Tag Archives: photography farm

My Only Speaking Event of the Year: FarmShop 2017

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From 2012 to 2015 I did a LOT of public speaking. And for someone who would actively avoid it at all costs while at school (even so much as faking illnesses – sorry mum!) this was no mean feat. I wouldn’t say I’m a natural public speaker, but when I stand up on stage, I do end up really loving it!

Although I still get incredibly nervous, I enjoy teaching. I love sharing what I’ve learnt over the years with other people. I like to be able to use my position (even though that phrase makes me cringe) to help other people make waves in their own lives and businesses.

Which is why I am thrilled to let you know what I will be speaking at the Photography Farm’s FarmShop in Brighton and Glasgow in March. I haven’t spoken at a wedding photography event since October 2015 and this is most likely going to be my only one for 2017 too!

So what is FarmShop?

For the past four years, the Photography Farm have hosted an annual ‘Farm Week’, offering individual classes for wedding photographers hosted on a real life farm in Sussex.

For 2017, they’ve decided to shake things up a bit with a much larger, conference style event (don’t let that word put you off, it’s going to be really fun, I promise!) where rather than booking into individual classes, attendees will be able to listen to every single speaker all for the one price.

It’s a super international event too, and if you come along you’ll be able to learn from Sara K Byrne (USA), Mark Pacura (UK) Todd Hunter McGaw (Australia), Jim Pollard (New Zealand), Janneke Storm (Australia), Lisa Jane (UK), Phil Chester (USA), James Frost (UK) and, of course, yours truly!

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How is this event different from all the other photography workshops and conferences?

Let’s be real here – there are a lot of workshops for wedding photographers to spend their hard-earned cash on. Even as a non-photographer I’ve attended a lot of them (as a speaker and an attendee) and, as these things usually go, some are much better than others.

I have been to too many workshops where the speaker simply tells their story, with a few easily Googleable (is that a word?) lessons thrown into the mix. That’s all fine if you particularly love that speaker or you just want a few actionable pieces of advice to go home with, but what if you want to learn the real nuts and bolts of it all?

FarmShop will be different because the format is completely new. Instead of each speaker standing at the front on their own, lamenting about how they got started in wedding photography and telling the audience to ‘be authentic’ (or whatever buzz-phrase is popular right now!) the format has been set up so each speaker’s section seamlessly leads onto the next.

Each lesson will build on the next meaning we’ll be taking you through step-by-step with everything you need to know as a wedding photographer – from launching your business to branding to working with clients to marketing and beyond. Speakers will stay on stage to chip in on each other’s sections so not only will you get access to an enormous amount of experience, but you will be encouraged to take part, workshop style, not just sit and passively listen to the talks.

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Love is Blindness: A Dracula Bridal Shoot

Dracula's Bride // Love is Blindness

Like any good teenage goth, I grew up with a slight fascination with vampires. From Blade to The Lost, BoysFrom Dusk till Dawn to Interview with the Vampire… I even not-so-secretly loved the universally panned Queen of the Damned (well, the soundtrack was good!) So when photographer Lisa Devlin showed me the Dracula inspired bridal shoot that she created at the last Photography Farm workshop, I was super excited to share it!

Dracula's Bride // Love is Blindness

“The inspiration, just like all of the shoots at Photography Farm, was our models”, she told me. “When I met our couple, Shannon and Jack, we started thinking about creating a shoot that was a fresh take on the bride of Dracula. I have a copy of Bram Stoker’s Dracula from the 1920s but as I’m not really into doing ‘themes shoots’, we really just wanted this to be the starting point. We also looked at the Twilight series of movies and the track Love is Blindness by Jack White.”

Dracula's Bride // Love is Blindness

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“Rusalka” Styled Wedding Shoot

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For the photo shoot at the latest Photography Farm workshop, photographer Lisa Devlin knew she needed to do something big. After all, at the last Farm Gareth and I got married again! After seeing Megan and Grant’s gorgeous wedding on Rock n Roll Bride, and reading how much Megan loves Disney (and just so happens to resemble a certain crimson haired mermaid) the ideas started bubbling away. She wanted to put a different twist on the mermaid idea though and eventually came across the story of Rusalka, from which The Little Mermaid movie was based. Luckily Megan and Grant also loved the idea and we’re thrilled to model for her!

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“Our shoot was based on the Slavic Myth of Rusalkas”, Lisa told me, “Water spirits or mermaids with long red hair, who had to come into the woods for one week each year where they whiled away the time longing for the sea and hanging out by streams and rivers trying to lure young men into the water. Our slight twist is that our Rusalka falls in love with a boy in the woods and decides to stay so she has to make do with the bathtub!”

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So, We Got Married… (Again!)

Rock n Roll Bride Wedding | Lisa Devlin

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.

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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.

Rock n Roll Bride Wedding | Lisa Devlin

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Summer of Love: Veronica & Craig at The Photography Farm

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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.

