Summer at the Larmer Tree
A place I photograph both weddings and children’s portraits is at the Larmer Tree Gardens in Wiltshire. The team here have perfected the balance of creating a realaxed atmosphere – think garden games, live music… amongst the elegance of an english country garden surrounded by Pitt Rivers’ collection of remarkable buildings, the singing theatre being of course, the most painterly of backdrops- and proudly overseen by Peacocks and Maccaws..
But it’s the organic architecture which makes for interesting photographs – I’ve photographed here for maybe 18 years and every time I visit, the seasons and landscape are perfect for a location portrait photographer – especially one who likes to make portrait out of a landscape. There are times when we are all out and about and see an incredible sunset or shaft of light – I like to embellish this with a portrait (Im also the worst landscape photographer – no patience..).
Johnathan and Michelle also hired the most wonderful, medieval, King John House, home to Pitt Rivers and his subsequent family until a couple of years ago. The house housed many a party in the past and is it’s dramatic sweeping frontage, Japanese pacoda and beautifully kept lawns, make of the perfect pre and post wedding party.
John and Michelle spent the week at the house – before taking the short drive to the Larmer Tree to celebrate their small midweek wedding.
In all, it was a beautiful, English summer wedding, games on the lawn, champagne and family, what else do you need? The beauty of working at the Larmer Tree, I can steal short moments with my clients and it doesn’t in any way disrupt the day, more gently giving them time away together before heading back to the party.
John and Michelle spent a few hours partying at the gardens after the ceremony, before heading back to King John House for bbq, shorts and tees, cake and of course, more champagne.
I’ve worked with Lalage Beaumont on several location projects over the years and am delighted she is contributing to my blog this month.
“There’s lots to think about when you are planning a wedding and of course the bride’s dress is the key feature of any wedding but also very important is the second most significant lady on the day, the bride’s mum.
Our mother of the bride UK range really began after many customers visited our London boutique saying “I’m ‘mother of the bride’ but I don’t want to look like ‘mother of the bride’!” We knew exactly what they meant and from that has evolved the Lalage Beaumont Mother of the Bride Collection – understated, elegant and totally unfussy. Now the go to destination for many mothers of the bride in the UK (and also many other countries) who are looking for something chic and classic, the collection features many interesting and varied fabrics that are designed to be put together in a variety of ways so that everyone can create their own look. Hats too are available in striking or simple shapes to go with the collection to add the finishing touch and help by offering an effortless one-stop shop for your total look.
Available in an array of colours from vibrant to pastel, there is something for every complexion and any colour theme enabling you to blend in with the rest of the wedding party but stand out in just the right way. Choose from silk dress-coats, jackets, dresses and trousers with beautiful subtle detailing, designed to look as good from the back as the front (so important at weddings). Many styles feature subtle details such as cord piped edges and frogging fastening and the exquisite silk brocades, matelassés and prints from Italy and Spain and gorgeous contrasting coloured details, all go to create something you can really feel good in. Most importantly these are clothes that can be worn again and again; silk coats and dress-coats may be put over narrow trousers for cocktails or the opera and many of the dresses too can find a future place in your wardrobe, perhaps dressed down with some great sandals and statement jewellery.
Enabling the wearer to feel supremely comfortable at such an important event is imperative to us (after all the photos will be there to remind you for ever if you don’t) leaving you free to enjoy the ceremony and the reception celebrations – picture perfect all the way through.
You can find us at www.lalagebeaumont.com or at our boutique in Knightsbridge, London. Everything shown on line is available as ready-to-wear, alternatively if you would like to have an exclusive, designer made to measure mother of the bride outfit, or perhaps if you are not a stock size, why not make an appointment to see Lalage and she will create a ‘demi-couture’ ensemble to your precise requirements and fit.
For more inspiration on styling ideas visit our Pinterest boards where we share all our current and upcoming collections.”
A Bruton Wedding
What a blinder of a summer that was! My feet have not hit the ground, and all good intentions to take October off, or at least, take it easy have gone to wall with some wonderful projects which I just couldn’t resist taking on. November, I promise myself (and my family) will be for me and them. It starts with a whistle stop trip to India for a few days – so a few photographs may grace this blog when I’m back.
So my apologies for not writing more this year but taking photographs, then writing about them, go hand in hand and are wholly personal – much as I’ve been tempted to, I can’t bring myself to delegate either of those jobs. So the writing plays younger sister to the photo taking. And I have been saving work throughout the summer to bring them all together here over the next couple of months. I hope you enjoy what I’ve been up to – I’ve loved every single commission and relish the opportunities that my clients allow me.
So first up is Gabrielle and Charles who were recommended to me by the team at Roth Bar and Grill (Hauser and Wirth Somerset. )I kind of get a little giddy when I have an enquiry for this venue. Set in the now established gardens of designer Piet Oudolf – I was photographing there just before the gardens and gallery opened and it was difficult to imagine how it would develop, and what it may offer me to work with. It now nestles impressively within the backdrop of the gallery and the opposing Radic Pavillion to the North inviting visitors to take to the paths to explore the light within it. I’d like to think that Smiljan Radić designed this space with an acute awareness off where the light would fall at certain times.
