A newborn niece – Jessica

When your auntie’s a family and wedding photographer you get lots of photos, but it can take a while for them to be shared… I can’t believe my beautiful little niece turns 1 this month – definitely time to share her newborn photos!

After glowing through pregnancy whilst juggling work, exams & a toddler, my wonderful relaxed sister-in-law & her laid-back partner were happy for me to come and stay 9 days after Jessica was born. This was partly to help entertain big brother Joshua and partly to capture some of those special brand new baby moments. From wrinkled fingers to flaky toes, screwed up crying faces to contented sleep, first toys and hats to blankets knitted with love, being hugged (or possibly put in a headlock…) by a new big brother to everyone adjusting to life as a family of four.

I’m a totally smitten auntie and feel so lucky to have been able to spend time with them right from the start. I’m looking forward to watching them grow, but I’m savouring every minute and creating collections of happy memories to treasure along the way.

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You can see more of my family photography on my website. If you’d like me to create a collection of happy memories from a relaxed family or newborn session in your home I’d love to hear from you – please just complete this form and I’ll be in touch!

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Happy First Birthday Jessica! Love Auntie Han x

www.hannahlarkinphotography.com

2016 Wedding Highlights

At the start of each year I like to look over my weddings from the year before and remind myself of the special moments I’ve been privileged to capture. In 2016 I was lucky enough to travel and photograph weddings across two continents, witnessing colourful Bengali & Hindu weddings, traditional church services and intimate civil ceremonies. I was able to tell the story of close friends as well as finding new friends in couples who booked me.

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Wedding Venues

I photographed a huge range of venues in 2016, from schools decked with paper pompoms to marquees filled with bunting, soaring naval chapels to small local churches, grand manor houses to university college halls, pubs alive with music to brightly decorated hotel suites, small registry offices and even a boat on the Thames. Three of the wedding venues were chosen as the bride or groom’s parents had celebrated their marriage there, making the celebrations part of a family tradition.

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Wedding Rings & Jewellery

I like to find a way to capture something of the day when I’m photographing the rings, incorporating the colour theme,  wedding stationery or foliage. Rings included engravings, shaped bands, solitaires and eternity bands. Last year I particularly enjoyed learning more about traditional Indian wedding jewellery, photographing intricate golden tikkas, nathas and the mangala sutra. I also loved seeing grooms choosing special pieces for their day: from engraved cufflinks to pocket watches.

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Wedding Flowers & Cakes

I saw a variety of wedding flowers last year, from all white bouquets to deep red buttonholes, thistles and home grown flowers, with a relaxed rather than overly formal feel – including table arrangements in teapots! And in wedding cakes I saw lots of personal touches, from swooning dancers to super hero cake toppers, simple tiered white cakes to decorated towers of cheeses, gold trimmed icing to individual cupcakes.

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Bridesmaids & Groomsmen

Choosing just a handful of groups to photograph gives you time to celebrate with your squad. And whilst I capture more formal group portraits my favourites are always seeing groups relaxed and laughing, enjoying themselves. Different shades or mix and match dresses were popular with my brides last year, whilst groomsmen attire featured tailcoats & pinstrips, kilts and ties of every colour! I like to see the different approaches bestmen take to keeping the groom calm and see the banter between friends – including kisses on the cheek & sneaky peeks under kilts!

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Little Touches & Little Guests

I love to see how couples make their wedding their own and am a huge fan of unique or quirky touches. Last year I admired beautiful henna designs, Venetian masks and bubble guns instead of confetti. Also a big hit were the groom’s socks with a hidden secret message, Charlotte Mills shoes with a silver sixpence in the sole for luck and wedding wellies! In the speeches there were surprise appearances from childhood toys and a groomsman dressing up as the groom to mass hilarity. One bride and groom passed a love letter before their ceremony and instead of a guest book asked friends to put a message in a bottle, while other couples asked guests to sign photo frames or canvas prints of their engagement photos. As well as these special little touches, there were also special little guests, some incredibly cute flower-girls and pageboys (including a pair of identical twins) with a range of bow-ties, braces, flower crowns and ear defenders!

