Thursday, 3 January 2013

New Blog!

I have recently moved my entire website, and blog, to a new platform and this page is now no longer updated.

To see the new blog you can either visit or, alternatively, you can find the blog and other information, such as a contact page, on my website at

Monday, 28 May 2012

Elaine and Doug's Wedding at Our Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh

When I went to see Elaine at the Dakota Hotel in South Queensferry to take some pre-wedding preparation pictures I knew straight away that she would be a top contender for the Smiliest Bride of the Year award and remembered why I had made a note in her file after I first met her saying "very happy!" Normally, when I edit the photographs from a wedding, I have to weed out a fair number where the bride (and groom) look like they are, perhaps, pre-occupied and don't look as happy as they could. During the editing of Elaine and Doug's wedding, however, finding smiley pictures wasn't a problem!

The ceremony was to be held at Queensferry Parish Church, just a couple of minutes down the road and Doug's father is, himself, a church minister in Devon (or Cornwall?) and conducted the actual marriage ceremony which was a lovely touch.

From my point of view it was very helpful that Elaine had had the foresight to arrange with the local Scotmid supermarket across the road to let their guests use the car park for the ceremony. An excellent idea - all too often, at the weddings I am photographing, guests are late for the ceremony because they can't park their cars. Brides and grooms-to-be, it might be a point worth considering!

The church itself was really lovely, but very dark (for a camera, at least), and photography wasn't exactly encouraged. It was certainly one of toughest environments have ever had to shoot a ceremony in, not just because of the bad light but there was also almost no view of the bride and groom.  However, with the camera set to silent and the settings up at maximum sensitivity, I managed to covertly capture just a small handful of pictures for Elaine who had been telling me for the previous hour that she was very keen on having some pictures taken...

It's always a real quandary for me when it comes to this kind of this kind of thing - I know that I am not going to get top-notch high-quality pictures no matter what I do in this kind of situation so should I take the pictures at all? I wasn't actually supposed to even be taking pictures. I think I should at least try - Elaine's ceremony pictures are grainier, awkwardly composed and more contrasty than I would normally prefer but they still capture a once-in-a-lifetime moment that can never be repeated. Personally I think it is worth a shot.

After the ceremony Elaine and Doug wanted to have some pictures taken to include the bridges over the Forth and up on Arthur's seat, overlooking the city. Whilst I specialise in photojournalism, which generally speaking is mostly unposed, I am always happy to include a few more pictures of the bride and groom if that is what they want to do. It really isn't a problem. For Elaine and Doug it gave them a chance to revisit parts of Edinburgh that held special meaning for them and, for me, it was just part of the story of their day.

The reception venue was right across on the other side of Edinburgh at Our Dynamic Earth. An unlikely wedding venue I suppose, but a fun place to be and, in practice, really not much different to any other hotel or country house. Apart from the iceberg, dinosaurs and a sabre-toothed tiger. And a swamp. (There's also a periscope and a bit of jungle).

The pay-off of spending time photographing Doug and Elaine and driving through the centre of the city was that we didn't have particularly long to fit in a few family pictures and some informal shots of the guests before dinner. It wasn't really a problem, however, as the ushers were remarkably organised and we raced through the formal pictures in no time at all, leaving me to capture shots of the guests and some of the details.

After dinner, and some fairly long speeches that included a very amusing slide-show of Doug's earlier years, all of the guests moved to the most exciting part of the building (the bit with the swamp etc.) to meet up with the evening guests and have a few more drinks before the dancing in the evening.

Useful Links:
Our Dynamic Earth
Makeup by Mailin Haddow
Dakota Hotel

Friday, 18 May 2012

Charlotte and Keith's Wedding at the Lodge on Loch Lomond

On a very sunny day in April I had the pleasure of making the short trip to the Lodge on Loch Lomond to photograph the wedding of Charlotte and Keith. The lochside location was quite fitting as the wedding had a very nautical theme, although I am not sure that very many of the starfish or beautiful shells came from anywhere near Luss.

I had met Charlotte and Keith some weeks before their wedding and immediately knew that their wedding would be good fun to photograph. They were both very lovely people and they wanted a very relaxed and informal wedding, with the photography to reflect that. When I turned up on the morning of the wedding everyone was bright and chirpy, apart from Keith, whom I had been sent to photograph, who seemed to be ever-so-slightly nervous, and I got to meet the brilliant make-up artist Lynsey Findlay who I had worked with at another wedding only a week or two before!

Charlotte and Keith are both vets and, luckily for them, one of their veterinary friends, Dave White, is also a church minister as well. He led a really good, friendly ceremony and it was enjoyable, even for me as a bystander. He was also quite relaxed about photography, which is always good for me! I actually recognised Dave but couldn't quite place my finger on where I had seen him before. Later on in the day he told me that he had been a guest at a wedding I had photographed last year and that I had taken a nice portrait of him with his family.

At the Lodge that day was a Master of Ceremonies who was trying to ensure that the day ran without a hitch. We had formulated a simple plan whereby he would make an announcement asking all of the guests to make their way outside immediately after the ceremony for a big group picture. It was a great plan as we agreed that it would be quick and the important family members would be there for the few group shots that Charlotte and Keith asked for immediately afterwards to waste as little time as possible.

When the ceremony had finished Charlotte, Keith and myself made our way out to the Loch and waited, and waited... Nobody appeared. It turned out that one of the ushers, who was working to an earlier version of the Plan, had redirected all of the guests back into a different room. Herding 100 wedding guests is never going to be easy I suppose. Still some time later they were coaxed out of the lovely warm room, leaving behind their drinks and canapes, into the sunny but nippy fresh air for some pictures.

The Lodge on Loch Lomond is in the tiny lochside village of Luss, where the second most important boost to the local economy must be weddings (the first being tourism - take a visit on a sunny weekend in the summer and you'll see what I mean). It isn't hard to see why it is a popular place though, given that it is situated only 40 minutes from the centre of Glasgow and offers amazing views of the loch and it's surrounding mountains. We decided to make the most of it and popped along in the car for a few pictures on the pier and a walk along the beach before heading back to the Lodge for dinner and dancing.

Here are links to some of the suppliers:

Make up: Lynsey Findlay
Hair: Kerry Holmes 07753789932
Band: The Reel McCoy
Piper: Colin Lawrie
Florist: Lavender Blue