I’ve been really bad at blogging recently. I’ve shot some amazing weddings this year and they will all appear on these very pages I promise! But a lot of other crazy stuff has been happening recently…like LOVE Bridal being crowned joint ‘Best Bridal Retailer in the North West’ in The Wedding Industry Awards! (Had to get that in!)
And I’m shooting a lot. A lot of weddings. A lot of pre-wedding shoots. Which made me realise that although I post images from all my pre-wedding shoots on my Facebook page, recently they haven’t made it onto the blog. So tonight that changes! I work with brilliant couples. Brilliant couples who are so excited about their wedding days, all of the different parts of the wedding day and the photography too! Which makes them a dream to work with. Which results in stunning pre-wedding shoots like the ones below.
I’ve literally just grabbed a handful of recent shoots to showcase – just to show the sort of thing you can do, the kind of location that you can use and that you can actually have a bit of fun along the way. It doesn’t have to be all rigid and staged. In fact it should really reflect each bride and groom’s personality. Which I’m sure you’ll agree these shoots do that perfectly
Last month saw the launch of another Jonny Draper Photography Training Experience – this time in the art of Pre-wedding & Engagement shoots. It was a LOT of fun. I had a great group of photographers join me in Castlefield & Didsbury, shooting my lovely, real life couple, Ailsa & Anthony (thanks for your relentless hard work guys!) A huge thanks goes out to Chelsea Shoesmith for assisting me on the day and to my friends at The Metropolitan in West Didsbury (thanks Mel!) for giving us a warm room at the end of the day to do a bit of editing (and drinking!) in
The day was very much focused on shooting, but we also spent a lot of time talking about the business of wedding and lifestyle photography and we even had time to do some editing at the end of the day. Below are some of my photographs from the day along with some of James Jebson and John Versfeld’s behind the scenes photos (thanks for letting me use them guys!)
You’ll also find some nice words said by some of the lovely photographers in attendance – thank you guys, I’m so pleased you got so much out of the day
The next Masterclass in Pre-Wedding and Engagement Shoots is on Tuesday 12th November – email me for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Charlotte Boothman, Lottie Designs:
“I loved attending the masterclass as there are not many courses out there that cater for the professional photographer who knows the camera settings to take certain photos but would like to talk the business bit. Pitched at my level so totally perfect for me. Most trainers don’t share the business side as easily as you do Jonny, in a way we all understood. Couple were great, and brilliant as they are a real couple too. I’ve done courses where models were used and it just didn’t work in the photos. Too easy to make them look good but no emotion in the eyes.
A Masterclass it was. Loved it.
Excellent value and lots packed in. Would definitely recommend. Thank you x”
Kyle Hassall – Gold Standard Photography:
“It was awesome. I felt like no question was stupid and anyone could ask anything. The support afterwards with the ‘secret’ group on Facebook is great. It’s only a small group but someone will always have the answer.
I had a shoot yesterday morning and what I learned really helped with it. Thank you!”
Zoe Taylor – ZT Photography:
“It was a pleasure to see the Jedi Master of wedding photography in action”
Kate Scott – Kate Scott Photography:
“It was great to understand how Jonny approaches these sessions from putting the couple at ease to composition, locations and shooting techniques. Every bit of the day was as valuable as the next, as I’ve come to expect from Jonny’s masterclasses. It’s a total cliché, but miss them and you really do miss out. Big time.
For a one-day course I thought it was great value – as someone just starting out it’s a compromise of where to spend your limited cash – kit versus course. I chose well. You can have all the kit in the world and be completely lost if you don’t know where to start with your clients”
James Jebson – James Jebson Photography:
“The day was awesome, really very useful and for me took a lot of ‘the fear’ away from a pre-wedding shoot. The shooting was brilliant and really gave great opportunities to improve on portfolio”
Join me on Tuesday 12th November in Castlefield & Didsbury for the next Masterclass in Pre-Wedding and Engagement shoots and keep your eye on my website for more wedding photography workshops which will be added soon
They’re my favourite part of the build up to my brides and grooms big day. But why are they so important? It’s an opportunity for the bride and groom to experience having their photograph taken ahead of their big day, so that they really understand what happens when the camera comes out the bag. So that they’re reassured that I’m not going to have them doing anything weird or anything that makes them feel uncomfortable.
And it’s a great opportunity for me to get my head around what the bride and groom are like, not only as a couple, but as individuals as well. And that is so important heading into their wedding day.
