My Debut Destination Shoot
Most of you who follow my work will know which direction I want to take it...abroad, so when I got the chance to photograph on the beautiful Spanish Island of Majorca, I jumped at it. Majorca is somewhere I went with my family quite a lot when I was little so it does hold very happy memories for me. So what a perfect first destination to take my photography. Very fitting.
After lots of liaising with my client, a lovely sweet couple from Plymouth, I set off to meet them on the island. I planned all of the shoot with Harry before hand but a few days before he messaged me again and told me he also wanted to propose to Chloe during the session and would this be ok? OF COURSE! I was beside myself with excitement, not only was this my first destination shoot it was also now going to be my first proposal shoot! A massive win for me.
We met at golden hour in a hotel right on the cliffs over looking the sea, they were a little nervous but I did my best to put them at ease. I took them down to a gorgeous little cove below the cliffs which I'd scouted the day before.
I gave Chloe a gorgeous flower crown to wear and boy did it go with her outfit, a beautiful white lace playsuit. I encouraged the pair to be as natural as possible as we moved around the cove trying out different poses. So while the two of them were looking all cute and gorgeous I was working around conditions that i'm just not used to in the UK the heat and extra sunlight to name a few but where is the fun if there's no challenge? Challenges help me grow as a photographer and every year I produce work that's better than the year before.
Harry and I decided that when I'd got most of the shots I needed, I would ask them to pose for 'one last shot' at the last minute and this would be his cue to pop the question. I got them to walk in between the rocks and a big rock pool that was in the middle of the cove.
It was there that Harry asked Chloe if she would marry him....
....She said Yes!
This was an absolutely beautiful real life moment in my career and i'll always remember it. I hope there are many more sessions like this to come. I'll never take them for granted or become complacent, each one is completely different and completely personal not only for my clients but myself.
Let me create something as special as this for you.......
Where has The Rebel Voyage come from? What’s the meaning the meaning behind the name?
I have had a few of these questions come up about my business name now so I thought I’d put together a little blog post with a bit of background history, the evolution of my business and the origin of its name. I appreciate that not all of you will have an interest in this but some of you do so it’s totally worth writing it down.
After a few years and 4 tedious ‘day jobs’ later I thought it’s now or never for my business, I was going around in circles being drained by the 9-5. So I slapped on my game face and got to work creating and shaping the business I wanted and to ensure I never have to work for someone else again.
So where did The Rebel Voyage come from?
A few things....one being David Bowie and his song, Rebel Rebel and rebel was actually my grandads nickname for me as a baby so I hold both close to my heart. Bowie’s work as an artist, performing and writing just what he wanted despite not knowing how it was going to be received has been a massive influence on my work.
When I finally knew where I wanted to be with my business and what I wanted to achieve, his music was almost reassurance for me that I could and should do what I wanted, not to be scared of how people take it and not to conform. It’s all mine, my expression, my art, if people aren't too sure of my style then unfortunately, I'm probably not the right photographer for them. I've always held out for projects and clients that ignite my soul not just to put money in my pocket. My love of adventure, the great outdoors and all things quirky then led me to the word ‘Voyage’ The two words Rebel and Voyage then eventually found themselves side by side in my notebook and I said, that’s it, that’s my new identity. With that, my style found its way out and began to grow.
My epiphany, my original notes and scribbles
My work is about bringing together my client's emotions, thoughts, concerns and our ideas to create your masterpiece.
The Rebel Voyage represents a constant journey, it had a wonderful beginning and has no end.
Oh To Be One!
Emilia belongs to my cousin Danny and his wife Siobhan and she turned one at the weekend. Oh to be one!
I’m very close to Danny and Siobhan, they’ve helped me through some seriously tough times. When I heard the news Siobhan had gone into labour I was stupidly excited. I was camping in the middle of nowhere on the coast of Wales at the time with hardly any phone reception. Thankfully my mum managed to call me later on to tell me Siobhan had given birth to a little girl. I was jumping up and down on a sand dune shouting it’s a girl, it’s a girl like a crazy person.
For 9 months we all thought she was carrying a boy, what a surprise. Well all apart from one or two. I cut my weekend away short just so I could see Emilia sooner! She was the perfect little baby and actually loved to sleep, giving Siobhan time to recover.
