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Bollywood hits Uley in Gloucestershire!

As soon as I heard that Sarah’s 21st birthday party was a Bollywood theme I knew I was going to get some great shots. I couldn’t believe how many friends and family were wearing Indian costume and fantastic costumes too. What a brilliant, fun party to photograph! Not only because Sarah chose the Indian theme as she’d had a gap year there but she also decided she was going to have a themed marquee too and wow was it something else! Absolutely amazing and all visualised by Sarah; everyone was knocked out by it. I overheard one of her friends saying to her that she knew this was going to be an amazing evening and that this party was the best 21st party she’d been to.

My aim from the time I arrived was to capture the Bollywood feel, what I hadn’t expected was so many people wanting their picture taken. I couldn’t avoid shooting groups for the first  first hour or so which was fine but I was itching to get candid shots too. My chance came later on in the marquee, I especially love the dance shots. Quite a challenge in very low light but my Canon coped fine.

Here’s just a few of the pictures. My thanks to Sarah’s Mum for booking me and great to hear that everyone is loving my pictures!

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A Civil Partnership Celebration

This was my first wedding of the year and in a week when the Government voted for gay couples to marry. No wonder there was loud applause when this landmark decision was mentioned in the speeches.

I very much enjoyed photographing Kirsty & Sarah’s Civil Ceremony. So much love and happiness, it was my privilege to capture this. Thanks also to the staff at The Old Lodge Minchinhampton for all their help in clearing one of the rooms so I could take group shots. And a big THANK YOU to Sarah & Kirsty for giving me the opportunity to share in their special day.

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Happiness at The Old Lodge Minchinhampton

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How much should Photographers know about SEO?

There are loads of articles and reference books on SEO but I’d rather take pictures any day. I’m a wedding photographer after all, not a web designer. Having said that I knew it was time to tweak my web site again but this time I wanted to go one step further and really optimise it and improve my rankings …but where to start? Rather than wade through loads of reference books on SEO I decided to ask an expert to review my site page by page and identify areas where optimisation could be improved. I contacted Andy Poulton  www.wiltswebdesign.co.uk because he knows his stuff and I knew he would go through my site with a fine tooth comb. Within a short space of time I had received a nineteen page detailed report highlighting all kinds of data stuff that needed tweaking. It included loads of useful tips and recommendations as well and it was written in plain English. My problem was going to be in implementing all this bearing in mind my lack of knowledge on web design.

I do have a guy who looks after my web site. I send him new text from time to time, new wedding pictures, new Outbound links (get the jargon) and these things magically appear on my site. The only control if that’s the word I have on my site is my Blog page. Thank you WordPress! Now my web guy who I’ll call Mike would be the first to admit that he is an HTML man which may make sense to you and apologies if not. Mike can drop stuff into my site no problem but as soon as I  mentioned adding meta data I could see the shutters closing. Admittedly it seemed a huge exercise but I wasn’t going to give up. Andy gave me a few more pointers and then I began to look at other web sites. Spending a couple of hours looking ‘behind’ web sites is not my idea of a great afternoon but boy was it useful. I could see patterns emerging I could also see that my site wasn’t the only one that needed a good old sort out, gradually the light was beginning to dawn.

Just a little while later, having had enough of these pesky meta tags an e mail came through from Mike. Bless his cotton socks he wasn’t giving up on this after all. He’d been doing some research and had e mailed with instructions on how we were going to crack this. So I have now written a Page Title, a Meta Decsription and Meta Keywords for each page of my web site. It may not be perfect , it may not be all the data I need but it’s consistent and hey it could make a difference with my Google rankings. (Please Google don’t change your algorithms again just yet)! Don’t expect when you click on www.maggieboothphotography.co.uk to see any changes as this is all background data. I’ve got lots more tweaking to do yet on the copy and update the gallery and all that but getting some of this in place feels like a definite move forward.

