I have recently attended 15 weddings as a photographer and not taken any photos of the bride, on purpose.
But do not panic...READ ON!
Crazy excited to have my first feature in the exclusive and beautiful Wed Magazine.
I will let Wed tell you the story...
This will not be a blog post you are expecting and I can tell you it wasn't one I ever thought I would be writing. So please sit and take the time to read is as there are some people who, right now, deserve your undivided attention; wherever you are in the world. Danni I hope this is ok!
I see the world in beautiful pictures and I feel honoured that I have the gift of capturing true love. Mostly that is through the eye of a wedding photographer, but recently I have been truly humbled and honoured to have been welcomed into the lives of a beautiful family who are experiencing the tragedy we all dread, of losing a loved one and allowing me to photograph them together.
It isn't the most common use of my skill, but for the last few days and more importantly today I have realised the importance of capturing such a heartbreaking experience and that the art of photography has a meaning beyond paying my bills.
The first time I met Emma (photographed on the front right of this picture) was at my dear friend Danni's birthday. Had I not already known that Emma had recently been diagnosed with brain Cancer, that night I would not have known from seeing her. She was poised and bubbly, she laughed and made jokes. There were times when she would seem quiet but to be honest thats normal at any gathering.
But Emma had been diagnosed with brain cancer...and been given only 8 weeks of life left!
I brought my camera purposefully to this evening to do the only thing I know how, to photograph the special moments of this dear family. Little did I know that I would spend some very intimate time with Danni ( Emma's sister) , Emma and Sue (Emma's mum) and meeting more of their family on this journey.
Shortly after the meal, after a few days of fundraising and through the generosity of family, friends and complete strangers; they were all able to spend a few days in Deer Park Forest in Cornwall, so that they could all get some well earned peace and rest.
I was invited down to share in a special day celebrating Emma's son Thomas's 5th birthday. My camera was invited to!
I spent the day getting to know all of the family and photographing Emma and some holistic treatments that her mum Sue has been tirelessly using to ease Emma's pain and help with healing. Emma was not keen on the idea of being photographed but was interested in helping others see her journey.
I wont pretend to know the details of most of the treatments, but as an observer for the day. It is relentless for all of those involved. Sue certainly didn't sit down for a minute through a strict routine of shakes, lunches and treatments.
The day was had a strange feel, one of calm and peace with deep sadness at the heart of it. But nothing stops Emma from doing things. I offered to help her into a van at a point and she said 'if I want to do something, I am doing it. I don't let it get me'
That strength doesn't stop at Emma, the rest of the family had smiles on their faces and made the most of the experience of being away from it all and out in nature. We all went for a cup of tea in the forest coffee shop and it was then that I was able to take some beautiful pictures of Emma and her children.
I left that day feeling grateful for many things, most of all my family and my health. It is something I knew at that point I hadn't been taking seriously.
I remember giving the images over to Sue and thinking.... it doesn't feel enough.
I mean they are just pictures!
Time caught up!
8 weeks passed and Emma, still strong, and having defied the doctors predictions. There was more hope. I realised that Danni and her family were grateful for each single moment Emma was here with them, still fighting and still smiling. They had made the most of their time and being taking Emma out as much as they could and also doing things with the children, including some outings organised by Jeremiahs Journey.
but time caught up... a few weeks ago Emma and Sue went to get some rest in a retreat in Wales. 4 days in.... I accompanied Danni on a late afternoon road trip to the other side of Wales to collect Emma and Sue.
Emma's health and declined... she wanted to come home.
I can tell you now that journey was the most emotional journey you could imagine. Neither me or Danni knew what we were driving to (my husband didn't even know where I was going as I had forgotten to mention in the rush to leave) and we had a great time talking about work and what we do; but there was an undertone and a worry of how Emma would be when we arrived.
Arrive we did to the most beautiful cottages and landscape but also to the pain and fear of Sue and the sounds of sickness and pain from Emma.
I am not one for dramatisation but I don't think there are words to describe the pain I could hear from upstairs that night every time Emma moved or was sick. Danni spent time rubbing her back and helping her through the rounds of sickness.
I sat with Sue...trying to be useful.
I didn't see Emma until the next morning!
Be useful...so I am always one for being useful so I helped tidy and pack up whilst Danni and Sue helped Emma get ready. We packed the the van and Danni made a makeshift bed for Emma to lay on, for the journey home.
That day I saw the reality of the pain that Emma had been suffering through...and it broke my heart. I have never had to witness any suffering like it and to have no ability to help in anyway.. there are no words.
