London Engagement Shoot – South Bank & the Embankment – Hannah & Tim

Engagement Photography

It was an absolute pleasure to undertake a London engagement shoot with Hannah and Tim, down by the Thames a few weeks ago.  As a London wedding photographer I absolute love shooting in and around central London, as there are so many fabulous settings and locations that it makes more formal engagement portraits a complete joy to shoot.

As I like to get as many different settings into engagement photography session as possible, we had settled on a number of backdrops to include Bankside, the South Bank, Waterloo Bridge and the Embankment.  This gives the couple a variety in the photos they receive.

London engagement shoot of the couple beside the Thames and the impressive City of London skyline in the background. Taken by Darren Lehane, one of the best wedding photographers in London.

A Cold Breeze Beside the River

Although the spring sun was shining brightly when we met near the Oxo Tower, on Bankside, there was a cold breeze – especially by the exposed River Thames – which meant fly away hair was bit of an issue during the shoot, well more for Hannah than either Tim or myself!

But as I always say, you can never guarantee any kind of weather on your wedding day so you just have to go with it and make it part of a shoot.  That’s why I think engagement shoots are a fantastic way of getting some much need practice in, ahead of the wedding day itself.

Engagement Shoot with School Sweethearts

As I do with all my engagement and pre-wedding shoots, I enjoyed a coffee and chat with Hannah and Tim, before we headed out to start the shoot.  I quickly learnt that they first met when they were at School together in year 7, although they both admit it was very much an on/off type of romance throughout their teenage years.  Hannah did later secretly admit to me that she had been in love with Tim for most of her life, before adding with a smile, “but don’t tell him, he’ll only get a big head!

London engagement shoot of the coupe sitting in Bernie Spring Gardens near the South Bank in London. Taken by one of the leading wedding photographers in London, Darren Lehane.

Cain Manor Wedding

Hannah is a teacher at a boarding school in Surrey and Tim is in the British Army and he proposed to Hannah on New Year’s Day this year.  They are planning to have a Cain Manor wedding in Surrey next year.

As a couple they describe themselves  as laid back, outdoorsy and creative. When not working Hannah loves to decorate cakes and Tim enjoys painting. As a result their wedding will have lots of homemade details to represent this side of their personalities…which sounds really cool!

London engagement shoot of a close-up of the couple and engagement ring. Captured by London wedding photographer Darren Lehane.

I also love to find out unusual little things about my engagement couples, so was intrigued when they both admitted a big love for country music. It turns out this stems from a holiday in the US a few years back, when country music literally became the soundtrack to their trip.

The London Engagement Shoot

So having gotten to know Hannah and Tim better we then headed out onto Bankside to start getting some lovely engagement portrait photography for them.

As a documentary wedding photographer – who normally captures more natural and candid moments on a wedding day – I prefer to approach more traditional portrait shoots in a relaxed and informal way. I certainly don’t want to over-pose the couple too much.

A Photojournalism Approach

After a few shoots on a small pier on Bankside, we then headed to the small but lovely Bernie Spain gardens on the South Bank.  We then headed on through the book market beneath Waterloo Bridge – which is one of my most favourite places on the South Bank itself. I simply told Hannah and Tim to browse naturally and forget about me – this gave me the opportunity to grab some more photojournalistic type photos from the shoot.

London engagement shoot of the couple at the Waterloo Bridge book market, on the South Bank, London. Taken by one of London's top award winning wedding photographers, Darren Lehane.

We then headed up and over Waterloo Bridge, which always affords some lovely views of the river the City of London skyline beyond. However, it would be fair to say that the strong cold breeze blowing upriver made it quite a challenge to get any at all!

London Urban Setting for the Engagement Photography

So we hurried on and went down on to the Embankment and got some shoots by the beautiful and impressive Somerset House before finally ending up once more beneath Waterloo Bridge. However, on the north side of the river the bridge really provides quite a dramatic architectural backdrop for portraits – something I was really keen to take advantage of during the London engagement shoot.

