Waterfall Gardens wedding, Siggiewi, Malta - Jade & Reuben

Malta wedding photographer Jade Britain's Next Top Model winner.jpg

Quite often in this job I have to pinch myself.  Malta a couple of weeks ago was another one of those times.  

Not only because it's a beautiful island and venue... but the fact that I got to shoot the wedding of these two gorgeous people. I met Jade & Reuben at Ruby & Ash's wedding.  I was REALLY trying not to fan-girl too hard but I used to watch Britain's Next Top Model and from the very beginning of cycle 7 I was rooting for Jade to win... and those of you who recognise those distinctive freckles will know that's exactly what she did.

I had just started shooting weddings then (2011) and I can remember thinking I'd bloody LOVE to shoot her wedding.  So thank you universe or fate or whatever it was that brought us together.   I owe you one. 

The Waterfall Gardens at the Limestone Heritage Park are totally breathtaking... it's like something from a movie set.  (The less said about the journey there the better - I'm fully expecting a speeding ticket or two through the post and I'm amazed I got the hire car back without a scratch - Maltese drivers are mad bastards) 

Jade's beautiful beaded Art Couture dress was perfection with the lace-edged veil, the bridesmaids all looked incredible in a mix of mint and baby blue gowns and Reuben and the boys just looked cool as all hell. 

They said their vows in front of all their loved ones and a strangely water-less waterfall on their 10th anniversary (to the day!) and as they had their first kiss as husband & wife, the waterfall sprang into life.  Cue applause and excited gasps all around.  Not me obviously.  I was cool as a cucumber.  *clears throat* Obviously. 

Anyway these are just a small handful of my favourites from the day. 

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Ciara & Gerard's beautiful wedding in Santa Maria di Castellabate, Italy

I had been looking forward to this wedding for months, I knew it was gong to be something special and boy, was it.  The incredible setting... 'twinkle town' Santa Maria di Castellabate, the bloody wonderful people... Ciara & Gerard and their friends and family, and the one and only Julie from My Secret Italy...  effortlessly (although I know how hard she works) waving her magic wand over everything, creating the most perfect day.  

We did a quick whistle-stop sunset shoot the night before the wedding, driving around Santa Maria in, frankly, the best car ever... cue PDAs, puddles and pissing off a couple of locals when we stopped in a side street briefly (had to be done though Gerard!). 

The day was amazing... starting with a proper wet shave for the boys with the most Italian looking (and possible ex porn star) dude ever, prep with Ciara (the calmest bride I've ever known!) and the girls, being led through the streets by a mandolin and guitar player, climbing the tower for a ceremony with the most spectacular views, all the readings from family members/friends, LOADS of confetti, delicious gelato from local legend 'Baffo', locals-a-plenty (a few even had teeth) kissing the couple and wishing them well, a reception and party at the beach that was like something out of a movie (well, it reminded me of 50 First Dates anyway), an absolutely fantastic band, incredible fireworks, dancing, singing into beer bottles (YES) and a lot of laughter, tears and love. 

Ciara & Gerard - I can't tell you how much I enjoyed spending time with you both and your loved ones. It will always be very special to me and I hope you will always be able to remember how special it was for you when you look through the photos.  Speak soon guys, lots of love. xxxx

I am already missing Santa Maria.  Roll on September and The Secret Retreat workshop!

Julie & Emilie - the My Secret Italy dream team - THANK YOU for looking after me!  Love you both. xxxx       

Feel free to share or leave a comment below, or just click the little heart and leave some love for the happy couple. :)

Rangefinder Magazine: 30 Rising Stars of Wedding Photography 2014

I have been waiting (what feels like) FOREVER for today. Back in July I received an email to tell me that I had been nominated for Rangefinder Magazine's annual '30 Rising Stars of Wedding Photography'. I still get butterflies when I think about it.  I read and re-read the email a few times and then just sat staring at it.

WHAT??

This is a really prestigious, worldwide (gulp) industry 'award' for want of a better word.  Rangefinder describes it as "the best emerging talent in the industry today, nominated by industry insiders (blog and magazine editors, veteran photographers, vendor sponsors and RF editors) and judged by the Rangefinder editorial staff".

