Tom Simone North Wales Portrait Photography

I’ve photographed many things – everything from a hotel tap to David Cameron – but I’ve not done a lot of straight out portrait photography.

However, this last month I did a couple of different portrait shoots and really enjoyed it, so it’ll definitely be something I’ll do more of in the future.

Of course, it’ll be somewhat easier once I get a studio set-up – the number one thing on my list of new-year resolutions – but in the meantime shoots on location are the order of the day.

North Wales Portrait Photographer

This shot was taken at Debs’ mum’s house.

North Wales Portrait Photographer.

This shot of Elen and her two brothers was taken at the park in Llanrwst. They gave me some of their granddad’s cider, which was very nice…

My second son arrives safe and sound

My wife Caroline has spent the last two-and-a-half weeks in hospital.

The fact that her placenta was overlying her cervix meant she was at risk of hemorrhaging and so she had to be under close observation.

It’s obviously been pretty worrying for us all, but I’m happy to say that Raffi {Xandro}’ Simone has arrived safe and sound following caesarian section this afternoon.

The operation was much more involved than a regular c/s because the surgeon had to cut through the placenta, meaning Caroline lost a fair amount of blood.

However, she seems to be doing very well so far, despite being in quite a lot of pain when I left her.

At the last minute the doctors decided they could use a spinal epidural rather than an a general anesthetic, which meant I could be in theatre while the op was taking place.

It was very different to when Jac was born, and really quite surreal, but v happy that they’re both ok.

I got one of the midwives to take a photo of me holding Raffi very soon after he was born.

I tend to think the phrase ‘photographing memories’ sounds a bit cliche, but in this case it was exactly that, and we’d like to thank all the staff at the hospital for how good they’ve been.

Also, thank you to all our friends and family who have been texting and calling asking after the latest addition to the Simone family.

Raffi weighed 8lb12oz…

Raffi Simone being weighed at Ysbyty Gwynedd

North Wales Wedding Photographer/Videographer – a full plate :-)

As I write this a carpenter is busy downstairs converting our living room into an office-living-room.

I’ve now got so much stuff I’ve outgrown the box-type room I was using upstairs and my attempts to get a studio/office in Bethesda have fallen through for the time being.

Working at home is not ideal, but with our second little boy due in little more than a month the work and expense of taking on a studio has meant I’ve had to put it on hold for a while.

However, if anyone knows of any affordable, light, clean, spacious places for rent in this area – v tall order, I know – please get in touch!

This week I’ve mostly been editing Stephanie and David’s wedding film, which has been great fun because it was an amazing wedding and they’re such a lovely couple.

I’ve also been doing a lot of product photography (an area where a studio would be very useful!) and that’s involved long hours in front of the computer too.

In addition, I’ve got lots of couples to meet and discuss wedding with, which is one of my favourite parts of the job – I’m a socialite through and through.

Not so fun has been trying to get my head round doing my accounts, that really takes a lot of motivation to get done. All worth it though, and I’ve the highly recommended accountant Lynne Savage on my side, so it’s not too bad.

Ok, I’m off to make a coffee and see what my new cupboards and shelves look like…

Pre-Wedding photo scout at St Bridget’s Church, Dyserth, and Deganwy Quay Hotel, Conwy

I visited St Bridget’s Church in Dyserth and the Deganwy Quay Hotel a while back in preparation for Laura and Andrew’s wedding next May.

It is a beautiful little church, with a large stained glass window. This will make a good backdrop for when they are receiving their blessing.

Photographs aren’t allowed during the actual service and on the day I visited the church was quite dark.

For the photograph of Laura walking down the aisle I may see if I can take a couple of shots with my flash. Alternatively, I can use my fastest lens (lets most light in), a high iso, and some careful focusing on her face.

The kiss and the signing of the register will require a similar approach.

The church door will make a good frame for the couple, but there is not enough room for larger group shots outside the church.

Nearby, there is a well known waterfall and I think this will make a really interesting backdrop to some photographs of Laura and Andrew together.

