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

 

 

***Eos Mirrorless Update 20/01/2019 – Please check out my Canon EOS R Mirroless Review for my latest Canon review***

***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.

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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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Brixton East Wedding Photography

Brixton East, Maltby Market Ropewalk and Mayfair Library
Gemma & Dan

Brixton East and Mayfair Library WeddingMayfair Library and Ropewalk: Day 1

Usually a wedding is a one day affair but sometimes, just sometimes a couple will split their wedding across two days and have a celebration that leaves you buzzing for ages afterwards.

Gemma and Dan had their official legal ceremony in the Mayfair Library, London. The registrars were lovely. In fact any registrar I’ve worked with in Mayfair has been a scream to be around.

But before I get too ahead of myself, I started off at the Audley pub where Dan and the wedding party got together before leaving for the library a short walk away.

It was late December, so the light left quickly and we hit Mayfair library just as the sun went down.

Brixton East and Mayfair Library WeddingThe ceremony hadn’t even started yet and Dans parents were both in hysterics which set everyone off. This restlessness continued throughout the ceremony disrupting it from time to time. Which wasn’t a bad thing 🙂

The whole experience was totally endearing and wonderful to watch unfold. Until today I’d not met Gem or Dan but felt as if I’d known them for years.

Gemma was in a stunning dress from American Vintage and her bridesmaid created the netted headpiece you see her wearing in the photos.

Once married, we left to go back to the Audley before heading off to the Maltby Street Market, Ropewalk.

Ropewalk, until today, had been somewhere off my photographers radar.

I rocked up and didn’t expect to see the flags and festoons hanging there, asking me to shoot them. One of the benefits of a winter wedding it that light takes on a different direction. The festoons were illuminating the flags and diffusing the light down below. This is a great place for photography.

Their reception was at Bar Tozino, right at the end f the market where they had tapas, speeches and they saw the night out.

Brixton East: Day two

Monday was day one, Saturday was day two. They picked Brixton East which is a large warehouse space with plenty of London charm to it. There are three levels, ground floor for dinner, upstairs for the ceremony and dancing with another level above for smokers and catching some fresh air. It works really well.

This wedding was funky. I arrived early in order to get setup as winter weddings need more consideration where photography is concerned. Plus I was warned there was going to be confetti Canons. Big ones. 58 of them. So I had work to do.

Even though there was a ceremony on the Monday a huge number of Gem and Dans friends were coming to day two, essentially a massive party which contrasted the smaller, more intimate gathering of day one.

So the other ceremony took place led by a Mariachi Band, followed by Gem’s brother and bridesmaid throwing petals and then finally through a cloud of smoke Gem was walked down the aisle by her mum towards Dan.

One of Gem’s best friends had asked her to promise him that if ever she got married that he could hold the service. He got his wish that day.

Brixton East and Mayfair Library WeddingOnce a few readings had taken place 58 industrial sized Confetti Cannons were let off to signify their first kiss. Every guest had one and in my life, I’ve never seen so much confetti.

Afterwards dinner was set for downstairs and speeches took place. The food was supplied by the street vendors of Maltby Street Market.

Bar Tozino, BBQ Lab and Bad Brownie were there catering hot dogs, Paella, lobster, brownies and more. Many times you saw Gem and Dan behind the bar serving drinks to their much loved friends and family.

The Mariachi Band played for most of the reception and then people started to mosey on up to the dance floor once the speeches had finished.

Once on the dance floor DJ Alex was spinning Vinyl whilst an overhead projector was playing Back to the Future and Top Gun on the brick walls of Brixton East and I stayed late, because I didn’t want to leave.

Sometimes you can’t fit everything you want to into one day and by splitting it across two Gem and Dan had two wedding days instead of one. Each day with its own charm and unique touches.

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Cripps Barn at Halloween
Laura & Stuart

Cripps BarnOctober 31st is usually known for the celebration of Halloween, but this year it also became a very special day for Laura and Stuart, who married in the picturesque venue of Cripps Barn, Cirencester.

Cripps Barn is a gorgeous 18th century Cotswold Stone Barn, hidden amongst the breathtaking countryside of Gloucestershire. The grounds at Cripps Barn are spectacular at this time of year with the autumnal colours of orange, yellow and green surrounding them.

