Michael Jackson is the very talented photographer and owner of Jackson & Co Photography. You’ll just love Michael’s fun and easy going nature, which is so important if you are a couple that are slightly nervous in front of the camera. His down-to-earth and friendly approach to wedding photography is really refreshing and it helps that he’s a brilliant photographer as well. Let’s find out more….
How did you become a wedding photographer?
“I’ve taken photographs since I was a kid, my Dad made me my very first camera out of wood when I was really small so it’s something that I’ve always done. I guess like so many people a hobby become a real passion and then everything else just faded away and photography was all that I wanted to do. I spent a little while travelling with my wife in California and documented our trip the whole way. Throughout that time we just talked about what we could do and how we would do it and Jackson & Co Photography started to take shape. From that moment on it became the only thing we wanted to do.
How would you describe your style?
“Bright, colourful and fun. There’s a huge trend right now for photographs processed in a vintage style and although I love the nostalgia of old vinyl records and film cameras in truth I don’t really care for old grainy photos. I love photos that have punch, whether that comes from gorgeous warm sunlight and vivid colours or from a couple grinning at one another from ear to ear – and that ultimately is what I am trying to achieve when I am taking your photograph.
“Having your photograph taken is a daunting experience for most of my couples and they don’t know what to expect. They’re not alone, pretty much everyone does but there’ll soon have forgotten I’m even there. The camera bit is the easy bit of my job, it’s getting people to relax and enjoy is the real skill!
What do wedding couples ask you first?
“Usually “how long will I be there?” I’m there the whole day to capture your wedding from start to finish. Also “do I sell albums?” Absolutely. I currently provide albums by Folio and Red Tree.
What tips would you give your couples to help their day run more smoothly?
Planning is everything. I make sure that I go through an itinerary the week before so I know what’s happening and when. Also trying to co-ordinate guests together for group shots isn’t exactly my favourite thing in the world! They are important shots to get but unless I have someone to help me find certain friends and family it can be a bit of a guessing game who’s who! Plus it then takes far longer than it needs too.
What has been your best moment as a wedding photographer?
Crouching down and laying along an old wooden jetty that sticks out into Lake Garda last summer to capture one of my couples. The sun was just dipping down over the mountain and it was a really quiet and calm moment, that shot always stays with me.
For more info about Michael and to take a look at his portfolio whizz over to www.jacksonandcophotography.com
Over the next few weeks we’ll be bringing you interviews with some of Kent’s best wedding suppliers on how they landed their dream job working within the wedding industry from florists, to make-up artists, entertainers and more. Part 1 today is an interview with James Grist, a photographer who has loved taking pictures as long as he can remember. Let’s find out more….
How did you become a wedding photographer? My photography career really started after finishing my A levels in photography and I started working in sports photography, catching great moments from the World Superbikes. But after a while I wanted to do more work taking pictures of people and a good friend of mine (thanks Pauline!) got me my first wedding job. I was aged just 17 and shot her friends wedding. I just loved it and even now you never knowing what’s going to happen on someone’s big day. That keeps me hooked!
How would you describe your style? I’m a very laid back kinda guy, not in your face. It means I can’t stand regimental photos but love to float around the wedding crowd and grab those laughter shots or a special moment that otherwise might get missed.
What personality traits do you need to be a good photographer? I think you need to be very confident and very approachable. No-one wants to hire a grumpy ass photographer!
What are the best and worst parts of your job? The best part of my job is easily capturing moments that could be forgotten over the years. Worst part in my eyes are formal shots where guests stand in a row and generally look uncomfortable! I’m really not a big fan of taking wedding shots that way.
What are the top three things that wedding couples ask you about first?
It used to be “how old are you?” but sadly I hardly get asked that question anymore! The other is about dedication to the job. My reply is always the same. My son was born in the early hours of the morning, on the same day I had a wedding. I only got to spend a few hours with him before I have to leave. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve done so far. I’m lucky though as my wife was very understanding in the circumstances!
What tips would you give your couples to help their day run more smoothly? As I say to every couple I see, there is no need to worry or panic on your wedding day if something doesn’t go exactly to plan as usually it’s only them that notices it. The guest often don’t have a clue!
What is your best piece of business advice to aspiring photographers?
Get as much experience as you can shadowing another photographer. Also learn how a wedding runs as it’s very different to other events. You don’t want to jump right in there and make a major balls up at your first wedding!
What has been your best moment as a wedding photographer? The best moment so far is a personal one. It was photographing a family members wedding where I got to take pictures of my beautiful daughter as a Flower girl.
