Pangdean Barn Wedding Photography

Pyecombe Village Church and Pangdean Barn
Charlotte and Nick

Pangdean Barn WeddingOne of the biggest plus points of my job is being able to make friends with the couples I shoot. It doesn’t happen 100% of the time but a wedding becomes more personal when it does. It’s exciting to meet ‘your couple’ for the first time and a bit of a buzz when you ring their doorbell or see them across a noisy coffee shop.

You know you’re about to go on a journey with someone, you have no idea where it’s going to take you or what it’s going to be like…but you’ve a good idea already that it’ll be a blast and a time you’ll hold dear.
Here is Charlotte and Nick, they live in Haywards Heath but the wedding was at Pyecombe Village Church, Sussex and their reception was close by at Pangdean Barn.

Pangdean Barn WeddingNick got ready at home while Charlotte was at the family home near the church. Because of the close proximity to everything they walked to the church with the guys meeting up at the Plough at the bottom of church lane.

My wife, soulmate and second photographer Laura was with the guys, Pete (the videographer) and I was with the girls and we followed them on to the ceremony.

Pangdean Barn WeddingPyecombe church is pretty special inside, well lit and cosy. A cute church and one which matched Charlotte and Nick. It was personal.

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Surrey Couples Shoot

20 perfectly good reasons to have a couples shoot

Couples Shoot in BasingstokeGorgeous huh?

Above is one perfectly good reason to have a couples shoot (and below are the other 19). I used to call them pre-wedding, engagement, beloved or whatever shoots but in reality they all suggest being wedding orientated. Screw that. A bit like how valentines day shouldn’t be the only time you show affection to each other or how Christmas is the only time you see family.

Couples Shoot in BasingstokeA couples shoot is a wonderful way of getting closer together, to zone out, put your phones away and enjoy each others company.

With Kimberley and James above it was a sunny day, we strong-armed ourselves into a couple of fields for photos. Admittedly, the height of the rape-seed was deceiving from the road and I had my comedy moments pushing through it (imagine a dog jumping through long grass…that was me).

Couples Shoot in BasingstokeKimberley needed help getting into field two (there was some nettles) so James and I pretty much launched her over, she screamed, we laughed and the shoot continued.

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Village Hall Wedding Photography

Giving Keston Village Hall a run for its money
Gemma & Chris

Keston Village Hall WeddingTodays show and tell is from Gemma and Chris’s mid April wedding in Keston. The day started with Gemma at the family home and once ready, we all walked down the road together to Herberts restaurant for the ceremony. This was a small and personal affair followed by lunch and a trip back to the house. This day was far from over though as 2 miles away there was a village hall ready and waiting for a massive party to take place!

Keston Village Hall WeddingAt around 6pm everyone started to arrive at Keston Village Hall and soon it was packed out. A stage was used for speeches, there was dinner for everyone and the floor filled with dancing. As the hours ticked by there was stage diving, can canning, an attempt at a conga and one person fell down like a sack of spuds mid spin…which are all the signs of a really good night!

 

Keston Village Hall WeddingI totally loved the relaxed vibe a wedding like this brought. Due in part to Gemma and Chris themselves and all the lovely folks they have as friends. They really made the wedding what it was.

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Upwaltham Barns Wedding at Sunset

Upwaltham Barns
Isobel and Jonny

Upwaltham Barns WeddingHere are some shots from Isobel and Jonny’s wedding at Upwaltham Barns this April. They were married on a Monday which is uncommon, but their first date was on the 20th, Jonny proposed on the 20th of April and so it followed that the wedding date needed to be the same too!

Upwaltham Barns Wedding

They both got ready with family at Flintstone Cottages (nearby in Aldingbourne)  and this served as a perfect starting point for the day.

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Langham Hotel Wedding Photography

A Jewish Wedding at West Hampstead Synagogue and the Langham Hotel in London
Shoshana & Grant

Langham Hotel London WeddingHere is an epic Jewish Wedding in London for you.

Shoshana and Grant were married at the West Hampstead Shul before having their reception in the Grand Ballroom at the Langham Hotel in London.

I started early with Shoshana at the Langham where she was getting ready and my second, Laura was awaiting Grants arrival at the Shul. On leaving the hotel we stopped for photos in the lobby and then made our way to West Hampstead for the Bedeken ceremony before the marriage under the Chupah.

Langham Hotel London WeddingWest Hampstead Shul is big, really big, Shoshana could take in every moment as she walked with her father towards Grant.

After the glass was broken and the formalities were over we headed to the Langham where we were set up ready for the family, group shots and we went amiss to take Shoshana and Grants wedding portraits.

