Friday, 30 April 2010

Sarah's Favourite Photo Friday

Oh dear is it Friday already?

This is always the case with show week, time just disappears! It's a good job I already had a plan for my Friday blog!

Today's photograph comes from the recce shoot for Kate and Adam's wedding that I photographed in Sherborne, Dorset, last year. Kate recently asked if she could have a copy of this particular image and I knew that if I planned to use it in my blog then I wouldn't forget.

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It's cute isn't it! That's the Abbey in the background where they got married. And Sherborne is such a beautiful and calm place, I highly recommend visiting.

I hope you have a relaxing bank holiday weekend. Turns out my long weekend started with an 80s night last night! I may just have to go back to bed to be fit for another performance tonight (that my mum's coming too!).

Friday, 23 April 2010

Sarah's Favourite Photo Friday


Are you glad it's Friday? I am!

Welcome to my new weekly blog post- Favourite Photo Friday. It's not a very original title I know and I'm sorry about that. Any other suggestions welcome.

I have many reasons for starting a weekly posting, it's good blogging habit, it gives me something to plan towards and encourages regular visits to my blog. The title is very vague so that I can let the postings evolve into what I need them to be.

But for the moment my favourite photos are going to be linked with me tying up loose ends and I have a few to keep me going for the next few weeks.

Today's favourite photo is my submission for South Manchester AOS's fundraising calendar. Weeks ago, as a society, we were tasked with digging out our best SMAOS photos to help put together a calendar. Being a photographer member I have literally hundreds and haven't, until today, made the time to go through them all.

This photograph is from our production of the King & I and is long time standing my all time favourite show photograph of mine because I really feel it has the drama and atmosphere to grab the viewer.

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I am actually submitting 8 images for the calendar and if you click the image and go through to my flickr site you can see them all.

Let me know which is your favourite?

I hope you've enjoyed my first new weekly posting. Have an amazing weekend!

Thursday, 22 April 2010

South Manchester AOS present Copacabana {Manchester Performance Photographer}

New day, new catch up blog post, and it's that time of the year again when I'm in show with South Manchester AOS. We're performing Copacabana (that would be an entire musical focused around the Manilow song!) at the RNCM on Oxford Road, Manchester. It starts this Tuesday and finishes Saturday 1st May. We're in the BIG theatre, which is awesome to perform in, but also means we can't sell out, so please, if you're free suddenly of an evening next week, pop along! Performances start at 7.30pm

So the new cast has meant more photography 'actor style head shots' for me to add to the collection I started 6 months ago with The Boyfriend. Here are my favourites from the new ones I took on Sunday.

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I'm definitely getting a sense of consistancy with these which is good.

I'm really quite busy in the show and generally as a result of show week next week so I'm not sure how much photography/blogging will happen. I'm also pretty run down this week :(

But there's one more blog posting to come tomorrow, are you excited?

You should be!

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Sarah's Photography Tips: Group Portraits and an important lesson for me! {Manchester Wedding Photographer}

Almost all the brides and grooms I have worked for so far have not been a fan of the family group portrait and they want it to take as little time as possible. Mark and Hannah are the strongest example of this and I literally had 10 minutes to do what I could.

They asked if we could start with everyone and then take people out rather than the standard gradually adding people in as they felt this would be quicker. And I was unable to think of a reason why not.

Now I know why not!

Here is my first shot of the groups- everyone (family) (I didn't even get to do an everyone, everyone at all, probably a good thing as that was 140 people!)

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So, I don't know where to start with this really.

Lets go for important people. Mark's parents are the two slightly behind and on either side of Mark. At this point in the day I had no idea what Mark's parent's looked like. If we'd started in the normal way I would know, and they'd be beautifully placed at Mark's side for all following shots.

Balance is really important too. So you can achieve basic balance with the parents/siblings family groups, which always seems to result in common sense kicking in when other people join and not too much direction from me. By balance I mean a good boy/girl mix and then heights and spacing. The steps really help with this.

If you start small as well people can watch how you are arranging, they get chance to absorb what is going on. This group were bustled onto the steps from that door behind them and never got chance to look at the scene and see what they were part of. Just imagine walking out of that door onto those steps and being told to stop and smile, not great.

Clearly I missed the boy, very punishable offense on my part, children always at the front or picked up please. I spotted him in the next set up as he was part of a smaller group thankfully.

As a tip for this tips section, for one off big groups on the fly, as it were, get as high as possible and then make everyone spread out, trust me!

In conclusion:

Official wedding group shots starting large and getting smaller... don't do it.


That is all.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Hannah and Mark, Manchester Town Hall. Wedding Photostory

On Easter Saturday I photographed the wedding of Hannah and Mark at Manchester Town Hall. Here is my story of their day. To see all the images and to buy copies please go to their page here.

Once again in Manchester we were promised rain and once again there was none and instead some really lovely moments of sunshine! I started the day at Hannah and Mark's home where Hannah was getting ready.

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I'm having a thing for bouquets at the moment because I think they're all beautiful. I can still remember the smell of Hannah's now, so summery, I actually believe it must be the yellow flowers that brought the sun out that morning!

The boys were at Mr Thomas's Chop House along with what seemed to be all the other guests, the tiny pub was packed!

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Everyone was pulling faces at Mark as I tried to take some serious portraits!

The pub is walking distance to the Town Hall so we did just that!

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Hannah arrived by black cab with her mum and sister. Onto my favourites from the ceremony.

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This face Hannah is pulling is mimicked by Mark during his speech!

Dare I admit that I didn't get the 'man and wife' kiss, I feel bad but I guess it's not always possible if it's really quick (and you're a solo photographer). I did get this one before they walked back down the aisle though.

