Tag Archives: photography

A Different View & Finding the Right Wedding Photographer

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What are you looking for in your wedding photographer? Someone who shoots images you love, who you quite like as person and that fits within your budget I’d assume. But today let’s look a little deeper. I want to talk to you about photographic style, and hopefully to highlight the importance of the art of your wedding photography. Bear with me, this is all starting to sound a little airy fairy and arty farty but I do have a valid point I promise…

I believe that all photography – illustrated in no better a place than weddings - is art. No question. In my mind no other creative has to work as quickly or to such precision as a wedding photographer. They are required to capture fleeting moments and blink and you’ll miss them memories on the most important day of someone’s life. No pressure right?

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I may have always known this, I mean I’ve been banging on about how much I love and respect wedding photographers for years, but it wasn’t until recently, just last month in Paris in fact, that the validity of the art itself became so clear to me. Yeah, yeah, yeah – I’m going off on an airy fairy tangent again. OK let me clarify…

For our Parisian jaunt, we had both Lisa Devlin and Shell de Mar shooting us. Having such a busy few weeks beforehand we hadn’t really planned the shoot extensively – we were just going to rock up to our apartment, find the Eiffel Tower and hopefully make some magic. The day went great, the locations were perfect and we had outfits that worked really well (sounds stupid, but makes such a difference when you’re doing shots of the three of us together!) All in all we were pretty chuffed with what we’d pulled out of le sac magique.

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The Inspirations: Lara Jade

Photography Credit: Oscar May

I’ve admired Lara and her work for a few years now. I’m not only incredibly enthralled by her fashion photography and attitude to business (and a tough business at that!) but the fact that she found ‘fame’ so young (she started sharing her self portraits online when she was just 14!) and has achieved so much all before her 23rd birthday.

‘Woah’ indeed…

Photography Credit: Oscar May

Hey Lara, for those of my readers who might not have heard of you can you introduce yourself – who you are, what you do, your journey to where you are today?

Of course! I’m Lara Jade, a fashion and advertising photographer from England currently residing in New York City. Like many young photographers, I took an interest in photography at a very young age (fourteen, in fact) purely by realizing that every other artistic medium frustrated me! I found photography after researching other artistic communities online, and during my school exams I experimented with it for my final project and was instantly hooked! In the beginning it was for fun, I’d experiment with costumes and disguises, placing myself in front of the camera as different characters (a la Cindy Sherman!) which enabled me to hone my skills and build my confidence to work with models and bigger styling teams. 

You recently moved from England to NYC, why did you do this and do you feel the move has benefited your career? What does NYC offer that London doesn’t? do you think you’ll stay there forever?

Truthfully, I was at a point in my life where I needed a change of pace and NYC offered this. I decided on moving there after visiting for the first time in February 2010, and realized the rush of the city and new culture was what I needed to regain my inspiration in my personal and work life. After my second trip to NYC in the summer of 2010, I worked hard on the goal of moving there, and a year later I was there! I can’t say I’ll be here forever, but you can never say never! I enjoy being able to have a home base and travelling from it, and it’s great to be in a place where there are likeminded creatives and a pulsing art/photography community.

What is it about fashion photography that you love and why did you want to shoot fashion instead of any other type of photography?

When I first started photography, I was only interested in conceptualized fine-art pieces and self-portraiture – something that offered meaning and was visually impactful. However, later on in my career; after having a taste of the London scene, I realized that fashion photography could have this effect too – it wasn’t just about selling clothes, it was also about selling a meaning or lifestyle, and so I combined the two things together, and started shooting fashion stories.

To many, fashion photography will seem like the impossible dream to work in, do you have any advice for anyone that wants to pursue this path?

I am definitely not going to say it’s easy! You have to develop yourself a lot personally and visually as an artist and offer something that is instantly recognisable – style is everything, and everyone is looking for the next big thing. However, if you have a great style and no networking, you’re never going to be noticed. Fashion photographers have to have a great body of work in their portfolio, as well as great social networking skills to be able to market themselves, so this is why it’s vital to understand the photography AND fashion industry as a whole.

