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! 


James Blunt live in Birmingham

James Blunt 

This year I set myself all sorts of photographic challenges one of which was to get out and  shoot bands and musicians that were not "indie bands with duelling guitars".   It's good as it makes me work in different ways, learn and try new techniques, plus I listen to lots of different music!

James Blunt at Arena Birmingham Stephanie Colledge Photography_ copy.jpg

Last night I ventured into Birmingham to see James Blunt and if any of you are surprised, I know he is a marmite choice for some,  but hey  - I was impressed and so was our reviewer  (the full review is here on Birmingham Live.)

The man has talent, charm, humour and that voice. For gig photographers it is often the case that you leave the venue as soon as you have shot the allocated songs, often 3 (in this case only 2).   Often thats fine, but sometimes like with this one I'd have loved to have seen the whole gig (next time I will). 




Wedding Photography Workshop in Brighton!

One Gay Wedding Day Workshop 

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The last couple of weeks have been challenging with lots of things happening and hardly any time to fit it all in.   I’ve been looking forward to this weekend in Brighton for a long time as it was to include a day on a same sex wedding course run by Emma at Shotgun Weddings

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Training and improving my photography skills is important to me, there are always aspects with courses that I choose that can help or inspire me further.

The promise was a small group of photographers, lots of time with the couples shooting and plenty of locations to include the bandstand at the beach, street locations in Brighton and the prestigious Royal Pavilion (but more of that later). 

For me the course offered the opportunity to work alongside a specialist who has helped to spark some different workflow ideas and apply some technical aspects that I wanted to try in order to give me some more creative and alternative images - that I can now create, in my own style.  

same sex couple at Brighton Bandstand.jpg

The beauty of a course with Emma was the time allowed to try new things and combine this with aspects of how I work already;  it will allow me to enhance what I can offer to all my couples whose weddings I shoot.

Time spent in the classroom initially was followed by an intense shoot schedule that whizzed us literally, to the beach, the town, the lanes and finally the Royal Pavilion.  The attention to detail was perfect and  included a celebrant to meet us and our couples at the venue and fresh flower bouquet and buttonholes for our brides and grooms. 

lgbt couple in Doorway_.jpg

The whole day was enjoyable but the high point was being allowed access to shoot within the Royal Pavilion,  a place I’ve visited previously and was stunned by.  The building is simply spectacular.   

As a wedding venue it has a commanding presence.  The internal colour and design are intense and offer a totally different experience as a photographer.   This combined with the consideration that you are in a heritage property surrounded by art, objects and canvas of incredible importance brings additional challenges.  

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The oriental architecture makes the perfect backdrop for low light evening shots.

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This is just a flavour of the images from the course - I've hundreds more to work on but the experience was great and I'd recommend the course to any wedding or aspiring wedding photographer.

Thanks to the Royal Pavilion, Emma, my fellow photographers Tina and Emir, our models and celebrant Sam Goodchild. 

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SPARKS live in Birmingham

Sparks, yes Sparks!  

SPARKS ron and russell on stage in birmingham Stephanie Colledge Photography.jpg

I’ve been lucky enough to see them a few times over the years and 5 years ago had my first chance to shoot them on the Two Hands one Mouth tour, which was a sheer delight.

Last night was Sparks in full band form and they were breathtaking.  As a child of the 70’s watching them on Top of the Pops I was intrigued, later on (as in you grow up) you realise just how impressive they really are.  

In a live setting they are a stunning and last night wowed and charmed a Birmingham audience.  That impressive vocal, the intense love of the crowd, yes simply beautiful and emotional.   My editing day will be spent listening to more of Russell and Ron. 

The full review and images are on Birmingham Live

Come along and say hello

Wedding Fayres 

I’m going to be exhibiting at a few local wedding fayres which have meant the last few weeks I’ve been fitting in some planning alongside shooting.

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It’s really exciting (as I previously worked in a commercial environment where the marketing team do everything) to now have the complete freedom to design and plan my presentations on my own (with guidance and some input).   

My first show was last Sunday at the Manor Hotel in Meriden, a venue that I’ve shot at previously (see image above) and one that I really enjoyed.   I believe I have the balance between showing both printed images and digital display right so that I can show what I am able to offer. 

I met some lovely couples on the day with great ideas and themes for their weddings. 

