Penny & Lee’s Wet Weather Wedding

The Rain Never Bothered me anyway

Penny & Lee had their wedding at Chicheley Hall on 22nd July 2017.

We had a mixture of weather all day, including a lot of rain! But it didn't affect them at all. They loved every second of their big day and used the rain to their advantage and had very unique wedding photos!

Chicheley Hall is fantastic for indoor photography! It's absolutely stunning and perfect when the weather is too wet or cold, all group photos and couple photos can be done in the warm and dry and look gorgeous!

The day started with sunshine and champagne!

Jordan was my assistant photographer and started the day photographing the groom, Lee and I went straight to the bride, Penny.

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So many couples worry too much about the weather. If it rains, it's not a sign you're not meant to be, it usually just means you got married in England and that's what happens most of the time! The best thing to do is to embrace it.

Plan for wet weather, then it will never disappoint you.

If you let the weather bother you, you're just going to ruin memories. The rain doesn't even need to affect you, it will be an incredible day.

Apart from a few distant rumbles of thunder during the ceremony, the rain held off until just after the confetti photos.

We managed to get two or three group photos immediately after the confetti and then the rain came in bucket loads! The church kindly let us back in to finish the formal photos.

I wasn't going to let the rain stop us, so with some clever flash tricks, I lit up the drops in the sky and used their wedding car as a beautiful backdrop.

The remaining group photos were completed inside in the dry! Once everyone arrived and had a drink!

We used the back room at Chicheley, saving the stairs for the romantic couple photos.

In between the heaviest rain we popped outside for some romantic couple photos. Chicheley has a lot to offer both inside and out! If it had continued to rain heavily we would of just gone with umbrellas!

Having the rain earlier on meant we really made use of the inside areas - easily missed on a bright sunny day. And the outdoor photos are so unique with the cloud texture.

I used a mixture of flash techniques (I won't bore you with the details!) to keep it exciting, interesting and colourful! Without flash it would of been dull, lots of shadowing (including under their eyes), the sky would be white/grey and they would of easily blended in with the background.

I always send my assistant up to the balcony to get this photo! It's so perfect, watching over your day.

After the first dance, I can't help myself, I always stick around for a bit longer to capture the fun on the dance floor!! And as it was still raining outside (And we were warm inside!) we decided to pop outside for a last mini photo shoot!

It wasn't dark as it was July. It was about sunset, so you can imagine what light we had. But we wanted a dramatic photo. So I used my flash tricks!! I lit up the couple and the rain and turned day into night!

What an incredible wedding!!

<--The Wedding Slideshow

Three Wedding Planning Tips to Make Your Day Perfect!

A wedding is an amazing occasion. Not only are you taking that lifelong commitment, all of your closest friends and family will be there to witness and to share the joy.

The worst thing about a wedding is that you can't redo anything. These are precious moments that you can't pretend, retake or re-feel. They happen on the day and it's important to remember and treasure those moments.

I remember all those heart palpitations during the planning process last year. I kept thinking "What if I get it wrong?" Luckily it went well. Very well - the best day I ever could of imagined! So I thought, why not share my top three tips! Of course there's many more but these are the most important for me.

Photographs are important. When we grow old and our children and grandchildren go looking for photos of us, what will they find?

#1 Do Your Research

Research is key.

Make sure you have all the suppliers that will work hard for your day - don't just go for the cheapest ones! Remember, you can't re-do your wedding. Choose a musician that will play your song, a florist that will create the perfect bouquet for you and a photographer that you like.

There are wedding shows all over the country in Autumn and the beginning of the year but look online too. Go and meet them in person or chat on the phone. Work out if they fit your style.

The best way of finding out if a photographer will work hard to create your dream images is to book an engagement photo shoot with them first.

You can read up about my engagement shoots here.

So why do an engagement photo shoot?

Apart from the obvious - it's fun! (no really, it is!)

It's a great opportunity to learn how to pose! This doesn't mean you'll end up with a ton of super wooden fixed cheesey poses on your wedding day. It means you'll know how to pose so you can be more natural. From the images you'll be able to see if this photographer has chosen the right poses for you. I talk each of my couples through the poses so they know why it's flattering and what looks best.

Each photographer has a different style. Do you prefer the look of film? Or Timeless and Classic? Choose the photographer that makes you go 'WOW'.

Look at, at least, three full wedding albums or online galleries. Look at a similar time of year (particularly winter weddings!!) so you can see their technique and know if it's right for you.

