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Ta-ra Newbold Terrace

July 1, 2013

Rachel Spivey change of address

Vintage Hair Lounge Rolls Into Brum

June 25, 2013

Pretty ladies? Cool vintage hair dos? Some studio work, with a bit of reportage thrown in?

It’s not everyday I land a job that seems tailored made for me, but a recent assignment with the prestigious Vintage Hair Lounge was right up my street.

And just down the road.

Vintage Hair lounge showcase by Leamington Spa photographer Rachel Spivey

Hair: Chelsea Phipps / Model: Sophie Kane

Moving in the circles I do, I’d been aware of the Vintage Hair Lounge for sometime and always admired how they came across as a proper outfit. There have been lots of vintage hair ‘specialists’ pop up over the last few years, but these gals really have the professional backgrounds to live up to that claim.

So when my sometime creative collaborator, Cassie Leedham, mentioned my name to them, I was rightly chuffed.

Vintage Hair Lounge workshop

Curl Power – how to achieve the retro look the Vintage Hair Lounge way

Based on the south coast, they were looking to bring their popular ‘Vintage Hairstyling for Camera’ workshop to the Midlands and, having secured Aston & Fincher’s training academy in Birmingham as a venue, asked me to be their course photographer.

The intensive two-day course is aimed at freelance and salon hairdressers and covers the history of various styles and the techniques to achieve them. Throwing a professional photographer into the mix allows the students to art direct their final styles in a simulated studio and see how they hold up under the scrutiny of the camera, as well as providing them with a ready-made portfolio of their work.

Vintage Hair Lounge portfolio shot from the Vintage Hair for Camera Course

Hair: Salma Patel / Model: Shazila Fazal

Rachel Spivey's pop-up studio for The Vintage Hair Lounge

Behind the scenes of my little pop-up studio

The Lounge is helmed by the fabulous Mum and Daughter team of Sharon and Gloria Holloway. They’re a real energetic pair who clearly love what they do, and have a great attitude to life. It makes such a difference to my job to work alongside like-minded creative people and, while all our communications had been on email up until the shoot, they really made me feel part of the team on the day.

Sharon Holloway, Owner of The Vintage Hair Lounge by Warwickshire photographer Rachel Spivey

It’s all about the updo

Vintage hair tips shared on a course at Aston & Fincher

Gloria sharing tips

And completing the team was vintage make-up expert, Alison McMath from Kitty Wink Vintage, who had travelled down from Chorley for the event. She was lovely and her work was truly transforming.

Hair and make up

Shooting around all the mirrors made for an interesting triptych

The students had the opportunity to try out what they had learned on a mix of professional and non-professional models in preparation for their photo shoots. It was nice to capture the whole ‘before and after’ process, obviously I can’t show all of it here, but these are a few of my favourites.

Raven Brookes model

Alt model Raven Brookes is prepped by Salma

Alternative model Raven Brookes

Hair: Salma Patel / Model: Raven Brookes

Feedback from the shots has been great and I hope that they have given the hairdressers who attended something that they can all go on and produce as evidence of their new skills.

Vintage hairdressing training course

Some of the students with their models

I really had a great time on this job. It was lovely to meet some cool new people, but also to catch up with Violet Leys, who was one of the very first alternative models I shot back in days when I put big watermarks on everything and the whole vintage scene was still pretty niche.

I have a real soft spot for that shoot at the Malmaison and the pics are still online here.

Violet Ecstacy

Hair: Odette Gander / Model Violet Leys

I’m all set to be at the next course in Birmingham and looking forward to hooking up with Sharon and Gloria again at Goodwood in September.

Sharon Holloway and Alison McMath

Sharon and Alison online

If you like your look distinctly retro but your communications decidedly 21st century, you can keep up to date with this dynamic little business on Facebook or Twitter.

But I’ll be sure to share more vintage in the future.

RS x

A Big Pat on The Backspace

May 31, 2013

Last year I was involved with my hometown’s local history festival. 

It was ace, I got to photograph Tony Benn and everything. 

This year it was bigger and better and I’m glad to say I was involved again.

