Tuesday, 23 April 2013

A Combe House Devon Wedding: Hannah & Steve

Suzanne Neville wedding dress and Freya Rose shoes
Hannah and Steve's wedding was one full of laughter and love and a real pleasure to photograph. It was held at the delightful Combe House, Devon and the day ran seamlessly, thanks to the amazing staff. The girls got ready in what used to be the maids parlour. As you can see, it's a little fancier now than it once was! I loved the big windows which let in lots of natural light. Hannah's stunningly beautiful lace dress 'Lucia' was designed by Suzanne Neville. Shoes were by Freya Rose. On hand to make the girls look their very best was hair and make up team Changing Faces. The bridesmaids looked ravishing in their hot pink dresses by Alexon.
Bride preparations Combe House Devon
Bridal preparations at Combe HouseWedding Combe House Devon

The boys meanwhile got themselves ready down the road at the Deer Park Country Hotel. I say ready, Steve wasn't quite on schedule, but he was very relaxed and enjoyed the time with his two best men, one of whom was his brother. Steve and the boys wore Austin Reed suits with tailor made shirts and ties made in Germany. His awesome tartan cufflinks were a gift from his Mum. You may wonder why Germany? Well, the couple live in Hamburg as Steve is a Data Analyst for Hamburg F.C. This therefore meant planning their wedding mostly from abroad, with the odd visit back home to meet suppliers, taste canapes and so on. Anyone who has been married will testify to the amount of organising that goes into the day, so to do it from another country deserves a big round of applause indeed!

Groom's preparations: cufflinks, tie and shoes

The traditional ceremony was held at the very quaint St Michael's Church in nearby Gittisham. It was so nice to see the happiness radiating from Steve and Hannah all through the service; you can see just how devoted they are to each other in all the pictures of them together. Once we departed the church the plan was to take a few family group shots, however the wind (of the biting, 'turn your lips blue' variety) decided we would do them later in the warmth of Combe House!

Wedding service at St Michaels Church Gittisham

Wedding service at St Michaels Church Gittisham

And so back to Combe House. Bride and Groom via a 1967 S Type Jaguar and the guests on cool vintage buses. Everyone was welcomed by the sound of... well how do you explain the sound of an Oompah Band?! The energetic, foot-stampingly good Bavarian Oompah Boys added a nice flavour of Germany for those guests who had made the long journey to be there.

Bavarian Oompah Boys and vintage buses
It was then time to slip away with the newly weds into the gardens to capture some romantic moments between them. The wind had mellowed, the mood was relaxed and we had great fun getting some awesome photographs.
Wedding photography Combe House Devon
Wedding photography Combe House Devon
Wedding photography Combe House Devon

Ushers group shot with socks at Combe House Devon
The boys' socks got their own moment in the limelight after I heard they were worth a look! The marquee adjacent to the house was our venue for the evening and it had been turned into a warm, colourful haven. The four-tiered wedding cake was from Rosanne Hollowell and the hand made sign and wicker chair backs were made by Hannah's very own creative Aunt.
Wedding photography Combe House Devon
And so the night continued with great speeches, an outstanding bouquet toss, a heart-warming first dance and live music by the fabulous Under The Covers band who rocked the house. Outrageous dance moves were made even better with funky neon inflatable instruments giving me plenty of action to shoot! It was great working alongside Pete Cox, the videographer for the day, who I can highly recommend if you're looking for an awesome film made of your day.  
Wedding photography Combe House Devon

First dance wedding photography Combe House Devon

Under The Covers Band wedding Combe House
It truly was a wonderful day followed by an equally fun-filled night. Every wedding should be follow these essential principles for success!
Combe House Devon at night
If you have enjoyed this post, you may like to find out more about my wedding photography by visiting my website Simon Biffen Photography. I travel the UK shooting delicious weddings for couple who value quality, creative imagery as much as I do.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Wedding Industry Experts 2013

I pondered whether to enter this year's 2013 Wedding Industry Expert Awards as unlike the similarly named 'Wedding Industry Awards' which bases results on actual client feedback (and one I will be entering later in the year) this one is purely on popularity. But hey, sometimes you just need to put yourself out there and risk it. Last year I finished in the Top 10 in England, which was ace, but with many more entrants this time round I will be needing your help!

This is a chance for anyone who quite likes, loves or adores my wedding photography to cast your vote in the form of a simple click. Don't be shy to pass this on either!  
The way the awards works is on the number of total votes in a category, and you can vote once per day for one week. Feel free to spread the word to family and friends if you think I'm worthy. With other wedding photographers across the UK and worldwide entering I will definitely need all the help I can get! Just click the button below to vote...

Voting runs until the 23rd April 2013. Results announced on 30th April. Thank you for your support! Fingers crossed :)
Bride and groom photography

Monday, 15 April 2013

5 Reasons Why You Need A Professional Wedding Photographer

There are many forms of wedding photographer out there: from weekend amateur right through to full time professional. Deciding on the right one for your wedding can be a difficult decision as there are often hundreds to choose from.

