Chris & Laura's White Wedding

Wedding photography can be challenging at the best of times, with the people organising & photography skills… oh, and then add to that digging out the car, closed roads & freezing temperatures then you have Chris & Lauras wedding.
Chris had just returned with his regiment from Afghanistan and after a trying few months both Chris & Laura were determined to do two things, have the biggest wedding & biggest party they could.
Weddings at Christmas time really are magical, but add snow & they take on a whole new meaning….snowball fights. This was one of the funniest weddings/snowball fights with the Army taking on the Bridesmaids & Ushers with no holding back.
Very emotional speeches & a great evening of fun & dancing made this a very special day not only for Chris & Laura but also Jane & myself.

Thanks you two,your love & laughter made the day.A real fun wedding.D.


Well Christmas is here, the studio will be closed until Monday 4th January 2010, wish I could put my feet up but have some great weddings during Christmas & New Year that I’m really looking forward to. Will post these weddings in early Jan for you to have a look at but in the meantime if you wish to contact us you can via email or on my mobile.
Looking back over the last 12 months, and what a twelve months, the highlight has got to be making the finals at the National Photography Awards in Newcastle & runner up in the UK Wedding Photographer & Parent & Child Photographer of the year.
On the awards front, 2009 saw Classic Photography win over 30 photography awards including the highest award of Professional Photographer of the Year, Wedding Photographer of the Year & wedding Album of the Year at the North West Pro Photography Awards.
The weddings & portraits we have covered this year have also been memorable, I’ve said many times I have the best job in the world & as I look back at the 2009 images I feel so lucky to have been witness to some special moments.

So 2010….
This has the potential to be our best year yet,as I look at our bookings I’m getting more & more excited, new venues, new challenges & new friends.
One thing I am really looking forward to is continuing the friendships we have made with other photographers, and our upcoming adventures with our friends all of which you will find out in the following months.
January sees our awards season start and at the moment are putting the finishing touches to our entries in the Regional Photography Awards, as to why we enter awards is well documented on this blog but as I look back with these images I cant believe the fun & friends we have made over the year.
To all our friends old & new both Jane & I wish you a happy Christmas and a peaceful & prosperous New Year.

So here’s to 2010 & here’s to another fantastic journey.

James & Karen's Wedding at Stanley House

It was only a few weeks before their wedding that James & Karen came into the studio for a photoshot and their excitement was obvious for all to see. A cold morning greeted us as we arrived at Karens with her neice intent on stealing the show but as James arrived at St Marys in Bamber Bridge full of smiles I knew we were in for a good day.
At this time of the year the sun doesn’t get very high in the sky & makes for dramatic, if a little challenging, lighting but again made for great images.
On to Stanley House, a great venue in the beautiful Ribble Valley, with modern & traditional all under one roof but WOW what a staircase great for my more fashion styled images.
I have to say though I though the speeches were fantastic, many guests commented & I have to agree, one of the best bestman speeches ever involving friends & family, really funny.

Thanks to James & Karen, you both were fantastic.Have a great honeymoon.D.

Flowers.......for moi!...

Its not often that I’m left speechless but yesterday (fri) I was speechless.
I was upto my neck in orders, albums, mounts & framing client photo orders ready to be wrapped & sent to father Christmas etc etc…when in came the most gorgeous bouquet of flowers with a note of thanks from Jackie & Paul who’s wedding we shot in September. Its always a joy to receive thanks for doing what you love but this was the first time we had received flowers, a real pick up aswell for Jane who’s been a little under the weather the last few days, so again to Jackie & Paul Thanks.

Yes Jackie I did tell her they were from you & not a gift from me (did think about it though!!!!)

Image Of The Week

This image,shot at the weekend wedding of James & Karen in Preston, is one of the reasons I love this time of year, gorgeous lighting (and Christmas parties).Every church I visit I always try to look for a different angle,something that nobody would have thought of, and this church was no different.After I had taken my images and were leaving I shot this image as James & Karen walked to the car down a shaded path,I saw the warm sunlight from the low sun at the end & just waited,waited then BANG the sun just lit them,gorgeous!, cropped close as there was graves either side, and as photogenic graves & graveyards are didnt want on a wedding photo.Really opened the aperture to blur houses in the rear & make the couple jump of the screen with lens at 200mm as I was standing at the top of the path.I will post my fave shots from this great wedding in the near future,shot some great images, even if I say so myself.

canon 5Dmkii / 70-200L 2.8 / 800 iso / 1/1000 sec @ f2.8

Craig & Lucy's Wedding at Haigh Hall

A great start to a busy December saw Jane & I at the impressive Haigh Hall for the wedding of Craig & Lucy on a crisp beautiful winters day,great lighting & a fun set of guests.If Craig was nervous he didn’t show it and was joined by an ‘on time’ Lucy for an emotional ceremony in the stunning Grand Ballroom. Haigh Hall is one of the few venues that whatever the weather your sure of great images,and made a really stunning backdrop for Craig & Lucy who where a joy to photograph. great speeches, great company & GREAT mince pies. YUM!!!

BIPP Talk...How we do what we do!

