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Italy wedding – Varenna, Lake Como

Italy wedding – Varenna, Lake Como

Lake como, Varenna, Italy Wedding

I first met Kelly at a wedding fayre in Portsmouth, she was originally looking for a photographer for her UK based wedding reception but when I learned that she was getting married in Italy and jumped at the chance to photograph that too! 

The wedding was planned for July 2020!! Yes – the dreaded Covid happened, it was moved to the following year July 2021, but still with the pandemic at large we moved again to October 2021 – this time it stuck and we flew. 

I flew with Kelly, Adrian and her 20 odd guests. It was great because I got to capture the whole story!

We flew into Milan Malpensa Airport, very easy, no stress and then a private coach to drive us north to Lake Como and our destination Hotel Villa Cipressi, Varenna

 

The Day Before the Wedding

Wedding Eve was fabulous to wander around the cobbled streets of Varenna. Lots of little alleys and stairs that lead do to the lake and eventually the bars and cafes.

A coffee is €2 in most places! and the Best coffee ever! add a croissant for a euro…. sooooo good!

Tea is served black and if you want milk they bring you heated milk, so ask for cold milk.

The are a few touristy shops there on the waterfront and a pharmacist and mini supermarket/newsagents just of the main square back at the top. If you want more larger shops you need to travel to a larger town or we caught a ferry across the lake to Menaggio which had a lot more boutiques and restaurants to look through! The ferry was a few euros return and you can see the famous Villa Belagio where George Clooney & Amal got married

The evening before we all went for a meal BUT….

Unbeknown to the rest of the family, Kelly and Adrian were pregnant!! and the wanted ME to announce it, we planned before we left for Italy that we would have a group photo outside and I normally shout out “let’s have three cheers for the Bride & Groom! hip hip – Hooray, everyone normally shouts.

Well I shouted “everyone shout KELLY’S PREGNANY!!!” – I got a few weird looks and uncomfortable laughs lol , like what a strange thing to say, right!? ha ha it was soon followed by laughter, surprise and lots of hugs and congratulations

 

The Wedding Day

The wedding day was fabulous, I got up at 6.00am to catch the sun rise and go for a wander… it was well worth it! the views and the sky were just amazing…..

 

The Wedding

I’ll let the photos speak for themselves but suffice to say this was an epic wedding in and I am now in Love with Italy and would get married there any day!

 

 

Booking me – What to expect

Booking me – What to expect

Want to book me? Here’s what to expect….

Just Enquiring:

Contact me anytime with any questions that you have. There are lots of wedding photographers in in Southampton and even more in Hampshire! We’re all different in some way, choose the right one for you….Most couples ask for package prices and payment terms as a first questions.

I like to see if you would prefer a videocall chat to go through any more questions you have and to see how best I can tailor my services better for you.

 

Even here, there is no pressure to book. 

You can then go away, chat to other photographers and decide what you want to do in your own time. 

 

Aah great!! you want to Book…

Once you are happy and have decided to book I will then send you your paperwork; which is all held in your personal Client Portal, where all the paperwork below is held for you – easy 😉

1 – Contract – this is a standard contract that serves both you and me. I ask all clients to sign a contract no matter how small the booking. 
2 – Invoice – this has brief details about your wedding booking, the date and the package you have chosen etc Currently my deposit payment terms at the moment are: £100 booking fee which is to secure your date, and blank it out in my calender, the then balance of your package price is due 2 weeks before your wedding date. 
3 – Questionnaire – This doesn’t need to be filled in until nearer you wedding date but it really helps me know the details of your day, who is going to be there, your shots list for groups – if you want them…. And also confirming addresses and emergency contact telephone number. 

I then bring this with me on the day so that I have your timeline and know where I need to be and don’t pester you on the day.

 

Booked!

Once you have paid your booking fee and signed your contract you are Officially Booked!! Yey!! 

But, if you have any questions then please feel free to still contact me! I will contact you 6 weeks before your wedding date to arrange another Video call – “catch up meeting” to go through the finer details and changes that may have happened…. As sometimes it’s two years from booking to your date, so it’s important for me to re connect and see you before your day! 

