19th January 2010 – The Wedding of Simon and Becky

Written on January 19, 2010 – 10:31 pm | by BryonyParkes |

At last! I can blog about the lovely wedding of even more lovely Simon and Becky. I wanted to make sure they had seen the images before I blogged, it seemed only fair.

The day was just beautiful. By the time the wedding party arrived, the sun had come out and the snow was heavy on the ground as far as the eye could see. It made for picturesque scenery.

The snow did mean however, that I had to drastically rethink a few things upon arrival. I had visited the venue only the weekend before, pre-snowfall, to get an idea of what was about and had lots of ideas for shots within the grounds, including by the canal. Alas, the snow meant that it was bitterly cold, and it would be extremely wet against satin bridal slippers not to mention making it more difficult to get about… nonetheless, I decided that it was better than dull rain. And the exposure challenges provided by the light glaring from the snow would do me good, to think on the spot.

The shoot itself went well. I was very nervous, being my first ever wedding shoot and also I was still recovering from my operation two weeks previously. I got to the venue early, which was at Marston Farm Hotel near Sutton Coldfield. The first thing I did was to check the ceremony room out and find the cake for some close up shots with nobody about to wonder what an earth I was doing.

The ceremony room turned out to be a different room to the one they had told me it would be the weekend before – but far easier to shoot in from an angle point of view which was a huge relief.

I busied myself for a while, re-visiting the areas around the grounds, testing the pathways and depth of snow. I took a few detail shots around the hotel, played with settings and had a breakfast bar or two to steady my nerves.

And then the Groom and his Best Men arrived!

Don’t they look dashing?

Before I knew it, it was time for the Bride to arrive! This was where it got difficult. The ceremony room was quite dark but there was still a bright white light coming through the windows which contrasted everything in the room to shadows. I was also not allowed to use the flash, or move around too much so the shots I ended up with I was quite disappointed with. Nonetheless, I’ve since found out that there are plenty of other photographers who have the same problem, and I knew I’d make up for it later on.

One of my favourite shots of the day, is a really natural shot of the Bride and Groom, plus the best men and the Bride’s sister walking up to the canal after the ceremony. We were still in shadow of the building, so the light was easy to work with in quick succession while they were walking, and you can see the utter delight in their faces as they relish in the first hour of marriage wading in snow wearing their finery!

We had some fun by the canal, I thought the arch would be a good backdrop. Becky and Simon were great sports and did everything I asked. Some ideas worked, some didn’t!

The group shots were a lot more straightforward in the courtyard which had much easier light to deal with than the direct winter sun. My favourite shot was taken from above, but in the future I will definitely watch out in advance for intruding open umbrellas covered in snow which are nigh on impossible to clone out!

Back in the warm, and I had some time with the couple on their own. The first shot was a real challenge editing wise. There was a curtain issue, shall we say? But I’m pleased with the end result.

I used two lenses today, my trusty 50mm (although am now craving a 35mm due to fixed focal length of the 50mm creating space issues indoors especially highlighted during the wedding) and my new 18-200mm. I was so pleased that I exchanged my kit lens and zoom lens for the 18-200mm. It gave me far more scope during the day for shots where previously I may have not bothered due to the changing of lenses back and forth. The shutterspeed where possible, was kept as high as possible and the ISO kept at 400 or below where I could. My D90 isn’t too fussed on ISO of 800 or above, so apart from the ceremony shots where I was forced to bump it up, I avoided it at all costs. Fortunately, the snow outside, projected some lovely light inside which meant that my favourite shot of the day, in my opinion, where I was able to take a shot in the style that I think I do best; just the most loveliest of lighting was available, it’s this one:

It was a fantastic opportunity for me, to shoot Simon and Becky’s wedding and I cannot thank them enough for putting their trust into me. I think following this experience I would definitely be open to more offers for wedding photography, but I won’t be venturing past parties bigger than say, 50 or so for now. Unless I second shoot for a more experienced Photographer, which I really hope I can do one day.

The biggest challenge for me, was to get to grips with Photoshop once and for all, and to get into a steady swing of editing. It took me a long time to get all the images sorted, edited and tweaked until they were at a standard I was happy enough with to post out. I know as time goes by I will get quicker and I will get more competent and confident with what I’m doing. I don’t feel I was particularly consistent with my editing throughout the final images, I much prefer the softer shots and am not a fan of the sharpening tool. However this will get better with experience, and I’ll find my feet soon enough I’m sure.

