Boutique bouquets - wedding florals

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The brides that come to me for wedding photography tend to be chilled. Their wedding-day-in-planning is destined to be relaxed and intimate. It will be a day without pomp, but chock-full of celebration and love. 

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No expense will be spared on the important items - an exquisite bridal gown, fabulous food and a half decent photographer, but neither will money be thrown out of the window like the proverbial baby with the bathwater. When it comes to the florals, my girls, being both classy and romantic, opt for understated and generally petite bouquets which enhance but do not overpower their look.

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In many cases I've noticed that my brides have chosen a single colour for their flowers, often just cream or white, and have added herbs and foliage to strengthen the design. Often it is the waft of these herby additions which out-plays the perfume of the flowers themselves. The bouquet above belonged to Frankie, whose bohemian Italian themed nuptials with Richard were inspired by the couples' engagement in Sicily. 

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Elegance and romance appear to be the consistent watch-word, however. I have rarely had a bride who has thrown investment at great swathes of rose pergolas, or festooned the altar with six foot standing floral displays. They have selectively added their splashes of scent and colour in a discreet and well thought out manner, in order to optimise their impact whilst saving the bigger bucks for the real show stopping items.

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A pink posy accompanied its owner, Tala, her hubby and their three children at their relaxed and gloriously summery, tiny family wedding. The occasion was less about big statements of ostentation, and more about the affirmation of their togetherness. The roses came along for the joy ride.

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The gents are never forgotten. These gloriously cute daffodil buttonholes which featured in the recent Easter wedding of Charlotte & Simon summed up the time of year perfectly. Little sprigs of rosemary and string ties added a rustic touch.

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So when you're planning your big day, remember that size isn't everything. Spend it, but spend it well. The carefully curated selection of blooms you hold in your hands on the day you meet your man at the altar will most likely remain special in your heart for many years to come. Make sure you have them photographed.

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Brand New Brothers

Meet Daniel. So new that he still carries that amazing post-natal 'fur' around his neck and shoulders. An absolute beaut.

And this is big bro Marcos. Equally awesome, but MUCH busier. They only met very recently, but I'm not sure Marcos has so far been still enough to fully make the new acquaintance just yet!

A tale of two halves, this shoot presented on the one hand the perfect subject in newborn D, quiet and still, contrasted on the other hand by a race around the house and garden pursuing lively M, and relying on fast shutter speeds to attempt to pin him down. 

To be fair, M has a right to be excited. He just became a Brother for goodness' sake, and the new guy is VERY cute.

The mission was to a) capture Daniel's newness, and b) to get some shots of the two brothers (together). That last word, small but vital, turned out to be the stone in my shoe. OK, so we managed to get one image of them both in the same room (ta da! below) which will henceforth act as evidence that they are actually related, but I left the shoot feeling that my task had only been  50% completed.

The one thing the boys have in common is the deepest, darkest of brown-black eyes. Impossible to discern where the pupils ended and the iris colour began, their beautiful big eyes and lashes drew my attention in a mesmeric way. 

Mum was relaxed and calm, clearly in deepest love with her new bundle, keeping him close and safe in her arms, stopping when required for on-demand feeds, between shots.

When shooting a newborn, this is how we work - slowly and calmly, letting mum and baby guide us. With the new family's comfort in mind, I always come to your home and maximise the available natural light where possible in order to bring out baby's best.

When the subject requires it and the weather allows, we also use the outdoor space. In this case, an active 3 year-old needed the space to be distracted and given the attention which, until recently all his, had so rudely been pulled from under his feet by his new sibling.

Strangely, not all dads want to get in on the act. The camera sets them scarpering to the four winds, making tea or taking important calls, or just keeping a low profile so mum can take centre stage, but thankfully, in this case, dad was on hand to share the love.

If you are expecting your second, first or fifth baby and would like some help capturing those early moments, please get in touch. It is my honour to work with families at such an amazing and emotional time in their lives, and I will always do my utmost to do yours justice.