From this point the party started, Simcha dancing erupted and the floor went crazy! Jewish weddings are fast paced, full of detail with microcosms of tradition everywhere.

You mustn’t miss a beat and so much happens on the dancefloor, too. Grant jumped over people, was thrown into the air and they were both lifted high up amongst everyone.

I was happily shooting away and felt some warm light against my cheek, it drew my attention and what I saw I had to double take.

There was a Rabbi with his hat on fire…

Langham Hotel London Wedding

After the initial dancing, there was the Hamoitzi (the blessing over the bread before dinner), dinner itself with toasts to the Queen and the President of the State of Israel, a little dancing before desert (and some informal groups shots on the dancefloor too).

After desert the was Benching, (the blessing) and then followed the Seven Blessings (Sheva Brochas) which formally led to the speeches, toasts, cutting of their wedding cake and Shoshana and Grants ‘formal’ first dance together.

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Canon 5DSr review pt 1

The Canon 5DSr – Their best yet – Part 1 A hands on practical review for wedding photography

Let's do this Let’s do this[/caption]

 

***Update 25/09/2016***

Since writing this post the Canon 5Div was released. Many people will come to this page asking about the 5DSr vs the 5Div – I have purchased two and will have a write up ready just as soon as I have the time. In short, I am keeping my 5DSr as a backup camera while running two 5Div’s for my work. It would be great to say there’s a stark difference between the two but I have to put some serious testing through the iv’s first.

On the surface though, the 5Div has better shadows, but not by much because the 5DSr already beat the 5D3 in that respect by a fair amount. The Canon 5Dsr not only has more resolution but also sharper images due to the AA canceling filter and while the 5Div has better noise performance how much so…I’m not so sure on as the 5DSr has smaller pixels and in turn, much smaller, finer grain. The real differences between the 5DSr and the 5Div are in the live view, that is a huge leap. But the AF performance through the viewfinder is pretty much the same between both bodies and the 5Dsr is a lot lower in price right now. The 5Div vs the 5Diii is a massive improvement however and if you don’t need 50mp and have the funds available then the 5Div is the body to get.

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I’m going to start this review by saying that I’m not sponsored or supported by any manufacturer. Sure, it would be nice to find a surprise camera in the post but whenever I write these sort of reviews it’s to cut through some of the hype, mystery and herd mentality that populates the internet.

A lot of opinions about cameras are from people with no real world day to day use and who do not operate at a professional level.

The Canon 5DSr is very, very good and I’m no longer considering jumping brands to Nikon as a result. That’s the short of it and what follows is the long.

Firstly, here is the list of cameras I have experience with:

  • The Canon 40D, 7D, 5D I, II and III, the Canon 1Ds3, the 1DIV and the 1DX.
  • The Pentax 645z (Which I will touch upon in this review). My 645z Review is HERE.
  • The Sony A7ii with and without native lenses.
  • The Olympus OMD EM-5 and the Fuji Xpro-1
  • The Mamiya RZ67 ProIID (Film), the Mamiya 645DF+ (Film and Digital using the Phase P25 back).
  • All three Sigma DP Merill cameras (worth a go as they are excellent value for money).
  • The Hasselblad H1 with film and a Leaf Aptus 22 back, the H3DII 39 and finally the H4D50.

As someone who shoots manually and in RAW 100% I do not use any features that affect the image output. No noise reduction, Highlight Tone Priority or anything like that. I want my files as pure as possible straight from the camera.

by Chris Giles Photography by Chris Giles Photography[/caption]

There were many reasons why I bought the 5DSr. I shoot about 50 weddings a year, very long days are involved and my usual setup was a Canon 5D3 on my left and a Canon 1DX on my right. I use all the L series primes and zooms from 14mm through to 200mm and I’ve always been very happy with this setup.

That being said, the constant weight of the 1DX was starting to cause problems and despite being a camera which was ‘always there before I was’ this speed was becoming the only reason I continued to use it, that and the ability to program the buttons into custom settings.

cgpr0194The 5D3 was good but imperfect in that I had a 12 shot raw only buffer which was ok but always seemed to fall short at the worst time. This was down to the write speed of the camera, fire a high speed burst on a 5D3 without cards and it keeps on shooting… and doesn’t stop. I wasn’t forever shooting in burst mode but I was always hitting the buffer. The 5DSr can do 18 in a burst even though it reports 12 because of the speed it can clear the buffer and even when the buffer is full you still get 2 fps. Considering this is pushing 50mp files that’s a big jump. Shooting Mraw (28mp) gets you even more (around 22 and 2-3 fps).

