Hammond Chips

6 months later, I come up with Hammond Chips.  That should have been the hashtag in the first place!!!

Back in September 2015 I made the very short journey up the M1 to Newcastle Upon Tyne.  A mere 400 miles or whatever it was.  I wouldn’t do this for just anyone though; I was doing this as my friend Melissa had invited me to her wedding and asked me to be the photographer/guest for the day.  She knew that I had no experience of wedding photography (at the time of booking me) but for some bizarre reason Mel appeared to put her trust in me.

The dream was to have a Vegas wedding.  By that I mean she wanted to go Las Vegas in the USA of America, not have Johnny Vegas planning the day, although I could see how that could be fun too.  Next best thing?  BRING VEGAS TO THE TOON!  So that’s what Mel did, with a casino set up in the hotel next to my photobooth (more on that later).  The cover photo at the top here is of the groom, Jonathan, at the table hustling away with a handful of chips.  Hammond Chips.  I forgot to mention his surname is Hammond.  Now it makes sense, yeah?

The setting for the day was The Caledonian Hotel in Newcastle where Melissa and her family spent the morning getting ready in their lovely suite.  Melissa kicked out most of the party closer to midday and that was when I kick started the camera to capture the prep and some details.  When it comes to those first shots of the day, indoors, I find black and white is usually best but not always.

 

From here it was a short walk to the ceremony just down the hallway.  I could hear breaths being drawn in quickly as I opened the door and entered the room, before the guests and the groom promptly exhaled again when they realised it was just some bearded dude with a camera and not the star of the show – Melissa.  She wasn’t far behind me though!!

Melissa’s lovely bridesmaids for the day made their way in to the room along with her flower girl before Mel’s entrance.  This is always the best bit when the groom turns around and sees the love of his life dressed like a princess.

Fast forward a short time and that was it, MJ were leaving the room as a married couple!  All that was left to do was enjoy the rest of the big day once we had bagged a few of the more formal shots of the day.  We’d originally hoped to visit Jesmond Dene for some bride and groom portraits but time was against us so we made the most of the space in the hotel gardens

The day was absolutely flying by and soon enough the party were called in for dinner.  At this point the camera went away until it was time for the speeches and then later on it was party time so as ever I’m going to stop talking and leave you with more images.

Before the night was over we managed to get a few “photobooth” styles shots too.   The booth was made in the Premier Inn at about 7am on the Saturday but no one needs to know that….

Thank you immensely to Melissa and Jon who gave me the opportunity to capture their big day.  I loved every minute of it.

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Brides and Guides Pt2

Following on from Brides and guides Pt 1 here is Part 2!

A little reminder first:

In 2015 I was asked to cover a friend’s wedding which caused a little panic in my head.  The obvious thing to do was to get some practice in, but photography training courses are far from cheap and take a lot of time.  I’ve already mentioned in another blog that I don’t have that long term attention span, like most people these days.  We all want stuff quick quick quick, now now now, or yesterday would be even better.

I already had some skills from what I had taught myself along with some useful youtube tutorials and a bit of 1-2-1 tuition with Adrian Dewey the year before.  I just needed to see what I could do with some models in wedding dresses and suits in the right locations, and I most definitely would benefit from some incredibly useful direction and tips from the wedding photography pros – Kim Hawkins and Jodie Chapman.

Today’s photo blog includes a few of my favourite images from the afternoon once we’d had a decent lunch at a local pub in Buckinghamshire.  The venues this time were Bisham Abbey and All Saints Church, Bisham.

Something that really stands out was Jodie’s tip to try shooting in monochrome.  When shooting in RAW you can see everything in monochrome on the back of your camera but when processing later on in Lightroom you still have all of the file details in colour.  Genius.  I had no idea about this and would probably not know this by now either.

This is a much shorter blog post than usual where I’m letting the images do the talking, but I have to sign off by reminding/highlighting that you can see more images on my facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/dandavidsonphotography

My instagram, which you can follow for free is @dangleberrydan7

#HappilyEverCastle

Wedding number 1 is in the bag.  Filed under “great success”.

On the 14th August I made my way to Somerset to capture the big day for Katie and Jon.  I’d already been to visit a few weeks before to check out the venues so I had a good idea of where to be, and very little hope for the sat nav.  Memory don’t fail me now.  I knew Katie from the day job and she’d seen a number of images that I’d taken back in March at a Wedding Portfolio Builder day run by The Trained Eye so put her faith in me to do the job.  No pressure.  Actually, seriously, there was no pressure.  I’ve never met such a relaxed couple!

The weather wasn’t perfect, it was wet for most of the day so we knew we were going to be limited with the type of shots that we would get and I knew that a lot of my original plans to work with natural light were possibly going to be binned, but no point crying over spilt milk – we just had to get on with it.

Venue number 1 was a lovely hotel on the outskirts of Bath.  I had about an hour there to capture the bride and her bridesmaids getting ready and to catch some of the little detail shots that came in to vision.  This is not natural territory for me – hair products, face products, hand products, there may have been elbow and knee products but I didn’t ask.  Also featuring well were champagne bottles, wine bottles, flutes and flowers.  After an hour it was time to go find some testosterone and see how the groom was getting on.

