wedding photography

Chateau Malliac by fran corbett

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Wedding of N & D

May 2019

An American/ Swedish wedding at Chateau de Malliac, Gers, SW France

As I pulled into the tree lined avenue leading towards Malliac, dotted along the road were women collecting greenery.

The courtyard was in the process of being set up. Much laughter as two people on a ladder were attempting to tie paper lanterns on the wires strung between two buildings. The sky was an uncontrasted grey but we all hoped the rains of that week were over.

In a corner, some Swedish family and guests brought together wild flowers and leaves to make little bouquets to adorn the tables already set out as a capital E with the spine of the letter being the head table. No placement names were needed on the other tables - no table plan; everyone was to just sit where they wished.

Familiar faces greeted me from the kitchen - the catering team under management from Anneli of Delicieux and the planner, Abby from La Boutique Event - as I passed through to search out the bride.

It was my first wedding at the venue. Green. The gardens were lush with greenery and growth. Roses clambered up the Gascon stone surrounding the pool area. Towering trees framed the landscape. Chairs in rows of about 12 and 5 deep had been placed just further than and either side of the rose bower. Women were here too, threading greenery around the wooden trellis.

A bridal suite - an unmade bed, gilt edged mirrors, tall windows, the green from the garden spilling into the room, rose petals silently dropped and lay curled along the varnished wood of the chest of drawers.

Swedish and American accented English. Hair curled, eye liner applied, red nail polish. Two faces shared their reflections. The celebrant, Sandy Smith arrived. Wanting to capture the correct pronunciation of the Swedish names - and again and again and then she had it.

More raucous energy in the groom’s suite - a bedroom borrowed as suitcases were quickly filled and lids closed.

The cork popped and despite previous assurances the erupting champagne left a wet path to the bath, the holder looking astonished - ‘this never happens to me’ shrug.

A line of old and new friends gathered tightly, with the window light behind me and glasses were raised.

Nerves. Silent stress. The dress was stepped into. Reading, holding, concentration, the bride’s ceremony words for the groom to hear. Too many people in the room. Everyone out, says the bride……

And so it starts…….and it is beautiful. The wind whips up and the trellis topples forward to be caught, mouths wide open, arms stretched out, and is held and kept in place by the two fathers.

Aperos, speeches, dinner, more speeches, cheese & coffee, more speeches, time for the couple to step away from the crowd and into the evening light……and then a party under the stars.

Carolyn & ross by fran corbett

C & R during a Couples Photo shoot in London

These two were the most gracious of couples. Big smiles and up for moving around the St Paul’s area to find the best light. It was windy and not too warm but they persevered.

How could we pass by the steps of St Paul’s without a photograph. I love these images more FOR all the people sitting around on the steps not batting an eyelid as this gorgeous pair posed for a photo.

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To my right, as I took this photo was a ‘bride & groom’ in the middle of a photo and video session with three photographers. I think we got lucky to get this shot without any tourists and no sign of any cars.

We had some other lucky moments in the ebb and flow of foot traffic across the Millennium bridge but not for long.

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Looking forward to the wedding next year in south west France. Just a joy to photograph within a busy city so imagine what images we might get in beautiful rural France

Cam & Flo by fran corbett

And Ozzie came too

And Ozzie came too

The couple and Ozzie arrived and as I would imagine no one wants a camera pointing at them two minutes after saying a quick ‘bonjour’ I asked the couple to move around, play with the dog.

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I am a little bit in love with him

I am a little bit in love with him

Le Touquet Paris Plage is one of the most beautiful beaches and I was so happy to be able to do a photo session using this location. I loved that the couple asked if they could bring Ozzie too. A rescue dog, who at only 9 months old was the best behaved boy. He wasn’t camera shy at all.


Moving through the dunes and onto the beach, I felt that I could take a few closer shots. The light was by now quite harsh so it was amazing that Cam managed to keep her eyes open at all.

Despite not really enjoying having the camera pointed at her, Cam was incredibly gracious and is going to make a beautiful bride.

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Don’t they make a gorgeous family? I hope that Ozzie will be at the wedding ceremony too?

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This shot was way harder than you would think. There was part of a branch in the way, they were between me and what suddenly became a busy cycle path and Ozzie wasn’t as interested in creating photos for his Instagram page…..


The Prosecco !! I had an idea to have the couple shake it up, open it, spray it and drink a bit. It didn't quite go as planned.

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Can’t wait to photograph the wedding at the end of August.

February by fran corbett

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Adventures of my Nikons

February was a busy month. Click, click, click…

We first begin in Essex. Images of the family and scenes & characters from Romford Market. A quick snap at Moorgate. Then on to photograph a 50th party at Venue92, Chingford.

Back to France and a melange of images from wedding venues that I have visited throughout the month.

Chateau Engalin , Castelnau des Fieumarcon , Chateau de Panisseau

And finally, The Nikons out and about just for fun. Capturing the beauty of where I live, kids, friends and some daisies.

Hooked by fran corbett

A few years ago I would not have even entertained the notion that I could be good enough to become a wedding photographer within the same year. This breed of photographers have to be able to do portrait, landscape, group, night time, interior, family, architectural, macro, candid, documentary etc., photography within a stressful and fast paced and everything might go wrong environment.

