What exactly is a bridal portrait session?
Bridal portraits happen when a bride and a photographer team up to make some beautiful images. It is a favourite part of many wedding photography packages in America, although probably more popular in the southern US, than the north. Bridal sessions are valuable in that there is rarely enough time on your wedding day, to devote to getting a few gorgeous images of you alone, in all your finery!
Why should I go to all that trouble?
Well, aside from the fact that it’ll be fun and a whole day of ‘me’ time, think nails, hair and makeup, it is a chance to make sure that your wedding day look, works as you had planned. Negotiate an extra trial for your hair and makeup and ask your florist to make a smaller trial bouquet for your bridal portraits. The resulting images will be cherished by your future husband, not to mention your parents and it’s another opportunity to wear that gorgeous dress!
Just how well do you know your wedding dress?
At a bridal portrait session, you going to find out how well your wedding dress fits, how easily it moves, how it feels like when you sit in it. You will experience its weight, and figure out how tight is too tight??!! I have actually had a bride faint during a bridal portrait session, due to her dress being laced too tight. I did catch her though, without dropping my camera, and I have the shoulder injury to prove it!!
Wedding dresses come with all kinds of petticoats, zips, straps, ribbons, lace, buttons and what the heck are those extra fabric panels for? You will also find out how well your underwear works under your dress; does it cut into in to you, does it cause chafing etc. How tight do you tie your petticoat, and where on earth does that go? I would rather you find out 6 weeks before, than on the morning of your wedding!
Some wedding dresses have a bustle, which I highly recommend by the way, as they are very elegant and functional, although at times notoriously complicated! It will help tremendously if at least one person has bustled your dress before your wedding day. As your photographer, I will have witnessed the bustling on the day of the bridal portraits, and may be able to step in to help, if need be.
This is also a great opportunity for your entourage to learn how to get you into your dress successfully, saving you time and stress on your wedding day. A dress rehearsal gives you time to make modifications to your plan ahead of your actual wedding day, changing unknowns into known!
Do your shoes fit?
At your bridal portrait session I would encourage you to wear comfortable shoes to do all the walking from one location to the next, but you will find out very quickly if your wedding shoes are bearable! You’ll be standing for several minutes at a time for some poses, walking quickly for others and possibly even spinning. Your bridal portrait session will give you a very good idea of how your shoes will perform walking down the aisle!
How does that elaborate ‘up do’ handle the perspiration, heat and all that dancing?
Your bridal portrait session is a great opportunity to test out that wedding hair! Based on your experience you may tweak your look a little, based on its longevity in the real world! Most brides will have at least one hair trial before their wedding day, so make the best use of it and have it photographed from all angles. You may just discover that you’d prefer a different hair style for your actual wedding day.
To veil or not to veil, that is the question!
There seems to be a trend lately where brides forgo veils, and I completely understand why, however, they do look beautiful in portraits and can be used for lots of fun shots. I would recommend getting a veil, or even borrowing one for your bridal portraits!
When should I do my bridal portraits?
Typically bridal portraits are photographed anywhere from 1-2 months before your wedding. This will give me more than enough time to process your images and arrange printing and framing for any that you might want to display at your wedding breakfast and reception. Several of my brides have given their Dads a little gift of a bridal portrait photo right before walking down the aisle!
Who do I bring to my bridal portrait session?
Please bring two people, if at all possible. I have all my equipment to carry and my assistant is too busy helping me with the photography, lighting and that darn sheet! Many brides bring their mums, bridesmaids, sisters or best friends.
Do I wear my wedding dress to travel to the shoot?
You could, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Wear something that is comfortable and bring your dress with you. You can change at the venue and worst case scenario, I have a pop-up changing tent that many a bride has changed in! Many brides will wear leggings with a loose shirt button up shirt or tube top, making it a little easier to get in and out of their wedding dresses.
Won’t my dress get dirty?
My assistant and I will make every effort possible to keep your dress in pristine condition. You will be asked to bring a cheap, clear or white shower curtain liner or a white sheet and whenever your dress is on the ground, it will be resting on a protective layer. This is actually one of the reasons you will be standing in one position for a while, it takes time to protect the dress whilst getting the perfect pose and hiding the sheet! That being said, I can’t guarantee that absolutely nothing will happen to your dress. Fortunately, if it were to get a little dirty, it will be on the underside and not be visible when you walk down the aisle.
As a small business owner, I know how important it is to make a good first impression on clients, and in some ways it’s even more important to make an excellent impression on prospective clients! This is something that H4Photo can help you with by providing a lifestyle shoot with a focus on your business!