There is a kind of corridor of rock in the same place and – with some creative use of off-camera flash or fortuitous overhead natural light – this will make a very cool shot of Laura, particularly to show off her dress.

The Deganwy Quay hotel is a great looking venue, with tonnes of opportunities for great photos.

Outside, there is a long water structure, which could act as a lead in line to the couple.

There is a grassy area suitable for the larger group shots, with me on the balcony above.

Inside, where the reception is being held, there are large windows overlooking the Conwy estuary which provide lots of natural light. The ceilings are white.

The piano and the floor in the foyer caught my eye, which will be good for reflections and background respectively.

Ok, think that’s all for now…

Why do I write up notes on these pre-wedding photos scouts?

The main reason is for me to know exactly what I’m doing on clients’ wedding days – I like to be uber-organised and prepared, it makes a massive difference on the wedding day.

Secondly, it gives my clients the opportunity to see exactly what I’ll be doing on their wedding day, which is always a good thing.

Tom Simone Wedding Photographer at Seiont Manor Wedding Fair

Caroline and I went to the Seiont Manor Wedding Fayre today… and now we’re pretty exhausted.

Kudos to batman Sam for building me a very well made wooden display board, from which I hung my canvases…

Wedding photographer at Seiont Manor wedding fayre

It was our first time there and we spent ages getting everything ready, incredible how long all the little things take really.

It was well worth it though, we met a load of very nice couples and made friends with a bunch of other wedding people.

Our table was next to Gav’s discos, who is very well known around the Caernarfon area. He had the Liverpool v Everton  match on his laptop, he supports Eveton and they beat us 2-0, … he seemed like a nice guy apart from that though.

Also met Ioan’s wife, of Celynnen Photography, who I’d come across on the twitters…geeks the both of us.

Also met Alan and Ffion, who won my wedding competition earlier this year, although embarrassingly I couldn’t immediately place them…sorry!

All in all, it was a well worthwhile event and I can’t wait to work with some of the couples I met there… exciting times!

Wedding photography, Beaumaris, Suzanne & Paul

Here are some photos from Suzanne and Paul’s wedding in Beaumaris:

Anglesey wedding photographer, Beaumaris, Suzanne & Paul

It was a great wedding and a bit of rain just added to the drama of walking down Beaumaris pier.

My photographer friend Liam Kurmos helped me deliver the photo-documentary approach that Suzanne and Paul asked and we were really pleased with the results.

I received this lovely email from Suzanne after the wedding:

“Thanks very much for the photos we received today, great work and some cracking photos in there, thank you. You’ve certainly caught some split second moments that capture the day really well. I particularly like the pier shots too capturing the fun of the journey there and back in the wind and rain as well as the stunning photo at the end of pier, nice.”

One of my favourite photographs from the day was of one of the flower girls:

Anglesey Wedding Photographer, Beaumaris

I used off camera flash shot through the banisters to create the lighting effect, something which I’d planned in my pre-wedding photography scouting trip – see a few posts down.

Planned shot from before wedding

Tom Simone Wedding Film & Photography at Seiont Manor Wedding Fayre

Yikes, haven’t updated my blog for quite a while, but that’s ok because I’ve been busy with lots of bookings.

I’ve got my first Wedding Fayre on October 17, 2010, at Seiont Manor, near Llanrug, North Wales.

Llanrug, Caernarfon, Gwynedd LL55 2AQ
T: 0845 072 7550
F: 0845 072 7551
View Larger Map

I’ll have a couple of different albums, some canvas prints, and a video display, so if you’re want to see what I’m all about then please come along…

Wedding photo scouting at St Mary’s Church & David Hughes centre, Beaumaris, Anglesey

I left Suzanne and Paul waiting in the rain because I’d got mixed up with the day I was supposed to be meeting them – not the best first impression.

However, the more we talked the more excited I got about photographing their wedding, which is going to take place in Beaumaris, Anglesey, and thankfully they were still keen to book me.

They want to have a documentary approach to their wedding, which is something that very much appeals to me too.

The idea of documentary/photo-journalistic photography is that the photographer does not pose his subjects – in this case the couple – but rather anticipates and captures moments as they happen.