Whilst they are doing all of these styles of photography, the light is ever changing - this means they are considering exposure, aperture, ISO, metering, focus to meet every condition for every composition - THIS IS HARD - you have to whirl those camera dials all over the place in a second and still be able to get a good shot. You also have to consider what else is going on in the composition of the shot - like background noise of a messy room or a sign post or other people or a car….or another photographer. The Wedding Photographer has to have lightning quick reactions to all of this. You cannot say ‘oh, guys, I didn’t have the right settings during the ceremony. Can we do that again?’ You HAVE to get it right…..or right enough that the mistakes can be edited after. Sound stressful?

They are also considering whether they should use a different focal length, thinking of the wedding timings, managing different personalities, walking into a potential landmine of last minute fears and stresses, family disputes, crying children, hungover adults (wait…….did I get that the right way around?) and knowing that you are working within these conditions for at least 12 hours and the hungover adults will do their best to become hungover all over again.

Batteries, extra batteries, extra extra batteries, SD cards x 70000000, flashes, extra flashes, batteries for those flashes, diffusers, stands, tripods, spare clothes, water, food…………Nervous breakdown Hotline number.

Oh, and then there is the weather. The only control the Wedding Photographer has over this is his or her ability to get creative.

And let us not forget to mention the fact that every other single person attending the wedding is also a photographer so there may be some rough elbowing the smart phones and tablets out of the way to get the shot that you have been paid to get.

Sometimes the venues are miles away. In my case, I might have to drive 4 hours to get there, put in a 12-13 hour day and then drive back.

Sound fun?

Well, entre nous, despite my brain trying to divorce me for over work mid photo, I absolutely, bloody LOVED it.

And

So I did my homework - I ate, breathed, dreamed wedding photography for months and months (am still doing it in fact) and I was lucky. Lucky to have been given the opportunity (thank you to Anneli and the team at La Boutique Events) and lucky to have been given the chance by two great couples at an incredible venue ( Castelnau des Fieumarcon ).

So I had wonderful, calm couples, beautiful venue, stunning weather ( a moaner might complain that the outside ceremonies were in full, bright…….oh so bright…F. 16…….and oh so hot……sun…….but I would never complain…not me), well behaved guests, brilliant venue staff but I appreciate not every wedding can be so.

When the shoes are kicked off - literally and figuratively - and as the dance floor becomes slippery from spilled drinks and with romance exhausted, once you’ve packed up your first camera, second camera, realised that you haven’t eaten in 12 hours, are hot and smelly and are surrounded by jubilant party goers do you find the strength to say ‘ok, let’s try and do some star and night time shots of the venue’………in the dark…..as you must have dark. You trip over everything, you take 40 shots of dark blurriness and THEN at some silly hour go home and think ‘I HOPE that I at least captured the ceremony. I hope that I at least captured the………I hope that I at least captured the….what if none of my cards worked, what if I didn’t even have a card in my camera…..’ and then the editing starts. For me, as a beginner and editing for both Landie and myself (we jointly took 2 million images just to be sure we had 1 good shot) this took me quite some time.

The Wedding Photographer actually has an extremely privileged role. They get to be EVERYWHERE on this day of days. They get to see EVERYTHING (yes, sometimes literally everything). They are witness to every emotion and in full technicolour with surround sound - it’s like watching a screen drama unfold yet you are the director deciding which moments are to be collected. This is your vision of one of the biggest days of somebody else’s life. I find this concept absolutely thrilling and fascinating.

So this blog is a hats off to all Wedding Photographers. You are work horses who continue to smile through the pain and doubt and uncertainty. Have a virtual medal from me and then budge up, as I want to join your ranks.

First Wedding by fran corbett

It struck me……..

As I stepped into the house where the bride was getting ready that I was about to be witness to an incredibly private, stressful, happy scene. I was about to see the bride either at her worst or best or balancing between the two. I was about to see the bride as no one else sees her; captured through my lens which would reveal my interpretation of her and this intimate scene.

I felt nervous. Really, really nervous. And not just about getting great images. I was nervous because this is one of the biggest days of this person’s life and here she is, amongst the bustle and chatter of the bridesmaids, hairdresser, make up artist, celebrant, various family members with last minute questions - here she is amidst all of this busy energy and I wondered you must feel quite lonely. You must want to be comforted by the one person tradition says it is unlucky to see - your future husband’ .

I remember how I had felt on my wedding day. You do not get a moment by yourself and then, when you do, the nerves are waiting to taunt you.

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Landie, who was photographing with me, and I began to busy ourselves. Nervous that we had not done this before, we stuck to our list and doubled up on all of our shots. The light in the dark house wasn’t too challenging but I had my flashes set up just in case. The light coming in from the window was softened by the pastel wall colours.

The bride remained calm.

We were now two photographers, two bridesmaids, one hairdresser, one make up lady, one celebrant and the bride.

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Everything had been meticulously planned by Nina. Everything was running like clockwork and the bridesmaids were thoughtful and helpful. The champagne was opened, last minute details were being attended to and they made time for the bride to open some gifts from them.

The first hour was fairly relaxed. After which, Landie and I flitted between the house of the groomsmen to that of the bridal party. Guests were making appearances around the wedding village. It was set to be a warm day in Gascony. The old stone houses kept the worst of the heat at bay. The preparations continued.

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‘Can we photograph the dress, please?’

I was really looking forward to this. What a privilege to have access to this part of the preparation - the DRESS.

The bride had kept her cool and was extremely gracious.

Time for a drink to steady the nerves?

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One last photo before leaving this safe haven of privacy to wait in the garden anxiously listening out for the song that will indicate the bride’s cue to move towards the place of the ceremony..

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The couple were married at Castelnau des Fieumarcon, Gascony, South West France http://www.lagarde.org

castelnau-des-fieumarcon by Littlewing Photos