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“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.”

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The Photography Farm & The Catastrophic Rise of the Styled Wedding Shoot

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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.

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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.

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A Sunday Kind of Love: Airstream Photo Booth by The Photo Emporium

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.

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Elbie’s Ice Cream Dream

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?!

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Thursday Treats Lite: 6th September 2012

Yes, that’s me in a jacuzzi in my dress… and what?

Oh hello September how glorious you’ve been so far!

Anyone that follows me on twitter or instagram will know that this week I’ve been living it up at the Photography Farm retreat. Basically, everyone who comes on the Farm always wants to come back, so Lisa & I thought, hell, let’s just hire it for a week and hang out! So we did. And it was fabulous.

We drank cosmos, we sat in the jacuzzi until we were wrinkly, we laughed, we danced, we talked about weddings A LOT. It was perfect and just the break I needed. Everything’s been a bit full on and crazy recently so it was SO GOOD to completely unplug and decompress.

Although needless to say it does kinda mean that I haven’t got the usual plethora of yummy treats to share will you, so instead I thought I’d make you all a bit jealous…

It’s all so lush & green down on the farm

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Hippy Luxe at The Photography Farm

As the fourth Photography Farm drew near Lisa and I sat down with Hannah, stylist extraordinaire, to plan the shoots. I always look forward to this epic 3-day wedding photographers workshop as I know I’ll learn new things, make new friends and have a hell of a good time in the process. We do two styled shoots on the first day but the second, a bridal shoot, is always the most exciting and experimental. I’m so excited to come up with a new concept and work with the Farm dream team to make it a reality.

We first start by deciding on our model. After umming and ahhing over the people we could ask for a while (we prefer to use ‘real’ girls over professional models), it came to me – what about my sister Rachel? And yes, before you ask, we did name our cat after her!

With her long dreadlocks, nose ring and ginormous Disney princess eyes she has a really unique look… and hello? She’s effing beautiful to boot. The girls were really excited about working with her so we set to coming up with ideas to suit Rachel’s own personal style. That’s the great thing about planning shoots for The Farm. The sky’s the limit with what we can do, but we also like to start with the model and work outwards. It’s super important that whatever we come up with links back to the girl in the middle of it all, only that way does something so special and authentic result.

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Wedding Photography Workshops 2012

I’m not ashamed to admit that I love a photography workshop. No, I know, I’m not a professional photographer but I find them so inspiring! I’ve also been lucky enough to be involved with organising, speaking at and generally sharing the love for so many of them. So, today I thought I’d put together a comprehensive list of some of the ones that are coming up soon. There is a workshop out there for you, the hardest part is picking the right one!

The Photography Farm – Lisa Devlin

Where: The Photography Farm, Sussex, UK
When: 16th-18th July 2012
Duration: 3 days
Price: £950
Included: Food (breakfast, lunch & dinner for 2 days, breakfast on the 3rd) & accommodation for 2 nights. Goodie bag & discounts.
Maximum Number of Attendees: 10
Syllabus: Planning of engagement shoots and wedding photography. Styled bridal shoot and engagement shoot. Post-Production. Blogging (guest speaker Kat Williams of Rock n Roll Bride – how to improve your own blogs and get featured on professional wedding blogs). Business School. One-to-one session with Lisa. After-support via a private, closed facebook group. Access to swimming pool & hot tub (!)

For Enquires & Bookings: Email Lisa on lisa@devlinphotos.co.uk or call 01273231047. More info via the Photography Farm website.

Win a place at the Photography Farm: For you chance to win a spot at the July Photography Farm tweet @photographyfarm or leave a message on the wall of the Photography Farm facebook page and let Lisa know why you think yuo should be there!

Film is not Dead – Jonathan Canalas

Where: Surrey, UK
When: May 28th-30th (Workshops also taking place in Boston – June 11th-13th and Charleston SC – Oct 15th-17th)
Duration: 3 days
Price: $2300
Included: Breakfast & lunch on all 3 days. Goodie bag & discounts.
Maximum Number of Attendees: 15
Syllabus: FILM – who, what, when, where, why and how? Getting published. The Power of a blog. On and off camera flash with film. Storytelling through details. Loving Family Formals. Instaproofs : how it will change your life. Refining your vision.

For Enquires & Bookings: Email Jonathan on jonathan@jonathancanlasphotography.com. More info via the Film is not Dead website.

Feet First – Our Labor of Love & Max Wanger

Where: New York City
When: 1st & 2nd August 2012
Duration: 2 days
Price: $1500
Included: Breakfast & Lunch on both days. Goodie bag & discounts.
Maximum Number of Attendees: 20
Syllabus: You will learn about our ideas & philosophies. Marketing. Client relations. Technical concepts. Packaging. The gear we use. Pricing. Lighting. Editing. Albums. Finding ways to stay inspired. Styled shoot.

