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    24 December

The 2009 wedding season is truly over, and after a frantic close to the year (six weddings in four weeks) many of the people you see on these pages will be settling down to enjoy their first Christmas together as husband and wife.

Every wedding is special, not just for the bride and groom and families, but for me. I've met lots of wonderful people this year and whilst my job is never easy, they've made it a pleasure. And so Bloke would just like to say 'Thank you and Happy Christmas!'

 
17 December
I can safely say that there's nothing better to keep children amused at weddings than a Go Go Hamster. This one was a present on the day but came without batteries - disaster was averted when the helpful staff at Caistor Hall found some and then happiness abounded :-)

 
9 December 2009
Photographing another photographer's wedding is a tough assignment, but motorsport tog Steve was delighted with the results, especially those taken in the impressive 'Our Lady Star of the Sea' church in Lowestoft:

 
2 December
Church weddings are full of potential disasters. I sincerely hope I never make the same mistakes as these unfortunate photographers - these clips make me wince!
 
25 November
As you probably know I don't get involved with prints - my customers sensibly prefer to buy their own at cost. So here are a few special offers that can help them - or indeed anyone else who happens to be reading :-)
www.cewe-photobook.co.uk - 5 off photobooks if you enter code 'mycodexmas'
http://promo.snapfish.co.uk/MVC/mvcxmas - 30% off calendars
http://uk.moo.com/en/products/minicards.php - 10% off Christmas Cards
 
24 November
Two weddings in two days is a hectic schedule, but there are always new things to discover and photograph. On Friday it was a mobile casino, and on Saturday an air-guitar competition (and they seemed such well-behaved chaps!)  Photos will be added when I've finished processing them...
 
19 November
In a moment of diary fever, and before tomorrow's trip to The Old Rectory, I thought it would be interesting to work out the most popular days of the week for weddings. This was the result:
     Monday 0%
     Tuesday 3%
     Wednesday 6%
     Thursday 3%
     Friday 20%
     Saturday 61%
     Sunday 7%
Anyone fancy having the first Monday wedding?!
 
9 November
The first booking for 2011 has arrived!  Local couple Nicole and Paul came for a free chat at Bloke HQ last week, then went off to see some other photographers. Today they came back and signed up :-)  See you in 2011!
 
2 November 2009
Online printing outfit Snapfish has today won Channel 5's 'Gadget Show' test, coming top out of 13 contestants for best photo quality, and at a very good price. Click below and load up!
 
30 October
Some photo opportunities are fleeting. At the first wedding of a busy double-wedding weekend, I spotted a happy fellow trying on a pink hat. One second later and this wacky moment was captured for all time - 'Suit you Sir!'

 
26 October
People in the know tell me that the London Golf Club is frightfully exclusive - the kind of place that money alone doesn't get you in to. It certainly seems to occupy most of Kent, and Bloke was extremely honoured to be invited along to cover the wedding of the delightful Andrew & Emma :-)
 
17 October
The strange case of the bridesmaid's dresses...  At a recent location visit to Down Hall Hotel, the bride-to-be handed me a sample of light green fabric and asked me to see how it photographed - because in the past it had come out blue in some photos! I took it into Bloke Studios to test it under controlled conditions, and yes, at certain angles and with certain lighting it did indeed turn blue! Weird...
 
30 September
What is it about 22 May 2010?  The biggest disappointment is having to turn people away because I'm already booked. So far four different couples have wanted 22 May 2010...!

 
27 September
A personal choice. Wedding couples always get all the images in full colour, but special effects (SFX) are more personal. Today, Ian & Amy dropped into Bloke HQ for their free SFX session, and came away with 27 new images including this lovely scene from the first dance:

 
16 September
Free software!  I always supply images in full size and maximum resolution, but it can mean the files are too big to e-mail to your friends. So from now on each wedding disk that leaves Bloke HQ will contain a free copy of a handy batch image re-sizer. It's PC-only but is easy to use and gives you full control of image size and compression. Short of coming round and cooking your supper, I can't do much more than that!
 
11 September
It's always to meet people twice. Wedding guest and radio presenter Helen turned up at Bloke Studios for a promotional shoot today. And yes, even the X-Files' film crew thought she looked like Gillian Anderson...

 
6 September
'Can I buy a copy of that one?' is something guests often ask me. My answer is 'Sorry, no'. Before their look of surprise fully develops, I say 'You can have it for free!'. It's true - all they need to do is ask the wedding couple for a copy from the disk.

As the happy meerkat says, 'Simples!'

 
4 September
Getting attacked by Cybermen is all part of a day's work. Luckily I managed to duck the little foam rubber thingy and survived to complete the job!