All I have is images...
So Danni brought her sister and her mum home. Through tears, sickness, pain and exhaustion she got her home to her children.
Emma had a better night that night and managed to sleep through, I can't help but think she was missing her children.
00:44am and this needs to be shared..
So it is 00:44am on Saturday 7th May 2016 and yes I am writing this NOW because time has indeed caught up.
Yesterday Emma became very ill and received the results of an MRI that showed the cancer had gotten worse... she has now been given only days and the heart ache of the family and friends can be felt for miles.
I can't say that writing this is going to help anything, but if we all give a part of ourselves then collectively we can send our love and energy to my dear friends right now, when they need it the most.
To Emma's children who are fighting for their mum.
To Sue who is fighting for her daughter.
To Danni and Terri who are fighting for their sister.
To Dave, Stacey and EVERYONE else I have met and names and escaped me and those who I haven't yet had the chance to.
Help me send them love, strength and energy for whatever the next few days bring.
Give whatever you can give in your thoughts and prayers.
When you work in an industry like the wedding industry you meet a huge amount of different people. I believe it is so important to have a group of industry professionals who you can bounce ideas off and collaborate with. It is also very important to me to have people around me who want to build and create incredible services for all future brides and grooms.
I am very lucky to have spent an evening working alongside Danielle of The Wedding Hub this evening and talk all things wedding and future plans now that she has relocated and is in the midst of creating a even more beautiful shop.
I am very excited for our shoot soon to photograph the new setting and see the transformation further.
Come down and see for yourself really soon!
What an exciting moment for Button-Flies, last week we had the privilege of winning a beautiful necklace from the talented Lizzy at Funky Poppy in Plymouth.
Lizzy names her necklaces after friends and was looking for a name for her newest creation. As I am button obsessed mummy, I submitted my newest edition 'Ophelia Rose' name for the competition and we WON.
I was so excited!
My grandma even went and bought one knowing it was named after her great-granddaughter.
So that of course meant I needed to take a visit to Funky Poppy (oh no a shop full of buttons....) and say thank you in person with Ophelia, and of course take some pictures of Lizzy's beautiful shop.
Lizzy creates all sorts of wonderful pieces with buttons, including necklaces, earrings and rings.
While I was in the shop she had a regular customer come in with an outfit and asked Lizzy to create a piece to match; this is an amazing personal service and I am looking through my wardrobe now to find an outfit that needs 'buttoning up'.
Lizzy also creates the most beautiful button bouquets for you and your bridesmaids. These can be built to match and compliment your colour scheme and are an amazing keepsake after your special day.
I could look at the thousands of unique buttons Lizzy stocks to personalise any clothing or to build your personal jewellery collection.
The pictures say it all!
The Wedding Hub
It is in the name, this beautiful shop run by the talented Danielle Donnelly of Faithful Designs, is the quirky shaped, magpies nest out of your wedding dreams.
The collection of wedding details that are showcased there are truly beautiful, unique and elegant.
I spent the morning with Danni chatting about all of the ideas she has for her stationary business, the shop and future ventures; this lady is EXCITED about life and the possibilities.
The shop is decorated with vintage furniture, revamped to compliment the branding of the business. The cut in half tables used as shelving is genius and truly in Danni style AWESOME.
She has sought out designers and creatives who can provide brides with personal details you will not find on the high street and she continues to seek out and bring new wedding blood to Devon.
A chalk board cakes by Edible Essence stands proudly in the window on a vintage rose covered swing, jars of buttons and accessories aline the walls and there are trinkets and treasures galore and the most amazing hand painted cake toppers from Lotty Lollipop ...need I say more? This is the stuff of daydreams.
Alright so I may have a soft spot for this place but I am in genuine awe of Danni and her ability to dream up and find the most incredible designs and decorations for her businesses and shop, this woman knows her stuff and has built for us a little girls dressing room with the class for the reluctant lady in us all.
If fairies do not reside here I will be surprised.
Go and visit, you will not be disappointed!
Wedding fairs, the daunting events where you walk around not making eye contact and have your head phones on faking a phone call or listening to anything to drown out the calls from scary vendors. Well that was my experience of them anyway, out of 5 weddings fairs I went to I only enjoyed one (where I actually met my amazing florist for my day).
However the weekend before last literally changed my view on them completely, when I decided to pop along to Devonport Guildhall to see the vendors at The Bespoke Bride Guide organised by the beautiful twin duo Sophie and Laura.
