Wedding in Folkestone, Kent - Sarah & Rich

“We need some bubbly don’t we?!” cries a bridesmaid.
Oh yes! Bridal prep is one of my favourite parts of the day.
Excited giggles with your girls never gets old does it?
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Following a morning tipple at The Hydro Hotel in Folkestone, Sarah and Rich were married at Sarah’s family church in the heart of town, followed by a relaxed reception.
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A beautiful bride with the bluest eyes I’ve ever seen, and a handsome groom with adoring eyes for only she…

How to make your engagement shoot awesome

Engagement shoot top tips

So many of my couples tell me they are worried about their engagement shoot, whether it’s nerves or worrying about what outfit to wear, what location is best, it’s totally normal to feel this way! I thought it was time I put some top tips together on how to make the most of your engagement shoot. I also had some questions on Facebook about them which I’ve answered too below.

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Practice makes perfect (and calms those nerves!)

An engagement session is the perfect excuse to get together before your big day, get excited about your plans and also get an idea of how it feels to have your portraits taken ahead of the wedding. 

With my approach to photography, I use gentle and natural prompts rather than 'poses', it’s my job to guide you here. This can be anything from simply holding hands and walking and talking, to getting close and whispering silly things to each other, these little gestures will bring out the most natural emotions and reactions from you. 

I love engagement sessions as most couples will say how nervous they were beforehand, but that they actually ended up really enjoying it. 
'I'm not scared anymore' is one of my favourite things to hear after the first few minutes.

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What to wear to your engagement shoot

Most of my couples ask me before the day 'what shall we wear?!', and I think engagement shoots are the perfect excuse to wear something that makes you feel great, dress up a little if you want to. For example, wear something you would wear on a special date together or family occasion. You don't have to go over the top, but wearing a dress or shirt that makes you feel good always helps to relax you so you look good too. 

Also, take into consideration the location of your shoot too, what colours or style might work best to really bring the best out of your photographs? I love Jaz and David’s style above, it’s dressed up but relaxed and totally them, and works perfectly for a summer walk in the woods.

Pinterest boards are also great fun - I can help craft one for your shoot if you like.

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Choose a location to set the tone

Location, location, location! Think about places that might be special to you, somewhere you like to go on weekends to spend time together. There are so many options for great locations in East Sussex and surrounding areas, we are so spoiled.

Think about what tone you want from your session and how it reflects you both - do you want a carefree walk along the beach at Camber Sands or a stylish session in a Brighton coffee shop? Maybe the austere and quiet atmosphere at Dungeness? Or cosy and cuddled up in the woods?

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All about the light

Wherever you choose, we will plan your session around the best light. Why is light so important? Well, different light brings different atmosphere, the sky and landscape around you changes colour, and also affects how shadows and highlights appear.

The middle of the day when the sun is at its highest and brightest (especially in summer) usually brings dark shadows compared to stark bright highlights which can bring a stark contrast to your photographs.  The most gorgeous light tends to be found towards sunrise and sunset, the light is softer, colours and tones are golden and pastel, turning red and blue as the evening draws in.

Also - don't fear if there's not much sun around; lovely and even light can be found on even dark overcast days.

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Celebrate and enjoy each other

The last and most important thing to do, relax! As much as it's great to connect with your photographer before your day, the engagement shoot really is all about you as a couple. Make the most of your session, bring a picnic or a bottle of prosecco and toast the occasion. Use your session as the perfect excuse to celebrate your upcoming wedding, and as a special time together.

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Questions from Facebook:

1 - How do you handle the engagement shoot if we/one of us is really shy?
Most people are shy in front of the camera and don’t feel they’re naturals at having their picture taken (myself included!).
The way I guide your session is a key part to making you feel comfortable. 
I think alot of couples think an engagement session will consist of forced, stiff poses of looking at the camera, with me it doesn't.
I will start your session with as little pressure as possible, chatting away and starting with prompts which are as simple as
'ok start at this point, hold hands and walk towards me. chat about your day so far to each other'.

If just one of you is shy, I will start the session focusing on your partner to ease you in and show you that you're in a safe space to be yourself and enjoy it!