I literally just got off the phone with a client who wants to send the right message to his prospective clients. He is a medical professional so immediately, I thought of the following words: professional, approachable, trustworthy, kind, responsible, friendly, caring, competent etc., you get the picture, no pun intended! It’s important that his patients-to-be can tell this much about him by just looking at his website.
It’s not what, it’s YOU!
I read an article last week about how important it is to share a little of the person behind the business. Very often, the reason why someone frequents a business, is not because of what they sell, or the service they provide but rather who is selling to them, or providing that service. As business owners, we are woven into the threads of our business and for us, it’s not a job but a way of life. So, we give it everything we’ve got, throw our hearts and souls into it and know, that if we could just get to talk to prospective clients about our business, our passion, our ‘baby’, we’d sign them up as clients for life!
We all know that word of mouth advertising is king, but it takes a while to get to the point where most of our business comes from referrals. For me personally, that took 4 years!
My client Amanda, has a dog walking and boarding business in the New Forest, called Forest Strollers. Amanda has a certification in Canine Studies and is qualified to do CPR on dogs. She has a lovely comfy van to pick up her client’s dogs for their walks and Amanda charges a very fair price. Forest Strollers even has amazing testimonials! These are all verifiable facts, but what you couldn’t possibly know about Amanda, is how much she loves dogs and how much they love her back.
That’s where the benefit of a lifestyle shoot becomes very clear. I spent a couple of walks with Amanda, in two different locations, and photographed her interacting with the dogs in her care. Even my little Bella went along for the walks and I have to say that since then, Bella loves Amanda. She respects, and listens to her and trusts her completely! I photographed the process of what Amanda’s business is, how she creates the end result which is a happy, content, well exercised dog!
What I tried to do during the time that we spent together is capture that personality and zest for life that Amanda has. The positive, happy energy of the dogs is evident in the pictures too. Hopefully, when people go looking on the Forest Strollers website, the pictures will tell the story and fill in the gaps for the people who haven’t met Amanda yet! Here are a few images from our session together –
We now have a photography studio, a genuine H4Hq!
I can’t believe that it’s been so long since my last post, but I guess, as with everyone and everything, sometimes life just gets in the way!
Since my last post, the business has gone through some twists and turns and finally emerged as a more credible and focussed enterprise, with clear goals! The question: ‘What do I want to be when I grow up?’, never seems to have an exact time and place in one’s career or one’s life, we’re all constantly evolving and resetting our goal posts! Okay, enough philosophy!
The biggest news is that H4Photo now has a photography studio to call home! H4HQ is in the beautiful Hampshire countryside, in a stunning area very close to the village of Droxford. Despite being firmly entrenched in the country, it’s actually only 20 minutes from my home in Winchester and it’s technically in Southampton! We still have a few more items on our checklist to do before the open day, but we are getting there!
The studio allows more creativity!
Having a studio, and full time place of business is going to be very important to us. We will still be photographing weddings and portraits, but we will now be offering commercial product photography with competitive rates to all businesses. We plan to offer extra special rates to small businesses, giving them the visual tools to set their products above the rest! We will also be working on commercial projects with larger businesses of all types too. Oh yes, we don’t have to worry about the rain anymore and if you have your heart set on an outdoor shoot and it’s raining, thanks to some awesome technology, we now have the ability to provide you with an ‘indoor, outdoor’ shoot!
We would like to invite you all to join us at our studio open day, on the 31st October from 10am to 2pm. Bring the children by in their Halloween costumes for a free photo and treats. We will also have more adult style treats too, so bring a designated driver! If you’re on facebook, please join our event to we can correctly gauge the amount of Prosecco to bring!
We are really looking forward to getting involved in the community of the villages of Droxford, Corhampton, Meonstoke and others and in fact, we will be attending several events in the next month.
We will be at the Meonstoke Toddler Group‘s fundraiser on the 7th November, at Meon Hall in Meonstoke. We’ll be at the Pop Up Coffee Shop event on the 13th November at the Soberton Village Hall and on the 21st November, we will be at the Droxford Christmas Market at the square in Droxford.
Also, from the 1st November, until the 13th of December, we are offering our annual Christmas Special Portrait sessions. You can either book one via the website and come in for a portrait session, or purchase a session gift voucher for future use. Either way, it’s a great deal! The package costs £65 and includes the digital images with permission to print!
We hope to see you all soon!
A few weeks ago, I photographed a beautiful New Forest wedding. The ceremony took place at St. Mary’s in Copythorne, Hampshire and the wedding breakfast and evening reception was held at the well-known, Mortimer Arms which is right at the entrance to Paulton’s Park!
