Styled Wedding Photoshoot at Alrewas Hayes, Burton-On-Trent
I had been planning a styled wedding photoshoot since before Christmas 2016. Although I have worked on smaller styled shoots before, I had always wanted to organise a big project like this. I believe it is important to work on personal projects because it allows you to be creative with other wedding industry professionals and practice your skills.
Like Rochelle, our talented Make Up Artist said on the day
…this is our playtime!
There was no doubt about the venue I wanted to contact for this shoot. I had photographed and attended weddings and birthdays at Alrewas Hayes a number of times before and I knew this was THEEEE venue for this shoot. It’s just incredibly stunning and was so fitting for the theme of the shoot. I had my heart set on Alrewas Hayes from the beginning and was delighted when they said yes!
Although I’m yet to visit, I am a huge Italy lover (my business name SORRISO is actually Italian for smile). I love the food, the language, the little old villages full of greenery and vineyards. I kid you not I have a whole pinterest board dedicated to Florence, Tuscany, Venice… a trip I WILL be doing at some point! So I wanted to bring a little Tuscany vibe to the shoot with the décor and felt that Alrewas Hayes had the perfect interior and grounds for this. Keeping in line with the popular Greenery wedding trend of 2017 (as announced by Pantone), I wanted to bring greenery to the shoot aided with blush flowers and gold accents. I’m a sucker for countrysides and beautiful gardens so greenery was a must.
I enjoyed every moment of bouncing ideas off of each supplier and cannot thank each person involved enough for giving their time and skill to this project. We had so much fun that we decided to do 2 looks for the shoot and put a Luxe 1920’s spin on the second look. Mary who owns The Wedding Room in Nottingham turned up with 4 show stopping dresses and we decided to put our lovely model in the gorgeous Stella York gown to begin with, followed by the stunning Umbiel dress by Eliza Jane Howell.
Without much further ado, here is the AWESOME behind the scenes trailer filmed by the talented wedding videography company Story Cabin Wedding Films along with the photographs taken by me.
HUGE THANK YOU TO:
Venue: Alrewas Hayes
Videographer: Story Cabin Wedding Films
Wedding Dresses: The Wedding Room
Makeup Artist: Rochelle O’Brien
Hair Stylist: L H Professional Hair
Cake Designer: Elysian Cakery
Wedding Decor: Hayley Smith Venue Stylist
Stationary: Becky Lord Design
Silk Blush Ribbons: Ollie’s Studio
Models: Megan Howe + Matthew Addock
Camera Assistant: Bhulla Beghal
How did you plant the seeds to your ambition? Ever thought about it?
This is something that I like to call “free writing”. What I mean by this is when you find yourself looking at something in deep contemplation and relating it to a memory. I do this often and find myself writing down the words as I get deeper in my thinking. Maybe I’m just over analytical? or maybe I just see the beauty and inspiration in the weirdest of things. Either way… I always try to keep it positive.
Do you know what this is? It’s Aloe Vera in its most natural form. It’s a wonder plant. Known across the world for its natural healing properties and health benefits. It was never bought like this. No no, it was gifted to my Mother by her cousin (we are from Indian descent, our family ties are all pretty close) as a young baby plant sprouting it’s little arms, reaching out to get bigger and better with nurture and time.
I found myself staring over at this plant while I worked on some freelance editing. I freelance a lot as a gap filler when my own work is quiet. My rebranded business is still fairly new so my own bookings are slowly picking up. Although I love the physical photographic side of the business, the other mundane tasks, like editing thousands of photographs, can become a little tiring and time consuming. So I found myself gazing at this beautifully strange plant and thinking “how on did you become so big!”
I looked over at my mom and asked “When did you get that Aloe Vera plant mom?”
She simply replied “3 years ago, it was given to me as a gift. It was just a baby plant with 5 or 6 little stems in a little pot no bigger than your average coffee tin”.
Aloe Vera never really dies. With the right care it just gets bigger and bolder. You can cut of an individual stem and refrigerate it for days, weeks and use it on your skin, in food, in drinks.
I asked my mom how she looked after it and she said “I kept it indoors mostly. Without fail, every 2 to 3 weeks, I watered it for 3 years. I kept it warm in the winter, and gave it fresh air with a few days outside in spring, summer. I can’t believe how big its gotten now. It’s going to need another pot soon!”