Laura looked sensational in a vintage-styled sleeveless two piece wedding dress, delicate vintage veil and flower headband, while Stuart mirrored the essence of the season with a brown, tweed three-piece suit. All bridesmaids, pageboys and flower girls were dressed in shades of purple, complementing both the flowers and the decorations perfectly.

Cripps BarnLaura started her day at Swinbrook Cottage in Oxon, which is a lovely space to get ready in.

Stuart was awaiting Laura in the barn, which was beautifully decorated for the ceremony, with flower baskets draped from the wooden beams, tall plants entwined with delicate lighting, and the candle-heavy stone fireplace; it was an amorously adorned scene for such an important part of their day.

There were Pumpkins scattered around the venue to keep the Halloween theme consistent throughout. Their ceremony was sweet and included some readings which led them to their ‘I do’s’ and first kiss.

Afterwards, once outside we took advantage of the new decking outside for a group shot and then we went into the woodland for their couple shots. Because of the time of year the sun was low and the colours really added to their photos.

 

Cripps BarnThis then led on to dinner. Cripps Barn is well known for

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Firle Place Wedding Photography

Firle Church and Firle Place
Kate & Christian

Firle Place WeddingOriginally built in Tudor times, and transformed in the eighteenth century, Firle Place in Lewes is set against the breathtaking backdrop of the South Downs. It made the perfect setting for Kate, who’s British, and American Christian’s English country wedding – giving one Trans-Atlantic romance the perfect happy ever after!

Kate looked stunning, relaxed and radiant in an unfussy full-length white sleeveless gown, while her four bridesmaids wore similar dresses in midnight blue and two of the younger members of the bridal party were adorable in white dresses with blue sashes.

The surrounding countryside made for a dramatic, romantic background to some of the images of the happy couple under a big sky. Kate grew up locally so one thing she really wanted to do was go up to the Firle Beacon and have photos up there. After the ceremony at Firle Church we headed up to the Beacon straight away and caught some beautiful moments.

Firle Place WeddingThere’s a Georgian Riding School in the grounds of Firle House, but Kate posed with a couple of her own horses. Christian, in his top hat, joined them too!

There were also some good backdrops provided by the many surrounding trees, while the beautiful 13th Century St Peter’s Church where the ceremony took place, and the local village, were also full of interest.

Some guests traveled to the reception in an old Routemaster bus, while the new Mr and Mrs arrived in style in an open carriage.

Firle Place WeddingAs ever, I wanted to capture every second of the day, from the bridesmaids getting ready and chatting over cups of tea in the morning, through to the speeches and dancing in the evening.
Kate and Christian’s reception room at Firle Place really did look incredible, with a glitterball, large chessboard floor and huge white drapes hung hammock-style from the impressive raftered ceiling.

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French Chateau Wedding Photography

Chateau de Reignac
Kate & Steven

Chateau de Reignac WeddingShooting a wedding abroad is always different. You’re in a foreign country, you hope the Sat Nav is correct and you get all excited over what is often your first time at a venue and what cool stuff will be there to shoot.

Until Kate and Steven’s wedding in the Loire Valley I’d not been to Chateau de Reignac, or the Loire.

One of the main observations I mentioned to my wife Laura was that it’s not a valley in the traditional sense (I had visions of standing upon high surveying the area) – but no, it’s an area of France which is full of vineyards and fields upon fields of sunflowers along the roads and beyond. It’s actually quite flat and it’s incredibly peaceful.

Chateau de Reignac WeddingKate and Steven’s wedding was a relaxed and casual affair. Kate looked stunning in her Jenny Packham dress, the detail of which was gorgeous. Steven wore a bespoke number from a tailors in Brighton and together they looked a perfect couple.

The ceremony was held in the grounds of the Chateau de Reignac. There is a Chapel adjoining the main building. To access it you need to enter from outside however you can look down into it via a balcony in the Chateau.

One thing I noticed during the day was that in France the light falls differently. It’s prettier, more warming and subtle versus the UK. Looking back on the photos we took there is a different feel to them and they embrace you more.

Chateau de Reignac WeddingAs with all international and destination weddings we stay overnight and work until late. We had exceptionally clear skies above the Chateau grounds and spent extra time shooting the stars. Which certainly paid off.

The cutting of the Croquembouche was epic. I’ve never witnessed anything like it and as the evening wound down we made our way to bed and traveled home the following day.

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