I have the honour of talking to the members of the north west arm of the British Institute of Professional Photography on Wednesday the 13th January 2010.All aspects of my style,workflow & techniques will be on show, should be a fun night.Im on the same bill as a fantastic still life photographer Jonathan beer, this guy makes the ordinary look er unordinary and there’s never anything on TV on a Wednesday so come along (if only to see Jonathan)

Image Of The Week

WOW two images of the week in a row,a first.At the end of September I was reminded by Jane (who was updating the diaries) that our next holiday is only in Oct 2010 & what should we do about this (I'm making this sound more pleasant than the actual conversation)anyway whilst looking up some flights for destination assignments next year decided to see what was available now & came across Marrakesh and a three night romantic!!? break was booked.This is a crazy city,a city with many aspects from the modern shopping malls (yes been there!!!)suicidal taxi journeys (this HAS to be experienced)and an old town that is a hive of colours,amazing people & delicious food.
One of my goals for this break was to sample the true Medina, its people,souks & food.Its so easy as we found to get lost in the old part of the Medina we walked with the tourists looking in the shops, then the tourists seamed to disappear, then the shops disappeared & we ended up in the residential part,and boy did we see a different part of Marrakesh lets just say it was about turn & retrace our steps,Quickly!
Passing hundreds of doorways we stumbled upon this old man beautifully creating metalworks for the tourists to buy in the souks, a lifetime of skill & struggle etched in his face as he effortlessly hammered away.I love street photography & really didnt want to take 'holiday snaps' so I really love this image taken in the residential area with no tourists clambering around & no hassle,you have to be so careful shooting in the old town as the locals go crazy & WILL demand money if they see you taking their photo something we saw on many occasions.When I have more time I may post a few of my Fave images from the trip.

Image Of The Week

Over the last week I have been designing wedding albums for our clients when I came across this little gem shot at Graham & Kate's wedding at Hillbark Hotel on the Wirrall. I love this image mainly for the aahhh factor but also the intrigue behind the story,has he been told off for being too excited for the confetti shot or has the poor lad missed the confetti shot,whatever, the expression & even a little tear just melts your heart again one of those timeless moments that makes my job worthwhile.

canon 5DmkII / 800 iso / 1/1000th @ f.2.8 / 70-200 f2.8L lens.

What makes our job so SPECIAL....

Well its cold, wet & miserable at the moment so imagine how warm the studio was when I opened a really touching card from Lyndsey & Stephen who’s wedding we shot this year & have received their finished wedding album. Its very rarely I get a lump in my throat (unless Jane has her hands round it!) but this really was a lovely touch.
To receive thanks for ‘doing your job’ is what keeps the two of us going after all photography is still our hobby & we are so lucky to have great friends as our clients become when they start their wedding adventure with us.

To David & Jane
Thank you so much for your hard work with our wedding photos!
They are all amazing and our album is perfect, we couldn’t have asked for anything more.
From day one we knew we were in safe hands and had made the right decision, we will definitely be recommending you to our friends & family.
Thanks again & hopefully we will see you in the future, maybe for dome family portraits in a few years time!

Lyndsey & Stephen Hurd
1st August 2009

Towneley Hall....Richard & Rebecca's Wedding

We woke up to a crisp Halloween day, the perfect weather for what turned out to be not your normal wedding. Rebecca is a huge fan of autumn, so much so as the whole wedding theme was autumn, the colours, design even the menu.Richard & Rebecca had put so much planning into this day & with good reason,the day was split in three, first was the wedding held at a packed Christchurch in Nelson where afterwards friends & family chatted over tea & the best chocolate cake EVER!!!.Secondly onto the impressive Towneley Hall in Burnley, this place has some superb locations for wedding photography & we had a blast with the guests then very emotional speeches in a tepee,this was a first for us never been in a place like it, open log fire (just what was needed) and a real outdoor/indoor feel complimented by a winter themed wedding breakfast.
Now its at this point where the day blends into the night but not this wedding, guests slowly made their way back to hotel rooms to prepare for the third part of the wedding, an evening masquerade ball & as promised the room & feel changed to a Halloween party & guest arrived in black ties & masks and wow what an atmosphere. The party then moved outside for Chinese lanterns this was just a laugh with friends sending flaming lanterns skywards or (even funnier) sometimes not, any way back inside for not one but two Hog roasts, piñata for the kids and dancing it really was a struggle for Jane & I to leave

Have a great Honeymoon & thanks again for something special.Hope nobody said the lanterns were UFO's this time.D.

Image of the Week...ok its been a while!

Ok..Ok.. its been a while since the last image of the week but just had to post this image.Last weekend was Halloween & I had the honour & pleasure of shooting the fantastic wedding of Richard & Rebecca at Towneley Hall in Burnley, Im not going to go into too much detail of the day as the Wedding will be posted on the blog in the next few days.We had wandered around the stunning gardens shooting some stunning images and were returning to join the guests when I first saw the location,set the camera,framed the image for the sky (it looked amazing) & then waited for the Bride & Groom to walk into position & BANG, a great image made better by a kiss from Richard.
Just after the speeches Jane & I sat down had a drink & took 10 mins out in a side room and started talking to a staff member regarding ghosts (it was Halloween) and the fact that the TV program most haunted had been, & to spice things up the room we were sat alone in was the most haunted.wwwwooooaaawww!!!!
On post production of this image I wanted to get a haunted feel to the image & its been a while since I did a sepia image so here it is.I love it

canon 5Dmkii / 16-35 f2.8 / 200th sec @ f 5.6 / 400iso

Neil & Jennifer's wedding at West Tower

I was recently shooting a wedding (no surprises there) when an avid amateur photographer came up to me saying he loved our work & the blog especially and asking a multitude of equipment questions ie why I didn’t carry loads of gear, bags etc, well fast forward to when Jane & I arrived at Jen’s house on the morning of her wedding to find what can only be described as a full salon in her house. The most amazing set up with huge mirrors, lights, a spray gun & pots of brushes, the full works, it made for great images, even though I had one eye on Jane measuring up one of the light booths & really panicked when I saw her with the shoes!.
Neil & Jennifer’s wedding at the glorious West Tower was always going to be special, so much preparation, two great families & a great looking couple. So much detail in the er details as Jen (being an architect) had made a scale model of the room as a seating plan with tables named after important years of their lives.
In posting this blog I started to think of past weddings & how spoiled we have been with a great year of beautiful people and locations & it has to be said, with the Christmas weddings approaching & some great weddings to come, what a great job I have.