London engagement shoot of the couple and a pigeon beneath Waterloo Bridge, on the Embankment, London. Taken by London wedding photojournalist, Darren Lehane.

All in all we had a great time and got some wonderful photos.  In fact, I know Hannah and Tim really enjoyed the shoot, as Hannah was kind enough to say afterwards:

“Thank you so much for putting us at such ease for our engagement shoot in London! We loved the range of photos and backdrops in such a dynamic setting. We feel incredibly lucky…and you made it a lot of fun. We will treasure the photos forever! A huge heartfelt thank you!”

It’s comments like this that make doing such engagement shoots an absolute pleasure.

Here are some more photos from Hannah and Tim’s London engagement shoot.

London Engagement Photos

London engagement shoot of a couple embracing near Bankside, London, Taken by award-winning London wedding photographer Darren Lehane.London engagement shoot of the couple embracing with St Pauls Cathedral and the River Thames in the background. Taken by one of the best wedding photographers in London, Darren Lehane.London engagement shoot of a couple kissing beside the Thames on London's Bankside. Taken by one of London's best wedding photographers, Darren Lehane.London engagement shoot of the couple cuddling beside the Thames on Bankside, London. Taken by one the top London wedding photographers, Darren Lehane.London engagement shoot of the couple kissing in Bernie Springs Garden in London. Captured by one of London's top wedding photographers Darren Lehane.London engagement shoot of the couple cuddling in Bernie Springs Garden in London. Captured by one of London's best wedding photographers, Darren Lehane.London engagement shoot of the engagement ring and the couple holding hands on the South Bank, London. Taken by award winning London wedding photographer, Darren Lehane.London engagement shoot of the couple looking across the Thames and towards Blackfriars Bridge, with the City of London skyline beyond. Taken by one of London's best award winning wedding photographers Darren Lehane.London engagement shoot of the couple cuddling on the South Bank, London, with the Thames and city skyline in the background. Taken by London's best award winning wedding photographers, Darren Lehane.London engagement shoot of the couple looking through a book at the second hand book market, beneath Waterloo Bridge. Taken by one of London's top award winning wedding photographers, Darren Lehane.London engagement shoot of the couple beneath Waterloo Bridge on the South Bank in London. Taken by one the leading award winning wedding photographers in London Darren Lehane.London engagement shoot of the couple at the National Theatre on London's South Bank. Captured by one of the best wedding photographers In London, Darren Lehane.London engagement shoot of the couple embracing, high above the National Theatre on the South Bank, London. Taken by one of London's best wedding photographers Darren Lehane.London engagement shoot of the couple on the steps to Waterloo Bridge, on the South Bank, London. Taken by one of London's top wedding photographers, Darren Lehane.London engagement shoot of the couple on the steps leading up to Waterloo Bridge from the South Bank, London. Taken by one of the best wedding photographers in London, Darren Lehane.London engagement shoot of the couple on the steps of Waterloo Bridge. Taken by Darren Lehane, an award winning London wedding photographer.London engagement shoot of the couple on Waterloo Bridge, with the Shard in the background. Taken by London wedding photographer, Darren LehaneLondon engagement shoot of the couple hugging at Somerset House on the Embankment, London. Taken by one of the best wedding photographers in London, Darren Lehane.London engagement shoot of the couple walking hand in hand past Somerset House on the Embankment, London. Taken by London natural wedding photographer, Darren Lehane.London engagement shoot of the couple caressing under Waterloo Bridge on Embankment, London. Taken by London wedding photographer, Darren Lehane.

Book Yourself A London Engagement Shoot With Me

If you have recently gotten engaged and would love to have an London engagement shoot with me, then I’d be delighted to hear from you.  Or perhaps you are getting married and would also like to talk with me about my award winning documentary approach to wedding photography?

You can call me on 07920 422144 or send me a message via my contact page. I will be delighted to hear from you.

