David Ash Peake: Blog https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog en-us (C) David Ash Peake [email protected] (David Ash Peake) Tue, 25 Jan 2022 22:29:00 GMT Tue, 25 Jan 2022 22:29:00 GMT https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/img/s/v-12/u663816297-o30194810-50.jpg David Ash Peake: Blog https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog 80 120 Tips for Wedding Guests - How to Help the Couple Get the Wedding Photography They Want https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2017/8/tips-for-wedding-guests---how-to-help-the-couple-get-the-wedding-photography-they-want In the Music Room, Brighton Pavilion, SussexIn the Music Room, Brighton Pavilion, Sussex[email protected] The Wedding GuestThe Wedding Guest[email protected]







Having written out a list of tips for the wedding couple I thought a few for the wedding guests might be in order as well! These are mainly aimed at helping the couple in the long run, but hopefully they’ll also be useful to the guests:


  1. Why is a Photographer there? - Remember the photographer has been hired to be there for the couple getting married, to record the memories of their special day. The guests are part of those memories, so do expect us to want to get some shots of you. It’s not about trying to catch you out or make you look bad, it’s about telling all of the story.
  2. Stay Together - In most weddings there will be some large group photos taken, normally soon after the ceremony and before any wedding breakfast or reception. Please don’t wander away until they have been done. It’s important to the couple that everyone is included and in very large groups it’s almost impossible to check off who’s there. If you know there is someone missing then a decision needs to be made – leave them out or wait and delay all the proceedings.
  3. Concentrate - When there’s a large group in front of me I do always ask them to pretend that I am extremely interesting and that they mustn’t get distracted by anything happening behind me or to the side, no matter how spectacular! Although I take several shots of each group to pick the best one, if you’re looking to the side in all of them then you’ll be looking to the side in the final version.
  4. Styling – If it’s a bright sunny day you may well be wearing sunglasses. Do you want to be seen in them for the group photos? I always yell out a reminder to take them off, but other photographers might not.
  5. Relax – The couple may well want a lot of documentary style or reportage photography. That means the photographer is roaming, looking for natural poses and action to record. Don’t worry about it and just be yourselves. Of course I do end up with unposed images that are unflattering, but these are discarded. You won’t be caught out in a terrible looking photograph.
  6. Be yourselves – your personalities are part of the story of the day. If you want to strike a pose, play around or ask for a photo that is all completely fine.
  7. Chatting – yes, I’m ok with you starting a conversation about photography, and I’m happy to discuss cameras and other technical whatnot. But please pick a quiet time for a chat 😊

First Dance at the Waterfront Hotel BrightonFirst Dance at the Waterfront Hotel Brighton[email protected]







Have a look through my wedding portfolio to see some of my results.

[email protected] (David Ash Peake) planning wedding photography wedding photographer wedding photography wedding photography help wedding photography philosophy https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2017/8/tips-for-wedding-guests---how-to-help-the-couple-get-the-wedding-photography-they-want Wed, 16 Aug 2017 16:00:39 GMT
Tips for the Happy Couple - Helping to Get the Best From Your Wedding Photography https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2017/8/tips-for-the-happy-couple---helping-to-get-the-best-from-your-wedding-photography A Dramatic Kiss in LondonA Dramatic Kiss in London[email protected] Up in the AirUp in the Air[email protected] On the Bridge at Heaven Farm, East SussexOn the Bridge at Heaven Farm, East Sussex[email protected]







I’m not going to claim this as an exhaustive guide for couples, but based on my experiences here are a few tips to help you get the most from your wedding photography:

  1. Before choosing your photographer think about the image in your head of the two of you on your wedding day. How would you like to look? What is important to you? Bear that in mind when looking through portfolios and talking to your photographer.
  2. Be involved with planning your photography with your photographer – make sure that there is sufficient time in the day’s schedule to get everything you’d like done.
  3. Share the photography plan with others in the main wedding party, particularly if there are some ambitious shots in there. It will save time and avoid confusion on the day.
  4. Make sure that you will have assistance during the portrait section of the day to help with restyling hair, touching up make-up and keeping dresses out of any mud or water. Generally this falls to members of the wedding party, but it’s worth checking with them that they know not to wander off and that they have useful bits to hand, such as a hairbrush, some clips and make-up.
  5. Designate someone to help the photographer to organise family and friends for all the group images. This is normally one of the ushers, and again make sure they know what they need to do in advance.
  6. Try to keep phones, wallets, keys etc. out of suit pockets during the photos. Unsightly bulges aren’t memories that you’ll want to keep.
  7. Memories you will want to keep though include the bouquets and buttonholes that the main wedding party have, so ask them to keep them to hand until all the posed portraits are done.
  8. Bear in mind the areas in which you are likely to be standing and how you’ll get there – a temporary change of shoes can be useful if the ground is soft underfoot.
  9. Consider splitting your portrait time into two or more sessions during the day. Lighting will change as the sun moves through the sky, and evening and night time images can be very atmospheric. Doing this can also help you manage your time soon after the ceremony when all your guests will want to spend time with you.
  10. Finally – concentrate on your photographer and try to ignore what is going on behind them or to the side. It will mean that there are more good images to choose from.


The Wedding Party, Birch Hotel, Haywards HeathThe Wedding Party, Birch Hotel, Haywards Heath[email protected] Bride and Groom, BrightonBride and Groom, Brighton[email protected] Cool Portrait? Palace Pier, BrightonCool Portrait? Palace Pier, Brighton[email protected]








Have a look through my wedding portfolio to see the results of some wedding planning and preparation.

[email protected] (David Ash Peake) planning wedding photography tips for wedding couples wedding photography wedding photography help https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2017/8/tips-for-the-happy-couple---helping-to-get-the-best-from-your-wedding-photography Tue, 15 Aug 2017 15:24:21 GMT
Confetti Time https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2017/8/confetti-time [email protected]

It’s always a fun moment for the couple, guests and even the photographer. In fact it’s generally the first time that everyone gets a chance to go a tiny bit wild after the formality of the ceremony, the congratulations and the meeting and greeting. I always enjoy forming the guests up and getting them ready to throw, and it’s normally the first time that I get to speak to them en masse. Depending on the number of guests and the available space I might arrange them into two lines so that the couple get to run down a tunnel (I won’t say gauntlet) of confetti, or I might get them into a horseshoe shape with the couple barely moving as they are deluged.

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I’ve observed and learnt a few things over the years. Firstly get everyone into place before it begins. Make sure people with confetti are best placed and not standing too far back. Try to encourage a sharing out of the available confetti so there’s an even distribution in the air. A little technique coaching helps – always throw high not directly at the couple so it goes over them in an impressive cascade.

Confetti ShowerConfetti Shower[email protected]

Something I can’t influence on the day, but always advise on beforehand if I’m asked is that – big is better or more is even more. The most impressive and dramatic confetti photographs always come from using larger pieces and I’m always going to come down on the side of using real petals. They can be chosen to fit in with the colour scheme or theme of the wedding. Even popping to the local convenience store or garage to buy a few bouquets to rip up and throw into the air can make for a colourful shower.

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Shooting confetti being thrown is all about positioning and getting a fast shutter speed to reduce blur. It’s one of the moments in the wedding when I set up the camera for something more akin to sports photography. After that it’s all about the guests.

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Have a look at more of my wedding portfolio and get in touch if you’d like to talk about me photographing your wedding. 07800 543541 [email protected]

[email protected] (David Ash Peake) brighton haywards heath mid sussex planning wedding photography sussex wedding photographer wedding photography wedding photography advice https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2017/8/confetti-time Thu, 03 Aug 2017 13:51:25 GMT
Saving the Day – Well, a Bit of the Day Anyway https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2017/7/saving-the-day-well-a-bit-of-the-day-anyway My blog series about What Your Wedding Photographer Does For You dealt with the regular benefits I feel I bring to a couple getting married, but there have often been times when I’ve been able to help out in an unexpected way. I’ve been thinking about this after my most recent wedding where a bit of schoolboy science kept the drinks flowing.

Drinks ReceptionDrinks Reception[email protected]

There were cordials on tap in large stoppered jars for the guests to serve themselves from, but when the taps were on barely any liquid was flowing. One of the groomsmen thought that there must be blockages in the taps while the poor barman was just puzzled as tipping and shaking didn’t free anything loose.

I was watching them for a few moments, wondering if this was a good documentary image or just something I should leave alone, when I suddenly remembered a spot of physics from far too many years ago. The stoppers were fastened too tightly, meaning that there was a vacuum above the liquid meaning it couldn’t flow out of the tap. Problem identified the barman opened the stoppers a little and the cordials began to pour as needed. “He’s not just a pretty face!” exclaimed the groomsman which I chose to take as a compliment.

Wedding Party, Brighton PavilionWedding Party, Brighton Pavilion[email protected]

It is nice to be considered to be more than just a pretty face, or more than just the photographer though. Part of my job is to help make the wedding day go as smoothly as possible. Of course my priority is to do this with the photography, but I’m never going to stand by if there’s a problem with another aspect of the wedding that I can help with.