Find a style you like. Do you prefer natural light (left) or flash (right) or maybe somewhere in between. Remember your whole day will be in the same style.

Do you want posed or moments? Or a bit of both! Speak to photographers about this to find your perfect match!

This is the same for all suppliers. If you're having a vintage wedding, find a vintage specialist! Find the perfect supplier to fit your wedding.

#2 Have a back up plan

This is a really useful tip! And I don't mean have a back up bride or groom incase they change their mind, I mean have a back up location.

If you've planned a rustic outdoor ceremony and al fresco champagne afternoon tea - what happens if it rains? Hoping for the best is great, but always prepare for the worst when it comes to weather! Don't settle for a back room and just hope it stays dry. Have a plan where you would be happy with the indoor option. Are you going to be happy with the photos?

Buy umbrellas, wellies and fun rain activities! Get excited by the prospect of rain and you'll never be disappointed! You'll just get super interesting photos!

#3 Plan more time than you need

I hear so many stories about 'stressful days' and 'not enough time'.

Not from my couples, or my wedding day - but many many stories. The main reason is poor planning with timings. Wedding planning isn't something we do every day, so it's easy to not plan it correctly. Talk to hair and make up about how long it will take, ask the dress shop how long your dress will take to put on (and practice!!!! It's not that easy putting on your dress!!) put those timings together then add at least 30 minutes. Discuss with your photographer what photos to prioritise in the morning and when to do the posed ones. So much is going on, so many moments easily missed. Organise everything.

 

After the ceremony you won't want to jump straight into the formal photos, so allow yourself 10-30 minutes to mingle. Then when you plan your group photos allow 5 minutes per photo. Yes, 5 minutes!! Allow it and hope you don't need that long. Then it's up to you how long you plan for the couple photos. Just make sure there's more than enough time - your guests will be happy to mingle and have a drink (and the photographer has chance to snap some wonderful natural moments!)

The speeches can go on for an hour (sometimes!) so don't ask your evening guests to arrive during this time, allow another 30 minutes. Spread the day out and you won't be rushing. You'll be busy enjoying every second. It will pass in a FLASH so spread it out and soak it all in!

Before the wedding plan your timings. I chose to write out a spreadsheet (but then I did have 6 bridesmaids, 6 groomsmen, 3 sets of parents and 7 cars....)

We gave each of our bridal party an individual job - whether it was gathering people for group photos, helping people to their tables or just keeping my cousin away from the open bar (they failed!) it meant we didn't need to look at the time once on the day. They had one job each, nice and easy, they enjoyed helping. It made the day run smoothly and guests were happy.

6 Posing Mistakes Most Couples Make

Don't worry, I don't mean my couples!

And to be honest, I don't really mean couples, I mean the photographers. It's their jobs to ensure the couple is looking their best and capture the most flattering poses and angles. So really, it's their mistakes, not the happy couples!

So how hard can it be to pose? You just stand and smile right? What can a bad pose do....? And what if you just want natural photos?

So many times when couples ask for natural poses, they're talking about capturing their personality and romance between them. But the fact is, if you ask for no poses and all natural, you're going to have crossed arms, straight bodies, unflattering arms and images you may not be fond of. So how can you achieve gorgeous effortless images that capture the real you?

I'm going to talk you through the six most common mistakes photographers make. When I teach workshops and mentor my students, this is the first thing we discuss. You need to learn the basics of posing to capture the real intimacy and the real relationship of a couple.

#1 Crossing Your Arms

What do I mean by this?

If you stand facing your partner and hold their sides with your arm stretched out. That. You're making an X. You're standing side on to the camera - or worse, your bodies facing the camera but your arms are crossed over. This is so uncomfortable and posed. This isn't a natural posing position, you can see you're only standing like that for a photo.

How to fix this pose? Look at my amazing couple above.

The bride is in a stunning pose (really showing off her dress! See the other tips) and holding the groom's face. She's embracing him, pulling him towards her for a kiss. He's not attempting to cross his arm over to hold her back, because that would be uncomfortable. Instead he's got his hand in his pocket. It's a natural pose.

#2 Say Cheese!

To many, posing means cheesy painful smiles awkwardly looking towards the camera. "Say Cheese!"

Posing doesn't need to be uncomfortable. Sometimes we do need to look towards the camera (you know, that photo for the parents!) but the majority of the photos are romantic, natural images - captured sneakily by your photographer! And when it's time to look towards the camera, you'll be happy to.