Rachel Spivey Photographer ad in the Leamington Looks Back programme for 2013

My ad in the Leamington Looks Back programme for 2013

Those who know me, or follow this blog, will be aware I have an interest in all things retro, but, while I might seek out a local history event anyway, my connection to this one is a bit closer to home.

Having designed the Leamington Looks Back logo and publicity material for their inaugural festival last year, my husband, Craig, managed to talk himself into taking on a bigger role this time around, after his idea for an exhibition about the history of the computer games industry in Leamington snowballed into a mini ‘festival within a festival’ – Backspace.

Leamington Spa Backspace event flyer designed by Craig Spivey

A montage-tastic Backspace flyer

I got to witness, first hand, all the long hours he put into getting it off the ground – from building a team of experts, to creatively directing and helping publicise what ultimately became a series of 10 events over two weeks. So, when he asked me to cover a few of the events as a sponsor and ‘official photographer’, I couldn’t say no, really.

Even though Backspace was backed and supported by Heritage Matters and secured an amount of funding from Warwickshire County Council’s Operation Footfall initiative, the, increasingly ambitious, project was pulled off in a very short space of time, on a shoestring budget, by a tiny team of volunteers with ‘off the side of the desk’ help from Vital and their extended family of suppliers.

Backspace branding

A hole left by the hasty removal of an air-con unit by previous occupants made for a dramatic entrance

The exhibition itself was gifted a temporary home in an empty shoe shop in Regent Court by Warwick District Council and quickly proved a daunting space to fill. After some begging and borrowing of artifacts, and the creation of an impressive timeline (researched, written and designed over one weekend) they managed to deliver something pretty damn awesome.

Backspace_exhibition_ entrance

The queue of big pixel people on the window foreshadowed the queue of real people on opening night


Megan from Sega Hardlight admires the exhibits

I think it is safe to say that no-one quite anticipated the reception Backspace would get.

Opening night was rammed with the great and the good from the local games industry and I was there to capture some of the reactions from a clearly impressed crowd, excited to see some of their work on the walls and learn how it fitted into the whole story.

The buzz on Twitter and Facebook grew quickly and even the local BBC news came down to do a live link!


Assembled guests try out some of the old games and devour the timeline panels


Lucy and Tina – students from the computer games art course at Warwickshire College

A combination of teamwork, hard graft and a fair amount of on-the-hoof creative thinking managed to pull of a great evening underpinned by an exhibition that combined curated, in-depth commentary and physical items with interactive games and fun stuff to do.


Dan from Leam-based indie games developers, Monster & Monster,

One of the coolest bits has been the trail of arcade cabinets in venues around town. Dubbed the ‘Leamington Spa-cade’, six local studios showcased their games in shops such as Gap and Braderie, and folks were invited to play the trail and collect stickers to complete a card and win prizes.

Cool, huh?


Alice from Vital and the best looking former shoe shop in town

I admit to not being much of a gamer myself, but the impact on popular culture that Leamington has had is undeniable when you look around that room, and I found the boundless enthusiasm of a lot of the personalities behind the industry quite infectious.


Chris White, MP for Warwick and Leamington, listens intently to Blitz Games Studios‘ Philip Oliver

Having the exhibition opened by three people representing the past, present and future of games development in Leamington was a lovely touch too, and the show even featured a wall which local developers were all invited to sign.

And while this has all an obvious appeal to the people inside the industry, the exhibition has gone on to do a great job of engendering a bit of civic pride with the general public. Over 1,700 people came through the doors in the opening weekend and I’ve never seen a visitor’s book as unanimously complimentary.


Philip Oliver starts the signing | David Darling, co-founder of Codemasters and Kwalee, Chris Southall, Studio Head of Sega Hardlight and Lucy Johnson from the computer games art course at Warwickshire College, who officially opened proceedings

My workload has meant I haven’t been able to cover all of the Backspace events (or indeed the 40-odd wider Leamington Looks Back activities) but the ones I have done have been fully subscribed and lots of fun to do.