On quite a few times now I’ve surprised bridesmaids because I have some scissors stashed away in my kit bag that can be used to cut off labels or loose ends from a wedding dress, as well as cut the duck tape that I always carry to tuck something away or tape something else down. I always say that you can’t be a proper wedding photographer without scissors and tape.

My experience with weddings means that I’m often in a position to provide an extra helping hand or spot a problem before anyone else. For instance telling a best man what he’ll need to do during the ceremony or where it will be best for him to stand. Spotting that the bridesmaids don’t appear to have anywhere to sit during the ceremony and checking that they know about that in advance. I’m also prepared to go the extra distance even if others won’t. I recall a certain venue, that shall remain nameless, wedging the wedding cake tight against a stack of chairs. They weren’t going to move them so I did. It did mean that the photographs were better, but it also meant that all the guests could see the cake being cut. I don’t mind doing things like that. I’d rather solve problems than be one. 

Detail of Wedding Cake, St Bride's Foundation, LondonDetail of Wedding Cake, St Bride's Foundation, London[email protected]

Currently solving the vacuum jar problem is the most unexpected thing at a wedding that I've managed to help out with. I'd love to hear from other wedding professionals about any unusual problems that they've faced!

Have a look at my wedding page for some problem free wedding days.

[email protected] (David Ash Peake) benefits of professional wedding photographers brighton crawley solving problems at weddings sussex wedding photographer wedding photography wedding photography philosophy https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2017/7/saving-the-day-well-a-bit-of-the-day-anyway Mon, 31 Jul 2017 14:12:17 GMT
What Your Wedding Photographer Does for You - Part Three - After The Wedding Day https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2017/7/what-your-wedding-photographer-does-for-you---part-three---after-the-wedding-day Here’s final part of my description of what your wedding photographer does for you. You can see the previous installments about planning before the day and photographing the wedding itself - Part One and Part Two.

After the big day there’s still a lot for a professional wedding photographer to do. It’s normal to spend much more time on the post-wedding working, processing and editing, than on the preparation and actual photographing.

First things first, I need to look through everything that has been taken and make my selection of images to work with. This can be very time consuming, and can take as long as the actual day itself. There may well be in excess of a thousand exposures to look through. Firstly I’ll be looking to remove any images that have an issue, such as a surprise passer-by or an unfortunate facial expression. I’ll also be identifying the best version of images where I have taken several exposures, for instance the best family portrait where everyone has their eyes open and are looking straight at the lens. In some cases I’ll have to work out which two or more versions of a similar photograph need to be developed to I can use elements from both to get a final image.

You may have heard of photographers making a virtue out of the fact that they shoot ‘Raw’, and of course I’m one of them. This means that my camera records raw data files rather than finished files formats such as jpegs. This allows for much more effective adjustments during the editing – in terms of old 35mm film it’s like dealing with the negatives rather than re-copying the prints. This is when I check every photograph’s exposure and correct it if necessary, adjust the white balance so that the colours are true and crop the images if the composition needs to be tightened.

There are many other alterations that can be performed at this time as well, depending partly on the requirements for the finished images and partly on what I feel is suitable for the style of the wedding day that I’m looking at. These could be a cool desaturation of the colours, a gentle softening of some photographs, a sharpening up of others, reduction of digital noise in low light images or bringing some extra blue to a sunny summer sky.

Once I’m happy with how the processed files will come out they need to be rendered at high resolution into the final format -  normally as a jpeg file. At this point it’s time for another backup to remove any risk to the process – so nothing needs to be redone even if there is a catastrophic hardware failure. After that I can look at making the final edits to the images. It’s only at this point that I start using the infamous Photoshop.

The uninitiated often announce to me that you can do anything in Photoshop. Well, it isn’t quite the case but you can do an awful lot, though it is time consuming and you have to have skill and experience to edit successfully. It takes patience and subtlety as you can easily overcook the pudding if you rush things.

I use Photoshop to remove distractions such as exit signs or fire extinguishers, to selectively lighten or darken parts of an image and to artistically blur the occasional background. I often find myself replacing a pair of closed eyes with an open set from another photograph. On rare occasions I have copied in an entire face to replace an unfortunate expression.

During the pre-wedding discussions with the couple I will ask about the degree of personal retouching that they’d like. This will vary from wedding to wedding, and may involve blemish removal, painting skin over tattoos and easing away of wrinkles. It’s not my style to overly work an image as if it’s going to be the cover for a glossy magazine, but I always say that the camera always lies – a moment frozen in time may well not reflect the view that we have of ourselves so I am happy to make adjustments so that the clients feel that they look their best.

Once all the editing is completed the finished files need to be backed up for a final time, online galleries and albums created, prints ordered and the final hi-res image files provided to the couple.

I hope this series provides a bit of an insight into what a wedding photographer does for a couple getting married, and just where that money goes to. 

Have a look at my Wedding Portfolio to see if you think that I'm the Sussex Wedding Photographer for You.

[email protected] (David Ash Peake) benefits of professional wedding photographers brighton crawley haywards heath mid sussex planning wedding photography processing wedding photographs sussex wedding photography wedding photography philosophy https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2017/7/what-your-wedding-photographer-does-for-you---part-three---after-the-wedding-day Fri, 28 Jul 2017 13:24:36 GMT
What Your Wedding Photographer Does For You - Part Two - Photographing the Day https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2017/7/what-your-wedding-photographer-does-for-you---part-two---photographing-the-day Following on from Part One of this short series here's the next part of what your professional wedding photographing is doing for you.

On the wedding day itself your money is going on several areas that friends & family just won’t be able to cover or help with effectively. First the wedding photographer’s equipment. It is higher spec than anyone else will be bringing to your wedding. Well, bar the very odd occasion when a serious hobbyist is invited as a guest! Professionals’ cameras will focus faster, deal with darker conditions, fire multiple shots per second and generally have the functionality to be quickly adjusted to a variety of conditions. You can often spot the professional at the wedding as they will have a flashgun attached to the top of their camera, rather than relying on the built-in flash. Like many fellow wedding professionals I carry two cameras with me at any given time, so that I can use a different type of lens without any delay. I always have least one circular reflector with me so bring in some soft light, and you’ll find other professionals use them extensively. There are other bits and pieces of kit that a photographer might bring with them, according to how they like to work. These might be wireless flash triggers, tripods or monopods for low light work, specialist lens filters such as polarisers, coloured gels for flash work or extra specialist lenses.

A Gusty Day, Greenwich Old Naval CollegeA Gusty Day, Greenwich Old Naval College[email protected]

As well as having the equipment the professional photographer also needs to know how to use it. That means spending time  studying photography theory, reading manuals and practicing. Family and friends of photographers are often long suffering subjects of many a photographic experiment. Modern DSLRs used by wedding photographers have a large array of dials and buttons on them. They are all there for a reason, and allow for the camera to be set up for whatever is happening at the wedding at that time. For example on a sunny day I want to make-sure that the bride’s dress is nicely exposed and not a blur of bright white reflecting the sunlight, so I get the camera to meter just for her. When a bouquet is being thrown I need to make sure that the shutter speed is fast enough for a crisp image so I set that manually. For more atmospheric images with a defocussed background I need to make other adjustments to the aperture. Leaving the camera in Auto and hoping just won’t cut it for a long wedding day, I need to know how to get the best from my camera.

I believe it’s also professional behaviour to reduce any risk to the precious images that I’m taking. That means they are written to two memory cards on every one of my cameras. If there is a card failure I haven’t lost anything, and at the end of the day I can carry the two copies of everything in different places to avoid losing or damaging all the files. My day isn’t done until I’m home and have loaded and backed up copies of all the photos.

It’s also professional behaviour to be working all the time that I’m being employed. So although I’m working from a plan I’m always looking for something else that might be happening, or an opportunity for an unplanned shot. Any professional photographer should have ‘The Eye’, so they should always be aiming for the best compositions all the time. It’s about having the right attitude and being dedicated to the photography for the entire day.

And of course I have experience, of dealing with guests, of dealing with situations, of just generally making the day go more smoothly and being as helpful to you as I can.

Next up, the wedding day is finished but there's still plenty for the wedding photographer to do.

Have a look at my wedding page so see the results of some of my photography, and get in touch if you think that I’m the Sussex wedding photographer for you.


[email protected] (David Ash Peake) benefits of professional wedding photographers brighton burgess hill crawley east grinstead haywards heath horsham mid sussex sussex wedding day wedding photographer wedding photography wedding photography philosophy https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2017/7/what-your-wedding-photographer-does-for-you---part-two---photographing-the-day Wed, 26 Jul 2017 08:53:40 GMT
What Your Wedding Photographer Does for You - Part 1 - Planning and Preparation https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2017/7/what-your-wedding-photographer-does-for-you---part-1---planning-and-preparation I was talking to a friend a few weeks ago. They had just been to a wedding the previous weekend and wanted to tell me that he’d been sitting with a group of couples who hadn’t hired a professional wedding photographer for their big days – and it was something that they’d all regretted since. He wanted to let me know as he thought it would be helpful with marketing, but all I could say was that I wish he’d recorded them on his phone! They had various reasons, some didn’t want to spend the money, others just didn’t see photography as important at the time.

