Wedding Garden Party photography - the relaxed way to celebrate.

Celebrating with a Wedding Garden Party

Wedding Party guests delight at the brides dress  Stephanie Colledge Photographjpg

Simon and Roxine married at the start of the year in the snow, in Finland. So what better way to celebrate than with a party on one of sunniest August days this year. This allowed them to have all their friends and family share the fun.  A summer garden party is a great idea and with the kind of weather we’ve had, their timing was perfect and their garden is beautiful. 

This lovely pair really know how to throw a party, I’ll be asking for advice before I plan anything, ever, as everyone had a great time.  The combination of family who had the chance to catch up with each other and friends mixed easily.

Roxine wore her wedding dress for part of the time, which her guests loved before a quick change to a more relaxed outfit. 

Rugby violinist Andrew Rackham played, which set the tone for a gentle afternoon ahead of the hog roast and planned drinking and dancing for later.   I was there to provide a mix of photography, to capture the feel and atmosphere, a touch of documentary work and some just posed family and friends images.

Simon and Roxine thank you for having me join you. 

Here are a few images from the day.

To the woods engagement session

Woodland engagement shoot with lovely Puli puppy

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A recent engagement shoot, with a difference….a doggie difference! 

Its no surprise to find that I love dogs and that they are very welcome on engagement shoots - but this one was a real surprise as she is the first Hungarian Puli I’ve met.  As she is a puppy she is all fluff, energy (dreadlocks may be her chosen style later on) and fun!  So our shoot was little different.

As it was an evening following one of the recently really hot days a trip to the woods with lots of shade was required to keep our furry friend cool.  She is a lucky girl. Her owners absolutely adore her, so much so that she was in a lot of the images! 

In fact when she wasn't she soon let us know about it :)  So here a a few images from the session.

This lovely couple marry next year and are so well organised already, that their day promises to be wonderful.  I’ll be there to catch all the details and I’m really looking forward to it.

 

 

 

Del Amitri and Trashcan Sinatras at The Symphony Hall

Del Amitri in Birmingham

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Well that was a bit different, again.  Having promised a good friend and an excellent reviewer that I would photograph Del Amitri if ever the chance happened, then last night I had to step up and shoot them.  Our Birmingham Live reviewer Alan loves the band and created a brilliant review previously for a Justin Currie show in Birmingham, I missed a treat that night and this time I wasn't going to lose out.

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The Symphony Hall was busy for the Trashcan Sinatras, more gentle than I remembered and a lovely 45 minute set.  Then came the wonderfully self effacing Del Amitri.  Opening with acoustic numbers then ramping the concert straight up to full power there was no stopping them.  I love a band who are on time then deliver a slick performance, both for the ears and the eyes, all the elements you would ask for were covered.  Their crowd loved it. 

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I adore the Symphony Hall as a venue, great acoustics, great staff, but a tricky venue to cross (or run out the back doors and round to the other side) when the band are quiet and its hot.  So its not always straightforward to shoot from both sides of the audience. 

On one of the hottest nights of the year the Symphony Hall was packed.  It took a little time to get everyone on their feet but when they did the whole place rose, all the tiers in unison.  Hits, obscure b sides that delighted diehards and new songs flowed.  The encore was a masterclass in a stylish finish, winding the audience down and connecting the band members as neatly as they started the evening, the combination of experience and pure class. 

Del Amitri absolutely worth seeing if you get the chance.

The full review and more images are on Birmingham Live.

Adoption Anniversary a Doggie One

Ist Anniversary of Adoption 

jack russell eating dog cake

A first milestone for my furry companion, the anniversary of his adoption!

Ian and I find it hard to believe its been a year and we are both delighted with his progress from very nervous to less nervous and starting to enjoy being a dog status.  Its been a lot of work for us, fur boy and for our wonderful dog trainer/behaviourist but the effort is paying off. Our lad is showing lots of typical cheeky Jack Russell traits now but remains scared of most other dogs and some people, so there is plenty still to work on. 

My culinary skills were put to work to make him a doggy cake, something he would like with a frosting that smelled good (to him).  He would have carried the cake off he was so excited, so Ian helped him.  A bit more controlled than a cake smash but still fun.

Here are a few images of him tucking in and then resting afterwards as eating cake yes, its tiring :)

Wedding at The Chace Hotel, Coventry.

The Chace Hotel, Coventry Wedding Photography

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Happy first Anniversary to the lovely Amy and David.

Some weddings are emotional, some so beautiful, and then there are those that are very relaxed, it all depends on the couple, family and friends involved and that makes each unique. 

Then there is this one, probably the most difficult wedding I’ve ever shot (and forgot to blog) as it was for my brother!

