Doddington Hall Wedding // Fiona & Craig

Cherry Blossom, Country English Flowers, Tears, Laughter, Blue Sky & A Whole Lotta Love

doddington hall wedding

It was spring, the forecast was rain but everything was on their side and we had sunshine all day and all the cherry blossom was out at Doddington Hall. What more could Fiona & Craig have asked for? All the magical ingredients came together to create a perfect day full of their favourite people and most importantly to celebrate their love and family by saying I Do.

Doddington Hall is set on the outskirts of Lincoln and anybody who hasn’t been there before it is well worth a visit, they have a gorgeous farm shop and the gardens are amazing. Rows of Cherry Blossom during the spring, sculpture exhibitions through the summer, apple tree’s in the autumn but most incredible is the views from the back of the house across the Lincolnshire countryside. Big skies and views for miles.  A classic English country location.

The build up to the ceremony was full of excitement, there didn’t seem to be a hint of nerves just pure excitement for it to be here. Their daughter was keen to be ready and keen to get there and loved posing for pictures with me along the way. So many touching moments through the morning with hugs and final words with mum, cuddles with daughter, laughs with bridesmaids before heading over to Doddington Hall for all those months and months of planning to come together. When standing at the front of the ceremony, its like you are the only people in the room, the emotion spills out, there are goosebumps, tears and lots of knowing smiles with each other. When their daughter had tears too – the whole room looked on and melted at such a touching moment.

With confetti, groups and mingling completed, I took the bridal and grooms party round to the cherry blossoms for creative pictures before it was Fiona & Craig’s time to take time out for them. Yes Im around taking pictures, but I can’t hear the conversations – Im just there to capture the looks, the touch, the moving a strand of hair, the smiles, the hugs.

It was such an incredible day, I always invest my own emotional self in to the day, feel the tears, the love, the moments – even though my face is often hidden behind  the camera, Im feeling it with you! Here is the story of your day in pictures … Lots of Love and Congratulations. Jo xx

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(Second Shooter – Summer Love Associate Photographer: Arienne)

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3 Responses to “Doddington Hall Wedding // Fiona & Craig”

  1. Boo Marshall

    It’s always lovely to see your weddings! Love all the light around this one – and the photos of the children are gorgeous. And the blossom! xx

  2. Kay

    What a beautiful couple and stunning venue, I really love those blossoms. Its definitely one for their wall and lots of admiration in years to come x

  3. Isabelle

    They radiate happiness! And I love your attention to details, they do tell a story of their own xox

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Day in the Life of a Photographer

Ever wondered what it is like to be a photographer for the day? You must have seen those images that many photographers share that show such as these ….
What I thought I would do is share a very typical week day for me to show what it is like behind the scenes and how much additional work goes in to all of your shoots – its not all about carrying a camera to beautiful exotic places (Oh how I wish it was!).
A very typical Thursday ….
I am super lucky that each morning the other half brings me a coffee in bed while he gets up with the boy, Lucas. I enjoy the first half an hour of my day sitting in bed, the cat coming to join me, sipping coffee and catching up with social media on the phone. I know, this is a wonderful way to start my day and I feel blessed that the other half is happy to do this each morning (or is it that he feels there is no other choice!).
Once Lucas gets picked up for school, I get myself dressed! Years ago I would have gone straight to work in my PJ’s and then find myself getting dressed late afternoon but I told myself that I needed to start my day as if I mean business. I haven’t quite got myself to the stage of working from home in smart attire but I console myself that I have got dressed!!
Before I start my day, I will use some time to walk the dog and get outside to clear my head before I battle the to do list. That time outside just gives me a break from home to work. My brain is usually a little scrambled with ‘to do’ lists in my mind and sometimes a feeling of anxiety about how much there is to do and get through to be sure I can meet the time frame I set for clients. But it is all about balance, something I have learnt over the last year or so I have never given up that dog walk.
On a Monday, earlier int he week,  I have usually spent the first hour of my day writing what I need to achieve on each day this week, so a weekly planner with everything planned out of what I need to complete each day. When its done, I stop! I still need to fine tune exactly how much I can realistically fit in to a day!
On this particular day, I timed myself for 30 minutes of emails otherwise I find myself sucked in to answering emails. I always answer emails to my brides and grooms first so that they get a response within 24 hours and then if there is time after that I move through the remaining emails but sometimes they have to wait for the following day.
I start my day finishing off the edit of a Wedding from 3 weeks ago. I go through them all individually just to double check I am happy with each and every one and convert to black and white those that suit it. This takes me roughly up to lunch time. I would then pick out the images that represent the story of the day and create a personal slideshow for the couple. This is uploaded with a password for them to view while they wait for their images to arrive.
Next I do the finishing touches to a family shoot – the same process as above, checking each and every one. Before I know it, it is 1.30 and I haven’t stopped for breath, a break or to eat. I literally run in to the house (My office is in a converted out building) throw some salad in a bowl with a tin of tuna and some balsamic vinegar and go back to the office with bowl in hand. I use this eating time to catch up with social media, schedule a couple of posts on Facebook and Instagram.
The bowl goes on the windowsill as I carry on. I put all of the wedding and family images in order and upload each on to a USB and package them up beautifully ready to send.
Checking the clock, I have 45 minutes until the taxi drops off Lucas from school so I think I can sort through a recent pre-wedding shoot. I cull them ready to edit and then the food shopping delivery arrives – damn! I wasn’t feeling quite ready to stop, I wasn’t finished, I wasn’t where I had hoped to get up to!
I spent a while catching up with Lucas about his day but as soon as Mr G gets home, my mind was playing on the work not finished earlier so I headed back in to the office to do the first stage of the pre-wedding shoot images. The boys went to the park, therefore I used this time to get the paperwork and the cameras ready for another pre-wedding shoot this evening near the Norfolk coast. As soon as the boys walked back in to the house, I said my good bye’s, grabbed a protein bar to see me through the evening and drove over to meet the couple. I spent the next hour getting to know the couple and photographing them, enjoying this time outside. I felt relaxed and at ease and it was such a beautiful evening.
I got home at roughly 8.30pm and despite knowing all the images needed to be backed up – the exhaustion hit me and I just ‘stopped’.
Clearly, I am working in my business this day as opposed to working on my business. This is what happens in the middle of a busy wedding season! I write this knowing I need to update the galleries on my website, update the copy, write more blog posts and do some marketing and social media posts.  They are all on the to do list for when wedding season slows down! The hustle never stops! How does your day look?
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5 Responses to “Day in the Life of a Photographer”

