Fisherman’s Retreat, Ramsbottom Photography ~ Dan Barlow

Vanessa & Sammy

Vanessa & Sammy held their autumn wedding ceremony at the excellent Fisherman’s Retreat just outside of Ramsbottom. The last time we were here was the previous weekend for their snowy pre-wedding photoshoot and I’d come equipped this time for cold weather – gloves, a hat, snow tyres… All items which stayed in the car whilst we used the glorious outside space to make some beautiful portraits and soaked up the epic surrounding Lancashire countryside!

This was a hugely enjoyable day to attend as a documentary photographer; Vanessa and Sammy know how to enjoy themselves and their sense of fun was mirrored in all of their guests which made this such an enjoyable occasion for all. There was always so much love, laughter and tears of happiness present to capture unobtrusively (although Sammy insists I was photographing him unobtrusively every time he had something in his eye…!) Vanessa had also worked on the decorative touches which went so well with the vintage tea service from Velvet Rose China.

Below is a small set of photos from the day which I hope you have as much fun looking at as I had taking.

Congratulations Vanessa & Sammy, thank you for letting me be a part of your day!

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Fletcher Moss Botanical Gardens Pre-Wedding Photography ~ Dan Barlow

Shabina & Usman

Shabina & Usman had their autumnal pre-wedding photoshoot at Fletcher Moss Botanical Gardens in Didsbury which we did in the late afternoon to get the gorgeous sunset light. They wanted a mixture of posed and unposed portraits but with a strong bias towards the unposed. By reviewing the posed portraits together, they could decide what what was working well for them – entirely what I’d consider to be the key point of a pre-wedding photoshoot.

The following portraits are from the undirected and unposed end of the spectrum; they required minimal direction as we had talked through posing earlier in the session and Shabina & Usman were now comfortable and confident enough to show me what they could do.

You can see Shabina & Usman’s wedding photography here.

Here’s a small selection of Shabina & Usman’s set:

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Aughton & Holmes DIY Barn Wedding Photography ~ Dan Barlow

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Helly & Andy

Helly & Andy won my competition last year and so received the top prize of having their wedding covered by me, all day long! As soon as they had emailed me, I knew this deserving, charity fund-raising, musical duo were having the type of wedding I love to cover with loads of interesting plans and an express wish that the wedding be covered simply as I saw fit all day long – this farm wedding was going to be superb.

On the day:

After bridal preparations, Helly took her tractor-drawn, converted carriage (built by dad) on it’s maiden journey to Christ Church Aughton followed by a reception in a barn which they, their family and friends had converted and decorated over the last month. Helly’s dad had stayed up until 3am putting the finishing touches to the barn and the level of detail was incredible with childhood mementos, verses from Corinthians (as featured in the service) and instruments for guests to play. But more amazingly, it never felt cramped, despite fitting in an entire wedding party, a fully staffed bar full of fridges and beer pumps and the entire Wigan Ukulele band! Outside on the farm, there was camping for guests, a bit like a festival except amongst the tents and caravans there was a monstrous 4×4 Soviet military vehicle which a guest rumbled in on to camp in…Helly & Andy know some cool folk.

It’s not often a bride and groom will play their own wedding but these talented musicians performed their wedding song written by themselves especially for this day – keep watching for the link to the video of it soon.

Congratulations Helly & Andy, thank you for letting me be a part of your day!

See Helly & Andy’s Pre-wedding photoshoot here.

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The Pinewood Hotel Pre-Wedding Photoshoot ~ Dan Barlow

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Rachel & Dom

Rachel & Dom are getting married later this year at The Pinewood Hotel which is where we are for this pre-wedding photoshoot.

They had quickly outlined that they want relaxed, naturally posed photos so we choose secluded spots around the gardens so they felt comfortable to show me what they could do. They quickly relaxed in front of my camera once we had reviewed some of their photos and talked about the process taking place – entirely what I’d consider to be the key point of a pre-wedding photoshoot (as well as getting some superb portraits together!).

Here’s a small selection of Rachel & Dom’s set:

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Tatton Park Pre-Wedding Photoshoot ~ Dan Barlow

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Vanessa & Bob

There’s an old adage which says something like ‘never work with children or animals’ and it’s clearly something said by some joyless crackpot because I always encourage couples with dogs to bring them to their pre-wedding photoshoot – they’re family so why wouldn’t you?! Before their wedding at Great John Street Hotel, Vanessa, Bob and their pup Minne met with me for their pre wedding photoshoot at Tatton Park. It gave us plenty of open space to let Minnie run around while we concentrated on posing and was lovely and private which meant that Vanessa & Bob could relax in front of my camera, see what naturally works for them and see how I work first-hand, just some of the reasons why I offer a pre-wedding photoshoot.

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Castlefield, Manchester Pre-Wedding Photoshoot ~ Dan Barlow

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Helly & Andy’s Pre-Wedding Photoshoot

Back at the start of 2015 I ran a competition to win my services for the day; the lucky winners were the lovely Helly and Andy, a pair whose wedding plans sounded so outrageously cool that it had to be them who won. And because their venue isn’t quite finished yet, we decided on this spot around Manchester to squeeze in a pre-wedding photoshoot, regardless of rain or shine.