Fast forward 12 months and here we all are celebrating her first birthday. Siobhan’s parents flew over from their home in Ireland for the occasion. There was an absolutely stunning Paddington creation from Kates Cakes in the middle of the table and there was enough food to feed an army, just how we like it in my family!
Food was scoffed, wine was drank and the kids ran around high on sweets and cake. Emilia didn’t have a clue what was going on or why all these people were in her house but she had a cracking day and was well and truly spoilt.
She sat on her pink princess throne and celebrated by showing her pants to the world, she’s one of us alright.
That photo, I’ll be showing to her and everyone else on her 18th birthday! – Evil aunty Becs.
I left and went home to immediately look over the photos of the day, I loved them.
- Happy birthday our ‘Millie’ we love you! -
When Fidel approached me about shooting his and his fiancée wedding I got so excited, it was another city wedding. As much as I love rural locations and nature, I absolutely adore an urban wedding especially in a city with as much character as Manchester. Manchester holds a special place in my heart so I was over the moon.
The lovers spent the night before at the Midland hotel and I arrived around 8am to shoot all the lovely ‘getting ready’ shots – one of my favourite parts of the day. Fidel and Oliver actually got ready together so it was lovely to see them helping each other out with their cufflinks and ties and be able to capture the unique moment.
We had a leisurely walk over to the registry office pausing for lots of fabulous street shots. The guys had lots of people stopping them to wish them luck and to take their picture, like you would if you saw a couple walking to their wedding in immaculate suits at 9.30am. It was wonderful.
After a short ceremony we walked the streets of Manchester and shot some more intimate moments between the newly weds in their favourite spots. We walked down the side of the canal, stopped outside central library and incorporated the stunning architecture into the photographs.
Fidel and Oliver then disappeared for lunch and a relaxing spa afternoon, I popped home and made it back for their incredible reception at Manchester Hall. The moment I walked in, I was greeted by the friendly staff who were putting the finishing touches to the one long dining table that dominated the room, one long stunning table to seat all 50 of their guests. It truly looked like a scene from a film, I was absolutely blown away by every detail. I knew the guests and I were in for a real treat.
Husband and husband arrived, their guests followed and the champagne flowed, it was a wonderful relaxed reception where tradition was met with fabulous modern twists. Including (I never thought I’d say this being a meat eater) but an absolutely delicious 3 course vegan meal and not just the usual 3 or 4 speeches, instead everyone in the whole room said a little something about Fidel and Oliver, shared a memory or a joke. It was like nothing I’d ever seen before.
Once the microphone had been passed around, the cake was cut and the dancing began. A conga line then lead the whole wedding party out into the hall for group shot on the spiral staircase beneath the stunning chandelier.
From rainbow hair, giant inflatable unicorns to beautiful sunflowers and the iconic Manchester bee, this was a wonderful, character-filled intimate wedding, one of which I’ll remember for a long, long time. Thank you Fidel and Oliver for including me in your incredible day! xx
When you hire me as a photographer I like to get to know you guys so that we all work well together, that you are relaxed and get the most out of the shoot. You’re putting your money and trust in me to take amazing photos so it’s safe to say that knowing a little about me too can only be of benefit. So here goes....
How did you become a photographer?
My love of photography I think came from my dad, he photographed everything and still does. When we were kids me and my brother would make fun of him for carrying his giant camera bag everywhere he went. It was only recently that I realised that I’m now him. I was out one weekend just pottering about and I looked down at my camera bag and laughed. It was a sweet feeling. My love of all things visual led me to pursue an education in graphic design with a photography focus. I feel honoured that my generation were probably the last to learn about film photography. I learnt to develop all my photos in a traditional dark room before moving onto digital at university. From university I started out freelancing, I photographed children, christenings and I tagged along at weddings as a second shooter and my career progressed from there.
When I’m not working.....
I love to walk, hills, forests anywhere, even better when there’s a country pub at the end of it. I love food and drink and not afraid to say it and love finding new places to go. Because of my food and drink ‘hobby’, I go to the gym 4 times a week, though I do genuinely enjoy keeping fit, toned and strong, it makes me happy. When i'm not photographing weddings I love to photograph landscapes and I hope to put them all in a book one day. I like Harry Potter and Netflix marathons and tend to watch my favourite programmes over and over. I have two cats, Willow and Luther who keep me constantly entertained, I’d have a house full of animals if I could. I see my family at least a few times a week because they’re crazy and I love them. I love to travel and get where I can when I can, even if that means just visiting a new town or city in England.