  1. Isabelle

    Whoever said working from home was easy? You are bus, girl! I can just imagine the craziness. I work outside from home but with a very nice schedule that allows me some creative time in the afternoon, after walking the dog, of course! xox

  2. Boo Marshall

    LOL! We have such a glamorous life! But I don’t think you or I would change what we have, just yet at any rate! Back to editing……. xxxx

  3. Kay

    Ah the ever glamorous life of a photographer! At least there is the flexibility of organising your own schedule rather than it being put upon you.

  4. Elena

    Working from home myself, I quite understand what it means to feel that busy (all year round) 🙂 Working from the comfort of your home can be beautiful but also extremely stressful… balance is not always easy to find. I think having your office placed outside your home is a good solution to help separate the two things, and allow you to dedicate yourself completely to your family when you leave your office.
    Also, let me say I envy the way you start your day!!! You are a lucky woman 🙂

  5. Lel Hurst

    Working for yourself and from home is so hard, it takes a lot of discipline not to get distracted by other things and even more discipline not to owrk all of the hours your are awake so it is great that you have buitl in the time just for you- and even better that you make yourself get dressed!

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Pre-Wedding Shoots

Shall we have one?

Pre-Wedding Shoot. Sunset at the beach

Its the time before the wedding plans and the finalisation of all the details gets too hectic, when you are feeling excited and at such a beautiful time as a couple before moving in to the next stage of your life. There couldn’t be a more perfect way to mark this stage of your journey together than with a photo shoot to capture you together, your relationship in this moment and your personalities when together. There are no selfie angles – just time to yourselves to connect and for me to capture that.

I do want to start by saying that as my pre-wedding shoots are not inclusive in my wedding collections, I don’t promote them as practise for your wedding day. I promise you will feel comfortable having your pictures taken on your wedding day. Its different. You are dressed in wedding clothes, there is an expectation about having your pictures taken, I give little pieces of gentle direction to get the best out of you in what is usually a limited time frame and it is very different. If couples ask me whether they ‘need’ a pre-wedding shoot, I say exactly that – its not necessary to feel comfortable. However what a pre-wedding shoot is great for, is to just capture this moment of your relationship and I often suggest thinking about do you have many pictures together and then go from there.

Pre-Wedding Shoot

Okay – So you’ve decided you would love a pre-wedding shoot and its really important for you to capture this stage of your relationship – what next?