 

Then of course there was the sensor which at the time was great but compared to what is now available is starting to age a little. That being said it’s more often mentioned by the pixel peepers of this world and I’ve never had a bride and groom complain about sensor banding, they seem much more concerned that I got a picture of Grandma when she was Moonwalking to Billie Jean. It’s not like older cameras stop working when a new one comes out or anything.

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I mostly ignored the 5Ds announcement. I had the opinion of ‘nice, but no cigar’ and continued to drool over the a7rii instead, a camera I’ll cover and one I intend on explaining why I’m not interested in it further down.

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Canon 5DSr review pt2

The Canon 5DSr Wedding Photography review – Part 2

The 5DSr, a camera with short man syndrome and a shotgun The 5DSr, a camera with short man syndrome and a shotgun[/caption]

 

As far as lenses go I was surprised with what I thought I’d see and what I actually got. Generally any Canon glass older than 5 years suffers a little. Yet, the 24L and 35L really shine at F2. The Sigma 50 Art is absolutely gorgeous except I don’t really use that focal length much and I’m hoping to get my hands on the newly announced 24-35 F2 zoom from Sigma. If it’s in line with their art series of glass we could be on to a win.

The 24-70mk II performs well as does the 70-200 F4, it actually focuses quicker on the 5DSr than it does on the 5D3. Take from that what you will.

 

The worries about the high pixel density and the shutter speed = focal length are just that, worries. It’s not like the D800 where the images were slightly blurred, the 5DSr is a camera I can happy shoot without the worry of blurring. Generally I don’t shoot slower than 1/60 anyway so the only thing I need to step up for is my 85L, 135L and 200L. The rest either have image stability or are super wide.
The 35L loves this camera The 35L loves this camera[/caption]

 

Now onto the not so great which are really more niggles that could be addressed with firmware updates of which I only have three:

1: Mraw is compressed raw. This has always been the case but really, give us some more file options please. DNG would be a good start. I want to shoot and know I have the full raw data to work with. There may well be a great reason at Canon for this but let us choose what we want to work with and also allow some of us to continue using Lightroom 5 (which actually works vs LRCC which doesn’t).

If I had uncompressed Mraw (28mp) then I’d replace my 5D3 with another 5DSr as let’s be honest, table shots, photos of the table plan and other stuff doesn’t warrant the resolution and I’m that guy who’ll forget he’s in Mraw and start shooting the couple shots and formals so I stick in full size raw and leave it at that.

Also, I’m swerving a little bit here but if you’re put off by the 50mp file size don’t be. Just edit as normal and store as lossy DNG’s when the edit is done. 128gb of CR2 files compresses to 15-55gb depending on the ISO’s used. You can’t really tell the difference either and it’s unlikely you’ll need them again anyway.

2: Please enable the same Register/recall shooting function (CF section 3 – Custom controls) as the 1DX, in the 1DX I can say that when I press the AF-on button it will jump into a shooting mode (like TV or AV) even if I’m in Manual mode. The way it’s set means that pressing the button will only use a setting for that mode.

 

It makes the feature pretty useless and can’t help but feel it’s crippled somehow. This feature was what spurred me to buy the 5DSr, the ease of use. So, Masaya Maeda, if you’re reading this could you please have this fixed?

  • 3: Image view and zoom time. This kind of links to point number one. Whenever you look at a shot you’ve taken in the camera you are looking at the jpeg file that comes part and parcel with the raw file. If you’re used to using Perfect Browse or Photo Mechanic to sort your files before editing in Lightroom then you’ll know what I’m talking about.

The problem is that these appear to be full size super huge 50mp jpegs and this slows down the whole viewing and preview process. Zooming into these files is a bit slow. It’s not a serious problem as it’s not too slow, but how about Canon gives us the option on what file size is used for the jpeg preview contained in the raw. Like 12mp or something so we can check the focus quickly and go back to the shooting. I’m not overly fussed if this slows down the overall buffer unload time but I’d like to have that as a choice I make rather than it being forced upon me.

Other than that, no real issues. It’s a great camera and worth the money.

cgpr0315

In comparison with other cameras and looking to the future….

It’s very difficult to not notice how far Sony have come with their sensor tech. I mean look at what they have now, it’s great. But it’s still consumer level. When I heard about the A7rii and after shooting with a second who had an A7s, A7ii and GH4 setup I bought an A7ii. It’s a really good camera, with professional quality photos but it’s still a consumer body which won’t last a season with me.

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Donnington Grove Wedding

Donnington Castle and Donnington Grove
Gemma & Carl

Donnington Castle WeddingTechnically we broke into the grounds of Donnington Castle. Technically. Although let me explain before I get an angry call from the folks who own it.

