Wedding Photojournalist Award

Masterpiece Award Winner - the Wedding Photojournalist Association

I am thrilled to say that I won an award yesterday for Best Documentary Wedding Photography from the Wedding Photojournalist Association (WPJA). This award means a lot to me because the WPJA "reserves membership to select photographers around the world whose portfolios and practices demonstrate talent, expertise and client service in wedding photojournalism." Not only that but some of the other award winners in this collection are documentary wedding photographers I have long admired and looked up to for their wedding photography. I am honoured to be amongst such great company. These awards are judged by news photo editors and award-winning photojournalists (including Pulitzer Prize winners!), looking for images that "use the tools of photographic narrative to tell a couples story", no posing or fakery, just moments - a few portraits aside, that's what my approach is all about!

The shot that the judges chose is from a recent wedding in Portugal, the wedding of Lee & Jordan during their preparations. It captures the love and excitement of Jordan's soon-to-be Mother-in-Law and I am so pleased that my first Masterpiece Award came from their wedding day. You can see more from their wedding in Portugal here.


Destination Wedding in the Algarve, Portugal

Wind and Rain turns to Sun and Blue Skies for Lee & Jordan's Same Sex Wedding in Albufeira, Portugal

I'm not sure where to begin with this one! So, I'll start at the beginning. I met Jordan a few years ago at another wedding, in 2015 he was hairdresser and friend to the bride. We got on really well and so, it was great to hear from him, in early 2017, when he asked me to be his wedding photographer! The initial plan had been to get married at Henham Park (of Latitude fame) in Suffolk but a change of plan saw us heading for the Algarve instead (no complaints here!), where Lee and Jordan got married not far from the beach where they became engaged in 2016.

I arrived two days before the wedding which meant, I got to spend some time getting to know their family and friends. I get to meet some truly wonderful people in this line of work - Lee and Jordan are no exception. And in addition to having got to know Lee and Jordan, their friends and family that bit better, there were a few other familiar faces and friends from previous weddings too! So, on the day of the wedding itself, as much of a cliche as it sounds, I genuinely felt like a "guest with a camera"!

The weather forecast for the wedding day was less than promising. In fact, the weather in the UK was looking better! Armed with this knowledge, I made sure that I took the guys down to the beach, the night before, to capture some images of  them enjoying the sun, sea and sand! You can go here to see their pre-wedding photos on the beach.

On the morning of the wedding, I awoke to a view, not dissimilar to that in the first image below and watched as the wind picked up a beach umbrella for a triple somersault into the pool! I checked no less than three weather apps and then prayed for all it was worth for the weather to change but it wasn't looking good! The hotel wanted to move the ceremony indoors and the wind threw another beach umbrella over my head! But I needn’t have worried, because, as I stood on the balcony, the guys getting ready, looking out to sea, the sun began to reflect it's light on the horizon and made a glorious appearance just in the nick of time!

Coming up the aisle together, Lee and Jordan were absolutely beaming, giving the sun a run for its money! There was so much laughter during this ceremony, everyone was having the best time. The biggest laughs came though, when one of the registrars mispronounced Jordan's middle name, "Guy". She explained that she had been practising her pronunciation so hard but Jordan alleviated any embarrassment she may have had, delivering the punch-line, "It's just like being back at school!" The registrar came back at him, saying that since she had said it out loud, he was now legally "Jordan 'Gay' Ayers-Terrell" - #touché 😂😂😂

After signing their marriage certificate and being wonderfully serenaded by the one of their best friends, Polly, the boys made their way back down the aisle together as Mr & Mr! Hugs, kisses, congratulations, drinks and relaxing in the sun were next on the agenda before a series of fantastic speeches which took us into the evening. A few portraits as the sun got low in the sky we returned to watch a video that Lee and Jordan had put together to celebrate their nearest and dearest - truly making their day about everybody!

The drink and good times continued as Lee and Jordan took to the floor for their first dance before everyone joined them and lots more dancing ensued, sending them off on honeymoon in style!

It was an absolute pleasure and privilege to be a part of their day - thank you so much Lee and Jordan for taking me to Portugal with you, I hope these photos will bring happy memories back to you for many years to come - enjoy!


Dairy Barns Wedding

Drew + Carina's Wedding at the Dairy Barns

It's the done thing to talk about the weather in the UK. It's a fairly usual conversation starter. And blogging about this wedding, I do need to pay it some mention. The forecast for this wedding, at the Dairy Barns in Norfolk, was heavy rain and driving winds all day! It was the weekend of "The Beast from the East" Part II. I'd thought about a brolly but stepping out of my car, I realised that I would have just been lifted off my feet! It remained this way all day and so everyone remained indoor for pretty much the whole day. But this was no bad thing, the warm and welcoming Dairy Barns is a great little place to shelter away in. Everyone working there is really friendly and Hannah is such a welcoming host.

