Styled Shoot Day Workshop: Balcombe Place

‘Decadent, whimsical, carefree weekend house party vibes’ was the brief we set with the team for our first shoot day out of lockdown last month. Held at the stunning Balcombe Place in Sussex, we wanted to bring the celebration back to weddings and so focused on the latter part of the day – the toasts, cutting the cake, the dancing. The things that after so many months of being able to shoot just portraits or nothing at all, the attendees were delighted to fill up their memory cards with gorgeous images full of life and authenticity.

‘Authentic’ is a regular description that pops up from our past attendees when it comes to describing our Shoot Days, and something we at Photography Farm strive so hard to achieve. It’s all very well pulling a bunch of beautiful props and dresses, but if the images you shoot at these days don’t have soul, then they won’t work hard in your portfolio.

We started from the ground up with this one. Balcombe Place has a fascinating, decadent history – built as a weekend party house for the First Viscount of Cowdray, he gifted it to his daughter as a wedding present. Lady Gertrude Denman listed ‘bonfires’ as one of her hobbies so I have a feeling she partied hard at this place. She was also a very progressive woman who fought for women’s rights and pushed boundaries. We think she would approve of our shoot.

Alex from The Bijou Studio used the venue as a starting point to create high-end, modern looks – think two-piece tailoring, feather dresses, sky-high platforms and ‘Elizabethan but make it fashion’ accessories. Alex created a frivolous table plan from helium balloons with name tags tied to them, and the team at Early Hours created a flower wall as a ceremony focal point, plus dressed the giant fireplace

We wanted to play with gender roles throughout the stories we created, Moreover, our models were not only real-life couples but professional dancers to boot, meaning those party shots wouldn’t look out of place in a high-end fashion magazine. We wanted to create sets that wouldn’t be out of place for royalty.

Speaking of royalty, we were delighted to be joined by none other than Benjamin Wheeler as our guest photographer for this one. Hot off the back of shooting that royal wedding last year, Ben brought his usual editorial meets fine art energy to proceedings and offered a fresh and different perspective for all our attendees. At our Shoot Days we don’t just want to provide you with beautiful set ups and let you loose. We want you to come away with a brand-new understanding and approach to your photography, with guidance from the best of your peers, inspiring you to bring new ways of working to your wedding photography and keep you refreshed in your skillset.

There’s still time to join us for our next shoot day, at Cambo Estate in Fife this Thursday 27th May. There will be styling by Scottish team GLOAM and we’ll be joined by the wonderful Claire Fleck. If you’d like to come and create some stunning content for your website and socials in a friendly environment, then just jump on the tickets today. I promise you will not be disappointed.

Images: Lisa Devlin
Lead Photographers: Lisa Devlin + Benjamin Wheeler
Videographer: Anja Poehlmann
Assistant: Jessica Bevan

Balcombe Place

Creative Direction & Styling – The Bijou Studio
Floral Design – Early Hours
Stationery – Pingle Pie
Balloons – Bubblegum Balloons
Wedding Cake – Birch House Bakery
Tableware – Wren Ark
Furniture & Linen – Co Ordination Hire
Hair Styling – Jo Loves Hair
Make Up Artist – Poppy Tallulah

Kimberley + Molly
Brontë + Lewis

Suits – Twisted Tailor
Bridal Suit & Black dress outfit – Halfpenny London
Dresses – Miller White
Feather Dress – Emma Beaumont
Platform Shoes – Terry De Havilland @terrydehavilland 
Bow Gold Shoes – Beyond Skin
Veils & Collars – W Collective
Hair Accessories & Jewellery – Hermione Harbutt @hermioneharbutt