Having a good relationship with you, knowing you and what you like is really important to me.

 

ON YOUR WEDDING DAY

WOO HOO!!! It’s your wedding day!! 

So, we will probably have chatted on WhatsApp!? After our “catch up up meeting” and I always like to contact you  the day before, just to put you at ease and see how you are. 

Depending on your package, depends on where I turn up

For example,  The Piccolo Package clients normally want me to start at the ceremony, where I will turn up 30 minutes before your ceremony start time to capture guests arriving, the rooms and capture a nervous Bride or Groom waiting for their Bride or Groom… Sometimes, couples arrive together? It really is up to you, every wedding is unique. 

The Whole Package which is a full day (I normally arrive between 10am – 12am (again depending on what and how much you want captured) to photograph morning preparations. 

Now you can relax and let me capture the story of your day

 

After Your Wedding Day

Actually, even before the day is done I go home and back up all the images to my hard drives And a cloud backup that I have setup! Those RAW images are so precious to me!!

 

Most of my time is spent working on your photos! 

 

Every single image is checked and edited – And straightened! My OCD can’t handle it otherwise ha ha 

 

Normally within 4-6 weeks – you get your final images

With every package you get your personal online gallery which you can share with friends and family. 

 

Then, depending on your package chosen I will ask for details for print, USB and frame choices. 

 

Albums: these get designed after you have seen your gallery and chosen some of your favourite images to help me draft up a layout for you. 

 

You choose the colours, material, size and wording if any on the front 🙂 

I get so excited when these come through the post! I also try to hand deliver them if you aren’t too far away 🙂

 

Have you got anymore questions about the process? Contact me anytime x

 

Giving a print box to one of my clients

I can’t be the only one?!?

I can’t be the only one?!?

So, this is a shout out to all you working mamas out there! balancing parenthood and worklife, personal life, fitness, love and umm… meditation? cos we call have time for that right? Well – YOU ROCK!

[Side note – father’s rock too but well I love women and supporting women and women that support women]

It’s the middle of the summer holidays and I am totally struggling…..  oh the guilt! the workload and the all new “Mental Overload” yes it’s a thing Sandra….. don’t roll your eyes …

BUT – I’m not the only one, right!?

 

 

Seriously, it’s hard right? trying to push a business that is saturated with photographers (talking bout myself here) but same goes for other mums I know trying to run a business! Because;

IT – NEVER – STOPS ….. I go to bed thinking about it and wake up thinking….. did I  upload the whole of that wedding!? (of course I always have…. Mike and Debbie! your photo’s are safe….? yes , no they really are!) but these things go through my mind.

Then, now it’s summer holiday these hang ons I call my children, like, want entertaining and taken out, or else they come into my… MY office!! and want to chat or for me to print pictures of puppies for them (my youngest) to colour in.

Ha ha – I do of course LOVE this all really and I think we have to remind ourselves that one day they won’t come in and sit on a chair swinging their little legs wanting your attention. Or message you on Whatsapp saying can we make some cupcakes then? Which you may or may not have promised them we day before but it got too late as your were finishing editing a wedding.

Concentration face – icing on the cake

cupcakes….

 

One day… I will miss them being like this (or will I? – for now I’m saying yes! ha ha )

So, what to do? well sneak in a little Blog, do a little here and there. I have also;

1- Put my boys into school holiday club a few days a week.

I always was against this if I could help it, played in the day with them and worked in the evenings, so then I’m tired, nagging the next day as I couldn’t sleep from Computer staring Brain – that’s an official medical thingy. So, I have put mine into Icon Sports Coaching, they get dropped off at 9am in their school grounds and picked up at 4pm. That’s longer than a SCHOOL day!! amazing ha ha and they came home buzzing their first day…. why didnt I do this sooner? you can also just do mornings or afternoons if a whole day feels bad, but seriously, they are all the better for it and so are you! leaving you wanting quality time with them. Bonus – work done!

