Workshops

CREATIVE STYLING WORKSHOP: BEHIND THE SCENES AT AYNHOE PARK

AYNHOE PARK TOUR: STYLING WORKSHOP UK

It was such a joy to create, curate, plan and teach at my styling workshop for creative wedding industry professionals. I’ve already shared the editorial shoot that resulted from it with you, but I wanted to also indulge in a little behind the scenes look at the creative process and masterclass that unfolded throughout the day, as well as some of the gorgeous work that attendees created themselves.

Huge thanks to Xander & Thea for being there to capture this all for us, you can see a tour of the venue AYNHOE PARK on here too.

This workshop was a mixture of teaching theory and practical guidance – with an in depth styling 101 session, advice on getting your work featured from the Editor of You & Your Wedding magazine, how to shoot for social media from fine art photographer Ashlee Taylor, styling fashion and accessories from Rachel of Luellas Boudoir, and a masterclass in product styling from the team at notonthehighstreet.com.

I also wanted to walk attendees through my creative process for the editorial shoot itself – from design concept, to moodboarding and building a tablescape right there with them watching as I played with props and pulled it together exactly as I would for an editorial shoot or real wedding. I also demonstrated how to style stationery and other decor, before giving them all an opportunity to have a go themselves.

AYNHOE PARK TOUR: STYLING WORKSHOP UK

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One of the hardest elements of pulling together an amazing editorial shoot is finding and working with the perfect model, and knowing how to style wedding gowns and accessories for that purpose. We were so lucky to have Rachel from Luellas Boudoir there to guide everybody through her own tips and tricks for getting the perfect fashion shots, as well as watching amazing hair and make up artist Heidi Vince create the beautiful bridal looks in front of us.

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I really wanted attendees to feel relaxed, and ensure the learning environment was both inspirational and also encouraged conversation – so I decided to arrange tables in a horse shoe shape with speakers in the middle. It meant everyone could see each other, which was hugely important when talking about visuals all day long! We had sparkly gold sequin linen and ghost chairs which just looked magical in Anyhoe Park’s Orangery and their giant disco balls of delight!

I also created a prop corner, with different textures, shapes and colours – from vintage to modern – for attendees to play with in the final session if they hadn’t brought along their own items for styling. I was amazed at the range of beautiful items people brought themselves though, huge imagination and research time put in before the day. Loved it.

Huge thanks to Inspire Hire, Vintage Style Hire, Kate Cullen, Paperknots and Table to Dine For who all sponsored the event by loaning us their amazing hire items and products for sale.

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The food from Indulgence Catering was absolutely incredible, showcasing exactly how important design is when curating an event menu too.

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As I said before, so many of the attendees – from bridal designers to prop hire companies and wedding planners – brought their own products and props to practice with too, and it was honestly my favourite part if the day watching them put everything they had learned into practice with us. I adored how everyone approached the task in slightly different ways, making use of the space around them as much as they could do.

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If you are interested in attending future workshops or joining my bespoke one-to-one wedding planner mentoring programme, please email me at jessie@jessiethomson.co.uk and follow me on instagram and facebook for the latest news!

Jessie

x

AYNHOE PARK: A GRAND TOUR

Some time ago I hosted a styling workshop at the wonderful private home and luxury wedding venue Aynhoe Park. You can see the editorial shoot here (as featured in You and Your Wedding magazine).

While I was busy teaching and listening to amazing experts share their know-how with the group, as well as doing a step-by-step styled tablescape session, the wonderful Xander & Thea was capturing it all behind the scenes. I’ll share those images soon, but the result was also the most wonderful tour of the house interiors, and I simply had to share it with you.

“The details are not the details, they make the design”

Charles Eames

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“MUCH OF THE HOUSE’S CHARACTER COMES FROM ITS ONE-OF-A-KIND COLLECTION OF ART AND TAXIDERMY, INSPIRED BY A COMBINATION OF APPRECIATION FOR CLASSICAL ARTWORK AND SCULPTURE, A LOVE OF INNOVATIVE DESIGN AND A VERY BRITISH SORT OF ECCENTRICITY.”

Visit the Aynhoe Park Shop

FROM THE FARM TABLE

Last Summer, amidst some of the dreamiest weddings I had the pleasure of working on, I took a little journey to Spain where I spent some time in Barcelona (I stayed here, it was amazing!) before hopping on a train to Zaragoza. From there I met Fine Art & Film Photographer Ashlee Taylor, and we travelled through beautiful olive groves and rural countryside to the most beautiful ancient monastery for a one day mentoring and styling workshop with a group of other amazing photographers from around the world.