It is a common theme on various lists compiled by wedding supplier directory websites. Couples, or often brides, who regret that they didn’t hire a more experienced (and more expensive) wedding photographer or those who just regret not hiring a professional photographer at all. These regrets are often mentioned in blog posts or tweets – “Don’t make the mistake of not hiring a pro wedding photographer!” but these often seem to me to be based on fear mongering rather than actually helping people understand why a pro is good for them. I thought I’d try a more positive angle - what you get rather than what you're missing.

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Hiring a wedding photographer isn’t cheap. Although we come in all shapes, sizes and prices wedding photography will probably take up a noticeable portion of your wedding budget. So what do we really do for that money? Although the glib answer is “we take the photos!” the reality of the services we provide is far more complex, and very, very useful.

Our work starts long before the wedding day itself, using the initial wedding consultation with you as the basis for a photography plan for the day. As well as a site visit and liaison with the venue I’ll also spend some time on Google Earth, looking at the orientation of the grounds and buildings so I can get a feel for where the light will be coming from at different times of the day. If it’s a venue that I’ve not worked at before I’ll also search for previous weddings there to see what was available to the couples and photographers in terms of backgrounds and locations.

For church ceremonies it is important to check in good time for photographic restrictions. These vary from place to place so assumptions can’t be made and it’s vital that the couple know if a particular image they wanted, such as the exchange of rings, cannot be taken.

It’s important to stay in touch with the couple as well, partly to help the photography plan and partly to help them avoid any issues with the scheduling. For example I have a pretty good idea of how long a particular list of requested formal photographs will take and can let the couple know if I don’t think that there will be enough time in the provisional schedule to get everything done. I can also advise on other issues such as timing of particular images according to the light at that time of year. I may also need to liaise with the venue to talk about access to a particular location for a particular shot, or maybe a parking place may need to be booked.

Closer to the wedding day a professional wedding photographer will be looking at weather forecasts to see if a Plan B might be necessary for some of the images.  I also make sure that I’ve planned my travel routes, including alternatives and of course on the day I leave in plenty of time. Better to wait for half an hour for people to arrive rather than have them waiting for me.

It might seem obvious, but it is part of a professional service to ensure that my kit is fit for purpose that day. That means recharging all the batteries I’ll need plus spares, giving all my lenses a clean, clearing down memory cards and double checking that everything I need is packed in the bag, or bags.


Up next I’ll be talking about the day itself.

Have a look at my wedding page so see the results of some planning, and get in touch if you think that I’m the Sussex wedding photographer for you.

[email protected] (David Ash Peake) benefits of professional wedding photographers brighton burgess hill crawley east grinstead haywards heath horsham planning wedding photography sussex wedding photography wedding photography philosophy https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2017/7/what-your-wedding-photographer-does-for-you---part-1---planning-and-preparation Mon, 24 Jul 2017 20:06:41 GMT
The Party Studio - Fun and Style https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2017/6/the-party-studio---fun-and-style Can a photobooth without a photobooth be successful? I certainly wasn’t sure when I was asked to help out with an event night a few years back. As well as taking general event reportage and informal portraits we were also setting up what was essentially a mobile studio  – a large white paper backdrop with three off camera flash lights fired in sync with the camera’s flash. Normally this would be used for portrait photography, or maybe commercial products. Well, we were doing portrait photography of a kind, though it was fun, informal and plenty of props were thrown in. We went down an absolute storm, with everyone enjoying themselves in front of the lens.

It’s something that I’ve carried on doing, and I’m not the only photographer to offer this open style of booth, though I have refined what I do and how I offer it.

Firstly it didn’t take long for it to become clear that the role of the photographer expands to become a real entertainer in the middle of the party. I really enjoy knowing that a big part of what I’m doing with the Party Studio helps the evening go with a bang. It’s up to me to engage with the guests, crack some jokes, suggest some props and poses, and when it’s too loud make faces while waving my hands around like a maniac. The clients get back what I put in.

I’ve also realised that not everyone wants a full on fun sized photo. There are many who just enjoy having a well lit image of themselves. In these days of smartphone snaps it can be quite a novelty to look as though you’ve been to the studio. I leave it up to the subjects to decide how they would like to pose. Sometimes it’s individually, sometimes in couples or groups big or small. If they want to big it up with the props then I’m there to encourage, or to help them strike the most flattering pose for a portrait.  

I’ve also refined the technical side. To avoid power cables trailing along the floor I use flashguns on stands rather than plugged in studio lights. I have variable use flash umbrellas to give me the right lighting setup while remaining flexible and lightweight. In fact the entire operation is designed to be as flexible as possible so it can be used in as many places and situations as possible. As well as a wide, 10 foot white paper rolls I also use narrower backdrops and have adapted to fit in around existing structures at the venue. I’ve shot in front of the venue’s starcloth or used part of the decorations such as a Christmas sleigh. The important thing is that I fit in at the event and everyone has a good time.

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I didn’t want to call it a photobooth though. After all this is a real alternative to a photobooth. So, as it’s very studio like and everyone is having a party it became the Party Studio. It’s an ideal fun package for birthday parties, other occasions such as anniversaries & bar mitzvahs, corporate events and wedding receptions.

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See The Party Studio page, my prices and packages list or get in touch - [email protected] or 07800 543541 - to see what I can do for you. 

[email protected] (David Ash Peake) anniversary bar bat birthday Brighton Burgess Hill Christmas Parties corporate Crawley East Grinstead entertainment event photography Gatwick Haywards Heath Horsham mitzvahs parties photobooth alternative Sussex the Party Studio wedding reception https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2017/6/the-party-studio---fun-and-style Tue, 27 Jun 2017 15:22:43 GMT
What's in a Name? Current Styles of Wedding Photography https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2017/6/whats-in-a-name-current-styles-of-wedding-photography When I turned full time professional as a photographer the word in wedding photography was reportage. Or at least that was what people inside the industry were talking about, and using it to describe a style of photography that is all about unposed, unplanned recording of what actually happens at the wedding. The word has a French root, so may seem chic and sophisticated, but the problem is that the definitions of reportage are:

1 The reporting of news by the press and the broadcasting media.

2 The factual, journalistic presentation of an account in a book or other text.

The Bride's Arrival, Brighton Town HallThe Bride's Arrival, Brighton Town Hall[email protected]

They are a bit technical, and don’t really apply immediately to weddings. I often found it a little difficult to communicate exactly what reportage meant to my wedding clients. It was frequently ignored as an option on my booking form, only for the client to use another term such as ‘in the moment’ or candid.

I don’t think that I could have been alone in this as the current buzz word is documentary. To me this can come across as a bit dry, a bit serious and doesn’t really allow for the sense of fun that a wedding photographer can bring at times. I’ve also seen candid used, but I think that has undercurrents of being intrusive and possibly unwanted.

I’ve often referred to myself as a wedding storyteller and I think that storytelling is the most apt description for what we do. I know many other wedding photographers will also use this term. Maybe narrative style is also appropriate? Telling the story of a wedding allows for all the ‘as they happen’ moments, as well as the still life & details images and the formal & informal portraits. 

Wedding Pianist at St Bride's Foundation, LondonWedding Pianist at St Bride's Foundation, London[email protected] An Unusual Wedding GuestbookAn Unusual Wedding Guestbook[email protected]

I think it’s common for a couple to want more than a single photographic style at their wedding. Although digital photography allows much more freedom when it comes to documentary or reportage image capture other styles such as creative portraiture and formal portraiture should not be ignored.

So for me storytelling is the approach and I feel more comfortable using the term narrative photography.

[email protected] (David Ash Peake) Brighton Burgess Hill Crawley East Grinstead Haywards Heath Horsham Sussex documentary narrative reportage wedding photographer wedding photography wedding photography philosophy https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2017/6/whats-in-a-name-current-styles-of-wedding-photography Thu, 01 Jun 2017 14:19:16 GMT
Saal Digital Printing - Review of Product Test https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2016/12/saal-digital-printing---review-of-product-test A good-sized proportion of my work is wedding photography, so I am always looking for ways to display my portfolio and for a range of different printing options to offer clients. When it comes to wedding albums requirements vary widely, and it is good to be able to source good quality photobooks that don’t cost the earth but avoid looking cheap.

I saw an offer for a trial photobook posted by Saal on Facebook and decided to give them a try. The whole setup process was fast and straightforward. It didn’t take long to download and install the Saal design software, and it proved to be intuitive to use. I like that the first choice to be made was to pick the end product from a range of visual options. Of course other printers also need to you to begin with size and type choices but with Saal the options were laid out so clearly it made the software seem very friendly right from the start.

I deliberately chose  a fairly basic quality/weight and size as I wanted to test out an ‘affordable’ product from them. There are a decent range of book cover and paper options though so plenty of flexibility.