Thanks to you both for the fun, the smiles & to witness true love. It was a joy.D.

Rivington Barn for Scott & Michelles Wedding

One of the joys of my job is the ever changing challenges that confront me on shooting weddings, take Scott & Michelle’s wedding when I arrived in the morning to shoot Scott there was wind & drizzle (for my London friends it was SPITTING!!!!!) on arrival at the beautiful St Wilfrid’s church in Standish dull & windy, during the service the most torrential downpour then leaving the church glorious sunshine. No matter what the weather Scott & Michelle smiled throughout the day for a rather special, emotional wedding.
The reception was held at the impressive Rivington Barn this place really does come to life for weddings with great service, atmosphere & food. Great speeches preceded the evening celebrations where we caught up with a few of our previous Bride & Grooms including Damien & Louise Read who’s wedding we shot last year (It was this wedding that won Jane her award at the beginning of the year) but with a little baby boy, how cute!!!.
The evening partied on with a touching dance from the newlyweds & then the dance floor filled with the first gig by Scotts dads band ‘in da loft’,a great day.

Thanks for allowing Jane & I to witness your special day, your love made for some special images,see you after the honeymoon.D.

Colouful Kilhey Court for Lee & Louise's Wedding

After hitting the road for our previous weddings Lee & Louise’s wedding made a refreshing change as our journey took all of two mins to our own church of St Andrews in Wigan, infact you can see the church from our studio. A few years ago we photographed Lee’s brother Scott when he married Joy and it was at this very wedding that Louise first met Lee & as they say the rest is history.
When Jane & I arrived at Louise’s house we were met with a stunning dress, the colour pink everywhere & a fog of hairspray (hairdressers must have a reduced lifespan).Lee arrived very nervous but this was understandable as ALL of Springfield had turned out for this wedding there wasn’t an empty seat in the church.
One of the best things about weddings at this time of the year is the autumnal colours & the gardens at Kilhey Court didn’t disappoint and made a stunning backdrop for an fabulous couple and a WOW dress. Now after the tears had been flowing all day there surly wasn’t any left for the speeches but no as Dad revisited the past again tears flowed all toped of with a funny speech by the bestman.
Great colours, great fun, great people & wow what a great dress.

Have a great honeymoon.D.

Tony & Karen's Wedding at Thistle Hotel,Haydock.

Having met Tony & Karen to discuss their wedding previously in the studio I suspected that this wedding would be a little on the crazy side, and wasn’t disappointed. As Jane & I arrived the girls were in various states of make up in matching dressing gowns & matching spirits already being filmed by the famous or is that infamous Mike Roberts videographer extraordinaire (that must be worth a tenner).
On arrival at the church the ‘lads’ were calming themselves in the nearby Swan pub, and dancing from the pub to the church the ‘crazy gang’ arrived. St Oswalds at Winwick is as gorgeous outside as it is inside accompanied by a really friendly vicar, good times.
After an emotional ceremony we all left to continue the fun in the marquee at the Thistle Hotel in Haydock for a wedding breakfast with a difference. Tony & Karen had opted for a fantastic singer Paul Guard to entertain during the meal & boy did he entertain, at one point all the guests were up dancing, singing just letting themselves go.
Our coverage ended with again great speeches from all, to say this wedding flew was an understatement it was as expected crazy.

British Professional Awards 2009...update

Well, its back to normal after having had the most amazing night at the Hilton Hotel overlooking the river in Newcastle. It was an honour to be at the British Professional Photography Awards It’s always surreal being at the awards surrounded by some of the biggest names in photography and my images are amongst them in the final shortlist for national awards.
It’s always a bit weird when the host says “and here are the nominees” and then you see your image 20ft wide on screens above the stage. Weird but somewhat exhilarating!
We also had the privilege of being invited guests of the world’s largest album manufacturer, Graphistudio , who produce many of the wedding books that we’re lucky enough to create for our Bride & Grooms along with some old friends of ours –Paul & Sarah Wilkinson.These two are a great laugh and closer ties between our businesses were sealed in the early hours.(what a moment MDs of multi national camera companies/album manufacturers/computer giants & us crashed out with bow ties off and a table full of drinks laughing the new day in, a memory that will last forever)
We were up for UK Parent and Child Photographer of the Year and UK Wedding Photographer of the Year, but it wasn’t to be this year, but, hey, who wouldn’t be pleased with being runner-up in both categories, yes RUNNER UP in the most prestigious awards in the UK.
So here’s to next year & a full year of being the Buzz Aldrin of the photography world (still cant complain there was over 2000 entries)

The image is of Jeremy Price & his partner Jane & Martin Baynes from Graphi Studio, our good friends Paul & Sarah Wilkinson & me & the boss!great times.