It really is as simple as that.

2 - What questions do you ask to gauge your couples personalities?
Before your engagement session, we will have an initial consultation about your wedding. This not only gives me an opportunity to learn about your day, but also about you and vice versa. This means when we get to your engagement session I already know you a bit, and you know me too.

I like to ask what you do for work, and what you really like to do when you aren’t at work, what you like about each other, and what gets on your nerves! Every couple is different so we can go for relaxed and calm at Camber Sands, or fun and energetic on Brighton Pier!

3 - How do you choose which shoots to feature on your blog/social media?
This will often come down to time! The last thing a photographer often has time for is perhaps one of the most important business wise, their blog and website. When you're shooting as much as we do, to juggle all the admin and editing means we don't always have time to blog or put everything on social media. So don't be surprised if your photographer doesn't feature you right away but you find yourselves in their portfolio further down the line.

The other factor could be down to variety, I love to show different types of location, and mix it up as much as possible so that my couples feel they can choose somewhere that is right for them, that they don't have to fit into a particular type of 'box'.

I will always endeavour to show all my couples though, it’s really awesome to be chosen from the plethora of photographers available, so I like to show you off!

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I hope this blog has been really useful, given you some inspiration or put you at ease. Please feel free to contact me if I can answer any questions, I love to talk about photography!

Scotland

It was autumn when we visited the Cairngorms in Scotland last year for a friend’s wedding. I can’t believe it has taken me so long to share some snaps from our short trip.

I knew I would like Scotland, but I truly LOVED it. My dad’s side of the family is from this part of the world, and myself and my husband both felt truly at home.

There is something really special about being among the freshest, quietest air, knowing that very few people live between the miles and miles of mountains you drive past.
We only had time for one long walk, and I am not sure these photographs do it justice.

I absolutely left a piece of my heart in Newtonmore. If you happen to visit and need a place to stay, I heartily recommend The Dower House in Newtonmore. Our hosts were so friendly and welcoming, the house itself is beautiful and you’ll not find a better, bigger breakfast anywhere!

Moody skies, towering mountains, a ravine, fauna, and a shop window I was obsessed with feature here.

Until next time Scotland…

PS: If any of you fancy an elopement in the Scottish highlands, let me know ;)

Wedding at East Dean & Friston - Niki & Paul

Niki & Paul had a scorcher of a wedding day!
Niki and family prepared for the day in the house she grew up in, just around the corner from her family church where she married Paul to start their married life together.
Their delicate colour scheme of burgundy was so soft and pretty, and I was obsessed with Niki’s detailed dress and the way her veil caught the light.
I think it really shines just how much they mean to each other too xx

Ceremony: St. Andrew’s Church, Eastbourne
Reception: East Dean & Friston Village Hall
Camper van: Lola The VW Campervan
Bar: The V-Dub Cocktail Bus
Dress: Mori Lee, Champagne & Confetti

Wedding at The Chantry - Jaz & David

Jaz & David were married at The Chantry, followed by a reception at The Cartlodge, Horam Manor Park. I loved the rustic and pretty feel of their flowers, bursts of yellow and green perfect for summer. Their reception had a relaxed, festival feel with lawn games, Otti & The Voices on music, ice cream from Di Pola's and scrumptious food by The BBQ Project.

These two were so sweet and in sync. So much so, that on realising Jaz's locket was empty, David wrote a simple note to say 'I love you'... 

Ceremony: The Chantry

Reception: The Cartlodge

Flowers: Fat Robin Florestry

Dress: Bridal Garden Studio

Catering: The BBQ Project

Ice Cream Cart: Di Paolo's

Band: Otti & The Voices

Engagement at Pett Level

For Jack and Gian-Luca's engagement session, they wanted to visit a quiet spot on the beach. I could think of nowhere better but the stunning backdrop at Pett Level. The sea was so warm, we got in and paddled, me up to my knees trying not to let my brand new camera get wet. So worth it though!

