Hels Bells ..

Bad weather? Well, I’m not saying it was windy at yesterday’s Wedding but just take a look at this. The bloody veil blew off! Then it drizzled, then it rained, then it absolutely hammered down .. and all the bride and groom’s family group shots had to be done indoors. Still, we managed to get every picture the couple wanted, and more power to Helen and Simon for braving the elements just to please little old me. Many congratulations, guys. Oh, and Hels Bells? It’s not a misprint, it’s Helen’s name on ye olde Book of Face.
Hell’s Bells indeed ..


A date for the diary ..

It’s a year since I took this photograph. A year to the day. Happy First Wedding Anniversary to Jim and Karen. I was reminded of the fact when I bumped into Jim in Asda last week – we both lead such exotic lives – and it got me thinking about all the people whose Weddings I’ve photographed. One of ‘my couples’ will be celebrating their fortieth Anniversary very soon! Forty years! They actually asked if I’d photograph their daughter’s Wedding, which would have been an absolute first though, as yet, that’s on hold as the youngsters are a bit skint. Still, I’m here when you need me, guys. Just give me a date for the diary ..

One for the album ..



The idea of having a Wedding ‘album’ seems to be fading into history. I think I’ve only made three this year. One of my faves is this one, from a Wedding back in July, that involved a boat trip on the Manchester Ship Canal and a walk through Salford Quays to the Imperial War Museum North. It was so laid back, so ‘different’, and so unconventional .. it was just made for good photography.
Click on the pix to see what I mean ..

Off for drinks with pals today, and time to count our blessings. Of the six of us meeting up, all are still working photographers apart from old fart Jim, who has taken early retirement. You can be sure that – as always at our get-togethers – the changing face of photography will be a dominant theme of our conversation and then – as always, especially after the third pint – it’ll deteriorate into a ‘fings ain’t wot they used to be’ blub-fest. Photography sure has changed a lot in ‘my time’ but, whatever its challenges today, I’m still bloody lucky to be a professional working photographer.

News just in ..

Firstly, an apology. My email has gone AWOL, so if you’ve been trying to contact me over the past couple of days you now know why I’ve not replied ..

I have a long-running, ever-growing collection of photographs that I call ‘Social Seen’ – basically images that amuse me from functions I’ve photographed and, last night, I was covering the 20th anniversary party of the Chilli Banana restaurant in Wilmslow. These two shots presented themselves as additions very nicely, thank you. Check out the rest here ..

I’m off to the Imperial War Museum today to cover a conference and, funnily enough, I’m back there again on Saturday to photograph a Wedding. In between that, two cracking Euro ’16 semi-finals and some fantastic news about my new ‘studio’ ..

Tell ya tomorrow ..

Take a seat ..

I almost didn’t write a blog today. Hell no, I’m far too busy! Well, it’s that time of year, isn’t it? I’ve got sofas to buy, cruise holidays to book, detox diets to start .. who’s got time to blog? Actually, TV ads aside, I have had a busy start to the year, albeit stuck in front of my trusty Mac as I work through Wedding selections and people’s print orders. I spent yesterday mentally back in October, as I sorted out the images for a Wedding I shot then at the Didsbury House Hotel. Today I’m working on a selection of shots that have been ordered from a lady who came into the studio for some ‘Dating Agency’ photographs. The agency like them so much, in fact, that they’ve asked if I’d consider travelling to London to shoot more of their clients! Tasty! I’ve also chucked a bit more work at the websites – both Manchester Wedding Photography and StudioFiveFour – in my never-ending quest to get them up, up, up those rankings. In fact, I googled myself yesterday and was delighted to say I came out on the front page exactly one listing above one of my old mates! We may be the best of pals but I’m afraid there’s no love lost in the murky jungle of work! Ha ..

No love lost? Isn’t that a Joy Division song? Funny you should ask, ‘cos I’ve got good news about my shots of the band. They’ll be going ‘on tour’ in the Spring as part of a theatrical production about the group. Theatrical production? A play, Martin .. a play. Jeez, keep it simple! I’ll tell you more after my meeting with the company. Man, I need a sit down …

Splashdown ..

I was shooting a Christmas Wedding at Peckforton Castle, literally on this Monday a year ago. The weather was abysmal. It rained non-stop all day, and I didn’t get a single photograph of anybody outside .. much to my frustration. However, just before the Wedding Breakfast, the rain stopped and I practically pleaded with the Bride and Groom to come outside for a quick photograph. They reluctantly agreed, as long as the Bride could hold her dress up and away from the soaking paths, so it was lights, cameras and a hasty walk down to the gate-house at Peckforton to enable me to get the whole of the Castle in the shot. I parked the couple under the huge tree there, plonked down my tripod, set up my light and .. a Rook dropped a big blob of poo straight onto the Groom’s head! (It was easy to see .. the guy had no hair!) I automatically pressed the shutter, even though I hadn’t set the exposure or white balance, and was just about to shoot again when the Bride screamed in dismay and set off back to the Castle at 100mph. The big, black splish had bounced straight off the Groom’s head.. and all over her dress! The shoot was over!

