One of the questions I get asked over and over again is what would Gareth and I do differently if we were getting married today. Of course my answer is always “so much!”. Both of us have changed considerably over the last five and a half years and our styles and tastes couldn’t be more different to how they were back in 2008.
As many of you will have read last week, Lisa asked if we would model at the two year anniversary of her Photography Farm. During every workshop she organises a styled shoot for her students to practice what they’ve learnt, but more than just that, she always pushes herself and her team to come up with something creative that reflects the real-life couple who are modelling.
When we started chatting about the kind of shoot Gareth and I might have, we began by discussing the whole “how would you do your wedding differently?” question. And then Lisa had a brainwave. Photography workshops are supposed to be all about teaching aspiring wedding photographers how to book, shoot and process weddings, but they only ever give the students the chance to practice these things in an unnatural situation – i.e. a styled shoot. Sure, the couple might be real and the styling authentic, but getting the shot when you have two hours to work with the couple is a totally different beast to needing to nail it first time and getting creative within your ten minute allocated time-slot for couple portraits.
Veronica and Craig are pretty much obsessed with their camper van, so when wedding photographer Lisa Devlin asked them if they’d like to model for her upcoming Photography Farm, a 3-day residential photography workshop in the heart of Sussex, they asked if it could get in on the action too! From there an idea started to form for the shoot and Lisa, alongside florist and stylist extraordinaire Hannah of The Tea Set, came up with the concept of a Summer of Love theme.
“The weather was amazing for our shoot” explains Lisa. “These two have just had their second wedding anniversary and when we sent over some questions to get to know them a little better, they came back saying the only thing interesting about them was their VW Camper van. Well, we can certainly work with that and so our hippy flower power theme developed. When we do these shoots, I hand over the styling to the utterly brilliant Hannah at The Tea Set who not only creatively directs the shoot but also puts together all the gorgeous flowers. She collaborated with the wonderful Elbie Van Eeden on getting the right look for Ronnie and made the flower headpiece.”
The Photography Farm is a three-day workshop for wedding photographers, hosted by Lisa Devlin on a beautiful 12-acre farm near Gatwick. I’ve been involved with The Farm since it’s inception, helping to style the shoots and speaking to the ‘farmers’ about blogging, working with wedding blogs, advertising & marketing and building a successful online brand.
I love The Farm. It’s quickly become my home away from home, a place I look forward to escaping to and somewhere I get to meet a whole host of new and exciting emerging wedding photography talent. I always leave the safe confines of the 16th century farmhouse with a head full of ideas, a new jolt of inspiration and a renewed invigoration for where the UK wedding industry is heading.
At each workshop, we pull together a styled shoot concept for the farmers to practice the techniques that Lisa teaches them on the first day. However never wanting to keep things simple, we always strive to come up with a creative idea to really get those farmers excited. For this latest shoot we had newlyweds Hannah & Iwan as our models.
There has been a huge shift in how the wedding industry views styled shoots. When I first started doing them (remember these?! – look at that baby face!) there was really no such concept. Styled wedding editorials were the reserve of glossy wedding magazines with their big budgets and large teams. But over the past few years there’s been a huge shift, and now hundreds of small groups of wedding suppliers are gathering together to showcase their skills and play with new themes, trends and ideas. They’re featured on wedding blogs daily and even the wedding magazines, for the most part, have cut down on the number of editorials they shoot, opting to instead publish the offerings of these eager-for-publicity contributors.
I’ve held off blogging this gorgeous shoot from the last Photography Farm workshop for a while because we have a very special announcement to go alongside it. More about that at the bottom of this post!
At the last Photography Farm, which took place in September, Lisa & I decided that for our couple shoot we’d channel a bit of Americana, rockabilly and vintage Vegas inspiration! The first thing we did was decide on our models. The gorgeous flame haired Lisa Jane is a wedding photographer (and ex-Farmer) herself so when we asked if she and husband Alex would like to be our models, she didn’t hesitate. We sat down and discussed the theme with her and she loved it (these guys were actually married in Vegas). However the added genius came from Alex, who asked if he could wear his dinosaur onesie. Needless to say our answer was a resounding “Hell. Yes!”
Our next port of call was the amazing Jo from The Couture Company who said she had a dress that was perfect for our theme. ‘Steph’ is a grey, 3/4 length sleeved and 1950s inspired number made of stunning silk dupion. It worked perfectly with our kitsch theme! Lisa also wore Irregular Choice shoes (from my personal collection) a giant red bow from Crown and Glory, jewellery by Junk Jewels and EPIC bedazzled sunglasses by Rene Walrus! Believe me, it took all my strength to not run off with those babies!
Finally, and by a massive stroke of luck, the guys at The Photo Emporium just happened to get in touch with me just as we were pulling this all together to tell me about their latest and greatest photo booth idea – a photo booth in an actual vintage airstream! I die.
So we set the airstream up as the centrepiece to the shoot (and of course we had much fun playing around with it once we wrapped). Clearly it was meant to be.
I was proper thrilled when they guys at The Photo Emporium offered to lend us their – wait for it – airstream photo booth (!!!!) for the last Photography Farm. Anyone that knows me knows that I am a serious photo booth junkie and the fact that it was inside an actual airstream made me even more excited! In fact we basically planned the whole damn shoot around it.
I’ll be sharing the results of this shoot really soon, but I didn’t want to waste any time introducing you to these guys and what they do. If you’re having an outdoor or festival themed wedding, then HOW PERFECT would an airstream photo booth be?
The Photo Emporium offer a range of photo booths (or more accurately pop up photo studios – these ain’t no ordinary booths as you can see!) to suit various wedding themes. Their brand new airstream is sure to become an icon and their vintage set is requested again and again for vintage style weddings. But if you’d like something more classic, they do have a range of more traditional booth set ups too. Each booth is set up with a DLSR camera inside and you simply press a touch screen and strike a pose. Oh and the best thing?! A print automatically pops out the bottom – instant satisfaction (or cringing, whichever way you look at it…)
Hire prices start at £800 and for more info on all the options be sure to check out their website! The company are based in London but happy to take their booths all over the UK.
When Lisa & I sit down to plan the Photography Farm styled shoots our criteria is simple – will it be fun and will it fulfill a current obsession? Well I can safely say we hit both those things with this one! Ice Cream Dream was born from our unwavering obsession with rainbow colour palettes and the fact that Hannah, our props stylist, has her own vintage ice cream cart (that she hires out at weddings – don’t you just I love this idea!?) Plus the gorgeous Elbie, who we’d roped into modelling for us, is as cute as an actual button and has the most rampant sweet tooth, like, ever. Our plan was for her to look like a sugary sweet treat herself and I think we managed to achieve that pretty well actually! I also can’t get over how good she looks with lilac hair. Jealous much?!
I have a bit of an obsession with candy coloured wigs, and this lavender creation from Annabelle’s Wigs was perfect for the job. We then called upon our gal Jo at The Couture Company to see if she could whip up (see what I did there!?) a dress with an ice cream influence. Jo suggested her Polly gown, which is handmade from silk with embroidered detailing, alongside some fluffy multi-coloured petticoats. It turned out to be a more than perfect combination! She also handmade us a cute bird brooch which added some quirky detailing to the overall look.
With the gorgeous dress, fashion stylist Laura & I teamed some ombre pink tights (which were a gift to me from Roo) some mental Jeffrey Campbell shoes, my Sparklebeast necklace (worn as a belt) and some Crown and Glory head candy… and yes, I totally stole both the flower crown and the giant pink bow afterwards – how could I not?!