It was at this point my thoughts turned to my business. In my bored, demotivated state of mind, while I sat editing my freelance work, the thought of how far this plant had come along the way inspired me. Something as simple as nurturing this baby Aloe Vera plant and seeing its growth over the years made me think about where my business is going! Deeeeep huh? With time, with nurture, with consistency and continuity there is no limit to where you can take your ambition. There is no real boundaries if you allow yourself to work hard, take an action every day toward achieving that bigger goal you dream of. Businesses, like plants, need the right time, the right nurture, the right attention to grow and become a greater existence. Much like personal goals, relationships, careers.
Here’s a photo of how big the Aloe Vera plant is now. I had the assistance of my wonderful 6 year old nephew to show just how big the the plant is now in comparison to him.
Moral of the story… Plant the seeds to your ambition now. Be patient, be nurturing, be consistent, expect it to take time, but never stop those small steps to your reach your bigger growth.
Keep watering your seeds all,
2016 Business and Personal Goals
On 5th January 2016, I celebrated ONE whole year of being rebranded as SORRISO Weddings and Portraits. The decision of rebranding came after years of feeling stuck in a part of the photography industry I wasn’t happy in. I wrote about my reasons to shed my old brand in my blog post entitled New Beginnings.
Rebranding has opened up so many new opportunities for me and I couldn’t be more thankful to all of the great support I’ve had from industry peers, loved ones and my amazing couples. I wrote about the journey of SORRISO in my 2015 review. Check it out!
I have to be honest, I’m not big on new years resolutions because I feel really disappointed in myself if I can’t 100% commit or achieve them. However, I always try and set realistic goals for the year ahead so here’s a little insight into the happenings of 2016.
- My top priority is to book more weddings of my own. I think I will always freelance for other photographers and wedding photography companies but to be able to create my own art in my own style is something my creative soul craves. Get booking folks :)
- Continuous development. I’m a professional but by no means a complete know it all. There is always something new to learn from others. That’s why I’ve made it a little mission of mine to attend a couple of workshops, networking events and exhibitions this year. What a great way to connect with other industry professionals as well as learn something new!
- BLOG MORE! When I rebranded I was adamant to blog my journey more. It didn’t happen. But this year IT WILL! I love writing but 2015’s roller coaster well and truly threw me off. Now I have set time aside to get blogging.
- Set more personal projects and shoot for myself. In my quieter times, out of wedding season, I want to go out and experiment a little more. Its a great way to learn new skills, improve the ones you already have and keep your creativity flowing. Just me and my camera on the road to new adventures.
- Wedding food, I do love you, but this year I need to hit the gym a whole lot more than I did in 2015. Being self-employed means I really have to look after myself. I can’t call in sick or get someone to cover a wedding for me because I am booked for my style of work and my personal approach to all of my couples.
- I love being creative. In 2015 I started practising calligraphy writing and then it became an obsession. Language and writing is something I adore exploring. I hope to become better in both throughout 2016. Again, I’m no expert but heres a little example of my beginner calligraphy.
- Make more time for myself and the ones I love. Simply THAT!
- Continue to be unapologetically MYSELF. One thing I struggled with when tryi
ng to push my old brand, was to really understanding myself. In the words of the ever so wonderful Jasmine Star, a US wedding photographer I find very relatable:
Know who YOU is!
Just for fun, here’s why I love J.Star!
Taken from CreativeLive’s YouTube Channel.
Being a young British-Indian female, I fell into the wonderful world of Indian Wedding Photography. I love my culture and my roots but felt that I wasn’t being taken seriously in this role and I wasn’t really being true to myself either. I love natural light, elegant, bright, lifestyle-esque imagery and this wasn’t really being understood by industry peers. I didn’t want to do what everyone else was doing so rebranding gave me the opportunity to break away and start all over again. I really made it a mission to be MYSELF and know who I am! I’m now comfortable in my own self and will continue to display me and my work just the way I like it :)
I am keeping much of my goals a little on the hush. They are planted securely on my office wall for me to look at every day and work towards step by step. I find writing down my goals and visualising them helps me achieve them and works better for me than voicing them, thinking them and hoping they happen. So when I do a review of 2016 I’ll let you into a little more of what these goals are. Gotta keep a little mystery in the madness after all ;) Until then… make 2016 a happy one!
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TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN – The year of:
- A New Brand
- A Hair Cut
- New Connections
- Over 30 weddings around the country
- Being Published
- Personal and Professional Development
I’ve majorly slacked at blogging in 2015. I said I would blog more when I launched my rebrand and then I didn’t get round to doing it! Terribly sorry for the
procrastination glitch, but hey I guess thats my 2016 New Years resolution sorted!
