Wednesday, 29 May 2013

St Audries Park | Rebecca and Simeon

Some photographer's turn away work from people they know. However, I love it when friends ask me to photograph their wedding day, it's a great honour and the familiarity helps even more to keep people super relaxed.

This was the case for Rebecca and Simeon. An amazing couple who are just perfect together. Both are trained pilots, and Simeon actually flew Rebecca to New York to get their wedding rings, how cool is that?! Flying was what actually brought them together with Simeon's personal instructing literally swooping Rebecca off her feet :)

They chose the wonderful St Audries Park as venue for their wedding. The exquisite Orangery here is fantastic for civil ceremonies, with light pouring in from all angles and it looked even better with olive trees brought in specially.

Having shot there last year, I wanted to find a few new locations for the bride and groom shoot this time, and with perfect weather conditions, we had free roam of the huge grounds. I had lots of fun capturing the two newlyweds and we actually managed a second shoot later on in the golden hour where the light was just perfect.

Congratulations to Rebecca and Simeon! I hope you enjoy this taster of their truly fabulous day.

St Audries Wedding photography

St Audries Park wedding photography
St Audries Park wedding photography
St Audries Park wedding photography
St Audries Park wedding
St Audries Park wedding
St Audries wedding photography
St Audries Park wedding
St Audries Park wedding photo
St Audries Park wedding
St Audries Park wedding
St Audries Park wedding
St Audries Park wedding
St Audries Park wedding
St Audries Park wedding
St Audries Park wedding
St Audries Park wedding

Combe House Hotel, Somerset | Karen & Simon

Let me introduce to you Karen and Simon, who had the foresight to choose the best day in May to get married! The weather reporters got it wrong and we were given a day that was positively scorching!

Karen and Simon were married in St Peter's Church in Karen's home village of Williton and I had the pleasure of capturing the Bridal preparations first up, before heading to the church to meet Simon and the guests. A moving ceremony followed and the elated newlyweds emerged into the sunshine with smiles beaming.

Tucked away in the beautiful Quantock hills is a little gem of a wedding venue: Combe House Hotel. Karen and Simon chose this for their wedding reception and it didn't disappoint. Having visited the venue before I knew there would be some great locations for photos and I'd also spied a gorgeous bridleway just up the road and took the couple there as well for their shoot.

After the speeches, wedding breakfast and dancing I wanted to find a closing shot for the night and spied the rather marvellous tree (I apologise for not knowing what species!) standing in the middle of the garden. When the sun sets, on come the fairy lights! I knew this had some potential for a romantic shot and Karen and Simon were keen to try. It was definitely worth moving the picnic tables for and I love this as a final image to a fantastic day.

Bridal preparation photographs
St Peters church Williton
St Peters Church Williton
Combe House Hotel Somerset
Combe House Somerset
Combe House Hotel Somerset
Combe House Hotel Somerset wedding
Combe House Hotel Somerset
Combe House Hotel Somerset
Combe House Hotel Somerset
Combe House Hotel Somerset
I shoot weddings across the UK and would love to hear from you if you're looking for relaxed documentary images with creative portraiture. Head to my website to find out more: Somerset Wedding Photographer

Friday, 10 May 2013

Somerset Wedding Photography - Sarah and Tom

With the wedding gods smiling upon the village of Pitminster in Somerset, and Bank Holiday weather you only dream about, the stage was set for Sarah and Tom's perfect wedding day.
Wedding preparations

Sarah's preparations were held at her father's house, which was also the setting for the reception later on. The bustle of morning activity is always interesting: there is excitement in the air, things are all coming together with everyone helping out left, right and centre. I also caught up with groom Tom and the boys at the Queen's Arms down the road. The laid-back atmosphere and banter was great to capture. However, there were a few nerves from our main man Tom as he only managed to eat the one scotch egg. Nevertheless, he was all ready for the biggest moment of his life and I left them to finish their platters and ale to catch Sarah having the final adjustments made to her dress.

Groom preparations

Bridal preparations

The arrival of a splendid horse and carriage signalled the commencement of the church ceremony and a very happy Mr and Mrs V emerged into the sunlight after rousing hymns, heartfelt readings and life-joining vows. After a marvellous confetti line they clambered aboard the magnificent carriage and Rocky the shirehorse trotted off amongst cheers and whoops to meet us back at the reception.