A real mix of people came down to experience a slice of the Raspberry Pi action at workshops hosted by IndieCity


A young lad and his dad get to grips with coding

I was also on hand to grab a few shots at the Games Industry Careers Evening at Warwickshire College. All too often established professionals can come across as cynical and aloof at these things, but I have never seen such an enthusiastic and positive bunch of experts so keen to impart their knowledge.

I know I wasn’t the intended audience, but I came away quite uplifted. If any of my boys want to pursue this as a career in the future, I will endorse it wholeheartedly.


The future of the games industry assembled for a Q&A with panelists from every discipline

Will Freeman interviews Philip Oliver and David Darling at Backspace in Leamington Spa

Will Freeman, Editor of Develop magazine and games writer for The Observer, quizzes the founding fathers about the serious business of creating fun

Event photography is not something I normally fall over myself to do, but on this occasion I was proud to be involved, but not as proud as I am of Craig and the Backspace dream team for pulling this off.

And what a team.

Lending the whole exhibition a dash of credible, cultural context was the charming Dr Michael Piggot. He’s the Assistant Professor of Video Art and Digital Media at Warwick University whose fiance turned out to be the lady who taught me to crochet.

And then, of course there’s the talented and energetic Natalie Griffith. Providing the real games industry clout, Nat’s insider knowledge and connections, not only secured the support of the key players, but also expanded the festival to include educational, charity and social elements.

By all accounts, the three of them all played their parts brilliantly and I love this shot of them taken on their preview night. The sense of relief and joy is palpable and I was glad I was there to take it.


Michael Piggot, Nat Griffiths and some other fella

I’d like to wish Michael and Denise good luck for their forthcoming wedding, Nat all the best with her new PR agency PressSpace and hope that Craig will now allow himself to chill the hell out for a while!

Well done to everyone involved. I’m impressed.

RS x

The exhibition is in its final weekend and closes on Sunday at 8pm and is well worth a look, if you haven’t already. All the details are here.

All White Now

April 29, 2013

There’s something about snow.

We only have to have a flurry in the UK for our Facebook walls and Twitter timelines to become knee-deep in Instagrams and phone pics of the white stuff.

But when you book your big day for the end of March you don’t expect that it will literally end up a white wedding.

Bride and Groom photographed under a snowy tree

Jon and Kim in the snowy grounds of Wroxall Abbey

I’m generally lucky with the weather. Even on rainy days I’ve been on the receiving end of some very timely dry spells, though in the seven years I have been shooting weddings I have never had the chance to do one in the snow.

Until last month.

The formal gardens at Wroxhall Abbey under a blanket of snow

What time is it when you can’t see your sundial for snow?

All told I have now done three weddings at Wroxall Abbey. It’s a lovely, grand venue with an authentic period interior and well-kept gardens.

In fact, it’s pretty enough with out a romantic Narnian makeover, but after a heavy fall of snow it was beautiful.

Wren's Cathedral in the grounds of Wroxall Abbey

Guests arriving at the venue and, yes, that is a chap in a kilt

The ceremony was held in Wren’s Cathedral, the small church in the Abbey grounds. So named after Sir Cristhopher Wren who, having done well in the building trade, bought the estate for his son.

A wedding at Wroxall Abbey in Warwickshire

Looking in and out of doorways

Bridal party at Wroxhall Abbey

Fortunately the church was in squelching distance from the hotel

I’d reminded Kim and Jon to bring wellies and happily they were up for braving the elements and taking a few shots in the grounds after the ceremony.

Technically speaking I had to compensate for the brightness, but other than that it was business as usual as we took some formal portraits and tried to capture as many candid shots of guests as I could.

Guests take photos through the windows at Wroxall Abbey

The guests weren’t quite so keen to get out in the cold.

As always I shot in colour and let my instincts guide me as to what shots lend themselves to a black and white conversion after the event. I think a lot of these shots really lend themselves to more stark contrast.

Newlyweds in the snow at Wroxall

Kim by the water with Jon running back after dropping their umbrella out of shot

It’s great that everyone was such a good sport, even Kim’s sisters the bridesmaids came out to help carry the dress over the deep snow. I know we could have taken some shots in front of some stately fireplace or other, but I love these and in Kim’s word’s they ‘captured the magic of their day’.

