Nikon D750 | Nikon 35mm 1.8 

ISO 50 | f3.5 | 1/8

PRESET | VSCO Portra 400
Tweaked, rattled and rolled.

You know there’s a funny thing about running a photography event company. Every so often someone will get in touch and put themselves forward as a speaker. I admire people that do, it takes guts to put yourself out there. But almost every single time when I ask what it is they’d like to speak about, what they want to communicate, they run out of things to say – they tell me they just want to be a speaker. For me, that’s quite disappointing and it rarely works out. I’m looking for people who are not only great photographers but that have a clear message that they think will benefit others.

When it came to getting my line up for the next Farm event, Thrive I started with Sean Bell. I cannot imagine him ever putting himself forward and yet he is one of the most requested speakers when I do a poll to see who Farmers would like to see. He is a quiet spirit and yet he is deeply inspiring. Sean knows his craft and he consisitently toils away creating stunning work without the need to shout about it. His bridal portraits are often utterly outstanding and they are created with a consideration for the subject that lets them be the star of the show. This is an incredible example of just that, using movement and shadow to create a lightness of emotion. When I asked Sean what he would like to cover at Thrive, he said Prep and I’m so very glad.

Read Sean’s take on this shot below …

What Sean says ...

Ayla hails from New York and flew over to marry her Scottish man ‘Alex’ in a small Castle outside Edinburgh, surrounded by Autumnal woodland. During the preparations Ayla and her girls were chilled, laughing and dancing a lot and this carried on over the course of day and into the night. 

I’ve always used a lot of slow shutter at weddings, mostly during the night and coupled with flash, but if I feel that dragging it out a little will get the look I’m after I will use it at any point during the day.
As this constant movement was present throughout the Bridal prep I really wanted to make something of it, to capture a sense of how it ‘felt’ that morning, rather than just flatly documenting the build up.
I was lucky enough to have some big windows to play with and managed to shoot a series of frames of Ayla dancing in this gentle light, switching the camera to manual, dialling the shutter to 1/8 and panning as she moved.
I enjoy the freedom and unknown of shooting in this way, where the results don’t reveal themselves all at once and you have only a rough idea of what the sensor will dish up on import, it always feels more exciting and less clinical than tightly composing and focussing. I came away with 20 frames, some had sharp areas with swirling movement, some like this were soft all over. On flicking through the images I have a different favourite every time. I guess I search for subtlety a lot, and this, for me, hinted at both the energy of the morning but also the quiet nature of the Bride’