I will finish with the e-mail that I received from Becky when I got home this evening. It made my absolute day. I am so thrilled to hear that they were pleased with their images, and I’d like to take this opportunity to wish them a very happy future together;

“Hi Bryony,

CD has arrived safe and well – the photos are amazing, more than we hoped for!

Thank you so much for doing our photography, they really are pictures that captured the day and that we can treasure forever.

Becky and Simon”

… and THAT is why photographers do it. They go through the preparation, the pre-visit, the shoot, the organisation, the editing and the sending off, all for that end result. It makes it worth it to know that your clients are happy and you’ve provided them with images they will treasure forever.

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17th November 2009 – Park fun

Written on November 17, 2009 – 4:33 pm | by BryonyParkes |

Have just returned from an hour running around the park. Had some good fun and well needed fresh air.

I realised once out that Winter is starting to make an impression. It’s getting rather cold and their is a sharp edge to the wind. We’re getting very dark evenings some days as early as 3pm and you need to put the light on, and it’s raining more and more. But who said that photography during the Winter needs to be dark and dreary?



And anyway, this is also a blatant excuse to show off my girls!

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16th November 2009 – Stratford Beauty

Written on November 17, 2009 – 4:32 pm | by BryonyParkes |

Over the weekend, my big girl and I went to Stratford to meet up with some Photographer friends of mine. We had a wander around the beautiful streets of central Stratford, including the church where Shakespeare is buried. I had a lovely time, and although I didn’t take many photographs it was all worth it after seeing how into her camera my daughter got. I was very impressed with her take on things, especially just using an old digital camera of mine (the very first I owned! Canon Powershot A1) and having to keep up with several other grown ups! Would you like to see them?

By the way, she’s 3.5 years old and I haven’t edited them a single bit :-)

Taken of a poster advertising the 12th Night!:

                                                           And here’s me!







Am chuffed with her efforts. Even if said camera did get dropped at the end of the day. On the lens. Completely unrepairable!  However, the very kind Mother In Law has offered to pass on her old digital camera, so I think I’ll buy or make a neck strap, and hey presto, she’s sorted once again. I’ll let you know how she gets on!

I’ll finish with a few of the shots I took the same day:



And finally, here’s a shot of my mini-me working:

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2nd November 2009 – Having fun

Written on November 2, 2009 – 10:51 pm | by BryonyParkes |

I’ve got to share a photo I took with you at the weekend. I went to a hotel and spa, Fairlawns Spa in Aldridge, Walsall (highly recommended by the way) with three of my best friends for a spot of pampering and girly time.

Before we went down for dinner, we decided to get a nice group shot of the four of us. I have to admit, we were in a very silly mood; can you tell?

Don’t you just think it’s just a fantastic picture?

This is what we look like normally (although I may have slightly overexposed in edit by mistake, apologies):

and this is a shot I took the next day to represent the lovely, simple, fresh time we had:

Always make time for a pamper, everyone deserves it from time to time x

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29th August 2009 – New beginnings on it’s way

Written on August 29, 2009 – 7:54 pm | by BryonyParkes |

Guess what? I got a new camera today!

I was so excited to hear that I was due some back pay from work the other week. It’s not often that we come across this kind of money so straight away I decided that it was the ideal opportunity to grab, and time for me to upgrade my trusty D40. My fabulous D40 has served me so well for nearly 2 years so I do feel a little sad that it’s now being put on the shelf. But as I have used it every single day thanks to my photo a day project, and it’s been carried around with me absolutely everywhere and has a shutter count of nearly 20,000 it’s been money very well spent. Equally, I’m working towards some (hopefully) bigger and better photos as I further my hobby so I really needed to look at a bit more of a superior camera.

So along came the very smart Nikon D90, I am in awe! It is beautiful!

I’m a bit strange. I get quite emotionally attached to items and objects that I use regularly and that have done me well and always feel a bit sad when they start getting thrown, or disused so I would like to mark this occasion and share the very last shot that I took on the D40 as my regular camera. The camera is by no means being dismissed into retirement completely, I’m sure it’ll get used in some way or another but obviously it is has been delegated to being the “back up” and the “spare”. Poor thing.

So here goes, in honour of the brilliant entry level DSLR; one I would seriously recommend to anybody thinking of starting up in photography, the Nikon D40… here is Selfridges in Birmingham, my PAD for today:

My next blog will no doubt, as soon as the battery has finished charging up and the SD card freshly formatted, be all about my new toy! See you then!

Photo taken at 1/125 and f/9.0

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