April 14th, 2015 | Julia Braime
This afternoon I am really proud to introduce our readers to the sensational work of Brides Up North sponsor, amanda balmain. I think you’ll agree that Amanda’s work is just dreamy!
In this feature interview, we find out all about the lady behind the lens… and it turns out she’s a bit of a romantic.
So she’s definitely in the right line of work then…
With images by Amanda Balmain,
How did you get into wedding photography?
I have an A level in photography but for a long time photography was a hobby for me. It wasn’t until after I had my children that I started taking portraits more seriously and then joined some friends on a wedding photography course up at Aspire Photography Training in Cumbria. That was when I realised that wedding photography had changed quite a bit since the days of film. No longer limited by how much film you can carry, wedding photography had got way more creative and exciting.
Why wedding photography specifically?
I love wedding photography because for me its so exciting. You have to think on your feet all day long to manage creative shots with constantly changing light and locations. There is nothing like that feeling when you know you’ve captured something amazing that you know your couple are going to swoon over.
What is your favourite thing about being a wedding photographer?
I love the romance. Sometimes on a wedding morning I haven’t quite figured out the couple but I love how as the day unfolds it becomes obvious how they fit together. I try to tell that story in pictures.
How do you get couples to relax on the day?
I like to photograph natural reactions and expressions and so I always ask questions and get brides and grooms talking to each other. It is much easier to relax when you are thinking about something else other than the camera pointing at you. Often my couples have had a pre-wedding shoot and so they will know exactly what to expect ahead of time.
Any advice to any brides who don’t like to have their picture taken?
Choose a photographer who you are comfortable with and have a pre-wedding shoot. Usually its much better than you expect. Also choose a photographer whose style is more documentary if posing makes you uncomfortable. I shoot a mix of both styles but my posed shots are definitely more relaxed and natural than fashion model.
What sort of makeup should a bride wear to look great in her pictures?
I think a makeup artist for your wedding day is important. It allows you to relax in the morning and your makeup will last longer. A natural look with a good matte finish always looks great in pictures.
Anything to avoid which might look bad in the wedding pictures?
Tan lines with a strapless dress spring to mind!
Which celebrity wedding would you most like to photograph and why?
Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield because I think they would be really funny and cute but only if they got married on a beach somewhere and kept it intimate. Or maybe Prince Harry and Emma Watson with a Harry Potter theme!
Any really memorable weddings that you have captured?
I cry at every wedding so they are all moving to me! I shot a wedding at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London which is beautiful and very stylish. I have another one there this summer so I’m looking forward to that.
Are you married? Tell us about your day.
I’ve been married for almost 15 years. We got married at the small village church where my husband was christened and my in-laws got married in Dorset. We then had a marquee on his parents lawn for the reception. We had the ceremony at 4pm so we could carry straight on into the evening. It was July so there was plenty of light for photographs. My photographer was the amazing Kevin Wilson. My favourite memories are eating fish and chips at the hairdressers in the morning, the grin on my husbands face that lasted all day long and drinking champagne at midnight with some random strangers that we met at our hotel.
What sets you apart from other wedding photographers?
The most important thing to me is that you enjoy your day. I make sure I know beforehand what the wedding day plan is and when we are going to get the shots that you want but on the day I am very flexible. I keep things calm and relaxed and never put my couples under pressure.
What can a couple who book you expect on the day?
For most of the day I am unobtrusive and try to stay in the background. There are a few key moments when I will get some posed shots. For instance a portrait of the bride once she is ready, group portraits of the bridal party and a killer shot of the bride and groom at the reception venue. Otherwise I go with the flow and photograph the day as it happens with minimal interference. I usually arrive around 2 hours before the ceremony at the brides house and leave an hour or so after the first dance once everyone is in full party mode.
What is included in your “package”?
My top package includes a pre-wedding shoot, full day coverage, edited digital files, a slideshow of images from your wedding day and a 30 page Bellissimo album. My digital only package is the same without the album.