These beautiful ladies decided to start their own wedding directory after spending huge amounts of time trawling through the internet trying to find unique vendors when planning their own weddings.
They have linked arms with some incredible designers and crafts professionals, to help brides to find something personal and unique for their special day. All coming together in a beautiful unique wedding ceremony venue they created a truly wonderful experience.
Come on Louise, I hear you say, tell us about these AWESOME people. Well I am biased of course because some good friends of mine were attending the fair, however from attending, EVERY single vendor there were not only amazing at what they do, but actually really WONDERFUL people too; people you would want to be a part of your special day, people who can add those final touches that you have envisaged in your 'dream wedding' plan.
First impressions are so important and walking up the road that leads to Devonport Guildhall, with the blue sky and sun shining warming the buildings Roman style architecture, it was a great view; a great view added to by the welcoming I received from Cybels Vintage Hire wedding caravan. You can hire this quirky caravan, kitted out for afternoon tea with vintage china and a perfect venue for a wedding photo booth. Photo booths have become very popular at wedding receptions, it allows the guests to have the fun of dressing up and creating some amazing memories.
Zoe-Ann and Amanda, the lovely ladies behind the business provide an amazing hire service that can complete the theme of your day. They offer hire of teacups and saucers, tablecloths, bunting and even some vintage wooden games. Zoe-ann has been passionate about collecting vintage items since she was young and I was very excited to know we share a love of old books.
Climbing the steps to the fair, I was passed by lots of smiling young ladies with partners, mums and friends alike. I am a sucker for a smile, so I was drawn like a magpie to jewellery straight into the fair to meet the lovely Sophie and Laura for the first time.
They greeted all of their guests personally, which displayed the passion they have for what they are doing and the service they are providing. We all know I love a good chin wag so I felt at home.
All of their guest brides received a goody bag and a chip for a free drink as well.
The first vendor I saw was a good friend of mine Danielle Donnelly who is an award winning stationary designer and owner of the newly open Wedding Hub. Danielle was sharing some of the incredible creations from the beautiful designers who display in her shop.
The key thing that strikes me about Danielle's businesses is her eye for beautiful creations and uniqueness. Not only are her stationary designs beautiful she stocks equally BEAUTIFUL items such as material flower bouquets, INCREDIBLE cakes and STUNNING jewellery. All bespoke, meaning you are not likely to have a guest wearing the same as you on your big day.
Danielle is one of the most confident and focused business women I have had the chance to meet and on speaking to her I am very excited for the future of her business ventures.
Another lovely, incredibly savvy business woman and creative was next for me to see. Claire Thomas of La Beau nail studio. Claire and all the ladies at La Beau are amazingly talented and on the day of the event were even offering free manicures and pimms. These ladies KNOW how to make you feel special. The ever expanding business has been growing and growing since it opened in 2008 and has welcomed celebrity clients on their visits to the area.
'The salon is known for its friendly atmosphere and welcoming tranquility, as well as its host of refreshing, reviving treatments' Labeaunailstudio.co.uk.
I had my nails pampered at La Beau for my own wedding in 2013 and I would highly recommend you visit these lovely ladies with your bridesmaids and mums. It is a beautiful studio with an amazing atmosphere.
As I was eyeing up the Pimms at the La Beau stand I was surrounded by the most beautiful 'rustic' styled display from Green & Pip. I was enchanted by the rural feel of Pip's designs, each bouquet and table decoration had an elegant wild crafted feel about it. I could imagine many a bride loving the simplicity and elegance for their special day. I didn't get to chat much to Pip because prospected couples flocked to her original display; evidence that what Green & Pip offer is right on the mark.
From rustic and rural to pretty and pink. Hannah Burnett floristry was displaying a collection of very feminine wedding flowers. Hannah and I met on a wedding in April, where she styled the ceremony room with beautiful hanging jars of 'hand picked' flowers.
I may have scared Hannah off her seat with my approach to her table as she was very focused on a task, however she continued to greet me with a smile. What I love about Hannah's business is not only are her flowers eye catching and beautiful, she continues this style through her business stationary and website.
Now I am a stationary geek so when I see any invitations, name cards or table plans I go walk at the knees. Knots & Kisses, owned by the beautiful and eccentric Nikki (who has a love for the same films as me, yes I talk about everything. Being nosey is my job) was a delight to talk to and was helped on the day by her hubby, who was showing proposed clients the beautiful designs Nikki creates.
It was an absolute pleasure to speak to such a lovely industry professional, it always makes my day to know that brides are getting amazing, friendly and special service.