Here’s some quick facts
I was born... In Bolton in 1983
I have.... One sibling, a younger brother
I am.... Chilled in character and believe everything happens for a reason
I have.... Green eyes, not sure what my natural hair colour is anymore and a love of tattoos – sorry mum
My humor is.... Sarcastic- dad’s fault.
I can be described as.... Empowered, Creative, Empathetic and put most people before myself
I watch.... Anything British, gritty and funny. League of gentlemen, The Royle Family, Psychoville, Absolutely Fabulous though I am partial to the odd chick flick too. Victoria Wood is one of my comedic favourites, she was just a genius
I listen to..... 70’s and 80’s rock, American country. My all time favourite artists are Pink Floyd and David Bowie, their influences have been invaluable to me.
Furthest I’ve been from home.... The Maldives
Favourite smell.... Cucumber and watermelon
Favourite season.... Autumn
I like to drink.... Pinot Blush Rosè
I love to eat.... Pizza - all day long - Pineapple DOES belong on pizza :)
Sweet or savory? Savory
I have an obsession with.... Water, I love the sea
I also photograph.... Landscapes
I’m in my thirties and still discovering who I am but who really has it all figured out and where’s the fun in that anyway? My life’s events have encouraged me to live in the moment and take nothing for granted. Do what you love and stay happy if you’re not happy, change it - we're not here long. xbx
Your wedding from a photographers perspective.
I was once asked, after already reducing my price to accommodate a half day wedding, why I couldn’t make my services cheaper as the bride only wanted me for a few hours. My response was this....‘With all due respect, I may only be shooting for 4 or 5 hours on the day but the work that still needs to be done after may be another weeks work for me.’ She quickly understood and didn’t say anymore.
I'd love to help my clients really understand why I charge what I do, the work that goes into wedding photography and why it should be seen as an investment.
So, your wedding day may look like just one days work, but behind the scenes I get to work on your wedding, the day I receive your booking. This is means meetings and chats with you and your other half about your wedding ideas, my ideas, I draw up plans, itineraries, in the months before, we'll meet again for last minute planning and reassurance. I make sure my kit is constantly ready to go, batteries charged, new memory cards bought, my second photographer organised. I do a venue recce, check out lighting situations, introduce myself to church and hotel staff. The week and then the night before I’m checking weather and traffic reports, I make a plan for getting to your venue on time, my phone is charged and sat navigation ready. I commute and then shoot your day, I’m usually there from the very beginning for your bridal prep right through until your first dance. If things over run, I stay.
During the actual wedding day my mind is running at a hundred miles an hour. I juggle the itinerary with lighting changes, unexpected happenings, poses, find the best spot for formal photographs and your private ones. I liase with you, your partner, bridesmaids and groomsmen, organise the wedding party for the group shot, plan the next bit of the wedding, get down with the kids so they don’t run away from me and my camera, I put my body into strange positions so I can get that unique perspective shot. The list is endless, I not only have to be on the ball constantly but I also have to be physically fit to do this job. Hence why I also work out at the gym as often as I can. This doesn’t stop the ache though....at the time my adrenaline is high and I don’t notice, that’s until I sit down at home later on and then can’t get up again. :)
This is just the beginning for a wedding photographer.....
What comes after is sifting through what can sometimes be over 2000 photographs from each wedding to select the best ones for my clients. I put them in order of no, maybes and yes. I then edit the best ones, I correct any issues and make sure I’ve brought out the best in every photo. On my website it says you will receive 300+ photographs, this means a minimum, you may receive 310 or 330 or more, it just depends which ones have made the cut. This editing process can take many, many hours, I may leave it a few days and come back to it with fresh eyes, it’s a process that can’t be rushed. When completed I then take another look over the photos to make sure I’m absolutely happy with them. I send 20 images to print and await their delivery, in the meantime I create a slideshow for you and pop everything onto your USB and into your bespoke presentation box.
In between editing I’m keeping up with marketing, advertising, contacting clients, suppliers and even shooting and editing other weddings at the same time. It sure isn’t a 9-5 job, but I love that it isn’t and I love my job, it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. I’m sharing your day with you, making you smile with my work, your day is as important to me as it is to you and my photographs are my art form. It’s never a case of ‘that’ll do.’ It’s finished when I’m happy.