Can you give us an idea on price?
My top package is £1250. I am happy to quote for smaller weddings and half days.
How can Brides Up North get in touch with you or see more examples of your work?
February 20th, 2015 | Julia Braime
It’s no secret that these pretty pages are a big source of inspiration, not only to our bride to be readers (who we love very much) but also to our wedding industry followers. I love that this creative industry of ours is – in general – such a fabulously supportive environment in which to work. I know that I owe a lot to the wedding industry friends who have championed my blog and brand over the years, so I hope you’ll take a break from the wedding planning (get some work done!) as I direct this morning’s feature squarely their way.
One such friend, and someone who is always prepared to give so much back to others in our field is the beautiful Cat of Cat Hepple Photography. Always one of my favourite ladies to work with (she created the stunning set of images for our rebrand back in April of 2014) and on my personal speed dial for advice on making things look really, really pretty, she certainly is one clever Cat.
I’d like to welcome Cat to the pages of the wedding blog today as she shares her latest achievement with us: she’s only gone and published a book! “The Power of Posing: win clients, create perfect poses and boost your business” is a guide for photographers, written to help them boost their skills and book more clients. This 28,000 word downloadable guide is designed to show photographers all the steps they need to take to put their clients at ease and to teach them to trust, so they take direction and the result is gorgeous images full of emotion.
I know that our photographer friends (*waves!*) will be reading with interest, as might any enthustiatic amateurs and anyone who just wants to take better personal pictures, so I’ll hand you over to the lovely Ms. Hepple.
Take it from someone who has been “posed” by Cat and loved the results: this is a tome that everyone needs in their creative library.
cat says: In the four years I’ve been a professional photographer, there’s one question I get asked more than any other by people in the industry: “How DO you get people to look so magazine worthy and yet so natural?”
To me it’s always seemed to be a strange question because posing my clients and getting them to look sensational has been one of my favourite parts of being a photographer, right from the start. I can’t imagine having it any other way. I’ve never done it any other way.
I’m not saying I’ve always known exactly what to do with them, how to guide and direct them but I have been certain from the very beginning of how I want them to look and feel and I’ve worked very hard to create techniques and routines which really help me achieve that.
I love posing people. I know that puts me in the minority in the world of photographers ( a bit like how much I love public speaking, again I know that probably makes me a bit odd!) but I get enormous satisfaction from creating a beautiful image which not only looks fabulous but captures a mood too. Because without emotion, your photographs are just poses, and nothing more. Emotion and mood are critical to connect an image with someone’s soul. So many photographers worry that by focusing on posing the emotion will be lost. But that doesn’t have to be the case.
So I’ve studied hard, not just how to pose someone by moving their arms and legs, hands and feet, but the psychology of working with people. I’ve learnt a lot about trust, building a client’s confidence in me and how to make that work on a shoot. I’ve studied people, considered ways to work with different body shapes and confidence levels and I’ve applied what I’ve learnt to my work. And now it’s all in a new book I’ve written for photographers.
The chances are you currently:
My book will help you to:
A simple process you can rely on.
A way to gain confidence.
Trust from your clients so they do what you ask them to do.
The art of winning people around.
The ways to guide people into poses.
The secrets to getting natural images.
Yourself as a posing expert.
Build a reputation for incredibly natural images.
Be in demand and get more bookings, because you make people look and feel amazing.
In addition to the book, Cat is now available for one to one mentoring sessions to help you develop even further and look in depth at your own specific business needs.
Visit her new website to buy the book and for more details of Cat’s mentoring offering.
And if you’re a bride to be reader who stuck around and has liked what you’ve seen, you can book Cat for your own wedding by getting in touch here.
February 12th, 2015 | Julia Braime
I do love a stunning piece of architecture and clearly so too do today’s real wedding couple Kate and Chris, who picked Manchester’s beautiful Palace Hotel in which to tie the knot.