I began the day with Karina as she was putting her dress on, assisted by her mum and her best-friend before capturing some pictures of guests arriving and Drew, nervously and periodically checking his watch ahead of her arrival. Luckily, Carina and her dad only had a short walk in the wind to get back indoors before Bride and Groom reunited at the top of the aisle. They were all smiles, unable to control their giddy excitement! Having signed their certificate, officially becoming Mr and Mrs, they triumphantly headed back down the aisle and in to the arms of their friends and family who could not wait to congratulate them!

Braving the cold but avoiding the wet, we took some photos under the old barn - it was freezing but drew and Carina held each other close and had a good giggle nonetheless! After a few family groups, we nipped back indoors as quickly as we could to warm up ahead of the wedding breakfast - it was proper winter comfort food and went down a treat!

A heartfelt speech by Carina's dad, was followed by some lovely words from Drew to his new wife, before Drew was ritually humiliated in front of his guests by a double team of Best Men. Cutting the cake (lovingly made by Drew's mum!) in front of all their guests signalled that the party could get well underway and there was no shortage of drink available both, at the bar but also from a fair few craft beers that Drew and Carina happen to be partial to and which they had had dotted around the tables.

I left to the sounds of music playing and full on belly laughs as friends and family continued to toast to the new husband and wife and celebrated with them into the night. A wonderful day to have been a part of, even if I nearly did come off the road as a tree did it's best to fall on my car on the way home - but that's another story - enjoy!


Diamond Award | Engagement Photographer

A wet, windy and wonderful engagement session in Norwich

It was wonderful to hear, from the WPJA that I won a Diamond Award this week for the photograph above of Rhea and Pieter on their pre-wedding photoshoot in Norwich.

Dodging the wet and the wind, these two, nonetheless, made the absolute most of the day. And Rhea's hat and scarf combo added a good dash of colour on what was an otherwise very grey afternoon.

We grabbed coffee together and sheltering from the rain, they treated me to lunch as well. It was a great way to catch up with them about their wedding plans at the amazing Narborough Hall near Kings Lynn.

The Diamond Awards are the WPJA’s, first-ever, standalone portrait contest for Engagement Portraits. These awards are judged by news photo editors and award-winning photojournalists (including Pulitzer Prize winners) so, being only a recent(ish) member and being one of the first awards I've entered, I was absolutely over the moon to learn of the news!

Here's just a few more of my favourites from the day - enjoy!


BEACH ENGAGEMENT PHOTOGRAPHY IN PORTUGAL

PORTUGAL PRE WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER

Rob, those photos are just incredible! 😁❤️ my god I’m a model!!! 😂😂 we are soooo pleased!!!

I love engagement photography. It's an amazing way to get to know each other before the wedding day, have some pre-wedding fun and for a couple to get comfortable in front of the camera. Lee had been a bit nervous about the shoot but as you'll see below, he did just fine! Jordan, on the other hand is not exactly the shy and retiring type!

This shoot was extra special as the beach was the same beach where Lee and Jordan got engaged, it was perfect! I also got to join Jordan, Lee, their friends and family for a pre-wedding meal, looking out on the beach, after our shoot. The very next day, I was there to capture their wedding.

It was an amazing beach engagement session in Praia da Oura, in the Algarve. Their love, their outlook on life and their energy are infectious and this made the shoot so easy. They have a chemistry that I can't put into words, a true bond but if you know them, you'll know precisely what I mean!

With the weather forecast for the wedding day looking less than ideal, I wanted to make the most of the good weather while we had it and, so we spent a beautiful evening wandering the beach and around the hotel grounds. I like to do as little posing as possible on these shoots, offering a little direction here and there, otherwise it's really just about capturing some smiles, some laughter and a little of that chemistry they got going on. I might love these two a little bit - enjoy!


A Cambridge Back Garden Wedding

A Marquee Garden Wedding in Cambridgeshire

Rhiannon and Henry married in their local church in Cambridge and had a wonderful back garden wedding reception at the family home.

Rhiannon and Henry live in Norfolk but Rhiannon did her growing up in and they both met at university in Cambridge and so it made the perfect backdrop for their wedding celebrations.

Amazing photographer (and photographs) for an amazing day! The photos were EXACTLY what we wanted and I never stop looking at them. It was an intimate affair and that wholly rings true with your approach. Thank you again!