So your £1150 pays for far more than just one day of work. It pays for many hours, late nights, expenses, travel and of course time and patience and I thank each and every one of you that has booked with me and sees and understands the investment you’ve made. Without you I could not do this dream job, you ensure that I never have to work in someone else’s office, 9-5 again and I will never take that for granted. Love you all!!
So you’re planning your wedding, everything is going great until you realise just how many suppliers there are out there, photographers being no exception. Everyone is fighting for your attention....and your money.
Where do you start? Who do you pick? Who do you trust? I’m here to make this decision a bit easier for you, to highlight what you should consider and what you should rule out.
First off do you have budget? If not, set one, this will narrow down your search. When I got married I set my budget for a photographer higher and sacrificed other things. Being a photographer myself my photos were the most important thing for me. So this leads me on to my next question, how important is a photographer to you? Some brides and grooms don’t consider this, they just want someone to come and take pictures for the day. Which is fine. But picture this, your wedding photos are usually the only lasting thing you’ll have from your wedding day other than your memories so it’s worth the extra thought before you book. Don’t ask ‘uncle bob’ just because he has a digital camera and it’ll be free, it’s not worth it – trust me, I’ve seen the horror. So decide how important a photographer is to you and write it down next to your budget.
You now have your budget and your list of importance, booking a photographer isn’t about getting the most expensive or the most award winning, it’s about booking the right one with the right style for you. What suits one couple might not suit another and this is what I tell all my clients during our initial meeting, they might like my work but it may not be totally them or we might not click, If this was the case I would actually discourage them from booking, photography is so personal, it needs to reflect you. Ask yourself which style and photographers are you drawn to? Light and airy, dark and moody? What will suit your wedding theme? Once you have that in mind you can rule out the others.
Next, please bear in mind a photographers pricing, I’ve had brides that have been happy with my pricing and I’ve had brides that say I’m too expensive. If a photographer wants to charge you just £500-£700 I’d be questioning their experience. You get what you pay for remember. Expect to pay between £850 and £1300 for a quality photographer. If you don’t have a massive budget to blow then stick within the middle but don’t skimp. Check reviews and talk to couples who have experienced a particular photographer, do your research before committing your time and money. I would always, always recommend hiring someone who also provides a second shooter. A second photographer not only ensures that every detail will be captured but it’s also great for peace of mind, it’s twice the photographer, twice the equipment, twice the memory cards and batteries, every photographer should have one. Unfortunately some photographers charge extra for their assistance, mine is included in my price as I think it’s essential.
You now have a list of around 5 professionals, good photographers will make time for your enquiries and any questions you may have as they understand that this is a big decision. So set up some meetings with your favourites, go through their work and also see if your personalities mesh. Getting on with your photographer will ensure you are relaxed and happy on the day and you’ll have fabulous pictures because of it, you are working together after all. Ask questions.
You’ve found a photographer that you love, you get along with them great and you’ve paid your deposit, what next? Most photographers offer engagement sessions prior to the wedding, I would highly recommend having one once you have chosen your photographer, for two reasons. One, to give you a feel for being in front of the camera, to give you chance to get comfortable and two it’s a great way to get to know your photographer and vice versa. Plus you’ll have fun doing it, it’ll give you that bit of confidence before the wedding day and you’ll know what to expect.
Every photographer should talk through a plan of action and itinerary for your day, they should be as prepared as you. This should be discussed in a few meetings leading up to the wedding.
What about albums and prints? Some photographers offer both in their packages but don’t be put off if they don’t, it’s always an option you can add on later, if it’s not and they’re forcing you to pay X amount for an album you’re not sure you want, then personally I’d walk away. However albums are a great way of displaying and showing off your finished photos it is something to consider if you don’t just want digital files. I’d definitely invest in some good quality prints though that you can frame or give to the family, your photographer will probably try to up sell some prints to you when they deliver your final photos. Don’t be scared of this as they are definitely nice to have and a good quality print is worth every penny.
So I’ve covered a few things in this post there’s always going to be more but these are the more important things to consider. I hope I’ve made things easier and clearer for you and best of luck with all your wedding planning.
You’ll just have to repeat this now with your dress, flowers, music, entertainment..... :)