Can’t write a blog without including a picture …Happy-bride-Minchinhampton- Common 

This is how I feel right now.

Work Experience is more than just a walk in the Park!

Aurora, my work experience student was a joy to teach. Not that I could teach her much about macro photography, she’s completely nailed it. Really lovely close-ups with shallow depth of field, I didn’t need to bang on about aperture settings, shutter speed etc. like I normally do.

I enjoy taking students on work experience even though it’s usually a week in July when it’s my busiest time. Aurora’s school in Italy wisely chooses the first week in January. Good for them, nice and quiet for a wedding photographer. I always put a timetable together before the start of the week so the student knows what’s in store and the topics we’re going to cover.  Landscape, buildings, people, studio work, you name it, we cram in as much as possible. Of course it’s one hec of a tiring week but none of my students leaves without some understanding of light, camera settings, composition and editing.

Here is a selection of shots which shows just how busy we were. Apart from learning new photography skills, Aurora’s English improved greatly. One phrase she definitely understands after our lighting set-up in the Cloisters of Gloucester Cathedral http://www.gloucestercathedral.org.uk/ is ‘Trial & Error’. A familiar term used by photographers!

Our walk around the village. Day One.

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A day in Oxford – working hard.

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Gloucester Cathedral

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The following pictures were all taken by Aurora. Working in a studio with Christine Moon Photography http://www.christinemoonphotography.co.uk/

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And on the last day we went first of all to Whiteshill & Ruscombe Village shop to buy some English chutney as Aurora loves it and then onto the Farmers’ market in Stroud.

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Aurora is so creative!

Kicking autumn leaves at The Lawn, Cainscross, Stroud.

The Lawn at Cainscross is a hidden gem in the Stroud area. http://www.cainscross-pc.gov.uk/general.asp?pid=6&pgid=1863 I only live two miles away and have driven past countless times but Sunday was the first time I’d actually been there. It was an ideal location  for a photoshoot with the boys; masses of autumn leaves to kick and lots of water and a lovely wooden bridge, great for playing the rickety rackety bridge game and beating the bad old troll! We all had a great time and the boys gave me some great shots. Thank you Hector, Wilbur Seb & Eli. Perfect models!

The web site for The Lawn gives a great insight into the history of the area and the fantastic work carried out by the volunteers to bring this area back to its former glory.

Boys photoshoot at 'The Lawn, Cainscross' 1

The Boys Photoshoot at The Lawn, Cainscross 2

The Boys Photoshoot at The Lawn, Cainscross 3

The Boys Photoshoot at The Lawn, Cainscross 4

Pink Gerbera all the way for Rachael & Tom

The little village of Tormarton in Gloucestershire has a very pretty church which rarely hosts any weddings so Rachael & Tom’s wedding was a very special day in more ways than one. Lots of villagers turned out to welcome the bride & groom as they came out of the church. In keeping with tradition, the couple weren’t allowed through the lych-gate until they had thrown a few ‘pennies’ to the local children. Only then was the ribbon wrapped around the gate posts cut, to allow them through.

Rachael decided several months before the Big Day that her theme would be pink gerbera so everyone had been very busy trying to grow them. This year’s unpredictable weather had meant this proved to be quite a challenge but miraculously there was no shortage of the pretty daisy like flowers on the day. The dining room at The Bear of Rodborough looked lovely http://www.cotswold-inns-hotels.co.uk/property/the_bear_of_rodborough?/bear especially the tables with the favours which Rachael had made.

I’m so glad the weather behaved itself on the day and I was able to photograph Rachael & Tom on Minchinhampton Common. First time a couple has ever practised their dance on The Common I should think, the cows looked a little bemused!

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 R & T in church

R & T on Minchinhampton Common

Rachael with bridal veil

A great 1st dance at The Bear of Rodborough

A lovely country wedding in Bisley, Gloucestershire.