This article will help you to understand the reasons why you should choose a professional photographer. With wedding budget constraints, it can be a difficult outlay, but ultimately it is the most worthwhile decision you will make. Not only will an experienced pro photograph the day's major events artistically, but they will be able to capture moments you hadn't even been aware of. A full time professional photographer has the added drive and motivation to produce the very best work because it is just that: their livelihood and one that is driven by customer feedback and referral. Most have invested tens of thousands of pounds in their business and are dedicated to what they do. A passionate, experienced and creative photographer, I believe, will give you the best images of your wedding day.

So here are a five reasons (and ways to help choose) the best professional photographer for you:

Reason #1
The photographer is there to take pictures, not to be the centre of attention. They should make sure that moments are captured unobtrusively and naturally. Of course, there are times when they need to get involved: organising groups or giving subtle direction to the Bride and Groom to get those portraiture shots to look as striking as possible, but on the whole they let things happen. Essentially, they must understand the style of your wedding and capture it creatively and honestly and also have the people skills and friendliness to blend in with your guests making them feel comfortable in their presence.

Reason #2
Another important matter is the manner in which your photographer approaches your day. Will happily meet you before the day in order to talk through timings, check out the venue and get to know you better as individuals? Picking the right wedding photographer is like choosing your dress: deep down you know when it feels right. You ought to feel that connection with with your photographer, that bond of like-mindedness so that every time you look through your wedding images, you know you made the right decision.

Reason #3
Your photographer should impress you. And by that I mean you should be genuinely in love with their work. It should excite you. It should connect with you. It should make you wish you were in the photograph. There are few occasions in life where you will look so good or so happy. With the right photographer you will look unbelievable. And that is the goal. To have photographs taken like you've never had before. Pictures you want to show off to the world. Make sure that you ask to see complete recent weddings, don't just rely on the portfolio, this way you get to see how they cover a whole day. If they won't do this, or show you weddings from years ago, be very wary.
Reason #4
So, you've got a great photographer whose pictures you adore, who understands about your day and relates well to both of you. Now make sure that they are reliable. How can you check this? Well they should be able to give you details for previous couples who you can contact if you want to. Secondly, they should have suitable backup equipment in case of malfunction or accident. Thirdly, they must have full photographic insurance, including public liability and indemnity. This is essential and a sign that your photographer is serious about their work.
Reason #5
Do they fit into your budget? And is your budget flexible if photographs are something you think are worth investing in? With the right mindset you should be able to determine what is important. Is it the free bar or is it the photographer you've had your eye on since you got engaged who will make your wedding look amazing?
I hope this has been useful to help you see what aspects to consider when choosing your wedding photographer.
You can find me on Facebook or my head to my wedding website: Somerset wedding photographer to discover more about my style. I'd love to hear from you.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

The Orphans of Good Hope, Kenya

A break from weddings for something a little different.
Good Hope, Kenya

I'd like to share with you my time spent volunteering in Kenya...

Back in October 2010 I spent two months with my wife at Good Hope Academy: a school and children's home 40km outside Nairobi. We were there to lend our expertise where at all possible, in the school and in the home. It was a very challenging, but very rewarding time.

The children came from many different areas of the country, spoke different languages and ranged in ages from 6 to 16. Yet, they all had one thing in common: all had suffered the tragedy of losing both parents. Many of whom were killed during the political and civil strife of 2007. For some, this was only the start of their problems, left to fend for themselves they suffered greatly and even when taken in by so called 'family' they suffered further physical and sexual abuse.

So to be scooped up by the amazing people at Good Hope they were thrown a lifeline and given the opportunity to receive something more valuable than any food handout: an education. Although the facilities are not advanced, funding from charitable organisations has given them the ability to educate over 130 children and give them a strong start in life. We helped out with Maths and English classes and introduced ideas for the teachers to make learning more fun and engaging rather than just learning by rote.

It was a time for us to puts things into perspective and to appreciate just how fortunate we are. As a trained teacher I was able to implement ideas about ways of learning and differentiation. For my wife Francesca, she was beginning to realise her job in media wasn't what she wanted to do all her life. After her Kenya experience and working as a teaching assistant in NZ, she is now re-training to become a primary school teacher.
Good Hope Academy, Kenya

I brought my old Nikon D200 along for the trip and captured life at the home and in the school.  It was coated in dust by the time we got home but the pictures were safe and sound.

The amazing thing is, although these children had suffered greatly they had so much love and happiness to give. We were thrilled to see how much fun they had playing games, singing, dancing and RUNNING! Man they are fast! Long walks around the Ngong Hills were an experience like no other and teaching them classic playground games was as hilarious as the kids showing us how to deal with massive spiders. Answer: hit it with a big stick!

So I give to you: A snapshot of life at Good Hope.

I hope their unwavering happiness brings a smile to your face :)
Good Hope, Kenya

Good Hope Academy, Kenya

Good Hope Academy, Kenya

Good Hope Academy, Kenya

Good Hope Academy, Kenya

Good Hope Academy, Kenya

Good Hope Academy, Kenya

Good Hope Academy, Kenya

Good Hope Academy, Kenya

If you would like to find out more about how you can help the children do visit the Good Hope website where you can sponsor a child.