Putting the book together was simple and far faster than I expected. I think it would be an easy interface to use even if you didn’t have any experience and this was the first photobook you had designed. To save time I tried out a selection of the built in layouts. They could be customised if needed but I mainly stuck to a range of layouts that suited my portfolio. The whole book came together pretty quickly and I can honestly say that it was fun to do.

Ordering my book flowed very naturally on from the editing process. My only issue was that the software wanted to display my address in a German format. I thought that I had corrected it but my package arrived with an address that would have seemed back to front to a UK postman. It did still make it though, and in very good time.

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I was pleased with the results. Print quality was good and was a faithful reproduction of my images. Construction of the book was solid and good quality. So far everyone that I have shown it to has been impressed and think that the book is good value indeed. I’ve absolutely no hesitation in saying that I will be returning to Saal to print more of my promotional material, and will also be adding in Saal printed photobooks as part of my wedding album products.

[email protected] (David Ash Peake) Brighton Haywards Heath Mid Sussex Sussex photobook printing wedding album wedding photographer wedding photography https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2016/12/saal-digital-printing---review-of-product-test Thu, 22 Dec 2016 15:13:51 GMT
All the Shots We Wanted also So Many We Didn’t Know We Wanted https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2016/1/all-the-shots-we-wanted-also-so-many-we-didn-t-know-we-wanted All the Shots We Wanted also So Many We Didn’t Know We Wanted

This happened a while ago but it remains probably my favourite pieces of feedback that I’ve received in my guestbook. As well as a nice vote of thanks and boost to the spirits I think it also gets to grist one of the important reasons for hiring a professional photographer for your day. It’s my job to really think about what’s going on, what opportunities for photographs there are and what I can produce that will help the day be remembered.

I also have fond memories of this wedding as it was the first time that I worked at the Brighton Pavilion. Jim and Raymond got in touch with me only a few days before their wedding as the photographer that they had booked was unable to attend. Luckily I was available on the date and so, with just a few days preparation, was able to photograph their wedding.

It is generally good practice for a photographer to visit the site of a wedding if they haven’t worked at the venue before. The Brighton Pavilion is the only place I’ve come across so far who actually insist on it! Which is all for the good as, although magnificent, the interior lighting of the Pavilion is carefully controlled so the photographer needs to have a plan and know what they are doing to get good pictures.

In the Music Room, Brighton Pavilion, SussexIn the Music Room, Brighton Pavilion, Sussex[email protected]

Although we didn’t have the time to do a lot of planning before the wedding I did tell Jim and Raymond that I would be trying to give them something a little different – and that we would be trying to avoid too many lines of guests looking as though they were standing in a queue. Also, that my natural style was to include detailed reportage of objects and items to tell the full story.

Wedding Party, Brighton PavilionWedding Party, Brighton Pavilion[email protected]

After everything was done and in I was pleased to get such a good response, and the photographs were want everyone wanted, even if some weren’t known about before.  

 Have a look at my wedding gallery for more examples from my portfolio.

[email protected] (David Ash Peake) Brighton Brighton Pavilion Haywards Heath lgbt Sussex Wedding Day wedding photographer wedding photography https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2016/1/all-the-shots-we-wanted-also-so-many-we-didn-t-know-we-wanted Sun, 31 Jan 2016 20:16:29 GMT
Specialism or Not – That is the Question? https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2014/6/specialism-or-not-that-is-the-question Is it Better to Specialise Purely as a Wedding Photographer, or is it Better to be a More General Photographer?

I read professional photography magazines from time to time (sometimes for a lot of the time), and they often feature articles on how a professional wedding photographer can ‘defend’ their business from part-time amateurs and the perception that wedding photography is money for old rope. The need to emphasise professionalism and in-depth knowledge is stressed again and again. I see similar posts on photography forums as well.

I certainly understand where they are coming from: wedding photography is something distinct and to be successful and effective you do need to know what you’re doing. Sometimes though it can seem that the implication is that only someone dedicated full time to wedding photography can be a true “Professional Wedding Photographer”.

Looking through my website you can see that I do other types of professional work, and that I continue to work on other personal projects. Although the majority of my work is wedding based I enjoy the changing and swapping disciplines, and I believe that it helps my photography.

Landscape work is slower and keeps me focused on composition;


Beachcomber is about spotting patterns and details

Beachcomber36Beachcomber36Copyright David Ash Peake

and my Lensbaby images often brings out specific details.

Hove9Hove9Copyright David Ash Peake

My commercial work can involve a variety of lighting combinations, dealing with reluctant subjects or posing models.

[email protected] Copyright David Ash Peake Copyright David Ash Peake

This is all good experience that I can bring into my wedding photography.

Rings on the BrimRings on the Brim[email protected]

For me it is all about being a photographer, and the core is having an emotional response to your subject. Others may think differently, but I don’t believe that I could be an effective wedding photographer unless I spent significant amounts of time working on other jobs and projects.

[email protected] (David Ash Peake) wedding photography wedding photography philosophy https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2014/6/specialism-or-not-that-is-the-question Wed, 25 Jun 2014 14:28:31 GMT
Wedding Day – Emma and Bianca – Travelling Light https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2014/6/wedding-day-emma-and-bianca-contemporary-and Wedding Day – Emma and Bianca – Travelling Light

Brighton Town Hall and Hotel du Vin

April 2014

Emma and Bianca’s wedding took place on a bright, sunny spring day in Brighton. It was a midweek wedding, and I always enjoy doing these. I don't feel that a weekday wedding should be treated any differently to a weekend ceremony, and this includes photography. The wedding group was relatively small and I was only needed for a few hours. This again is something I'm very happy to do. All weddings, great and small, are emotional occasions which deserve to be properly photographed.

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I was needed at three locations: Bianca's home for her final preparations, Brighton Town Hall for the wedding ceremony and at the Hotel du Vin in Ship Street for the drinks reception. Now, moving across a bustling city like Brighton is never easy. For me part of wedding photography is risk management and planning properly, so that I am where I'm supposed to be when I have to be there. As it was a relatively short booking for me I decided to use public transport, train and bus, to arrive. That meant packing my bag very carefully to make sure I had everything I needed for three hours, without weighing myself down with clutter.

After taking some documentary images and posed portraits at their home I actually made the journey to the Town Hall in a taxi with Bianca and her best man, David. It occurred to me that this was the first time I had ever arrived with the bride. At least I didn't have to worry about racing her to the venue, and I was able to take some reportage images of the journey itself.

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The ceremony took place in the small registry office at Brighton Town Hall, which opens out into a room containing some regency style chairs and mirrors. Fantastic for posing in!

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As the wedding group was small we were able to be far more spontaneous and flexible than usual. We strolled through the Lanes, taking a very distinctive group portrait on the way,

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before deciding on a whim to visit the beach 

Couple Together on Brighton BeachCouple Together on Brighton Beach[email protected]

before going on to the the Hotel du Vin.

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It's a place that I think is truly evocative of Brighton: a sense of history with a contemporary twist.

It suited this Brighton wedding down to the ground. And I had a very enjoyable stroll back to the train station, feeling very happy with the day.

[email protected] (David Ash Peake) Brighton gay wedding planning wedding photography reportage Sussex Wedding Day wedding photography weekday wedding https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2014/6/wedding-day-emma-and-bianca-contemporary-and Wed, 11 Jun 2014 10:42:34 GMT
Wedding Day – Carolina and Paul – A Wedding Fusion https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2014/6/wedding-day-carolina-and-paul-a-wedding-fusion Carolina and Paul – A Wedding Fusion

May 2014

Croydon Masonic Hall

Carolina and Paul’s big day brought together elements from their home countries of Venezuela and Poland, fused with the traditional British setting of the Masonic Hall in Croydon. The venue itself was a dramatic setting, with its lofted ceilings and stained glass windows. 

Mirror ImageMirror Image[email protected]

Although the weather was rather grey the various  windows  and skylights gave us a wide variety of soft and muted light, so all the portraits could be shot inside the hall.

Classic MonoClassic Mono[email protected] Atmospheric Kiss, Croydon & District Masonic HallAtmospheric Kiss, Croydon & District Masonic Hall[email protected]

I incorporated an image of all the guests with the cake cutting. Sometimes a line of guests stuck indoors can look rather flat, so I like to give them a focus if possible.

One of the more distinctive elements of the Venezuelan wedding tradition is the ‘Hora Loca’ – the Crazy Hour, in which the wedding garb was adorned with flower necklaces and grass skirts and the boys faced off against the girls in a dance showdown.  Using flash under a bright white ceiling, but it can leave dancers looking isolated and a bit odd so I brought some more colour and injected a bit of drama into the proceedings by adding gels to a second flash gun and firing it at the same time as my main flash.

Hora Loca at a wedding was a new experience for me, but Caroline and Paul were pleased with how I’d captured it.

Have a look at my wedding gallery for more examples from my portfolio.