Everybody’s different, everybody has different priorities and different things that are important to them. But there’s one constant. Every bride and groom to be tells me that they don’t like having their picture taken before their shoot! And the shoot is designed with this in mind. For me, it’s about putting the bride and groom at ease, making them understand that I’m on their side and I’m there to make them look awesome.
Just like all these gorgeous guys below…
Sure, it’s great to choose a cool location, somewhere you like, maybe even somewhere that has a bit of meaning to you both, but it’s more than the location. It’s going through the initial nerves of not knowing what to expect, to the realisation that actually, it’s not that bad….in fact, you’ve just realised you had good fun doing it…
…And the ultimate realisation and understanding that you’re actually going to enjoy it on the big day too – because you both look amazing!!!
It was great to catch up with Katie & Andy for their Castlefield pre-wedding shoot last week. I’m VERY excited about their new year’s eve wedding at Eaves Hall (what a party that’s going to be!) and it’ll be great to work with my great friends at Flower Design there too!
With all manner of exciting things going on at the moment, shooting weddings at home and overseas, being in the middle of opening our very own Bridal Boutique in Cheshire and just generally being up to our eyes in it (!) has meant that my blogging has taken a bit of a hit recently… So today is a brief round up of what I’ve been shooting over the last few weeks and what you can expect to see more of on my blog in the coming days and weeks! I’ve also got features that will be appearing on RocknRollBride, English Wedding, Brides Up North and Whimsical Wonderland Weddings, over the coming weeks so lot’s of new things for you all to see very soon!
So let’s start with a peek at Sarah & Nick’s wedding in Santorini from early June…
Laura and James’s Mitton Hall wedding yesterday – check out that table centre by Flower Design – awesome!
Baby Lola’s Christening from last week…
Lucie & Andrew’s Castlefield pre-wedding shoot from a couple of weeks ago…
Nicola & Mark’s Mitton Hall Wedding from Friday (I was there twice in one weekend!) Fortunately, even though the weather was shocking (it improved slightly in the afternoon to ‘torrential’!) Nic kept her sense of humour about it and we got some stunning photographs
Andy & Seb’s beautiful Styal Lodge Wedding on Saturday – amazing day and great to work with my lovely friends at Styal Lodge and Top Table as always (thanks especially to Poppy and Rene for looking after me!)
Here it is! My TOP60 of 2011! (I tried to make it TOP40 but I just couldn’t cut it down any further!) Another amazing year at Jonny Draper Photography filled with awesome experience after awesome experience. Another year of meeting some of the loveliest people you could ever possibly wish to meet and another year of working at some of the best venues and with some of the best suppliers in the wedding industry. To all of my brides and grooms and to all of my wonderful wedding friends – thank you for making 2011 an absolute joy. I’m looking forward to more of the same this year!
So without further ado, my favourite images in no particular order. As with my 2010 review, I set myself a couple of simple rules so as to (hopefully!) not bore you to tears reading this blog post and instead let you just look at and enjoy the images. The rules were: Only 60 images (I worked out that I shot over 100,000 images last year so it’s been a bit of a task to cut them down again!) and only a simple line about each one. Here we go…!!!
The gorgeous Poppy at Styal Lodge modelling for our ‘Future of Vintage’ shoot as featured on English Wedding (you can see the whole shoot HERE) We could have been in Ibiza the weather was that good! One of my iconic images of 2011 – so much so that it is about to be hung on our lounge wall!
Katie & Colin’s Grange over Sands wedding – I love a happy and full dance floor!
Bev & Phil’s pre-wedding shoot. Seedy? Nah….!!! I love the colours! (And so did they!)
Bev & Phil’s wedding at The Ashes in Staffordshire. Taking a few minutes out at their stunning venue…
I’ve heard rumours about photographers not allowing guests to take pictures at weddings they shoot – obviously I don’t roll like that, but even if I did, I’d have struggled to stop Lisa & Eric’s guests at Thornton Manor!!!
Alexis & Adam’s wedding at Mitton Hall. Wowsers. What a gorgeous evening for the the most gorgeous couple. Ali & Adam REALLY loved everything about their wedding and the photography and were so keen to use their amazing venue to it’s full potential. As with all the images in this post, I could have used hundreds of images from their wedding, so it was tough cutting it to this one. But I’m sure you’ll agree it’s a worthy entry!
Another Mitton Hall wedding, this time Jenna & Chris’s big day (that’s not Chris on the left by the way!) – I just loved Jenna & her bridesmaid’s matching Vivienne Westwood shoes!