2- Make sure you do either exercise or gym.

Trust me! people don’t say this to be a nag, it Actually makes a difference. So, I have been getting up at 5.45am to get to my gym, do a proper work out weights n all. I Never come out thinking that was a waste of time and I always feel that if I get nothing done that day at least I have spent over an hour at the gym, Wednesdays, is my slow gym day so will do 30 minutes cardio then 30 minutes in the pool, sauna and jump in the outside pool! loadsa benefits to this, on another blogg maybe?

3- Plan your working week.

Set certain day for certain things, this treasure of advice came from my husband. I was sporadically doing things. And not feeling like I get anywhere. I have a routine at home, like Mondays are cleaning the house day, ironing etc and sorting stuff! and I will list what I want to do. so why on earth am I not doing this for work??

For example, Tuesday mornings – marketing, posting on instagram blogging…. (though side note Minah! it’s Friday night!? ok ok it doesnt always work, kids are at Nanny’s though so I’m fitting in an hours work – see above Minah!!)

And during the summer aka Wedding Season, it’s all taken up by emails, checking forthcoming wedding details and editing weddings 🙂 love love LOVE

4- Mindset 

Ha! this is probably the hardest one right? It takes real practice…. like yoga 😉   to control your thoughts. What has helped me is massively is a guy called Ekhart Tolle, he is amazing to listen to, for me anyway. Find someones that helps you, self help and all that – it really works

Anyway, this books has sold millions around the world and Oprah Winfrey has said it’s like her Bible!  Ekhart Tolle – The Power of Now   You tube him! he does Lots of talks and talk of the Ego so so much – this little voice and crushes you, makes you feel like you’re failing at everything and sometimes, what’s the point.

Funny – I would listen to him all the time when putting away the washing, stick him on You Tube and listen, it also stopped my mind overthinking and stressing me out. win win!

The main thing it has taught me is  BE IN THE MOMENT  – just enjoy the here and now, when you are w

 

ith the children, take in everything and stop your mind wandering… stop thinking about work, it’s the Now, the precious time you have NOW!  work will always be there, there will ALWAYS be more washing, cleaning, pics to put on bloody instagram!

When you’re in bed, trying to sleep and your thoughts are racing, he

 

art is pounding, you can’t cope, your head just goes round and round, yup, me too….. concentrate on now. Think about your breathing, slow it down, how does your head feel on the pillow, how is the soft duvet tucked around you. smile you are taking time to lye there and just be 🙂 Listen the the noise outside, even the traffic, just take it in and I never know what follows because by now I am fast alseep.

Day at Bournemouth beach

My youngest – love this face

 

 

Gosh – this was meant to be a short helpful Blog but it fast went serious and a bit long?? sorry about that, what else would you recommend to help balance our busy lives these days? I would love to hear any tips what helped you and if any of this you do?? or if you are going to try any of the above?

Thanks for reading

 

Lots of Love

 

Minah xx

 

Is it really Half Way Through??!!

Is it really Half Way Through??!!

It’s Monday morning….

Of Easter School Holidays! the second week that is…. so this means we are only half way through? what the?? Why oh why do I feel like I get nothing done whilst the kids are off? ha ha anyone else feel like this?

Well my sons Joey and Ollie have been having a great week off so far! we have

walked the dogs…. lots

gotten wet…. lots

made cakes, biscuits, fruit salads

made random painting, by dripping paint and rolling the canvas around….

Met up with friends and gone to places for children to be basically worn out, whilst us adults have coffee?

 

However, what I haven’t done with them which, I promised myself I would so with them is a studio session with them? I had this TOP of my list? Also I was going to re edit stuff and do easy stuff whilst the kids play on their computer or watch a film? has this happened? no…. why? because I have watched the movies or ended up watching them play the computers cos let’s face it….. we will no way be as good as them on the computer… though I’m not bad on Mario Kart??

So, I have been feeling low as I haven’t done much work this last week (oh I had wonderful family session though) I digress.