[email protected] (David Ash Peake) Croydon reportage Wedding Day wedding photography wedding photography techniques https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2014/6/wedding-day-carolina-and-paul-a-wedding-fusion Thu, 05 Jun 2014 18:57:58 GMT
The Technical Bit – What Equipment Do I Use at Weddings, and How Do I Use It. https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2014/6/the-technical-bit-what-equipment-do-i-use-at-weddings-and-how-do-i-use-it One of the main reasons for hiring a wedding photographer is that they are going to use more than their phone or pocket camera to record your wedding. In general the client is going to assume that the photographer is going to bring an extra level of technology and equipment – something that the couple or their family can’t provide themselves.

All wedding photographers are different. They will all have favoured pieces of kit that they like to bring to a wedding. Some of it they use all the time, other bits & bobs come out when there’s need or opportunity.  Here’s what I’d bring, and why, if you were to hire me as your wedding photographer.

Of course I’d bring some good quality DSLRs (including a backup!). We wouldn’t get far without them. The advantage of using these larger cameras when compared with compacts or phone are the speed and accuracy of focussing, ease of use (all those little buttons over the body allow me to change the settings without fiddling around in menu screens) and quality of image. Unlike the majority of cameras a DSLR will record a RAW image file, letting the photographer to do more in the digital darkroom. It’s like the difference between dealing with film negatives and final prints.

Most importantly though a DSLR lets me choose the lens I want to use. For weddings my primary lens is a wide ranging zoom, that lets me quickly adjust to whatever’s going on.

Wedding Tableaux, Cooden Beach HotelWedding Tableaux, Cooden Beach Hotel[email protected] Bridesmaids at the ReceptionBridesmaids at the Reception[email protected]

I also bring a 50mm prime lens with a wide aperture. It’s my favourite. I love the crispness of the detail and the shallow depth of focus I can get with it. It’s not suitable for the whole wedding though, but it does lovely detail shots and portraits.

Details in Late Afternoon Light, Royal Eastbourne Golf ClubDetails in Late Afternoon Light, Royal Eastbourne Golf Club[email protected]

I’ve have a few other zooms and primes in my kit bag as well, but these are mainly backups. On occasion though I may use my lensbaby.

Wedding Ring - Lensbaby ImageWedding Ring - Lensbaby Image[email protected]

It's a very manual and slow lens to use though, so not always suited to the hustle and bustle of a wedding day.

Something that very few guests bring to a wedding, even if they have a consumer DSLR of their own, is a flashgun. The general rule of thumb is that the further away a light source is from the lens the better the image will look. With the flash bulb only an inch or two away from the lens on most compact cameras the results can often look bleached out, and maybe even scary. A professional flashgun moves the direct light source further from the lens, and even allows the flash to be bounced back off a wall or ceiling giving a nice even distribution of light. It can also be useful to have to fill in shadows on a very sunny day.

A Gusty Day, Greenwich Old Naval CollegeA Gusty Day, Greenwich Old Naval College[email protected]

I always pack a flash diffuser, to soften the light even more, and can also adjust the colour of the flash to accurately match iridescent or fluorescent lights in the room. Plus an outsize reflector for outdoor backlighting on sunny days means that I can do a lot with my on-camera flashgun.  Going beyond that I also carry some wireless flash triggers in my bag. These let me use more than one flashgun at once. 


Away from flash there are other methods of working with light. My favourite is to reflect existing light back in toward the subject to fill in and illuminate. Unpacking a huge white circle normally gets a gasp of surprise from the couple. It’s bulky, but is a far more gentle way to light a close portrait.

Bride and Groom, Hotel du Vin YorkBride and Groom, Hotel du Vin YorkCopyright David Ash Peake

That’s generally it. I carry some polarising filters to bring out exterior colours and blue skies, but weddings tend to be fast moving so I’ve yet to have a job where it would be appropriate to setup light stands, or bring in snoots, honeycombs and umbrellas. I have a yearning to generate a moonlit composition (it’s possible with flash and post-processing) so that will be another blog post for the future.

Have a look through my wedding gallery for more examples from my portfolio.

[email protected] (David Ash Peake) about me and my work planning wedding photography reportage wedding photography wedding photography equipment wedding photography philosophy https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2014/6/the-technical-bit-what-equipment-do-i-use-at-weddings-and-how-do-i-use-it Wed, 04 Jun 2014 16:25:37 GMT
So Why Did I become a Wedding Photographer? https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2014/5/so-why-did-i-become-a-wedding-photographer A Long Post About Why I Do What I Do

  Wedding Party, Brighton PavilionWedding Party, Brighton Pavilion[email protected]

Truthfully I didn’t set out on a deliberate career path to become a wedding photographer. In fact if you’d asked me many years ago whether I would want to do this for a living I would have run a mile, saying that I wouldn’t want the responsibility, would find the day overwhelming and I tended to make images of landscapes and ‘things’, rather than people.

And many years ago I would have been right. I don’t think that I would have been great at doing the job back then. Over time though a person develops and grows, and now I believe I have the right set of skills and more, the enthusiasm, to make a good wedding photographer.

The first thing to develop of course was the photography. I’ve been making images in one way or another since I was very young, but on the whole they were scenic or had a static subject. That’s not to say that I didn’t take photographs of people, in fact my first ever paid job was at a small gig in Brighton, but I had the shyness of youth and didn’t really want to direct or interact with them.

As my technical and artistic abilities developed over time I eventually found myself doing a favour for a friend, taking images at a small club she hosted. I was taking photographs of performers initially, but this progressed into taking photographs of the audience and guests.  I moved from working on subjects slowly and diligently to really understanding how to get good pictures in just a split second, and how to operate a flashgun properly. I also learnt how to be comfortable getting a person’s attention, along with a pose and a smile.

From there I started to dip my toe into the professional world with events, clubs and parties. I found that, as well as being very fulfilling, photography was socially rewarding as well and, to be frank, a lot of fun.

The final piece of the jigsaw was being employed as an assistant and ‘second shooter’ at weddings. Instead of being daunting I found it incredibly satisfying. Photographing people on a night out is good fun for everyone, but being an integral part of such an important day is immensely rewarding. I think nearly every wedding photographer’s website emphasises that they really enjoy weddings. I know some who think that this is just a cynical marketing ploy, but I don’t believe that you can be a good wedding photographer unless you love weddings.  They are a challenge, but with planning, experience and skill they aren’t anything to be frightened of.

That’s the other reason I wouldn’t have been a great wedding photographer all that time ago. I hadn’t had the experience of planning and carrying out a piece of work, and I hadn’t been placed in positions of responsibility during moments of high pressure. I believe that you need the whole package to get good images during a wedding: creative flair; technical proficiency; the ability to both plan and adapt; to cope with a stressful situation; understanding of the customer/photographer relationship (see my blog post about customer service) and knowing how to interact successfully with people without bossing them around.

It is a lot to bring to bear and balance all at once, but I feel that wedding photography brings together nearly everything I’ve ever learnt (well, apart from some O level chemistry). That’s why I find it so rewarding and am happy to do it as my job.   

On the BeachOn the Beach[email protected]

[email protected] (David Ash Peake) Haywards Heath Sussex planning wedding photography wedding photography wedding photography philosophy https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2014/5/so-why-did-i-become-a-wedding-photographer Fri, 30 May 2014 15:45:30 GMT
Wedding Day - Rebecca and Christopher – A Vintage Theme https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2014/5/wedding-day---rebecca-and-christopher-a-vintage-theme Rebecca and Christopher – A Vintage Theme

April 2014

Portsmouth Registry Office

Rebecca and Christopher chose a vintage theme for their wedding at Portsmouth Registry Office. The building itself is the best appointed registry office I’ve ever worked at. Milldam House (to give it its proper name) dates back to the early 19th century, has a distinctive Georgian frontage and some well maintained gardens to the rear. This makes it a wedding photographer’s dream and an ideal location for a yesteryear style wedding.

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The couple had requested a mixture of photographic styles, some in modern colour and others in monochrome to fit in with the wedding’s theme. Now monochrome isn’t just a question of taking all the colour out and leaving a black and white photograph. There are quite a number of different methods and styles to choose from. I decided to give Rebecca and Christopher a variety of results: sepia tones as if from an old family album, classic black and white, and a creamy/silvery ‘Hollywood’ tone.

Groom Waiting, Portsmouth Register OfficeGroom Waiting, Portsmouth Register Office[email protected] [email protected]

Couple with Classic Car, Portsmouth Register Office, HampshireCouple with Classic Car, Portsmouth Register Office, Hampshire[email protected]

Digital photography does allow for more flexibility, and let's couples chose to mix and match their style of wedding photography. By shooting RAW data files I am able to make a wide variety of conversions and processing choices to suit the mood and story of the wedding day.

With a group of guests who had entered fully into the spirit and theme of the day, and unique touches such as Rebecca’s bouquet made of brooches, we had a selection of images evocative of a vintage and stylish day.

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Have a look through my wedding gallery for more of my work, or have a look at my weddings page.