When done well the resulting photographs have an immediate and ‘real’ quality. When done badly you potentially end up with a series of badly composed ‘snapshots’.

It is pretty difficult to do well.

For a posed shot I could find a background, key in my desired aperture, shutter speed, and iso, even compose the shot, then ask my couple to pose for me until I get a photograph I’m happy with.

For a documentary style photograph all this has to be done in an instant, otherwise the moment will have been and gone.

Taking this into account, I have the following strategy:

> I still take a lot of posed shots, just to be safe

>For Suzanne and Paul’s wedding I will have an assistant, to cover more angles and get more photos

>I spend a lot of time at the location beforehand, so I know what the light’s like, where there are good backgrounds are, and what settings I’m likely to need in my camera.

Some photographers will take a purely documentary approach, with no posed shots at all, but I prefer to mix the two approaches.

I started off my photo scouting at Plas Coch House, next to St Mary’s church, where Suzanne is getting ready.

The living room has large bay windows, and even when the rain is lashing down there’s still plenty of natural light. No need for flash, easy enough to work around people as they come in and out.

Regardless of the weather, the directional window light will be good for portraits.

There are two flights of stairs at Plas Coch, so of course I spent ages messing around, looking for angles and what have you. For this shot I thought I could get my assistant to fire a wireless flash through the banisters to create some interesting shadows on the bride (I couldn’t quite get the angle right doing it by myself).

There’s also a great shot to be had looking straight down from the top of the stairs of people at different levels. Might have to pose this a bit though.

The hallway leading to the front door makes a good lead in line for a silhouette of the bride standing in the doorway… wow, I just spelled silhouette correctly on the first attempt!

The floor’s also a little bit reflective, which should give the image a bit more depth.

The other room I noticed in the house was the bathroom, which is larger than average, large enough to take photos in. I’d quite like to get a shot of the bride in her dress sitting next to the bath, or something equally quirky and different. We’ll see.

St Mary’s church in Beaumaris is a beautiful place, although the light switches are well hidden. It’s larger than I expected and has stone arches which trisect it, much like Bangor Cathedral but on a smaller scale.

It was very dark when I visited, but the overhead lights are powerful (I only found the switch for the ones at the front) and give out a nice white light (as opposed the green you get from fluorescent lights (can’t spell fluorescent tho…).

I will stand at the front of the church, to be in position for the bride walking down the aisle, the service, exchanging of the rings, the kiss, etc

In addition, the arches make good pointing lines towards the couple and the stonework makes a good background with a bit of editing in photoshop.

The couple get their blessing near the stain glassed window and the red carpet makes a great lead in line for a shot of them kneeling. The archway also frames it nicely for when they walk back.

I noticed there are stairs at the back of the church, where the organ is, where my assistant could potentially get some stunning shots from an elevated level… need to check on that one.

It’s a five minute walk from the church to the David Hughes centre, where the reception is taking place. I would have taken more shots along route, but it was raining very heavily so I need to go for a revisit.

Hopefully the weather will be better on the day. If so, the couple will be having ice creams in the grounds of the church which I anticipate will be great for some spontaneous moments and there’s plenty of space to work around the guests.

En route to the David Hughes Centre I noticed a kitchenware shop that had graffiti style painting on its front which might make a cool background.

For the group shot of everybody I can lean out of a first floor window. For smaller groups there’s plenty of lawn space.

There was an art exhibition at the David Hughes centre when I visited. The lights are neutral coloured and there’s a fair amount of natural light. The walls are white. So no problems here.

Beaumaris is a seaside resort and has a castle, so it would be good to get an element of this in the photographs. However, the fist time I tried scouting for photos it was very windy and the second time it was very wet, so I’ll have to play this by ear.

Either way, I can’t wait – it’s going to be a good one!

Wedding film at Portmerion, North Wales, photography at Clandon Park, Guildford, and a little piglet

Well, July was a bit of a crazy month – by far the busiest I’ve had since going fully self-employed about a year ago.

As I type I’m capturing footage from Mair and Iwan’s wedding, which I filmed at Portmeirion on July 2.

