So, apparently….it’s the middle of June. Not only has the weather not got the memo, but I’m slightly in disbelief at how fast this year is going. Things at For The Love of Weddings have been busy but brilliant since I last blogged (back in January, oops!). I’ve assisted and styled the launch of brand new rustic luxe wedding venue, Barns & Yard, have started work with another fabulous new venue, orchestrated what I think is my favourite styled shoot to date (more on this in a future post), and (last but absolutely not least), I’ve planned, designed and executed two beautiful, heartwarming weddings at Kew Gardens and Garthmyl Hall, respectively. Phew!
Speaking of which, it's been a whole two and a half months since Clarissa and Sowande's joy-filled wedding day at Kew Gardens and I've finally got around to sharing it with you all here.
A huge thank you to the wonderful Mark Bothwell for capturing Clarissa & Sowande's day so perfectly. Mark was an absolute joy to work with on this sunny March day in London. He’s truly an 'above and beyond' supplier; from the moment Clarissa & Sowande enquired with Mark, right through to receiving the final gallery.
As well as sharing some of the glorious pictures of Clarissa and Sowande’s Kew Gardens wedding, I want you all to find out a little more about Mark and the way in which he works, because it really was one of the most enjoyable experiences for both my couple and myself. I simply adore it when a team of suppliers can come together at a wedding and work side-by-side, not as strangers having just met for the first or perhaps second time, but as colleagues who move in sync with each other and support each other implicitly.
So, pour yourself a cup of something warm (June has nothing on March!) sit back and find out a little about the wonderful Mark Bothwell!
Hi Mark! How would you describe your photography style?
People seem to conclude my style is ‘classic’. I’m not trying to chase trends or capture a zeitgeist. My wife has a good theory in that my work is like a tailored suit; crisp, simple and will always endure, whatever is currently in vogue.
What are your favourite 'style' of weddings?
Favourite is over starting it, but I would lean towards something small, possibly urban. These shoots tend to create good opportunities to shoot monochrome (rural looks best in colour) and I love black and white, the great content leveller. I enjoy being welcomed in to a meaningful, compact wedding day, as often these are more relaxed for all involved, by definition offering nice shots.
What advice do you have for anyone wanting more than 5 group shots?
My suggestion would be keep the ‘official’ shots to immediate family and the wedding party. Large lists of group shots usually indicate input or influence from other parts of the family - so this suggests a balance in keeping different parties happy. This sounds glib, but I suggest to clients a group shot should take a minute - literally. So for me 20 shots is at least 20 minutes, and you need to decide if that time is most valuable in this area, or socialising. A wedding is a unique get-together, probably never repeated, and as nearly everybody has a smart phone that can often mean you can have the best of both worlds; the additional groups you need, plus time to chat.
Do you have any advice regarding necessary timings that categorically must be worked into the order of the day?
This isn’t something I’d ever suggest a photographer should advise upon. I feel my role is to do the very best I can with the plan laid out. If I have 5 mins to shoot personal shots with a couple, for example, then I’ll make this work - same with 15 mins. I’m there to fit in.
Do you do provide full coverage from getting ready right through to the party?
That option is always there. I come from a commercial background, I was a photographer working in the automotive industry for many years, and throughout this time the client was always King. You arrived when you were needed, you left when you were finished - my mind isn't programmed to a set number of hours, I don’t understand that. My fee is the same however long the couple would like me in attendance.
Do you offer a variety of 'packages', for want of a better word?
Only 2; photography, and photography and a bespoke A3 art book. I love simplicity, I’m not a car salesman, people want clear cut info. I stick to what I can do well - my feedback is that this is refreshing. I see myself as solving a problem, and that’s best done clearly and efficiently.
How often do you meet with your couples ahead of the wedding?
At least twice. The initial meeting and then a chat/coffee at the venue together a few weeks prior to the date. I feel it’s very, very important on two fronts; first you need to put forward ideas and options in person in those last few weeks, a Skype chat is only ever an option if the meeting is impossible to arrange. The other reason is I would like my clients to feel I value their trust enough to want to come along and meet them. This is a people business and it’s a massive day in anybody’s life, forget this and you won’t last more than a couple of years.
Do you work closely with videographers?
Sometimes, but probably less than half of the weddings I shoot have them. In these cases I’m often asked to suggest people I know well and trust, and I’m always happy to do this.
Who might be your typical clients, and why is wedding photography so important to them?
I think if I was able to analyse the last few years of commissions it would suggest my client is most often the city professional, perhaps active in legal industry, finance, or tech, wanting something very reportage and/or editorial. They don’t want a contrived result, they seek an honest narrative which, when viewed in years to come, will pull them back in to the detail, atmosphere and emotion of the day.
Do you have any tips for anyone setting out on their wedding planning journey and looking for a photographer?
Yes, canvass recommendation - not Google! You want your shortlist to be somebody who is trusted by somebody you trust yourself, not a flashy ad. This gives an approach positive momentum from the start. Naturally budget is very important but a good photographer should value your business and be flexible - this is something I always tell clients I’m willing to be upon their first contact with me. I know many, many photographers who won’t budge on their attendance, content or price. I don’t work this way and as a result enjoy the commissions and work with lovely people.
Thank you, Mark. I so hope we get to work together again, soon. It was an absolute pleasure and I am delighted that Clarissa and Sowande will have these memories to treasure forever, a family heirloom indeed.
Full team credits below.
With thanks to the following dream team for bringing Clarissa and Sowande's dream day to life:
Venue - Kew Gardens @kewevents Floral Designer - Emma Soulsby Flowers @emmasoulsby Photographer - Mark Bothwell Photographer @markbothwellphotographer Wedding Planner - For the Love of Weddings @forthelove_of_weddings
Videographer - Jolly Good Wedding Videos @emmaweddingvideos Catering - Create Weddings @createfood Production - Storm Ltd @storm_ltd Stationery - Ivy Inks Paper Studio @ivyinkspaperco Cake - Frost & Crumb @frost_and_crumb String Quartet - Estilo String @estilostring4 Photo booth - Foto Noir @fotonoir_booth MUA - Mel Kinsman @melkmakeup Hair - Love Hair By Lou @lovehairbylou Bridal attire - The Wedding Gallery @theweddinggalleryofficial Groomsmen attire - Yards Men @yardsmen Transport - The London Wedding Taxi | The London Bus Company