Bridal/groom handbook .. by a wedding photographer

There has been so many times over the last two years when I thought, damn if only I told this to my bride/groom before we got to this situation… and every single one of those times I just wished I have written a little handbook that I could just send to my couples before their big day.
So time to pull the finger out of my butt and do it now, so with out further ado…

The handbook for brides and grooms by a wedding photographer

1. Sit in your dress before you buy it.
Thank me later when you eating and sitting like a normal human :)

2. Choose your bridesmaids with your heart not other’s peoples hearts .
If you feel like the friend you’ve only known for last 6 months, but who’s been here for every important moment within that time frame, have her to be your bridesmaid. If your friend of 25 years is sort of missing from the picture.. well, people grow apart right?

3. If you’re on budget, prioritise 3 big things.
Be it photography, dress, rings, food, venue, makeup .. and then shop around for the rest 

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4. When booking your supplier look at how they treat and interact with other suppliers.
Not just with ( potential ) clients. I genuinely believe that it shows you way more what kind of person they are, compare to what they are saying. On that note…

5. Go with your gut when choosing your suppliers, not with good deals.
There can be times when things that sound too good to be true are perfect little bargain, but it’s not often, be vigilant, ask why things are cheap etc

6. If anyone wants more than 30% deposit, first ask, then run.
Unless there is a proper reason, things can happen even to the best of business owners.

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7. When booking a hotel room for your bridal prep - ask for highest possible floor with as much natural light as possible .
..
and honestly if they try to put you in a room with a wall in front of the window, complain. Good daylight is essential for your makeup looking flawless and the photos are completely different ball game when the light is just right. Personally I would rather have more basic room with bigger windows than ‘prettier’ room with tiny window.

8. Don’t be afraid to tell people you want things your way.
Especially with makeup and hair, don’t just settle for something you sort of like.

9. Bring at least 2 people with you to learn how to do your dress up.
Especially if it’s corset etc, there’s nothing worse than when you’re already slightly delayed and your bridesmaids are trying to do your corset up and don’t know how.

10. Catch up with your suppliers a month before and then in the week of the wedding.
You never know, better be safe than sorry.

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11. Have a little emergency kit with little sewing stuff, glue, scissors, tweezers, hairbrush etc 
The amount of times we had to stitch something up and had nothing to do it with.

12. Don’t do things that don’t make you happy!
As much as I think that we should live out lives this way all the time, I genuinely applies to the day so much .. If you don’t like dancing, scrap first dance, if you don’t feel like having a cake, sod cake.. Have your wedding your way.

13. WRITE YOUR OWN VOWS.
This is such an important one in my eyes. Honestly even if its 5 sentences, these are sentences from your heart compare to the ones billions of couples have said to each other. Personal vows always make everyone cry and if there’s one piece of advice I could give to my couples, it would be this one.

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14. Prep things you would prep the night before - the night before the night before.
I am not the most organised person, but the amount of times when brides were doing things in the morning that were meant to be done ages ago and stressing about it, was giving even me anxiety.  

15. Delegate.
Don’t run around like a headless chicken on the day, that’s what your bridesmaids are there for… and on that note

16. Don’t assume people will help with your kids, give ONE person the job to do so.
There was one wedding I was shooting where I was coming back inside after everyones meal and I found the couples toddler wondering outside on the main road with not one adult in sight. Everybody thought the other person is looking after him. It was so lucky that the couple hasn’t fed me and I had to leave the venue, otherwise god knows what could have had happened.

17. Don’t dread the rain.
You can’t untie a wet knot .. and also look at this picture

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18. Get spare shoes for the evening.
Dancing shoes!

19. Have printed sheet with contact numbers for all your bridesmaids, groomsmen and suppliers.
There’s always someone with a phone on hand, but they don’t always have the numbers for the person you trying to reach!

20. Eat in the morning, don’t skip your food even if you’re feeling sick.
Nothing worse than being hangry while you’re getting married and then have 2 hours of socialising and pictures before food!

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21. Learn how to pee in your dress.
Mostly the best way to go about is to walk in and sit on the toilet without turning around and then just reverse back out!

22. Wear sunblock.
Spring to Autumn brides and grooms… listen to me on this! It’s not fun having to adjust the photos more and more as you get more and more sunburnt.

23. Stand close and hold hands during ceremony!
If not then, then when would you?! It’s time for some PDA

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24. Count to 3 when you have your first kiss.
None of this trying to win a competition for the fastest ever first kiss. Make it bit easier for your photographer pleaseeee

25. Take 10 minutes with your husband/wife just the two of you mid day.
I have heard so many of my couples saying that they don’t remember most of the day. Take time to yourselves and take it all in. I like to give my couples the time for this when we finish our photos before their meal, so they can discuss everything that happened and is about to happen.