I was delighted to host a talk on styling and design, before a hands on session shooting details and bridal portraits together in the afternoon. The official photos were featured on Grey Likes Weddings, and I’ve gathered some of my favourites below too.

The styling originally inspired by the colors of beautiful egg shells, and this developed into a “from the farm table” concept with rustic elements combined in a sweet and simple way to compliment local produce and the warm stone setting – we foraged local olive trees to add to arrangements created by my sister Georgia at Westwood Design, as well as delicious food produce from local markets.

“We’re getting all dreamy and lost in these splendid images from ILLUMINATED COLLECTIVE‘s recent workshop. It’s light, it’s airy and it’s just plain beautiful. The details, like the gathered local florals, are quietly stunning and the MONASTERIO DE PIEDRA location is nothing short of spectacular. Lucky for all of us, the warmth and beauty of ASHLEE TAYLOR‘s vintage-style film photography perfectly captured stylist JESSIE THOMSON‘s vision. Enjoy!”

~ GREY LIKES WEDDINGS ~

From the Farmhouse | Jessie Thomson | Wedding Styling From the Farmhouse | Jessie Thomson | Wedding Styling From the Farmhouse | Jessie Thomson | Wedding Styling From the Farmhouse | Jessie Thomson | Wedding Styling From the Farmhouse | Jessie Thomson | Wedding Styling From the Farmhouse | Jessie Thomson | Wedding Styling From the Farmhouse | Jessie Thomson | Wedding Styling From the Farmhouse | Jessie Thomson | Wedding Styling
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CREDITS: Photographer and Mentor: ASHLEE TAYLOR // Styling and Mentor: JESSIE THOMSON // Floral Design: WESTWOOD DESIGN // Workshop: ILLUMINATED COLLECTIVE // Model: Lara Ro // Stationery: IMOGEN OWEN // Dress: ETXART AND PANNO // Ribbon and Table Cloth: KATE CULLEN // Props: Ashlee Taylor and Jessie Thomson // Glassware: ZARA HOME // Venue: MONASTERIO DE PIEDRA, Zaragoza, Spain

WHAT IS FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHY, AND WHY BOOK A FILM PHOTOGRAPHER FOR YOUR WEDDING?

I first fell in love with fine art film photography when I met my now dear friend Ashlee from Taylor Barnes Photography, just under four years ago. She persuaded me to take part in a bump shoot whilst pregnant with Flora, and the light filled beautifully posed images made my heart skip a beat.

Fast forward to last year when we collaborated on a styled shoot at Barnsley House & Spa in the Cotswolds, as part of a fine art photography and styling workshop with the Illuminated Collective – the talent shown by the attendees blew my mind. I had no idea we had so many home grown incredible film photographers based here in the UK, and I adored how different each of their images were too.

So, I thought I’d showcase some of those amazing artists here on the blog – I hand picked five incredible photographers for you to admire, and asked them to choose their favourite three photos from the workshop, along with their personal thoughts on why a real bride should book a fine art or film photographer…

SARAH HANNAM

Sarah Hannam Photography provides natural light, documentary wedding photography services throughout the UK and internationally.

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What does fine art photography mean to you?

Fine art photography is a combination of bringing all the details big and small together and creating a styled artistic aesthetic that brings cohesion to the whole wedding, as well as documenting the wedding day’s important moments. Fine art wedding photography is basically what you see in magazine spreads – it’s editorial, giving you a feel of the look of the day. Even within the genre of fine art photography, there are a lot of different styles. Some photographers go for very over-exposed, high contrast & heavily saturated colours or way out posing, but I prefer to keep things looking natural not only in terms of colour, but composition too. I suggest some informally choreographed poses for portraits but I limit it to what looks natural. For me, the most important thing is capturing a moment of real emotional connection.

Why should a couple choose a film photographer?

Film is wonderful for its softness on skin tones, luminosity and delicate colours, so lends itself perfectly to capturing weddings and portraits. Often digital images of a white wedding gown can overexpose and burn out the fine detail, which is not ideal if the bride wants to see that couture gown in all its beauty! Having your wedding shot on film is undoubtedly a luxury high end product, due to the unavoidable base costs, but with flattering tones and a timeless quality, in my opinion it is a wise investment and pretty trend proof, which is an important factor to consider. Clients can also feel reassured that their film photographer really knows their craft and can think on their feet, because there just isn’t the option to quickly view the LCD. Remember not so long ago the thrill of collecting your developed films and walking along the street excitedly looking at the prints? Maybe that’s just me but what is alarming today is that we hardly print off digital files and no longer enjoy the pleasure of holding a real photograph. This is why I always offer a full set of proof prints as well as a USB, so clients actually have a tangible product to keep and look at. I think it is so important to be able to have the physical photographs in your hands, plus sitting down looking through your wedding album in years to come with your children or grandchildren will mean so much more than searching through tens of thousands of files on your computer. After all the festivities are over, the only thing left you have of your wedding day are the photographs.