Thanks James for sharing your work with us. Look out next week for Part 2.
Images: James Grist Photography
Today’s wedding is the summer nuptials of Gary and Hollie, who were married at luxury hotel, Sundridge Park Manor in Bromley, Kent. The Grade I listed Manor is set in 6 acres of terraced gardens and has 23 en-suite rooms which have views of the gardens and golf course that surround it. Hollie and Gary first saw the venue on a TV programme and went to take a look and it’s no wonder they fell in love with it. It’s elegant charm was the perfect backdrop to Gary and Hollie’s Champagne and Ivory colour scheme. Here Hollie tells us how she began to plan their big day. Starting with the all important dress!
Hollie says “I felt like an absolute princess and I knew by my mum and friends reaction when I stepped out of the changing room that it was “the one”. It’s not every day you get to wear a princess dress! I accessorized it with High ivory sandals from Dune and stud earrings that were a gift from my Chief Bridesmaid. I also had a veil, hair slide and an ivory box clutch bag that my Chief Bridesmaid held on the day.
“We didn’t really need loads of decoration as the venue was absolutely beautiful – we let it speak for itself. Cinderella Dreams did our flowers and styling which was simple but really effective. I had a White Rose bouquet, with the three bridesmaids having smaller versions. The two flower girls had cute little wands. We also decorated the top table with Ivory Roses and “Mr & Mrs” wooden letters. The centerpieces were tall hurricane vases with candles and on the tables were disposable cameras and simple ivory name place cards. We had scratch cards in a wallet for the favours, which were colour co-ordinated and from eBay.
I got nearly all my ideas and inspiration from Google images! I had an idea of what I wanted and used the images alongside a few tweaks of my own. It was definitely less stress though having someone set up all the tables and arranging all the different style elements on the day – I would recommend it to every bride!
“Our photographer was James Grist. He had photographed our friends wedding and so we knew we wanted to have him.
For our wedding breakfast we had a hot buffet from the in house caterers, with a dessert table and cheese board for after. This was served with White and Red Wine on the tables but other drinks were available from the bar. Our wedding cake was a three square tier ivory cake with champagne ribbon around the bottom of each tier. The tiers looked like they were ‘floating’ and we had fresh white roses between each tier. A friend called Sian Howard made it. The three flavours were lemon, marble and chocolate. To kick off our evening entertainment my step dad, Barry Fox, sung our wedding song, Michael Buble’s Crazy Love. Our DJ Ben Phelps played the tunes, with Barry singing some more songs throughout the evening. It was a really fantastic party.”
Venue & Catering: Sundridge Park Manor
Brides Dress by: Allure Bridal from Orange Blossom in Blackfen
Flowers/Styling by: Cinderellas Dreams
Entertainment: Barry Fox (07984 465622)
Stationery: Made by the Bride from Pure Invitation
Groomsmen: Moss Bros
Wedding Photography and Images with thanks to James Grist Photography
Thanks to Hollie & Gary for sharing their day with us and massive congratulations.
Now we’re not usually ones to chat about old bones at the Wedding Dolls HQ but with the discovery of Richard III this week it’s got us thinking about how Castles bring with them a unique mix of history and new beginnings. For us today’s real wedding is the perfect example of mixing old and new and all that’s great about England and it’s historic castles and manor houses. Bevan and Melissa were married in August 2012 at Chiddingstone Castle, Kent with 60 guests at the ceremony and wedding breakfast and a further 50 guests for the evening reception. Here Melissa tells us about their big day.
“We wanted a venue that was in between my home town of Forest Row, East Sussex and Bevan’s home town of Gillingham, Kent. We looked at lots of venues across Kent on a really rainy day and fell in love with Chiddingstone Castle. It’s country vintage style suited our wedding theme and the exclusive use of the castle was just what we were looking for. It looked perfect even in the pouring rain!
“I wanted a dress that was grand enough for the castle setting while still fitting our traditional English vintage theme so I chose a Sassi Holford dress which suited my figure perfectly and I loved the simple design with delicate lace embellishments. My shoes were my extravagance. I’d looked at millions of pairs but once I saw Blush Bloom’ by Freya Rose they were the only ones that would do! Melissa Morgan Designs created both mine and the Bridesmaids jewellery. My favourite was my headpiece that Melissa designed and made for me using a vintage brooch I bought in a local antique shop.
“Our theme was Traditional English vintage with touches of a classic afternoon tea, we used accent colours of pale pink and green. The theme can together perfectly and I was so delighted with it! I snuck into the Great Hall while we were getting ready and had a peek at the tables – I nearly burst into tears!