Bridesmaids in pashminas shelter from the snow

Bridesmaids snuggle under matching pashminas

The ground of Wroxall Abbey in the snow

Shooting through the snowfall has given this the feeling of an old engraving

While our weather still appears to be stumbling towards some sort of spring I remain hopeful we will have a summer full of sunny Saturdays.

Though whatever it does, I’ll be out in it.

RS x

All in the Name of Art (and Other Courses)

March 25, 2013

Whether it’s ad campaigns, retail displays or crisp packets, I often have to wait months between a shoot and seeing any of my pictures in a finished product.

So it was a nice surprise to scroll down an email I received last week and get a look at the results of a shoot I did last December.

It’s still a thrill to see the fruits of my labour working hard for a client.

HTML email and Facebook cover

Digital communications and social media for The Academies

The Academies are school holiday camps, covering a wide variety of subjects for kids between 3 and 17, and I was approached to help them create a bank of imagery they could use to reflect their range of courses.

It was really valuable to be involved in the early stages of the job and I got to work closely with the clients – Paul Clarke and his wife Alex – and Warwick-based design agency Paper Tiger, to determine to best way to tackle the brief. Along with a series of action shots of kids with different outfits and props, each model had to be photographed individually to achieve one overall image of a long queue waiting at the gate.

With desire to get the most out of the budget and a cast of sixteen(!) easily bored kids, the shoot was never going to be a relaxed one.


A budding Georgia O’Keeffe unmoved by the performance of a young John Gielgud

Paul and Alex set out to beg, steal or borrow the majority of the models from friends and relatives, and supplemented these with three young actors from an agency. Along with their parents, chaperones, my team and numerous boxes of props and costumes the studio was soon packed with fairy princesses, teenage rugger boys and one rather timid dinosaur.

It’s on jobs like these being married to a Creative Director is a bit of a bonus, and I have to hand it to Craig, who along with Paul, did an incredible job of helping the children feel at ease and get into their roles. The lights and all the equipment must have been quite scary for the little ones, and intimidating for the self-conscious older ones, and it took a fair amount of acting daft and improvising with the props to get the relaxed and natural performances we needed from this largely amateur cast.

outtakes from photoshoot with kids

Paul and Craig channeling their inner Mr Tumble

What could have been a nightmare of a day, went like a dream.

The kids, for the most part, were little stars. (Read Paul’s account of the experience here.) As every shot was meticulously planned beforehand, everybody knew what was happening and everything ran to time. Alex and Amy were brilliant at getting folks into their outfits and were ready with the hundreds of props, my assistants Dan and Emma did a sterling job and there were no tears.

It was all a bit of a buzz really and roping in my own three lads as models only added to the fun. It’s always good for them to experience first-hand what Mum and Dad actually do for a living and beats sending them up chimneys.

Spivey_boys copy

The Spivey boys

I’m happy that Paul and Alex are chuffed with these results. It think it’s looking great. The queue device does a great job of summing up everything they do in one bright and engaging image and I’m looking forward to seeing how they’ll use their new photo library on other stuff.

If they run their courses as well as they organise photo shoots, I’m sure The Academies will continue to be a huge success.

RS x

Carrie On Styling

February 25, 2013

As you know, I do weddings, and I have done a fair few fashion shoots as well, but I’d never had the opportunity to combine the two.

Until now.

And it’s all thanks to one of my previous wedding clients…

I first met Carrie Southall and Tom Legge when I photographed their wedding, at Snitterfield, a couple of years ago. Not only were they great people to work with, she was a stylist and he was a cameraman so we had a fair bit in common too.

Bride and groom kiss in an open topped frog eyed sprite

Carrie and Tom on the way to Charlecote House for their reception

Vintage styled wedding by {re}loved

Of course Carrie did all the styling for her own wedding

Carrie has created looks for top brands such as Marks & Spencer and Waitrose and has worked in TV with such style luminaries as Gok Wan and Trinny and Susannah – in fact she and Tom met while filming ‘What Not To Wear’ – and when she suggested we collaborate on a photo shoot to promote her new boutique styling and vintage rental business – {re}loved – I was only too happy to oblige.