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Should I Book a Professional Wedding Photographer or Get a Friend to do it for Free? A Cautionary Tale…

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Photography Credit: James Melia (full wedding)

You’ve probably seen similar discussions to this on other wedding blogs, however today I wanted to share with you this cautionary tale from a bride who had personal experience of taking the cheaper option and was unhappy with the results. Now, I know spending £2000 on a wedding photographer isn’t possible for everyone, however the point of this post is not to bully you into paying for someone you can’t afford. No, I wanted to share this story with you so that you make your decision with your eyes wide open. I just want to be open and honest with you and to let you know that, as with most things in life, you really do get what you pay for…and if something sounds too good to be true then it probably is.

If wedding photography isn’t that big a deal to you, the great – who am I to tell you that’s wrong? However it breaks my heart when I hear from newlyweds that say ‘I wish we’d thought more about our photography. We spent more on the cake/my dress/the flowers and now we have no good photos to remember our day’.

OK, Over to you Mrs X…

♥  ♥  ♥

I have asked for this post to be anonymous so that people reading this don’t think it’s a shameless marketing ploy. I may now be a professional wedding photographer myself, but I didn’t want to write this article to promote myself. No, I really just wanted to share this cautionary tale with those of you who might not understand the importance of having great wedding photographs.

It’s been a few years since I got married but when I think back to it I get a sick feeling.  It wasn’t the family argument that happened (don’t get me started on that!), nor was it the fact that we funded it with a loan which we are still paying off.  Nope, the sick feeling is purely centred around my foolishness and the pretty terrible images we now have to look back on for the rest of our lives.

Here I am a few years later, now a ‘pro’ photographer myself (who knew that would happen!!) and I now have a new found understanding of the skills required to shoot a wedding. I find myself wishing I knew then what I know now. You may have read articles from photographers before staying how important it is that your wedding photographer has experience, knows how to handle lighting and uses the right equipment etc, and while I am here to reiterate these points, I’m not here to say these things to pimp my own services. I figured this article could be a little cathartic for me and I really hope I can help you think a little bit more about your decision – whether that be to spend money on your wedding photography, or to go for the cheaper option of hiring someone with no experience – maybe a friend with a nice camera who has offered to do it for free. Please note that a ‘nice camera’ does not a good wedding photographer make!

We got married in December and I now appreciate that winter weddings, where you come out of the ceremony to the cold and dark, are bloody hard work and really difficult to photograph.  I understand that romantic candle lit receptions might look gorgeous in ‘real life’ but require a certain level of skill to capture on camera, and above all I now know that all of the money I spent making the venue look beautiful and cosy was pretty much wasted.  OK so our guests will always remember how beautiful the venue looked, but for me the day flew by so fast and I don’t remember much of it myself!  Every time I mention my wedding my Mum says ‘But it looked so beautiful’ and whilst I’m sure that’s not just her being kind (it’s really not her style) it has made me hate my own wedding because I don’t look back at my photos and see a beautiful wedding, I look at them and see horribly dark and blurry photos.

You see, not realising the true impact of what I was doing, I asked my friend to shoot my big day.  He had a DSLR and could take amazing pictures of cars so he must be able to shoot my winter wedding right? Wrong!

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Giant Nests, Smoke Machines & A Bath of Feathers – An Advanced Flash Workshop at The Photography Farm

The second Photography Farm (remember the first one which I took part in?) took place earlier this month. The subject was advanced flash techniques and using off-camera flash. Organiser Lisa Devlin invited Adam Bronkhorst of Viva Photography, an expert in the field, to teach the latest ‘farmers’ all about using it in their own work.

As part of the experience the students were treated to another amazing styled shoot set up by Hannah of The Tea Set. The inspiration for the shoot was a dark gothic winter vibe, as Lisa explained, “We always knew this Farm was going to have a very different feel to the last one. This time we were exploring advanced flash techniques as opposed to working with available light and it would be a night shoot in the winter. So I got to thinking gothic and got to pinning.”

“The look also started with our couple, the beautiful Martina and Leslie. Martina has great strong features and hair the colour of swan feathers. Once we found the right dresses from the amazing Hope and Harlequin the direction started to be winter/gothic/nordic/gypsy/feathers.”

“We went to The Farm with our awesome stylist Hannah from The Tea Set and after discussing shooting down with the couple laying on the floor, the idea of a big giant nest out in the woods was born. When I saw the Bird of Paradise Hat from Jane Taylor Millinery it was the perfect finishing touch, it is a work of art. Hannah and Jayne once again worked their magic and came up with sets that translated the theme through antique taxidermy, fire, food and a brace of pheasants.”

