Dean & Alice’s English & Bengali Weddings

Dean & Alice are lovely friends of mine – Dean was an usher at our wedding and we discovered he also has a talent for wedding planning, he arrived the night before with his own clipboard! So when he and Alice decided to have not one, but two wedding celebrations I was so excited to see what they planned. I enjoyed both their English wedding at the beautiful Hampton Court House full of fairy lights & pompoms, and their vibrant dance-filled Bengali wedding at Manor of Groves. I tried to repay the favour of all the help Dean gave us, by running round lighting & replacing candles, filling bubble guns (which they used instead of confetti) as well as taking a few photos. Alice looked stunning with two beautiful headpieces, classic white wedding dress and heavily jewelled gold and turquoise dress, while Dean was handsome in a blue suit and gold embroidered outfit. I loved to see how the different cultural traditions were included and enjoyed every minute – congratulations Dean & Alice!

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You can see more of my wedding photography on my website, and if you’re looking for a wedding photographer for the UK or overseas I’d love to talk to you about your plans.

Inktober 2016 – learning to draw

I love to be creative with my camera, and I’ve tried to learn to draw and paint several times over the last few years but I find it hard to keep the practice up. I follow several super talented artists and illustrators on instagram and I was intrigued when I saw my old school pal – turned children’s author & illustrator – Emily MacKenzie posting about #inktober2016. I read up and discovered that inktober is a challenge to do one ink drawing a day for the whole of October.  Jake Parker created the challenge and provides a prompt list so you have a word everyday to base your drawing on.

I’ve never tried drawing with ink before – pencils tend to make me quite tentative and the idea of un-rub-out-able ink seemed daunting – but I decided to give it a try. I bought a Pental Arts Pocket Brush Pen (less than £6 on amazon) – which is like a fountain pen but with a brush instead of a nib. It took a bit of getting used to, and I found it easier to copy drawings, rather than creating something original, but I stuck at it, did a drawing each day and found it really relaxing. By searching the hashtag on instagram and twitter I’ve also found some other amazing artists to follow and be inspired by – you can find a list of some of my favourites below. But first – some of my inktober highlights!

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Inky Inspiration:

Emily MacKenzie (@emilymackenziedraws) – Emily and I went to school together and I’ve been thrilled to follow her success as a children’s author – I can’t recommend her books highly enough & her bright and colourful inky sketches have made me smile all month.

Mel Rye (@melrye) – Mel is a friend of a friend and does incredible illustrations (I especially love her black, red and white London series of paper cuts) – her inktober postings also inspired me to join in.

Cat Faulkner – I found Cat on instagram (@catherinedoart) – she’s an illustrator living in London and she brilliantly combined two of my favourite October things: inktober and the Great British Bake Off – with amazing episode summary sketches, as well as pun-filled inktober drawings!

Valerie Hong – I also found Valerie on instagram (@instantmoka). She’s based in Montreal and I love how she has placed inktober drawings in her diary along with stickers and snippets about her life.

And of course Jake Parker (@jakeparker) – the illustrator and cartoonist who founded Inktober and provided such a fun and varied prompt list (from squeeze to transport, lost to rock, wreck to friend).

You can follow me on instagram or facebook and see more of my photography on my website.

Autumn colours

Although I live in London I’m really a country girl from a tiny village in Northumberland. When I was up there recently I enjoyed walking in the nearby woodland and admiring all the beautiful colours of autumn. Trees turning yellow and orange against a perfect blue sky, glowing red berries and gleaming conkers, acorns in cups, alder and pine cones, beech nuts and piles of golden leaves – autumn is such a gorgeous time of year!

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www.hannahlarkinphotography.com

A relaxed family Sunday

Liya & Rupesh have two beautiful boys – Jonah & Dylan. I first photographed them when Dylan was just a 11 days old and it was lovely to see how they’ve grown (Jonah’s now 3 and Dylan is 1) and become firm friends.

I joined them for a relaxed Sunday afternoon at home and captured those everyday moments – playing with favourite toys, tickling, piggybacks with mum and putting on dad’s shoes! Rupesh’s parents popped in for a while and were in demand for cuddles. Once everyone had their own shoes on, we went out and played in the back garden where Jonah & Dylan have a little cafe complete with toaster and chalk board signs. Jonah helped to water the plants while Dylan just wanted dad to spin him round and round which made him giggle endlessly. Then bubbles & balls on the grass at the front before heading indoors for a dinner of fish fingers and a last bit of playtime and stories together before bed.

I love capturing families at home to tell the story of their weekend. Staying for a couple of hours & being in their environment where they feel comfortable the children (& parents!) quickly get used to me and relax, so I can take natural portraits that show the love, laughter & fun of the family.

Liya & Rupesh thank you for inviting me to share your Sunday afternoon – & thanks to Jonah & Dylan for all the tasty imaginary goodies from your cafe!