[email protected] (David Ash Peake) Portsmouth Vintage Wedding Wedding Day reportage wedding photography weekday wedding https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2014/5/wedding-day---rebecca-and-christopher-a-vintage-theme Tue, 20 May 2014 17:01:26 GMT
My Greyhounds - Studies in Motion (and Staying Still) https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2014/5/my-greyhounds---studies-in-motion How Photography Helps me Appreciate My Pets 

We’ve had rescue greyhounds now for over ten years. I was never what could be described as a dog person before, always preferred cats, but greyhound personalities seem to fit in nicely with our lifestyle and it’s fulfilling to know that we are giving a home to an animal that has spent the first few years of their life in kennels and needs a happy place to retire to.

Photographically I find greyhounds to be interesting too. Intriguing at times really. They have expressive faces. As they are short haired with long snouts it’s easy to read their moods. They just seem so communicative.  Sometimes stately and refined, at other times just plain daft.

Mab SurveysMab SurveysCopyright David Ash Peake Mab 2Mab 2[email protected]

They are also fast. Incredibly fast. They love to run, and just blur into a whirl of motion as they do so. As an owner I love to be able to see just what they’re getting up to inside this whir, and this is what the camera lets me do. It’ll be the subject of another blog post sometime, but I do think of a camera as a perception altering time machine. Some things happen just to quickly for us human beings to make out, and photography lets us step inside of a moment and see what’s really going on.

In the Meadow 7In the Meadow 7[email protected] DuoDuo[email protected]

With their distinctive features greyhounds can also make interesting subjects for less 'everyday' pet portraits.

Tegwan in the DarkTegwan in the DarkCopyright David Ash Peake

Greyhounds are a big part of our lives and an ongoing project, so I'm sure my Greyhound Gallery will grow over time.

[email protected] (David Ash Peake) Sussex greyhound photography greyhounds pet photography https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2014/5/my-greyhounds---studies-in-motion Mon, 19 May 2014 15:04:35 GMT
Wedding Day - Samantha & Samuel - A day with plenty of opportunities https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2014/5/wedding-day---samantha-samuel---a-day-with-plenty-of-opportunities Samantha & Samuel - A day with plenty of opportunities

Gatwick Europa Hotel

April 2014

Samantha and Samuel held their wedding ceremony and reception at the same venue in Sussex. Any situation has its pros and cons for a wedding photographer. Remaining in the same place removes a lot of practical concerns about transferring between venues and gives the photographer a bit more time to work with fixtures such as the decorations, table arrangements and (fingers crossed ) the wedding cake. The challenge can be to find enough locations to keep the photography fresh throughout the day.

As it was a Sussex wedding I was able to arrive even earlier than normal,  which gave me time to work with the wedding rooms. Starting with the reception room and some shallow depth of field work, then moving on to the empty ceremony room.

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To me it's all part of capturing the pre-wedding atmosphere and the start of the storytelling. My time with the couple began with Samantha's preparations in her room with her flowergirls and family. As we were in the same building I was able to run back to the ceremony room to shoot Samuel,  his best man and guests before going back for some formal portraits of the bridal party. Sometimes wedding photography does help you to keep fit!

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The ceremony passed without a hitch,  and the exchange of rings was particularly emotional. Afterwards we were able to use the various locations within the hotel to good effect for both formal and reportage photography. The lounge area used for the drinks reception,  the outside patio and fountain, an additional water feature,  garden and main reception suite meant that there was plenty of variety in the style and subject of the images.  We had a real story to tell :)

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Have a look through my wedding gallery for more of my work, or have a look at my weddings page.

[email protected] (David Ash Peake) Crawley Europa Hotel Mid Sussex Sussex Wedding Day West Sussex Wedding reportage wedding photography https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2014/5/wedding-day---samantha-samuel---a-day-with-plenty-of-opportunities Sat, 17 May 2014 09:47:10 GMT
Beachcomber - Photography with Rules https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2014/5/beachcomber---photography-with-rules My own Photographic Disciplline

I've mentioned in my wedding reportage blog posts that I notice and capture the little details. This really grew from one early morning on a beach in Scotland.  I'd been making images of the sun rising at dawn, casting its light over the Isle of Arran and the Kilbrannan Sound.  I finished as the sun rose higher, about seven in the morning,  and then happened to glance down at the sand beneath me and the patterns of seaweed that had been left behind as the tide went out.  Within seconds I was working again.  The details right under my feet spoke to me about the dynamic nature of the seaside environment, and the simple beauty that the natural world creates and that we so often walk right past.

Beachcomber 41Beachcomber 41

Since then I've often worked on beaches at low tide, spotting the individual natural designs that are so abundant they become ignored.  I feel that the little details create the little emotions that inform our moods. I've kept this philosophy and incorporated it into my other work at weddings and even commercial commissions.

Beachcomber is important to me as these images are unique. The rising tide will wash them away and they will not be repeated. They are true moments in time, combinations of shape and texture. Moments anchor us. We need to keep some of them.

Beachcomber 67Beachcomber 67[email protected]

There are rules to my beachcomber photography.  I have to find the image myself,  either by chance or by searching for it. It must be undisturbed,  I work with what has been placed in front of me and cannot move anything to improve a composition. It must be natural and honest,  even if that means it is flawed. It has to be as if the viewer is on that beach and glanced down for a moment.

See if my beachcomber gallery inspires the same in you as it does in me.

[email protected] (David Ash Peake) Beachcomber Haywards Heath Mid Sussex beach discipline images for sale natural designs photography with rules seaside https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2014/5/beachcomber---photography-with-rules Fri, 16 May 2014 15:29:53 GMT
Wedding Graphics - Distinctive Files to Download and Use https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2014/5/wedding-graphics---files-to-download-and-use 0Making your wedding distinctive and reflective of your own personality can be great fun, with lots of choices to be made to stamp your own personality on the event.

Something to think about is how many elements do you buy in, and how much of a diy wedding do you want to attempt? Do you want to attempt any of your own design work or are you happy to buy in generic wedding products? There are invitations or e-vites to send out, and maybe a personalised website to keep in touch with family and guests.

Of course invitations can be bought on the high street or from many online outlets,  but it's more fulfilling and more fun to do them yourselves. Plus you can be sure that they will stand out as distinctive (and not clash with something your guests have seen before! ). Or maybe you'd like to personalise a wedding website or emails?


With this in mind I've transformed some of my wedding images into little designs that you can download for £1.50 each and use however you wish. Have a look through the gallery and see if anything takes your fancy.

[email protected] (David Ash Peake) downloads images to buy wedding graphics wedding images wedding invitations wedding photography https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2014/5/wedding-graphics---files-to-download-and-use Wed, 14 May 2014 15:15:47 GMT
What is it about the Lensbaby? https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2014/5/what-is-it-about-the-lensbaby What is it about the Lensbaby?


Why I’ve done so much with it – and still have much, much more to do!

I’ve been working with a Lensbaby Composer for about 3 years now, and remain just as intrigued by it as I did on the first day I opened the box.

Pavilion12Pavilion12Copyright David Ash Peake

I bought it originally to try and make images with a miniaturised effect on the subject, but soon I became fascinated by the defocussing effect. The human eye and brain doesn’t take in an image all at once. We scan around the picture, picking out points of interest. It often seems to take a mental step backwards to try and appreciate all of a photograph in one go.

With its sweet spot the Lensbaby will only bring into focus a small area of the image, particularly if a wide aperture is fitted. The eye is directed to a specific point. This sounds restrictive, but I believe that it actually kicks the imagination into gear.  The viewer has to untangle the defocussed areas and create their own connections in their mind. A Lensbaby image seems to draw you further and further in.

Brighton29Brighton29Copyright David Ash Peake Bury4Bury4Copyright David Ash Peake

If the Lensbaby’s sweet spot is directed toward the centre of the image the subject can seem to be miniaturised. I particularly like this when my subjects are people. We look at them like toys, and then maybe consider their characters and actions all the more deeply.

Hove14Hove14Copyright David Ash Peake

We also seem to zoom in on the focussed area. Sometimes it’s as if the viewer falls into the image. Certain subjects can lead us to be lost in a photograph that is both abstract and intensely real at the same moment.

Seawater-5Seawater-5[email protected]

My gallery of Lensbaby images is sure to grow in time as the possibilities seem endless.

[email protected] (David Ash Peake) Composer Lensbaby defocussed miniature photography photography thoughts prints for sale https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2014/5/what-is-it-about-the-lensbaby Tue, 13 May 2014 13:19:32 GMT
Wedding Day - Shona and Daniel – A Quintessentially Sussex Wedding https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2014/5/wedding-day---shona-and-daniel-a-quintessentially-sussex-wedding Shona and Daniel

Shona and Daniel were married in March 2014, at St Mary Magdalene’s Church in Bolney, West Sussex. With strong connections to the village it was the ideal place to celebrate their marriage.

We began with the bride and her bridesmaids getting ready, and after the hubbub of wedding preparations made our way to Bolney in good time.

The bride made her entrance from the historic village high street through the lych gate and the picturesque grounds of the Church. After the ceremony the location was an ideal setting for some group photographs of the wedding party  and images of the Bride and Groom perched on a wooden seat carved into the shape of a heart.