I Promise you AND myself, but if I promise you I will most likely do it for sure!? because that’s how my mind works… ha! ummm… where was I? Oh yes, that I will set up a studio at my office to take photos of my wonderful, growing up too fast boys and do a blog on that?

Here are some photos of our actvities this week anyway, as I really feel like being a photographer every blog should have photos, no?

Let me know how you have felt with the kids off? I do yearn for the routine of school again though, you?

 

speak soon

 

Minah xx

 

5 Top reasons you NEED a photographer for your Wedding

5 Top reasons you NEED a photographer for your Wedding

I often hear comments such as:

“Why do I need to pay so much for a wedding photographer?

Everyone has camera phones these or even their own amazing cameras – Surely there is no need to pay a professional?

it’s such a massive amount from our budget”

so, this blog is, for is in short, for you!

Firstly, it never offends me, nor do I get annoyed when couples ask this question. Shelling out for a wedding photographer IS a substantial expense. Having professional photos taken at your wedding can, indeed, be seen as a luxury. BUT, I also think it’s a necessity!

So many of us love looking through photos and, for me, photos are more than just images. They capture a moment in time that will NEVER ever happen again! Even more so, the right photo captured at just the right second can evoke so many emotions in your viewer (especially if they are personal to you).

The perfect wedding shot radiates feelings of love and emotion, captured forever in time, for you to treasure and look back on over and over. When I edit each photo and begin to create my albums, I am always mindful of the viewer. I want anyone who looks at them to be able to feel the love and emotion of the day; to see every aspect from the shoes, to the morning preparations, to the guests’ faces as the bride walks down the aisle; the tear (hopefully!) in the groom’s/bride’s/partner’s face watching them walk towards them. 

Your professional album will be one of the lasting treasures you have to enable you to relive your wedding day for years to come. Many of my couples say that they feel as though they have experienced the day all over again when they first look through their photos.

Can you tell I’m maybe a little passionate on this issue? Well I am! With no apologies! It’s more than just pictures in a book or on your wall – it’s capturing precious moments in time to one day show your grandchildren how in love Granny and Grandad were (and still are)! Anyway, I could go on….. but here are my top five reasons as a summary for my prospective couples

1. We will capture EVERYTHING…. and do it WELL…

Over a full day, we are there to record all your little moments as well as the big events. We are experts in using special lenses that are able to capture the detail in the rings, special jewellery and the bouquet, for example.

I will be looking non-stop for those points in time that add to the story of your day. My cameras (I have two –  a Nikon D750s and a spare camera just in case) are never turned off and have different lenses for different situations, so that each shot can be captured perfectly.

During the ceremony (depending on how strict your registrar or vicar is!) I will be moving around the venue/church to capture several different angles – your face, his face/her face, images from the front/back/side… These are images that most guests just wouldn’t get! Most would be too shy to walk about, quietly. But this is our job! We are also familiar with the format of the ceremony, so we will be at the right place at the right time for moments like the Exchanging of the Rings and that First Kiss!

During speeches, I am always crouching low between all the guests to capture them laughing and enjoying old anecdotes and your reaction to say, the best man’s speech and your tear from your partners speech. I have genuinely not been to a wedding yet where a guest is able to do this. Yes, they can capture things from their chair, but that is it really – not different angles. They won’t achieve wide pictures of the whole room or of guests that aren’t part of their group. No picture of your mum and dad wiping away a tear of pride. Do you really want to miss out on these images?

We are there the whole time with the sole aim to photograph your whole day and to try to capture EVERY guest there, whilst also focusing on you two as a couple and any children you may have!

2. You are paying for an artist and their passion…

I would always say to any client, “Even if you aren’t going to choose me, please make sure you meet your photographer. They are going to be with you for your whole wedding day. You want to be sure that you like them, at least!”

The bottom line is that you are not just hiring someone that takes good photos – along with the photos is an artist who loves what they do. I put my all into the images I shoot and am always trying to think of new ways to tell a story

A lot goes into the composition of a photograph. Each frame I take has been thought out, examined and edited using professional software. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. is edited to bring out the best in the photo. I will also tweak them if I feel it is necessary – maybe make it look warmer and sunnier? Bring out the greens more? Take out a sign?