 

Contact Helen 07957627217 eyesomephooto@gmail.com

Being One

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Kate's parents decided that their gorgeous daughter's first birthday was one for commemoration. Maybe a party? Perhaps a particular gift? Maybe a special day out? Maybe all of the above, but more than anything else they wanted to ensure it was captured for posterity. That's where I came in.

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One of their favourite spots happens to be Fountains Abbey near Ripon, North Yorkshire, so where better for a relaxed walk and some photographs?

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We took a turn about the empty ruins and a romp across the grand lawns, but there were really only two things that engaged Kate's attention in a deeply pleasurable way. One was her little lion teddy bear. The other was a brown puddle. 

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It gave me serious joy (although from the expression on Kate's face, not quite as much as it gave her) to watch her creating a Jackson Pollock-like mess on her perfectly manicured outfit as she jumped and stamped gleefully in the mud, and it soon became clear that extraction was going to be problematic.

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Being one, it seems, is to enjoy life's simple pleasures. Walking unaided. Lingering for a while to enjoy one of nature's great wet gifts.  Getting up high (with daddy's help) to admire the view. Sharing a snack with best friend, Basil. Pointing at birds. Maybe we could all learn a thing or two about pausing from time to time, from the our pre-schoolers.

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Kate has already grown since we made these images, and by the time she's two, or four, or ten, she will quite probably have changed beyond all recognition, not only in features, but in actions and taste for those small pleasures which gave her so much joy on this day. So her parents have done her a huge service in investing in my help for the laying down of this record of her very first year.  In years to come they will be able to look back and enjoy exactly who and how she was in this moment in time, and leave that legacy for Kate's future.

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Family photo shoots are available from just £150, and all inclusive packages (with and online gallery and a full set of high resolution digital image files) from just £399. Please enquire to Helen at eyesomephoto@gmail.com.

Not me, just my baby.

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It would be a bloody miracle for a woman who is two to three weeks postpartum to feel at her best, so the idea of having your photograph taken with your beloved newborn can be unthinkable.

For the most part, in my experience, new mummies try to slide into the background, away from the camera, repeating a well-worn "not me, just my baby" mantra.

But no, say I. Your baby is not the only beauty here. Whilst, when you initially booked your photography session your primary aim may have been to capture the tininess of your new arrival's fingers and toes, I can tell you with great certainty that you will never look back and regret the presence of yourself in these images. 

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The brand new bond which you are forming in the early days of your relationship are irreplaceable. Not only is your cooing and nuzzling making your baby's brain grow, but it is a reminder that only a few days previously you were infact, one. You were physically and emotionally tied, and now that you are two, it is the intense chemistry of your love which provides the magic for my camera.

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No photographer worth their salt will ask you to do anything that you are not comfortable with, and the beauty of photographing baby in your own home is that you can both feel relaxed and stick to your normal routine of feeds and sleep.

So, please don't be worried about how you will look. You are magnificent because you just created the miracle of life. Throw a muslin over your shoulder, cuddle, and let the camera do the rest. 

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For newborn photo sessions, book well in advance, as the first two sleepy weeks of baby's life are the most effective time to shoot! eyesomephoto@gmail.com

Head over to Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest for more inspiration . 

Winter nuptial challenges

A winter wedding comes with many challenges.

Challenge #1 - it's bloody cold

Meet Claire and Russ, blissfully happy (and rightly so), but on this occasion most of the laughter was goosebump-related. Between shots, Claire hurriedly and repeatedly grappled with the zip of her Parka and tried not to look blue. A veritable trooper, I must say, who never once complained when I told her to 'lose the coat' again and again.

Are those goose pimples or are you just pleased to see me?

Are those goose pimples or are you just pleased to see me?

Ha! Brainwave! Let's warm up my couple, thought I, and asked if they were up for an impromptu visit to the posh wedding gown shop next door. I had in mind a quirky shot of them standing in the shop window, mannequin-like, dressed as, well a bride and groom, obviously. The rather officious lady in the shop, however, failed to see the funny side, and politely declined. Parka reassembled (admittedly with more than a touch of 'up yours' on my part), and back to the great outdoors we went, tails between our legs.