Its regal marble floors, wood panelling and domed ceiling provided a stunning backdrop for the couple’s vows and evening reception. During the day the new Mr and Mrs headed out onto the streets of Manchester with their photographer James Tracey, for some edgy urban shots which contrast beautifully with those taken inside The Palace.
In addition to a great location, highlights of Kate and Chris’s big day include an opulent colour scheme, delicious food and toe-tapping entertainment. Enjoy!
With images by James Tracey Photography.
kate says: We got engaged on Christmas Day 2013. I had an idea Chris might propose but when I opened all my presents and there was no ring I have to admit I was a bit disappointed. However later in the day Chris surprised me by asking me to marry him and gave me a beautiful ring. As it was Christmas it was great being with family to help celebrate our engagement.
Our wedding date was 4th October 2014. We knew we wanted a local wedding but we weren’t too bothered about it being in the summer months as you can’t guarantee the British weather. Instead we decided on early October as it was just out of season but we though the weather wouldn’t be too wintery.
We got married at The Palace Hotel in Manchester city centre. We wanted our ceremony and reception all in one venue but wanted to find somewhere with character which is why we both loved The Palace Hotel. As soon as we walked into the hotel and saw the domed ceiling we both knew it was right for us. We also thought that the hotel would be a great backdrop for our photographs in case the weather was really bad and we couldn’t have any outside, but luckily on the day we were able to get a mixture of both.
I’d definitely recommend The Palace Hotel as a wedding venue. It’s a beautiful setting for a wedding and the layout works really well. We liked the fact that the ceremony room was separate to where we had our wedding breakfast and the bar area had plenty of space for all the guests. The wedding organisers were very helpful, and on the day the service and staff were great. We didn’t have to worry about anything which is what you want on your wedding day.
When looking for wedding inspiration I loved rich, jewel colours, which I thought would be perfect for an autumnal wedding rather than the more pastel shades that you often see in spring and summer. We decided to go for two colours in the end, a deep purple and a teal colour. The teal bridesmaid dresses were the first things I bought and I thought matching the exact colour of the dresses might be difficult which is why we introduced the purple colour. I loved the fact we had two colours and that everything didn’t have to match.
I love sparkles and lace so my wedding dress was the perfect combination of both. The dress was by Ellis from the Blossom Collection. I bought it from Timeless Bride in Poynton. Janine, the owner, is lovely and made the whole experience really great. I saw the dress on the shop’s website and when I tried it on I knew it was the one! I loved the keyhole back design and little details such as the staggered button back and the floral gem waistband, which made it different to other dresses I tried on.
Chris chose his own suit and I didn’t see it until the morning of the wedding! He did a brilliant job. He wore a navy blue morning suit with a dove grey waistcoat and gold tie. He hired the suit from Swarbricks but bought his shirt and tie from Charles Tyrwhitt.
My four best friends who were my bridesmaids wore floor-length teal dresses from Coast. I actually got them in the January sales so they were a great bargain. The groomsmen wore the same navy blue morning suits and grey waistcoat as Chris. We also bought the shirts and ties for them but they wore purple ties rather than gold.
A soon as I booked the wedding I knew I wanted Donna Crompton at The Halo Rooms to do mine and my bridesmaids’ hair. She’s fantastic at up dos and is great for ideas and inspiration. Donna also put me in touch with Louise Elliott, a freelance makeup artist who did my makeup on the day. It was great being pampered on the morning of the wedding and not having to worry about anything.
I decided I didn’t want to spend a lot on transport to the venue so I travelled in a black cab to the hotel with my brother who gave me away. My bridesmaids followed behind in a separate taxi. Chris stayed at the Palace Hotel the night before the wedding so he had no excuses for being late!
We used James Tracey Photography for our photos, who we booked after he photographed my brother’s wedding the previous year. We loved James’ style of photography; he’s really friendly but also very professional and talented. He captured our day perfectly and we are so pleased with the lasting memories of our wedding day. We ended up with a great mix of more traditional and contemporary photos, especially the ones he took around Manchester city centre. I’d absolutely recommend James.
Before the wedding, I had a craft day with my bridesmaids where we created our bouquets. I liked that with artificial flowers I could create exactly what I wanted and not be restricted by what was available in terms of types of flowers and colours. It was also a cheaper alternative to fresh flowers and I’m able to keep my bouquet forever.
The Palace Hotel was great and helped with setting up our room on the day of the wedding. I had in my mind how I wanted the room to look and they recreated it perfectly. I provided mirrors, tea lights and scatter crystals for the guests’ tables and the hotel provided the candelabra. For the top table we had floating candles in glass vases as well as my bridesmaid bouquets. We also used Divine Designs who provided white chair covers with a purple sash to finish the room off.
Our favours also doubled up as our name places. Each guest had their name printed on a traditional sweetshop paper bag which we filled with a few pick ‘n’ mix sweets. Keeping on the sweet theme, our wedding cake was a gift from Chris’ parents. It was made by Joanne Howson at Imagicakes. It was three tiers – chocolate, lemon and carrot cake in a ‘bling and rose’ design. It looked stunning but it also tasted delicious!
We both love music and knew we wanted some sort of entertainment for our evening reception. In the end we booked the Live Lounge Duo who are Danny Lee and Gary Kirk. They played a great mix of songs that got everyone up on the dance floor straight away. As part of our package they also provided a DJ, which was great for keeping the party going until late.
We also had a photo booth set up for the evening reception, which was great fun. All the guests enjoyed getting dressed up with the props they provide. The photos are printed instantly which was perfect as the guests all went home with a memento from the wedding. We hired the booth for a couple of hours from Phil Burdge at Digi-booth.net.
It’s hard to say my favourite part of the day as I really did love every minute of it, it’s such a special feeling. I think we both enjoyed the evening reception when the party got started. It’s so nice to have all your friends and family together celebrating with you and having a good time.
We went on a two week road trip to Las Vegas and California as we wanted an action packed honeymoon. We spent five nights in Vegas and then flew to San Diego for a couple of nights. From there we drove up the Pacific highway stopping at various places such as LA and Santa Barbara before we reached San Francisco for the last part of our honeymoon. It was amazing!
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be decide on the things that matter the most to you both about your day and spend your wedding budget on these things. It’s easy to get carried away and stress over things that won’t even matter to you on the day. Most of all, remember to enjoy it and have fun!
January 12th, 2015 | Julia Braime
This afternoon I’m thrilled to give a warm welcome to Brides Up North Sponsor (and soon to be bride!) Georgina of Georgina Brewster Photography. Georgina’s spent two years in a soon-to-be-wed’s shoes, so knows exactly what you’re all about – and cares about her own wedding almost as much as she does about yours!
Her work speaks for itself.
Let’s say hello!
georgina says: My love of photography started whilst travelling Europe as an 18-year-old, I returned to the UK at the age of 21 and enrolled on a two year HND Photography and Design course with Bradford College, it was pre-digital then (now I feel old and I’m only 35) and many days were spent developing 35mm in a darkroom and magically developing my own prints, alongside this I worked for a Kodak processing lab and gained work experience with a great photographer, Stephen Garnett, on my local newspaper.
After graduating I applied for a position as a Trainee Photographer with East Lancashire Newspapers and in 2003 was thrilled to be offered the job. After three years training, I was promoted to a member of the senior staff and ended my career with the Lancashire Evening Telegraph. The experience I have gained in a press environment has been invaluable, day-to-day situations change rapidly and meeting so many different people in any one day has taught me to be confident, creative and adaptable. I have been privileged to capture a wide range of subjects, ranging from, Her Majesty the Queen, HRH Prince of Wales and several other members of the Royal family many times, to Prime Ministers, MP’s, pop stars, soap stars, sports stars at major sporting events and the all important local heroes of our communities.
Wedding photography is something I have done regularly across the North of England over the last decade on weekends off from the newspaper. The time came last year to give the press pass a rest and commit full-time to something that truly made me happy.
My favourite thing about my profession is that I am constantly surrounded by happy people. Experiencing the love, compassion and emotion between families is such an endearing gift we can often take for granted. I have been known to wipe away a few tears during the exchange of vows!
As part of my photography package I include an informal pre-wedding shoot, a chance for me to spend some time in the company of the Bride and Groom, have a wander around a place special to them as a couple and achieve some really natural images. I find this really helps a couple to relax on the day of their wedding. Meeting and working with new people is what I have done for a very long time and to quote a Bride’s grandfather at her wedding: “You have the knack of making a whole room full of people feel at ease. You really are quite wonderful”.
Possibly the sweetest thing anybody has ever said to me, other than “Will you marry me?”
I don’t think I’ve ever come across anyone that likes the thought of having their photograph taken, unless we’re paid models its unnatural to us all, right?! I do find though, that once a shoot has started, casually chatting and having a giggle throughout puts people at ease.
Bridal make-up is a personal choice and I would always advise not to venture too far away from your normal look. Take advice from an expert and if your budget allows, book a make-up artist. The most important thing is to feel comfortable on the day.
I would love to photograph Jennifer Aniston’s wedding! I have loved her from the first episode of Friends, Phoebe’s my favourite but Jennifer’s love life has been highly documented through the papers and to have her heart broken by Brad in such a public way, she deserves her happy ever after.
Every wedding is beautiful in its own way and every day is memorable to me. There is a very special venue close by to me though that never fails to evoke a timeless romance and intimacy with every wedding I cover there. An ancient Priest’s House in the stunning Yorkshire Dales called Barden Tower.
I’m not married at this moment but my chap popped the question two years ago and our big day is May 3rd 2015. This year! I simply cannot wait. Every bride I have worked with says it comes around quickly and it absolutely does. I had a pre Christmas panic, as I am sure most brides do, where the reality dawned on me that we only had four months remaining with still so much to do. It is a wonderful time planning the day with my fiancé and all very exciting.
It will be a complete role reversal for me to be on the other side of the camera and I’m certain the experience will add another dimension to my work for future weddings. I am constantly asked who my photographer will be, there has only ever been one choice for me and that is a friend from my newspaper days, purely because I know I will feel completely at ease. There could be the odd selfie in there too!
Our day will be a ceremony in our local church followed by a reception in a traditional, Victorian, glass-roofed theatre. A very informal and fun-filled affair. A min-moon in the Lake District for two nights and then straight back to work for me as I have four other wedding days to share in May.
I do have one funny story that will never be forgotten. On one of the hottest days of the year, I had asked all the guests to follow me outside for the big group photo. The hotel co-ordinator ushered me to an upstairs window, a sash window I could lean out of to get the best vantage point, only the window wouldn’t open! She assured me it had been open the previous day so we persevered, nudging and bumping the window up. After much effort I could just about poke my lens through the gap and shouted down to the guests below (who were almost on their knees laughing at this point) that I would silently count to three with my fingers. As I raised my fingers they all chanted “one, two, THREE” and a big cheer was let out. The shutter was pressed and possibly the best group shot ever was taken.
With so many photographers condensed in any one area, especially wedding photographers, it is becoming increasingly difficult to stand out among my competitors, many I am great friends with. Its important to me that I keep advancing on my skills through annual training courses with other professionals and attending networking events in my area to meet other suppliers. I am extremely hard working and have such passion and commitment for what I do, constantly on the look out for new trends emerging, updating my equipment and keeping up to date with new editing software on the market. I often find that the power of a personal recommendation for a job well done is the best way to keep ahead of the pack.
On the Wedding Day a couple can expect 100% reliability and professionalism from me. I plan every detail meticulously, meeting with them before hand to discuss every detail of their day. Together we build a mutual understanding of the photos they hope for and love. I will be there to capture the pure emotion of the day, whilst being as natural and unobtrusive as possible.
I only offer one package. Through searching for a photographer for my own wedding (in case mine had to work at an away football game) I became increasingly confused by the different packages, prices structures, time limits and optional add-ons. I have designed my package to make the process simple. For more details click here.
My package is currently available for £950.
A great way to keep up to date with my work is to LIKE my facebook page. Links to my blogs are posted on here along with details of wedding fairs I will be attending. I update my website galleries on a regular basis too so keep a close eye on that.
I am always available to chat over the phone on 07896365977 or throw an email my way with any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit my website at www.georginabrewster.com
December 16th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Frances and Olly’s relaxed marquee wedding is filled with fun, fab florals (some ten feet tall, watch out for the giant daffs) and fuelled by a free bar. Always a nice idea.
It’s the first wedding ever to be held at Mill Granary Cottages, and I have a feeling that the bar has been set pretty high…
Get ready to party!
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor Camera A Photography.
frances says: We got engaged in October 2013 – a week before my birthday. We got engaged on the Friday morning. Olly had liaised with a colleague of mine and put a “fake meeting” in my diary so I thought I had a full day at work. I also thought we were going to Sheffield to visit friends on Friday night. I got up at 6am and Olly said I wasn’t going to work that day. I told him he was wrong because I had a meeting. He asked me to marry him in our flat in the morning before he whisked me off to Paris to celebrate.
We got married in a beautiful church, St Osmund’s in Gainford on 7th June 2014.
The reception venue was Mill Granary Cottages – we hired the cottages and put a marquee on the meadow next to them. It was the first wedding they had ever done and it looked amazing. Kate and Richard (who own Mill Granary) were fantastic.
We wanted the wedding to be fun and relaxed and for everyone to have a good time, and I’m not sure I managed a colour scheme!
I travelled in a white VW beetle to the wedding. My bridesmaids were in a VW van. I used Lovedub Cars.
I chose a dress from Sabina Motasem, a designer based in London. I wanted something elegant and not too over the top. She has some beautiful dresses in her collection.
My hair and makeup were done by Hobbs and Holmes and they were so good on the morning of the wedding.
The bridesmaid dresses were from Monsoon – silver coloured, knee length and really pretty. The ushers wore their own suits and Olly bought them their ties and pocket squares.
Olly wore a Reiss suit. He looked fit.
I carried white peonies. My mum bought them from the flower market and my friend Ruth made the bouquets with the help of Olly’s sister. The bridesmaids had white peonies and pink roses. Ruth did those as well. Befriend a florist it’s a huge money saver!
Our photographers were Jane and Anne from Camera A in Darlington. They were brilliant. Jane was completely organised and made sure she extracted a full briefing from us before the day to get the shots we wanted. They were both really flexible on the day and the photos are gorgeous.
The decorations outside the marquee and around the marquee were provided for by Ruthie from Cloud Nine Decor. She is an amazing talent and provided giant flowers, a bluebell archway, and loads of bunting.
The table decorations were provided by my Mum. She collected little crystal vases from charity shops and they were filled with wild flowers from fields and woodland that she collected.
Olly made the cake – it was a family recipe – Guinness cake. It was delicious.
We chose not to give out favours – there was a free bar!
We ordered our wine from Majestic. We had a French Malbec and a South African white. The food was provided by The Game Cart. Really delicious food and their front of house staff were superb, making sure our guests were really looked after.
We had three of our friends do DJ shifts on the night. They were brilliant and just banged out the hits. The dance floor was permanently full.
We’d absolutely recommend Marston Moor Marquees and Mill Granary Cottages. If you want a marquee wedding but need somewhere to host it, this is the place.
We’re off on our honeymoon over Christmas – destination TBC…
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to have a free bar if you can – it’s well worth it!
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