You can find out all about my services and prices on my Services and Fee page.

How the Lack of Social Housing Impacted on a Pre-Wedding Shoot

Pre-Wedding

Charlene and David’s recent pre-wedding shoot in central London was definitely a case of “the best laid plans of mice and men”.

I am shooting their wedding story in Luton next month and when they said they’d love a central London “touristy” pre-wedding portrait shoot I couldn’t be more excited.  After all, as a London wedding photographer I’d be on my “own turf” and know there are so many places that would provide a fantastic backdrop for their pre-wedding images.

So we agreed on meeting in Trafalgar Square – with it’s fountains, lions and Nelson himself you couldn’t get a more iconic London start to a shoot. What’s more, the spring sun was shining brightly when I woke that morning, so I couldn’t wait to get started.

Thankfully I got to Trafalgar Square an hour earlier planned, and discovered that it was the day the annual Mayor of London St Patrick’s Day parade was taking place with the Square itself set aside for all the celebrations.  Yes, David himself is a proud Irishman – but I doubted they’d want to be posing for portraits in the Square with a few thousand drunken revellers surrounding them!

So after a few hasty texts, we agreed to meet at Charing Cross instead.  Across from the station are a row of 4 iconic red telephone boxes which I thought would make a good starting point instead.  My alternate plan was to then head on down to Waterloo Bridge, via the pretty Embankment Gardens, to then get portraits of them on the bridge with a sweeping vista of the city behind.

Except, when we finally did reach Waterloo Bridge a political demonstration against the lack of social housing was in full flow across the bridge – on exactly the side of the bridge I was planning to get the city vista shots!  You really couldn’t make it up – I never ever thought I’d have a pre-wedding shoot interrupted by a political demonstration. I even jokingly said to Charlene and David, that I could now at least have a blog heading of “How The Lack of Social Housing Impacted on a Pre-Wedding Shoot”!!!!

Still, the great thing about central London for a pre-wedding portrait shoot is that you are never too far from the next great photo opportunity – and being a London based wedding photographer, I know exactly where to go. So unperturbed, we took a number of shots around the South Bank, including in the Jubilee Gardens with the London Eye in the background, along to Albert Embankment for some Houses of Parliament and Big Ben backdrops before ending up at the magnificent Somerset House back over on the Embankment on the north side of the Thames.

So after exhausting the pair of them with quite a bit of walking, we end ended up with me buying them a well deserved tea and coffee.  Despite all the hitches and walking we certainly had a great and fun time – and I really felt like I get to know Charlene and David even better ahead of their wedding day, next month.  And to be honest, that’s the real point of a pre-wedding portrait shoot – getting to know one another – the final images they received are just a bonus.

So if you are getting married and interested in also including a pre-wedding shoot as part of your wedding photography package, then I’d love to hear all about your wedding plans.  You can call me on 07920 422144 or send me a message via my contact page.

I’m sure you’ll agree, Charlene and David make a lovely couple, based on this very small selection from the portraits they received that day.

Charlene and David pose by iconic red telephone boxes, opposite Charing Cross station, during their central London pre-wedding portrait shootThe couple pose in Embankment Gardens during their pre-wedding shoot in central LondonA romantic moment as David cuddles and kisses Charlene during their central London pre-wedding portrait shootDavid and Charlene pose by some impressive shadows on Waterloo Bridge, during their pre-wedding shoot in central LondonCharlene and David kissing in front of some street art on the South Bank, during their central London pre-wedding portrait shootCharlene and David cuddle up, during their pre-wedding shoot in central London, beside the Thames and Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament oppositeDuring their central London pre-wedding portrait shoot, Charlene and David pose by a fountain opposite the Houses of ParliamentIn the forecourt at Somerset House, Charlene and David pose for a portrait during their pre-wedding shoot in central London

Candid street photography of a wedding party, posing for their traditional wedding portraits, in Central Park, New York City.