Claire braving the cold

Claire braving the cold

Challenge #2 - it gets dark early

The scheduled time for the wedding ceremony on this occasion was 3pm. Having consulted the sun gods in advance, I was armed with the knowledge that sunset was scheduled for around 4pm. Now, it doesn't take a maths genius to calculate that by the time Russ & Claire had actually signed their marital contract, it would be too dark for the photos which they were paying me to deliver. Awkward in the extreme.

Hurriedly shooting between Parka moments

Hurriedly shooting between Parka moments

It is thanks both to the excellent natures of my sporting and awesome bride and groom, and to the relaxed mood of their nuptials that we were able to negotiate meeting up an hour before the ceremony, in order to get some portraits 'in the can'. This was only possible because they were unconcerned about seeing each other before their wedding, and really underpins why my favourite weddings are just like this one, where both parties are super-chilled and entirely without pomp or formality. 

Fading light for a confetti shower

Fading light for a confetti shower

Challenge #3 - shooting at a register office

Register Offices are perfectly fine places to get married, but generally offer up a stinker of a challenge for photographers. 

In this particular case, the windows are curtained and let in little natural light, the walls are beige (they suck up the light and are highly unflattering for skin tone) and there are ill-placed 1970s light fittings bracketed around the walls. The latter provide a cherry-on-the-cake type of challenge, which requires the person holding the camera to attempt to capture the deep emotion of the moment without the bride appearing as though she has well-lit metal antlers growing out of her head.

Letting someone else do the hard work

Letting someone else do the hard work

There are other obvious limitations to an urban Register Office, of course. Whilst the car park is a godsend for a photographer with a heavy bag of equipment, it is generally not my location of choice for newlywed portraits. 

Scouting for interesting nook and cranny opportunities ahead of time has become essential. They must be within a few yards, as brides wear high heels. They must be free from mud and dog kak, as brides wear pretty, long dresses. It must be aesthetically pleasing. Trees are good. Gravel is bad. Bright sunshine is bad. Shade is good.

A helpful log, randomly but conveniently placed next to the car park

A helpful log, randomly but conveniently placed next to the car park

When the bridal shop failed, we hot-footed it to a small courtyard which served a handful of apartments. No-one seemed to mind that we didn't belong there, and we had enough peace and quiet to relax into a few shots.

Handsome Russ in a quiet moment before the ceremony

Handsome Russ in a quiet moment before the ceremony

Harrogate also managed to offer up the Stray. Whoever once said "water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink" was bang on here. Acres of grass (= mud = no go), thousands of trees (= no leaves = mud = no go), parked cars (= ugly = no go). Thank goodness for the odd path.

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Challenge #4 - cozy indoor spaces 

When the sun is gone, it's cold with a capital C, and the Reception has yet to begin, there is an inevitable retreat indoors. 

Claire & Russ held their delightfully informal and cozy reception at the gorgeous General Tarleton at Ferrensby. In addition to champagne, open fires, candles and fairy lights welcomed their guests into the low-beamed room filled with sofas and snacks. 

Time to reach for the flash. 

Rearranging the accessories to capture the mood

Rearranging the accessories to capture the mood

Whilst natural light produces a romantic and dreamy air to wedding photos, indoor flash can be the polar opposite. I was keen to ensure that Claire and Russ's story remained true to events, and that the mood wasn't ruined by an over-zealous light bulb.

Someone needs to remind her to never upstage the bride

Someone needs to remind her to never upstage the bride

An upstairs room was laid out with a long table, set for dinner for about 30 people. It was pitch dark, apart from the twinkle of a few fairy lights and some tea lights, which the kids were (if I were paranoid, I might say sadistically) enjoying blowing out as they ran rings around the table. All's fair in love and wedding photography.

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The atmosphere was loving, congenial and perfect for a winter party.