I am sure there will be a part 2 coming some time soon, but for now, this should do.

Lots of love,
Nat xox

I need your help guys ..

Hello you beautiful people, I hope you all are amazingly well!

I will have bit different blog post for you today… For those of you who know me, know that I I hate asking for favours. But here I am.
As most of you know I had bit of a shocker last year, from broken computer for first 6 weeks of the wedding season, to my Ozzie’s battle with brain cancer and up to my boyfriend breaking up with me on the day of us moving together which left me essentially homeless and crushing at my friend’s sofas.

Due to all of this, I was behind on editing and didn’t feel comfortable doing any kind of marketing and this is where you amazing people and your help could come in.
I need you all to talk about me ( like not gossiping ;) ) I mean, tell your engaged friends, share my page, share my photos, please write me a nice review if you haven’t yet. If you see someone who is looking for a photographer, please tell them about me.
I am determined to be not just a better photographer and person this year, but also better business woman who has everything ( or at least most) figured out and you all could play massive part in that.

and thank you all so much from the bottom of my heart for all the support you have given me already <3

Ps. You guys know I don’t shoot just weddings right? If you need any family photoshoots, headshots, pets pictures, baby pictures etc etc etc, please hit me up .

Lots of love,
Nat xox

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I am only human.. and I was scared

I know, you guys have been wondering where have I been.

I am finally in a position when I can actually sit down and put a few words on the paper ( or on the blog ) and tell you what has been happening.

First of all I don’t want to write this as a sob story, I don’t necessarily want you guys to feel sorry for me ( although, words of encouragement go a long way in this situation ), but I want to be as transparent as possible and put some wrongs to right, while I still save as much time as possible for catching up with editing. So buckle up, this will be one hell of a ride and boy, where do I even start.


This year has been one hell of a lesson, first started with my iMac packing up on me just as the wedding season really started and I had a neat little queue of weddings to edit, that obviously threw me in bit of a panic mode, as while I was waiting for everything to be fixed, I kept shooting more and more weddings and this neat little queue started to be bit of a flood.
It was hard being unable to actually work, but even harder letting my couples down and telling them repeatedly that their photos are not ready yet. Somehow I managed to catch up mid summer tho and I felt like nothing could bring me down now, this is it, smooth sailing from now on.
OH HOW WRONG WAS I.
July and August been the busiest months I’ve ever had and I shot 13 weddings in those two months and I was going through the photos from the first half of July when I started to get sick. First I got the worst sciatica that stopped me from being able to sit for longer than 5 minutes, as soon as I sorted that out.. tooth ache from hell, dentists visits, wrong dosage of painkillers ( don’t even ask about that one) .. as soon as tooth ache was gone, migraines, belly related issues, one very personal one I am not ready to share with everyone just yet and so the list went on. I tried to keep editing throughout that, but there were days when I could only lie in bed and either sleep or cry all day long in pain.. but this was still nothing compare to the pain that was about to come.

As most of you know I love my dogs with my whole human being, every fibre of me is filled with love for, first Jim who died just little over year ago and now my Oswald.
As some of you know - I am never planning on having human babies and as very few of you know - aside the fact that I don’t want human babies, I have actually been told by doctors yeaaaars ago, that I wouldn’t be able to have one. So basically yes, my dogs are my babies and I would give my life for them. Honestly.
So when I was walking Ozzie in a park and suddenly he crushed into my legs and had a seizure my whole life came crushing down, because …I had been here before with Jim.
I knew staffies are prone to brain tumours, I knew seizures don’t start randomly over certain age and I had that gut feeling which was telling me that something is terribly wrong.
It took multiple visits to multiple vets, few misdiagnoses, a trip to supervets in Godalming just for someone to tell me what I knew from the very first moment that day in the park. It was a brain tumour, prognosis without therapy 2 max 3 months, chemo was not the best way forward, because of the area in the brain, surgery was not advisable either, so the only option was radiotherapy.
We got the diagnoses on Thursday, on Friday we went to meet Ozzie’s oncologist and on Monday he started his treatment. He had a treatment daily, 100 miles away from our flat ( most of it on m25, those of you who drive.. know ), he got shaved, he had the IV in his leg the whole time so they could put him under anaesthetics as fast as possible, he got tired, grumpy, moany, he wasn’t the happy boy he is normally, he looked like he wanted to give up, as soon as we would get home, he would sit here and cry for hours, at night he would need to go to the toilet every hour or so because the steroids were messing up his stomach, if i wasn’t giving him undivided attention, he would cry even more… and he would sound like a human baby.
I couldn’t sleep properly, I couldn’t eat, think, work, function, shower, adult.. anything. I was on autopilot. Wake up every morning, drive to Essex, drop him off, have a nap in my Corsa, wake up with the alarm, pick him up, walk him, drive home, walk him, play with him until he gets sleepy again and falls asleep for at least hour or two and me too… and repeat the very next day.
While this all was happening, somehow the world didn’t just stop ( I know, shocking )
People expected their photos, people messaged me about their upcoming photoshoots and weddings, people had questions… and none of them heard back from me, because frankly, I was paralysed with fear.
Fear that I will loose my best friend, my baby and my family.
Fear that I will loose my business
Fear that I will not be able to afford rent, Ozzie’s treatment, food?
Fear that I will be homeless, friendless, alone.
Fear that the only solution will be to give up.
Fear that for the first time in my life I will not find a way out of this.