What I also love about Knots & Kisses is that as a business it thrives to meet a very high standard, 'you are only as good as your last wedding' was the discussion I had with Nikki.
I am looking forward to the rebranding that is currently underway, to see what Nikki will do next.
Are you enjoying this? I know I am, we have already had some amazing professionals with a huge variety of skills but also huge personalities. I would love to hang out for coffee and cake with these people.
The overall feeling from Sophie and Laura's event was that of uniqueness and that 'something special'. For me nothing could have been more true to this than the services of The Guide of Cornish Celebrants, who provide bespoke wedding ceremonies in any location and style. Talking to the founders Nicola and Denise time flew, I could have conversed with these passionate and dynamic ladies for hours.
Nicola and Denise have a wonderful vision of providing unique and truly special ceremonies, they have a true love and dedication to people and it shines through when you meet them. I was so interested in what they do that I am actually writing an article dedicated to them soon, so for now I will leave the full details (if you are an eager beaver then please visit their website).
Speaking of cake...
The Little Lark Cake Company where showcasing some incredible designs, including a 'chalk board' style cake finished off with some delicate and beautiful hand crafted icing flowers.
Each cake that was on display showed just how varied you can be and how you really can add your own personality, even to the cake. These were no Victoria sponge (though that is my favourite cake as my grandma well knows).
From sugar bouquets to broaches. The last vendor I had the privilege to speak to was the owner of Flourish, who's stand was not to disappoint any magpie's eye.
The team are just about to open a physical shop in Hooe, allowing them to display more of their incredible broach bouquets for you to see as well as their flower arrangements. There will be a VIP opening event, so do keep an eye out for that.
At this point in the fair I had actually stayed for nearly 2 hours and I had to leave before I was able to have a huge conversation with Flourish or the remaining vendors who attended. I met a wonderful photographer, Meg's photos, who not only had a great visual display, she did attempt to kill me with her lazer vision when I told her I was a photographer too. Ironically I spent so much time chatting to Meg I didn't focus on getting any shots of her display (sorry Meg).
What I want to say to you all, if I did not get a chance to see your display or speak at length with you, I can only apologise but I can not take the blame for every one of you being so awesome and friendly that I got lost in the world of unique weddings.
It took me so much longer to write this post, due to the volume of awesome pictures I was able to capture and the vast amount of wonderful, positive and inspiring experiences at the event.
I LOVE weddings and anything to do with them, but I will admit that Sophie and Laura's event have made me rekindle with the WHY!
Go and check out the guide NOW!
When I decided to become more focused on being a full time mum, it didn't just mean leaving my full time employment. It also meant having to review my plans to work on more photography commissions; my plan was to leave work and to become a full time photographer instead, but I realised that this would be the same in terms of time spent with Ollie. I sat and looked at which of the areas of photography I enjoyed the most and which was financially and creatively beneficial to me.
Since starting my business in 2007, I had worked on fashion editorials, beauty shoots, events, portraits and weddings.
In all of those, my strongest passion came to fashion and weddings and as I was living in the South West, the wedding option was looking to be the best option to take.
I decided to team up with my father-in-law Scott Rothney who was looking for a second shooter at some weddings he was doing, after doing just 2 with him in 2012 (whilst 12 weeks pregnant with Ollie) I realised this was THE option I wanted to take.
This year Scott and I have worked on some wonderful weddings, that have boosted my passion further and increased my portfolio to a new level. We have found a complimentary style, which I thought may be difficult with two photographers from very different photographic backgrounds.
I have been reviewing all of the weddings from this year and I have displayed some here for you to see; in reviewing them, with a smile on my face I thought it would be interesting to look at what it was about being a wedding photographer that has kept my hand in.
1. Getting ready - One of my favourite parts of the day is being with the bride and her bridal party getting ready for the day. It has always been and always will be an honour to be a part of this special time. My fun memories when working with the bride in the morning have been:
The getting ready part of the day is where I build the rapport with the family which helps me capture their personalities and emotions more naturally because we are almost distant friends by this time.
2. The Ceremony - The ceremony is a wonderful part of the day and of course the main reason everyone is there. It is exciting to see the love between a couple and the family there to support them. It is a beautiful celebration full of laughter and happy tears. For me it is a very private moment that as a photographer we should feel privileged to be a part of. It is key for me that this part of the day is where I am 'invisible' but capturing all of the key moments of emotion.