Wedding fashion photography by Rachel Spivey, Leamington Spa

1950s wedding dress with petticoats from Petticoats-a-plenty and shoes from ASOS

It was a while in the planning, but after a bit of diary co-ordinating, prop-sourcing and outfit selecting we finally hit the studio. It was worth the wait to assemble such a top class team on the day.

First off Carrie enlisted the help of respected fashion stylist Katherine Doyle, who arrived with a fantastic array of vintage wedding dresses from the 1940’s through to the 1970’s, along with boxes full of accessories and shoes.

Behind the scenes at a wedding fashion shoot

Carrie and Laura on confetti showering duty (photo by Tom Legge)

Also on hand was local hair and make-up artist Laura Taviner who did a such a great job to create distinctly different looks for each of the outfits over such a short space of time.

Vintage wedding dress inspiration

The only confetti shot I have ever been able to control | Posing with a posie

Bride holding a parasol decorated with flowers

Carrie’s parasol propped with silk flowers worked a treat alongside one of Katherine’s hair accessories

Then of course there was our fantastic model for the day – Maria Gardner – who came courtesy of the Alan Sharman Agency. A stunning Coventry lass, Maria was perfect for the shoot and a dream to photograph.

Fashion photography featuring Grace Kelly style wedding dress

It’s subtle, but I love how the shape of her hair echoes the shape of the train

The list of cast and crew didn’t stop there.

Tom came along to lend a hand and capture some behind the scenes shots while my trusty assistant, Dan Barnes, was there to help things run smoothly behind the camera.

Though last but not least, was my studio pooch Cecil, who loved all the attention and only tried to get in on the action a couple of times.

Cecil, Rachel Spivey's studio apricot poodle

Cecil wears Dilly Knit jumper. Collar: model’s own (photo by Tom Legge)

With such an illustrious crew behind me how could the photos fail?

Leamington Spa fashion photographer Rachel Spivey

You’re all looking at the pretty model and not my messy studio, right? (photo by Tom Legge)

Paloma Faith style wedding headdress

This has to be my favourite outfit of the day – and there was some stiff competition

Carrie had thought out all the shots before-hand and all the pre-planning helped us get through so many different set-ups.

Vintage 1950s dress styled by {re}loved

Vintage 1950s dress (Cecil chasing balloons not shown)

1970s and 1950s wedding dresses

A seventies dress alongside another one from the 1950s

Editing these down was quite hard as there were so many fab images, but I have selected these as together they make a set worthy of any style mag.

Vintage wedding going away outfit with liberty print suitcase

Carrie’s Liberty print covered suitcase and matching belt really makes this shot

It was great working alongside such a large team of creative folks with everyone pitching in ideas and I hope everyone involved got what they wanted out of the day.

I know I did.

RS x

Gathered Together – My Favourite Wedding Photos of 2012

January 22, 2013

Do I ever get tired of shooting weddings?


But I do get tired from shooting weddings.

Despite what ‘Uncle Bob’, with his big camera might think, if you’re not exhausted when you come home from a photographing a wedding, you’re not doing your job properly!

When I’m right in the thick of a busy wedding season it’s hard to take stock of every single photo, but having a break to plan my year ahead and look back on the one just gone, it’s been nice to have the opportunity go through all the shots from 2012 and pull out some of my favourites.

I’ve not tried to crowbar them into a particular theme, venue, or stylistic hook, they’re just the ones that make me smile, get a lump in my throat and, in one or two cases, take my breath away…

Jimmy Choo Wedding Shoes Compton Verney Warwickshire

Beautifully-blinged Jimmy Choos

On the whole weddings are fun and upbeat places to hang out on a weekend, and one of my favourite parts of the day is being with the bridal party while they get ready. It gets me warmed-up and, as well as snapping a few detail shots, it helps the bride, her bridesmaids and family get used to me and the camera as they get on with preparing for the main business of the day.

