Rachel & James - Catthorpe Manor Estate

Rachel & James' wedding was such a brilliant day, I don't really know where to start. The day, for me at least, felt like the culmination of lots of investment, preparation, and practice. I might ramble on a bit in this blog post, sorry in advance!

Every wedding season I'm always looking for some way to up my game, I'm always looking for something to make my films better. This might take the form of a new camera or piece of equipment or be my creative approach on the day, how I approach different elements of the day or direct a couple.

I've always wanted to use drones in my films but the cost of the insurance, tests, and commercial permission put me off for a long time. In January of this year I made the leap/investment and gave the guys at Coptrz a call, a few months later I'm a commercial drone pilot and Rachel and James' wedding was the first wedding I got to use it at. The results I managed to get on my first commercial flights instantly justified every penny I spent, more on that later.

I've also talked about previously feeling confident as a film maker, believing in my creativity and the quality of work I can produce. When I first started out wedding film making I usually felt myself play second fiddle to the photographers, let them call the shots and film around them. I love collaborating with photographers, we play off each other and I believe our work is both better because of it. As I've filmed more and more weddings over the past 3 years I know what shots I like to try and achieve and hopefully know why my couples choose me. I'm not just there to set up a camera and hit record I, like a photographer, am chosen for my style of work and creativity, I'm trusted to capture the day through my lens the way I see it. A complete first for me on this wedding day was the Bride, Rachel, watching some of my previous films and picking out some shots she loved and wanted to make sure we'd have time to get on the day. Time for couple shots on the day are very few and therefore very precious so to be given this slot to take charge so to speak was really great. And when those shots worked out flawlessly it was even better!

Onto the day...

I started off attending Bridal prep, it was quiet a quiet one compared to the week before which had 13 bridesmaids, 13! So the space I had today was appreciated. Rachel started off with her hair in the kitchen which was spacious and light, lots of scope for a nice variety of shots. Light is so important for bridal prep, I love window light and always recommend brides to have their hair and makeup done next to a window, much better than a dark corner where we struggle to see. Really happy with everything I got in bridal prep I went down to the church to get set up for the ceremony.

Filming in churches can be quite tricky sometimes but as soon as I met the Vicar I new that wouldn't be a problem today. Loads of space, loads of light, and a lovely accommodating Vicar. If a Vicar says to me 'do what you want' that doesn't mean I run around the church like a child or get uncomfortably close to the bride and groom during the important moments, it just means I know I'll be able to get my cameras in the right place and capture all of the moments from the best angles whilst staying out the way. After doing just that we grabbed some confetti and a couple of group shots outside of the church and went off to Catthorpe Manor.

The couple set off as we did from the church but in a classic car, Yes! I thought, it will be really slow and I'll beat them with ease to the venue to get them arriving.  However looks can be deceiving as the driver put his foot down and stayed behind me the entire way, as I was sprinting from the car park at Catthorpe I managed to get a quick shot of them pulling up the driveway just in time!

After a spot of mingling and lots of group photos we went for a quick walk with the couple into the woods nearby. The trees and overgrown bushes made an awesome backdrop for some great shots with Rachel and James. A few months previous to this I'd made an engagement video with a couple in a forest/woodland area and made use of some smoke grenades. I never really thought I'd use them at a wedding but Rachel had messaged me and asked if I'd bring some along. Worried about coloured smoke and a white dress I set off a couple of grenades quite far away from the couple and went to work, the atmosphere they create is amazing! I love them!

I visited Catthorpe Manor a few days previously and when wondering around I also found a really cool open field with a rustic looking concrete track, I love variety so getting some shots in a wide open area to go along with the enclosed woodland scene would look really nice. We grabbed a few shots there and realising we had a couple of minutes left, and two smoke grenades left, I asked if they would like to hold them and walk up towards us. Their faces lit up and the answer was a resounding yes, brilliant. I lit the smoke, set my cameras to slow motion and proceeded to capture some of the coolest wedding couple footage I think I've ever gotten. This wasn't planned, it just happened, and I'm so glad I suggested everything. But the real credit goes to Rachel, if she hadn't of asked for me to bring along some smoke none of this wouldn't have happened. A note to any future brides reading this, if you've seen something in a previous video of mine and would like something similar please just ask! Lets make it happen.

Moving on through the day the speeches, cake, and some dancing I noticed the sun was setting rather spectacularly. Moments like this aren't to be missed and sensing earlier that Rachel and James were up for getting some epic shots I suggested we run back to the field earlier to get some last couple of frames in the setting sun. After a few ground based shots I decided to take my drone up and get some couple shots from the air, seeing the two of them walk around the field with a drone whizzing around was, again, really cool, and the shots turned out just right! Watching back the images with Rachel and James on my iPad right afterwards I said "you're spoiling me guys!" my first drone flight at a wedding and I've already captured some images I never thought I would, amazing.

Even though I've talked a lot about couple shots in this blog post they're still not the most important part of the day, those for me will always be the speeches and ceremony, they are the really personal bits that will mean the most to you in the yeas to come but there is something about couple shoots that I love, you're always rushed for time and in that short period of time in the day, sometimes maybe only 10 minutes you're tasked with being as creative as possible . You see what you're location is like, what you're couple want, and you set to work, and today it went really well. These shots don't tell a story so to speak, they don't evoke as much emotion as a family member or friend recanting a childhood story but they do look pretty! Given the opportunity to get these shots I'm always keen.