You can see more of Sarah’s images from the Illuminated Collective workshop on her blog here and here, and where they were featured on 100 Layer Cake

RENATA FRY

Devon based beautiful fine art wedding photography and family portraits.

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I chose these 3 images as I feel they sum up what the Illuminated Collective Workshop meant to me; beauty, elegant styling and warmth. Everything about the workshop was beautiful. The venue, the models, the detailing and the other attendees images from the day. The styling was simply stunning, as evident in the photos I have chosen. The weather on the day of the workshop was perfect; a warm sunny summer’s day which meant the light was perfect for late afternoon portraits in the grounds of Barnsley House. I just love the warm palette of corals and peaches in each of the images.

What does fine art photography mean to you?

Fine Art photography to me is all about capturing details, styling and romance. It’s about recording a moment through the eye of an artist, seeing things from a different view point and focussing on the little details that have been carefully chosen by the couple. My aim is to use natural light and soft tones to record those memories to cherish forever.

Why should a couple choose a film photographer?

I just adore film photography. The flattering skin tones, the use of natural light and the amazing palette of colours that film delivers are just simply stunning. When I look at images captured on film they remind me of impressionist paintings by great masters such as Claude Monet. The depth of colour is incredible. As a photographer I have to carefully compose each shot and I am more selective with what I photograph. I also have to think carefully about my camera settings to obtain correct exposure, so I am constantly learning and improving my own skills by using film.

You can see more of Renata’s images from the Illuminated Collective workshop on her blog here, and where they were featured on So You’re Getting Married.

THOMAS, BOWTIE & BELLE PHOTOGRAPHY

Gloucestershire based fine art wedding photographers who travel the UK

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What does fine art photography mean to you?

Fine Art Photography means different things to different people; but overall, I think that it is photography shaped with the photographer’s artistic vision. Fine Art photographers do not simply document, but take part in the creation of an image, be it film or digital. Our vision of fine art photography is to capture moments filled with light, creating dreamy airiness and elegant simplicity. Every image we capture is special, and being able to participate, shaping beautiful moments into beautiful images is what the fine art ethos is all about. It takes a unique perspective, involves emotion and therefore every photographer, and every image is different. A fine art style helps create romantic, classic and timeless imagery, capturing the moments that make memories, and the individual details that bring everything together.

Why should a couple choose a film photographer?

Every wedding is special, unique and beautiful. When you choose your photographer, you want one that documents every aspect and truly captures the essence of you and your day. I think film is precious, and as a result, can capture precious moments. It’s creative, intimate and considered – capturing real emotion through thoughtful framing and beautiful colours. Film fits perfectly with a fine art style, documenting your moments of romance, joy and happiness; as a bride and groom you get beautiful shots that are delicate and real. It has a unique, soft look not found in digital with a real depth that brings images to life. To be able to shoot film well means understanding how to create and shape an image, film speed and light. Choosing a film photographer you can be confident they will be considered, caring and invested in creating timeless images for you, perfect to print for your album. You’ll get imagery conveying the emotion of your big day for years to come, every time you flick through the pages.

You can see more of Thomas’ images from the Illuminated Collective workshop here

CLAIRE GRAHAM

London based fine art photographer specialising in beautiful artistic wedding & lifestyle portrait photography.

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What does fine art photography mean to you?

I believe fine art is a way of storytelling with artistic and beautiful photographs, using natural light, soft gentle colour tones and styled pretty details.  Fine art is often a story being told by putting all the small pieces together to create a comprehensive story with detail shots being just as important as the portraits. In my opinion, fine art photographers have more freedom to explore unlimited visual opportunities and include more of their personal expression when crafting their work.

Why should a couple choose a film photographer?

Film has a softer focus and a less then perfect quality that many people are growing to love or/and appreciate.  I adore the colour, dynamic range, grain and little imperfection film gives to my photographs. By using film I can create a soft romantic look to my work. I think being a film photographer has made me more aware and pushed me creatively, as well as giving me new perspective as a wedding photographer.  I personally feel a better photographer by incorporating film into my workflow.