Every time I would try to go and reply to one message, 3 more would come through, 3 more problems and 3 more reasons for anxiety to kick in and paralyse me even more.

The thing is I know I haven’t handled the situation well, the truth is I really wish I was stronger and done better. But as much as I can wish for things.. the situation is what it is and there’s nothing I can do now to change how I handled things over the past few months. I pride myself in being the person who can troubleshoot most of the things that can go wrong at weddings and I hate the fact that over the last couple months, I have been the problem and couldn’t troubleshoot myself and for that I am very sorry.

So now you know what has been happening. As I said in the start, I haven’t written this so you would feel bad for me, it was more of a way how to give you the whole picture, because I know it’s very easy to just assume the worst.
I am working my way through all the weddings as fast as I can and I’m actually enjoying the editing more than I have in years.

Everyone who is still waiting, please don’t hate me, your photos will be with you soon and I am hoping from the bottom of my heart that they will make up for the delay in getting them.
Everyone who is thinking about having me as your photographer, please don’t give up on me.
Everyone who is here for the gossip, I truly hope you never get in this position yourself - and if you do, I hope that you have an amazing circle of friends and family around you, who can help you stay above the deep.

and to EVERYONE, love you lots,
Nat x

Adult cake smash photoshoot.

Honestly I know what are you all thinking .. I have heard it all.. from the '"What?" and "huh?" to the big naughty - that I am not going to repeat... Yes I had a cake smash shoot and it was basically what it says on a tin... A cake smash photoshoot.. but ..let me start from the beginning. 

Just little over a year ago I have booked my first wedding for 2018 and as it happened it was meant to be on 27th January, which also happens to be my birthday. The bride was super sweet and mentioned birthday cake, so I didn't even care about working on my birthday.. and why would I? I love my job after all. I obviously told all my friends that there will be no birthday party as I will be out and about shooting a wedding, so naturally.. they all made plans. 
Fast forward to last Tuesday when the bride messaged me that the wedding is no longer taking place... all my friends are busy and I am sitting at home imagining how I celebrate the start of the last year of my twenties home alone with my dog...
and then ... crazy idea and two amazing friends who happened to be not that busy after all, to the rescue:) 

I have done a few cake smash shoots with kids and they're always a lot of fun ( except the tantrums that happen because you've been telling your kid their whole life not to get dirty and then when they finally get it you tell them to smash their face in a cake.. confusing much?)  
and I always thought how much fun would it be with a grown up ( sort of ) person. 
So as I found myself in a position of feeling pretty sorry for myself I thought what better time than now to do this. I'll get to spend some time with my friends, I can put a tutu on, I will get to wear a nice makeup and eat an amazing vegan cake. 

So off I went, bought myself some balloons, tiaras, party hats and bows, Sarah from Tiny Sarah's cakes made me an amazing cake and Toni Searle packed her suitcase big and heavy, so she could make me look super beautiful and camera ready. 
We ate some food, we laughed about silly things, I set it all up and gave the camera reins to the poor Sarah, who really didn't want to take any photos ( about as much as I didn't actually want to be in front of the camera ) but I think we all can agree she has done an amazing job. 
Also I am pretty aware of the fact that Oswald stole the spotlight, but I am pretty cool with that, because, well he is amazing. 

I honestly had so much fun doing this shoot and I am so grateful that the guys came to the rescue at last minute notice. I feel like this is a project that shouldn't die with just one photoshoot ( especially as it's just me), so if any of you amazing ladies and gents wanted your own adult cake smash - let us know, we can't wait to work together again! 