I have just the one sibling so it was a key family event.   This meant that all of my family, everyone who knows me, everyone who has ever known me and my Dad who is a photographer and who used to shoot weddings is standing in front of you, behind you, alongside you….ah everywhere you look.  No pressure then :)  

Ian my other half and second shooter was with me, which was great as he helped to capture the alternate views and those moments when people are unaware they are being photographed. 

Amy and David chose The Chace Hotel in Coventry as the venue for the whole day.  The Chace provided the perfect mix of professional service with a personal touch.  The wedding co-ordinator and staff were on hand and reassuring, keeping the day perfectly on time but in an unobtrusive way. 

The photography was to be natural and relaxed, to follow the day.  The emphasis was for all guests to enjoy the day and for us to create memories as we went along. Amy had carefully planned and hand made so many items from the decorations to the rose petal confetti.  We followed the day from getting ready (for both bride and groom) through to the dancing at night.

It was an extremely hot day and we were happy to hang up our cameras for once, after the first dance and join in the party too!

 

Gary Barlow and Starcrawler my latest gigs covered

Starcrawler in Birmingham gigs don't get much better than this

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I promised myself this year that I would shoot a wider variety of music, as it would be both interesting for me and would push my photography further.   So the last couple have been a complete contrast in so many ways.

Recent nights out have included Gary Barlow on his theatre tour at the Symphony Hall.  Which was a shoot from the back of the venue, through and across the crowd.  Definitely not something I’d normally do, long lens work is ok but I much prefer to be able to make more of a connection to the people I shoot.   The place erupted when Gary appeared and confetti showers and banner waving ladies made it a fun/challenging experience.

Starcrawler last night are exactly the type of exciting band I want to see and shoot more of!  They played the o2 Academy. Billy Idol was playing next door in the main room which meant the contrast of old and new couldn't have been greater.  

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Starcrawler sound good.   They delivered a fast paced, slightly unnerving gig and the combination of mesmerising front woman and shining guitarist was brilliantly contrasted with the understated bass and drummer.  

They were so good I wanted to see the whole gig and stayed to do so.

One of the shortest most dynamic sets I’ll likely see this year which ended with lead singer Arrow dripping fake blood (of course) and rampaging through the audience, followed by guitarist Henri giving a floorshow.  The impact on the crowd was immense.  

This is a gig that will be talked about for weeks locally.

The full review for Starcrawler is here on Birmingham Live and as Arrow grabbed our reviewer when in the crowd it makes interesting reading.

The full review of Gary Barlow is here on Birmingham Live

St Marks Church and Onley Grounds Farm Wedding

St Marks Church and Onley Grounds Farm Wedding, Rugby Warwickshire

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Some people are just lucky and when these two met that doubled!  Frankie and Sean are one of the loveliest couples, they know how to relax, have fun and throw a great party.

To share a day with the cup final and the royal wedding whilst still creating a day that is totally yours takes some planning.  Frankie managed it all perfectly with a gentle nod to Sean’s love of cycling included. 

A few hours coverage enabled us to create images from the arrivals at the church to the dancing in the evening which included a vintage VW Golf to arrive in, the earliest groom to a service, a dress that was pure elegance, a church full of friends and family and lots of smiles and laughter. 

A late afternoon service at St. Marks Church in Bilton, followed by a chilled party with live band at Onley Grounds Farm and Equestrian Centre had the assorted wedding guests dancing late into the evening.  For Onley Farm this was the first wedding party they had hosted and as a venue they were superb.  Food the guests loved, friendly, unobtrusive service that fitted perfectly with Frankie and Sean’s style for their party. 

It was a beautiful day, we loved being part of it all, thank you both. 

Suppliers list:

Dress:  Sammi Lou Bridal Couture    Flowers: Garden Gate Flowers   Make up: Beth Hall

Suits:  Salters    Hair: The Little Retreat   Venue: Onley Farm Barns  Cake:  Spin Sugar Cakes  

 

 

 

Pawprints Dog Rescue - Fun Dog Show

Pawprints Dog Show -  Dog Photography Special Offer

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Last year I/we were really lucky and adopted a Jack Russell cross from Pawprints Dog Rescue in Rugby.  He has changed our lives and us his.  

At the time I created a post about him, he was small and nervous (which he remains) but steadily his confidence is growing and he has turned himself into the most fabulous doggie model (or at least can sit occasionally for treats).

Pawprints hold a Fun Dog Show every May, and yesterday I had a stand there showing my dog photography.  For me to be able to support the team that make Pawprints so special was great, and they’ve continued to keep in contact over the last ten months.  The volunteers had worked tirelessly to create a fun family day for both people and dogs to enjoy.

Lots of the now homed dogs attended and the change from rescue to being part of a family was evident by the wagging tails, sparkly eyes and general contentment they now display.  I met some lovely people, the furriest friends and had the most enjoyable time. 