Candid Street Wedding Photography

My Style, Non-Wedding, Street Photography

Weddings Captured by a Street Photographer

Street photography is very much my personal passion – it’s what I shoot in my spare time. In many ways it is what drives my approach to wedding photography.  There are a lot of similarities between street photography and wedding photojournalism. Both employ a candid and unobtrusive approach that attempts to capture the integrity of a moment and produce a storytelling narrative within the frame.  So it’s not surprising that I often think of myself as a street photographer who just happens to be shooting a wedding.

There has been a small number of occasions whilst I’ve been out and about shooting street photography where I’ve stumbled across a wedding.  Of course, as a wedding photographer, I can’t resist capturing what’s unfolding before me – in a candid and discrete way- but without the expectation of being the official wedding photographer. So here are three examples of weddings I’ve captured in such circumstances.

Central Park, New York City Wedding Photography

Candid street photography of a wedding party, posing for their traditional wedding portraits, in Central Park, New York City.

Back in the spring of 2010 I was on a short trip, my first ever, to the US, which took in both New York City and then Los Angeles. Whilst wandering through Central Park, on the first day of my trip, I happened across this wedding party posing for their official wedding portraits.  I just loved that lime green wedding dress of the bride, and the white suit of the groom. And that hands in pocket too-cool-for-school attitude of the young boy was just fantastic. It was too good an opportunity for me to miss.

By intentionally standing behind a couple of family members looking on, I really wanted to give the impression of someone on the outside looking in.  It was very much how I felt at the time – an “outsider” in a foreign country I was visiting for the time, so it really reflects my feelings as much as capturing a wedding itself.

Labin, Croatia Wedding Photography

Street photography of a wedding photographer capturing the bridal party arriving for a wedding in the town of Labin in Croatia

Once again, I was away on a trip to the delightful Istria region of Croatia although, unlike the New York trip (above), it wasn’t my first time here having visited the same area when I was just a kid back in the late 1970s (although it was part of Yugoslavia back then.)  On this occasion we had taken a day trip up to the small historic town of Labin, which overlooks the coastal resort of Rabac, and whilst there happened upon this scene as a fellow wedding photographer captured the moment the bride and bridal party arrived for a wedding in the small church.

I had only taken a small compact camera away with me on this trip (a Ricoh GRD IV for the camera geeks amongst you!) so was able to snap this moment pretty discretely and silently – without drawing attention to myself.  It did actually feel a little odd being a wedding photographer looking in on another wedding photographer as he worked – almost quite voyeuristic in a way, but you could say it was a busman’s holiday in effect!

South Bank, London Wedding Photography

A Chinese wedding is captured, in a street photography style, on the South Bank in London

This was a fairly recent wedding that I stumbled across on the South Bank in London.  I was out on a rare opportunity to spend the day shooting street photography when I spotted this wedding group having their official wedding portraits taken.  Alternatively, it may have actually been a Chinese pre-wedding shoot – as I know some, more affluent Chinese wedding couples will travel to different iconic travel destinations around the world to have pre-wedding portraits shot, in their formal wedding attire, in the year running up to their actual wedding day.

What really caught my eye with this scene, was the way the wedding party contrasted with the families having picnics in the Jubilee Gardens as well as the 3 girls, in odd masks, dancing in the background.  I really love capturing these odd and surreal juxtapositions in my street photography…amusing photos but also ones that raise a few questions too.

Candid Wedding Photography for Your Wedding

Hopefully this small selection of candid photos demonstrates how my personal passion for street photography not only fuels my candid wedding photojournalism approach but they can also sometimes cross over too!

So if you are getting married and looking for a more candid and natural approach to your wedding photography then I’d really love to hear from you.  You can either call me right now on 07920 422144 or send me a message via my contact page here. We can then talk about your wedding plans and I can explain my wedding photojournalism approach in more detail. You can see my current wedding photography packages and prices by clicking here.

