An extended family session on the beach in Devon

"Hi Helen. Just want to say a massive thank you for meeting us yesterday and giving us such a good afternoon! We had such a laugh and you were brilliant. Cannot wait to see the pictures. Thanks again from all of us."

"Thank you for sending us these pictures and so fast as well... We have fallen in love with every one of the pictures and we have no idea how we are going to choose. Thank you again for such a lovely day."

I recently met with this lovely extended family on the beach at Westward Ho! to capture them all spending time together, celebrating Mum/Grandma Lesley's birthday.  Small children and beaches are always an amusingly unpredictable combination - great fun and beautiful for images, but things never seem to run smoothly!  Last time I was in North Devon for a family shoot, we had a (fully dressed) two year old knocked off her feet by a big wave, shortly after her toddler cousin had rubbed a whole load of sand in his eyes.  This time, one year old Isla didn't disappoint, and managed to dive into a huge pool within the first ten minutes!  Despite that, she was an absolute superstar, and ignored her soggy clothes to carry on stomping around the beach in her wellies and having a wonderful time.  We played with bubbles, threw stones, splashed in the water and narrowly missed being taken out by the incoming tide on more than one occasion!  I always love photographing families on the beach - despite all that pesky water and sand, it is always beautiful and it is always good fun!  Here are some of the images that we created:

Pynes House, Exeter: a gorgeous Devon wedding venue

House looking up the drive

Last weekend I had the exciting experience of visiting Pynes House, Exeter, for the first time. It is an amazing Georgian country house that has been beautifully refurbished over the past few years. I am photographing Tessa and Steve's wedding there in December, so we popped over to have a look around. I always love visiting a wedding venue that I haven't been to before, as it gives me the opportunity to start visualising each couple's wedding, and getting a real feel for how things will be on the day. Pynes House is really spectacular, with incredible spaces inside and gorgeous gardens around the exterior. I was so completely wowed that I had to grab a few images along the way. I loved so much about it: the light streaming into the rooms, the gorgeous colours, the original ornate plaster work and the huge windows looking out across the gardens. The grounds are beautiful, with gentle views across the Exe Valley - despite being less than ten minutes from Exeter city centre, you feel that you are completely in the middle of nowhere.  There were even friendly sheep with gorgeous lambs that came to say hello to me!  So I'm completely smitten, and I can't wait to photograph Tessa and Steve's winter wedding there later this year.  For now, here is a little peep around the house and gardens...

Pynes House and gardens
Sheep in the grounds
Stone stag at entrance to Pynes House
Statues and fountain in gardens
Pynes House front visage
Pynes House front door 
Pynes House ceremony room with chairs laid out
Glass beaded lights in ceremony room

Cotswolds wedding photography: Clare and David at Kiftsgate Court

Last October, I photographed Clare and David's gorgeous autumn wedding in the Cotswolds. The celebrations took place at Clare's family home, Kiftsgate Court, with the ceremony in nearby Ebrington. Clare looked absolutely amazing, wearing her mother's altered wedding dress for the occasion, which was just gorgeous.  Kiftsgate is the most incredible location, with utterly magnificent gardens, which were created and maintained by three generations of women (currently Clare's mother Anne). You can read more about it here, and I would highly recommend a visit if you are in the area!

Despite torrential rain to start the morning, the skies cleared late morning and it turned into the most perfect autumn day.  I had arrived to the sight of raincoats and wellies as all the family buzzed around putting the final touches to the marquee, but by the time Clare was upstairs at Kiftsgate having her hair done, there were definite patches of blue sky!  Then the sun came out, and stayed well and truly out for the rest of the day.

When the weather plays nicely, I absolutely love weddings in the autumn and winter.  The quality of the light can be really amazing, with a gentle softness that you don't get in the warmer months.  We were treated to the most incredible golden light, which made the afternoon reception in Kiftsgate's glorious gardens something incredibly special.  It was a real treat to watch the sun going down over the Malvern Hills in the distance, and it was a sunset that I'm sure Clare and David will remember forever.

The evening in the marquee was wonderful, with some highly entertaining speeches, a few wandering family dogs, a crisp starry night and some fantastic dance floor action! It was a wonderful day from start to finish and I'm really delighted to share the photographs here on the blog.  I hope you enjoy looking through them.