No shots of the couple outside the castle.

So close!!..

Next there were tears, and then I got a ticking off from the Bride’s dad, but I was more concerned that I hadn’t got a shot of the couple with their venue in the picture! Still, everything calmed down and, by the time the pair came to Manchester Wedding Photography to pick up their Wedding album some months later it was all a great, big, funny part of the day. It goes to show that these things are always worth shooting ‘cos, when it’s all done and dusted, a dress is for a day, but a memory is a memory for ever!..

“I’d love to Blog that one day..” I said to them. “You should..” they said.

I just have..

Happy Anniversary, guys!…

Falling for you ..

I went to the doctor yesterday. The old shoulder has been giving me ‘gip’! Turns out that’s why .. ‘cos it’s old! Degeneration! OMG! (And I thought it was only my grey matter that was going downhill!) Anyway, painkillers with possible physio in the future and that’s that. The doctor, who I’d not seen before, was a very nice young Indian lady who looked at my notes and said ‘Degeneration’s not really surprising, you know, looking at the lifestyle you lead..” “Oh?..” I uttered, with a sharp intake of breath and slight reddening of the cheeks! “Well..” she said “Badminton, swimming, photography…” Phew! I nodded my head, enthusiastically. “How often do you take photographs?..” she asked. I laughed, and pulled open my jacket to reveal the Fuji X10 around my neck (Yes, I know…) “As often as I can..” I smiled “I have the studio across the road..”
“Oh..” she said “Have you got a card?
I’m getting married next year!..”

I was editing Friday’s Wedding yesterday, and came across the picture I’m showing you today. It was one of those shots I knew I’d got as soon as I fired the shutter. The briefest of moments as the little flower girl – called Poppy, appropriately! – took a tumble during the line-up. I put it on my Facebook page last night and, when I checked this morning, it had been viewed by 475 people!
Well, I nearly fell over backwards!..

I’ll drink to that ..

Monday lunchtime, and so far I have ..

Shot and delivered a PR job, copied, renovated and reprinted an old photograph, edited a portrait shoot I did on Saturday, been booked for a really interesting PR job on Thursday, been to my framer to choose some picture frames for a recent shoot .. and spoken to a bride about her forthcoming December Wedding. Busy day? I’ll drink to that…

Yes, in fact, the whole week has got off to a cracking start, and there all already two more studio sittings booked in for later in the week. It feels like the ‘old days’, which is pretty much all we talked about on our Photographers’ booze-up on Saturday. Four old farts – with at least 120 years’ photographic experience between us – chundering on about medium-format, the general slowing down of work .. and hearing loss! (I blame the noisy pubs we went in!) Anyway, my liver was doing cartwheels on Sunday. Sobriety? I’ll drink to that…

No pressure ..

There’s a lot buzzing round my head at the moment, what with designing Wedding albums, sorting the SEO for the new website and dealing with what’s turned out to be quite a lot of fantastic PR work this week, but I thought I’d write about what I guess is ‘The grass ain’t always greener on the other side!’..

I was shocked at the number of posts that flew up onto Facebook after the death yesterday of poor old Rik Mayall and, this morning, there are photographs of him taken on Sunday when he was out walking his dog. My God, I thought, he couldn’t even walk his dog without being snapped! That was a theme echoed in a TV programme last night about David Beckham, who set off for a motor-cycle ride through the Amazon jungle to ‘get away from it all’. (Ok, we’ll ignore the camera crews, medics, bike technicians and that irritating little ‘health and safety minder..) He was talking to a native of the Yanomami tribe who – much to Beckham’s delight – didn’t recognise him as he only followed football on the radio. Beckham was talking about his life, and the reasons for his trip. He was doing it, he said, to get away from all the pressure. “Pressure?..” said this guy who lives in the jungle, killing his own food, risking death by everything from poisonous frogs to falling trees and jaguars “What’s that?!”…

And relax …

I’ll have the squits, please ..

Busy few days ahead for me, with a range of PR jobs to shoot and a lovely Bank Holiday Wedding to round off the week. I’ll be at a primary school on Wednesday, photographing the kids for a new school website and brochure. I’m also photographing a ‘Summer Showcase’ for the Imperial War Museum North, and then it’s a trip down memory lane as I get to return for a shoot at the one and only Coronation Street Tour, at the old Granada Studios site in Manchester. I used to shoot all their PR photography, so no funny comments about it shutting down all those years ago!!..

Of course, as soon as one is busy again any recent holiday seems to disappear into the distance faster than a 99 on Blackpool beach. It’s a week after our return from Greece now, but I’m pleased to say we had a pretty fair re-run of the holiday yesterday. Great weather, al fresco dining and lots of lovely drink! Here’s something we didn’t order from the menu, though!..

Just thought I’d share that ..