British Professional Photography Awards 2009

Well this surreal year just keeps continuing & the 2009 BPPA (British Professional Photography Awards)are taking place this sunday (11th) at the Hilton Hotel in Newcastle, these are called the photo industry 'OSCARS' and in the preliminary judging we had the honour of being awarded 5 Certificates of Merit,3 in Wedding Photography,1 in Studio Portrait Photography & 1 in Parent & Child Photography. These national awards are in recognition of skill & technical ability in the Master Photography Awards a true honour,but then my mind was really blown when I found out that I had been shortlisted for the UK Wedding Photographer of the Year AND the UK Parent & Child Photographer of the Year this really is beyond my wildest expectations, I thought the highpoint was the regional awards but this just puts the 'icing on the cake'to a memorable year.
So on sunday both Jane & I start the journey to Newcastle for the black tie event (as I post this blog Jane is posh frock shopping!!!) the end of a crazy week that started with both of us meeting the great photographer that is Yervant in London, then published in a national magazine then ending with the national photo awards,all this for just having fun & pressing a button (yes that what my friends say I do????).
Fingers Crossed.........

we are in.......Photo Pro Magazine

We were approached a few weeks ago by my good friend Mark Witney regarding using our images for an article he was writing for the November issue of the UK's biggest magazine for professional photographers regarding album design & presentation,why? because our images just worked in albums & had the WOW factor that the readers where looking for.A real honour & the first of many.

On sale at all good newsagents....I think that's what they say!!!!!

Llangollen wedding for Jon & Katie....and a VW

Last week Wales came to us & this week we went to Wales, to the beautiful town of Llangollen. This was like going back 100 years driving past the old rail station with the steam trains getting ready to leave crossing the stream to get to the church that sits right on the riverbank. Now the day didn’t get off to the best of starts, shall we say there was a lot of welsh mist (pouring rain) & Jon had spent many painstaking days on restoring a vintage VW split screen camper but as we saw him pushing into the car park & not best pleased we sensed a problem. During a gap in the rain Katie, Megan & the bridesmaids arrived in a second VW Camper & a very personal & emotional ceremony followed. Now the camper was a surprise for Katie but unknown to Jon during the ceremony the lads had managed to fix & get going Jons Camper & arrived with cheers at the church, and bang on queue out came the sun.
We had previously found the most spectacular location for the photos, Valle Crucis Abbey near to Llangollen this was amazing, & in the warm sunshine I really, REALLY, got carried away it was just one of those weddings, don’t ask why, it could be the location, the couple, the fact that instead of traditional wedding flowers there were herbs & old English flowers, or just that for ages I had watched, with a little envy, our good friends Andy & Agnieszka Younger from Younger Photography in Plymouth shoot these fantastic, photogenic campers & secretly I always wanted to, & now I have.

Thanks To Jon & Katie on Honeymoon in a beautiful VW Camper, somewhere…..

Mathew & Jennifer........Llangyfarchiadau

When it comes to churches there are very few more splendid than St Johns Church one of the best kept secrets in the centre of Wigan.When you're on the outside nothing really prepares you for the sheer beauty of the lighting & décor of the inside.This year we have shot many wedding in Wales but with this wedding Wales came to us for Mathew & Jennifers wedding on a warm sunny day. This was a really relaxed affair just perfect after attending my daughters 14th birthday disco (80 14 year olds hyper what a nightmare) and a real joy to shoot, I even tried speaking welsh (hope what I said was ok???).St Johns is one of my all time fave churches as I said before the lighting is superb then onto Wrightington Hotel & Country Club for very emotional speeches.This truly was a celebration as Jen had just received honours in her nursing degree & Mat entering the police, a real honour for both Jane & I to attend at wedding that starts a new chapter in a great couples life.

Mat & Jen Llangyfarchiadau to you both.D.

Keith & Lisa's shoot at West Tower

It made a refreshing change to shoot more formal & staged images than I normally would do but Keith & Lisa were great & indulged me in my 'work'.West Tower is the location next year for their wedding & as my regular watchers know West Tower is rapidly becoming our second home.The dark clothing chosen by Keith & Lisa worked really well against the lightness of the room,I just love how the big windows flood the room with light.I am getting more & more excited for next year some great locations & great people & I think Keith & Lisa's will be memorable.Watch this space.

David & Rachel at Kilhey Court

It seems at the moment that this blog is like busses, you wait ages for one then three come along at once,but sorry its been REALLY busy & so have the weddings.The first was a great couple David & Rachel & a really great wedding at Kilhey Court Hotel.This hotel is now officially our second home both Jane & I love photographing weddings here (just as well as we are the recommended photographers) they just seem relaxed & flow.
Rachel seemed calm as we arrived (she wont admit that) but as dad arrived the nerves started & we shot some really touching images which is what our photography is all about. David & Rachel are very much ‘in love’ and this day was a great advert for that & we captured some special moments at this wedding, and had a great laugh as well.

Hi Rachel, hope you enjoy seeing yourself finally on the blog as much as we enjoyed the wedding. Have a great honeymoon. D.

Ryan & Alison at Holland Hall

When I first started in Wedding photography Jane & I lived in beautiful Wrightington & drove past the stunning church of St Josephs daily the gardens are beautiful a perfect venue for Ryan & Alison’s Wedding. Gorgeous weather, gorgeous surroundings & a gorgeous couple to photograph, I really am lucky.
Now the one drawback to this is the priest wont allow any photography in the church which is a shame because the service is one of the most touching, personal ceremonies I,ve ever witnessed & gets all the family involved.
Holland Hall for the reception as Ryan kept saying that he was nervous about his speech but delivered a cracker with some beautiful words about Alison, if Ryan wanted to be nervous about something he should have thought of the champagne tower, but as with the day it went perfect.

Steve & Rebecca's wedding

If you’re a Liverpool F.C fan then this was the perfect wedding for you as Rebecca was getting ready at her parents house that overlooks the L.F.C. training ground. With family members voted L.F.C biggest fan by the Echo newspaper, every guest a Liverpool fan, Liverpool on the tv at the reception, but with Liverpool playing at Anfield on the same day if the guests weren’t going to the mach to enjoy themselves they certainly were going to at Steve & Rebecca’s wedding.
Another glorious day with Hair & makeup well underway as we arrived the girls were in full fun mode. Steve & the lads arrived at the church very nervous but an emotional ceremony & everybody having a great time afterwards the day flew.
The reception was at Blundell Hill Golf Club with stunning views over the Wirrall & a gorgeous sunset to end the day.The evening started as the day ended everybody on the dance floor dancing to a Mersey beat tribute band, who I have to say were fantastic.