It was the first time I’d done a wedding at Portmeirion and it’s a great place to get married from a photo/video point of view. You can see my pics and notes from scouting it out here.

It was a great wedding and the guests certainly knew how to enjoy themselves, so I’m looking forward to the final edit.

I shot it using a canon xha1 (a video camera) and a canon 7d (a stills camera with video capability), and this was another first for me. It will be interesting to see how well the two video sources cut together… I think it’s going to look pretty tasty.

The day after that I was photographing a good friend of mine’s wedding down in Guildford, a five hour drive away.

They got married at Clandon Park, another stunning location. I think my favourite pic of the day is this one, although I’m not sure I was even looking through the viewfinder.

Helen, the bride, looked amazing and I liked this shot through the trees.

Bryn, the groom, scrubbed up pretty well too.

In July I also won a contract to shoot a food directory for Cadwyn Clwyd, an agency working on behalf of Denbighshire and Flintshire councils. This involved driving all over the two counties and visiting producers, farmers, farm shops, markets, and people working out of their kitchens. I was given a very tight deadline so it was pretty intensive, but also a lot of fun.

I do commercial work under the name Golau Media, which I’m in the process of building a site for, a job that keeps getting bumped down the list of things to do.

These piglets were really cute and almost made me consider going back to being a veggie.

In July I also filmed an art/nature event at Gwaith Powdr reserve near Porthmadog, Gwynedd.

It was part of a series of events to promote Discover Gwynedd, a new initiative to promote Gwynedd and the wildlife that can be found here, very worthwhile I think.

Thanks to the talented and super-busy artist Megan Broadmeadow for getting me involved in that one.

July also saw a big increase in inquiries for my wedding photos and film work, so it’s been a very exciting time for me. Caroline, my wife, has started helping with things like album design etc and making sure I’m organised, with efficient workflows and the such like. It’s working out pretty well so far.

Ok, final tape of Mair & Iwan’s wedding has finished capturing, let’s take a look see…

Conwy wedding photography at Plas Mawr & Sychnant Pass House

Conwy wedding photography at Plas Mawr Elizebethan house

Conwy wedding photography at Plas Mawr Elizebethan house

I photographed Amy and Andrew’s wedding in Conwy over the weekend.

They were the first couple to ever get married at the Plas Mawr Elizebethan house in Conwy, which dates back to the 1500s, and it was an amazing setting.

They had their reception at the Sychnant Pass House, a very nice country hotel five minutes out of Conwy. The sun was shining, guests sat out on the lawn, and it was a very relaxed and enjoyable day.

Amy had made her hat and parts of her dress and looked amazing with her very vintage look.

There’s some really good light at Plas Mawr, and these couple of pics have come straight out of the camera.

Conwy wedding photography at Plas Mawr Elizebethan house

Conwy wedding photography at Plas Mawr Elizebethan house

The pic of Amy and Alex together is taken in the attic at Plas Mawr, and was one that my wife Caroline said she liked because of the way Amy is holding her shoes.

The rest of the photos from Amy and Alex’s wedding will be put up in an online gallery in the next couple of weeks.

Llechwedd Slate Caverns pre-Wedding Film & Photography scouting

When I was asked to make a wedding day film at Llechwedd slate caverns in Blaenau Ffestiniog, North Wales, I jumped at the chance.

From their site:

“Llechwedd Slate Caverns of Blaenau Ffestiniog is part of a living, working slate mine that has been active since 1836.

“We have 2 spectacular underground tours to explore the underground world of the Victorian Slate Miner. The temperature in the mines is about 54F throughout the year, making the caverns ideal for your family day out come rain or shine.”

I visited the director there, a man called Dave, who showed me the cavern where the wedding will take place and helped me figure out the logistics of filming there.

We took a tram down a few-hundred feet underground, and not surprisingly it’s quite dark and wet!

However, when the tours go round the caverns are lit up and they look spectacular. We went to the main cavern, where there is an underground lake, and I checked out the lighting.

The lighting is actually not too bad, especially during the ceremony itself, when the bride and groom will be lit by a couple of large lights, as well as candles and smaller lights.

