Category Archives: Weddings

Why have an engagement photoshoot?

As part of every booking, I offer my clients a complimentary engagement shoot.  But why have a photoshoot, only a few months before your wedding?

If you don’t normally like being photographed, an engagement photoshoot is a great way to discover that being the subject can be great fun! I also really appreciate getting to know you more before your wedding, and you also get an idea of how it will feel having me as your photographer on the day.

There are lots of ways you can use the photos too. Some clients make an album, or give prints to family and friends and many use their engagement shoot photos on their invitations or wedding stationary.

Here are some images from my most recent engagement photoshoots…

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French light

There is something lovely about the light in Southern France.

When I shoot a wedding I spend most of my time watching light and then working from that to determine the rest of my composition. Occasionally, as a result, I will find myself taking pictures of little scenes that are just made by the light. Here are a couple from Thibaud and Evodie’s French wedding…

To see more of my wedding work visit charlwoodphotography.com


Best of 2011 wedding photographs

2011 has been an exciting year: I’ve had the chance to photograph my first wedding abroad, to shoot in Westminster Abbey and at locations across the UK, but above all I have met some amazing couples and been blessed to be included in their wedding day.

Here are my ten favourite wedding photographs from 2011…

To see more of my work, including five full wedding stories, visit charlwoodphotography.com

There are still bookings available for 2012. UK and international wedding coverage from £1,500.

As always, it’s lovely to hear your thoughts and comments on the blog, or via Facebook or Twitter.


Deconstructing moments

There are two halves to my style of wedding photography: one half is using light and colour to create fine-art images that I hope have an artistic value outside of the confines of when they were taken and the other is capturing once-in-a-lifetime moments that will bring a smile to the couple’s face every time they see their photos.

For those moments I am a documentary photographer, more journalist than artist, freezing a split-second in time. I’d like to share a few moments in detail from the French wedding I blogged recently…

In the above shot there are lots of points of interest. It’s a classic ‘documentary’ moment – an image that has more layers the more you look at it. The bride and groom are out of shot to the left and the subjects almost all look towards them – I feel the viewer is very aware that they’re glimpsing a moment away from the main stage. There are lots of interesting individuals: old couples, a woman in sunglasses and on the right two friends greeting each other. It’s that greeting that makes the image and draws you in.

This second image is very similar to the first. By this point of the wedding it was very dark and I could have used flash to light the entire scene, but that would have given a false impression of the effect of the candle light. I wanted it to look as I saw it, or as near as possible. The shallow depth of field helps add to the sense of being an observer, just as the couple on the left are. You could be sat at the table, watching the guests chat and dance.

This final image was taken quickly. The boy walked out of the doors playing with the sunglasses and as he walked towards me lifted them to his eyes. I was shooting with a wide angle lens and only about 2 metres from the boy as I took the shot. Ideally I’d have liked a wider lens, to get the boy’s shoes in as well as framing him with the trees above, but it’s still a lovely moment.

To see more of my work, or for more information about my wedding photography visit CharlwoodPhotography.com


Aix en Provence wedding

I’ve just got back from photographing a wonderful wedding in the South of France. Weddings in France, as I discovered, are quite different to those in England. There is no traditional first kiss, or walk down the aisle, no early Wedding Breakfast or expected bridal party. Instead the day is separated out into three parts – depending on whether you decide to have a religious ceremony. In this case, the bride and groom met outside the Hotel de Ville on the morning of their wedding day and took photos with family and friends as they arrived – and were photographed themselves by many passers-by enjoying the neighbouring market and flower stalls.

Accompanied by around 50 guests, the pair entered the Hall for a 10 minute ceremony in which they were legally married by each uttering just one word, “Oui.”

The guests poured out and from that moment on, the groom could call for his wife.

The Church ceremony began three hours later, in the northern-most part of Aix. More guests arrived – almost 120 in total – to a breathtaking Temple surrounded by mountains and nestled by a castle. To most Brits, this was more familiar territory. The bride walked down the aisle with her father – although the groom had already spent the morning with his wife and they considered the second part of their day a blessing, rather than the marriage itself.

Two hours later, the bride, groom and their guests drove south to a beautiful reception venue to commence ‘Cocktails’ – the three-hour segment of the wedding day devoted to drinks, nibbles and catching up.

8pm sounded the beginning of the Wedding Dinner, which included five courses and many performances for the bride and groom between each course from their friends and family. The festivities continued well into the night with the cutting of the cake – a hollow tower of profiteroles set alight with sparklers – and the first dance at 2am.

I can honestly say that was the longest wedding I have ever photographed, but it was great to see such a different culture of weddings and see that no matter where you are in the world, sharing a wedding day with a bride and groom is one of the greatest jobs around.


Aix en Provence wedding – preview

I’ve just got back from a wonderful wedding in the south of France. A beautifully hot day in the mountains and a very excited and happy bride and groom made for a truly memorable day. More details to follow, but for now, here are a few photos to give you a little idea…

To see more of my wedding work visit charlwoodphotography.com


Timeless album design

I am not a designer. I write, play the guitar, engage in the occasional recreational sport activity, yell at England’s rugby team from the comfort of my own sofa and take photos for a living…but a designer I am not. When I started designing albums for clients I felt acutely aware of the fact, but none of them seemed to mind, or even notice, so I carried on.

A lot of personal trial and error – and days behind my laptop screen – has left me with what I see as my two rules of album design:

Keep it clean and keep it simple.

There’s a lot of hyperbole that surrounds the wedding industry, but it’s hard to underestimate the impact that the right album can have for a couple. One photographer I know described it as creating the first family heirloom, and I don’t think he was far wrong.

The wedding album will be shown to Grandma and Grandad, taken off the shelf a LOT by the bride (if my wife’s addiction to our wedding photos is anything to go by) and eventually be looked at with wonderment by children who will be told to keep their hands off the middle of the pages and that, yes, Mummy’s hair was fashionable then.

So, no pressure designing it then…

By keeping the design clean I mean not designing the couple emerging from a gilt heart frame, or Photoshopping some random doves into the image. By keeping it simple I mean just that – not cramming too many images onto a page and letting the flow of the pictures tell the narrative of the day.

Here’s a page that I think fits my two rules. It’s a leaf from a wedding I photographed back in June and one, I hope, that won’t look dated when the pages are being turned by small hands…

To see more of my work visit charlwoodphotography.com