Talk to Master pressure then!!!

Well, last night (Wednesday) was my talk to the North West Master Photographers at Stathom Lodge Hotel in Cheshire and a great night it was too. It was a real honour to talk infront of some of the top north west photographers about my style of photography & the business in general. The talk should have lasted an hour and a half but after a very interesting questions & answers session went over by an hour as all aspects of the way we do things at Classic were investigated.
To be in a room with passionate people was very uplifting and to hear some of the stories that were affecting their businesses was in some ways disturbing and brought me back to the difficult decisions bride & grooms have in choosing a photographer & made me equally determined to help promote the need for, not only a professional photographer to shoot a wedding but a photographer that is passionate about photography & the service that goes with it. I heard so many stories from fantastic passionate photographers who wanted to provide an all round service, a product that will last a lifetime only to be beaten at the post by someone who basically saying ‘well if Im cheap enough someone will book me’ & one of my pet hates the shoot & run sorry burn photographers who photograph a wedding and just put the images on a disc, where’s the product, something to show for your money, the service, the passion. At the end of the day I really believe that we offer not only a series of pictures on paper or on a computer screen but an album full of memories that will last a lifetime, a family heirloom. After all when the last dance has ended & champagne drunk this is all that is left, a album with stunning images that will last for a lifetime & bring back memories of the best day of your life.
I hope that people took away some of my passion for the way I love the job of capturing wedding memories, and hopefully a few ideas for themselves. Thanks to all that attended.

Chris & Adele's Pre wedding Shoot

The weather wasnt kind for us as we wandered around the beautiful gardens at Kilhey Court Hotel as Chris & Adele were checking that all the small details,colours would be perfect for their wedding next year.The fact that so much detail was being considered for the wedding images really impressed me and i am really looking forward to the big day.Chris & Adele are very much in love & a perfect couple and to say the planning is meticulous is an understatement, this wedding is going to be special.

Mike & Laura at Wrightington Hotel & Country Club

It doesn’t seem a year ago when I shot the pre wedding shoot with Mike & Laura at Wrightington Hotel gardens but time fly’s by & it was so soon the most eagerly awaited wedding EVER. After nearly two years of wedding committee meetings (sure this was a code word for wine sessions) the plans were made and a wonderfully hot sunny day was only made warmer by our welcome at Lauras Mums house, right on time for the famous schedule. I met a just as happy ‘other 50%’ of the committee at the church as Mike & his family arrived & bang on time the stunning Laura arrived & the tears started.With the changes at Wrightington Hotel I had to look for a different location & found a great cornfield (my regular watchers will no how much I love cornfields) and then onto the hotel for great speeches.
As the sun set the party really started & a great first dance (even though Mike said he didn’t dance) & with everybody getting on the dance floor the evening was just fun with everybody laughing,dancing & really enjoying what was a fantastic wedding.

Mike & Laura recently called into the studio to collect everything and are still in wedding mode, will this party never end!!!!.Thanks you two this was fun.D.

Jules & Tracy shoot at Thornton Manor

I think up until this year I had only drove down the Mersey tunnel once in all my life, but within the last few weeks am really topping up the frequent user tokens (if there is such a thing???).This time saw Jane & I at the very impressive Thornton Manor for the pre wedding shoot of two of the most fun loving people I’ve ever met.Jules & Tracy live in London but as soon as they saw Thornton Manor just fell in love with it but then again so did I, this place really is a dream location the lighting is stunning, the architecture, well, just grand.
We had the traditional summer wind & rain showers (what ever happened to global warming thought we were supposed to be having Mediterranean weather!!!) but as we walked around choosing locations for their forth coming wedding, laughing (& every now & then taking a picture) it made me feel more impatient for the ‘big day’.
Very surreal moment as we stopped at the local pub for lunch in walked a wedding along with a photographer mate of mine from Liverpool and really got me impatient for this wedding. JULES,TRACY BRING IT FORWARD!!!!!

Thanks you two for a great morning, & Jules for sorting my London trip. As I said cant wait.D.

Hillbark Hotel for Graham & Katie's wedding

The weather forecast was different on every channel the morning of Graham & Katie’s wedding, so we knew today was going to be a challenge. Driving to the Wirral the sun was shining the satnav was, for once, working & we just knew it was going to be a great day. On arrival at the stunning Hillbark Hotel in Frankby we were met by a picture of calm & tranquility with Katie having her hair done & the girls chilling. Hillbark Hotel is a great wedding venue, bags of character, spacious rooms & beautiful gardens, add to this a day full of emotion and fun & great images are guaranteed.
A very emotional ceremony followed with not a dry eye in the house, even the wedding cake was in tiers (tiers/tears get it!aargh the old ones are the best) then my worst nightmare, just as I had managed to get all the 100 guests outside in the beautiful sunshine for the ‘all guests photo’ the heavens opened & the stampede back inside began. Luckily apart from one or two downpours at the wrong time the rest of the day was glorious & both Graham & Katie really were stunning & a joy to work with
One of the joys of my job, yes it really is a job, is witnessing moments in time that change peoples lives forever, I really feel privileged to have the best seat in the house watching all the human emotions unveiled in front of me. I’m sure when I do my talks to photographers & say ‘the images are there you just have to be ready for them’ they don’t really believe me but its true & this wedding was a perfect example of that.