First things first – when would you like the shoot to take place? What season do you love? Each of the seasons give a really different look. The bare and stark winter with a contrast of big skies, bare trees and wrapped up warm. The lushness of spring with greens and blossom. The height of summer with blue skies, bright colours and lots of contrast. Or finally the richness of autumn with oranges, low sun and wrapped in scarves and gloves. Another thing to consider, is what time of the day. The early mornings often give soft milky light, sunrise in the winter or golden light of early evening and then sunset. I often try and avoid the harsh light of midday when we have to search out shade and would always suggest what us photographers call golden hour – that final hour or two before sunset. The other thing to consider is how shy are you? Its possibly best not to pick Lincoln city centre on a Saturday at midday if you are!

Where shall we go?  I have lots of suggestions up my sleeve from vintage rail stations to river walks, to the beach, the forest, fields with big open skies, nice and historic spots in towns and cities but they are my suggestions, which are okay to fall back on but it is much nicer to make the shoot all about the two of you. Where do you like to go? Did you meet at a certain University and so that city is important to you? Do you walk your dog somewhere at weekends? Where did you take holidays? Where do you like to go? What are your interests? The shoot is much more meaningful if you choose somewhere that is important to you. I am more than happy for you to share with me and show me your favourite spots.

What shall we wear? I get asked this all the time. Firstly, you have made an investment in this shoot, not only with money but also with time. Therefore take the time to think about what you will wear. Some little guidelines is to think about the colour wheel – either wear complimentary or contrasting colours, keep it simple – no crazy patterns or big logos, keep it timeless so that the pictures don’t date, avoid sports trainers, avoid having your phone in your trouser pockets, avoid big puffy or large coats (either fitted coats or layers) and its okay to leave your handbag in the boot of your car otherwise I just end up carrying it. Are you smart casual people, retro and vintage people, dressy people – be yourself.

Do I need to bring anything with me? Just a willingness to be open, to relax and to go with the flow. Its about capturing the real you. I love these shoots and I always aim and wish for you to leave them thinking ‘that was good, I loved that, I can’t wait to see the pictures!’.

Just a few images from pre-wedding shoots that took place this year ….

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4 Responses to “Pre-Wedding Shoots”

  1. Boo Marshall

    What a great informative post! And love the picture (especially the little white dog – sucker for dogs)…. I think pre wedding shoots are fab- lots of fun and a wonderful way to start collecting memories of life together xx

  2. Isabelle

    What a lovely selection of images! It must be amazing to have all those memories before your wedding, as both sessions will be quite different. A must!

  3. Kay Maguire

    What a great post and smashing photography im a big believer in the pre wedding shoot, its people cimfotable with you as a photographer and akso helps the with feeling comfortable posing . Also, its lovely to have photos that arent just wedding photos.

  4. Elena

    These pictures are really beautiful. What I like the most about the idea of a pre-wedding shoot is that it’s totally different from a wedding one. Both are great investments of course, but while wedding pics are usually not exclusively for the couple (and some might have to take them with family and friends in mind, their expectations etc.), the pre-wedding ones are about two people deeply in love, and are focused at capturing that excitement and tenderness they will always treasure (and not necessarily share with others). So I see this as a great opportunity to just be oneselves and let the love speak 🙂

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Work Life Balance

Balance

Croatia

I wrote this post 18 months ago (how time flies)  about where my business is going and how I felt I may move forward in year 5, I wanted to create a better connection with the weddings and the couples and find some balance. Where am I now, how have I managed to find some balance in year 6?

For so many years now, I have been working roughly 80 hours a week and, I should add, for less than I earnt when in my day job however it gives me so many other benefits but I really need to find some proper balance and enjoy life. Life is short.

What have I done to achieve some of this so far ….

 

*I no longer do a wedding preview on a Sunday morning – this waits until Monday. Sunday mornings are for resting and recuperating and the rest of the day is for family time.

*I will now only work one day of the weekend, unfortunately this means I have to take less on as I know people like their shoots at weekends.

*I will not work a Friday evening, I need to rest the night before a wedding.

*I sit down in January and book off weekends for family breaks and somewhere in the midst of it a holiday.

*I am only willing to be out of the house 2 evenings a week maximum.

*I stop work when my son gets home at 4.30pm

*I never work Christmas Eve.

 

Sometimes it might mean that images take a few days longer to get to people or that I can’t quite fit you in within 2 weeks but for the last 5 years, I put myself and my family second to my business – but now I am trying so hard to keep a good work and life balance. It doesn’t always work out like that and right now, I am in the middle of a month which has felt like I am juggling a lot so I know I need to work harder at streaming my workflow and my business more.

Its all a work in process as there are lots of things I haven’t been able to do, such as using newsletters as a way of connecting, making my emails personalised and on brand using mail chimp, doing a couple of personal projects that I never seem to have time for, never photographing my family, only using my phone as a camera away from weddings and family shoots, and I have a wonderful idea for a new blog. I seem full of ideas and no time to put them into reality!