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Here is the best man comically helping demonstrate the postbox for the cards (Mark borrowed it as he is a teacher) and you can see the cake too!

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Next up, speeches! Slightly funny order to this day. We had done some group shots by this point but the speeches were straight after the drinks reception and before any food. And it was after the food for my portrait session. The first image shows Mark copying Hannah's reaction from before and, from what I gathered, many other occasions!

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And finally I got to steal away the bride and groom.

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You've got to love those arches!

Back to the hall for the first dance accompanied by a Latino style live band.

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It isn't my normal style to add effects like this one so I'd love to know if you think it works? Or is compromising my style just not acceptable?

I've added some glow to my preview favourite and now love it even more...

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And before I finish I have to throw in a picture of Christina as she was the one who recommended me to Mark and Hannah. I hope she likes it otherwise that would ruin the point!

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My final image just has a nice atmosphere to it and reminds me of the music obviously and the colours and grand feel of the hall.

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Sunday, 11 April 2010

Experiements with a Light Scoop- Bex's Hen Do

5 weeks ago I went on a friend's hen do to Centre Parcs wanting to achieve some nice portraits using available light. I used my D80 on ISO1600 with my favourite portrait lens that goes down to f1.8 but still the images were too dark!

This weekend I've just got back from a hen do in London and between the two hen do's I discovered a devise called a Light Scoop which you can get shipped from America that is perfect for mid level cameras like my D80 (there was no way I was lugging the D700 to London but if I did there wouldn't have been a problem with available light, see Mark and Hannah's wedding preview!).

The Light Scoop is a bit of plastic with a mirror in it that you slip over the on camera flash turning it from a horrid, unflattering light to a beautiful soft, diffused light by bouncing it off the walls around you. To find out more visit their website. I highly recommend this attachment if you love photographing portraits, hate carrying loads of heavy equipment and have a mid level camera like a nikon D60/70/80 or a canon 350/400 etc.

So to the results, I didn't even blog the other hen do because the pictures were so bad but I really hope you'll like these.

Here is the hen in question looking lovely before any alcohol was consumed followed by the always beautiful Emily. Both shots taken in a really dark restaurant with curved brick ceilings.

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This next sequence of images are from the Absolut Ice Bar

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Even with the Light Scoop I have to use all the lowest light settings so really I should've had a two person maximum per image otherwise no one would be in focus! However even though there are limitations with the lens it really does produce beautiful portraits. My final images are from the disco cruise we took down the Thames, I was able to continue using the Light Scoop outside as long as I was leaning against the side of the boat to bounce the light.

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The wig's pretty awesome isn't it! Everyone had to wear something orange as it is the wedding colour and this was a genius prop for photographs. There's a picture of me wearing it somewhere that I've agreed to use as my Facebook profile picture- joy!

I'm so pleased with my new toy though, I think these pictures look beautiful and I really had the lightest kit with me and was therefore able to party too!

There's a use for on-board flashes after all! But off camera flash units all the way for weddings still, i'm not that converted ;)

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Louise and Richard, Rookery Hall, Nantwich. Cheshire Wedding Photographer

First wedding of the season now complete and it's time for a new style of blog posting of the images including lots more than usual!

First up on the day were the men. This wasn't actually supposed to be the case but Louise arrived later than expected (and worried us all a little!) that morning. Here's a portrait of the groom, Richard.

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And here's all the men...

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When Louise arrived I joined the girls for some photographs as they got ready. I thought Louise's vintage feel bouquet was stunning.

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This is AJ, Louise's sister and bridesmaid (Louise and Richard's daughter Eva was also bridesmaid).

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Although late, I grabbed this quick moment of Louise coming down the stairs because I knew she really wanted this image.

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Louise with her proud father before going down the aisle.

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The ceremony started as a normal civil service but at the end the registrar left and Louise's Dad, who is a minister, did a blessing. Louise and Richard's children were a big part of the day. Connor was best man and had the rings during the ceremony, meanwhile 2 year old Eva couldn't help but make herself part of the proceedings by calling out when she heard her parents voices delivering the vows!

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After the ceremony I got the steal the newly weds away for some pictures. Rookery Hall has beautiful grounds and we were so lucky with the weather as the forecast said heavy rain and you'll see from the images it was quite the opposite. I really enjoyed this part of the day because both Louise and Richard seemed to appreciate having a short break, I think you can see that on their faces on this first image!

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They're so happy, I love it! The next picture shows just how amazing the weather and views were (although the faces aren't so great, you can't see that, and I really wanted to keep this image in my selection! Next time I do a shot from so far away I'll learn to take a few).

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Next up, a bit of post production for fantastic effect...

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This next image is the one every photographer I researched at Rookery Hall seems to take so I couldn't help myself! A bit cheesy though right!?

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I am very proud of my group shot, just look at the scenery!

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Speeches next and Connor gave a fantastic best man speech. I love this shot with his Dad laughing in the background!

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Then the other two best men, long time friends of Richard, gave their speech including a version of the game Mr and Mrs.

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After the speeches I grabbed Louise and Richard for the twilight shots we had discussed trying to achieve. It was a bit later than it should have been so there wasn't a lot of blue left in the sky but enough to make it worth it. Here's a different image to the one I used in my preview blog.

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On to the first dance and this is my favourite image.

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My last image shows what you get when you combine one very happy boy and a chocolate fountain!

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I hope you've enjoyed my new style wedding photo story. If you want to see more photographs from Louise and Richard's day you can visit their main page here.

I'm taking part in and photographing a hen do in London this weekend but will be back next week with hopefully the photographs from Saturday's wedding.