#3 Poor Body Language

When you're posing for the camera you need to remember it's stills and not video. You could be being so romantic and wonderful, but if your face is blank and you don't know where to place your hands, you're going to look uncomfortable and your body language will make it look like you're just not interested.

This includes; when you're looking towards each other, don't pull away from each other! (No matter how blurry they appear!)
When you put your arms on your partner, hold them! Don't just place your hands, feel them.
Smile. It might sound obvious, but show how you're feeling inside, on your face.

 

Bride and Groom pose by London Bridge, luxury wedding photographer, laura rachel photography

#4 Arm placement

This is probably the mistake most photographers make. And it's the one that mostly women notice. We're very critical of our own images and therefore it's important for us to be in a flattering pose (without photoshop!!) and love the images.

If you have one person behind the other and the person in front puts their arm over the top - their arm will double in size.

It's such an easy fix, tuck your elbow in and cuddle in tight. If you want your arm on top, don't push it down, keep it raised.

#5 Not posing for the dress

We don't wear a wedding dress every day so it can be quite hard to manoeuvre and work out how to make it flatter us.

I teach my brides how to pose with different dresses. In particular the fish-tail or mermaid style dress.

If you have curves, this style looks gorgeous! But if you just stand there, it's not going to do much for your figure. The best way of really making use of that dress in the images is to bend your knee and use your hips!

#6 Flowers

Flowers look so lovely on a wedding day! They compliment the theme so well and really accessorise the bride.

They also give you something to hold during the photos! However, time and time again I see flowers held in the wrong position.

The bouquet creeps higher and higher in each image because you're not used to holding such a heavy bulk in your hand! And perhaps you're feeling nervous. But remember to keep the bouquet down, so you don't cover your dress and hold your arm out slightly so you don't hide your waist.

There's so many hints and tips I can share with you, which I teach all of my couples on an engagement session, but there's simply too many to write on here. These are just my 6 basic top tips because these are the ones that I train photographers on first. They're the first things I notice in images and they're so simple to fix!

Have a look around at wedding photos and see if you can tell the difference!

If you haven't booked your wedding photographer yet, I'm offering a complimentary engagement photo shoot before you book! Get in touch to book in your date and time. I will teach you about posing, talk about the different lighting techniques and you can tell me all about your wedding.

Engagement Photo Shoot

Try before you Buy!

An engagement photo shoot is a fantastic opportunity to get to know your photographer - or see if they're the right photographer for your wedding!

And so they can get to know you. They can see what you like, how you are as a couple and work to create the most individual images for you.

There's so many mistakes easily made when it comes to posing (see common posing mistakes!)

But the main thing is to capture the natural moments between all of the poses. When I photograph a couple on their engagement session I'm teaching posing and showing each person why it's posed in that way and how to avoid unflattering angles. Then I go ahead and be creative with lighting & composition while they enjoy their photo shoot!

Until the end of the year I am offering a free engagement photo shoot to any couple getting married that haven't already booked their wedding photographer!

Get in touch to book your session. There's no obligation to book! You learn how to pose and most of all, have fun!!

 

Get in Touch!!

Central Milton Keynes Wedding Show & My Special Offer!

During the 6th-8th of October this year (last weekend!) I exhibited my stand at the Central Milton Keynes Wedding Show. It's a fantastic show with lots of different suppliers and an amazing catwalk show.

It's a great opportunity for couples to meet different suppliers, get ideas and bag a special offer.

This year my offer was the Gold Envelopes!!

Special Offer

Each Couple that came for a chat received a Gold Envelope!

It's a new idea, I thought why not offer everyone the chance to have a huge discount on their big day. After all, weddings are so expensive!

In each envelope was a discount from £50 to £500!

Why Choose me to photograph your big day?

I'm not going to tell you about all of my qualifications and achievements because that means absolutely nothing unless you love my work. What I will say is I'm an artist.

What I do is create beautiful images for my couples. During the engagement photo shoot they get to know me and I teach them valuable posing techniques and show them how to adapt the poses to them (so it's more natural and unique.)

I'm there on the wedding day with my assistant for up to 12 hours. I don't do half days or half jobs. Each wedding I do I hold close to my heart and I put so much time and effort into making it perfect. I want you to love your images.

After the big day you receive a USB to print from again and again. They're your images to keep! I also offer a gallery for your guests to download the images (completely free!)

What makes me different?

I am always looking for a different angle, a new perspective and I love using the camera to my advantage. I don't see the world in the same way most other's do, I see what I can create.