“We are big big tea drinkers so all of our tables were named after types of tea – the top table was our favourite, English breakfast! As soon as we got engaged I started collecting vintage tea cups and saucers from antiques fair, car boot sales and charity shops. I filled each of these with pale pink wax to make tea cup candles for our female guests and the men and children had tea pot shaped cookies. The centre pieces were hired vintage tea pots, cake stands and tea cups filled with beautiful country style floral arrangements. We knew exactly what we wanted for our stationery but neither wanted to spend ages making the save the dates, invitations and seating plan so we enlisted the help of Frances Symes. I ordered a tea cup and tea pot paper stamper from America and Frannie did the rest!
“Our photographer, Martin Briggs was listed on the Castle’s list of trusted suppliers. We looked at his work online and loved his pictures and when we met him we could see how talented and passionate he was. He also used to live in Chiddingstone Castle so knew exactly where all the best spots for pictures were! We didn’t really need a wedding car but I absolutely love Morris Minors so Bevan hired a 1961 white convertible for me from Alfred’s Wedding Cars to get to the venue.
“Our wedding breakfast was wonderful! For canapés we had Rare roast beef in mini Yorkshire puddings with horseradish cream, Pork belly on creamy apple dauphinoise, with cracking and applesauce, Cornish crab fritters with avocado mousse and Beetroot rosti with whipped goats cheese and truffle honey – gorgeous! Then to start we had Scallops with parsnip puree and crispy pancetta, for main course Confit duck leg with slow roasted garlic mash, garlic sprouting broccoli, spice duck filo parcel and a pickled plum sauce and to finish we had Hot chocolate fondant with vanilla sour cream. The food not only tasted fantastic but it looked amazing – we even have photographs of it in our wedding album!
“In the evening we partied along to a live band called ‘Twist’. They played at a friends wedding and we knew we had to have them! Bevan chose 1,2,3,4 by the Plain White T’s for our first dance which was completely perfect and the band did a great rendition of it.”
Sounds like the perfect end to a fantastic day! Thanks to Melissa and Bevan for sharing their day with us.
Photography: Martin Briggs
Brides Dress by: Sassi Holford from Pantiles Bride
Catering by: Kalm Kitchen
Flowers/Styling by: Karen Woolven - Karen interpreted my theme and colours beautifully.
Entertainment by: Twist
Groomsmen: Penguins of Chatham
Bridesmaids: Dessy through Jodi of Maidstone
Drinks reception entertainment: Greenwich String Quartet - they were incredible.
To round off our series of wedding day discount posts (look out for more later this month) Steve Fuller Photography is offering an exclusive discount to The Wedding Dolls blog readers. If you book your wedding photography with him before the end of January 2013 you will receive a 10% discount off your chosen wedding package. Make sure you mention The Wedding Dolls when you book to claim your discount.
Steve’s wedding packages start from £1200 and he says “first and foremost, my coverage is discreet and informal with very little in the way of prompting or posing! I love to use natural light wherever possible. Although I’m based in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, I work regularly in Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire, Essex and London and I’m more than happy to cover your day be it anywhere in the UK or abroad”.
For more info about Steve and how he can work his photo magic for your wedding take a look at his full portfolio and client testimonials.
New year resolutions are tough to stick to but if one of them was being more careful with your hard earned cash then you’re in luck. Todays post is the first of our special discount days. There’s so many offers rolling in for our blog readers you won’t know which one to pick first.
Today we’re kicking off with a really unique joint offer that will save you squillions from your wedding budget (well ok not squillions but you get the idea).
Beautiful Kent venue, The House Meadow and Kirsten of Mavric Photography, have teamed up to bring you a double whammy of an offer. Book both of them throughout January and February and you will receive a 10% discount off your photography package with Kirsten, as well as 10% off venue hire at The House Meadow.
Contact Kirsten for more info and to see their styled shoot which took place at The House Meadow last year.
If you are on the search for your wedding photographer then this is one post you need to read. It’s a fantastic guest post by the very talented photographer, Rebecca Douglas, who is going to give you the low down on what you need to look for when booking your wedding photography.
She’s also got a fantastic offer for you at the end of the post so make sure you read on for more info. Over to you Rebecca.
Rebecca Douglas – In front of the camera for once!
￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼”Hi Everyone, I hope that this quick tutorial will give you enough info to confidently pick your photographer but before we get onto us photographer types remember that to start with its all about you…
What do you want from your wedding photography?