Wedding Party at Bolney Church, SussexWedding Party at Bolney Church, Sussex[email protected]

Afterwards the reception was held in the Dutch Barn and Cow Shed at Tulley’s Farm, the Cow Shed being far more comfortable and salubrious than it might sound at first! Seating made from hay bales added a lovely rustic charm to the proceedings.

The couple gave the wedding their own particular twist, dining on traditional fish and chips with an ice cream van arriving for desert.

The entertainment had a vintage feel thanks to a swing trio, and the guests joined in enthusiastically. I was a little taken aback at how quickly the dancefloor filled with couples at the end of the Bride and Groom’s first dance, and it was clear just how happy everyone felt.

All in all a perfect Sussex wedding day, full of character and heartfelt emotion.

Have a look through my wedding gallery for more of my work, or have a look at my weddings page.

[email protected] (David Ash Peake) Bolney Haywards Heath Mid Sussex Sussex Tulleys Farm Wedding Day wedding photography weddings https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2014/5/wedding-day---shona-and-daniel-a-quintessentially-sussex-wedding Mon, 12 May 2014 12:31:51 GMT
Customer Service and Wedding Photography https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2014/5/customer-service-and-wedding-photography What is the job of the wedding photographer, and what is “above and beyond”?

Groom Waiting, Portsmouth Register OfficeGroom Waiting, Portsmouth Register Office[email protected] A Gusty Day, Greenwich Old Naval CollegeA Gusty Day, Greenwich Old Naval College[email protected]

I was talking to a photographer friend a few months ago. They’re just a hobbyist but often ask me about how my business is going, and what I get up to. I told them about a special wedding moment for me, when I was thanked in one of the speeches. That’s fairly unexpected for a wedding photographer, as we’re being paid to be there and public thanks are generally due for friends and family who have been giving up their time to make the wedding day happen.

It must have been that I had done something, or acted in a way that was felt to be beyond the usual call of duty. My friend asked me what had happened during the day, and I ran through things. I didn’t feel that I had done anything especially dramatic, but at several points my friend interrupted to say that they wouldn’t have done that, it wasn’t the photographer’s ‘job’.

So I started to think, what is the photographer’s job? What is their main mission? Is it to simply take the best images they can? Or is it to do their bit to make sure the wedding day goes smoothly and is as enjoyable as possible?

My perspective is that the photographer is one of the professionals employed to make sure that it’s a great day with many happy memories. That means helping things move along, particularly if there is a little glitch, and not to stand back and wait for someone else to fix things. It can be something as little as helping the Bride with a bag or bunch of flowers, or arranging for another glass of bubbly. Anything that makes the day move more smoothly.

Arrival at the Wedding Ceremony, Cooden Beach HotelArrival at the Wedding Ceremony, Cooden Beach Hotel[email protected]

Maybe it’s because I’ve spent time working in other customer facing industries, or because I’ve been on training courses that emphasise the need to give ‘added value’, but I think it’s an important aspect of how I approach the day. I’m not there to monopolise the bride and groom or give lots of orders. Along with the priest or celebrant, the venue co-ordinator and the caterers I think of myself as part of one big team that’s all pulling together to make the wedding day special.

[email protected] (David Ash Peake) customer service wedding photography wedding photography philosophy https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2014/5/customer-service-and-wedding-photography Tue, 06 May 2014 11:25:07 GMT
From the Archive - Laura and Martin, Aren't We Lucky with the Weather! https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2014/5/from-the-archive---laura-and-martin-arent-we-lucky-with-the-weather Laura and Martin – Aren’t We Lucky with the Weather!

Cooden Beach Hotel, East Sussex - September 2012

When you are a wedding photographer you look at the light. Actually, when you’re any sort of photographer you look at the light and how you’ll work with it, but you are generally on your own when doing this.

In the case of weddings I know that I’m not going to be the only one attending with a camera, but I do know that I’ll be the only one looking at the light, and therefore the weather, in a certain way.

I know everyone hopes for perfect weather for a wedding: sunshine, blue skies and no wind. After all who would want to see the bride and groom scurrying away from  rain drops under bleak skies. A photographer’s definition of perfect weather can be a little different from everyone else’s though.

Laura and Martin’s wedding was a case in point. It was a glorious late September day, barely a cloud in the sky and the wedding was to take place in the afternoon at the Cooden Beach Hotel just outside of Bexhill in East Sussex.

Arrival at the Wedding Ceremony, Cooden Beach HotelArrival at the Wedding Ceremony, Cooden Beach Hotel[email protected]

I arrived in plenty of time, having finished a pre-ceremony shoot with the bride and her grandmother in Hove, and was told for the first time “Aren’t you lucky with the weather?” I wasn’t convinced. On a late September afternoon without cloud cover strong sunlight was pouring out of the west, relatively close to the horizon. The ceremony room was facing directly westward, so the windows would be backlit by the sun.  Furthermore, after the ceremony, the couple would be emerging would be emerging into the sun for a drinks reception on the lawn. This meant that I would have to avoid group portraits with the couple squinting into the sun or silhouetted by strong sunlight behind them.

This is the sort of situation where the question “Why hire a professional wedding photographer?” is answered.  I know how to ensure that the important areas of the image are properly exposed, and how to position my subjects to minimise the impact of adverse conditions.

I know how to use fill flash outdoors to counteract backlighting, without bleaching out my subjects. And of course a professional photographer knows how to make additional corrections to a digital image file on the PC.

Wedding Tableaux, Cooden Beach HotelWedding Tableaux, Cooden Beach Hotel[email protected]

I know from the couple’s reactions to my photographs that they were worried about how their day was going to look. They had already seen photos taken on phones and with compact cameras, all silhouettes or squinty eyes, or with the bride’s dressed completely bleached out. I was happy to be able to give them images that reflected the day as they remembered it. And we were lucky with the weather :) 

Have a look through my wedding gallery for more of my work, or have a look at my weddings page.

[email protected] (David Ash Peake) Bexhill Cooden Beach Hotel East Sussex Wedding Sussex Wedding Day backlit fill flash wedding photography wedding photography technique https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2014/5/from-the-archive---laura-and-martin-arent-we-lucky-with-the-weather Thu, 01 May 2014 08:48:52 GMT
From the Archive - Andrew and Jennifer and a Varied Day https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2014/4/from-the-archive-andrew-and-jennifer-and-a-varied-day 0Andrew and Jennifer 

West London – September 2013


Andrew and Jennifer’s wedding was a long day, incorporating both Western and Chinese elements and split across several venues including hotels and a Chinese restaurant.

We began with the British ceremony – to make it all legal, and posed all the formal portraits of the couple while Jennifer was still in her white wedding dress.

Afterwards she changed into traditional red for the tea ceremonies.

We had discussed the tea ceremonies prior to the wedding day, and they featured in the schedule provided to me by the couple, but it was still a new experience for me.

Each ceremony ran the same way, with the bride and groom kneeling before a seated pair of relatives representing various branches of the family. Cups of tea were then given to the relatives before they reciprocated with red envelopes for the couple.

As we had already arranged for formal group portraits to be taken at both the hotel and the restaurant I took a reportage approach to the tea ceremonies to capture the intricacies, and the sense of intimate interactions occurring in a quiet corner surrounded by the hubbub of a wedding day.

Have a look through my wedding gallery for more of my work, or have a look at my weddings page.

[email protected] (David Ash Peake) Wedding Day chinese wedding reportage wedding photography wedding tea ceremony https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2014/4/from-the-archive-andrew-and-jennifer-and-a-varied-day Wed, 30 Apr 2014 10:55:36 GMT
From the Archive - Barney and Hollie and a Unique Day https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2014/4/from-the-archive---barney-and-hollie-and-a-unique-day Barney & Hollie

Brighton Town Hall & Palace Pier July 2013

Everyone makes their wedding their own.  There was no mistaking that Barney & Hollie had done so with their Brighton wedding in 2013. They used the day to bring back memories of times spent there.  I think it's the only wedding I've attended where the bride arrived on foot. The idea of strolling from the Clock Tower to the Town Hall was hers,  and it was charming to walk down through the Lanes on a gorgeous day. Shoppers and tourists certainly got into the spirit seeing Hollie go by, so it was a lovely way to start the day.

Hollie picked sunflowers for a distinctive bouquet and vintage Union Jack shoes. 

It was a relaxed affair,  and groom and best man pulled a few catalogue poses after we'd taken some of the more traditional shots.

After the wedding breakfast the reception party made their way to the Palace Pier to relive some more of their past, as they went on fairground rides together. This wedding may well be unique for me as I'm not sure how many times in my career the bride will be upside down on a rollercoaster!

Bride & Groom on the Merry-Go-Round, Palace Pier BrightonBride & Groom on the Merry-Go-Round, Palace Pier Brighton[email protected]

The Lanes followed by the Palace Pier. What could be a more Brighton wedding than that? Ok, so maybe they could have gone to the Pavilion as well :)

Have a look through my wedding gallery for more of my work, or have a look at my weddings page.