Photographers cannot nominate themselves. And I had no idea who had nominated me but I wanted to kiss them.

Some of the photographers who have graced this list in previous years are people I admire HUGELY... Fer Juaristi, Nordica, Nirav Patel, Emma Case, Logan Cole, Andria Lindquist, Marianne Taylor, Sean Flanigan (who I get to meet in Italy on a workshop in just a few weeks), Ed Peers and last but by no means least, the amazing Sassy from Assassynation.  I have pored over the list for the last couple of years, ogling the work of these inspirational photographers from all over the world... to think I could be on it too was crazy and very humbling.

After many hours, hundreds of photographs and a lot of swapping and changing I sent off my requested 30 images and tried not to think about it (I failed).

Rangefinder Magazine 30 Rising Stars of Wedding Photography_0002

Fast forward a month... email arrives....'We've Chosen!'.  A MILLION things went through my head - many of them expletives.  I wasn't expecting to hear until November... "Congratulations Claire! We at Rangefinder have chosen you as one of the 30 Rising Stars of 2014!'

WHAT??????

I don't think I squealed, I didn't even cry (unusual for me)... I was just floored and sat there in disbelief.  I told my husband, Dad and a few very close friends but I wasn't allowed to announce anything publicly until today and it's been killing me!

So yeah... I am on THAT list.  One of 30 Rising Stars... in the WORLD.  My mind is officially blown.  All because I got back off my honeymoon with a renewed love for photography and decided to sell my wedding dress to fund my first 'proper' camera.

A BIG shout out to my amazing couples...past, present and future. Whether you're featured above/in the magazine or not, it's you who make what I do possible and so much more than just a job.  Thank you.

I'm also thankful to Blair de Laubenfels, co-founder of JunebugWeddings.com, who nominated me (I later found out) and to the judges who chose my work from the 150 nominated.   And to Andrea, Kate, Ade, Maria, Anna and Nicola for helping me to choose which images to submit. Without you I would still be deciding!

Seriously proud to be joined on the list by the very talented Alan, Andy and Hannah.  To think Hannah and I had a mutual commiseration party all planned out involving Facebook chat and lots of gin. ;-)   I'm so excited to see who else is on there with us.

UPDATED:  You can view the full gallery here: http://rangefinder.shootproof.com/event/890104/view

Dordogne chateau wedding, Chateau de Fayolle, France - Joanna & David sneak previews

A beautiful chateau in the Dordogne region of France, a stunning hockey-loving bride and a handsome plumber-by-trade groom (relevant info, see if you can spot David's DIY), incredible weather, pom poms, dicky bows, a quick sneaky first look between the bride and groom, cornfields, an incredible croquembouche complete with fireworks and a dancefloor 'Thriller' en mass.  Quite simply one of the best weddings I've had the pleasure to shoot. Joanna & David.... congratulations!  What a day - wow.  You and all your friends & family were so lovely and welcoming, not to mention totally up for a good time.  Have a wonderful honeymoon in the South of France and we'll catch up when you return!  Lots of love. xxxx

An extra thank you to Janet, Gerry and the team at Chateau de Fayolle who looked after everyone, including me, like family.  Cannot wait to come back! xx

Dordogne Chateau du Fayolle wedding France_0043

Cognac vineyard wedding, France - Rachel & Craig sneak previews

Well... after two years of chatting to Rachel I'm (more than) a little sad that the big day is over, but I will always have such amazing memories of their wedding last week in the stunning Cognac region of France, amidst the vineyards.   So much laughter, joy and love.  Some very moving speeches and many happy tears.  And at the centre of it all, this incredible couple who after 11 years together are still utterly besotted with one another (and their adorable son - rightly so!).

Rachel & Craig, this was such a special wedding for me and that's all down to you guys and your wonderful (and frankly, mad) family & friends.  Thank you.  I hope you had an amazing few days with everyone after the wedding and you're looking forward to your honeymoon.  Enjoy these previews and we'll catch up soon!  Much love.  xxxx

A little final shout out to Papertwin Weddings - ALWAYS a pleasure to shoot alongside these guys and I can't wait to see the wedding film trailer.  Penn & Paper FTW!