I joined the girls first thing, while the final touches were being made to the marquee and everyone busied around getting ready! I love this part of the day, it's always a great way for me to get to know some of the wedding party and since spirits are high, it's always a good laugh.

I drove the short journey to join Henry and his ushers at the Church and I took the opportunity to capture some candid photos of the meeting and greeting.

Inside the church, as the wedding guests waited for the brides arrival, I nipped in and out to watch and wait for the arrival of a beautiful vintage wedding car. The acoustics in the church were unbelievable and the organ and choir were a treat. I wept when they sang Calon Lân, not least because of my welsh roots but because the music were so achingly beautiful!

The service too was wonderful, with some lovely readings and you could feel the love that Henry and Rhiannon's friends and family have for them both. After the register was signed and it was all made official, the new Mr and Mrs came down the aisle and back outside where we took some quick portraits before the rain came. It came and went though and it certainly didn't get in the way of the party.

An all round perfect day, it was a joy to be a part of - enjoy this little selection!

 


DIY Farm Wedding in Norfolk

A Farm Wedding in Norfolk

Georgina and Alex got married last Summer at the family farm in Norfolk on a fabulously sunshiny day! I love a wedding on a farm and this setting in the North Norfolk countryside could not have been more perfect.

The day started with a few getting ready photographs at Georgina's family home. I arrived at the farm house to join the family putting the finishing touches to the marquee in the garden which had been beautifully decorated with flowers and other personal touches. Later, I got some of my favourite captures from the day as Georgina was helped in to her wedding dress by her sister, before she travelled with her dad and her bridesmaids to the local church. Being a farm wedding and a farming family, there was only one way this was going to happen, by tractor, of course, entirely in keeping with the rural setting and the wedding theme.

Georgina looked stunning as she arrived at the top of the aisle and I knew Alex's socks would be well and truly knocked off when he saw her. After a beautiful church ceremony, Alex, Georgina and their closest friends travelled back in the tractor, they had a great time, laughing and joking with each other and this continued throughout the whole day.

The wedding day was a very laid back affair with friends and family relaxing on straw bales, enjoying the summer sunshine, as well as canapés and Pimms provided by the guys from Back to Your Place.

After some fine speeches it was time for the first dance, the party and the hog roast to begin. I'm not much of a dancer but I went back for second helpings on the hog roast! After the food and drink, more dancing ensued and everyone was left having an amazing time. It really was a wonderful day!

I had a great time at Georgina and Alex's farm wedding in Norfolk. There's just something extra special about a wedding that takes place in such an idyllic setting and in this case, a venue that also has a family connection. Another of my favourite farm weddings from the same year was a farm wedding in Suffolk. I'm next looking forward to a farm wedding in East Sussex in 2019, which will be on a family farm in the South Downs. I'm a Norfolk Wedding Photographer but I travel all over the UK and Europe and so, if you're planning a farm wedding or, any kind of outdoor wedding, I'd love to hear about it!

For now, a huge thanks to Georgina and Alex for choosing me to capture their day - enjoy the images!

   


Scene Stealers - The Kids are Alright...Really!

Should we have children at our Wedding? ...

…it was one of the first questions we had to address at our wedding and it no doubt comes up fairly early on for most couples planning a wedding.

I love children at weddings, they’re unpredictable and for this reason it makes them a joy to photograph (see a few of my recent favourites below).  But for a Bride and Groom planning the wedding of their dreams, the prospect of a temper tantrum during their vows might well be enough to put them off.

We took the decision to invite children from close family only, it was a tough decision but we made it clear early on.  We telephoned friends to let them know in person and in order to avoid misunderstanding and save hurt feelings later on.  I can’t remember it being a big issue, in fact, for most people, it was an opportunity to get the babysitter in, have a night off and let their hair down.  Ultimately, it has to be a personal choice and whatever you decide, it will be the right choice for you.

If you do have children at your wedding here's one really fun way to keep them entertained (and it's photography themed!).  It's become quite common to have disposable cameras on the table at a wedding but had you ever thought of combining this with a game of I-Spy?  Well here you go...you will need copies of this card, disposable cameras, and pencils at each child's table setting.

Martha-Stewart I-Spy

(via Martha Stewart Weddings)

The idea is that using the card, the children can go off on a photographic scavenger hunt ticking off items on their list as they capture them on camera.  The winner is the first child to tick off all the items on their list but, to save any fall-out, a small prize for all the completed cards wouldn't be a bad idea!  Some younger children might need help from an elder sibling, or, adult guest but otherwise this should keep them busy for a while.  A little bit of healthy competition from your younger guests should also help to keep your photographer on their toes and you never know, they might surprise you with the results! Just promise not to bruise my pride if they do ;-)

Rob Dodsworth is a wedding photographer in Norfolk working throughout the UK and Europe.  If you are planning a wedding in Norfolk, or further afield and would like to have an informal chat about your wedding photography then please get in touch. I look forward to hearing from you!