Jack is a designer from Leeds, he and I bonded over our love for art, fashion, photography, and beautiful print publications. Gian-Luca is the incredibly talented head chef at Bella Vista in St Leonards, Gian-Luca hails from Manfredonia and his love and skill for fine Italian cuisine ensures a special treat for diners. 

I can't wait for their wedding at Pilgrim's Rest, Battle next week...

Walk at Birling Gap, East Sussex

After a very hot summer's day a few weeks ago for the wedding of Nikki and Paul at East Dean and Friston Village Hall, I decided to take the scenic route home.
As I wound my through Birling Gap, the most beautiful sunset was happening in my rear view mirror.
Naturally, I decided to jump out of the car and take a few photos as the sun burnt bright red and orange over the cliffs.
It was so incredibly peaceful, the sea was calm, and a very welcome breeze was whipping over the cliff edge. My dad used to take my sister & I here for walks when we were younger, looking up towards the lighthouse on the cliffs brought back many memories. I was really pleased to capture it's silhouette against the sky, as a few walkers were coming over the hill.
Well worth a visit whether you're local or not, The Seven Sisters and Birling Gap is one of the most scenic walks in East Sussex.

Wedding in Henfield, West Sussex - Sarah & Ivor

Sarah & Ivor were married in front of close friends and family at Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Henfield, East Sussex.
Their sweet service followed with portraits at The Tanyard, a gorgeous little spot in the heart of the village.
Sarah led the way down the path as everyone relaxed, chatted, and basked in the lovely warm weather with their loved ones now newly married...

Camber Sands - Windswept

Intimate portrait sessions are some of my favourites, just us and the camera and a stunning backdrop.
Camber Sands is perfect for scanning the horizon, walking in the sand, and movement from the long grass. 
I love Hayley's style, she has a vintage twist and I love how her red dress pops against the neutral tones of the beach. Hayley was one of my Bride's last year, and wore a stunning satin gown, with dainty embellished shoes, and a vintage style veil for her day. It's always fun to see how people bring their personality into their style, whether for a wedding or a portrait session.
If I can, I introduce a prop or two to the session, which can be as simple as gypsophila and fauna, it can help bring an editorial tone to the shoot.

We were hoping for golden hour, plenty of soft, gold light towards sunset - but the weather had other ideas! While it was overcast, the light we were given instead was beautiful and even, enhancing the pretty and neutral tones of the beach. 

Get in touch, let's find a lovely quiet place to wander and make you feel fabulous!

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Engagement shoot at Dunorlan Park, Tunbridge Wells

One of my favourite things about engagement shoots is discovering new lovely places.
Dunorlan Park in Tunbridge Wells is a public park that looks like a National Trust property!
It even has its own Grecian folly and sweeping staircase, which you can see below.
Sarah & Rich are such a sweet couple, I can't wait to photograph their big day next month. 

Family photo shoot at Hastings beach

I love that family can mean so many things.
I grew up the eldest sibling of a step-family, and a bunch of cousins, and as myself and my friends grow older, we now have our own 'family' too.

I met Claire and Matt, and their shared brood for a trip to the seaside in Hastings.
I loved how fun this shoot was, we played games and got a bit sandy and wet!

Wedding at The Old Rectory, Hastings - Laura & Andrew

Laura and Andrew celebrated their nuptials with an intimate ceremony at The Old Rectory, Hastings.
Laura's two lovely daughters helped her get ready, as close friends and family enjoyed pre-wedding drinks in the stunning Crown room.
Their spring ceremony was flooded with bright sunshine on the terrace, giving beautiful views towards the West Hill.
Canapes and portraits followed as the sun started to set on their celebration...

Venue: The Old Rectory, Hastings
Flowers: Shimizu Flowers
Cake: Sylvia's Kitchen

Baby Grace

I've been so lucky to have met some wonderful couples over the years.
I first met Lauren and Matt on their gorgeous engagement shoot, it's still one of my faves, and have been photographing them at each stage as their family has grown.
Now with Zach and 6 week old Baby Grace, their family is complete...

I love snuggled up sessions at home, that quiet time when you're nesting and enjoying being a family. 
Plus, there's nothing quite like that newborn bubba smell is there?