On a stunning day in May I had the pleasure of working with a very fun yet professional team on a one day photoshoot, headed by Mel from Mel Brown Weddings. We had a blast and managed to get two very different looks from the shoot. Here is Mel’s blog on how the first part of the day went……..
The story behind this style shoot has been a funny and adventurous one, putting many of my hard-learned skills, developed over years of mistakes and wrong turns as a producer and photographer, to very good use!
So that we don’t get distracted by all the curve balls, solutions, adaptations and series of events that were both in and out of my control, I’ll save all the juicy details of lessons learned for a separate blog on mindset approach, where we can really pick our decisions apart and work out why some things work and others don’t and how to keep things working and moving forward.
So here, we will just gloss over the, now funny, twists and turns this shoot took and focus on the story itself.
My vision was clear in my head, I wanted to create a certain type of quintessentially English image well, my understanding of what that means visually, and needed a top secret, dream team to help me get there. I am lucky enough to be surrounded by fantastic suppliers of all things wedding, but I was really keen to work with a different group of people, satisfy my need to give other people opportunities and see how a fresh set of eyes added to the project.
I contacted a range of bridal shops and florists near to Louth in Lincolnshire, near to where I spent a good chunk of my school years, reaching out to old friends to see if there happened to be any connections there. As an Island girl (Jersey), working with word of mouth recommendations is really important to me and is a fundamental part of the way that I work and connect with people.
Although the ‘vision’ was, let’s just say… a little different to what we ended up shooting, I wanted to talk about all the elements of the bridal shots that our brides think about and answer them in a neat bit of visual story telling.
As you do!
I planned out a way to communicate the idea of a very English beachside wedding, hopefully a bit windswept, maybe a bit of random rain and definitely some clouds that fill every well styled head of hair with fear, and nothing like the fantasy sold in the mags, to my potential team. So, I started pulling images together of each element and visual conversation, and then reached out to my desired suppliers. One of which, happened to be the Ivory Room in Woodhall spa, owned and run by Victoria Evans (the niece of a close family friend, which to me, makes it extra-super-sun-dance special) We agreed to meet in her shop, which was like entering a dream land and I immediately had that tingle of excitement when you know you’ve ‘found a good’un’. Victoria loved the idea and was totally onboard form the off.
Wow! Good Lord! It’s happening!
Victoria kindly recommended a florist, who she had seen the work of, and thought would be a good fit to the team. So off to Horncastle I trot to meet Fran Smith of Limewood Flowers a very modern and fresh style of flower arranging that brings the sustainable element into her work picking the best seasonal British flowers from small businesses across Lincolnshire.
The Lincolnshire team had assembled! Now to find the right models. Again, keeping it local to the area (as much as possible), I got in touch with two talent agencies, Caroline at DK models and Julia of Stanley Model Management who were extremely prompt in replying and wonderfully helpful, delivering a package of models that fitted the criteria.
In my mind’s eye, I was longing for a Lilly Cole with long flowing hair, kissed by fire, but when I saw Paige’s smile and her portfolio, I couldn’t say no! Her look worked really well with our chosen Groom, Michael and it was a unanimous ‘whoop’ from the team. The pieces were falling into place and all that was left to do was the styling and prop shopping… and the rest.
Oh Crap! I forgot the rings!
A wonderful, authentic and very couture jewellery shop (more of an experience) I have worked with before; The Hirst Collection, on Portobello Market is run by a friend of mine, Amanda. As we have talked a million times of doing a shoot in which I could showcase her wonderful rings, we had arranged months back that I could pop in and she could suggest a few options for me to take for the day. As it was organised in my head … it obviously slipped my mind! Doh! No worries – A quick pedal up to Notting hill solved that glitch.
On the day, the crew call was a 07:30 so we could get a cuppa’ on the go and talk through the styling, props and how we were going to adapt to any last minute, inevitable curveballs on the day.
There were a few! My blustery, windy beach day with a few nice stormy clouds in the sky turned into a beautiful almost Caribbean summer’s day with not a cloud in the sky! Thanks!
Ok, we can adapt!
Fran’s flowers had taken a turn, still sublimely beautiful, her chosen favs had not arrived so she had adapted seamlessly, the night before and created something that now as it happened, went perfectly with our new, weather adapted shoot plan.
Our chief tea supplier (Victoria) didn’t have any matches (we shan’t go into detail on how she solved this issue) so tea was delayed, and we all know how catastrophic that can be!
And our wonderful groom rolled up 30 mins late… Lucky for him, he’s a charmer so we quickly forgave him.
We spent the morning on the beach, enjoying the unusually pastel colours for the location, of the sand and flowers and sky looking for that floating timeless feeling of light-hearted fun, one I whole-heartedly associate with the beach.
Although, the story we ended up with, is a very different aesthetic and visual to the one we set out to tell, I am really happy with the images and the story they do tell. One that is honest and full of moments, giggles and a lot of sunshine.
As always, we learnt so much, both as a team, and as suppliers, I got to really explore and experiment with communicating to the models and transferring the images in my mind to the images on camera, which is a golden opportunity when it comes around.
One of the best lessons I have learned from my time as a creative, is that you rarely get exactly what you set out to achieve. Sometimes as a result of the process, what you end up with is different; better. You just have to be able to take stock of the lessons learnt and see the ‘good’ in front of you, for its own merits.
As always, we are nothing without the team we stand with, so I would like to say a special thank you to my team, their suppliers and all those who kindly contributed to make this all happen :
Contributors and special thanks to local suppliers:
Dress by @ivoryandco
Rings from @thehirstcollection
Flowers grown and sourced locally from @evolveflowers and @oldfarmhouseflowers
Ribbons by @bertieandfred