Above you’ll see Gemma and Carl. They were married at Donnington Grove around the end of April and always spent days and dates out on the castle grounds. So we needed to be there on their wedding day. No excuses.

Donnington Castle WeddingIf, and I mean if you’re careful there is a back entrance to the castle via Donnington Grove. Driving that way isn’t going to be an exhaust pipes best friend and with Gemma and Carl in the car I did have a kicking soundtrack of SCRAPE! from underneath my car followed by dulcet ‘oohs’ and ‘ouch’ from my accomplices.

Donnington Castle WeddingIt wasn’t House and Garage but my car could well of ended up in one but the reward was worth the risk:

 

So lets roll back through the day a bit.

I’ve never covered a wedding at Donnington Grove before and I’d not visited either until a couple of weeks before where I’d arranged to meet Gem and Carl.

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Hintlesham Hall Wedding

A Wedding at Hintlesham Hall in Essex
Emma & Sam

Hintlesham Hall WeddingHintlesham Hall was the magnificent venue for this autumnal wedding, and it proved to be the perfect setting for Emma and Sam’s big day. They’re such a lovely couple, and it was a real pleasure wandering around the hall with them.

The main building has stood on these grounds for hundred of years, initially as a relatively small manor house before growing into the grand hall it has become. Entering the property via the tree-lined driveway is simply breathtaking, and you can’t fail to be impressed once exploring the building and its wonderful gardens.

The ceremony took place in the Salon room, full to the brim with rich and elegant artwork. It was a suitably sophisticated setting for Emma and Sam and the guests really enjoyed sharing their moment in such beautiful surroundings.

The autumnal scenery made for some wonderful shots and I managed to persuade one of the guests to shake the leaves from a tree in an attempt to create a seasonal fall – however, this caused Emma and Sam to laugh rather than looking lovingly at one another!
But hey, it worked as intended 🙂

Hintlesham Hall WeddingThe crisp browns and fading greens added real depth to the images and there is this gooey warmth in Autumn that not many weddings can take advantage of.

Jay, from Jay Archer Floral Design did her usual level of awesome with the bouquet and buttonholes, the purple theme really pops out against the dark foliage.

I adore the card that Emma sent Sam, but had to get my calculator out to realise 2,114 days equates to nearly six years! One glance at these images and I’m sure you can tell just how in love they are. I’m sure they’ll continue being this way for the next sixty years (which, for the record, equates to 21,900 days!).

The evening reception was a big hit, with wonderful catering and an awesome disco to boot.

Hintlesham Hall WeddingBeing deep in the Suffolk countryside means there’s little in the way of light pollution, which meant I could capture this amazing shot of the hall against an awe-inspiring starry night backdrop.
It was a pleasure to be in the company of such great people. Emma and Sam are a brilliant couple, and I’d like to wish them all the happiness in the world.

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Kingscote Barn Winter Wedding

Kingscote Barn in December
Caroline & David

Kingscote Barn Wedding

I’ve a thing about shooting in the Cotswolds. I like the area, the landscape and the sleepiness of the surroundings. I’m finding myself shooting more and more weddings here. I’ll shoot anywhere, but for some reason I get pulled this way a lot.

The last time I was at Kingscote Barn was for a September wedding. This time though it was for Caroline and David’s wedding in the last week of December.

I started off at a cottage where Caroline was staying before leaving for Kingscote. She wasn’t too far away, maybe ten minutes. So after some time there I got ahead and said hello to the boys who were decorating the venue. I’ve heard good things about the fairy light chandelier in the barn but hadn’t seen it until today and it looked lovely. Being so soon after Christmas there was the high spirited ambiance remaining and inside the barn it felt all cosy. You were welcomed in, it felt special.
Kingscote Barn Wedding

The guys got ready in one of the rooms at Kingscote and there was lots of space for them to do so. It was almost like a studio flat inside and at the opposing end, in an other room Caroline put her dress on, as well as her last bits of makeup.

There were lots of things that made this day special, the fairy light chandelier, the home made pine cone bouquets, a seasonal sweet table made of traditional German gingerbread, bubble confetti, a caricaturist and a salutation to Scottish heritage by wearing the kilts to name just a few things.
Kingscote Barn Wedding
But mostly it was the people there that made the day. When I first saw David in the morning he gave me an uncompromising hug. As someone who can judge character on the quality of their hug, that’s a great and welcoming sign. I’d not met either of them before this day but I knew where I was, who I was working for and how to give them the best I could. When couples are this open it’s easy to shoot for them.

It was like this all day and everyone was so lovely to be around. It was sunny all day and when the sun went down it was freezing, the dance floor was packed always and some serious moves were made.

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