 
22 August
Bloke was surprised today when one of his own photographs came back through the  letterbox... except it was now turned into a greetings card, and sent by Jenny & Phil (read the contents here). It's always nice to get feedback, and even better to see that customers are enjoying making the most of their photos.

 
10 August
Some of my customers like getting all the images on disk because it means they can try their own hand at 'Photoshopping'. Oliver and Edina took my colour original of a passing balloon (see Blog 1st June) and made it into a neat album cover! 

 
3 August
Sometimes I'm asked what 'digital processing' means.  Well, even the best camera in the world doesn't get it right every time, and wedding reportage photography is far removed from the perfection of a studio. That's why I always shoot in a format called RAW - it allows me to make certain improvements afterwards.

Here's a photo from Jenny & Philip's wedding at Otley Hall. The top one is 'as shot'. It looks OK until you see the optimised one underneath it. The white balance has been warmed up, giving better skin tones, the black levels have been raised to enhance contrast, and a touch of sharpening applied. It's funny but the less you notice these things, the better they've been done!

 
30 July
A swift update before knuckling down to three weddings in quick succession... it's amazing how many marriages involve people from all over the world. Last week I was photographing people from Finland, Jersey and America, and before that, the lovely Michiko from Japan. I feel very lucky to meet so many interesting people in my work!

 
7 July
Roasted and boiled. As luck would have it my last batch of weddings landed right in the middle of the recent heatwave... staff at Cooling Castle Barns lived up to their name by thoughtfully bringing round glasses of iced water. As a result Bloke was able to keep going and recorded the greatest number of photos yet - over 700. Here are some bridesmaids finding the refreshment tent!
 
16 June
My camera's going scuba diving!  I just sold my trusty Nikon D70 to a guy who'll be taking it scuba diving. By August it will be in distant tropical waters taking beautiful pictures of fish and other wibbly things. Here she is ready to go - my first DSLR and the one that started it all... http://www.pistonheads.com/inc/images/cry.gif

 
14 June
Passions spilled over at Leez Priory when Owen and Russ, the best best men I've ever worked with, decided to ham it up within range of Bloke's camera. And yes, the reluctant victim not only looks but sounds just like Michael Mcintyre!
 
1 June
I thought something was up when guests started rushing excitedly into the courtyard. Something was indeed up, but only just! It seems the balloonists were so distracted by the wedding beneath them that they forgot to fire the burner. They remembered just in time but got awfully close to the tower...

 
27 May
Where's 'Bloke?'  Three weddings in 10 days, including a massive one at Leez Priory, have resulted in almost 2,000 photographs (two billion pixels!) to process, tweak and twiddle one by one - so he's been a bit busy. But there'll be a decent update soon :-)
 
15 April
The tables were turned last night at popular wedding venue The Fennes. Unusually Bloke found himself on the receiving end for a change - the end of the pen of ace caricaturist Steve Hearn. It's a fair cop Guv!

 
7 April
Bloke's photobook spies report that Blurb are making good quality products at crazily low prices - namely an 80 page 18x18cm book for just 7.95, and 10% off if you order 10 or more. They're not paying me to write this, it's all part of the sharing policy here at Bloke Hall :-)

 
29 March
I could have posted a 'happy couple' shot from Aldeburgh last weekend but here's a subject that out-foxed me. She's not playing on a Nintendo DS, she's filming me!

 
18 March
The eyeball trick. Despite everything, sometimes I get back to Bloke HQ and discover that someone crucial has their eyes closed in an otherwise great shot. It can be possible (but I make no promises!) to fix this - see the crop below.

 
6 March
Bonkers booking bonanza! It's been a corking week here at Bloke HQ, with four new couples signing up in six days: Saturday - Susan & Graham, Sunday - Ellie & Rob, Tuesday - Hannah & Gordon, Thursday - Steve from Japan!
 
25 February
Sometimes you arrive and just know everything's going to go well!
 
12 February
Building up for a big wedding on Valentine's Day, Bloke filled in with a studio shoot for actor chum John Holmes, star of the film 'Cool Spies'... (well more of a home movie really, but it was jolly good)

 
5 February
Bloke got stuck today.  It didn't seem much of a slope but the ice was remarkably icy and the trusty Jag just wasn't having any of it...  Bloke was making good headway shovelling away with his clipboard when Rob, the nice manager from Aldwickbury Golf Club, arrived and helped push him out!
 
17 January
First booking for 2010!  I know you have to plan ahead, but...  

Bloke is delighted to sign up Mike & Kelly for May 2010! Of course I won't have the photos for while yet, so here's one I made earlier:

 
5 January
'Supplier of the Week'. Bloke was delighted to learn that he's been chosen as 'Supplier of the Week' by top wedding website Confetti. He has no idea why; perhaps they liked his stuff!

 

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