Over to the groom’s house and I was met with another picture of cool and calm.  Kiss FM was playing some garage tracks from the turn of the century (this was later picked up on by the vicar.  Well done vicar) and their son, Jacob, was tucking in to some breakfast to fuel his big day.  Today was as much about Jacob as it was Katie and Jon.  I took the opportunity to snoop around for the rings and cufflinks and any other little details, before catching some candid snaps of the groom, best man and usher getting ready.  A very special gift and note from the bride to Jon meant a lovely moment was captured and focused on again later.

The time flew by, the suits were on, and all that was left for now was to get to the church in Wellow.  I arrived with the groom and best man early, met with the vicar and had a look around the beautiful church.  I was reliably informed by a very helpful organist that the church dates back to around 1300AD.  No time to relax though!  Guests are arriving!  A few quick snaps of the empty church, before running outside to see who’s coming along the path.  The church filled up in no time and suddenly the car with the bride and her father pulled in to view.  I’m no expert on cars but this was most definitely a car.  A real car that seemed like it was born for driving beautiful people around on special days.

The rain wasn’t keen on stopping just yet but it was only a short walk to the main door of the church and there were plenty of brollies on standby.

Ceremony time – and what a beautiful service it was.

Time whizzed by once again, and suddenly 2 friends were married!  Now sharing a surname, witnessed by their closest friends and families.  Celebrations are calling, so on to Farrington Park for drinks, group shots, plenty of candid snaps, some wonderfully emotional and funny speeches that would bring a tear to a glass eye.  All that was left to do was enjoy the moments!

Wedding Dress

Wedding Dress

Mum and bride

Mum and bride

Groom and son

Groom and son

Usher

Usher

Parking duties

Parking duties

Waiting for the bride to arrive

Waiting for the bride to arrive

Beaming smile

Beaming smile

Ceremony

Ceremony

Mine

Mine

Mr and Mrs

Mr and Mrs

Rolls Royce Wedding Car

Rolls Royce Wedding Car

Champagne

Champagne

Bride and Groom

Bride and Groom

Love

Love

Fun

Fun

time to party now

time to party now

Speech!

Speech!

Group shot

Group shot

First dance

First dance

For more images go to my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/dandavidsonphotography and don’t forget to hit like.

Technical stuff (you don’t have to read this unless you’re bored)

Kit used on the day –

a Canon 550D with Canon 70-200mm f2.8 L Lens hired from lenslocker

a canon 500D with Sigma 17-70mm f2.8 lens

Canon 50mm f1.8 lens

Loads of batteries

Loads of memory cards

Hahnel tripod

No fancy flashes, lighting set up, stepladders or anything along those lines.  Just me, the cameras, and whatever else was around.

Brides and guides Pt 1

It’s been a while and I apologise to both of you who follow me.  My silence has been silent and I promise to make it up to you.

Right now though, I’m back and ready to rock.  It’s been a crazy few months, loads has changed, and I’ve pushed the photography in a completely different direction; this time towards weddings.  Weddings have to be the scariest, dauntiest, challengiest things to capture as a photographer and I’m diving in feet first.

This Summer I am so lucky in that I have a few special friends who have put their full faith and trust in me to deliver their big day back to them in the form of gorgeous photo memories.  I am not ashamed to say that I am bricking it, but I’ve spent a LONG time preparing and feel pretty bloody confident that I’ll get the results that everyone wants.

Prep really is key!

First step – get a camera and learn how to use it.  I kinda did this years ago so that was easy enough (just took a few years)

Step 2 – buy a wedding dress and practice with it.  Yeah… I bought a dress but it’s still in a bag.

Step 2b – attend a Wedding Portfolio Builder day with The Trained Eye, just North of London.  4 brides, 2 grooms, 3 venues, decent weather, and the rest is up to me.   That’s what this blog is about; showing you the results of the day.  First of all though we need to look at Step 3.

Step 3 – learn how to process images from Step 2b.  This took a while!!

Step 4 – plan ahead for everything that could go wrong.  Double up on cameras, lenses, cards, batteries, and anything else that could fail on the day.  Done that.  Let’s do this!

So, back in March I went along to South Bucks to spend the day with 2 great tutors in Kim Hawkins and Jodie Chapman.  Both had different styles, but very modern, very on trend, and it was all about using natural light which is what I love doing.  I hate artificial light, but maybe I don’t understand it enough just yet.  For now, I’m happy to use what nature gives me.

We started the morning with Jodie, and our lovely model Aree.  The setting was Hedsor House.  Results are below:

The Trained Eye

Aree at Hedsor House

Hedsor House

Aree

Wedding photography

Creamy tones

Next it was a break with jaffa cakes and water, then outside in to the Spring sun to work with Samantha and Kim:

Samantha

Samantha at Hedsor House gardens

Samantha 2

Samantha and grand tree

Samantha 3

Samantha at the door

This took up most of the morning and was pretty hard work.  I don’t have the most expensive, most professional camera, but it’s not all about the equipment and I think I got some great results.  The best camera and lens that anyone has, is the one in their hands.

By this point of the day I was hungry, and as I’m typing this I’m hungry.  We all went to the local pub for some much needed refuelling, and right now I’m going to head off for the same.

Keep an eye on the blog for Pt 2 which will be about the afternoon, spent with 2 couples…. well 1 real couple and 1 couple who were pretending but were very good at it 😀