wedding at Barton Hall hotel in Kettering

Sayle and Martyn’s wedding at Barton Hall Hotel.

I had been looking forward to this wedding since visiting Barton Hall last year for a look around while it was still under construction. Sayle and Martyn’s wedding was the first wedding in the function room at Barton Hall and the first exclusive use wedding. The venue opened last year but the final touches to the function room were made literally the day before Sayle and Martyn’s wedding.

Barton Hall Hotel is a beautiful new wedding venue just 15 minutes drive away from me, I have a feeling it is going to be very popular with Northamptonshire couples looking for a stunning venue.

I took this aerial photograph of Barton Hall last year, the function room foundations can be seen at the back of the building.

Sayle and Martyn were incredibly lucky to have talented family members who used their skills for the wedding, Sayle’s stunning dress was made by her aunty, the cake was made by Sayle’s mum, her dad was one of the bell ringers at the church.

My coverage started at Barton Hall with Sayle having her hair and make up finished before getting into her dress and having her veil put on. I then drove the short distance to St Andrew’s Church in Brigstock Northamptonshire. At the church I caught up with Martyn and the ushers. Sayle arrived in a white Land Rover which is one of the slightly more unusual wedding cars I have seen.

After the wedding ceremony there was a lot of hugging as all the guests congratulated Sayle and Martyn outside the church, everyone then walked into the square at Brigstock and guests took a few photographs before a fleet of white Land Rovers took the wedding party back to Barton Hall. Guests enjoyed a drinks reception in The Orangery before being called for dinner.

These are a few of the photographs from Sayle and Martyn’s wedding at Barton Hall Hotel, watch out for the unusual cake – it really is stunning!

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Andrew Billington - April 4, 2014 - 9:50 am

Lovely wedding Simon.The day looks fantastic! (how many bridesmaids?!)

Chilston Park Hotel wedding photos

Chilston park Hotel wedding photos.

The dark days of December seem so long ago now, looking out in my garden at the spring flowers and blossom and with the recent sunshine I had almost forgotten that just a couple of months ago it was dark at four o’clock and I was photographing weddings using 10,000 ISO on my cameras. Then I had an email from Sarah with her choice of photographs to be used in her album form her wedding at Chilston Park Hotel in December.

Sarah and Mark’s wedding was at the beautiful Chilston park Hotel in Kent on December 28th, I arrived to photograph Sarah getting ready at the hotel before the short drive to a nearby church for the ceremony which was lit by candles. By the time we got back to Chilston Park is was dark outside and almost as dark inside, I was glad for my L series F1.4 lenses and new cameras which allow me to work in very dark conditions without having to resort to using flash.  It was so dark in the reception that I was getting 1/40th at F1.4 on 10,000 ISO.   Chilston Park Hotel is a grade I listed building set in 22 acres of countryside and gardens, it is described as “one of the most perfect wedding venues in Kent” and even on a dark December day I could see why.

Mark owns a company called Loupe Digital Imaging, they do all sorts of things with pixels in Photoshop to come up with amazing images that didn’t exist in real life as well retouching (digital airbrushing) photographs. Mark is clearly very talented at this as can be seen on his website.

These are a few of my photographs from Sarah and Mark’s wedding at Chilston park Hotel.


Chilston Park HotelChilston Park Hotel weddingChilston Park Hotel in Kent, exterior viewChilston Park Hotel photographerChilston Park Hotel wedding photos

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Photography show talk

I’m passionate about documentary wedding photography as anyone who has met me will know, so I was delighted when I was asked if I would give a talk at The Photography Show on Sunday 2nd March at the NEC in Birmingham.

My talk was with another well known wedding photographer, Julia Boggio, on our contrasting styles of wedding photography with me taking from the corner of documentary wedding photography and Julia the corner for a more fashion based posed style of wedding photography. This resulted in an interesting discussion on how we both approach wedding photography.

A large crowd started gathering half an hour before we went on stage and it soon became clear we had attracted a large audience for the talk.

The questions started with me asking Julia what style of wedding photographer she was and soon followed on to Julia asking me about the sort of clients I attract. We discussed everything from the equipment we use to our approach to wedding albums.

Julia and I both brought along 15 images each to show examples of how we work, interestingly Julia and I both brought along bath shots which made a good discussion on the differences in our styles, Julia had taken a couple down to a bathroom showroom and had them sat in the bath positioned in the shop window, outside a couple of the wedding guests looked in with shocked expressions.  My bath photograph was unposed, I just happened to arrive at a wedding in Devon and found the groom just about to get in the bath. I took a couple of shots and left him to it.

There is room in the wedding photography market for many different styles of wedding photography, my style is pure documentary (I don’t set anything up other than a small handful of family group photographs), after the talk I was asked by a member of the audience if I had ever compromised my style for financial reasons, especially when I first started out because documentary wedding photography was not as popular back then. My answer was that photographers should never compromise what they do for financial gain, fashions come and go in wedding photography and by sticking with what you do best your wedding photography will not date and you can build a brand and reputation around your style. 45 minutes went far too quickly and we had to be almost dragged off at the end.