Bisley in Gloucestershire is a pretty little Cotswold village and an ideal setting for a wedding. The spacious and beautiful parish church of All Saints is remarkable in it’s size for a village setting and reflects the early glories and success of the wool trade in Gloucestershire. The church is adjacent to the home of Olivia and her two sisters with a lovely walkway of yew trees between their garden and the churchyard. It was an absolute joy to photograph not only the ‘getting ready’ pictures but the bridal group walking to the church with a very proud Dad.

I had suggested to Olivia and Joe that we took some pictures by the old lych gate whilst their guests came out of the church, those set of pictures are some of my favourites. And talking about the guests, they were all lovely to Simon, my assistant and I, together we got some great shots of everyone enjoying themselves on the front lawn. The fizz was flowing!

A little later on I wandered around the grounds of the house and the church whist the wedding breakfast was still in full swing. (Us photographers didn’t go hungry either as Simon and I were treated to a very tasty lasagne cooked by Olivia’s Mum). Walking around in the early evening in the summer is a great time to take photographs. The light becomes very golden and as the sun sets you can get a lovely sunburst effect.

This traditional country wedding was an absolute joy to shoot. Thank you so much Olivia & Joe you are a super couple and I loved photographing your special day and I’m so pleased that you’re delighted with your pictures. 

Olivia & Joe

A (Pink) Hummer of a wedding!

Photographing Rebecca’s getting ready shots was great fun. Loved it when the two smaller bridesmaids & the two flower girls almost came to blows over their  shoes. I had put them all together for a picture with the Bride’s shoes and so no-one was sure whose shoes were whose. It got sorted in the end and despite everything happening at the last minute (so pretty normal really), Rebecca and her bridal party arrived at the church in time. And in a splendid pink hummer which took up about four parking spaces. Great fun!

Lovely vicar at Watermoor Parish Church, I wish they were all as flexible. As usual we didn’t use flash and because both Josie, my assistant and I had good positions in the church, we got some a great shots. The Hill in Stroud http://www.the-hill.co.uk/ was the reception venue, a perfect setting for Rebecca & Nick’s wedding. Glad the weather behaved itself. Please go to the couples’ on line album on my web site to see more pictures. Maggie Booth Photography

Rebecca & Nick

Jen & Matt’s wonderful day!

When Christy, a colleague of mine asked if I would like to photograph her sister Jen’s wedding I jumped at the chance. Christy, like myself, is a Stroud based photographer  Christy Blanch Photography and we often work together but this wedding was going to be something very special. I was thrilled to be asked.

It’s a rare treat for me to photograph the Boys before the Ceremony as I’m usually taking ‘getting-readies’ at the bride’s house. I had such  a great time taking shots of Matt, his bestman and the ushers that I completely forgot to take a picture of the rings! I made up for it later on though.

Here is a selection of pictures I shot during the day. I thoroughly enjoyed being part of Jen & Matt’s special day,  they are a lovely couple and were a pleasure to photograph. To see Jen & Matt’s on line album just click onto Christy’s web site, go to ‘on line albums’ and then click on Jen & Matt.  There is a small payment of £3 when you download the pictures which will be donated to The Sue Ryder Hospice in Leckhampton who have been looking after Jen & Christy’s dad. 

Jen & Matt 1

Jen & Mat 2

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Melissa & Will’s wish comes true …an outdoor Ceremony in blazing sunshine!

Melissa & Will had opted for an outdoor ceremony in the grounds of The Manor House at Moreton-in-Marsh and what a fabulous choice it turned out to be! It was one of the hottest days of the year so far, which was great but it meant my assistant and I were searching for some shade to take the group pictures. Bright sun and searing heat can be challenging. I love the secret garden at the hotel, it’s perfect for taking pictures of couples without any of the guests trying to muscle in! http://www.cotswold-inns-hotels.co.uk/property/the_manor_house_hotel/?%2Fmanor%2F Thank you Melissa & Will for being a truly delightful couple to photograph.

Melissa & Will