So where is Year 6 onwards heading. For the first time, I am feeling unsure. I feel connected to my couples, I am pushing myself to be the best I can be at each wedding, I’ve been doing a little bit of second shooting to take that as an opportunity to try new creative ideas, I’ve re-introduced family shoots and Ive capped the number of weddings for 2017. But …. I feel a yearning for something more. To do something creative, personal, that involves exploration, that involves finding myself a little more. I wonder if its an age thing now I am in my 40’s?

I would love to hear how you find balance, how you fill the creativity within you, how you push yourself? I love the sharing of thoughts and ideas in a circle of creatives.

Wales

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Woodhall Manor Wedding // An Autumn Wedding

Leah & Shane’s Elegant with a little Glitz Wedding

Bride and Groom - Woodhall Manor Wedding

 

Last Autumn, I drove down to Woodall Manor the evening before the wedding so I could arrive a little earlier than planned and have a good look around before meeting with Leah & Shane to start capturing their wedding. What a day … the bridesmaids had amazing dresses from ASOS, the bride was stunning and full of so much energy and excitement that was completely contagious and the groom wore the best suit I have ever seen – rich black velvet and … he pulled it off with style!

The venue was incredible with gorgeous gardens and use of the rooms in the Manor, but with it still being super nice weather, everybody used the grounds too. Such a great day with so many in between moments. Here is the story if their day ….

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An Intimate Norfolk Wedding

When its all about the love

Intimate Elopement Wedding

 

The intimate, cosy and individual weddings with just the very closest family and friends there are always my favourite. Weddings like this are all about the people, the love, the ‘marriage’. Everybody talks to everybody and it always feels like there is an element of  intimacy to the atmosphere. I always feel incredibly lucky to capture these days.

So Kiren & Andrew met everybody at the Norwich Registry Office, arrived together, gave out lots of hugs, said their vows and walked through the rain to the pub just down the road for food, drinks and a good party! It was perfect ….

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Second Shooting

What to Expect

second shooting wedding photography

For the first 3 years in business, I worked alone and didn’t have a second shooter with me. It was always possible to capture everything in its entirety and although some parts of the day were often rushed and you didn’t get quite as many naturals as you may have wanted, inevitably there would have always been time later in the day. However for the last 3 seasons, I made the switch and started to include a second shooter in my wedding collections. More and more couples were asking for them on account for wanting to capture the guys getting ready and hanging out in the morning and the option to capture 2 perspectives during the day.

I have second shot a handful of times over the years for others as it is always good to take the pressure off and use the opportunity to look for new perspectives, try something for creativity purposes because you have the time (sometimes they work sometimes they don’t) and you never stop learning. Recently I second shot for Boo Marshall Photography and it got me thinking about sharing what to expect from a Second Shooter. As a second shooter myself, it is rare I get any wow shots, key shots or what you call money shots but I find that I have been there to supplement and compliment what the main shooter offers. It is not about my agenda, or my portfolio opportunities but about being able to capture ‘the background’ so to speak of the wedding. I find that people don’t really take any notice of me as a second shooter so I am able to capture those more natural responses.

As a result, this is what I have come to expect from my second shooters. As soon as they start to shoot from the same spot as me or over my shoulder, I know they have moved in to the realms of thinking like a main shooter and their agenda and I would gently ask if they could shoot from another view point, or another part of the wedding – after all I never need 2 images from the same spot. In addition, every photographer has a slightly different way of shooting and it is the role of the second photographer to adapt their own personal way slightly to compliment and blend in with the main photographer whilst not loosing their own creativity. For example I ask not to crop off feet, not to crop off the bottom of the dress if you are going full length, to do something pretty with the rings that is away from the hands, pull out a little so you get the action and story as opposed to zoomed right in for individual portraits – as just a few – it doesn’t mean that this way is right, it is just something I like.

Therefore when you know you have a second shooter coming along, there is always the option of them capturing the guys getting ready. This is really informal and relaxed and although there is gentle guidance as they are getting ready, the rest really is as it happens (xbox, pants, beer and all!). Often the second shooter will arrive at the venue before me as I am still with the bride so they will capture your guests arriving naturally along with all the hugs and shaking of hands. If the ceremony officiant permits photography, they would take the view from the back of the ceremony. Other than asking parents if they would like a picture together, thats it, the second shooter will be in the background capturing the in-between natural moments of your guests. No formal posed family groups unless individuals ask to have a picture together (which is always welcome) and capturing the day in a natural way. I love this opportunity which is why I love to second shoot as you get much longer at it rather than stolen sections of the day in-between groups, couple pictures, speeches and first dances. (As an aside, if you love the natural pictures – keep 2 hours between the end of the ceremony and start of the wedding breakfast as a minimum).