I had an offer on my dog photography which is detailed below.  

This offer runs until 20th June, 2018 (book now and we can arrange a date) and includes a donation to Pawprints.

Pawprints Dog Show - Dog Photography Special Offer

Dog photo session - one dog £50 (£5 from the session fee will be donated to Pawprints Dog Rescue)

A photo session for your best friend with one 8” x 10” print (in mount) included

Sessions are outdoor portraits and active (April - October) in your own garden, local park, favourite walk (within 15 miles of Rugby) 

Additional dogs welcome, same owner £15 per dog please arrange in advance

Session includes:

Initial phone/Skype call with owner

Meet on day/evening and up to 90 mins photo session

On line gallery of your edited images

8” x 10” print of your choice from gallery

Prints, Wall Art, Trio and Duo displays will all be available to purchase afterwards.

Please email: steph@stephaniecolledge.com or telephone: 07540 749236 to book in.

Bryan Ferry at the Symphony Hall

Bryan Ferry in Birmingham

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Continuing my current run of gigs in seated venues last night was the chance to shoot Bryan Ferry at the Symphony Hall.

The audience were a real mix of generations, those who had seen him in Roxy Music those who joined in later.  I met some lovely people who going to lots of the shows, they were simply loving the experience.  

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The man has charisma and presence, every suave and sophisticated description I've ever read he personifies, his voice is perfect he can still take you on that journey and his audience were with him from the start.  The question of a mirror in the attic should be addressed, he looks good, no scrap that he looks great.

Support for the evening was Juanita Stein who was as lovely as she appeared on the videos I've watched, and well worth seeing in her own right when she returns to Birmingham.

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For a kid who first saw Bryan Ferry on Top of the Pops in the 70's he remains as impressive and striking as my initial impression. 

The full review and images will be on Birmingham Live.

Joan as Police Woman at Town Hall, Birmingham

Joan as Police Woman in Birmingham 

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A quick trip into Birmingham last night to photograph Joan as Police Woman at the Town Hall as we were covering this for Birmingham Live.

Support was from Birmingham’s own Fyfe Dangerfield who I hadn’t see for years but as was as lovely as I remembered.  Joan has an incredible voice, our reviewer was starry eyed within a few minutes, the full review with more images is here. 

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I seem to be shooting at more seated venues for the next few gigs I’m covering too.  Pits and flying drinks will have to wait a few weeks.

 

Lisa Stansfield at Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Lisa Stansfield in Birmingham

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After a few weeks, which have allowed time for some of the additional technical aspects I want to create, adding more techniques and working further on my photoshop abilities I’ve another run of gigs starting.

Last night I stepped in for a friend to shoot Lisa Stansfield.  I remember her well, superb voice, great 90’s hits, one of the best signature songs ever and I got a big surprise when I arrived.  Often for concerts I take images and leave, last night I had been given a seat and what a treat that turned out to be.

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Support for the evening was Irit, who is a multitalented singer. Complete with band, her music is a combination of a kind of folk and jazz.

Lisa is better live than I imagined, I’m still wondering why didn’t see her years ago.   Her vocal ability is as strong as ever and in the Symphony Hall she had the venue to value it.  She is perfectly toned and super fit giving her the capability to perform with ease for a full hour and half.  A beautifully paced show, with real highs and those gentle moments when the tempo is taken down and her voice is showcased.  

The crowd loved it, the band were tight and Lisa shone. 

The full review and images are on Birmingham Live.

 

 

Hands and expression

Hands

I was editing some portrait work and realised as I was cataloging, how often I photograph hands, just hands, as a main subject as part of a wedding day.

The photo with the mehndi was the grandmothers hands, we did’nt share a language but we both understood what I saw when i showed her the image.  

It never fails to surprise me how much we say without words and that a gesture or action conveys so much, the togetherness,  the support, the fun.

Mark E. Smith

Mark E. Smith 

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When I first met my other half an essential part of getting together involved a joint love of music. The Wedding Present, Magazine and The Fall were essential listening on his part after all I loved The Smiths and Morrissey how could I have missed out on these greats?

That was soon put right.

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The first time I saw The Fall live I was well aware of the anything can happen aspect...but I watched a brilliant gig and MES mesmerised.  Maybe I just remained lucky but I've seen The Fall a fair few times and each was an event, with a crowd that loved the gig.

The music of The Fall often accompanied me on long car journeys as I had a job (previously) that required me to be “on the road” for a majority of my time.  I played them before heavy duty meetings - lyrics that would make me inwardly smile always helped.  

On a personal level I wanted to photograph them, MES could sparkle but small gigs could be tricky if MES started flaying the mike stand about. 