Alternatively, you can send me a private message directly from the contact box below.  Please ensure your email details are correct if you would like a reply. It’s also helpful to leave a mobile telephone number so I can text you to say a reply has been sent. Sometimes my replies can end up in a spam folder – so getting a text will alert you to the fact that I have replied.

Send Me A Private Message

I look forward to hearing from you. And if you do have any comments about this particular post, do feel free to leave a comment (or two!) in the comments box below. I love to get comments and hear people’s views. Thanks!

It’s My Life: The Third Man

It My Life: Personal Stories

It’s My Life: Personal Stories From A Private Life

Third Man-1

Okay, so I thought it’d be nice every once-in-a-while to share something that gives an insight into my life, outside of photography.  After all, when you book a wedding photographer you’re investing in the person as well as the wedding photography itself, so hopefully these occasional insights will help you to get to know me a little better as a real person – even if that does mean warts ‘n’ all at times!

The Third Man Seen At The BFI

bfi-southbank

So Friday evening I had the real pleasure of going to see my all time favourite film The Third Man, which was being screened at the British Film Institute (BFI) on London’s South Bank. I first fell in love with this film as a teenager back in the mid-1980s. I received an audio book of the novella by Graham Greene (on cassette back then) one Christmas and having been blown away by the story I sought out the film  – which I ended up recording off the TV at some point (on Betamax no less – it was the “future” back then!)  I think I can safely say that since that first time I have re-watched it hundreds of times!  Yet, like lots of old films you only get to watch on your TV, I had never seen it on the big screen. After all, its original cinema run was way back in 1949…a bit before my time!  So when I saw that the BFI was running an Orson Welles season, which was to include a screening of The Third Man, how could I resist?

The Beauty & Intrigue of Film Noir

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So what’s so brilliant about The Third Man? Well, being a photographer, it’s hard to not be totally blown away by the beautifully atmospheric cinematography,  by Robert Krasker, of post-war Vienna which is a perfect setting for a film noir thriller.  In fact, it’s dark and gritty black and white cinematography has more than likely influenced my own love and personal style of b&w photography.

Then there’s the brilliant cast…Orson Welles, Joseph Cotton, Trevor Howard and the sadly beautiful Alida Valli all coming together as one filmic tour-de-force.  The story itself is by the fantastic Grahame Green, rare in being a well respected novelist of his time who wasn’t opposed to also writing for the screen too (often looked down on by other literary writers!).  There’s humour, there’s sadness, there’s drama and thrills, classic lines and, of course, a great twist of sorts – all deftly handled by Director Carol Reed. And lastly there’s the hugely memorable theme tune and soundtrack by Anton Karas – his zither will definitely have you in a dither! So it’s no wonder it’s often cited among polls for the greatest films ever made.

Big Screen Big Impact

Seeing it for the first time on the big screen really was a fantastic experience. There’s something about the shared experience of watching  a film on a huge screen with others in a cinema that just can’t be re-created at home on TV.  And seeing a film you are so familiar with, and sharing with lots of other people for the first time, it’s quite reassuring and moving when they laugh and gasp at the same things you always have.  I genuinely found the polite applause the film got at the end quite emotional. I don’t think I’ve been to a film at the cinema where there’s been a round of applause at the end!

So if you’ve never seen The Third Man, then I thoroughly recommend you do – it’s got something for everyone in it and is perhaps why it has such a lasting appeal. Even if you’re not lucky enough to get to see it on a big screen, then do watch it at home. It should be a film you’ve at least seen once!

Now I can’t wait to see another of the films in the BFI Orson Welles season, this time a film noir I’ve never seen called Touch of Evil. By all accounts it’s another b&w film classic.  In-between, I’m going to see another of my all time favourite films, again on the big screen for the first time, and that’s the cult 80’s sci-fi movie Blade Runner, with Harrison Ford and by director Ridley Scott.  Yet it is essentially a film noir that just happens to be set in the future.

I really can’t wait!