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You can see more of my family photography on my website and if you’d like to arrange a relaxed and fun family photo session, I’d love to hear from you:

Traditional golden Indian bridal look

As a London wedding photographer, I’m lucky to be surrounded by diversity and love to celebrate different cultures. So I was excited to be part of a creative team working to produce a traditional Indian bridal look, with a regal golden theme.

Kiren Modi was our stunning model and she showed off the gorgeous bridal lengha set, covered with intricate gold embroidery, to perfection. The dupatta, featuring a gold lace edging with red piping, was secured over a low bun and it draped beautifully to complete the outfit. Kiren’s understated up-do had a centre parting to showcase a golden double teardrop tikka, complimented by a gold and white passa over her left temple. Her earrings and necklace matched her tikka, with five gold chains fastening the teardrop pendants around her neck, while an additional gold chain attached her large hoop natha or nose ring. White and gold bangles and an ornate kundan and ruby ring finished the look. Shreya Pandya is a really talented bridal hair & makeup artist and she created a look that perfectly balanced all the bridal jewellery. After forming a flawless base, she emphasised Kiren’s eyes using smoky reds and greys with long lashes and a heavy outline so they could hold their own amongst all the jewels!

I really enjoyed working with this talented team and look forward to sharing more Indian bridal images from both weddings and styled shoots soon.

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Creative Team:
Model Kiren Modi
MUA Shreya Pandya
Clothing Maahira
Jewellery Nishel

You can see more of my wedding photography on my website.

Raj & Meera’s Pergola & Hill Garden engagement

Meera & Raj suggested visiting the Pergola & Hill Garden in Hampstead for the first part of their engagement shoot and I’ve fallen in love with this hidden gem. Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of London it has raised walkways, beautiful brick archways and carefully landscaped gardens. Meera & Raj are great fun and happily braved creepers and spiders so we could find some precious spots of shade on this bright and sunny afternoon! Then we used little arcs of sunlight created by a row of arches to frame them laughing and snuggling together. That evening we headed to St Paul’s Cathedral for sunset – those photos will follow.

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If you’re just engaged please get in touch so we can plan a relaxed and romantic engagement session that fits your story. Or if you’re planning a special proposal I’d love to find a way to capture the moment, whether you’d like to propose during a couple shoot or arrange for me to be in your chosen location to photograph it discreetly.

www.hannahlarkinphotography.com

Back to school soundtrack

Last year I blogged about the songs providing the backdrop to my summer – time has flown and now it’s ‘back to school’ time! Here are the five top tunes I’m happy to have stuck on my iPhone and in my head:

1). I’m gonna be (500 miles) by Sleeping at Last

When the bride and groom told me their first dance would be to “I would walk 500 miles” I couldn’t really picture it! But I had no need to worry about the bride attempting to march in a long white dress to the Proclaimers 80s hit – often played to rouse Scottish football fans. This beautiful ballad version set to a simple piano accompaniment is just so romantic and dreamy it makes a perfect first dance.

2). Suitcase full of sparks by Gregory Alan Isakov

I’m a big fan of crime drama and recently finished the latest series of The Blacklist. I love the show, but when this song was played as part of the soundtrack I struggled to focus on the plot. It’s a haunting tune with an amazing mix of instruments and vocal backing – I think there’s a banjo and accordion in the mix. The melody and refrain “honey I’m just trying to find my way to you” are sure to stick in your head. I can’t wait to see him supporting Passenger in November!

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3). Carrier of a secret by Sissel

A trip to the arctic circle at Easter let me tick off an item from my bucket list – a visit to the ice hotel. During my Scandinavian trip, I was reminded of the amazing Norwegian singer Sissel. Her voice, especially for the highest notes, is as pure and clear as the river ice that forms the hotel. I listened to her songs on cassette and later CD while revising for exams at school and university and I’ve loved reacquainting myself with old favourites.

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4). Shut up and dance with me by Walk the Moon

One of the couples whose wedding I photographed this year found a clever way to keep their party going late without disturbing the neighbours – they had a silent disco! With headphones lit in red for the bride’s playlist and blue for the groom’s it was great to see the lights change colour as different songs came on. I’m not sure whether this song was on the bride or groom’s playlist but with its strong beat it had everyone jumping around and dancing! It’s now my go-to energising song for an instant boost.

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5). Holiday in Spain by Counting Crows

Karaoke (in a private room, not on a stage) is one of our favourite ways to spend an evening. I generally think musical ability is not really required – it’s all about passion and enthusiasm! However when a friend of a friend chose this song (which I’d never heard before) and sang it beautifully, I instantly loved it and bought the Counting Crows version there and then. I think it’s perfect and as autumn begins, it leaves me dreaming of jetting off for some sunshine.

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So that was the soundscape to my summer. I love stumbling upon new artists or being prompted to rediscover old favourites – so please leave any recommendations!
www.hannahlarkinphotography.com