would make a fantastic story for us and we could do something special for you.

Here are some scenes from the graphic novel called “2014” if you like them then there’s a whole lot more in the black & white gallery.


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Alternative angles

CBsewsIn our blurb on the website it says – “Carol is there to capture alternative angles on the ceremony and candid shots of the guests.” You might wonder what that means so today I thought I would share some of her images. It also helps me to have a female presence, someone who can go ahead into the bridal prep and check that everyone is decent – or at least if they aren’t, that they don’t mind me coming in. She also carries a survival kit with hairspray, lippy and a sewing kit which has come in handy on many occasions (and not always for sewing). On the right we see Ed’s best man Pete having a button sewn back on to his waistcoat before the ceremony. We’re not just there for the photography, neither of us mind getting stuck in and helping out.

“We both thought that Kevin did a fantastic job, and having his wife Carol there throughout the day was a real added bonus. She really helped calm me down and had tissues on hand when needed!”

“Kevin and Carol are brilliant! They put us at ease, coaxed gorgeous pictures from us, even helped with music and table set up dramas to make the day a stress free joy!”

So here’s a selection of the alternative angles and candids that Carol has shot this year – because it’s not all about sewing.

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The other one

Sometimes we get asked who that other one is standing next to the bride. That, dear friends, is the groom.

We always try to include the bridal prep into the wedding day but it’s rare that we shoot the groom getting ready. Why? Because usually he jumps into the shower, has a shave, a quick swoosh of the hair and he’s off. Groom prep usually just isn’t the same as the chaos and excitement of the bride. So it’s all the better when we do get some groom action.

I was looking back through the archives and I came across David’s shoot at the tailor. David and Jules held their wedding in Tetbury with a reception at Kingscote Barn. Prior to the big day he decided to have a tailored suit. A tailored suit is a suit that is already made but is fitted to you rather than have the huge expense of a bespoke suit. I met David and Matt his best man at Pakeman, Catto and Carter in Cirencester and photographed Phil, the tailor, as he measured and fitted their Jackets and waistcoats.

I’ve re-edited the images – you can see the original images on Love My Dress here – into black and white and I think they look nicer that way. Let me know what you think in the comments below.

As I said it’s great when we get a couple that have a unique wedding – Jules and David’s Kingscote Barn wedding is one of our sample albums – and it’s rare to see the grooms side so to prove it exists here are some images from the morning.

If you are having a unique wedding then get in touch we would love to hear from you.

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Matara wedding photography- swinging bride

Another one of my favourite images from last year. Andy and Sam had their wedding at The Matara Centre. The Matara centre is a gorgeous venue with lots of locations for amazing photography. It is a “centre for wellbeing” so very eastern fusion looking with a Japanese garden, flags hanging in the trees, tibetan bells, lakes and a large stone spiral. All this surrounding a beautiful house where guests can stay.

Sam and Andy’s wedding was Glastonbury themed which suited the free spirit feeling of the venue perfectly. After the wedding breakfast we went off to take some portraits around the grounds and came across a tree with a swing. Sam immediately climbed on. It was a little wobbly and this image is of her – with Andy in front – looking to get off. I love her expression, even though she has had enough and wants to get down she looks serene. Expression is what we are looking for. I spend a lot of time telling people not to look at me. The last thing I want is a bride and groom smiling for the camera. I want natural expressions, laughter and interaction. It’s what’s going to tell your story in a natural way.

If you are planning a wedding at the Matara Centre or anywhere else then please get in touch we would love to hear from you.

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Wedding Photography – Groups

Most couples that book me want natural, relaxed, informal wedding photography without cheesy posing. They say that they understand that they must have posed shots but want to keep it to a minimum. That’s odd because although most of the day is spent shooting candid images I consider the directed portraits a speciality. What I’ve learnt is that when they say “posed” they mean the traditional group line ups. The ones that parents and Grans want. The record of who was there.

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Groups are a difficult thing to photograph because usually we are trying to squeeze them in between the end of the ceremony and the start of the wedding breakfast. People tend to wander off to push the baby, to smoke or get to the bar so organising it all is challenging. Even family can be difficult to round up so it is worth, as a couple, planning which group shots you want ahead of time and keeping the number down to around six.

So that’s Grandma out of the way…

Wedding group shots that I like

If we have time, group shots can also be a lot of fun. It’s a laugh to pose with your friends and we can get some fantastic and funny shots. It’s amazing how quickly people will join in when it’s a fun thing to do. I must quantify this with the following statement – I don’t have a list of poses that I follow at every wedding. I won’t set up any “Fixing the car” or “Lifting the bride” you may see brides being held from time to time and if that’s what you want we’ll do it but what I like to do is ad lib so we have spontaneity. I’ll see what the light is like and where we can do it, how many people we have, how much time and figure it out from there. Being a wedding photographer I deal in seconds rather than hours so shots are set up and taken very quickly. I tell people that I have a database in my head that I work from but it’s more like a foundation that we can build from. It means that we concentrate on having fun and not posing. Laughing is a million times better than smiling for the camera.

Individuals, groups, couples, brides and grooms, all the wedding pictures have to look alive, full of energy and dynamic. That’s why I call it Fine Art Photojournalism because it’s real life.

So here are some of my favourite wedding groups. There’s always more coming so keep an eye out on the blog. If you feel inspired and want to do the same then feel free to pin the images on Pinterest or share the post on facebook.

If you want beautiful images, full of energy for your wedding day then get in touch. It’s inspiring to work with couples who love photography.

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