The metal, brick and industrial feel of this place stands in total contrast to the rural, rustic feel of their wedding venue; the similarity is that it is just as secluded which meant that Helly & Andy could relax in front of my camera, receive some beautiful photographs, see what works for them and see how I work first-hand, just some of the reasons why I offer a pre-wedding photoshoot.

The photos run in time order and you can see how Helly & Andy became more at ease – they were strongly encouraged to mess about and we had a lot of laughs and fun!

You can see Helly & Andy’s wedding photography here.

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Manchester Town Hall and Midland Hotel, Pre-Wedding Photoshoot ~ Dan Barlow

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Anwen & Adam’s Pre-Wedding Photoshoot

Anwen & Adam met with me in Manchester city centre for their pre-wedding photoshoot to get a flavour of how I work on a portrait session and to build a bit of photo confidence ahead of their Manchester Town Hall wedding next month. We chose a secluded spot in the Town Hall which meant we could run through posing at their own speed before we planned out how their portrait session would work on the day. We then headed on to The Midland Hotel which will be the second venue of their wedding day, getting to know the building and adding a few more unexpectedly beautiful and dramatic locations for portraiture. Seeing this lovely couple become comfortable enough to choose poses themselves was a wonderful thing to see and allowed me to shoot unobtrusively and keep the photography fun, relaxed and natural.

You can see Anwen & Adam’s wedding photography here.

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Bolholt Country Park Hotel Wedding Photography ~ Dan Barlow

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Leona & Michael

This summer has been a busy one and I’ve been a part of many beautiful moments on different couple’s wedding days; you also meet a lot of cool people and Leona and Michael’s friendly, welcoming family fall neatly into this category. I was warmly welcomed by Leona and the girls who were making an early start at Rios hair and beauty salon where I could start with some natural portraits of their preparations before the ceremony at St James’s church in Oldham. Getting so many bridesmaids ready is no easy task and the staff managed to do the stunning job you see here amidst all of the laughs, emotional moments and bubbly on the go. After the ceremony, there was a dash over to Bolholt Country Park hotel in Bury with awesome videographer Paul Bamforth for the reception where we were serenaded with the singing talents of Steve Cole – I’ve not met many people who can get a room of over a hundred people all stood up, holding hands, singing ‘That’s Amore’ before they’ve brought out the first course! The evening portrait session gave us the softest light and led to the photos you see here.

Thanks for letting me be a part of your big day and for making me feel like one of the family.

Congratulations Leona & Michael, thank you for letting me be a part of your day!

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Great John Street Hotel Pre-Wedding Photoshoot ~ Dan Barlow

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Sarah & Nick

Sarah and Nick chose to meet me in the opulent surroundings of the Great John Street Hotel where they’ll marry at the end of October. As well as working on the plan for their wedding day around the hotel, we managed to get out and take some photographs. Sarah and Nick showed me what they liked about the Great John Street Hotel which means I can begin to think about how I will incorporate these details into my work. As well as giving them a set of lovely photos, this photoshoot gave Sarah and Nick an opportunity to relax into natural, comfortable poses in from of my camera, build their photo confidence and show them how certain scenes could make amazing photographs.

See Sarah & Nick’s wedding day photographs here.

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Ye Olde Bell, Barnaby Moor, Nottinghamshire Wedding Photography ~ Dan Barlow

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Ashley & Brent

Before this wedding party, Ashley and Brent had just got married for the second time in the UK having married a week earlier in Thailand – this meant Ashley got to look fabulous in her amazing dress a second time round!

Encountering two heavy rainstorms on the drive over to the Ye Olde Bell at Barnaby Moor from Manchester, I had no idea what to expect weather-wise or how it would affect the time we had planned for outdoor photographs; I knew I was geared up for shooting in the rain but I’ve not met many wedding parties who are as enthusiastic about it as I am! Luckily, the clouds and puddles did nothing to dampen any spirits and during the group photos we had lots of laughs and fooling about, I don’t normally include group photos in blog posts but these ended up being yet another spontaneously enjoyable part of the day and a great introduction to Ashley and Brent’s family and friends.

A video had been prepared so guests could see the ceremony in Thailand, it also meant that those lucky enough to have been there could relive what must have been an absolutely unforgettable experience culminating in Ashley & Brent’s wedding day. The video gave way to the first dance with a soundtrack provided by mighty 15 piece soul band The Soul Jam. They followed this performance with a formidable set of Soul classics, their big, live band sound filling the dancefloor (and hotel) all evening – Ashley even stepped in as a backing singer after a quick dress change! I never intended to stay so late but my exit at 11:30 might give you an idea how much I enjoyed this superb wedding party – thank you for having me as your wedding (party) photographer.

Congratulations Ashley & Brent, thank you for letting me be a part of your day!

See Ashley & Brent’s Pre-wedding photoshoot here

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