You can see more of Claire’s images from the Illuminated Collective workshop here and where they were featured on Burnetts Boards

RACHEL JANE

Wiltshire based fine art and film photographer specialising in weddings & equine portraits

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What does fine art photography mean to you?

Fine art photography to me is capturing even the simplest of detail and turning it into something beautiful; something you would expect to see on the pages of a magazine. When I’m shooting, I always look for the most beautiful light which can transform an ordinary image into something magical. I love to style every last detail, making sure nothing is missed and this helps me produce a coherent set of images with a very artistic feel to them. I concentrate on capturing real emotion. I do a few ‘posed’ shots throughout the day and even then, I only gently direct my couples. This is typically how a fine art photographer works- shooting with more of an editorial style.

Why should a couple choose a film photographer?

Film creates tones and colours that digital fails to capture which is the main reason I choose to shoot with this format. It also means I have to think more about each shot and this in turn has helped me develop my style further. I create soft, romantic imagery aimed at the modern day bride.

You can see more of Rachel’s photos from the Illuminated Collective workshop here.

Supplier & Vendor Credits:

Workshop: Illuminated Collective | Styling: Jessie Thomson Wedding and Events | Venue: Barnsley House | Florals: The Rose Shed | Linens: Table To Dine For | Stationery: Juliet Grace Design | Cake: The Natural Cake Company | Engagement dresses: Maids to Measure | Wedding gowns: Johanna Hehir | Hair Accessories: Kelly Spence | Jewellery: Astely Clarke | Tableware: Helene Millot | Make up: Nina Norman | Hair: Nicholas White

STYLING WORKSHOP FOR WEDDING PROFESSIONALS

Last year I started teaching for the first time after receiving hundreds of emails asking for business advice or help creating styled shoots for publication. It all started with the very first Illuminated Collective workshop – a one day event for wedding photographers looking to refine their style towards more fine art weddings. I did a couple of sessions on styling props + decor, and can’t wait to share with you some of the images from a selection of attendees too.

I then took part in The Wedding Academy with Flourish & Prosper alongside a cast of industry heavyweights like Kat Williams from Rock n Roll Bride, Marianne Taylor, Sinclair Sellars from Maids to Measure and many more. It was eye opening, there is just so much business know how that wedding industry entrepreneurs have yet to take on board. From blogging to social media and PR, we covered it all!

There will be more photography workshops this year that are already making my creative brain explode with excitement, but first and foremost I am collaborating with so much more amazing talent at The Styling Workshop 2015 hosted by Flourish & Prosper on 27th April 2015 at the ever so fabulous Aynhoe Park in Oxfordshire.

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So what’s it all about?

This one day workshop is an exclusive “how to” for wedding creatives looking to gain amazing images for their portfolio and increase coverage with magazines and blogs in order to attract more of the clients they’d like to work with. We show you how to build a beautiful tablescape, style + pose models, and arrange pretty details – as well as hands on styling sessions where you’ll get top tips and have your own creations photographed by a leading European fine art photographer. PLUS a chance to get your portfolio reviewed and a super lovely gift.

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Who’s speaking & contributing?

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Who is the workshop for?

This event is of most interest to stylists, planners and photographers planning their own editorial shoots – but also any other wedding creatives with products or services to sell, from cake bakers to prop hire. We’re encouraging all attendees to bring their own items to style with our guidance, and will be giving everyone a little styling homework (we promise it’s fun!).

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How much is it and how do I register?

The investment for the day is £595.00 which includes all materials and refreshments, but not travel and accommodation. You can purchase a ticket here and get 10% off with discount code JESSIELOVES or request payment by instalments by emailing info@weareflourishandprosper.com – there are limited places available, in order to make sure everyone get’s the highest level of attention and teaching.

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These images were taken by Taylor Barnes Photography as part of the Illuminated Collective workshop last year, who will also be speaking at The Styling Workshop on 27th April 2015. It was styled by me with an amazing cast of vendors you can find below, and is in the current issue of You & Your Wedding Magazine available in shops now.

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Vendors: Photography: Taylor Barnes Photography | Styling: Jessie Thomson Wedding and Events | Venue: Barnsley House | Florals: The Rose Shed | Assistant Stylist: Westwood Design | Linens: Table To Dine For | Stationery: Juliet Grace Design | Cake: The Natural Cake Company | Bridal Boutique: The White Rose Bridal | Engagement dresses: Maids to Measure via The White Rose Bridal | Wedding gowns: Johanna Hehir via The White Rose Bridal | Hair Accessories: Kelly Spence | Jewellery: Astely Clarke | Tableware: Helene Millot | Make up: Nina Norman | Hair: Nicholas White

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