The next show I will be at is on 24th September at The Chace Hotel in Coventry, a venue that I’ve shot at in the last couple of months.   

Click here for the link to tickets

Here's my boy!

The brilliance of dogs 

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Well in a year of big changes here is the next one!  Part of my new life was planned to allow Ian and I enough time to be able to have our own dog.  We visited some rehoming places and came away disheartened.  We considered puppies but the nagging promise of there might be just the right dog waiting, remained.  

For months we continued to check on line and then we saw a local rehoming charity (Pawprints Dog Rescue) had a young boy who might be the one.  Small, extremely nervous and bit more of a special case than our original plan, but as soon as we met him Ian was sure he had potential.  The Pawprints team were fully supportive and gave us and him, time to consider and allowed us to visit him 3-4 times a week.  Meeting new people (was/is a scary thing for him) but with good handling by his Pawprints mum he slowly began to accept us. 

We spent 6-8 weeks seeing him regularly, hanging out with him, gaining his trust enough to have him sit on a lap and starting to play basic games -  the things he had missed out on in his early puppy days. The plan was that we would foster him first and if that went well we could adopt him.  Well the fostering was shelved, he showed he trusted us and our time spent with him has had really had big benefits.

We went straight to adoption!  He moved in recently. He is settling in and is now learning that being my little helper has the benefit of extra treats.  His cheeky personality is beginning to show and should be able to develop fully over the next few months.  

He is nervous and we will help him learn to control that over time.  Routine, lots of exercise and bundles of love will be good for all of us.  Nothing is as sweet as him and Ian running round the garden playing together, going on walks (good exercise for all) or just chilling doing man stuff (beer for the bigger one water for fur boy).

We found working with Pawprints Dog Rescue to be excellent.  They are a charity with a small number of dogs at any one time.  The volunteers who run PDR really get to know the dogs personally and help both the dogs and the potential adopters; the whole experience has been positive.  (Massive thanks to Anita, Kathryn, Dave, Trisha and Christine). 

We’ve had help and support all along to help with interacting with him, gaining trust, plus guidance and assistance with any questions since he has moved to his/our home.   His first time in front of my camera so we tried natural images just observing how he is (as in many ways he is like a puppy) and a little bit of running around on his harness.  We are starting training classes soon so no doubt there will be updates. 

I love shooting pet photography, especially dogs as they are such brilliant companions and personalities.  To finally have my own after waiting so long makes me happier than I can express in words (and he seems to like us too). 

His adventures will be fun for all of us!

The Flaming Lips and Public Service Broadcasting

Inner City Live - The Flaming Lips and Public Service Broadcasting

The Flaming Lips o2 Academy Birmingham

Saturday night was a trip into central Birmingham to shoot a one day festival.  Originally planned for outdoors and then recently venue changed to inside at the o2 Academy.

The opening bands on were local, Hoopla Blue and Amber Run the first was new to me the second the Birmingham Live team have reviewed earlier this year and liked.

My original plan had been to shoot this as a festival, outdoor shots, lots of people dressed up etc, but that changed with the move to indoors, the quality of the event though was superb.  The o2 Academy was great, relaxed and even offering passes out. 

Special guests Public Service Broadcasting were the band I missed seeing with Ian on a previous occasion and was really looking forward to.  They were as good as promised, tricky to photograph as they have so much on stage equipment and a back projection which was running behind the cage for the props belonging to The Flaming Lips. 

Then came the riot of colour that is The Flaming Lips an experience like no other to shoot.  Light, screens, colour, confetti canons, balloons so big you can't see a thing and are constantly bombarded with the bouncing, let alone shoot and its the fastest explosion of action and distraction combined.  

Fun - beyond belief.  I knew a little about them but the reality of being in the pit,  between a band so vibrant and a crowd having a party was something else.   It was a relentless stream of activity and paper whirling down.  I was picking confetti out of my pockets and inside my shirt and bra when I got home!  Wayne Coyne has a devilish charm - I enjoyed them so much I want to go again!

Full review by Ian on Birmingham Live with a few more images.

Best friends and rescue

Lovely lurcher 

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My plans to own my own dog are getting much much closer and I’m hopeful that I will be introducing my furry family member here soon.