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Modern Miss Havisham at The Photography Farm

Last week saw the third Photography Farm organised and hosted by wedding photographer Lisa Devlin. I was super excited to be invited along again to talk about blogging, to help style the shoot which we asked Roo to model for.

Lisa, stylists Hannah and Jayne and myself have been planning this spooky Miss Havisham-esque shoot for a few months now so it was seriously exciting too see it all come together! Hannah and Jayne did an amazing job of creating a indoor/outdoor sets in the woods behind the farm. Roo also had a lot of input into the feel of the shoot as one of the great things about The Farm is that we try to make each theme relevant to the models. It would be a bit ridiculous plonking Roo in a vintage picnic set with cupcakes and balloons for example as that just isn’t her!

I was tasked with the fashion styling and as soon as we’d decided on the brief, I knew there was only one woman for the job of creating the perfect wedding dress – Jo (& her assistant Sally) from The Couture Company. These girls are masters of corsets and are well known for their gorgeous and huge tulle skirts. I just knew with Jo’s flair for design and Sally’s genius and intricate eye for detail that we’d have the perfect dress. Jo didn’t flinch when I told her we wanted the dress to look ‘kinda decayed and covered in, you know, fungi and stuff…’ and she created this beauty for us from scratch. She added antique lace to the dress and my veil (yes from my own wedding) to complete the look. We even borrowed a crown from Elisabeth Armstrong. Isn’t it amazing?!

Lisa called me a few days before The Farm to ask if I’d like some diamonds to go with the outfit…erm, like she needed to ask me twice! Especially when she texted me a photo of the ridiculous (in a good way!) necklace below…

And yes those are real multi-coloured sapphires and diamonds. I dared not ask how much it was worth. We sure don’t do things by half at The Farm!

“Our collective Farm plotting had begun some time ago, when the six of us decided to take to our latest addictive medium, Pinterest, and brainstorm our ideas for the shoot,” Roo explains. “Lisa and Kat had already concocted the idea of a Miss Havisham (á la Great Expectations) theme, and from the word go I felt like everything everybody wanted and expected from the shoot was of a mutual understanding. We were all absolutely on the same page, and when it came to the morning of the shoot I didn’t feel nervous at all. More than anything I was excited to see all our collaborative creativity come together – I was both thrilled to see some familiar faces and honoured to be working with a few new ones. The whole day didn’t disappoint (aside from it being over, that is!)”

“I do wonder whether it was because I’d already experienced being professionally photographed before; I felt more at ease with hearing the trademark click-click-click-click-click every couple of seconds, I was certainly less shy at meeting all the wonderful photographers, and I was able to relax throughout the whole two-hour shoot at the full direction of everybody, because I knew I could trust them to get my “best side”. After all, they were trusting me to give them my best side, too. Match that with an other-worldly dress, outrageous jewellery and stunning hair and make-up, and you’re good to go. The results all speak for themselves – I don’t know if anyone was nervous that day or if anybody needed a confidence boost, but I think we all earned one anyway! Pats on the back all ’round.”

“The shoot itself was wonderful. Sitting in a nook not-so deep in the woods of the Farm, I immediately felt like we’d been transported somewhere else, somewhen else. I felt so detached from my real life and standing there alone in shot, I really thought I was alone, just like I was supposed to. It was odd – I don’t want to say that I felt abandoned but I certainly felt like I was in some kind of bubble, like everything about the costume and the set and the natural surroundings all helped to pertain to this idea of Miss Havisham’s life literally stopping and freezing, and becoming a snapshot. It was creepy, and ethereal, and a little sad. It was wonderful.”

“P.S. Lisa Devlin is a marvel. There is something in her that you only ever find in very few people, let alone photographers. In a parallel universe somewhere I reckon she’s probably my dream man, because she kept telling me I was nailing it and rocking it and that I looked like a stone cold fox – and you know what? I believed her. If you ever get the opportunity to work with her, hire her, or even buy her a cuppa then I highly recommend you do, because she’s one of those little diamonds that I’m realising are rare in the wedding industry – and life in general.”

Seriously…what a pro.

It was actually nice to not be the one modeling for once. I even got to have a play with my camera and learnt some tricks myself. I’m certainly no professional photographer but I’m pretty proud of what I managed to snap under Lisa’s tuition! Roo’s getting pretty good at the old posing thing too right?

Yes, I took this photo (and the last 5 in the gallery below!)

One of my favourite things about The Photography Farm is that we have a whole three (OK well 2 and a half) days together. Sometimes at photography workshops there is SO MUCH to take in in just one day, but being there for an extended time not only allows us to all really get to know each other, but it gives us all more time to take things in and ask questions. Dinner is one of my favourite times, not just because of the yummy food (!), but because we can all ask questions, learn and grow together without a daunting classroom environment!

More images and info about booking on to the next Photography Farm after the ‘jump’!

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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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