When I'm photographing a wedding and there's a dark staircase, most people would see a staircase and struggle to picture a scene. I know exactly how I want it to look and I know exactly what lighting techniques to do. Before you know it I've captured an incredibly beautiful and different image for that wedding. Something not many others will have!

I look for moments. Laughter, tears, happiness, emotion - I'm there capturing it all.

Try Before You Buy

With all of my collections I offer a complimentary engagement photo shoot but at the moment I'm offering this to you before you book.

This is the easiest way of finding out if the photographer is right for you. I will teach you valuable posing techniques, show you how to feel comfortable with the camera and comfortable with each other! It's fun and it's all within an hour.

After the session you'll be invited into the studio to view your images and we can discuss your wedding in detail.

Have a look at my engagement photo shoot blog post.

6 Mistakes most people make when planning their wardrobe for a photo shoot

1. Wear Black on White and White on Black....

It's a common misconception that to be seen, you have to wear a dark colour on a white background and lighter clothes on a dark background.

This is the case in a modern infinity cove (all white) flash studio - but not in most cases. The reason they ask you not to wear white is because during the editing stage they make everything brighter and add contrast, which means anything white will just disappear!

In most soft light studios (and in your own photos) put light colours with lighter backgrounds and darker colours on dark backgrounds. This way the clothes don't distract the focus from you. The composition is more creative and it's a nicer looking image.

2. Avoid Colours

My biggest tip to my clients is Wear your personality.

If you never wear colours. Don't. But if you're always dressing a certain way, wear a particular colour - bring it along. Always bring a choice of clothes but most of all bring what means something to you!

Bring something dark, something light, something formal and something casual. Bring as many clothes as you want - but be creative and be you!

3. Not wearing patterns

This is half true.

You shouldn't wear logos or bold patterns. And in a big family group you shouldn't wear clashing patterns, or everyone in plain colours and one in a pattern (unless it's a baby or small child!)

But during a solo shoot, if you want to show some personality then wear something fancy!

A lot of beautiful dresses are sleeveless - but a lot of women, myself included, don't particularly like their arms, or more, don't like them being photographed. It's okay to have one or two, but then a light shawl that's decorative brings a bit of character to the image and will make you feel more comfortable.

4. Wearing baggy clothes

Comfort is most important right?

Well yes, it's important to feel confident and happy. But to get incredible images, whether you're athletic or curvy, wear something fitted!

Bring a range of clothes, but do make sure you bring some fitted clothing.

The last photo shoot I did I purchased a dress because it was covered in sequins (and it had sleeves!) and I loved it. But I would never wear it out because it was ridiculously tight and ridiculously short. It looked amazing so it was perfect for posing in the studio. And no one would ever know how really unpractical the dress was!

5. Going OTT on the Make Over

Some people will go all out for a photo shoot. It's not something we do all the time, so why not splash out and make it amazing?

Well, you have to look like you.

If you NEVER wear make up, then keep it absolutely minimal, or not at all!

Hire a professional who knows how the make up looks through a camera. Don't straighten your hair if it's always curly and visa versa. Enhance your natural beauty. Show who you are!

And show how beautiful you really are!

6. Have boring white background headshots in a suit

Personal Branding and Headshots are very popular in the studio at the moment as more and more business people are using the web and social media to spread their brand.

People are even using this genre to promote themselves on dating websites.

But does a headshot really have to be so business like and cold? Absolutely not.

It can be whatever you want it to be! Whether you're a business woman, actor, singer, student or looking for a date, you can show your personality and get some professional and incredible photos to help you get up the ladder!

‘Modern’ Portraiture is out. Here’s what’s taking it’s place

For years we've been placing the family portrait on the wall with pride, a centrepiece of the home.

But we're all changing. We no longer want adult tickle fights in our photos or colour popping silly faces....

What we want is elegant, beautiful, timeless portraiture. Something that won't go out of date. Something our children can be proud to have passed onto them. Something that truly captures the priceless memories that can be treasured for life.

After all, photographs will outlive us. When are children go looking for photos of us, what will they find?

Behind the Scenes of a Photo Shoot

Shafina kindly allowed me to video her make over experience - she was even happy for a little interview too!

It was a lovely photo shoot and I feel very lucky to have met her, her mother and her husband and since the photo shoot, their gorgeous little boy, Ziyaan.

If you would love to have a photo shoot but are feeling a bit camera shy, have a look at my free downloadable guide on 'Top Ten Tips on how to build Camera Confidence'

How to Prepare for a Photo Shoot

A photo shoot is something we don't do everyday & the thought of preparing for it could be overwhelming! So here's a step by step guide to make the process effortless.