Here are a few from my own second shooting perspective at a recent wedding ….

One Response to “Second Shooting”

  1. Boo

    What a lovely thoughtful post Jo – I’ve always enjoyed 2nd shooting for you, and I love it when my clients book a 2nd and you’re available to take the job. You are so right – it’s great to have someone to take all the different viewpoints and angles! Looking forward to my next 2nd shoot with you! x

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New York, New York – An Assault on the Senses

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We were all super super excited about our family holiday to New York. Nerves were there of course. Having a son who is autistic, you know there are going to be challenges if things don’t go according to plan and you never quite know how they will react to such a busy place. We had been planning for months, talking about it, describing what would happen at the airport, how it all works and preparing him by having days in London and going to a couple of events where there were lots of people.
It all went out of the window! We arrived to be told that Kuwait Airways were no longer flying to New York and the flight was cancelled. Nobody had told us! They had re-arranged us to fly with American Airlines but on an earlier flight and we had literally 5 minutes until the checking in desk closed. We raced from Terminal 5 to Terminal 3 on the underground and of course we missed it. We missed our flight! Lucas managed to hold it together by humming to himself to block everything out while we fought to be put on another flight – at this point I was thinking we are going home! American Airlines were fabulous – they put us on the next available flight, sat us together and with no charge. The pre-planned plan of going through security, eating and everything we had prepared for could now take place.
Lucas got on the flight to see a tv, games and headphones and was super excited and the rest of the travel went smoothly. Arriving in New York, it was dark and we were all tired but we grabbed a yellow cab and made our way to the hotel. Driving into Manhattan was everything you imagined!

After this we were literally tourists for 3 and half days and did all the usual sights. The Statue of Liberty blew me away and actually brought a lump to my throat of everything she stood for, riding a bike over Brooklyn Bridge was fun and mayhem (and incredibly hard – I am so unfit!), the HighLine was such a beautiful space, Time Square was crazy, Maddison Square Gardens – even though I was there under duress it was actually really interesting, Central Park was an oasis of quiet in a city of craziness, Grand Central Terminal was just beautiful and the views from the Empire State Building and the Rockerfellar centre were breathtaking.
However the traffic was noisy and loud and slow and crazy, we had to escape some slight craziness of somebody in a shop and people selling tours on the street drive you insane!
Lucas was ace and coped really well. He needed to know a schedule each day and he needed a break from it all late afternoon back at the hotel for an hour or just to chill – he was tired from the walking but hey wasn’t we all!

Would I go back – oh yes! I would want to explore more, go a little further afield and this time child free!

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The Old Hall, Ely // Ket & Billy Got Married (Part 2)

A fun filled rustic wedding at The Old Hall in Ely

Sunset, The Old Hall, Ely, Wedding

Ket & Billy’s wedding at The Old Hall in Ely most certainly deserved 2 parts. Part 1 covered the morning, the grooms challenges and the Chinese tea ceremony where pouring tea was exchanged for gold. The afternoon, although more of your traditional style of wedding was actually really unique and individual and full of colour, games, fun, laughter and a real sense of everybody being involved. The couple have a really big close family so the laughter was loud, the giggles were frequent and the emotion was felt by all.

The day with the normal mayhem of all girls in one room getting ready together before heading outside for their outdoor ceremony overlooking the Ely Cathedral and Fen landscape. It makes you realise why this is such a sought after venue, not only are the views amazing but the sun sets in just the perfect spot too.

Such a fabulous day with you all, so much to capture, so much emotion and so many characters. Here is the story of your day. Jo x

(Second Shooter: Heather Jackson)

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The Old Hall, Ely // Ket & Billy’s Wedding

A Tea Pouring Ceremony

bride prep old hall ely wedding

This wedding of Ket & Billy deserves nothing less than 2 parts. It was an EPIC one (In one word!). This was all a first for me and the day commenced with a Chinese Tea Pouring Ceremony but before that the fun really got started with the arrival of the groom at the bride prep flat. However on arrival, he was not getting access to his bride until he completed a number of challenges all set by Ket’s bridesmaids – and the challenges were good! Eventually after many tasks, the bridesmaids allowed Billy to come in and meet his bride before travelling over to The Old Hall in Ely for the start of their day – Ket and Billy served their family tea and they received money and gold! Now thats an exchange I could like. All of this before their bride prep and their wedding started ….

It was a highlight for me last year and so much fun. The story of just the morning of your amazing day ….

Second Shooter for Summer Love Photography – Heather Jackson

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