Start by asking yourself some simple questions.
What’s your style? Do you like traditional, documentary, modern and edgy or retro and vintage?
What do you want captured on the day? Is it from arrival at the ceremony until the last dance, longer or less?
Do you want an album or DVD only with all of the images, or both?
What is your budget? Photography is the only lasting reminder of your day so think carefully about what have you budgeted. Is it realistic?
Let the Research Begin
Start by searching for photographers on Google and look at review websites, blogs and social media.
If you see a photographer you like what is your gut reaction to their images? Do you love, like or just think ok? You should LOVE LOVE LOVE!
Draw up a short list of possibles, then try pinning their images (Pinterest is a great research tool) and keep comparing. Contact them to see if they are free on your wedding date. It’s also a good chance to see what their speed of response is like. Are they efficient and good at getting back to you as the customer?
When you’ve done enough pinning take a good look at the photos and ask yourself the following questions:
Can you see yourself in the images? Are the key moments captured? Are the images sharp? Do the images look well lit? Do the people look comfortable and relaxed? Are the images taken from flattering angles? Hint: all the answers should be YES!
￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼Meeting your Photographer
When you meet with the photographer have a checklist of questions that link to your list of priorities. It’s also important that you strike up an instant rapport and you’re happy that they are focused on you and your day.
Lastly you need to do a bit of admin! Make sure your photographer has public liability and public indemnity insurance as well as professional (full-frame cameras) and back up gear. Read their terms and condition carefully. Also check they have back up on and off site for images so they are not lost forever! It’s also helpful at this point to see what images you will get (how many and what resolution) and your rights to print and upload. It’s worth asking how they will use them and will they Photoshop and edit images, plus you need to find out how quickly you will get the images and/or albums after the wedding.
It’s really important too that you can see yourself smiling at your photographer for the whole of your wedding day and you are super comfortable with them. If so, the experience will be so much more enjoyable especially if you are a bit camera shy.
It’s also a great idea to have an engagement shoot to get comfortable as a couple in front of the camera and work with your photographer prior to the day. At the moment I’m offering a free engagement shoot to Wedding Dolls readers so click here for more info.
Good luck with your photographer and have a fantastic wedding day!”
Massive thanks Rebecca and if you’re just starting out on your wedding planning, we cover how to pick your suppliers in our workshop so take a look here for more info.
All images: Rebecca Douglas Photography
Fabulous photographer, Rebecca Douglas, is offering an exclusive Wedding Dolls offer for a free engagement shoot. Simply book your wedding photography with her in January or February 2013 to claim your engagement shoot.
At the Wedding Dolls we think engagement shoots are a must before your wedding so you can get to know your photographer and feel more relaxed with being ‘papped’ on your big day. Rebecca tells us “Engagement shoots are just wonderful fun! It gives you both time in front of the camera, at a favourite place where you can spend some relaxed time together. It will give you time to take a stroll with me, as your photographer, so we can get to know each other a bit more. I love to build you and your story, hobbies and interests into a shoot so if you fancy doing something to incorporate this, I’d love to hear your ideas”.
A great bonus of having an engagement shoot means you’ll have gorgeous images you can use for save the date cards, invites or signing boards, which the talented Rebecca can help you put together.
Her offer includes a 1-2 hour shoot, a Facebook gallery of a few sneak peeks to share with your friends and family, ten 8 x 6 inch professionally printed images of your favourite shots and an online gallery where you can buy more shots if you wish.
Simply mention this post when you contact her about your booking. Below are just some of her engagement shoots to give you an idea of what to expect.
Your photos also come beautifully packaged when they arrive – we just love the handmade little badges!
Copyright - All images: Rebecca Douglas
For more examples of Rebecca’s Wedding Photography check out some previous wedding blog posts: Great Barn Wedding and Kent Castle Dream
This was one wedding video I couldn’t wait to see as it showed all the bits I missed when we worked at Vijay and Leanne’s wedding in the summer. Whilst I was busy up in the marquee Joanne got to see the happy couple exchanging their vowels and ….awwwww….how happy do they look!
We’ll be featuring the full wedding with all it’s fabulous details next week but for now enjoy the video, shot by Padgham Productions.
Happy Sunday x
Lisa and Ian were married back in June at The Beacon, Tunbridge Wells. The lucky bride wore the Lizzette gown by Maggie Sottero and a beautiful fur wrap to meet her husband-to-be, who was fully kitted out in his uniform. What a gorgeous couple and we just love the little bridesmaids too!
Images by Alan Harbord