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!


REAL Wedding Photography

Documentary Wedding Photographer

HERO SHOTS ... Smoke bombs, clever composite images, grand vistas - anything to grab attention in an otherwise overwhelming array of pictures and funny cat videos. I know attention spans are limited. We don't make the time to stop and take things in before the next thing competing for our attention.  I'm guilty of it. Facebook, Instagram etc are designed to get us hooked and the way they do that is showing us images and stories that instantly grab our attention .... the WOW factor or Hero shot type stuff. But it is so far from what really floats my boat.

I just got this little comment on my most recent blog post, a wedding in Cambridge ...

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!

... and it reminded me of an email that Rhiannon sent me after she first got her photos that because of my own rushing about, I hadn't really stopped to reflect upon.

"they’re so poignant for me as that house is where I have lived my whole life and they’re just wonderful.
The photos you captured of my grandad are so special. I know how distraught he was that my grandmother couldn’t make it but if ever there is a lasting memory of my grandfather it is exactly as you captured; sat at the table, be it at their dining table or in our conservatory, just reading the paper. I can’t tell you how treasured that picture is to me.
The rest of the photos are just wonderful. It is so lovely to see the guests arrive as obviously I wasn’t there for that! The candid nature of everything is what I love about them - everyone is so happy and enjoying themselves.
I meant everything I said before, and don’t feel like I’ll ever say thank you enough - we just love them!"

So, here's a couple of, really simple but nonetheless, favourite images from the day. One of my own and one of Rhiannon's.

The first is her grandfather, just quietly reading his paper as the rest of the household busied around getting ready. This image was special to me too, because he reminded me so much of my own grandfather (not least the Welsh accent). When you book a wedding photographer, you're hiring their eye and each and everyone will have a different viewpoint on your day. This image was influenced by my own love for my grandpa and by what, I hoped, Rhiannon would want to see of her grandfather, as the years go by.

The next image is our bride composing herself before she leaves for church to meet her (soon-to-be) husband. She is helped into her dress by her sister in the living room of the home where they played make-believe as children. There's nothing particularly clever, nothing flashy to speak of here but it's capturing images like this that sings to me. I hope it sings to you too ... if it does, do drop a comment below or, feel free to check out more about my approach to wedding photography here.

If you're looking for unposed, natural wedding photography in Norfolk or further afield, get in touch and tell me about your plans!


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!

 


elopement photographer

Elopement Photographer

Find A Norfolk Wedding Photographer For Your Elopement

If you’ve got a dream scenario for your wedding day, it’s the right time to let it out. It might not tick all the boxes for everyone attending but you deserve to get married how you both want to. Spontaneity and speed are the two main features if you’re interested in opting for an elopement-style wedding day. However, that might leave you with many unanswered questions.

To help you make this, often, snap decision, I'm here to help. At Rob Dodsworth Photography you’ll be able to tick something off your checklist with a professional photographer who will document the beautiful occasion in the best light.

elopement photographyThere may be so much to organise, but that doesn’t mean you need to be unprepared:

  • Tell your guests:

    The definition of an elopement is to run away and get married in secret. But to have a legal civil ceremony in the UK you will need to have two witnesses.  If it is just the two of you eloping, then I can act as one of your witnesses and we can grab a kindly stranger to act as the second witness for you. You may be planning to tell a small group of friends or, family. If this is the case then, set a number for your wedding, narrow down the guest list and if there's time get the invites sent out. Elopements are often planned quite quickly so, a written invitation in the post might be put aside in favour of a telephone call or message. You may only have days until your elopement so, it’s important you make a list of people you really want to have with you. Make sure you’re clear on who you want there for this most special moment in your life.

  • Find the perfect venue:

    If you’ve decided to choose an elopement as your desired route of marriage, you have most likely dreamed up a setting in your head. Whether you’re going for a truly intimate setting in the Scottish Highlands or, you want to say your vows by a waterfall in Iceland, the location you decide upon will provide the backdrop to your photos. Want to set up a ceremony by the lake where your first date took place? Want to create a special atmosphere at your favourite place? There are many options to choose from, but if you want your elopement to be truly special and don't fancy overcomplicating things, keep things as simple as you can and save up for your honeymoon, your photographs and the experiences. Planning an elopement in Las Vegas? Well then, after saying goodbye to the King, don your blue suede shoes and head out along Route 66 together for an LA vacation!