I shot this short clip to see how it would come out:


There is then the opportunity to take some photos and footage near the lake, which is lit by coloured lights which reflect in the water.

I also plan to film the guests doing some of the tour. Because the ground is uneven the easiest thing to do will be handhold the videocamera and shoot it documentary style (usually I’d use a tripod).

The acoustics are good and I don’t foresee any difficulties recording sound. There is a water feature next the lake, so I may use a wireless mic here, although it might not be necessary to get a good audio feed here anyway.

One concern is it might be quite a bit wetter in December, when the couple are getting married, and this could damage my camera. However, either an umbrella (hi-tech!) or a casing should be sufficient to protect it.

The couple are also hiring a red double-decker bus to ferry guests to and from the caverns, another great feature that’s a bit quirky and different – I can’t wait to edit the film!

Portemierion pre-Wedding Film & Photography scouting

I’ve got two weddings at Portmeirion coming up – one where I’m a photographer and one where I’m filming – so I decided to take a visit.

In case you don’t already know, Portmeirion is an Italianate resort village in Gwynedd, on the coast of Snowdonia in North Wales (thank you Wikipedia!)

Sir Clough Williams-Ellis designed and constructed the village between 1925 and 1975. He incorporated fragments of demolished buildings, including works by a number of other architects. Portmeirion’s architectural bricolage and deliberately fanciful nostalgia have been noted as an influence on the development of postmodernism in architecture in the late 20th century.

Okay, time to stop copying and pasting from wikipedia…

Basically, Portmeirion is a beautiful little village with lots of interesting architecture and pastel colours. And it’s next to a beach/estuary.

Weddings at Portmeirion - Hercules Hall

Weddings at Portmeirion - Hercules Hall

I spoke to one of the Delyths  – the sales manager – and apparently they have about 100 weddings a year there. This is no surprise, Portmeirion is a kind of fairy tale place to get married and also about as good as it gets from a photographer’s point of view.

Hercules Hall, the Tudor Room and Mirror Room hold Civil Wedding licences for large and small ceremonies – I’ll be working in Hercules Hall.

The couple are facing the large window when they get married, which means they will be lit very nicely without using flash. This is a big help when it comes to filming/photographing.

The dark wood paneling means the light falls off very quickly, so the guests will be relatively dark in photographs. I think that’s fine, it helps highlight the bride and groom.

For filming the wood has less of an effect because my video camera has a higher dynamic range, i.e. more of what is being captured has a normalised exposure.

The ceiling is much lighter and has some incredible carvings on it. I think this could be incorporated into photos of the bride and groom by taking a low POV and looking upwards.

The floor is made of varnished floorboards, which will reflect the bride’s white dress and should look very nice. The reflection can be helped with a little flick of downwards flash.

Weddings at Portmeirion - backdrops for photography

Weddings at Portmeirion - backdrops for photography

I did notice a couple of large air-con units in Hercules Hall, which I was a bit wary of

because they could cause white noise on video footage.

However, I was told they’re turned off during the ceremony, so that’s ok.

As any wedding photographer knows, doorways are our bread and butter.

The light from the front and the darker background make them perfect for highlighting the bride and groom, so long as it’s not too bright and sunny.

Doorways also make great frames and can give photographs a symmetry that is aesthetically pleasing.

Not surprisingly, Portmeirion has so many that it’s hard to know where to start.

There is a doorway as you exit the building where Hercules Hall is, but this archway caught my eye.

I like the symmetry of the pillars, the pastel pink, and I think the bride would look gorgeous photographed here.




Wedding photography at Portmeirion, North Wales

Wedding photography at Portmeirion, North Wales

The best place for the groups shots is probably the lawn in the centre of Portmeirion village.

It’s on an incline, which makes it easier to get rows of people on different levels (so we can see everyone’s face).

That roman-esque looking building, with all the pillars, would make a good place for a groups shot of the men. The pillars can be used to frame them.

The tower in the background is the dominant piece of architecture at Portmeirion (in my opinion) and there are nice shots of the bride and groom to be had as you walk up the steps towards it.