Bride getting ready for wedding at Wethele Manor Warwickshire

Capturing Harriet in her old grey T-shirt provided a nice context for the transformation to come

Bridal car arrives Compton Verney Wedding Warwickshire

Emily and her bridesmaids in their personalised dressing gowns

Getting ready for wedding at Clopton House Warwickshire

Laura, her mum and Scarlet the bridesmaid as their preparations spread out to every room in the house

Make-up, mirrors and being laced into big floaty dresses – it is all photogenic stuff and is never more emotionally charged than on the morning of the wedding.

Bride and makeup artist at wedding Warwick House Southam Warwickshire

An old work colleague of mine, and a fellow ginger, Lucy made a stunning bride

Bride getting ready for wedding Nailcote Hall Solihull

Natalie at Nailcote

Sister Lacing_up_back_of_brides' dress Hogarth's Solihull wedding

Saira being laced up before tying the knot

Final Touches bridal preparations for Weddings at Compton Verney and Kenilworth Castle Warwickshire

An army of bridesmaids is essential for a final primp and preen

Proud mother of the bride and bride wedding at Compton Verney Warwickshire

Emily and her mum have a bit of a moment

Wedding Hair bride wedding at Walton Hall near Wellesbourne Warwickshire

A lovely shot of Joanna giving her lip the slightest of nervous chews

Hydrangea bouquets at Warwick House Southam Warwickshire paper hearts Crockwell Farm Northamptonshire

Bouquets ready to go, with garlands of paper hearts

It’s not always the women. If a bride and groom are getting ready at the same venue, or live close by, there’s sometimes the opportunity to capture the Groom getting ready too.

Groom all ready for his wedding at Brownsover Hall Rugby Warwickshire

I love these pics of Simon in his room at Brownsover Hall – he really was this happy all day!

Once everyone is set, if there’s time, and the environment is right, and if the bride is up for it, I sometimes take a few posed portraits before the car turns up

Bride_infront_of_landscape_painting by Leamington Spa wedding photographer Rachel Spivey

An epic landscape painting made an impromptu backdrop for this stunning portrait of Saira

Vintage wedding dress bride Northamptonshire Crockwell farm wedding

There’s something a bit pre-Raphaelite about this shot of Helen

There’s often a special moment when the Father of the Bride sees his daughter in her dress for the first time. I have to admit, since my own Dad died in February last year, these shots have taken on a much deeper poignancy.

Bride and Father getting ready wedding at Walton Hall Warwickshire

A genuinely candid moment of Joanna and her Dad

Bride_descends_stairs_with_father at Wellesbourne wedding Walton Hall Warwickshire

The Bridal party leave Walton Hall

If I have been booked to cover all the preparations, it can sometimes be a bit of a race to the venue to arrive before the Bride. It’s nice get some shots of the expectant Groom and guests arriving when I can.

Venue details Kenilworth Castle dapper groom Warwick House Walton Hall Warwickshire

Everything set for the arrival of the Bride

Wedding guests arrive at Holy Trinity Church Stratfor

Despite another rainy Summer, I was quite lucky with the breaks in the weather

Bride's sister bridesmaid with bouquet arrives at Holy Trinity Stratford

Laura’s sister Ella arrives at Holy Trinity Church in Stratford

Toddler turns photographer Nailcote Hall Solihull

There’s always someone muscling in on my job

Church doorway at St Lawrence Lighthorne Warwickshire and chapel at Walton Hall Warwickshire

Waiting for their big entrance

Different churches have different rules on what parts of a wedding service I can photograph – some are strict, where others are pretty relaxed – hovever all registrars in Warwickshire request that all photographers follow the same guidelines. During a civil ceremony I am limited to; the bride entering, the exchange of rings, the kiss and shots pretending to sign the register.

Wedding ceremony kiss at Princethorpe College and Kenilworth Castle bride and groom kiss

A kiss in the elaborate church at Princethorpe College and one in the gatehouse at Kenilworth Castle

Kiss the bride Fawsley Hall Northamptonshire Wedding Ceremony

A great kissy pic of Andy and Sarah at Fawsley Hall

This year I was honoured to cover my first civil partnership. I really hope to get the chance to do more and I hope they are all as warm, funny and lovely as Becky and Louise’s day was.