I really loved this wedding because of it’s simple elegance. The bride and groom wanted the whole day to be as laid back as they are. The bride, along with her bridesmaids made their own stunning bouquets with flowers from M&S and the cartoon-like drawings of the very talented groom graced the covers of their orders of service and even the top of the wedding cake.
The flower girls carried tulle pom-pom wands made by the Pom-Pom Shack, which is based in Winchester, Hampshire. The pom-poms matched their beautiful dresses just perfectly!
The bride and her mother arrived at the church in a beautiful vintage Rolls Royce, owned and operated by Abbey Cars, based in the Southampton area.
The beautiful wedding cake was made by the groom’s mother and it’s simplicity reflected the laid back personalities of the happy couple.
The bride’s dress was handmade by Barbara Webb, a very talented dressmaker in Bitterne, Hampshire. The dress was just perfect for this beautiful bride. It was elegant, soft and it photographed very well!
Some of my favourite wedding photography at Bishopstrow House Hotel!
Back in May, I was privileged to photograph what has turned out to be one of my favourite weddings. The wedding was intimate, 29 people, including the bride and groom, but boy was it special!
Rachel and Josh had been together for many years and having 3 children, they really wanted to include them in every aspect of the wedding. The style of the wedding was very elegant and classy, but also laid back and comfortable.
Thanks to the hard-working staff at the Bishopstrow House Hotel, the day flowed beautifully, and without stress! What a beautiful venue, delicious food and every need catered to by very professional hotel staff.
The beautiful floral arrangements were created by The Cornflower Floral Design, who are based in Warminster, Wilstshire.
I recently photographed June & Steven’s wedding at the Hampshire Court Hotel in Basingstoke, Hampshire. What a gorgeous wedding with an elegant colour theme of purples and lilacs, accented with delicate butterflies.
I loved the decor in the honeymoon suite at the Hampshire Court Hotel. It was a mix of modern and retro, very effective indeed!
June looked absolutely stunning in her beautiful wedding dress as she made her grand entrance, and walked down the aisle to meet Steven, her true love!
The bridesmaids looked beautiful in their refreshingly different dresses which echoed the wedding theme, right down to the butterflies! The bridesmaids also had lovely wrist corsages rather than bouquets. The flower girl had a lovely white dress with a sash of purple roses.
June’s hair and makeup were done by the very talented Amida at the Red Carpet Salon Spa. Amida kept the mood light and entertaining as she worked her magic!
June and Steven picked The Flower Tree, located at the Viables Craft Centre, for their wedding flowers. Trust me, I really get a close up look at these when I’m photographing them and they were just beautiful! The main flowers were stunning purple cala lilies and lavender roses.
The wedding was officiated by the most photographer friendly registrar I have ever met. Thanks to Cassie, I was able to really capture all the special moments during the ceremony. I sometimes wonder about all the wedding officiates that restrict photographers so much. In my opinion, the only ones they are thinking of, is themselves. I’ve never met a bride and groom who didn’t want their ceremony photographed and it’s such a shame not being able to capture those special ‘first’ moments.
The Hampshire Court Hotel was beautifully set up for the ceremony, complete with elegant chair covers and purple sashes.
Steven and June selected Ian James Discoteque for their DJ. Ian really did a good job getting people on the floor dancing and having a great time!
It’s back to work though and it’s a busy week! Lots of images to get online from family photography shoots before we left, a commercial photography shoot in Southampton (eek – jewellery!!!), a wedding rehearsal, two weddings this next weekend (yippee!), one in Southampton and one in Basingstoke and a lovely wedding album to present to a special couple who are expecting their first baby!!
Well, I’d better get on with it, but here are a few shots from our holiday that we’d like to share with you. 😉
Have a fantastic week everyone!
Today was one of those truly magical days where everything just seemed to work perfectly! It was a beautiful day and the easy drive to Warsash, Hampshire, to photograph two beautiful children, was a bonus!
Almost three years ago, I was privileged to be invited to photograph a new family. Abigail was just a few days old when we did her newborn portrait session, but within a few shots, she had stolen my heart with her smiles. I had the opportunity to photograph Abby again when she was a little over a year old and today I photographed her 5 week old sister for the first time.
Photographing children is something that is very close to my heart. Having never had children of my own, I think I approach each children’s photo session with an excitement, anticipation and curiosity that is unique to someone who has never lived with little ones 24/7. At times, I think that my diminutive subjects and I are equally curious about one another!