Ps if you want to check out the ladies, please have a look at: 

Sarah
https://www.tinysarahscakes.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/tinysarahscakes/
https://www.instagram.com/tinysarahscakes/

Toni
http://www.tonisearlemua.com
https://www.facebook.com/ToniSearleMUA/
https://www.instagram.com/tonisearlemua/


As always please let me know your thoughts guys!:) xoxo

Live photos, still videos, cinemagraphs.. WHAT?!

Hi all you beautiful people! 

I am SOOOOO EXCITED to share this with you. 

If you have met me, you probably know I'm obsessed with Harry Potter. Especially quidditch, butterbear and the moving photos. Yes, I am bit of a geek and since I was a little kid the idea of people just popping in and out of their photos simply amazed me. 
So you can imagine how excited I was when I came across cinemagraphs. 
They're basically magic, they're moving photos, still videos, actual witchcraft! 
I have spent last couple days learning as much as I can with the help of my model Jim and I can't wait to take the new skill to the battlefield, also known as wedding!:) t - 13 days! 
I will now offer this as part of every one of my wedding packages! 

There is still just a handful of us UK wedding photographers who offer this, so if you, just like me, love little bit of magic, get in touch now! 

and here just for you, my baba Jim! :) 

Wedding themes and venues wish list

Hi everyone! 

Hope you all had an amazing weekend filled with friends and family, laughter and love. 

Today I'm not coming with a wedding gallery or advice about what to look for in your photographer, I am coming with my dream. 

Every photographer ( well at least I think that every photographer does ) have a wish list of weddings and wedding venues they really want to shoot. Mine is very extensive, so it took me quite a while to put it all in words, but finally I have made my list. 
On the left side you will see wedding themes and ideas I would love to shoot and on the right side is list of all the amazing venues I REALLY want to shoot at. 

So please if your wedding falls in any of these categories, get in touch now and let's talk about your date. You never know you might even get some little discount out of me and also help a girl live her dream - you'll bag yourself an excellent photographer, you will also do your one good deed a day. 

Have an amazing end to the weekend and even better start to the week! 
Nat xox

Jordan and Alex's wedding. Am i seeing planes in those photos?

Hi everyone! 
So last weekend been but crazy, on saturday I was off to Brighton for the wedding of the beautiful Jordan and Alex and on Sunday I was off to Exeter to celebrate with Jo and Marcus and cold from hell ( more about that next time tho ) 

I was so excited about Jordan's wedding when she told me that the reception is at an airport? Seriously, how cool is that? 
First thing I noticed when I arrived was how bloody calm she was! I think she was definitely in my top 2 of most calm brides I've ever seen! She had a lovely set up of getting ready with her bridesmaid, maid of honour, dad, his partner and her siblings.. and everyone was just really chilled, no nerves, just smiles. 
On the other hand, Alex was showing some signs of nerves ( not too bad tho ) 
The wedding ceremony was in the absolutely stunning St Mary de Haura church in Shoreham by sea. After the ceremony and a lot of failed attempts at the confetti shot we were off to the airport. Seriously you guys can't imagine how cool shooting a wedding at venue like this, is for a photographer. I was like a Charlie in chocolate factory. 
I also think I won the award for most annoying photographer ever, because I didn't do just 1 portrait shoot through the day, not even 2 ... but actually 3!:D But sorry I couldn't help myself with that light! 
I have to say everyone was so lovely on the day and I had so much fun, hope you guys like the photos and as always any feedback welcome :) 
 

Lee and Shan

Hi all you beautiful people  

Today I want to share with you the amazing wedding of Lee and Shan. It happened only couple days ago in Greenwich in Trafalgar Tavern, which from outside looks like a normal lovely pub, but actually the upstairs looks like one of the prettiest wedding venues I have ever seen!:) 
Other than the venue I was also slightly in love with the cake topper that involved the lovely couple's dog Archie .. can you guess the breed?;) 

I think that most of you are aware that the core of my work are the stunning, magical portraits, but I keep telling you all .. I LOVE THE NATURAL PHOTOS JUST AS MUCH:) 
We had only 2 and half minutes for our portrait session, because someone was late ( hint - it wasn't me;)) so literally about 97% of those photos are pure reportage, no posing, no telling people what to do, just catching the real moments!:) 
As always I would absolutely your feedback!:) 

Hope ya all have an amazing day, 
Nat xox

Lu and Samuel's wedding

Last week I was fortunate enough to spend the day with this amazing couple. As if there weren't one of the loveliest couples ever, they also come with the two SUPER CUTE kids! We are talking - I have never seen so many facial expressions in my whole life cute kids! :) 

Their wedding is a prime example of how well half a day packages can work if you don't necessarily have the budget to afford a pro photographer for full day, but you choose quality over quantity. 

I would absolutely love to hear any feedback you might have as well!:)