I don’t know where to start with my year in review. An incredible amount of good, positive changes happened in my personal life as well as professionally over the course of 2015. I’ll try to squeeze in as much as possible in no particular order.
New Look, New Feel, Heres to Rebranding
On 5th January 2015 I launched my newly rebranded photography business SORRISO Weddings and Portraits. Shout out to Kultar, my brand and web designer for understanding my vision. YOU saved my brand from the mess it was left in. You interpreted my vision into a mature yet fun vintage brand without imitating others or making me look like I sell cupcakes and cookies ha! A huge thank you to Becky Lord Designs for adding beautiful elegant personal touches on all of my business stationary! You’ve both played a huge part in shaping the look of my business and I can’t thank you both enough! So pleased to be working with you both continuously! *Group hugs y’all!*
Being newly rebranded in an already competitive industry, I literally had to re-start my photography dream from scratch again! You can read the full story of what made me want to rebrand here. My rebrand felt like a fresh start and the opportunity to finally be completely myself rather than fit in.
Starting from scratch at the beginning of 2015 meant that I was to re-establish myself with a new client base. It hasn’t been easy at all but I wouldn’t change my journey for anything. I secured a handful of my own wedding bookings and was catapulted into freelancing and being a 2nd photographer for many other wonderful creative photographers. 2nd shooting allowed me to experience 30 weddings around the UK over the course of the year, which helped me explore my style and new found self in much more depth. Below are some snaps I took while freelancing/2nd shooting at various weddings.
Matt and Terianne – 2nd photographer for Finishing Touch Wedding Video and Photography
Tom and Clarice – 2nd photographer for Finishing Touch Wedding Video and Photography
Ross and Gemma – 2nd photographer for Finishing Touch Wedding Video and Photography
Chris and Leanne – 2nd photographer for Soul Photography
Public Speaking, Being Published and Fusion Weddings
Early on in 2015, my local newspaper covered my business relaunch story. Read here :) I was involved with the Prince’s Trust, who backed my business relaunch. After going through a short programme and launching my business, the Prince’s Trust listed me as one of their ‘Inspirational Speakers.’ I now give talks to groups of other youngsters involved with the Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme, who have a business idea and wish to explore it further. This has in turn given me a great confidence boost as well as the want to help and support other youngsters who struggle to turn their ideas into a paying business.
2015 gave me the opportunity to photograph my first fusion wedding of the year. I had met the Bride, Sim when we were studying at the same University many many moons ago. Having followed my previous brand, Sim had booked me back in 2014 for her 2 Weddings both being held in May 2015. I had become friends with the owner of Secret Wedding Blog (a blog based around interfaith, multicultural fusion weddings) and was asked if Sim’s wedding could be shared as part of the blog. Sim was happy to participate and upon viewing the blog herself, loved seeing all of the different unions between cultures and faiths this blog included. Little did we know of the heartbreak that was to come on the day of her traditional Sikh wedding. You can read her story here.
After sharing her story with this blog, Sim was approached by various media platforms to further share her story. In a difficult time and in the hopes of getting closure, Sim shared agreed to share her story with a handful of reporters. Along with this, my images were included in a 10 minute televised news report and then published on ITV News Central. They were also published in the November issue of Grazia Magazine UK (See below).
…and a huge shout out to Raj of Secret Wedding Blog for also publishing my work her beautiful blog.
Raj and I also had the opportunity to meet when she invited me over to stay with her during a weekend of a fun work turn play lifestyle photoshoot. This pretty ladies apartment is so cute and stylish, I didn’t want to leave! Whack on the Friends box set and put the kettle one… I’m coming back!
Personal and Professional Development
I started this post by stating that my rebrand had allowed me to completely and utterly be myself. This year started with my personal life being far from “together” and having to let go of a lot emotionally. I learnt that I only really had myself to create the life I wanted. I focused the whole of me on bettering myself personally and professionally. Professionally, I connected with various photographers I’m inspired by, I openly asked for guidance, advice and joined various online workshops and courses to keep my business head in-check. Personally, I’ve now become an avid gym go-er, I’ve picked up a new language by revisiting my old GCSE books so maintenant, je peux vous parler en français and I’ve become increasingly obsessed with calligraphy writing. If you’ve booked me for 2016, expect to have A LOT of personal touches and calligraphy writing all over your parcels!