Thanks both of you for a superb day, and braving the showers.D.

Image Of The Week

This weeks image was shot at our recent wedding of Graham & Katie at the glorious Hillbark Hotel on the Wirral. Even though this is a beautiful timeless image you have to know the story to fully appreciate the image. The ‘girls’ were getting ready in connecting rooms so I was darting between both rooms getting the images. The bridesmaids room was a little chaotic with makeup, hair, fastening of dresses & shoes, but in the brides room there was just peace & calm (even though Katie probably wont admit it).
Katie’s mum was giving the bride away and I just popped my head around the door and from across the room saw a beautiful image, a mother & daughter at their proudest in a really touching & special moment. The day was bright sunshine & torrential rain & wind but just at that moment the sun flooded the room creating a halo around their heads, Katie turned her head with the slightest of smiles and with thirds in mind I shot the image.
This is probably my fave image of many fave images we shot at this wedding, but its just the simplicity of this image & gives me a warm feeling every time I see it.
I shot this at 800iso to achieve a film like grain to the image with my 70-200L 2.8 lens & its full frame not cropped, that’s one of the things I love about this lens the ability to get me close enough to tell the story but far enough that I’m not there.

Canon D5mkii / 800iso / 70-200L 2.8 / 100th @f.2.8

Ian & Rachel

The brief for this wedding was modern contemporary with little fuss.Ian & Rachel’s wedding was an intimate affair with a reception at the contemporary Magnolia Restaurant inside the Cottons Hotel in Cheshire, a beautiful venue. When Jane & I arrived at the hotel we saw the funky surroundings of the bar and reception & just had to use them to give the images a modern feel. This wedding was a very relaxed affair with Ian very calm & Rachel looking stunning, very much the perfect couple, with pimms & champagne flowing we all had a great day.

Chris & Jennifers wedding

As we come to the end of a busy August, (we have shot 14 weddings this month) its time to show the great wedding of Chris & Jennifer that was held recently at the gorgeous St Wilfrids Church in Standish, near Wigan. I had in 2005 photographed Jennifer’s sisters wedding at the same church so knew just how much fun we were going to have. The day started with a bit of pressure,the groom arrived in a great looking vintage car & whist photographing Chris in & by the car a whisper in my ear said just be careful the car is worth ¾ million pounds, ( yes £750,000.00 lotta noughts & no I didn’t mark it & no you cant prove anything!!)
During the pre wedding consultation a request was made for something dramatic to match the images we shot at Jennifer’s sisters wedding, so after the ceremony I took the Bride & Groom to a local cornfield that I ‘d had my eye on for a few months now, and thanks to the great couple dramatic photos is what we got. As I said in the previous Image of the week (this was Jennifer’s image) I do love cornfields.
This was a great day trying different poses & angles at familiar venues really does get the creative juices going (& blows out the cobwebs) now where’s that black touch up paint!!!!!!

Thanks to you both for everything,was defo worth going to the field.D.

Andy & Chloe at Haigh Hall

Jane & I arrived at Chloe’s to find all in matching outfits & their respective ‘jobs’ on the back with Chloe (with Bride on her back) and the girls in high spirits we knew this was going to be a good day.I left to photograph a very cool Andy & his entourage at a very hot & sunny Charnock Richard Church & the fun continued. The reception was at the magnificent Haigh Hall & a great surprise for the guests with instead of canapés an Ice Cream van just what we all needed. The Grand Ballroom was full of colour & was a very impressive surrounding for great speeches and a football skills competition (yes you read right) needless to say Andy duly won & after medals awarded the party continued.

Thanks again to both of you for a great day.D.

A Military Wedding in Great Harwood

This day started very calm & relaxed,then 20 mins after we arrived exploded with the news that Laura's (the Bride) sister had just given birth to a little girl & the celebrations began from there.St Huberts in Great Harwood is a beautiful church & Oliver arrived looking great in his Royal Marines uniform & boy was there some military 'bling' on show medals everywhere.After the ceremony the reception was a bit closer to home at Kilhey Court Hotel where, even though it was a military wedding with what seemed half the marines there, Laura was determined to have fun (as were all the guests).Great speeches were the signal for a great evening with the bestman showing not only can he give a great speech (ok used prompters for the responses) but also a 'great' dancer.

Thanks to Olly & Laura for allowing us into their big day, oh yes nearly forgot, the brides sister arrived fresh from child birth to the meal with a gorgeous little girl.Officially our youngest guest at a wedding at 8hrs old.

West Tower with Gareth & Christina

Its always a joy to photograph a wedding when you have been recommended to the Bride & Groom & even better when the original couple are involved with the day.A very calm Christina was having final makeup done when we arrived and we were greeted by Mike & Nicola (Brides Brother & Sister in law) who's wedding we shot a few years ago great to see them again.Gareth & the lads arrived at St Teresa’s Church in Up Holland, this church has the friendliest priest I’ve ever met.Another beautiful sunny day as Christina arrived ‘fashionably late’ but was worth the wait,stunning.
On to West Tower in the picturesque town of Augton,we seem to have quite a few booking here this & next year but hey not complaining it’s a stunning venue & really helpful staff (& Peroni lager, result!!!).West Tower has so many great places for wedding photography & the lighting on the day was great.Again superb speeches in a fantastic room, great coordination by these two the whole day was fantastic.

Yes Nicola I have recovered after coffee in a LFC mug,just!!!