Civil Partnership photography Warwickshire by Rachel Spivey

The happiest of couples – Becky and Louise

The middle of England is blessed with some great places to get married – whether it’s a traditional church, stately home, converted barn or a castle or two. I certainly got to visit more quiet corners of Warwickshire, Northamptonshire and Gloucestershire than ever this year.

Solihull church wedding photography of couple in grounds

Saira and Justin outside their cute little church near Solihull

Newlyweds_in_wedding_car Clopton House Stratford upon Avon

Laura and Nick arriving in style at Clopton House

Informal bride and groom photograph at Crockwell Farm northamptonshire

The formal Elizabethan Garden at Kenilworth Castle and the more rustic grounds of Crockwell Farm

Wedding_couple_photographed infront_of_village_shop Gloucestershire

A cracking shot of Siobhan and Karl outside a little shop in Bretforton, Gloucestershire

Wethele Manor wedding photography Warwickshire

Harriet and Lee looking relaxed in the countryside around Wethele Manor

The Bell Alderminster Warwickshire wedding reception

A great view of Warwickshire from The Bell at Alderminster


Joanna and guests on the lawn at Walton Hall

Kenilworth Warwickshire bride fur shrug evening reception photography

Every fairytale princess needs a castle

Photography of Bride and groom on the hill at Kenilworth Castle Warwickshire

Maria and Howard on high ground as the sun goes down

Bridal Flowers Wedding Dress Clopton House Stratford upon Avon

Laura gets the conga started

Marquees are a common feature at a lot of weddings, and some are prettier than others. They can create odd colour casts and the polythene windows and support struts can be distracting, however if the weather is right it’s like shooting in a giant diffused lightbox.

Wedding marquee at Compton Verney bride and groom flowers by Warwickshire wedding photographer Rachel Spivey

Emily and Chris in a quiet unguarded moment, in a marquee

Champagne reception kiss bride and groom stratford upon avon warwickshire

Laura and Nick wait to be announced at their wedding breakfast

Happy photograph of wedding guests looking at photos

Guests check out a display of the couple’s snaps

Groom and groomsman photographed in the marquee

Nick gets an update from his Best Man

I’m never happier than when any group photos are over and I am left to roam the celebrations and snap the guests. As my job involves focusing on faces I always find it interesting to spot family resemblances from generation to generation.

Page boy at Walton Hall Wedding and Usher at Compton Verney wedding

Little men scrubbed up for the big day

Guests relax at wedding reception Kenilworth and Solihull

Candid moments

Mother of the bride groom hats photography Walton Hall and Compton Verney

Not sure of the collective noun for a group of ladies in big hats, but here are some

Grandma at wedding Walton Hall and uncle videographer at Ardencote Manor

Smiles, camera… action

Couples go to lots of effort to personalise their wedding and give their guests a unique experience, something I wholeheartedly endorse, especially with the blank canvas of a marquee.

ladies hats hanging in marquee Clopton House Stratford upon avon by Leamington photographer Rachel Spivey

Hats off to the happy couple

Bunting vintage wedding theme Kenilworth and Wethele Manor

Bunting of all hues and styles was a popular touch at most of the weddings I attended this year

Details stratford upon Avon wedding and Cake at Brownsover Hall Rugby

Drinking straws from Cat and Tom’s wedding and Laura and Simon’s exquisite cake

I try not to use flash at a reception, unless I absolutely have to. Not only does it irritate people, but the results are never that great. So when the sun goes down my primary light source disappears too.

Kenilworth Castle photography wedding

As Warwickshire wedding venues go, they don’t come more iconic than one of our castles

First dance at Walton Hall Warwickshire and Crockwell Farm Northamptonshire

Available light and moving objects make the first dance tricky, but the results can be quite atmospheric

Walton Hall at night shot through the window Warwickshire wedding

Walton Hall at the end of a long day

Big thanks to all the couples, their families and the venues I had the pleasure of working with last year.

I’m looking forward to my first wedding of 2013 in Lapworth on Saturday and watching the skies wondering whether it’ll be my first snowy one too.

RS x

If you’d like to know more about my wedding photography please visit