So another year comes to an end. 2009 was a tough year for many reasons, but this year has been amazing. 42 weddings throughout Scotland, which equals my highest ever number, and some amazing weddings at amazing locations. The business has really done well in these tough times, and hopefully the hard work is starting to pay off. I have been so lucky to be part of so many special occasions, and I have said before – it is a special honour to be part of the most important day in a couples lives, and it is something I feel very grateful for. So to all the lovely people who let me be part of their weddings this year – I thank you from the bottom of my heart! The feedback I have had this year has been on a different level to any other time since I began this job, and that makes me feel so happy. There’s not much better than getting a glowing testimonial after a couple have received their photographs or their album, and it’s one of the driving forces that continues to inspire me every time I go to a wedding.
The highlights of 2010 were undoubtably the two awards I received from the BIPP. The Scottish Portrait Photographer of the Year award was a total shock and a great feeling. The same image then won the UK Affiliate of the Year Award at the National Awards at Blenheim Palace last month. I haven’t entered as many competitions recently, so it was great to be recognised.
2011 is looking like being a great year as well. Bookings are looking really good again, and there are some really exciting weddings in there, including one in Italy and one in Thailand, which is something to look forward to as we try to get through the really bad winter weather. I am hoping to develop a couple of different parts of the business next year – more to come on that. I am heading down to the SWPP Convention in January – but for the first time in 4 years I won’t be speaking – I fancied a year off so I could concentrate on other parts of the business, but will hopefully return as a speaker in 2012. I will be attending for a few days though so hope to catch up with some friends and colleagues. I am also making the most of January to go on a couple of training workshops as I aim to keep pushing my work onto a higher level and stay ahead of the competition.
So, this year my top ten wedding images has been a really tough choice, so I decided to make it 15!
I have cheated slightly with my number 1, as it is not a wedding picture but as it won 2 awards and has been published in several magazines it HAD to be top of the list. A shot of model Natalie taken during a demo at the SWPP Convention. I shot it with the 16-35mm lens and lit it with the Q-Flash fired by pocket wizards. It was a demo for wedding photography so I am sneaking it into my top 15 on that criteria!
Next up is a shot I took at Cloisters at Glasgow University. A great location, a great day and some lovely light combined to give this image which was 100% ambient light.
This shot was taken at Dalhousie Castle – and not an obvious shot at such a spectacular location. I just spotted the wonderful leading lines of the path heading back to the solitary tree, so got Beatrice and Michael to walk up there and I shot them from distance with the 70-200mm lens. Available light was just beautiful!
Next up is a shot I took at Boddam, near Peterhead. It was October and not the warmest of days so we had to work quite quickly. This was again lit with Q Flash, triggered by Pocket Wizards, and a dramatic sky added to the drama and feel. I had the driver move the vintage car to just add something to the background. Sharron and Ben then pulled off a very natural looking pose.
This was my only wedding outside of Scotland this year, down in Northumberland on a lovely October day. It was tricky to come up with a great image which would include Helen, John and Pepper the horse, but this unusual tree gave a great opportunity. It was very unplanned but came together perfectly, and the horse stood perfectly for me to get the image.
This was a couple of weeks ago at Elise and David’s wedding at Bunchrew and I just loved the colours of the December late-afternoon sky. It was very cold and windy right there so we had a couple of minutes to get a few shots. Lit by Q Flash, from overhead, and underexposed to bring the sky out.
This was a 100% natural, reportage moment, although it looks like it could have been set up. It was during the ceremony at this very unusual wedding in the middle of a glen at Alladale Estate, in wind and rain. The couple were listening to a reading from one of the bridesmaids, and I captured this beautiful moment. The expression is beautiful and it’s hard to imagine just how cold and dreich it was at that moment as it looks so warm and tender.
This was just a really lovely day, which was so much fun and I really enjoyed shooting at the Glenmorangie Distillery. The barrels and warehouse gave great lines to lead to the happy couple, who just looked so in love. Lit with Q Flash again.
This was one of the wettest wedding days in history, and it was my first one at the amazing Eilean Donan Castle, so I was so disappointed that it looked like we’d get no outside pictures. A real stroke of luck saw the rain stop for about 30 minutes in the entire 24 hours, but it was just at the right time to get out and capture the dramatic moody Scottish scenery.
This was a really fun wedding day at Traquair House near Peebles. There was only the two of them there – from Canada. It was so relaxed, a beautiful day and a really cool couple. They got married in the centre of the maze, so I felt it was important to try to get a memorable image of that location. I ended up quite a distance away hanging out of a window a few floors up shouting instructions. The couple were standing on a large tree stump which gave them the necessary height to make the shot work. All natural light with the 70-200 lens.
Another great day – the most crying I have done at a wedding. A deeply emotional day, with two really fun people. I had shot a few locations around the Newton Hotel, but really liked this wee corner. It was a bit precarious lying on the floor in a kilt to get the right angle to shoot through the daisies, but it worked and no creepy crawlies made it up my kilt.
This was a recent wedding at Loch Ness Country House Hotel, and it was just the most amazing blue sky. I love this old tree, which won’t be around much longer by the looks of things. I’ve taken a few shots of it before but never managed to capture such vibrant colours. Another Q Flash shot with the 16-35 lens.
I LOVE Dunrobin Castle – it may well be my favourite ever wedding location. It just has a magical, fairytale feel to it on a good day. This shot of Gaeleen and Chris is one of my favourites I’ve taken there. Very simple but it really captures the whole mood and feel of the occasion.
This was a fantastic day at Achnagairn. I had been excited about Knoxy and Craig’s wedding for ages and it didn’t disappoint. I liked the shape of this part of the garden as it looked like an arrow in my mind. I just got them in a very natural situation and shot it with the 24-70 lens again using available light.
Last but not least, another fun image. Catriona and Richard had insisted that they wanted something quite outrageous on the same lines as my ‘bride with spade’ image, and somehow this is what I came up with. They loved it and it was a load of fun to set up.
So, those are my top 15 wedding images of 2010. It has taken ages to edit down to these, so apologies for those who aren’t included. out of 42 weddings it was a tough task but these are chosen for a whole variety of reasons personal to me. Already looking forward to starting on the 2011 group! I’d like to personally wish everyone, friends, colleagues and people I have worked with over the year, a very happy New Year and hope 2011 will be a great year for everyone!