September saw the second anniversary of when we started the Farm, remember the first shoots? The Travel Engagement Shoot and Kat from Rock n Roll Bride in After the Rainbow. We have done a few Farms since then and a lot of new Farmers have joined us. I feel very honoured that so many of you have got on board with all of this. So what could we do to mark the anniversary? First up, I knew I wanted Kat to model again but this time with her adorable husband Gareth. So we started planning like we always do. It had been Kat and Gareth’s fifth wedding anniversary this year so I asked them what they would have at their wedding if it was now instead of then…. the words Post Apocalypse, Grunge, Computer Geek, Outdoor/Indoor where not exactly what I was expecting from the queen of glitter rainbows and unicorns but I knew Hannah from The Tea Set would pull something out of her bag and this was about them as a couple. Having spent time at their house, the brief made a lot of sense.
We always try to raise the bar with Photography Farm and never want the shoots to be just churned out. We want to push ourselves as well as the new Farmers and I am very lucky to have such a creative team. The ideas for this shoot were coming together nicely but something was bugging me.
A few weeks back, I shot a lovely wedding in Lincolnshire and a photographer called Maureen Du Preez very kindly second shot with me. I had met her at one of Melissa Love’s amazing Styled Shoots, where I lead a team of very lovely photographers on a perfectly lovely shoot before we all sat down for a natter over tea and cake. Maureen said she was really looking forward to seeing me put some of my directing skills to use on a real wedding and wanted most of all to listen in on the Bride and Groom Portraits. On the day, of course like weddings often are.. everything was rush, rush, rush and on the long drive back, I got to thinking… What are we really teaching on a two hour styled shoot where everyone can take their time and take a turn? How can I show people how to really shoot a wedding and deal with all the pressures and unexpected turns?
Then a couple of days before the Farm, it struck me…. why not run a wedding in real time at The Farm? Most of the elements were already in place, it was just a matter of setting it up and going through the day like a real wedding. Luckily Kat and Gareth were great sports and agreed to do this. Elbie Van Eeden (our rather talented MUA) and Sophie from Crown and Glory became Bridesmaids and Sophie’s Other Half Gareth became Best Man. The brilliant David McNeil got roped in as our celebrant and we sprung it on the new Farmers in the morning. This was not a styled shoot, we were going to be shooting an actual wedding…. well a staged wedding BUT we stuck to a proper timeline… Just like a real wedding. We started coverage with the prep and finished at the reception.
Was it a success? Well we all had a great time and I think I taught these new Farmers quite a lot about what it is really like to be a wedding photographer and how to find the narrative. As far as I know this has never been tried at a workshop and I would not have pulled it off without the enigma that is Hannah from The Tea Set and our helpers Liz and Clare. Kat, The Gareths, Sophie and Elbie were all just fantastic and the highlight was definitely David’s ‘Ceremony’. Here are my images from the day, now what on earth are we going to do next time???