24 September 2012

Introducing Joel

Since I first began taking photographs for weddings Rob, my husband, has been there to support me, with the occasional bit of help from our daughter, Ellie, since she first shot with me in Italy in 2008 when she was nearly 16 (she just wanted a holiday out of it, but demonstrated a real skill with the camera). And each year Rob and I have commented on how lucky we've been that even though he has MS, his worst episodes have been during times when there have been few if any weddings. Until this year. I guess it's not helped that we've had both of our mums poorly, and we've moved house, and then I moved the business into our new home too! So it's not as if this has been a stress-free year. But we reached mid-August and it was clear that Rob just didn't have the energy to keep going anymore.

Now, finding a second photographer who you get on with, is good, is happy to be a second, and can photograph in the style I dictate is not an easy task. But as luck would have it, I came across Joel early in the summer, through his wife who did a write up on our old house to help it sell (thanks Clare, it worked!). I liked Joel's work, and could see that he knew what he was doing with his camera. So I gave him a shout and asked if he'd be up for being my second photographer for September. And fortunate for me, he jumped at the chance! He's not going to be working with me on every wedding (he has got bookings of his own as the primary shooter) but I'm happy to say that when Rob isn't able to be there, Joel is happy to step in and take on the role - and as one of the guests told me on Saturday that he's cute (no-one has ever said that of Rob, but he's my Mr Cute!), I'm reckoning people won't mind him being part of the Zoe Photography team.

All I need to do now is find a way of capturing a picture of Joel so that you can judge for yourself! But to help things along, here's a little selection of pictures he's taken this month. I think you'll agree, he's doing a great job for Zoe Photography.

Chris and Fran's Prescot Wedding and Knowsley Hall Reception

I cry at most weddings that I photograph - I don't mean to, but I think it's because of the connection we make. But Saturday was an exception - don't get me wrong, I cried all right ... I cried so much I had the tissues out and I was working hard not to sniff my way through the ceremony, and when I was looking through the photographs the first time, the second time and the third time, you guessed it, I cried again! They were the right kind of tears though - tears of happiness for a truly lovely couple who both come from fabulous families. And so it was also a day of laughter, faux pas (mine, I have to say ... one day I'll find a way to connect my brain to my mouth!), love and sunshine ... lots and lots of sunshine!

Chris and Fran had brought together the perfect team, with their wedding reception at Knowsley Hall (Wayne, Lesley and the team at the Hall are a dream to work with, and Trevor's team in the kitchens produce the most delicious food!) There was So Coco Rouge doing hair and makeup, Ling from Dragonfly Couture Stationery produce the most beautiful seating plan, orders of service and menues (and sure many other touches too), Marry Me Films were working alongside Joel and myself recording the day, and the lovely gentlemen from Horgans cars drove the couple and their wedding party to the church and back to Knowsley Hall. Stephen, a family friend, was the vicar who took the ceremony at the 400 year old church in Prescot, and his sermon was fabulous - funny and inspirational. A real treat.

In fact this is a wedding that it's so hard to pick things out to mention because there were so many fabulous things - how good Chris looked in his top hat and tails, how stunning Fran looked in her Caroline Castigliano dress (that twirled so perfectly!), the gorgeous way they dressed the hall, how lovely their families were to both me and Joel who was my second shooter for the wedding (I will resist the temptation to turn up at Andrew and Josie's for Christmas lunch, even though something tells me that Christmas would be fabulous in their home!), how friendly all their guests were, how professionally Wayne and all the staff working at the Hall were, how glamourous Josie and Kay looked (and special mention for how cute Sam looked too ... Jonathan was a bit too tall to carry off the cute thing!), how pretty the bridesmaids were with their gorgeous hair styled by So Coco Rouge, how perfect the weather was (no, really, it was perfect!), how lovely it was working with a great team, including Joel - see, just too much to mention, particularly as there is more I could say!

Can we do it all again? Can we? :-)

Matt and Natasha's Rainhill Wedding and Knowsley Hall Reception

They say that it's the bride's prerogative to be late, don't they? But evenso Matt and Natasha's wedding was a fabulous day -  in fact, I think the fact that Natasha was a little bit late added a bit of excitement to the ceremony, helped by the sun shining down, and a smile on everyone's face. Many years ago I used to visit St Ann's church in Rainhill, but I've never photographed a wedding there, so it was a treat to be able to be there in my capacity of wedding photograph, and to meet the adorable Colin, the church verger who himself is a wedding photographer (he's been doing it for almost as many years as I've been alive though!).

Matt and Natasha couldn't have asked for a better day, with a little touch of blue in the sky after the earlier rain of the day. Natasha looked beautiful, with her hair and makeup expertly done by Sian and Robyn from Liverpool's So Coco Rouge, and a gorgeous dress that suited her perfectly - and I loved the colour of her bridesmaids' dresses.

From the church, Matt and Natasha were driven to Knowsley Hall (with a fab sweet trolley made by Natasha's step dad and filled with sweets by her mum). Guests were welcomed by a beautiful ice sculpture for the seating plan, and there was a wishing tree for them to leave their messages on too.  

The two of them fitted perfectly into the Hall's grandeur, with Matt looking rather dapper in his tails (tall men always look perfect in tails!). I love the photograph I managed to capture of Matt with his groomsmen in the Walnut Drawing Room - they all look so at home there! And a special mention has to be made for a special bridesmaid - Natasha's sister Coral was brilliant, thinking of everything for Natasha, and making sure she had the best day she could have - everyone needs a Coral!

Dominic and Nadine's Wedding at Knowsley Hall

Some weddings are definitely family affairs, and that's true to say of Dominic and Nadine's wedding at Knowsley Hall. Though sadly little Dominic kept running away from the camera! When I say 'little' Dominic I don't mean to say that the groom is little, but rather their little boy, also called Dominic. Thankfully, Joel, who has been second shooting for me whilst Rob's health has not been too good with his MS, managed to capture little Dominic as he came into the Stucco Ballroom where the ceremony was - and also caught the moment when Dominic was dropping the ring cushion, rescued by Wayne, the Hall's fabulous Operations Manager.

Nadine had put together the most amazing combination of shoes, dress, hair and makeup, with her bridesmaids in a style of dress that suited them all. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen such a dramatic group photograph on the steps of Knowsley Hall - the combination of colours with the men in their dark blue suits and the girls in their gorgeous red dresses looked stunning.  Nadine herself had the look of a Spanish princess, and her veil was spectacular!

Amazingly, considering the summer we've had, and the month of September too, they had a beautiful day, celebrated by friends who enjoyed a laugh. Oh, and one photograph of note .... I just love the picture of Nadine's mum, Lorraine, standing at the top of the stairs in Knowsley Hall - she looks like a Hollywood star!

And Wayne even managed to sneak into one of those pictures there too .... gorgeous as ever, Wayne.