Image Of The Week

Sometimes photographers give you all the blurb as how they positioned, crafted, shaped the shot now this is true even of myself, but every now & then you just get lucky & the image appears infront of your eyes. Now before I call this image a ‘fluke’ I wanted the bride to walk along the tractor path for an image from the rear but as she lifted her dress the shape just appeared and ‘BANG’ the opera music started and a stunning image appeared, and being in the right place at the right time (aherm) I shot said image.
Was it a fluke I will let you decide, the ego in me says of course not but Jane ( not one to be competitive) say’s different.
I have just gone thru a weekend of cornfield images and will show them on the blog in the near future, there’s something about cornfields I do love perhaps the colour, landscape, or even the fact my first award was a cornfield image or just memories of summer walks with Jane & the kids.

Canon 5D mkii / 24-70 2.8L / 200 iso / 400th & f8

Stephen & Lyndsey's wedding at Haigh Hall

I was going to call this posting ‘all aboard for Steve & Lyndseys wedding’ but that would just be cheesy saying that though the fact that we all had a ride on the train at Haigh Hall brought out a huge grin on everybody face (including mine it was great, small things eh).Stephen & Lyndsey wanted a fun colorful wedding with Haigh Hall as the backdrop & boy did they get just that with everything going to plan.This was a fun wedding & the colours looked great with the inside splendor of Haigh Hall & Lyndsey & Steve looked amazing & smiled all day but possibly the largest smile was from me, I do love riding on trains (it’s a kid thing,sorry must grow up!!!)

Thanks for the fun (and the train).D.

Image Of The Week

Taken at last weeks wedding of Gareth & Christina at the stunning West Tower, this Image Of The Week is from one of my favourite parts of any wedding,the speeches.I just love how you see the real people,their stories, their reactions (good or bad).
The reason I like this image is at this point the Brides Father was telling the story of how he met his wife (Brides Mum) and the poignant part of the image is the groom playing with his wedding ring,on one side you have the story of a journey the other the start of a story,but still just a fun shot of a family at its best.aargh getting really heavy now here the tech stuff…..shot on my fantastic 70-200L f2.8 lens, this lens gets me in close but not in the couples faces, imagine if I was up close they would constantly be noticing me & perhaps react different but with this lens & my distance nobody knows what or who im shooting and that’s what I love about this lens

Canon 5D mkii / 70-200L2.8 / 125th @ 2.8 / 400iso.

Graham & Heathers Wedding

Well Im posting this blog after a crazy 3 wedding weekend but Im smiling, still!.Our first of many full day weddings and the day again started on a high & just went higher, the weather forcast wasn’t good but glad to say they got the forcast wrong, beautiful weather, perfect for the colourful parasols (great pic).The stunning Heather arrived by Horse & Carriage with guests whispering WOW to be given away by a very proud father who managed to take more photos than me.On to the reception great speeches even from a very nervous bestman all complimented by a great evening party from a fantastic band.The guests were really eager (so was Graham) to hit the dance floor (even found myself dancing & taking photos,oh so wrong!!, in the words of the mad general in the film Apocalypse Now DAVE DON’T DANCE!!!)

On my travels......

Regular blog watchers will know that I'm really enjoying my personal work more, taking photos for fun is something that Ive not really done for quite a while (even left holiday pics to the kids).The other week we visited the Imperial War Museum in Manchester seemed like a great day out until was dragged around the Lowry shops. Architectural photography has never been my strong point & never will but I do have a soft spot for modern art & modern architecture in particular,even got into an argument with fellow 'tourists' because I didn't want to visit the coliseum, and this was my first visit to the quays.The Museum is visually stunning outside & great to photograph (& free to enter. good times:-))but the ever present wedding photographer in me was choosing locations for an up & coming 'Rock The Frock'

But then again I could have just been photographing the sun for fond memories!!!!

Image Of The last(sorry)

This weeks image was shot last year at Greg & Fionas wedding in Southport and was one of my favorite images of the year (even though the judges didn’t even put it in the final top ten of the awards,crazy!) anyway moan over, this is probably the most nervous moment in the Brides life & the proudest of a Fathers when they walk up the aisle. What do I love about the image, well what’s not to love I feel it has everything, pride, emotion, anticipation & even a little fun with Dad holding the flowers looking a bit like jeeves, and all by accident. It was a overcast rainy day & I wasn’t allowed to photograph from the front of the church only the rear so was waiting for Bride & Dad when just at that very moment the sun came out and formed a halo around the subjects & an image that was a looking like a buskers song suddenly turned into an opera (metaphorically speaking…ooohhh big word alert, thanks spell check). This image was shot on my beautiful Canon 1D MKii with a 70-200L 2.8 lens @ 640 iso.The high iso has given a grainy film like feel to the image & this could be another reason why I love this image so much, I’m really just missing film.

Canon 1D mkii / 70-200L f2.8 / 640iso / 1/100th / f2.8

Annual Print Competition

Monday saw the Annual Regional Professional Photographers Print Competition this year held at the Red Hall Hotel and I did rather well,this year just gets better & better. I was awarded the gold award in all 3 wedding categories & received 6 further awards from merit,bronze,silver in these & other categories. This years awards were judged by John Parris all the way from Scotland, winning print images below.

Reportage Wedding Gold Award

Traditional Wedding Gold Award

Creative Wedding Gold Award

yes Lydia your image won the Gold award whoop whoop.D.