Ridiculous gin based behaviour at Kate & Ant’s wedding. Love it!
Chips by the river for Carrie & Rob and their bridal party at their wedding at Oddfellows in Chester – don’t think I need to say anything else!
Chrissie off of Chrissie & Louis at their pre-wedding shoot at Tatton Park – how gorgeous?!?!
Catherine from Catherine & Will arriving at church. Who cares that it’s raining? This is a gorgeous shot!
Awwww…Jacqui & Will at Styal Lodge – I love them so much! They are the nicest couple in the world!!!
Vicki off of Vicki & Stuart having a race with her bridesmaids at Browsholme Hall. As you do!
One of my all time favourite images. The gorgeous Ruth at The Ashes in Staffordshire. It’s just so ethereal and beautiful!
Brooklyn Bridge in New York City. Just because it’s so iconic.
A rather special moment at Louise & Tom’s wedding in Bristol where the ‘do not climb on the cow’ sign was very much ignored…
The first shoot I did for Black White Denim in Wilmslow, Cheshire. My favourite model who’s not a model, Ella…
Jess & Mike’s Manchester pre-wedding shoot. Because it doesn’t get cooler than this…
Charlotte & Teddy’s (and Ellie-Belle Balbier!) Tatton Park engagement shoot. The loveliest couple on a stunningly beautiful and colourful autumn day…
Another of my all time favourite images taken at Hannah & Jason’s Styal Lodge wedding – I LOVE a moody sky!
Big red wedding bus at Steph & Kris’s Manchester Town Hall wedding! Love it!
I think it’s the colours that do it for me. And the expressions on Ali & Adam’s faces! A BRILLIANT pre-wedding shoot at Fletcher Moss Park in Didsbury…
Because people only smile like this when it’s the best day ever… Polly and Paul’s Albright Hussey Manor wedding…
Rebecca & Andrew taking 5 minutes out on the beach on their way to Lytham Hall. Because they could. I love a bride who loves her dress but doesn’t worry about it!
Mrs Angela Doran. Because Emma & I love you!
One for the boys AND girls. A sports car (Lotus Exige for anyone who’s a car geek like me!) AND a man in uniform! What’s not to like?! Mike from Jess & Mike outside Styal Lodge…
Lisa & Alex’s ‘secret’ West Didsbury wedding! I love this shot of them enjoying fish and chips inFrankie’s Fish Bar on Burton Road!
Laura & Simon’s Thornton Manor wedding – you can feel the atmosphere in this shot, I just love it…
Louise & Andy’s Mitton Hall wedding – Bags of attitude!
Vicky & Jamie at The Lowry Theatre – how cool is it that we were allowed to shoot in the theatre?!?!
My great friend Howard Wing getting a ‘Love Train’ going at Paula & Andy’s Barton Grange wedding – that was before the speeches had even started! That’s how good he is!
Little Lola Fox. Cute as you like!
Hayley & Matthew’s Blackpool pre-wedding shoot. The wanted the glitter ball to be a feature. So that’s what we did! Ace!
Rachael’s portfolio shoot in Manchester. Because we got her to sit on a wall on the 5th floor of a carpark and she was up for it…
Dawn & Phil’s Sandhole Oak Barn wedding. We shot some gorgeous images of them after the wedding breakfast and this one of them having a few minutes to themselves is one of my faves. What a lovely couple they are too…
Catherine & Richard. It’s all in the look…
Emma & Pete and a couple of their hilarious mates – what’s not to like about this pic?!?!
Jess & Terry’s wedding. Another wedding where I could have used hundreds of images for this post, but this was my fave (sorry you didn’t feature Tez! Although you DID like it so you DID go and put a ring on it!!!)
Jordana & Ben at the windmill on the green in Lytham. Because Jordana still has it as her profile pic on Facebook – I’m glad she loves it as much as I do!
Nicky & Graham at Styal Lodge. I wanted to give them a different perspective to the now famous ‘platform’ at Styal Lodge – and it worked beautifully!
Louise from Louise & Andy on their pre-wedding shoot at The Inn at Whitewell. They wanted to do something a bit different. So they got REALLY dressed up and then we went for a walk in the country! Cool hey?!
Tiz & Rich – once again, it’s all about the look…
Andrea & Andy’s Inn at Whitewell wedding. Just to prove that even hotel corridors look awesome in wedding photographs…
Ashley Margolis shoot (Ricky from Hollyoaks) Ash wanted something a little bit cooler than his usual headshot/agent card images so we spent a morning shooting some properly cool stuff around Castlefield…
Mel & Jivko’s Conwy Castle wedding. Check that view out!