 

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My chance came at a festival in 2010 but from the safety of the barrier, by getting down the front early and shooting on the barrier, in the crowd.   The regulars who piled in were great, lots of big lads but they looked after me, maybe they got how important it was to me - the place bounced.  It was tricky but I look at the images now (still early in my live music shooting) and I still get what the younger me was aiming for - the character. 

Our reviewer noted that The Fall produced “the defining set of the weekend” which said it all and they were amongst some stern competition.

Close friends and my other half feel they’ve lost family. Mark E.Smith created music thats touched their lives for decades. Many had met him and are sharing great stories. 

I have photos which are my memories,  so I’m sharing those.

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Author: Stephanie Colledge 

Back to the Convention 

SWPP Photographers Convention in London

Luckily for me I love learning, I always have, so every opportunity to extend what I can do photographically is a must.  I want to be able to offer the best images I can produce. 

The Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers (SWPP) of which I am a member, hold a yearly convention in London.  The event is perfectly timed as a great kick off to the new year and includes a range of speakers giving classes on all aspects of photography.

For me it is great opportunity to learn and expand my outlook.  I select classes on specific subjects that I intend to work further on this year.    This time these included natural posing, (which is the way i like to work) and have I some additional things I can bring to this.  A more technical class looking at technology changes within equipment which will help with some of the investments I will make over the year, and a lighting class which I should joke was illuminating, but really gave me some ideas about using the equipment I have but in a more daring way! Its a technique that needs lot of practise and I’m working on it - as I loved the results.

Wedding Fayres for 2018

Exhibiting at local Wedding Fayres

I will be exhibiting at more wedding fayres over the next few months.. confirmed ones detailed below (more to be added).  Please come along and say hello,  I would love to hear about your plans for your day. 

If you would like information to attend let me know. 

2018 Dates

25th February @ The Chace Hotel, Coventry

7th June @ The Chace Hotel, Coventry - Evening 

9th September @ Mercure Hotel,   Daventry 

30th September @ The Chace Hotel, Coventry 

2017 a quick look back

My favourite images from 2017

Well its all about looking ahead now, its 2018 and lots of things are happening already!

I’ve met some lovely people last year, at a whole range of events and I’m looking forward to photographing a wide range of engagement shoots, people and creating wedding photography for my couples to treasure.

So before I start talking about that, a quick look back at some of my favourite images from 2017.  

As a wedding photographer providing photography is a real pleasure. Thank you to my couples for letting me share your day.  Shooting couples who deeply love each other, just makes the whole experience even better. I love watching the telepathy between people who are so in tune, it is a delight. When there is lots of laughter and the pure enjoyment of just being with each other is the most important thing, it really shows and helps me create natural photographs that show how you are together. 

Character shows in all sorts of ways and furry character is fun to capture.  In  2017 I met a few fabulous dogs to photograph.  I’m hoping a few more may be at the weddings and engagement shoots I’m doing in 2018 (good behaviour permitting).

Live music has been a passion for a long time and in 2017 I had some great opportunities to shoot and see bands and musicians that put in stunning performances and expanded both the types of images I shoot and my listening.  These included Queen and Adam Lambert (I've still not recovered), Elbow, British Sea Power, Richard Ashcroft, Rag 'n' Bone Man, and Public Service Broadcasting,  A first for me in shooting a jazz orchestra, the NYJO  and country music courtesy of  Keifer Sutherland whose gravelly tones made for a different type of gig .   My personal favourites, The Cribs,  Dutch Uncles, The Wedding Present and Sparks are bands I love which means shooting them is a combination of challenge and enjoyment at the same time.

2018 is lining up to be an interesting mix of subjects again, weddings, relaxed portraits, more dogs and of course live music - I can't wait. 

 

 

Its really snow joke!

Furrrst time in the snow 

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My lovely JRT boy had never seen snow......he put two paws out of the door and reversed back in.  As he can be a shy one, we showed him it was ok and the next thing he was playing, snuffling and enjoying a whole new experience.

Snowflake nose soon became his speciality alongside bounding in untouched snow!

 

 

Queen and Adam Lambert in Birmingham

Queen and Adam Lambert

This year the opportunities have kept coming and I was delighted to gain a pass for Queen and Adam Lambert on their first night at Arena Birmingham.  

The combination of Queen with Adam gives a whole new life to the music live. It was a delight to have the chance to hear and see some of those great songs performed.

The mini review and images on Birmingham Live!

 

Bananarama!

Bananarama - the original line up Birmingham 

I was in pinch myself territory when the announcement was made that the original line up of Bananarama, Siobhan, Sara and Keren would be touring at the end of this year.

Fast forward a few months and I'm at packed out Arena Birmingham with the chance to photograph.  Party night was in full swing as soon as the group appeared.

The full review and photographs are here on Birmingham Live!