I once did a family shoot with four dogs. We went to the woods and mum sat at a picnic table with one of the dogs. I clicked away and really loved the photos of them cuddling etc. When I came to look at them and to choose my favourites I discovered, to my horror, that the table had pictures of penises? peni? penis’ !? (not sure which is correct but you get my drift…. ha ha ha!) all over the place …. my goodness!

So I was able to get these out with some magic on my computer and the shots were not lost. You would never have known…..

What I’m trying to say is, it’s not just enough to hire someone that clicks a big camera on automatic mode! God forbid a profesh doing it!? There are lots of elements of the training needed to perfect our skills. It actually takes a lot of practice to be able to take a picture and to talk to your clients at the same time! This we really need to do, to be in touch with you and to achieve great pics.

Find someone that takes pride in their work, has an eye and style you like. When you meet them you will hopefully feed off of their love and enthusiasm for the work they produce.

Take a look at this sunset picture. This was taken down at the docks in Southampton. The sun was setting and there was a clear sky. I knew what my camera and computer could make this scene into – and I love a silhouette shot.  My couple, Ryan & Emily trusted me and I hope you like it too? But look at the SOOC (Straight Out Of Camera) shot on the left compared to my final edited image on the right. I played around with colour, composition, clarity, blacks, whites, exposure….  I just LOVE that we can be so…. so…. artistic! THAT’s what you’re getting with a professional photographer!

 3. Our Equipment Out Weighs your Iphone by far…

I have two Nikon D750s with me and various lenses (105mm 50mm 24mm 24-70mm and so on). I choose each of these for their particular gifts and benefits! 105mm is my fave, but they all do different things that one phone certainly couldn’t manage.

I also have a dozen high spec SD Cards. I swap these over after each major part of the day and keep them safe with me. I guard them with my life! The cameras can photograph in very quick succession and for longer because of these –  really handy to capture kids running about but mainly for me to click away on “The Kiss.”

LIGHTS!!! and I don’t mean the lights on top of the camera! I have a number of Flashgun or speedlights. Sounds good right? Anyway, they sit on top of my camera in low level lighting. I also change the power and angle! This matters too…. depending on when and where we are.

I also have tripods to put lights on. These can be useful for the first dance or sometimes I have used them for group photos when we ran out of time in the day.  We did some night time shots. The photos are from Kate & Nathan’s Wedding Day at Winkworth Farm. I also had my video lights on. These are a constant source of light, as well as my flashgun. My photography teacher said that photography is ALL about being able to control the light, All of it…. and it really is.

Can you tell I love my lights? Ha! Ooh, but lastly, we can use lights to make arty images! I just love a flare or a backlight on the dance floor!

So the photo below is of my own wedding day! Outside under a beautiful green pergola. Left is the picture by one of our guests. Now, this guest is always posting on Instagram, uses filters and really does take fab photos. But, the image on the right is from my professional photographers. Can you see the difference? ALSO –  She moved about and got lots of angle. So here we are looking at the registrar, none of the guests were able to do this. To be honest, I didn’t expect them to. Our guests were there to enjoy the day with us.

4. We really are more reliable than your guests Sorry, Not sorry.

At the end of the day, you are hiring us to do a job – and most people, especially if they work for themselves you can bet, will do their very best to give you a top-quality product! Typically, you can view a website or social media platform to view our photos and can be assured that your images will be of the same standard.

Furthermore, as we have a job to do, taking your photos is our main priority! Your guests, however, will be enjoying themselves. They may be taking photos of you but they will not be of the same high quality and standard of a professional’s camera and editing skills?