The bride and groom I’ve been booked to photograph are very different heights, which can sometimes pose a challenge.

However, because there are so many different levels at Portmeirion it should be straightforward to position them to best effect.


Wedding photography at Portmeirion, North Wales

Wedding photography at Portmeirion






The wedding breakfast and speeches are held in the restaurant down near the beach.

The top table is in front of this wood paneling, which is ideal.

This photo might not look like much, but it’s actually a great backdrop for photographing/filming the speeches and the people on the top table.

The building also has a couple of stairways which make good locations for shots of the bride from above.

The evening entertainment and first dance are back at the top in Hecules Hall.

Why do I write up notes on these pre-wedding photos scouts?

The main reason is for me to know exactly what I’m doing on clients’ wedding days – I like to be uber-organised and prepared, it makes a massive difference on the wedding day.

Secondly, it gives my clients the opportunity to see exactly what I’ll be doing on their wedding day, which is always a good thing.

Hopefully these note may also be of use to other photographers who shoot at the same location.

Pre-wedding photography scouting at Plas Mawr, Conwy and Sychnant Pass house

Plas Mawr, Conwy

I’d not actually visited Plas Mawr, the Elizabethan house in Conwy which dates back to the 1500’s, before checking it out from a wedding photographer’s point of view.

It’s a very cool place to get married, and definitely something a bit different.

The room where the ceremony will be held is able to fit up to 40 people, and this gives it a very intimate feel.

It is light, with large windows on two sides. A wide angle lens will be required for shots of the bride, groom, and guests during the ceremony. The 24-70 lens will be better for shots of just the bride and groom, so I will use two cameras so as to avoid changing between lenses.

Flash is allowed at Plas Mawr, but the natural light is so good I think it will be best to avoid using it as much as possible.

One point where flash might be needed is  when the bride and groom sign the register. The table is lit by three large windows, behind and to the left and right, which will create good hair highlights when complemented by a little fill flash.

I was then shown the other rooms in the house – it is mostly done out to look as it would have done when it was originally lived in, which makes it a really exciting place to take photos.

There are stairs to the tower (which Plas Mawr is best known for) and to an attic room.

The stairs themselves make an excellent point to take a photograph of the bride from above, with small windows creating areas of light and dark that will really bring the photograph to life.

The attic is Rachel’s, the lady who showed me round, favourite room, but she did point out that it might be difficult to climb the steps up there in a wedding dress.

There are big wooden beams which I think  could be used to create a great frame for a sequence of photos of the bride and groom.

I also liked the room with a four-poster bed and the kitchen, where there is very good light from the windows. There are so many good backdrops and ways to frame the photos that I’ll almost be spoilt for choice.

The courtyard and garden area outside is large enough for group shots. Plas Mawr and its tower make a good backdrop and the doorways make good frames.

Sychnant Pass House

Sychant Pass House is a two minute drive from the town of Conwy and tucked away in the woods on the way up to the Sychnant Pass.

The room where the bride will be getting married has a king size bed with ornate wood carvings. There is a skylight and numerous light sources that will make an atmospheric image.

I liked the chess set (I’m a bit of a chess boffin) and the fact the rooms are named after TS Eliot’s cats. It gives the place a kind of bookish feel that appeals to me.

There is a large lawn and a courtyard, either of which would be suitable for larger group shots.

The drawing room could be used for group shots if some of the furniture is moved around.

There are daisies and bluebells on the lawn, which could be used as for foreground elements in portrait shots of bridesmaids/children.

I’d noticed photos of the swimming pool at Sychnant Pass House on its website and thought the reflections might make for some good photographs, but have ruled it out because the humidity might kill my camera (it’s happened to me twice before) and wouldn’t be great for the bride’s hair.

Photography at Lucy & Dave’s wedding at St David’s Park, Ewloe (near Chester & Wrexham)

I had a great time at Lucy and David’s wedding at St David’s Park, Ewloe – which isn’t far from Chester and Wrexham.

The weather was superb, really sunny, and everybody was very relaxed, chilling out on the lawn.