Wedding ceremony church

Sun, champagne and croquet: good ingredients indeed. The reception was delightful, very chilled and gave plenty of time for guests to relax and enjoy themselves after their stroll.

I took Sarah and Tom off for 15 minutes to get some cool location photographs around the garden. It was great to see the two of them together and just so happy to be in each others' arms. Strong sunlight can sometimes be a photographer's biggest nightmare, but finding the right angles and being careful, it can be used to your advantage. I was delighted to see the blossom had started to emerge and used it as background where I could.

Bride and groom portraiture
Bride and Groom photography
Group wedding photographs

Inside the beautifully decorated marquee, bird cages exploding with gorgeous flowers from Wendy Symes, wine glasses filled with chocolates and individual cupcakes welcomed guests. What was wonderful was the amount of natural light which poured through the end of the marquee which was a real treat.

Wedding details

When everyone was settled the speeches began. All of which were delivered with great oratory skill, no mean feat with 140 people hanging on your every word, trust me! 

Wedding speeches 
With just a few minutes before the sun disappeared, Rupert the videographer and I stole the Bride and Groom away to get a few more portraits. The light at this time of day is sublime and wraps softly. The best time to get a few romantic shots!

Bride and groom portraits

A magnificent wedding breakfast followed with the crack team at Amanda Williams Catering professional and courteous throughout. The food, I can testify, was as fantastic tasting as it looks!

Tom and Sarah showed they're not just compatible in life, but also on the dance floor and gave us all a lesson in how to rock your first dance!

Wedding first dance

As darkness closed in we had a fantastic display of fireworks by Heritage Fireworks before Funkty Dumpty kicked on with more booty-shaking live music.
Wedding music and dancing

There were so many lovely shots from the day, I hope you've enjoyed this small sample. Sarah and Tom, thank you, it was magnificent :)

Wedding fireworks

The people who helped made Sarah and Tom's day rock:

Dress: Tilly Mint
Earrings: Annoushka
Shoes: Dune
Make-Up: Amy Elizabeth
Hair: Rachel-Louise
Suits: Stephen Bishop
Bridesmaids Dresses: Jane Jordan
Florist: Floral Designs by Wendy Symes
Videographer: Rupert Ward-Lewis
Marquee: Abbas
Catering: Amanda Williams (01823 331431)
Cheese Cake: Longman Cheese Ltd
Horse and Carriage: North Curry Carriages
Band: Funkty Dumpty
Fireworks: Heritage Fireworks

And not forgetting me! The one and only Simon Biffen, your creative Somerset wedding photographer

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Make Your Wedding Group Photos Rock!

Remember: your group photos will be passed down through generations, so it pays to make them look good!

What pops into your head when you think of wedding group photographs? Boring? Time-consuming? Would rather be enjoying your first glass of bubbly?

Formal group shots have been part and parcel of wedding photography since people started taking photographs at weddings. Having a photographer who can organise them quickly and efficiently, allowing guests to relax is important, but so is someone who can think outside of the box and create something different if the situation allows. I want to show you a variety of group shots that may help you decide which you would prefer to have on your day.

Traditional formal group shots are often taken immediately after the ceremony. To make life easier when organising groups, make sure your photographer has a list of the groups in advance (I'd recommend around 8-10) and has some assistance in gathering the right people (an usher who has a good voice is ideal!)

A well balanced group shot with genuine smiles is always the goal!
Using the idea of 'layers' helps stagger groups and makes for a more interesting setup.
Using a wide aperture helps blur the background and isolate the subjects.
Wait for the perfect moment.

Finding cool locations at the reception to stage informal group shots can result in awesome images. Add depth, props and vary the height to help create a striking image. This sort of group shot is becoming more popular and it is possible, with a little creativity to have group shots that stand out from the ordinary. A great group shot should reflect the personalities within it. Having fun whilst taking portraits always helps as it generally makes those on the other side of the lens more relaxed, leading to more natural photographs.

Props can add colour and action.
Trees and umbrellas. But perhaps not together!
The second people think the pictures are over is when to strike!
Guys will always want to look cool.
And girls will always want to look beautiful.
Use the location to your advantage.
A little time spent arranging is well worth the effort.
The 'everybody' shot. Still requested by many couples!

So there you have it. A variety of creative group shots that show you don't have to go down the traditional route. Everyone is different so why be stuck with just having ordinary group shots? A photographer who understands your requirements is essential. If you like my approach why not get in touch or head over to my wedding photography website to see how I go about capturing the rest of your day.