  • Be bold:

    The last piece of advice I have that can prepare you for any elopement is to be brave, be bold and don’t change your decision. The bond of love isn’t something that will alter. Your partner and yourself will have the chance to enjoy this moment together. Find the venue, get a dress and a suit fitted now and don’t delay in booking me, to help capture this once in a lifetime adventure for you! Whether you're eloping somewhere in the South of England, the Lake District or here, in Norfolk. My wedding and elopement photography can fill the missing pieces in your spontaneously-decided occasion, because it will capture the only thing that matters: the two of you.

  • To discover more about elopements and how to start the planning process by booking a professional photographer, speak to Rob Dodsworth today.


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!

   


Norfolk Wedding Celebrants | The Ceremony People

Wedding Celebrants in Norfolk

After a conversation with a bride and groom recently, a conversation where we talked about a seeming lack of options for independent celebrants in Norfolk, I did a little digging around. My research resulted in finding the very lovely, Lisa and Caroline of Norfolk based wedding celebrants, the Ceremony People.

wedding old hall elyAn email and a chat on the phone, we agreed that coffee, cake and a good natter about all things wedding was in order!

The first thing to say about The Ceremony People is that their ethos and their approach to weddings is absolutely focused on what you want to get out of your day and they are so full of enthusiasm for this.

  1. How did the Ceremony People come about? What’s your story?

We used to work as registrars for the local Council but after some time in this role (14 years of experience between us) we knew that there was so much more that we could offer.

One of the frustrating things about being a registrar for the council was that we didn't really know our couples. Sometimes, we might even perform more than one ceremony in a day and as you’ll  know Rob, weddings can tend to run behind and the rushing to and from different ceremonies, meant not having the time to be a real part of a couples special day. We wouldn’t meet our couples before their big day, we were practically strangers, dropping in on them and straight out again. This way of working just wasn’t for us anymore.

Working for ourselves, for the Ceremony People, we can choose to only take on one ceremony per day. We offer a much more personal and intimate service, really getting to know a couple before their big day and helping to make it as special and as memorable as it possibly can be. It also means that we can be more flexible. When we worked as registrars, we were limited to office hours but as the Ceremony People we can help our couples outside of normal office hours and at weekends.

It’s so much nicer for us to know our couples before the wedding day and they tell us that they really appreciate being greeted by the reassuring face of someone they have gotten to know, of someone who shows a real interest in them and their plans for the wedding day.

wedding flowers

  1.  Why should someone choose you, a wedding celebrant, over the more traditional route of a Registrar?

People need to have their wedding registered. It’s a legal requirement but it’s a very small part of the day - the legal bit. We can help advise people how to go about this but there is so much more to a ceremony than officially signing a register.

The ceremonial aspect of a wedding makes up a large part of your wedding day and that’s where we excel. A Council Registrar has to use an approved script on your wedding day, they might add a flourish here and there but we can tailor make your ceremony around you and what you want.

There are no restrictions. We have done hand-fastening ceremonies for instance. Our ceremonies are far from standard and we and our couples can write our own scripts! We are not limited by a formal ceremony and we are very excited about all the possibilities this opens up for us and for our couples. We are really enjoying this part of our work.   

We are also enjoying much closer working relationships with other Norfolk wedding vendors including, Norfolk wedding venues and Norfolk Wedding Photographers, like yourself.

norfolk wedding photography

  1.  Do you have any top tips for couples planning their weddings?

It’s a cheeky one but choose your celebrant carefully, someone who reflects you, who gets you. Choose someone who can help you deliver your vision of the day not someone else's script or, idea of what your ceremony should be.

Don’t sweat the small stuff, enjoy your day for what it is. Don’t get hung up on every little detail, leave the coordination and planning on the day to the professionals so that you can just get on and enjoy it!

wedding celebrants in Norfolk

  1.  What else is on the horizon for you both?

We’re excited to be launching a wedding hire company, the Vintage Kit Co. in the not too distant future and as the Ceremony People, we’re really excited and looking forward to some really unique weddings and really quirky wedding venues in 2018 and 2019!

norfolk wedding celebrants

If you are looking for wedding celebrants in Norfolk or Suffolk, then you can find more details on our website - we'll look forward to hearing from you!


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!