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Wedding Portraits & First Dances

With all these beautiful venues I was lucky to have lots of incredible settings to photograph couples. From flower filled private gardens to riverside walks, carved arches to beautiful doorways, docks with pink sunset reflected in the water to winding woodland paths illuminated with fairy lights. I also enjoyed a range of dances, from secret first dances under the stars to choreographed masterpieces complete with confetti canons, brass band music to energetic ceilidhs, romantic slow dances to festival inspired silent discos.

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I loved all the weddings I was honoured to photograph last year, especially all the ways they were unique and personal. I feel so lucky to get to see the nerves and excitement, the blushes and laughter and most of all the pride and love of a wedding day. I’m excited about 2017 & if  you’re getting married this year, I’d love to talk to you about capturing your special wedding story.

www.hannahlarkinphotography.com

Meera & Raj – St Paul’s sunset engagement

After introducing me to the hidden gem of Pergola & Hill Garden in Hampstead for the first part of their engagement shoot, Meera & Raj opted for a more well-known spot for sunset. Raj’s favourite part of London is the Millennium Bridge with its view of St Paul’s Cathedral. We met on the steps of St Paul’s at the start of the golden hour as the sun started to set. I love the huge scale of the doors & pillars, and the beauty of the building’s white stonework. Sitting on the steps also allowed Raj to show off his impressive eyebrow agility! We found a quiet alleyway that gives beautiful reflections of the cathedral, before heading down to the Millennium Bridge for sunset & a dreamy blue dusk.

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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

Christmas family photos at Beamish

I love heading back to Northumberland for Christmas and catching up with my school friends and their families. Last year I joined Harriet, her husband Dave and their gorgeous children, Sophie & Abi, on a family outing to Beamish. Wrapped up warm in some impressively festive hats, we were lucky to enjoy a clear crisp winter day with blue skies while they rode the beautiful old carousel. Then as it started to get dark we ducked into Santa’s grotto. The girls made special ‘elf scarves’ and then studied the magical fairy lights as we waited to see Santa. I loved seeing their excitement and awe at meeting Father Christmas himself – I think that wonder is something very special to capture. Thanks for letting me join your Christmas outing!

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My relaxed family photography sessions can take place in your home or on an adventure like this! Please contact me to talk about a session for your family, I’d love to capture some special memories for you.

www.hannahlarkinphotography.com

Christmas Wreath Workshop – Joanne Truby

Joanne Truby is an incredible florist who I was lucky to work with with on a festive Asian bridal shoot for the Secret Wedding blog last year. This year I was excited to join one of her Christmas wreath workshops at the Traflagar Tavern in Greenwich. I’ve never made a wreath before so when Joanne and her team unpacked a huge variety of foliage, flowers, berries and dried fruits for us to choose from, and I was faced with a simple circle and a reel of wire, it felt slightly overwhelming! However, along with instruction sheets, Christmas carols, hot chocolate and candy canes, Joanne kept us calm and cheery while she demonstrated three clear stages. Firstly, we created a ‘sausage’ of moss to fill the frame. Secondly, we covered this with our choice of foliage – I went for a mix of pine, rosemary, eucalyptus and berried ivy. Finally, we were let loose to choose our decorations – it was hard to pick from so many beautiful options including holly, whole limes, sliced oranges and apples, cinnamon sticks, crab apples, ribbons and flowers… in the end I decided to stick with a green and blue winter theme and used thistles, viburnum berries, dried lavender, poppy seed heads and a fir cone. The whole workshop was wonderfully festive (it wasn’t just me in a Christmas jumper) and it was great fun getting my hands dirty while somehow managing to create a finished wreath! Everyone created a beautiful wreath. It was amazing how different they all looked – from classic red holly wreaths to floral hydrangea-filled ones, ivy dripping with colourful fruits and my very own wintery blue wreath.

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Thanks again Joanne for a wonderful afternoon – I’ll be enjoying my beautiful wreath all December!

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www.hannahlarkinphotography.com

 

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.