My memorable moments from the ceremony are:
3 - The group shots/posed photos - Once the ceremony is over, this part of the day is where we as photographers must really jump into action and we become more visible and more involved. I love having the banter with the family and also with Scott, which makes the whole experience fun and relaxed. This is also where we get to ask the couple to do some interesting poses to reflect their personalities.
Group shot memories:
4 - The exit - Leaving the day is one of my favourite parts (no not because I want to get home) because it is where you know you have done your job and done it well. I love hearing that they have enjoyed you being with them on their special day and it is a great feeling when they say thank you.
Following the Day!
Following the day I very much enjoy the edit of a wedding, I like to remember all of the funny banter between a couple, the guests and also us. It reminds me why I decided to keep wedding photography in my life. It reminds me that love is still alive and such a treasure in the world.
Once the couple receive their images it is always lovely to read/see their responses. It makes me proud to use my skill to capture on of the most important day in a couples life together.
I thought on writing this post that I would find a few select points that I love about wedding photography but as I worked through it I realised I loved it all. I know why my work improves, because my passion gets bigger each time. I have over the years met a number of photographers who didn't feel wedding photography was for them and to them thank you, because I get to work on them more!
I want to say a huge thank you to all of the bride and grooms of this year, those still to come and those who have eagerly booked us for next year. You are why I do this!
This week I have the pleasure of reviewing a Cornwall based, mother and daughter team craft business, 'Pretty Little Treats'. Charlotte (daughter) and Denise (mum) create elegant handmade jewellery that even hectic mums like me can wear to enhance our look. The pieces are stylised and continue the handmade look using visible stitching and frayed materials. The pieces are like a little piece of magic on a dull day; I spent time with the pieces, laying them out on the pebbles before committing them to digital memory, enjoying their simplicity, cuteness and vintage aura.
The jewellery arrived in a safely packaged bag, each piece in a cute little draw string bag, branded with the 'Pretty Little Treats' logo (which can be seen in the images above). The packaging made each piece feel individual and special and I felt excited to open each one.
I also received a gift as a thank you, a fabulous personalised scrabble piece which for a book worm like me, it was the perfect choice.
However I did grow attached to a purple heart pendant that I decided to model to show just how lovely the pieces look on.
All of the pieces I had the pleasure to wear and photograph were a wearable weight and comfortable. The pendants can be added to long or short chains for personalisation, each one comes with a chain ready to wear.
Other jewellery items include badges, rings and earrings in the same style. The team also create personalised nappy bags and baby bibs and are moving into baby animal toys as well.
What I love about this fabulous and innovative family business is just those things. The pieces are stylish, simple and elegant. With excellent delivery and a personal touch I would recommend purchasing anything from these lovely ladies for the experience alone. All of the items would make beautiful gifts for anyone who appreciates handmade and unique.
All items can be purchased on 'Pretty Little Treats' Etsy store https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/PrettyLittleTreats?page=1
Check out their website which is showing new items for purchase regularly http://www.prettylittletreats.com/
There comes a time for us all when the fairy dust is blown away by the winds of adulthood and our eyes are closed to our daydreams. We all crave an escape and remembrance of the days when believing in anything, was absolutely possible. The warmth of the sun, its beams dancing on a calm flickering stream as the tree branches sway to the rhythm of your breathing. Everything seems in sync and you see the world with a wonder and enchantment. As if you had just been born; this is a feeling many of us now, through the industrial age, trying to regain. We crave the connection of dreaming and nature with our lives again, with this in mind finding artists and creatives that can give us a helping hand (because lets me honest we never really know how to describe these feelings) is magic in itself.
This wave of magical enlightenment is what washed over me when looking at the beautiful work of Zephyre Rose Hood and I had to share it with you too. The most encapsulating element of these images are of course the beautiful daughter of Zephyre, who embodies all we miss about being a little girl.
As I saw these images come through my feed, I felt the fairy dust of my daydreams settle on my eyelashes and float around inside my head lighting up my thoughts.
Zephyre created these images on the floor, with her little fairy willingly bringing her visions to life. The tones and the lighting give your eyes a slight haze that makes you feel your gently squinting through a misty sunrise. I literally love this set of images and I can not wait to see more of the body of work through the year.
There is something very Anne Geddes about this body of work, moving away from contemporary child portraiture, that over the years has come flooding into our living rooms (yes hands up I have been filling some of those living room walls). However what Zephyre's work has in common is the ability to bring personality to her images, you can see that her daughter is sharing a moment with her mum, that in her open and free mind is completely real.
Miss Vintage Rose also encompasses photography and illustration you see her work below.
Share this work, and share in the Miss Vintage Daydream.