Article updated: 2 April 2018


Bride and groom on the dance floor at voewood

Amy & Greg's Voewood Wedding

A Voewood Wedding in North Norfolk

Before we begin, it's only fair I pay credit to the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and S Club 7 for their respective influences to the copy in this here blog post! Two bands, I'm fairly sure, aren't often mentioned in the same breath. I'm not ashamed to say I am a bit partial to both of them. And my eclectic taste in music works well here, for, it is to Voewood we go today. A wedding venue in Norfolk that is, most certainly, a little eclectic itself!

Ok... so it's no secret that I love Voewood! It's beyond exceptional. It's kooky, quirky, whimsical and wonderful and many other superlatives beside. It's a place I never tire of returning to. Not far from the North Norfolk coast and the Georgian town of Holt, it's a country house like no other. You honestly have to see it to believe it. And so, when, in 2017, no less than 3 couples chose me to capture their wedding at this extraordinary wedding venue, I was absolutely thrilled.

On Amy and Greg's big day I was joined by Videographer extraordinaire, Mike, from Capture Media. We began with the bride and her bridesmaids in the bridal suite at Voewood, spirits were high and Amy's sister entertained us all, to help Amy with a few nerves.

Afterward, Mike and I made our way to join the groom and groomsmen at a pub near the church. Unfortunately, there was no time for us to grab a pint on this occasion, there was already so much going on and we both set straight to capturing it.

The sun was certainly shining on this bride and groom for their big day, streaming through the windows of the house and their church and adding to the atmosphere as they exchanged their vows in front their friends and family.

As the bells rang out from the Church of the Annunciation, on Friday Market in Little Walsingham (picture perfect this was!), Amy and Greg got into a 1960 Ford Zephyr Mk. II Convertible, an amazing set of wheels in which to be transported back to Voewood. And as they flew away on their Zephyr, I'm fairly sure they felt it more than ever and in that perfect weather, they found a place together 😜

Dashing off ahead of the new Mr and Mrs I got back to Voewood to set up ready for their arrival. The house and gardens looked stunning and Amy and Greg, their friends and family made the most of the dry weather and we made a few portraits outside as they were entertained to the sounds of a jazz band! Drinks on the lawn followed before some cracking speeches and the most wonderful food laid on by Florentina Events, before the evenings entertainment ensued and the couple took to the dance floor. And as everyone who has been to a wedding at Voewood knows - their ain't know party like a Voewood Party!🤦

Here’s just a few frames from their special day – enjoy!


engagement photography on the norfolk coast

Engagement Photography

Pre-Wedding Photography

With my first wedding of 2018 coming up this weekend, the blog may take a back seat for a while and so, before the wedding season starts, a little look at  pictures from some of the wonderful couples I've had the pleasure of getting together with this past month.

First up, Rhea and Pieter who are getting married at one of my favourite venues, Narborough Hall. It's been too long since I last had the opportunity of a wedding at Narborough Hall but I will be hooking up with this gorgeous couple in September to photograph what I'm sure will be an incredible day!

We spent some time on a rather damp and windy day in Norwich but the weather did nothing to dampen our spirits and these two were all smiles throughout. We ate, we drank and we had a great time catching up about their plans. I can't wait to see them again!

Norwich pre-wedding photography

Next up, Hannah and Adam in the beautiful and historic city of York. I first met Hannah several years ago, at one of my early weddings in 2009 and almost a decade later, it felt like meeting an old friend. It was an absolute pleasure to spend the day with Hannah and Adam, catching up and hearing some more about them and their plans for the big day.

Their wedding at Middleton Lodge Estate, in North Yorkshire, takes place later this year and it looks like an amazing place to spend the day!

Here's just one from a fabulous couple of hours wandering around York together, as the sun set on the Minster.

a wedding portrait in York

Most recently, I got to spend an afternoon in the company of Emily and Tom. I absolutely love the North Norfolk Coast and I might love these two a little bit as well! They treated me to a pint after the shoot - a sure fire way to my heart for anyone reading and thinking about booking me for their pre-wedding photography!

North Norfolk coast + good light + good company + cosy fireside pint = winning. It was a great afternoon!

I'll be back at the wonderful Hautbois Hall, in the not too distant future, for more fun with these two - it's sure to be a good one!

engagement photography on the norfolk coast

If you're planning a wedding in 2019/2020 and fancy some pre-wedding photos to celebrate your engagement, then contact me to find out more!