Isn’t the vibe of these shots just incredible? If you are interested in taking part in the next Advanced Flash workshop at The Photography Farm, it will be taking place between 3st January and 2nd February 2012 and the next Engagement & Wedding farm will be taking place between the 13th-15th March (which I’ll be speaking at).

The price for both two & a half day workshops is just £950 and accommodation and all meals are included. For further info or to book your place, Lisa can be contacted via email or by phone on 01273 231047.

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Why I Don’t Feature Many Engagement Shoots…

Photography Credit: Blue Lily Photography (Full shoot coming up soon!)

I’m often asked by wedding photographers what I look for in engagement shoots. You see, unlike many wedding blogs I actually feature very few pre-wedding shoots – in fact since January this year I’ve actually only featured 30 (out of approximately 780 blog posts in total!)

So why do I feature so few? Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE engagement shoots and I am a strong advocate for every single one of you having one before your wedding. They not only help you to get to know your wedding photographer before the wedding, but they give you a practice run for what it will be like to be photographed on your big day. For most of you, your wedding will be the first time you’ve been professionally photographed so you’re likely to be nervous. A pre-wedding shoot will help you to a) see that it’s actually not that scary and b) relax you about the whole thing before the wedding.

Now, don’t kill me, but the thing with engagement shoots is that often they are a lot more interesting to the actual couple and their close friends and family than to anyone else – i.e having a simple shoot of you and your beau is amazing for you guys and will give you some fabulous photos to put on your wall (or display at your wedding – I love this idea!) However to people that don’t know you, or anything about your relationship, seeing yet another anonymous couple frolicking in a field or enjoying a vintage picnic is, forgive me, a little dull.

…OK maybe ‘dull’ is the wrong word actually…overdone would be better. On Rock n Roll Bride I want to inspire my readers with new ideas, and let’s be honest, we’ve all seen these kinds of photo shoots before haven’t we?

My job as a wedding blogger is to share inspirational and aspirational wedding related images and not all engagement shoots fit that criteria. (Again, I am going to repeat myself on this one because the last thing I want to do is offend anyone that’s having a vintage picnic engagement shoot…seriously, at the end of the day, who cares what I think!?)

This is actually quite a hard post to write without making you think ‘Oh Kat’s an engagement shoot snob and if it’s not good enough for her shes not going post it.. that must mean that my engagement shoot is crap. My God she’s such a bitch…’ So I’m just going to reiterate one more time that this is the not the case at all and the only reason I’m actually putting this down on paper is because I’ve been asked the same question by wedding photographers so many times.

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‘Rock n Rainbow’: An After the Rainbow Inspiration Shoot at The Photography Farm (+ Behind the Scenes Video)

I’m a huge Wizard of Oz nerd, so when wedding photographer extraordinaire Lisa Devlin asked if I fancied attending her first Photography Farm workshop to model in an ‘After the Rainbow’ themed styled shoot…well my biggest concern was whether I’d actually get to wear some ruby slippers…and you know what? I did!

We even had a Toto! Although I think she knew I’m a cat person as she spent most of the time trying to run away from me. Hum…

The idea for the shoot was that Dorothy (ahem that’s me) had just landed back from Oz, and is back on the farm in Kansas dreaming of that place over the rainbow…oh and because it’s me I had to get the rainbow hair back didn’t I? The rainbow theme kinda exploded a little bit but I love it!

More of my faves…oh the light was just magical!

Make-up Artiste Elbie & I came up with the idea of sparkles on my lips. They didn’t last long (you can see in some late photos that they’re kinda half slipping off) but they certainly looked awesome in the magic light…

Stylists Hannah of The Tea Set and Jayne Sacco & Sacco Photography made us three beautiful sets to shoot in – this was the second, a farmer’s market theme. Be sure to click through to the gallery to see all the glorious details!

Lisa asked me to ‘do something’ with the carrots…erm…so I did…

The third setting – all bunting, apples & chickens. Lovely…

And talking of chickens, yes I did hold one. I was very brave…as was the chicken (you can see in my face in some of the other shots (in the gallery) that I’m a little concerned about my predicament)

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