Gabrielle and Charles met with me at Roth a few months prior to the wedding.This time I use to gain the practical information, times, relevant people, and to get a feel for their aspirations for the day. I always walk into a wedding with open mind and very open eyes, it’s not until everything comes together on the day that ideas start fluttering. Starting at the most amazing interior of the resident farmhouse, Durslade. Every room holds it’s own innovative element of design, adorned with the unique artworks of two artists selected by Hauser and Wirth.
I mean… that wall paper!
Gabrielle and her bridesmaids spent the morning at the farmhouse – I’d be quite happy not to leave, but there’s a wedding to be had. With Chris Allen working his magic on the girl’s hair, I worked my way through each room documenting anyone who came in front of my lens. Plenty of time, and such a space to work in.
Making my way from Durslade into the heart of Bruton to At the Chapel where Charles and his groomsmen were enjoying everything that is good about this venue for the Ushers lunch. In contrast to the eclectic mix and sharp directional light of Durslade, this location is flooded with white light throughout the huge ecclesiastical windows bouncing off the white walls.
The short walk took us then to Bruton church to photograph arrival of guests, Gabrielle and her bridesmaids.
I always encourage some time away after the ceremony, just to take ten minutes away from everything to catch up with each other. A wedding day is a whirlwind, and its great to take some time together. Gabs and Charles made the trek up to the iconic Dovecote that stands proudly over Bruton.
Then back to Hauser and Wirth for canapés (and they were some canapies!) If you haven’t visited the Roth Bar and Grill, go! Go and eat.
Gabrielle was one of these brides who, despite putting so much thought into the day, made herself look effortlessly stylish. Less is alway so much more and simplicity reigned, such a great look, and timeless. How many brides think about this when selecting their style? I think Gabrielle will look back in 20 years and not be cringing at how she looked, because keeping things simple doesn’t date. The same with photography.
Dress by Elizabeth Soljak http://www.alarobe.com/
Speeches, prior to the wedding breakfast, were held in the oh so impressive Radic pavilion.
This incredible cake by The Bakemonger, almost rude to cut..
Evening dress also by Elizabeth Soljak http://www.alarobe.com/
I hope the images give you a taste of the day, thanks for looking through x
This morning I was going through some wedding photographs with one my lovely brides and noticed that her wedding which I shot two weeks ago was tinged with autumn colours. I mean, how has that happened? I’m not one to moan about the weather but this has been a seriously rubbish summer and am sat in my office with scarf and woolly socks having just ordered soup from Turnbulls (its the best). In August.
So yes I am moaning about the weather…
However, rain never stops play and I love England for it’s schizophrenic climate and keeping us photographers on our toes. Autumn and Spring are my most favourite times of year for portraits and I’ve had some asks for new dates of my Portrait Days for the Autumn.
I’m so delighted to be working with some truly wonderful establishments – new dates include Portrait Days at the most wonderful Pythouse Kitchen Garden, the gardens which evolve and change every time I visit is the perfect canvas for my portraits. It could be said that I select my locations on the quality of the coffee and food that they serve. Of course not. Ridiculous. Ahem.. It just so happens that both Pythouse and 10 Castle Street excel at both and I love that my clients can treat themselves afterwards and enjoy the wonderful gardens.
My Pythouse Portrait Day will be on 1st September – you need to book with me directly and we can then discuss finer details, timings, etc. It’s also worth knowing that in the evening, the Pytfire BBQ will be lit. We aren’t talking plain chipolatas in a sticky white roll here – fish and local meats slow cooked over an open fire on the terrace, with no doubt some ridiculously good salads and accessories.
14th October I will be at 10 Castle Street and 15th October in the grounds of beautiful St Mary’s School
My special days are run throughout Dorset, Wiltshire and Somerset and Im always looking to add new and wonderful locations. There is no fee for my Portrait Day sessions but you do need to book with me for a portrait time and also to come and view your images here in Shaftesbury
New dates and locations can be found here
There’s a trend in my diary this year for small intimate weddings – couples making the decision to involve those significant people in their lives and to keep things simple. This week took me to Shell Bay restaurant on Studland and the previous week, Michelle and John were married at one of my all time favourite locations, the Larmer Tree gardens on the Dorset/Wiltshire border.
I have been photographing here for as long as I can remember but it never fails to inspire me and brings new light, colour and foliage each time I visit so it’s easy to keep things fresh.
John and Michelle involved themselves equally in the planning of their wedding and threw caution to tradition by both staying at the beautiful, historic King John House before the wedding. In fact they enjoyed an entire week at the house in Tollard Royal making it a pre wedding and mini moon holiday! So as with most small weddings, emphasis was very much on keeping things low key – this doesn’t mean the photographs should be any less interesting, in fact with so few guests, gives me more time and more opportunity. I’m not necessarily a shrinking violet, but I do like to blend into the background somewhat and observe to act when the light and time allows. Really there is nothing worse than a shouty, bossy photographer making demands. With no template to what I do, its’ more about working with my clients and understanding what is going to make their wedding memorable, this includes the experience of me being there and not putting pressure on anyone. In our consultation, Michelle and John had said that they didn’t want group photographs, but as it happened, we did include everyone in some way so I’m always happy to adhere to and go with what happens on the day. After drinks and games on the Larmer Tree Lawn we headed back to King John where I finished up my mid week four hour coverage, it’s amazing how much happens in that time and can be documented.