[email protected] (David Ash Peake) Brighton Sussex Wedding Day reportage unusual vintage wedding wedding photography https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2014/4/from-the-archive---barney-and-hollie-and-a-unique-day Fri, 25 Apr 2014 11:09:16 GMT
From the Archive - Craig & Mei and a Virtual Plan https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2014/4/from-the-archive---craig-mei-and-a-virtual-plan 0Craig & Mei

Hotel du Vin

York – May 2013

An Online Plan

For a Sussex based wedding photographer this day was quite a challenge as the venue was too far away for me to visit before the ceremony. However, thanks to Google I was able to make a virtual visit to the inside of the Hotel du Vin York and the street outside.  The importance of the internet and its tools for today’s weddings can’t be overestimated.

I always make sure I keep an eye on the weather forecasts for the day, and check traffic reports before I travel. This wedding, however, gave me experience in using a wider variety of tools to work out the space, backgrounds and likely amounts of light I was going to get in different locations at different times.

So long before I got there I had a Plan A, Plan B and Plan C to get the images that the bride and groom wanted. Two weeks before the wedding day I knew that I was going to take this picture,

Bride and Groom, Hotel du Vin YorkBride and Groom, Hotel du Vin YorkCopyright David Ash Peake

And also that I was going to work around the main staircase to widen the scope of the wedding party compositions and on the rear patio to fit everyone in and also include some action,

I knew that the soft light entering through some of the doors and windows would make for some atmospheric reportage,


Over the course of an eight hour day my assistant and I put together a wide and varied selection of images of the wedding, and Mei and Craig were very satisfied with the results.

Plans aren’t rigid and inflexible, I don’t believe that it’s my job to dictate the pace or content to the couple, but a good understanding of what they want and a solid outline of how I’ll go about capturing that certainly improves the photography and makes the day far more fun for everybody.

Have a look through my wedding gallery for more of my work, or have a look at my weddings page.

[email protected] (David Ash Peake) Sussex Wedding Day planning wedding photography reportage wedding photography wedding photography philosophy https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2014/4/from-the-archive---craig-mei-and-a-virtual-plan Fri, 18 Apr 2014 15:27:58 GMT
So What is Reportage Wedding Photography - Part Two The Style https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2014/3/so-what-is-reportage---part-two-the-style I've talked about the storytelling aspect of reportage wedding photography and how it tells the tale of the day, but I think that there is more to it than just a series of images. To me reportage can be broadly split into two categories : scene setting and action.

Scene setting is a way of capturing the atmosphere of the day, all the little details that give the wedding its own character. The couple will make all sorts of decisions when planning the ceremony and reception to stamp their own personalities on the day. Floral arrangements, outfits, table decorations and elements at the reception such as a sweet bar.

Petals, Hotel du Vin YorkPetals, Hotel du Vin York[email protected]

The guests will glimpse these as the events unfold and I believe that it's important to record them all as this will bring back memories of everything that happened that day.  The images will (hopefully) also be seen by friends and family who were unable to attend, so including the little detail shots will give them a flavour of the day.

Action reportage is more self-explanatory, it's everything that happened during the wedding. A record of the interactions, moments, emotions and events of the day. Action reportage is candid. The subjects aren’t posed. I hang back as much as I feasibly can so that people don’t know they’re being photographed and act naturally. From bridal preparations, groom and guests gathering for the ceremony through to the reception and guest reactions to speeches and dances there are hundreds of little moments that come together to tell that story.

Wedding Tableaux, Cooden Beach HotelWedding Tableaux, Cooden Beach Hotel[email protected]

I also class the ceremony itself as action reportage as I’m looking to record the moments between the couple without them paying too much attention to me. Well, unless they want to. In practice that isn’t too difficult as most people don’t notice the world around them while they’re exchanging their vows.

I try to scatter the two different styles across my coverage of the day so that the viewer experiences (or re-experiences) the day as if they are moving through the events, noticing details and moments at they go.

Have a look through my wedding gallery for more of my work, or have a look at my weddings page.

[email protected] (David Ash Peake) Haywards Heath Mid Sussex Sussex reportage wedding photography wedding photography philosophy https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2014/3/so-what-is-reportage---part-two-the-style Thu, 27 Mar 2014 11:35:34 GMT
So What is Reportage Wedding Photography - Part One The Storyteller https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2014/3/so-what-is-reportage---part-one Wedding photographers often use terms such as formal, contemporary and reportage to describe their style of work.  When looking to choose your wedding photographer it can be a bit daunting to sift through the terminology to make sure that you get the right photographer for you.

Collins defines Reportage as:

1. the act or process of reporting news or other events of general interest

2. (Journalism & Publishing) a journalist's style of reporting

3. (Journalism & Publishing) a technique of documentary film or photo journalism that tells a story entirely through pictures

At first glance this doesn’t appear to have a lot to do with wedding photography, but it’s the third definition that we need to look to. Although photo journalism might bring to mind press photographers a wedding is a story to be told, and the reportage style is when the photographer looks to tell the tale of the day instead of producing just a series of formal portraits, though these are still an important part of the photographer's job.

Bride and Groom, Hotel du Vin YorkBride and Groom, Hotel du Vin YorkCopyright David Ash Peake

In fact that’s how I described my wedding photography to a friend the other day: I’m a storyteller, plain and simple. A wedding has a plot, a beginning, middle and an end. Well, actually I think it has several middle sections, but more on that in a moment. There are a series of moods and emotions to move through. Although the plot outlines might be similar each wedding is different and has its own story to tell.

The beginning of the wedding is like a prologue really. The bride finishing her preparations at home, followed by the groom waiting to greet the guests before the ceremony. Trying not to look nervous but the sense of trepidation is there.

Arrival at the Wedding Ceremony, Cooden Beach HotelArrival at the Wedding Ceremony, Cooden Beach Hotel[email protected]

The story really gets going with the arrival of the bride and the ceremony itself. All those months of preparation are coming to fruition, but it’s really the story of that couple for just those minutes. The guests are the bit players and the bride and groom are the main characters. I like to capture the intimacy of the wedding ceremony for them, almost as if they’re in a bubble.

Afterwards the bride and groom are still the stars, but we bring in more and more of the supporting characters. This is where the reportage brings out all the subplots revolving around the main action: children playing with the confetti, friends and family meeting again on such a happy occasion, the joker in the party clowning around.

Wedding Tableaux, Cooden Beach HotelWedding Tableaux, Cooden Beach Hotel[email protected]

The last of the middle sections is the reception and speeches. This might seem to be a dull subject, just people standing and talking, but so much is going on. There are intimate moments between the bride and groom, and their parents and family. Plus all the guests reactions, whether they’re laughing or wiping away a tear.

First Dance at the Waterfront Hotel BrightonFirst Dance at the Waterfront Hotel Brighton[email protected]

With the first dance we bring the story to its close. I think the image of the couple dancing together seals the commitment they have just made. Of course the day continues into the evening, but that’s for others to document on their phones and cameras. The tale is told.

Have a look through my wedding gallery for more of my work, or have a look at my weddings page.



[email protected] (David Ash Peake) Haywards Heath Mid Sussex Sussex reportage wedding photography wedding photography philosophy https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2014/3/so-what-is-reportage---part-one Tue, 18 Mar 2014 16:37:12 GMT
How I Work https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2014/3/how-i-work How I Work

To me photography is all about creating an emotional connection between the viewer and the image. Whatever I'm doing, be it in amongst a crowd of wedding guests or all alone on a beach at dawn, I'm striving to create that little moment that draws the observer into the photograph for a genuine experience.

That means I am looking at composition, exposure and colour (or absence of it) through the viewfinder, and trying to bring it all together into the mix.

For instance, dawn breaking over the Isle of Arran and the first rays of sunlight start to warm my chilly limbs.


Or wedding rings, sitting waiting for the ceremony.

Rings & FlowersRings & Flowers[email protected]


I photograph in RAW, and process individual images afterwards. For the layman this means that I am working in the digital equivalent of the darkroom to maximise the quality and impact of each photograph.

This is something that many people don’t immediately realise. Unlike their personal cameras, I only produce the final JPEG images after examining each RAW file for its suitability and quality. Sometimes there’s little work to be done. On other occasions, I find myself extensively cropping and working an image to bring out something that was buried in the original. This sometimes happens with the reportage element of a busy wedding shoot: the original image, taken quickly, doesn’t initially look promising. However, a second glance reveals a little gem in there such as a guest’s expression.

The editing process is why wedding photography can seem expensive at first glance. In fact it can take up to a week to process a full day’s wedding coverage. Every image is looked at and worked on individually. This is what makes wedding photography so special, both to the clients and to me.

[email protected] (David Ash Peake) cost Crawley Haywards Heath Mid Sussex process raw processing Sussex wedding photographer wedding photography https://www.davidashpeake-photography.com/blog/2014/3/how-i-work Wed, 05 Mar 2014 14:18:23 GMT