Katie & Nick’s big finish to their first dance at Albright Hussey Manor! As choreographed by my good friend Ailsa Baker!
Tanya & Paul’s Bartle Hall wedding – I love them stealing a minute away from it all just before their first dance…
Check out that smile on Nat’s face! Proof that rain doesn’t dampen spirits on anybody’s wedding day!
Jamie & his groomsmen at Stirk House having a little loosener before the ceremony!
Recently featured on their wedding ‘sneak preview’ on my blog – I love this shot of Ali & Adam kissing under the mistletoe at The West Tower…
Another Black White Denim shoot – featuring the very lovely Charlotte. Simple, elegant and incredibly beautiful…
Weddings are all about interactions and reactions – I love the look on Maria’s face as her and John are applauded into the room at Rookery Hall…
Sophie in a stunning gown from The White Closet at The Styal Lodge Open Evening. Because it was such a fun evening!
Julie & Jamie’s pre-wedding shoot in Liverpool. A ‘Friends’ moment…!!!
The gorgeous Stacey on The Vintage Wedding Dress Company shoot forThe White Closet at Willow Pool in Lymm. As featured on Love My Dress HERE!
Carly & Ian’s Manchester pre-wedding shoot. Because they drink alcohol that is on fire. And they’re particularly gorgeous and lovely!
This seemed a particularly appropriate image to end on! Lucy & Ian’s friends at their Lyme Park wedding getting stuck into Jagerbombs! Cheers!
So there it is. My 60 favourite images. Beautiful brides and grooms, wonderful moments, new friends, I loved every minute.
A huge thank you to the following people for their continued support and for contributing so much to such an incredible year:
Chris & Pete Draper
Jo, Paul, Megan and ‘Bump’ Pike
Katie & Anthony Roberts
Keith & Pauline Latham
Jane & Jason Thompson
Richard, Sarah, Georgie, Poppy & Franny Higham
Nikki, Rich, Jessica & Charlie Graeme
Charlotte Balbier & Ed Bedford
Jo Davies, David Bell, Charlotte, Lucy and all the girls at Black White Denim
Helen Corr & Pete Ruane
The Northwest Photographer ‘drink up’ massive
My lovely mates
And last but my no means least, all of my amazing brides and grooms!
In the past I’ve banged on about weather, about being lucky, about the boot full of brollies I carry at all times, but yesterday was a kind of weather I’ve never even seen before never mind shot in! Sideways torrential rain.
Put yourself in Helen & Graeme’s heads as they drove into Manchester to meet me yesterday afternoon. I’m pretty sure they were cursing me. I’m also pretty sure that they thought it would be a pointless exercise!
Now I’m not one to use my blog as a preaching platform, for me it’s just a nice way of sharing the images I shoot with my brides and grooms. BUT, what I will say (as briefly as possible!) is that yesterday was a perfect example of the kind of thing I talk about when I meet a couple for the first time, before they actually book me.
The fact that you can’t cancel or postpone your wedding day because of the weather. You just have to go with it (and every time I’ve ever shot a wedding in less than perfect weather conditions, it’s actually added to the day. Friends and family slip into that British ‘Second World War mentality’ and all pull together and actually have great fun dashing from cars to churches, sprinting across carparks to venues – it all adds to the story of the day!
Anyway, with all that in mind I never cancel a pre-wedding shoot. It’s slightly masochistic, but I insist to my clients that it’s the perfect opportunity to prove to them that the weather doesn’t matter, that they will still get stunning images on their day no matter what falls out of the sky!
Thank you Castlefield for having so many awesome bridges and places we could shelter from the wind and rain and thank you to Dukes92 for saying yes when I cheekily asked if we could shoot a couple of images while we had a drink at the end of the shoot! If you don’t ask you don’t get
So with the help of several umbrellas to get us between locations and a bit of funky lighting kit, we managed to beat (‘survive’ is probably the best word to use!) the weather and get some awesome images of Helen and Graeme.
Thanks for your hard work guys and thanks for trusting me when I said we’d still get some great shots!
Great morning spent with Ally & Matt in one of my favourite places to shoot – Castlefield in Manchester. No matter what time of day you go, what time of year it is, what the weather’s doing, you always get something different, very cool and completely unique to that couple.