As well as being really nice people, Lucy and Dave looked the part and we got some beautiful photographs.

Lucy & Dave, wedding photography, St David's Park, near Wrexham & Chester

Lucy & Dave, wedding photography, St David's Park, near Wrexham & Chester

I’d spotted the reflections in this piano and mirror on a visit before their wedding. I asked Lucy & Dave to act natural and be intimate, (something they were very good at! 🙂 ) and we got some lovely shots.

Lucy, wedding photography, St David's Park, near Wrexham & Chester

Lucy, wedding photography, St David's Park, near Wrexham & Chester

In this shot Lucy was stood by the door (a light source) and I simply asked her to hold her flowers up.

Wedding group shot, St David's Park, Ewloe, near Wrexham & Chester

Wedding group shot, St David's Park, Ewloe, near Wrexham & Chester

Haha – I love this photo!

I’d already bagged a couple of group shots with everyone looking at the camera so I asked the guests to give some loving to the person closest to them – yes, I am  that cheesy! – and now the more I look at this photo the more it makes me smile.

The day was made easier thanks to the help from Jonathon, and old school friend who’s pretty nifty with a camera. Although he could be a ‘tog his heart is set on becoming a pilot and you can see his website here .

I’ll be putting the rest of the photos up in a password protected online gallery in the next couple of weeks.

You can see how I scouted for photos at St David’s Park here.

Pre-wedding photography/film scout at St Cedol Church, Pentir, Gwynedd

Wedding photography scouting at St Cedol Chuchr, Pentir, Gwynedd

Wedding photography scouting at St Cedol Chuchr, Pentir, Gwynedd

I went to meet up with Vicky and Ross at St Cedol church in Pentir, where they’re getting married in September, to work out how best to photograph and film their wedding day.

I also met the vicar and a couple of people from the church council, who were all colourful characters.

The church itself is old and is as full of character as the people I met there; it’s a beautiful setting for weddings and photos.

It was the hottest day of the year when I went there, with the sun shining very brightly, probably a bit different to how the conditions will be in September.

There is not a great deal of room outside the church because it is surrounded by the graveyard, so it’s not a suitable location for larger group shots.

However, there is a narrow path leading up to the church door which I think will make a great lead in line for photographs of Vicky and Ross, as well as a shot of a line of guests walking to/from the church.

The church doorway, like most churches, makes an ideal spot for photographing the bride and groom – it makes a nice frame with a darkened background.

Inside the church, at the back, there are stairs leading to a another floor/balcony(? – can’t think of the right word) which overlooks the rest of the church. This will make a great spot for a second shooter (I’ll get an assistant).

The church is quite narrow so will require use of a wide angle lens and squashing up against the walls.

There is just enough room at the front of the church for the video man and myself, one of us on each side, without getting in the way.

View from back of St Cedol Church, Pentir, Gwynedd

View from back of St Cedol Church, Pentir, Gwynedd

It was actually very light in the church – it has big windows and it was very sunny – but there was a high dynamic range in the light levels, which presents its own challenges.

However, there will be a smaller dynamic range in September, so that will make things easier.

There are overhead heaters, but these are colourless so don’t pose a problem.

Not sure where we’ll do ‘location photographs’ yet, but the bridge at Brynrefail is a good spot where I’ve taken photos before.

I’ve also photographed and filmed at Seiont Manor on a couple of occasions, so already know the best spots for photos and the magic numbers to key into my cameras and video camera. Bonus.

We will do the group shots at Seiont Manor, there’s lots of space and I can get elevation by looking out of a bedroom window down onto the forecourt.

View from front of St Cedol church, Pentir, Gwynedd

View from front of St Cedol church, Pentir, Gwynedd

Why do I write up notes on these pre-wedding photos scouts?

The main reason is for me to know exactly what I’m doing on clients’ wedding days – I like to be uber-organised and prepared, it makes a massive difference on the wedding day.

Secondly, it gives my clients the opportunity to see exactly what I’ll be doing on their wedding day, which is always a good thing.

Hopefully these note may also be of use to other photographers who shoot at the same location.

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