Some of the photographs I showed during the talk -

This photograph was taken on a wedding in Venice. The couple opted not to have any wedding guests, so it was just the two of them and myself and with me also taking on the role of being the witness to the marriage.  I went to the brides hotel in Venice and took photographs of her getting ready, we then took a water taxi to the wedding venue. I wanted to capture an image of the bride deep in her thoughts as she travelled to the ceremony, so I sat up the front of the boat so my presence would not interfere with the scene and waited for the moment.

This is one of my signature wide angle shots, the bride is having her lipstick applied and rather than taking a close up photograph of this I have stepped back and told the story. The light in this room was beautiful and the shape of the ceiling in the attic room adds to the composition. The bride is surrounded on the floor with all of the clutter of getting ready and the three bridesmaids wait patiently.

Not your average wedding photograph. Normally I’d still be tucked up in bed at 8am on a Sunday morning but in this case I was in Bradford for a Sikh wedding. The Sikh temple (Gurdwara) was located on an industrial street opposite a car repair centre, the early morning light cast a shadow of the temple across the street. Wedding guests began to gather sitting on the wall and one couple pointed out the temple to their children, by pure luck they stood at the end of a shaft of light across the road.  this photograph was used on the opening page of the wedding album.

This is one of those occasions when colour really works, I was photographing the bride getting ready and one of the bridesmaids brought in a mirror for the bride to look in. At first I thought my photograph would be based around the bride looking in the mirror but as I watched the flower girl looked up at the bride with such a look of excitement that I knew that was my photograph.


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wedding albums

I design and order around 35 albums a year which means I often end up with several albums in my office waiting to be sent to my clients. At a time when almost everything is digital I find there is something special about books and albums, recently I won a competition for a photography book and was very disappointed when I discovered it was an “e” book rather than a printed book. I have a large collection of photography books and like to sit and flick through the pages rather than sit at a computer and read off the screen. I can take a book anywhere with me and I know I can put it on my book shelf and pick it up in twenty years time and still enjoy it. I don’t have to worry about technology changing and making my book unreadable. Do you remember floppy discs? Or maybe if you had any connection with graphic design you might remember Zip discs?  If I had electronic books on either of those I would have a lot of difficulty reading them now they are obsolete.  To bring this back to wedding photography, the current trend is often to just purchase a disc of digital images which might seem like a less expensive option but in my opinion photography needs to be seen in print. Albums allow the photographs to be arranged in a way which tells the story, albums last a lifetime and don’t rely on technology which might become obsolete. Thankfully my clients agree with me and the vast majority have a wedding album.

I managed to take a few quick photographs of some of the albums before sending them out. I offer two different styles of album, matted albums which are sent to me direct from Queensberry in New Zealand and coffee table albums which are made in the UK.

This is one of the coffee table albums, photographs are directly on the pages which gives a modern look to these albums. The photographs can go right to the edges of the page and across a spread. Queensberry albums are matted, that is the photographs sit in a cut aperture as shown below.

These are photographs of a couple of the coffee table albums -

coffee table wedding album

These are all A4 size albums which I find a very popular choice. Below is one of the A4 coffee table albums sat on top of a Queensberry 15″x12″ album.

These photographs are of a 15″x12″ Queensberry album in black leather with white pages. Queensberry albums start at 12″x12″ and go up to 18″x12″.

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Wedding Photography at Dodmoor House

Fran and Dave’s wedding photography at Dodmoor House

As a Northamptonshire wedding photographer I get to see some of the best wedding venues in Northants, Dodmoor House is one of those.

Fran and Dave’s wedding photography at Dodmoor House in Northamptonshire. Dodmoor House is a very popular venue for weddings in Weedon, Northamptonshire. It is based around two stone barns with a courtyard. The wedding ceremony takes place in one of the barns and the wedding breakfast in the other. I’m based about 40 minutes from Dodmoor House which makes it one of my local venues.

Fran and Dave’s wedding was in December, a month I am finding more and more popular for weddings. There is no longer a wedding season as such and I am kept busy all year round. A venue like Dodmoor House is ideal for winter weddings as everything is in one place, Fran got ready in the bridal suite opposite the barn for the ceremony.

I arrived at midday to photograph the preparations before the 3pm wedding ceremony, things run a little late and the ceremony started at 3.30pm as the sun was setting casting golden light through the back windows of the Courtyad Barn at Dodmoor House.  All too soon the light had gone and I made some lovely photographs as darkness fell, using the patio heaters as a light source to take photographs of the guests during the drinks reception. I really enjoy winter weddings and find they make fantastic photographs with candles and low light levels adding to the atmosphere.

The wedding breakfast was in the candlelit Catesby Barn, which had been decorated with paper lanterns and large star lights.  Speeches took place after dinner and then Fran and Dave cut their Profiterole cake which was decorated with heart shaped sparklers.  My coverage ended with the first dance.

For more information on Dodmoor House visit their website here.

I do hope you enjoy these photographs from Fran and Dave’s winter wedding at Dodmoor House.

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