There are people in the world who, in front of a camera, light up. They transform. They become someone else. They are in their zone. Almost inevitably, if nature combines this lust for the camera with natural good looks (and height, always the height!), you have yourself a model.
For the majority of us, this is not the case.
Being comfortable in front of the camera is not something that comes naturally to most of us. We all have that ‘fake smile’ that we pull right? The one that your nearest and dearest recognise as your said, fake smile, and laugh about. But it’s what you do when someone says ‘smile for the camera’. You smile (the word). Smiling (the verb) is something that starts within.
It’s not that you don’t look good in photos: when someone captures you unaware, you are alive, yourself, and beautiful (we love that Holly at Belle & Beau has captured these loving looks between Fiona and Jeff on today’s E-Shoot with such sincerity).
On your wedding day, chances are you will be spending four figures on your photography and (optionally) videography. We’ve said it once, we’ll say it again, the photography at your wedding is not a time to scrimp. It’s not a time to let your brother-in-law-who-has-a-really-good-Nikon try his hand at photography, because, if he messes up, there’s no second chance.
Your wedding day is enough to give you reason to smile. But when you look back on the day good photography makes you smile again. A smile within a smile. It brings those memories that are getting grey in the recesses of your mind to the foreground – bright and Technicolor again. Good photography is a joy to look at, and, with a good photographer, tis actually a joy to be photographed (even if you’re a little camera shy).
Today we’re featuring the engagement shoot of Fiona and Jeff. See, a good photographer gets that you might not be super comfortable in front of the camera, and gets all those jitters and nerves out of the way on a shoot that, while giving you some gorgeous couple pictures, doesn’t actually matter. It gives a chance to get into that place, so that you know, come the wedding morning, they’ll not be a fake smile in sight. Your photographer has already got to know you as a couple and can inconspicuously shoot away, with you smiling your real smile, because you know you certainly don’t have the photography to worry about…. Focus on something else instead! The weather, or your hair or something like that. Given that Fiona and Jeff are marrying in Phuket as well (with a different photographer capturing the day), “it was really lovely to have a day capturing the English side of our romance. My parents suggested the venue as they love to visit it, and we love an English Country House. It just feels so romantic, so was perfect for our shoot,” says Fiona.
Fiona and Jeff’s engagement shoot took place at the beautiful Newby Hall and gardens in North Yorkshire.Really, there’s nothing not to love about the beautifully manicured lawns set in designed and refined gardens, the design of which dates from the 1920s: there are formal settings a-plenty, but probably our favourite captures of the shoot are against less formal backdrops: the images captured of the couple in amongst the fronds of a willow tree made us smile, and what’s not to love about two pairs of the most sublime shoes… Hello Louboutain’s, hello Westwood’s. Swoon.
We chatted to Fiona about her and Jeff’s love story… “We first met at a Leeds University Party through friends. I was 25 and it seems like a long time ago. He was a friend of a friend, so we met that way. I was still young and single when we met, and we saw each other around before we went on a date. The first date was bowling at Kirkstall and a pub dinner! Our first kiss< was at my house after a night out. Not exactly romantic, it must have been the alcohol working!!”
The engagement story itself was pretty impressive, given that it takes in a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon (and champagne, naturally). “We were on a family holiday when we were over there, as three months before, when we had been in Hong Kong [where both Fiona and Jeff are originally from] he had taken me to a jeweller and made sure he knew the right size ring to get! I hadn’t seen it or anything, but I knew it was coming… Jeff loves to sing Karaoke, and he had planned to take me to Vegas and propose as Celine Dion was singing ‘My Heart Will Go On’, but she was on a break from her residency, so the Grand Canyon it was! He didn’t actually get down on one knee mind you.
When I caught up with Fiona she was just 26 days away from the wedding. “I always wanted an intimate wedding somewhere hot. So we started looking at wedding blogs and travel agencies for inspiration. Then we found a white chapel at Phuket, Thailand right next to the sea, and then we decided to have it there. It summed up my style perfectly which, if I had to put it into words, would be sweet, simple and romantic. The favourite part of planning the wedding has been having time with our friends to plan with lots of drinks and laughter. I think the most important thing in planning the day is communication with each other. As this is a party for both of us not just one of us [here Fiona whispers] I’m trying not to turn into a bridezilla!”
Thanks to Fiona for taking the time to chat to us about her planning – especially so near to the big day!
Fiona & Jeff’s little black book
Bride to be outfit 1 Galina Signature
Bride to be outfit 2 Zara
Bride to be accessories Jenny Packham Acacia
Groom’s to be outfit 2 Hugo Boss
Photography by Belle & Beau
Words Harriet Rouse