I've recently met some very loved rescue dogs and have been lucky enough to see the changes that a new life offers both them and their family.  I fully understand that adoption won't be for everyone but it is the way I/we are choosing to go.

Meanwhile I’ve been busy shooting this gorgeous lurcher.  He is a wonderful mix of adorable and comical.  I’m sure he thinks he is answering when he is spoken to, as he is quite talkative and extremely playful  (a moment of down time shown above).  He combines the most quizzical expression and gentlest temperament for a family dog.  

Now that he has learned to lay down he was happy to demonstrate...


Amy and David

Amy and David - Married (sneak peak) 

bride and groom laughing in confetti shower

Some days are so happy its simply a joy to be there!

Sneak peak of the wedding of Amy and David at the weekend at The Chace Hotel, in Coventry.   

Weddings are something I love to shoot, but there is an added pressure in shooting your own brothers wedding…even when his bride is the fabulous Amy.  Being surrounded by family and friends is a totally different experience for me and having a father who is a photographer makes it a bigger deal.

Amy and David wanted natural images capturing how they are together, which fits perfectly with my style.  I wanted to show how easy they are with each other whilst still retaining the fun side of my brother, who has the ability to make a cat laugh. 

 This wedding has been a big event within the family, with everyone involved and it ran perfectly. 

So congratulations to them both, I get a lovely sister in law and my brother is definitely punching well above his category. 

Lots more images soon. 


Laura Mvula at Festival on the Close

Laura Mvula and Passport to Stockholm in Rugby


The closing night of the excellent Festival on the Close at Rugby School starred Laura Mvula with support from Passport to Stockholm.

Laura Mvula was wonderful.  Beautiful voice, engaging stage presence and that winning smile. The band supporting her who were ultra cool and appeared to be loving the whole gig.   It was a seated gig, which soon became a standing gig when Laura invited the audience to dance at the front.  Security and tutors kept the younger audience in order after a few minutes and everyone had a great time.

The support was the interesting Passport to Stockholm,  I hope to see them again headlining in their own right.  A lot more pop than my usual taste but the reception they received tells me I need to pay attention.

Ian wrote a full review for Birmingham Live more of my images are shown there. 


National Youth Jazz Orchestra at Festival on the Close

NYJO in Rugby

national youth jazz orchestra on stage at rugby school festival nyjo

My second night at Festival on the Close produced an impressive National Youth Jazz Orchestra performance.  I’ve seen NYJO some years ago at the Cheltenham Jazz festival and their quality, skill and ability to share and project their enthusiasm is great.

Last night they included pupils from local schools for one piece, which filled the stage and front of house.  It was great to see the combination of young and younger playing together.

A full review and more images are on Birmingham Live

G4 and Lesley Garrett at Festival on the Close

G4 and Lesley Garrett in Rugby

G4 singing on stage at rugby school festival on the close

Lots of the music photography that I shoot is based around indie bands or players playing full on in hot and loud venues where the photographers are in the pit.   Occasionally when it is acoustic shows (which are both interesting and often sensitive)  I work around a seated audience which brings a totally different aspect to shooting music as every click has to be carefully considered for timing, to cause as little distraction as possible. 

Last night was a combination of being audience aware whilst seeing and shooting an impressive event in my home town.    Rugby School are running a superb set of events this week to celebrate 450 years since the foundation of the school.  They are celebrating with a public arts festival which has a great range of workshops for children and have combined professional input enabling children to work with and alongside musicians, dancers and creatives for the festival. 

The school have created a semi permanent structure in the grounds to house the bigger events, complete with outdoor close,  with food, drink and gentle ambience.

G4 and Lesley Garrett opened the festival with what can only be described as a stunning performance.  This brought in a capacity crowd, staffed by pupils and tutors to form an efficient front of house team that ran the venue perfectly, combined with good sound the evening was perfect. 

G4 were lovely, far more charming than I expected and I really enjoyed the show. I may be showing my roots but anyone who can cover an Osmonds classic that well, amongst Elvis, show tunes and opera deserves the respect they worked for.  

Lesley Garrett was a delight, an immense stage presence, sparkling personality and that voice!  Stunning to watch as even when the stage was full, with a choir in support she sparkled and wowed the audience.

I’m at more events this week at Festival on Close, Im looking forward to them.

Full review for Birmingham Live here

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