I would like to take this opportunity to thank ALL of the fellow photographers and video companies that have hired me to freelance or be their 2nd photographer. Thank you to all of my friends who have supported me when things get tough and celebrated with me when good things happen. To all of the couples I have met throughout the year, you are amazing, thank you for allowing me to be part of your celebrations and always remain unbreakable. I can’t wait to meet all of my 2016 couples and continue my journey in a career I adore.
Wishing you all a 2016 full of love, happiness and new adventures. See you on the other side :)
Follow me around the inter web for the latest updates on photography and personal adventures
Change is learning. Change is leaving your comfort zone. Change is confusion. Change is growth. Ultimately… Change can be GOOD!
Some may know that I spent almost a year away from social media influences (mainly facebook). I spent a year soul searching and finding my motivation for what I love again. It was an up and down year but I don’t regret it at all. During this time away I embarked on a self-growth journey, doing many things outside my little box.
I’ll start with Priya Walia Creative, my old brand. I had launched Priya Walia Creative (PWC) back in 2010 and then launched my little studio and website in 2012.
I received quite an overwhelming response and following from it. PWC helped me learn so much about the industry. Some good lessons, some bad.
Being a British Indian female, it was almost inevitable that the assumption was made that I capture nothing but Asian events and people. I love my culture and my roots, but I do feel for business and for running it entirely alone, PWC became draining and a little unthankful. However, I still went along with it, almost trying to “fit in” because of the fact that I am a British Indian female and thought this was how I would be accepted as an Asian female photographer.
In January 2013, I made the decision to close down my personal social media channels and used an auto-scheduling app to keep my business live through social media.
So my year away from social media influences and detachment from PWC began. I felt this move had opened up so many more opportunities. I had various part-time and full-time temporary jobs. I also became heavily involved with charity work. I started getting “out there” as a person, meeting new people, friends and loved ones face to face again. I even copped myself a job interview 3 hours away from my hometown. At this stage in my journey (I thought) I had wanted to restart a new life out of town with a degree related role.
Throughout all of what was going on with me during my manic year, I always had my love of photography in my heart. A little bit like an unbreakable bond between my camera and I. I didn’t know how or when I was going to, but always knew I would continue my life as a photographer some day after my break away. I was constantly hoping and looking for a breakthrough that would get me back into the swing of things. That breakthrough finally came in November 2013 and boy what a breakthrough it was.
I’m not one for name-dropping, but those that know me well will know exactly who I’m talking about. I have followed the work of a particular internationally recognised cinematographer and photographer for a few years now. I was inspired by his imagery, his vision, his creativity and his humble nature. From connecting on social media (before deactivating) I had exchanged messages and engaged in his posts with support and enthusiasm for his work. The biggest thing that inspired me about him though, was that he was from a completely different background and upbringing to what he was capturing as the face of his company (I realise that this may now be a give away about who I am talking about).
So I reactivated my facebook one day and I saw he had posted a status about possibly needing an intern. I thought he was joking, so I simply posted “me me me!” not thinking any more of it. The following day, a cold, miserable Monday afternoon, I think around 4pm-ish I had a little red notification on my phone’s facebook app. Thinking it was one of my personal friends, I opened the message… and almost fainted. It was him with a simple message “I would love to have you, but your location.” I live in Wolverhampton, but his head quarters were over in Middlesex, outer London. I’m very lucky to have supportive family that live only a half hour drive from where he was based, so when he asked for me to be at his office at 9am the following day, I packed my bags on the spot, and headed to West London. If an opportunity like that knocks on your door, kick the damn thing down and GO GET IT! I guess you can say… the rest is history.
My opportunity interning for someone I had consider one of my biggest inspiration totally transformed my approach to my art and reignited my passion for photography. I always left his headquarters feeling positive, inspired and ready to plunge into change.
It’s taken me an entire year to find the right resources to help me on my transition. I have done many things out of my comfort zone to make today possible. I am now ready to share this change with you all.
Welcome to my new website, brand and journey – SORRISO Weddings and Portraits.
To my future Brides and Grooms, I look forward to being part of YOUR journey too and photographing your magical weddings.
I’ve recently been in a reflective mood. Life has been busy, with obstacles thrown into the equation, which has been slowing down the progress of dreams and goals.
The year 2013 is passing by fast. With so much yet to do, yet to achieve, higher heights yet to reach, and although you keep plodding on slowly, its almost as if you’ve come to a grinding halt, standing still in the middle of a busy road and seeing motion movement of cars and people flashing past at full speed.