Just outside Corsham (between Bath and Chippenham) is Hartham Park, a fine Georgian structure which is now an event and wedding venue.
Picture taken by Beata Cosgrove Photography
It's set in acres of glorious parkland, and is a fine example of an English stately home.
Picture taken by Beata Cosgrove Photography
The beautifully manicured grass is perfect for group wedding shots, with leading lines drawing the eye in towards the building!
Picture taken by Beata Cosgrove Photography
Handsome trees in the stunning landscaped gardens along with the house itself would provide a fine backdrop for group shots at an event or wedding.
When I am taking someone's portrait, one of the first things I need to do is put the subject at ease, A great way to do this is through the use of props. A prop is essentially anything that appears in a portrait alongside the human subject, and a whole range of things can be used as props, as you'll see in this blog post. A carefully chosen prop can enhance the photo as a composition, and it can also help to tell the story about who the person in the photo really is.
The first example I'd like to show you is this lady who designs and makes wonderful colourful hats. Everything she makes is produced by hand, and so in this shot I have actually placed two additional hats over her hands to accentuate the connection between her hands and her creations.
The couple in the next picture (below) were celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary when they came to my studio for a shoot. They brought along framed black and white portraits taken on their wedding day 60 years before, which I photographed them with, underlining the link between then and now, and sixty years of happily married life in between.
From a wedding anniversary to a pre-wedding shoot at the venue, and I couldn't resist positioning this couple in front of a sign saying 'Keep off the grass'. It provides a bit of cheeky humour which I like.
And now an actual wedding. You'd never guess it, but the couple (and many of their guests) are keen cyclists, and had the lovely idea of walking through a tunnel of bike wheels held aloft as they braved the confetti shower.
An unusual viewpoint can make a photo really attention-grabbing, but in the picture below, the balls make clear that a game of boules has just finished.
Most of us live and work in spaces which are full of stuff - homes have radiators, windows, bookshelves and so on, while our workspaces are full of desks, windows, files, photocopiers and the like. While all of these things are invaluable in their own way, none of them is likely to enhance a photo in which they feature.
It's for this reason that professional photographers are fond of using backdrops - coloured rolls of vinyl or paper which are suspended behind the subject, giving an uncluttered monochrome background. Here's an example with a vibrant marigold coloured backdrop.
The clear background serves to make the subject more prominent and focus our attention on the face. It's for this reason that firms tend to go for this kind of set-up when getting headshots of their staff, with many feeling that a sombre neutral colour such as grey creates the right kind of professional feel for corporate portraiture.
Many of my customers opt for this kind of background paper when getting a photo taken for their LinkedIn profile. Others opt for more vibrant colour, making for an attention-grabbing and very Instagrammable look, such as this sky blue:
Damson seems to work well as the colour of love, as shown by this couple who I photographed on their wedding day:
It's important to consider the clothes a subject is wearing at a photo shoot, and I often suggest that my customers bring a few alternative outfits, to ensure a wide range of picture types from a one-hour session. It can be effective and eye-catching to have outfits and backdrops that contrast strongly with each other:
For a different effect, I also like to achieve the harmonious look when similarly coloured clothes and backgrounds almost blend in to each other, such as this couple, who I photographed on their wedding anniversary:
I rather like the way the couple's clothes almost replicate the hue and tone of the backdrop, with the man's suit slightly darker than his wife's dress.
Stronger colours of clothing and backdrop can also mirror each other with striking effect:
Here, the similarity between scarf, sweater, lipstick and backdrop complement each other, and help to focus attention on the lady's gaze and smiling eyes.
Green provides a compromise between some of the brighter colours (maroon, marigold and blue) and the more neutral shades of grey.
Patterned backgrounds can work too, such as wallpaper, or, as in this case, an old modesty screen:
As you'll realise having read through this blog, I have a wide range of photographic background papers. They're 2.7 metres wide, and so work for small groups and families, as well as individuals and couples. If you'd like to enquire about arranging a photography portrait session at my studio in Bear Flat in Bath, or if you'd like me to travel to your home or workplace (all the equipment is portable), then do please get in touch.