Mum and dad

Mum and dad

So, whilst shooting a winter wedding throws up a veritable minefield of obstacles for whoever's in charge of the camera, all is not lost. Challenges aside, this was a totally beautiful day from start to end. I was thrilled to be asked, and lucky to be part of it. 

My fondest and best wishes go out to Claire, Russ and family, for the future.

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Horseshoes for luck

too good to miss the irony in this directional sign intended for wedding guests

I do not generally consider myself a lucky person, but I have been very fortunate where wedding photography has been concerned.

a moment of quiet away from the bustle of ceremony, just minutes married

Some stunning brides, idyllic locations and as yet I've never had to battle with torrents of rain or wild disasters disrupting the nuptials (that's the kiss of death right there, eh?)

Maybe it's a coincidence, but the brides I seem to attract are uber-relaxed and unconcerned with pomp and detail. I LOVE this. Frankie, however, took 'carefree' to a whole new level, leaving the lion's share of the wedding planning to groom, Dickie. I have never seen this before but what a refreshing change!

The girl contingent of this wedding party strolling from the parents' field where the Reception was held

It became quickly obvious that by posing detailed questions to bride Frankie about the format of their wedding day, I was on a hiding to nothing, as she deferred one decision after another to the (super)man in her life. I came to see quite early on that Dickie is a real keeper.

This was a wedding without transport, without hotels, without enormous floral displays and without stress, yet it had everything Bohemian summer nuptials should have, and more.

Just a short walk to the church and back for the wedding party and congregation

The bride was walked to the church, just 100 yards from her parents' home, by her dad. After the ceremony, the newlyweds strolled back in the June sunshine, followed by their congregation.

Beautiful summer bride, Frankie, lapping up the last of the sun's rays in her parents' field

The reception was held in a field behind Frankie's parents' house, where a large Yurt awaited. Simple green and white bouquets and olive trees complemented the rustic Italian-themed details, and the bridesmaids got sunburned whilst they mingled with guests seated on hay-bales.

Yurts and hay bales perfected the rustic nature of this relaxed wedding day

My luck endured as this perfect day went without a hitch, and my love for shooting weddings of this type continues to grow.

looking relieved, relaxed and blissful, the bride and groom

Congratulations gorgeous couple.

 

 

A Golden Celebration

A 50th anniversary is sealed with a well earned kiss. What a fantastic way to commemorate such a milestone, with a family photo shoot.

Ann & David have just passed a glorious milestone. 50 years of marriage is not to be sniffed at. 1966 may have been a swinging time, but it was also an era when men and women committed to each other at an early age and chose not to waver. 

Sneaking the whole crew in to a family portrait, we chose the glorious backdrop of Harrogate's RHS Harlow Carr gardens to show off the family

Their joint anniversary gift from their son and daughter was (lucky for me!) a family photo shoot, which we stealthily combined with a pleasant stroll in the country. The whole family, granddaughters included, came along for the ride, in an attempt to create some memories for the next 50 years of the family line to cherish.

Autumn leaves provided an impromptu game of hide and seek for the grandchildren. I have no idea how I found them!

It happens to be the middle of autumn, when the trees are bang in their prime, and my reluctant models took advantage of the leafy excess, going temporarily AWOL in a mischievous attempt to evade my lens. I.m so glad that the whole family was involved in this shoot. The presence of the girls made their grandparents (not naturally comfortable in front of the camera) relax in to our walk, and the results show.

The 5oth anniversary couple take a stroll, watched over by their children and granddaughters.

A golden anniversary is not a common event. Maybe there is a combination of reasons for this. Do couples lack the tenacity to see out the rough times these days, divorce being a common and easily obtained outcome? In the 50s and 60s the only way to escape your parents' home was to get married, and since cohabitation was not an option, perhaps this created a 'forever' mindset? Escaping your parents to marry invariably meant that you were probably only maybe 21 or 22 back then, which differs to the average age of 28 at which couples are marrying right now (I know, I looked it up!) Marrying at 21 certainly gives you a better shot at reaching a 50th anniversary than marrying later in life?

Enjoying the moment, Ella takes to the woods for a series of supermodel poses

Shooting these young lovelies, it's impossible to avoid thinking about what lies ahead for the youngest generation with their not-yet formed relationships. How will life and marriage have changed in the next 50 years? Will it still be the institution we know and cherish? I do hope so. They deserve it.

The smallest member of the bunch takes to the shrubbery to avoid the camera. Ha! Gotcha!

If you want more family photo shoot inspiration, try here. Look out for more autumn shots to follow too!

Please follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or Twitter.

The tiny North Yorkshire town with the colossal heart

Pickering and its tiny streets are always packed with visitors dressed to the nines, and dancing all day long

Pickering is a teeny weeny little town with a gargantuan personality. It nestles on the southern edge of the North York Moors and is, on the face of it, an unassuming little place. Save for the North Yorkshire Steam train which trundles gently through the town, it is a quiet spot frequented by walkers and railway enthusiasts. 

That is, except for one weekend every October, when the place becomes a demented hotbed of 1940s devotees, as it plays host to the annual War Weekend.

Silk stockings, cigars and fox furs are the order of the day for Pickering's war weekend

The main street becomes a pedestrian zone, along which it is impossible to walk without being accosted for a foxtrot by the local Bobby or serenaded with a chorus of "I'll be seeing you" by a crooner in American G.I. uniform.  

The local crooner will lure you in with his charm and that silky Sinatra like voice
The women of the town always turn out in force with the most splendid costumes and expressions to match

Women in fox fur wraps rub shoulders with Land Army girls, and you are never far from a Jeep or a pair of silk stockings.

Looking beautiful, there are men and women all over town with truly authentic costumes, hair and make-up

This is my favourite thing to do in the Autumn, bar none. Friday and Saturday nights see the men grabbing their girls and whisking them off to the 'Dance' , where a live swing band and singers churn out hit after hit from their second world war repertoire. Even if you can't muster a decent tango it's worth the entry fee just to watch the sailors and wide boys faultlessly showing you how it's done.

A nurse and a General? Why not! This is Pickering's 1940s weekend after all!!

The best part of all is the ingenuity of it all. Locals and visitors go to huge lengths to dress the part. Dogs and babies get in on the act, and it is less like visiting a museum than it is actually living a day in the time that, as a nation, we hold so close to our hearts.

Even the canines get in on the act for the war weekend.

Sadly, you've missed this year's event, but get it in the diary for 2017. My tip of the day? Get your costume early and spare no expense, you'll not regret it.

You're under arrest fella. The comedy makes the day all the more entertaining, as does the parade

This particular 'gentleman' seemed to have been making a proper nuisance of himself all morning, so the local constable had no choice but to cart him off with his illegally acquired collection of (super-sized) ladies' smalls!

Later in the day, a parade of second world war vehicles takes to the streets. The only thing that can stop the dancing as far as I can tell.  

The parade includes army vehicles, vintage cars, Jeeps and steam engines

I found this gorgeous bevvy of Navy Wrens stopping the traffic with their ruby red lippy, although they were quickly outdone (as is so often the case at Pickering) when THIS lady (below) rounded the corner on her bicycle. I have no idea what she was selling, but I don't think it was onions.

Gorgeous Wrens stopping the traffic with their red lippy.
Whatever she was selling, the crowds seemed keen as mustard to grab some

There's no doubt that anyone who attends this event as a normal 21st Century civilian will feel disappointed with themselves for not making the effort. You will be the elephant in the room here, standing out from the crowd so much that you may as well scrawl 'Boring' on your own forehead.  We rented our costumes in past years from the equally fabulous West Yorkshire Playhouse costume warehouse and York based Dress Circle.  

That fox was so very much a fox that I did wonder whether it was actually dead

If you like surprises, and fancy a giggle, please don't miss it next year. And if the weather turns chilly, follow the example of these gentlemen and wrap up warm. 

Crazy but effective. Begging with a p-pot.