Consultation

After you've spoken to the photographer on the phone and booked in your session, you will be invited in for a consultation to really find out what photographs you want and why. You will discuss wardrobe, make up, number of people in the photo shoot, timings and overall you will be comforted on any nerves or shyness you have around having your photo taken.

Meeting your photographer beforehand means on the day of the photo shoot you're not meeting a stranger, you're meeting a friend. Someone who you already feel comfortable with.

What to Wear

Although this will be discussed with you in detail on the consultation, it's good to prepare!

Bring a wide range of clothing from formal to casual - even lingerie if you want a few boudoir photos (but don't want a full boudoir shoot!) Bring along neutral colours, bright colours and dark colours. But most of all bring along clothes that show your personality! We recommend avoiding big bold logos or patterns, just because this distracts the focus from the image and can clash with other people in the photo.

Timings

The consultation will be 1-2 weeks before the photo shoot and the viewing will be 1-2 weeks after depending on your availability. Plenty of time to plan and shop and get ready to view your photos!

The Photo Shoot

You will start of by having a make over - why not!
Images are incredibly important. They're a documentation of our lives, something our children and grandchildren will treasure. Look and feel your best! And take time out for a little pampering! 

You Deserve it!

After that, your photographer will guide you through simple posing designed to flatter & enhance. And you don't need any previous posing practice! Anyone can do it! Nobody walks into the studio a professional poser! It's all taught to you on the day so you can feel confident and happy and enjoy your photo shoot.

Your photographer will spend as much time with you as you need. This means you don't need to rush through wardrobe changes, you can try every outfit to get variation in your images. This extra time means you can have multiple combination photos if you choose to bring family with you.

Viewing

When you walk in you will be greeted with your beautiful images printed on the wall. You can buy as many or as little as you want. The important thing is, there's no hard sales. The images do all the selling.

Finally you will have stunning images of yourself and your family to treasure forever. Finally images you can be proud of.

If you're interested in learning more of the ins and outs of a photo shoot at Laura Rachel Photography, have a look at the behind the scenes blog & video here!

5 Ways to Reconnect with your grown up daughter

At some point, I’m not sure when, I became an adult. I went from being a grumpy teenager who would be embarrassed by my mum to a grown up that wanted to spend time with her as a friend.

There’s so many activities and fun days out for mothers to bond with their young children, but what about when those children are in their 20s and 30s? How to do you reconnect and build that deep friendship that lasts a lifetime?

1. Spa Day
The ultimate relaxation girls day out!
We work so hard all day long, always caring for others, it's time to just take a few deep breaths and let your muscles relax! It's a perfect activity to do together, to catch up and really feel comfortable with each other to confide and open up with each other.

2. Cook together
Whether you take a class together or cook at home, this is a really fun bonding activity where you can work together to be creative and get a wonderful dinner at the end of it!

Maybe try it ‘ready steady cook’ style! Pick 6 ingredients and see what you can come up with! Or team it up with a visit to the farmers market or food festival and try out a new recipe!

3. Start a new tradition
One tradition I loved when I was a kid was the weekly sunday roast with the grandparents! Since we’ve all grown up and moved out (and we just have grandma left who lives in a small bungalow!) like most grown up families, we no longer do this. Why not set up a lunch or dinner (home made or in a restaurant) every second tuesday of the month. Something to look forward to and plan for.

4. Try an hobby she’s into

Give yoga, rollerskating, bowling, golf or archery a go! Whatever she’s into, show interest! Have a go, you might not do it again but you might just surprise yourself and enjoy it! And she will love that you tried for her.

5. Capture your relationship: A Photo Shoot

While she’s at the age with the world at her feet and you’re finding yourself again - capture this. Exist is beautiful portraits. Have a make over photo shoot where you can truly be pampered and look glamorous together. Learn how to pose and have a laugh. Enjoy the time where it’s just the two of you (or more if you have multiple children!) set your daughter a great example; be confident and happy with yourself and love how you look.

As we grow older, photo shoots preserve that wonderful memory. Through the years these images will show you the story of your life, forever changing and forever beautiful. As your daughter grows up, perhaps starts her own family, she will always have those wonderful photographs to look back on.

 

If you're wanting to be in photos but struggling to feel confident enough, have a look at this free downloadable guide:

Click here for Ten Tips on how to build your Camera Confidence