A Quaint English Wedding

Its been a few years since I last shot a wedding at Rivington Parish Church in beautiful Rivington (hence the church name), the church has graves dating from the 1600’s (yes you all look at the grave dates its not just me) & is surrounded by stunning countryside.At the last wedding I shot there it was that cold the lens steamed up luckily had a spare camera to carry on with, but on this day the weather was perfect.
This wedding was I suppose what our American friends would call ‘A Quaint English Wedding’ a very traditional country church & pims on the reception lawns complimented with laughing guests.The reception was held at the Old Barn again in Rivington, this venue absolutely transforms itself for weddings don’t judge this venue on your first visit, you have to see the barn set for a wedding to really view in all its glory,awesome.
A fun wedding for Jane & I with the Bride & Groom laughing all day & a game of trying to get on as many of Dads photos as possible ending with another great set of speeches & stories of the couple, even a letter signed by Sir Alex as the Groom is a massive Man Utd fan (oh there’s always a down side lol;-))

Thanks for the laughs,and the image of the week.D.

Rufford Old last an old wish delivered

Many years ago, when our kids were tots we used to go for days out & one place we went as a family was Rufford Old Hall, it’s a historically interesting building with stunning gardens and at the time said that ‘Id love to shoot a wedding here’, well that wish has now come true with Dan & Louise allowing me to indulge myself.
The day started with Jane shooting Louise getting ready while I met Dan at the hall on a hot humid morning (it felt like a rain forest) and the staff at the hall were ultra helpful any requests met with ‘no problem’.After the ceremony we wandered around the gardens shooting here then over there the day really was a joy providing us with colourful images EVERYWHERE, and for the first time in post production I was in new territory finding that most of the images I loved in colour ( but the b&w are still special).
Rufford Old Hall is a great relaxing day out, take your camera,take a picnic, but most of all take insect repellent I got bit to death (must have good blood lol;-))

Thanks you two for allowing me to play…it was a blast.D.

Image of the Week

This weeks image,shot at last weeks wedding is special for me on two fronts, first it was a very emotional day for the grooms father who was in the wheelchair & I had an inclination that with dad being placed half way down the aisle there may be some reaction to each other,but this is just a really touching moment just a proud touch from the groom. May not seem much but my father passed away before I was married & to me it speaks volumes the father son bond.Secondly full of happiness & joy and it has that timeless feel to the image an image that will never date.
Anyway, I’ve been on a few seminars were photographers tell you to do this & do that & one such course the ‘photographer’ was saying you HAD to use flash when the couple walked down the aisle and the best thing to do was place two flash lights either side of the aisle as the bride & groom walk down & at a given spot take the photo. For those of you who have seen me ‘in action’ as I like to say (makes me feel more energetic) you’ll know I very rarely use flash, the flash in this image is from a guest taking a photo now somedays I like how the side flash looks, some days I don’t.What I like about it is the separation from the background caused by the flash & what I dislike is the harsh shadows & how the bow suddenly stands out.
So with the above comments why have I chosen it as image of the week,quite simply, to hell with the technical/critical view you should have done this & you should have done that, this is a wonderful father & son moment captured on the most important day of a couples life,an image I would have given anything for on my wedding.
Hmmm, wonder what the guests (who caused the flash) photo looks like!

Canon 5Dmkii / 16-35 lens / 800 iso / 125th @f4….NO FLASH!!!!!

Thistle Hotel for Kev & Lisa's Wedding

A very hot summers day had been pre ordered by Lisa as the theme for this military wedding was summer barbeque, and a hot day it was too.We arrived to find Kev going through the final sword practice with the guard of honour for when the Bride arrived & for when they left,once perfected they all left to get ready in the hottest room Ive ever been in (apparently somebody put the heating on thinking it was the aircon).Kev arrived in full dress uniform of his regiment The Duke of Lancaster Regiment, but as magnificent as he looked he was overshadowed by a stunning Lisa in a dress she designed herself holding just a rose (she didn’t need anything else).
Its been along time coming this wedding, regular visitors to the blog may remember Lisa & Kev as I won the Studio Portrait Photographer of the Year award with their pre wedding shoot in 2008 and during a quiet 10 mins session away from the guests think Ive shot a few more for 2010 awards.
With over 170 guests at this wedding and most just back from Afghanistan this was always going to be a crazy,fun affair & it didn’t disappoint. After the nerves of the ceremony a relaxed atmosphere descended & topped of with a gutbustin (another technical term) BBQ & great fun speeches. Our day ended with a request from the groom of the guard of honour,bestman & Lisa crashed out with whiskey & cigars, now that’s the way to end a party!

Thanks again for your hospitality & the so special images we took.D.

Image of the week

This image was taken at one of our weddings the other weekend & the way I took the image is currently one of my ‘labours of love’ that is to mean something that is so frustrating but when you hit the spot gives stunning results (bit like playing golf,you golfers know what I mean),its shooting from the hip.Works far better by using a wide angle lens & means you can get really close to people without them knowing or even thinking your taking photos, but walking with my camera at the hip & taking pictures. Now I’m not saying walk round with the camera set on ‘machine gun’ taking hundreds of shots & one will look good the image has to be there but its just looks different, works great with kids as you the viewer are suddenly brought down to their eye level (ever thought that things were much larger when you were a kid).
I love this image mainly because there’s a million things going on around this little girl,and the grown ups look like giants but her smile & expression is just great, and shooting from the hip between two people leads into the group and frames the image perfectly and that’s why I love this image. Now where’s them flaming golf clubs!!!

Canon 5Dmkii / 16-35lens / 200iso / 125th @f5.6

Stuart & Nicola's Wedding

Stuart & Nicola were such a fun couple to photograph and on the day they didn’t disappoint with fun & laughter all day, oh and bubbles. The reception was held at Kilhey Court Hotel, this seems like our second home at the moment, but dodging the rain showers the gardens were superb.Our coverage ended with great speeches in the impressive Victorian conservatory at the hotel overlooking the stunning gardens.A great couple,great guests,great venue, and they call this work.