And if you've enjoyed reading this blog, I'd be delighted if you could like or share it, or if you'd like to leave a comment.
It's no secret that Bath, with its rolling hills and world-famous Georgian architecture, is a popular place to get married, regardless of where the bride and groom actually live. It has many stunning wedding venues which are ideal locations for photos of the wedding guests and the party in full swing.
But I also find that many couples approach me wanting to have photographs professionally taken of them in a range of the city's locations, either on the wedding day itself or during the run-up to the big day, which feature locations other than the party and event venues. Here are some locations which have proved most popular with my customers.
Shakespeare Ave, Bath BA2 4RQ Click here to see Alexandra Park in Google Maps
Bath is full of spectacular vistas, but this viewpoint has to be the best of the best. Set on a dramatic hillside, the park's north-east corner commands a wide panorama over central Bath, with Bath Abbey standing tall in the heart of the city. Road access is via Shakespeare Avenue in the Bear Flat area (up the A367 from the city centre). Or it's a steep but rewarding climb via Widcombe of Holloway up through the Beechen Cliff woods.
Wedding photography at Alexandra Park, Bath. Beata Cosgrove Photography
Ralph Allen Drive, Bath BA2 5AH Prior Park in Google Maps
Prior Park is an oasis of spectacular countryside just a mile from Bath city centre. Instantly recognisable with its landscaped lake and Palladian Bridge, it feels as though it was laid out 200 years ago with engagement photography in mind! Prior Park is owned and managed by the National Trust, and permission needs to be obtained prior to undertaking professional photography on the site. The most direct (and flattest!) access from central Bath is along Church Lane in Widcombe, but there is no parking, so a taxi is probably going to be your easiest way of getting to the Park. But it's definitely worth it!
Feel like a Jane Austen character in Bath's romantic Prior Park. Photo by Beata Cosgrove, reproduced with the permission of the National Trust
The world-famous facade of Bath's Royal Crescent is an ideal backdrop for wedding and engagement photos. Because of the unusual shape of the building, the best vantage point if you want to get the whole building in is from the public lawn and footpath by Royal Avenue, where the photo here was taken.
Bride and groom in front of Bath's Royal Crescent, designed by John Wood the Younger, and built 1767-1774. Copyright Beata Cosgrove Photography
Bath BA1 1LT Bath Abbey in Google Maps
Regardless of whether your ceremony is in Bath Abbey or not, this magnificent gothic building looms large in central Bath. It's just a stone's throw away from the Guildhall and Victoria Art Gallery, which are two of the city's finest wedding venues, and so a short walk can be enough to guarantee that the abbey features in your photos too.
A happy couple on their big day outside Bath Abbey. Beata Cosgrove Photography
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If you're planning a wedding anywhere from Bath to Botswana, you might be interested to read my blog post on questions to ask your prospective wedding photographer before you engage them.
On my website, you'll also find other blogs featuring photos from weddings I've photographed, including this recent one.
You can also browse a selection of photos from Bath and Bristol in my main weddings gallery.
And do please feel free to contact me if you would like to ask for a quote for wedding, engagement or other photography work.
When this couple asked me to photograph their wedding at Bailbrook House Hotel in Batheaston (just outside Bath), I leapt at the opportunity. Before the big day, we met at the venue in order to plan which locations would work well for group photos on the wedding day. It also gave them a picture to use for their invitations.
No excuse now for guests to turn up at the wrong hotel!
The hotel's rolling grounds and gracefully landscaped gardens provide several ideal places to take some engagement shots. One of my ideas was for them both to each produce a drawing showing how they see the other, which caused a great deal of laughter!
Bailbrook House is a handsome Georgian building, and its front entrance provides an imposing backdrop for group photos.....
... and confetti shots:
...as does the garden:
with its majestic trees just asking to be sat on!
The interior also contains some fine period features for wedding photos in a classical style: