Charlotte Balbier

coastal drama. an ethereal styled shoot in seaham

August 1st, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth

Coastal Styled Shoot (c) Hannah Joy (8)

The wild and rugged North East coastline provides the dramatic backdrop to today’s stunning styled shoot, crafted by the talented Hannah Picken of Hannah Joy Photography.

After stumbling across Blast Beach in Seaham on Instagram, Hannah knew this was the perfect location for her shoot. Putting her very own wedding dress into the spotlight – Hannah opted for an earthy grey and metallic palette that offsets beautifully against the location’s magnificent rock formations, high cliffs and crashing waves. Add in some driftwood, glass bottles and a smoke bomb or two, and you’ve got an atmospheric shoot that really shows off this captivating beach setting with aplomb.

And then there’s the burnished lagoon of red water that seemingly transports the bride into another celestial setting altogether. We’re mesmerised to say the least!

Hannah’s here now to explain how she and her team of local suppliers, pulled the look together…

With images by Hannah Joy Photography

Coastal Styled Shoot (c) Hannah Joy (30)

hannah says: The styled shoot took place on Blast Beach in Seaham on the Durham coast. I wanted to create an ethereal styled bridal shoot primarily for my own knowledge and experience and because I just love to be creative. This style suits me best and is where my passion lies with my photography.

The location of the shoot came about when I was browsing Instagram. Seaham Hall had posted an image of this beach and as soon as I saw it – I knew it would be a great location for the shoot and just what I was looking for. I had never been to this beach before, so one evening, my family and I headed over to check it out.

Coastal Styled Shoot (c) Hannah Joy (24)

It was exactly what I had imagined! It’s a very unusual place with dramatic rock formations and an iron lake of luminous red coloured water. Upon further reading about the beach, I discovered it was used for the opening scenes of the film Alien 3; this added to the weird and dramatic feel of the location and it was just perfect for my shoot as I wanted something a bit different.

Coastal Styled Shoot (c) Hannah Joy (7)

For the styling of the shoot, my model wore my own personal wedding dress and it fit her just perfectly! My dress came from The Bridal Factory Outlet in Northallerton. It was lovely to re-use my dress rather than have it just sitting in a cupboard never to be seen again (even if it was a little strange seeing someone else wearing it!).

The dress is pretty simple by design and I decided to accessorise it with a rustic fur coat and silver accessories, bangles and rings etc to create a boho vibe and match it up with the pretty waistband detailing. The Irregular Choice shoes were my actual wedding shoes, too, and just so pretty – they were screaming to be photographed again!

Coastal Styled Shoot (c) Hannah Joy (34)

With the help of The Green Florist, a lovely local supplier just on my doorstep, we created a beautiful bouquet and headpiece. The brief was natural rustic and wild and I think they delivered this perfectly. I chose white and green to keep things simple and elegant whilst also working nicely with the dress and the surrounding landscape.

Coastal Styled Shoot (c) Hannah Joy (3)

For the detailed shots, I kept things natural by choosing an earthy grey and metallic colour palette to complement the natural beach setting and I found the metallics paired perfectly with the detailing on the dress and shoes. I used pretty gypsophila, glass bottles and pieces of rustic potpourri and driftwood, too. The beautiful stationery was provided by Katy Sue Design Co; her work is beautiful and elegant and she can provide all manner of stationery for brides to be.

Coastal Styled Shoot (c) Hannah Joy (28)

We had a lot of fun doing the shoot although it was rather cold, but the model handled this rather well. I told her I was going for a moody vibe so I think this helped to create the look!

We had some fun experimenting with smoke bombs too, which can be a bit of a challenge in the wind!  I was really pleased with the outcome of the shots and I think the smoke bombs worked really well next to the lake to create an ethereal look.

Coastal Styled Shoot (c) Hannah Joy (17)

I was over the moon with what I managed to produce on this shoot and it was a great learning experience for me. I plan to do many more styled shoots in the future and have lots of other ideas to explore.

I would like brides-to-be to take some inspiration from this shoot for their wedding, and specifically, their wedding photography. While everything can’t be planned to the extreme of a styled shoot on your wedding day, you can still produce some special images such as this, in addition to the standard documentary style images from your day and this is what I want to offer brides.

the big picture

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about the author

Alexis Forsyth
Originally from north of the border, Alexis has lived in the North East for the past 15 years and considers herself officially an adopted Geordie. A qualified journalist - Alexis took up the position of editor at the region’s longest running business publication in 2015 before moving into a marketing role for one of the UK’s largest independent arts and craft galleries. Alexis currently edits her own lifestyle blog, where you can find her latest musings on all things Newcastle-related, together with a smattering of her Instagram-worthy cocktail and foodie pics. Yet to find Mr Right herself, Alexis sees this as a mere formality when it comes to tying the knot, as she’s already picked out her dream wedding dress, theme and venue...

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