A very nice testimonial from a recent client following a birthday party shoot:
“Steve prepares thoroughly for events. He always takes time to understand his customer’s needs and you can set your watch by his timekeeping. He has all the right equipment, but isn’t a slave to technology. He has the stuff that he knows will deliver at the big moment. And, he never over-complicates things. The special touches like prints on display during the evening and the website gallery enable easy sharing whilst the energy is still flowing. Photos? – he’s my ‘go to guy’!”
Some great feedback after an informal wedding shoot:
“Firstly just to say how delighted we are at the photos looking through the gallery. You have done an amazing job and I think V&S will be bowled over when they see them. They really are of the style V specifically wanted and show so many happy faces.
Thanks also for your support on the day, you really added to the sense of the occasion despite being almost undetectable but then popping up wherever the action seemed to be happening. People commented on the sense of fun you contributed.
We did appreciate your staying on as proceedings stretched out more than we thought.”
I’m increasingly being asked to provide informal coverage of events such as renewals of vows and blessings. One such event I covered recently took place in Harpenden. The couple had originally married a couple of years ago in the Caribbean but wanted a ceremony in the UK for those who hadn’t been able to attend the wedding.
I was asked to provide some formal shots of the couple and friends in the grounds of Luton Hoo, followed by coverage of the ceremony and reception at a nearby church and hall in Harpenden.
Feedback from the client was very positive: “We love the photos. You’ve done such a great job of getting photos of so many of our guests too which we really appreciate.”
I’m getting more and more requests to photograph parties, which of course I’m delighted to cover. Towards the end of February I attended a couple of birthday parties at a local function venue, Castle House in Hertford, which features a bar, dance floor and seating both inside and out for those that prefer to relax.
Here are some photos of people enjoying themselves!
I’ve written a couple of blog posts recently about my approach to wedding photography. The first was about the fact that I’m not a wedding photographer and why. The second was about the fact that I cover less formal rites such as Christenings and Renewal Of Vows. So it’s somewhat ironic that this month I’m actually covering two civil unions.
The first was between an English girl and her American boyfriend, who will be formally tying the knot later in the year in the US. They wanted a ceremony in the UK to declare their devotion in front of friends and family who will not be able to travel to America for the official ceremony. This as an occasion presided over by a respected member of the community known to all involved. The ceremony involved an exchange of vows and rings, much like any other formal union. My role was to photograph the ceremony and take formal posed photos immediately afterwards.
The second is a Registry Office wedding at Hertford’s County Hall, followed by a reception at Hertford Castle. The brief here is to provide informal reportage coverage of the wedding, rather than traditional big-budget photography.
If you’re interested in having your function photographed without a big budget then why not get in contact for an informal chat.
I’ve written previously about the fact that I don’t do weddings, due to the fact that it’s a specialised skill (you can find the article here). However, I’m happy to cover less formal (and lower budget) functions, such as christenings, anniversaries and other ceremonial events.
One such recent event was for a couple who wanted to mark their ten years of marriage with a Renewal Of Vows.
The ceremony took place at Hertford Registry Office in front of around 20 guests and I was asked to cover the afternoon from the arrival of guests to formal photos, taking in the ceremony itself and the happy couple exiting the Registry Office to flurries of confetti.
I met the couple a few weeks before the ceremony to discuss their requirements and to look over the location to get an idea of the environment and best places to take formal shots.
I also made a point of keeping an eye on the weather forecast in the days before the event as this can have an impact on the available shots.
If you’re interested in having a family function or social occasion photographed you can find out more about what I can offer by visiting my page about Party & Family Function photography.
The months of February and March are when many civic institutions hold their formal dinners. I covered one such event last week when the chairman of East Herts District Council hosted a charity dinner at The Rhodes Centre, Bishop’s Stortford, in aid of Cazfest, a local charity that works to raise awareness of heart risk in young people and to help finance heart screening for sixth form students in Hertfordshire & Essex.
The brief was to provide formal photographs of guests – mostly local dignitaries such as mayors and the chairs of council committees – the reception, dinner and entertainment, which was provided by the Bishop’s Stortford High School Swing Band and the Jacqui Ison School of Dance and Theatre Arts.
Prior to the event taking place I was able to visit the venue and chat with staff and the event co-ordinator so that I could get an idea of how the evening would work and what I would need.
One of the main requirements was for an area where I could set up the mobile studio so that I could take formal photographs and print off instant 6×4″ prints for anyone that wanted them (these proved popular). I was given an area of around 15sq.m in the corner of the bar and this worked well, allowing me to set up a background and lighting, together with my camera, laptop and portable printer.
As well as formal shots, I also took a selection of informal shots of guests arriving and socialising before the main dinner. Timescales during this part of the evening were quite tight as there was only a 45 minutes period between guests arrived and the formal start of the dinner.
The idea of photographing a funeral may at first appear to be somewhat unconventional. After all, grief does not make a pretty picture and why would anyone want to record such an unhappy event anyway? Well, the reason I was asked to cover a funeral recently was because the deceased had close family in Australia and New Zealand and were unable to attend the event. I was approached to provide a photographic record of the day and provide an online slideshow of proceedings so that those who were unable to pay their respects in person could get an idea of how the day went.
One of the first things to establish from the client is exactly what they want, and just as important, what they don’t want from the coverage. For this particular assignment I was given a pretty free range, with the obvious commitment not to intrude on grief or picture sobbing friends and relatives. It is also very important to be as discreet as possible.
As with many such assignments, where you’re providing a photographic documentary of the day, planning is key. Before the event I visited all the locations and met some of the key players, such as undertakers, priests and gravediggers. My plan was to cover the day from the moment the hearse left the undertakers through to the wake following the burial. I visited the funeral director to make them aware of my engagement and to discuss timings. I also visited the church to meet the priest and to get an idea of the layout of the church so that I could establish the best positions from which to take photos so as to get the best angle and make the most efficient use of light. It also helps to think about how and when you are going to move about the church quietly and discreetly during the service without becoming a distraction. I then visited the graveyard to view the location for the burial and introduce myself. Obviously the sight of someone with a long lens photographing a burial is going to arouse suspicions so it’s important that key people are forewarned as to what’s happening.
Over the weekend I covered an 18th birthday party at the Hatfield Forum. The event was attended by around 100 guests, starting shortly after 9:30pm.
The brief was similar to other functions I’ve photographed – to capture the evening and present an online gallery for the client and guests to view shortly after. The venue was a small bar with a capacity of 150. There was also an outside area used for smoking.
I started out by taking a few scene-setting photos using natural light but other than that I used a flashgun throughout.
All of the guests were contemporaries of the hostess with many keen to be photographed, which certainly made my job a lot easier! Many of the girls were happy to pose and the hostess would frequently request photos with guests. As well as the posed shots I also took candid shots of the guests enjoying themselves, both inside the bar and out.
I spent about three hours at the event leaving around 1:00am. The following day was spent selecting and editing images – correcting lighting, removing red-eye and sharpening before posting the online gallery less than 24 hours after the event. A CD of the images was delivered to the client the day after.