With the exception of bringing up children, I have not been in a situation where I need to commit myself to caring for someone I love through illness or disability. Yet. Statistically, it will most likely come to me and until my involvement with Carers UK,, I was mostly ignorant that the majority of us will have to either be cared for or be there for someone we love during our lives. There are around 7 million people in the UK caring for someone and committing time to someone who needs help.
I’ve been invited to judge a new competition for the wonderful charity that is Carers UK.
My involvement with this charity, who provide support to carers and their extended support base, began when I was invited to photograph Tiggy Walker throughout her cancer journey and subsequent publishing of the book Unplanned Journey. Tiggy and her husband, broadcaster, Johnnie Walker are Patrons of the Carers UK and so it was a given that we could use Tiggys experience to raise awareness alongside the charity.
That commission also opened my eyes to the bigger picture of someone going through illness and relying on others during those times. The trips to hospital, the basic care, cooking, changing dressings, being there, taking time off work, keeping the cogs of day to day life rotating – this is the person who is also seeing someone they love going through often traumatic treatment and may well be struggling themselves – this often goes unheard as the patient is mostly at the forefront.
I am delighted to be invited to judge a new competition hosted by Carers UK. The theme is ‘This is caring.’ and can incorporate photography that shows your view of caring – this could be from the patient or carers perspective, or someone else looking in on the relationship between the two. You can be as creatively bold as you wish. It may just be a moment, or something you have set up, thought provoking and the positive element of caring. It can be the happy moments as well as the more challenging.
This is run alongside the poetry and short story competition which is now in it’s fourth year. You can enter one or more category with:
The deadline for entries is 31 July
A few moons ago I was lucky to win an award with a photograph I took whilst working with Lalage Beaumont.
This picture still hangs proudly here in my gallery, not because I haven’t moved on (I hope) and actually not because it was awarded recognition. It is more that on some briefs you are given the freedom of creativity to do the hell you want within certain criteria. This was not just about the beautiful clothing, it was about style and graphic and shape – words that are banded around somewhat but are actually at the heart and foundation of how I love to work. Lalage’s beautiful clothing has always embraced quality, classic cuts in the most beautiful of fabrics, all timelesss and utterly stylish. As photography should be. So the two sit nicely.
Fast forward to June 2017 and I’m in the centre of London shooting Lalage’s range at landmarks around the city and around Lalage beautiful Mayfair shop. Working through her beautiful range of handbags which beautifully embellish her clothing collections. As much of the collection are perfect for mother of the brides, I have also contributed to Lalage’s blog, a short article on the benefits of selecting a professional wedding photographer. Some food for thought..
Eight years ago I was commissioned by Mike Bussey to photograph his family on location in Cornwall for his wife Connie’s 50th birthday. I’ve since photographed the family together at home and have formed a lovely client friendship that I value enormously. They are a very special family.When Kim Bussey announced she was marrying Prue at Windsor Guildhall this year, I was more than delighted that they invited me to be a part of the day to photograph the wedding.
Having been childhood friends, spending their early years at Primary School together, they lost touch during secondary school and on in to their careers. It was earlyJanuary 15 that Prue got back in touch with Kim and it transpired they were both living close to each other – Prue’s brilliant wedding speech also elaborated on their early dating days. Both girls’ mums gave heart warming and humorous speeches and the seismic feeling of love within the family and friends of these two was prevalaent through the day – it really was a day to be a part of.
Kim and Prue’s amazing suits (and Prue’s shirt) were the cut of ThomasThomas – do check them out for sharp adrogynous style. SJ Weston who heads up ThomasThomas also made alternations to Kim’s shirt.
After their emotional ceremony at Windsor Guidlhall, the girls hot footed to quite probably the most relaxed reception I’ve been to in 25 years of shooting weddings. I mean what more do you need than a gin bar, a landcover pizza oven, champagne and people you love..?
Portraits in London
So the early part of the month took me to London to take some special portraits in London of the grandchildren of one of my voucher recipients. For those of you lucky enough to be gifted or to win a one of my vouchers, you are welcome to use this not just for yourself but with your family and I travel throughout the country and Europe taking portraits of children, families. I consider this one of the biggest perks of my job – the opportunity to travel and also to meet the most unexpected and interesting of people. Not only that, I visit some beautiful locations.
The family gardens in London, were a spectacular communal garden where the children had space to run, climb and explore – as well as having that all important window light flooding through the house interior. Even in the dullest of days, I enjoy working in muted directional light as well as having the contrast of perhaps strong back light in the garden. Being an environmental portrait photographer, especially with our unpredictable weather means I adapt to whatever happens on the day and use the elements to my advantage. Well that’s the plan anyway…