Speaking from personal experience, I hired two amazing photographers for my wedding day. But I wanted some video action too. I tasked my sister, also my bridesmaid, with our Go Pro and stick to capture the speeches and the ceremony. My sons, then four and seven, had practised singing Zip-a-Dee-Doo Dah from a Disney classic for months! It was ALL my eldest’s idea too – so, so cute! You can watch the best one we have here. Anyway, mornings are always a rush – I even forgot to carry my bouquet down that isle…..ha ha ha …. I laugh now… just! 

But my sister had forgotten the Go Pro, I completely forgot the WHOLE thing anyways and, yes, we have copies of them singing the song… but not all in one go and it’s not the greatest quality. If I had hired a professional it would be a whole different story. Thankfully, my priority was photography so I have that but, if I hadn’t have hired them, I know I would be so upset not to have the quality memories which now adorn my walls.

5. We don’t just stop at photography!

This is why you hire us. We care about you and we want to help to make your day perfect! We are an extra pair of hands to help on the biggest day of your lives. Whilst working as the photographer for dozens of couples’ weddings, I have also:

  • been a runner for the rings.
  • been a taxi between venues for guests.
  • helped the groom and his men attach their buttonholes correctly.
  • run to find the organiser who had disappeared after the speeches and was meant to turn on music from the back!? Cue the awkward silence in the hall…
  • helped lace up the bride’s dress! Yes, truly!
  • even gotten under the dress to find the loop to tie the dress to! lols… that was actually funny
  • found the bride water/food/ whatever she needed!
  • provided entertainment for MANY children.
  • helped guests with details of timings or the DJ when they ask when the first dance is! We have all of this information to make sure the day runs smoothly.
  • provided spare safety pins/needle and thread/ florist tape/ glue and sticky tape for any emergencies! Yes, I have needed most of these.
  • once discovered that the ceremony room was setup all wrong! I found the coordinator, to phone the supplier to add the bows on that had been forgotten! The bride was so grateful!
  • filled many more roles – but this blog is already too long…….

This isn’t what I expected I would be doing in my role and some wedding photographers may think, ‘well – that’s not my job. I’m just there to take photos. But, for me it’s all about the service too. When I meet a guest or a bride that notices these little things, it feels good! That’s it! I like to help people. We do these things to help you –  the bride and groom, the groom and groom, the bride and bride – have a smoother, stress-free day. If we can do that too, then it’s been a good day!

So, you are not hiring someone that just clicks a button! We do so much more and put all our love and energy into your day too.

Thank you for reading my very first Blog! I’m so excited to finally be able to start doing these.

Please leave comments if this helped/inspired/annoyed….. or if you have any questions.

Oh yes, and if you found this useful, please share away to help another bride and groom to make an informed decision!

Speak soon 

Minah xx

What you can get with a second photographer

What you can get with a second photographer

Thinking of Hiring a Second with your Main Photographer’s Package?

Well there are a lot of benefits to having a second photographer and it wont cost you double! All prices will vary but for my couples you get around another 200 photos on top.

Benefits are:

  1. You get more variety of photos, capturing those key moments too but with a different angle
  2. For a full day package the second can photograph your partner whilst I stay with you! so you get the Full picture on your wedding day of both getting ready 🙂
  3. Another set of eye to capture key moments of your day that I may have missed as I’m sorting groups or with your on your couples shots
  4. BEST REASON – during the ceremony whilst the main photographer is at the front capturing you walk down the isle, we have the Groom’s back of head in our sights! where as a second will be down the other end and focusing on the Groom and his hopefully tearful but obviously happy face looking up the isle to you.
  5. Plus the second will get the back of your dress walking down the isle.
  6. Two angles from the whole ceremony, so you get the WHOLE picture
  7. you get way more photos…. did I say that already? hmmmm.. 🙂 well that’s defo a bonus!!

Latest Prices here

 

baby bump photo at wedding

Beautiful Mum and her bump on her wedding day- registry office wedding

black and white of groom getting ready, adjusting his tie

groom morning preparations at his home

wedding rings laid ontop of speeches with the words Love and laughter being circled by the rings

details shots of rings and speeches

New Forest Wedding, Hampshire

Couple shots in the New Forest – bride and groom = best friends