If you go down to the woods today, you’ll never believe your eyes ….
2019 is the year to boost my wedding photography business and create some gorgeous, fun and imaginative photos. I am a wedding photographer who covers the UK with a base in Somerset, I approach my work with a fun and creative attitude, my style is colourful yet relaxed. In May, I did my first styled wedding shoot with the aim of building a rapport with local vendors and to extend my portfolio and experiment creatively.
The theme was a woodland wedding. Alongside my wedding photography I am also a wildlife photographer so being in the woods is my happy place. I wanted to show how relaxing it can be surrounded by nature and wildlife - and that is what every bride and groom needs to be on their big day … RELAXED!
I also wanted to bring some colour into my shoot by using smoke bombs and the perfect setting for this was in amongst the trees.
As nature and sustainability is so important to me, I wanted to introduce some ideas for sustainable chic to this shoot. I made a recycled table out of a pallet and some logs from my garden, and Ruth at Wedding Hire South West provided crates as chairs for the bride and groom. The metal straws were provided to me by Lucy at Bare Kind, who is on a mission to save the world one straw at a time!
I used local and regional suppliers from Somerset and neighbouring counties such as Cornwall and Devon, whom I found on Facebook. I provided my suppliers with the theme and a rough colour scheme and asked them what they could do for me. Here are a few words from them about how and why they decided to help me:
Alexandra King (dress maker): “I was really excited about Freya’s ideas for the photoshoot and the woodland setting sounded stunning. Getting the right texture was really important to the dress styling so we chose the natural cotton lace of the Aubrey top and the delicate sheerness of the tulle wedding skirt. Both with matte finishes in soft ivories which worked beautifully amongst the light and trees to create added layers of detail. I loved adding the cable knit sweater which was a perfect contrast against the delicate tulle and prettiness of the bridal accessories, it was just right for this style of wedding. It was wonderful to work with Freya. It’s great to meet a photographer with fresh ideas and I am already inspired by her energy and enthusiasm to create extra beautiful images.”
Lynnsey Kelly (flowers): “I was thrilled to be asked to be part of Freya’s photo shoot. I love her style of photography and it is always great to work with other professionals and to bring the idea to life.”
Claire Sweet Temptations (cake): “The cake was inspired by the mood board and location of the shoot. Being woods I wanted to echo the greens, but to keep them muted as a background for the sugar flowers. The sugar flowers were created to match the flowers and colours used, and to add a ‘pop’ of colour. I love to add colour and movement to wedding cakes. The cake is the perfect place to reflect your personality and create a showstopper.”
Pauline from Odesia May jewellery: “I was thrilled when Freya asked me to get involved with her wedding photoshoot and felt excited to support an up and coming photographer who made me feel that this was mutual. It was a big opportunity to work in a team environment to help create some stunning images. Her chosen woodland setting was a very attractive proposition to me as I love the unconventional, beautiful and romantic. Freya’s brief, location, flowers, dress and props looked inspiring on paper and did not disappoint in real life. Her vision provided the opportunity for me to create two unique, feminine, romantic and colourful hair accessories with floral tones to highlight the chosen colour pallette. I loved the challenge of working from someone else’s brief, especially as it was communicated well and with a trusting and unrestrictive manner. It was exhilarating being involved/assisting on the day and helping to interpret/adapt the detailed planned shoot. A fantastic experience all round and Freya kept our team well-watered! It is a big boost to see my designs showcased and photographed so beautifully.”
Ruth from Wedding Hire South West: "I've been running a small wedding Hire business for around 18 months now. I am always looking for ways to expand the business so I have been getting involved with a few styled shoots in order to get some fantastic photos of my props! As soon as I saw Freya’s post on the wedding business circle page I knew I would love to get involved! The idea of setting up a wedding shoot in the woods sounded intriguing! Lots of my props are very rustic so I knew they would fit in with the woodland theme. We used my wooden crates and wooden candle holders to fit in with the woodland theme and vintage green glass bottles for the floral arrangements. Freya’s choice of colours were perfect adding a pop of colour to the shoot and the location with the sun coming through the trees will make for some truly magical pictures!"
Lucy from Bare Kind: “I wanted to get involved with Freya's shoot to promote that in all walks of life we can choose a sustainable option, and in this case, brides can choose to use tasteful reusable straws as wedding favours! It sends an important message, one that we can't choose to forget even when planning the biggest day of our lives!”
I also asked Harry from Off Grid Films, alongside his assistant Jade to make a short video of the day showcasing behind the scenes, the rush and thrill of the shoot.
Which you can find that here:
The shoot took about three to four months to organise and was rather stressful. Once I had my vision for the shoot, I was quite meticulous about who I wanted to be involved and how to do it. Most difficult was co-ordinating the date - getting everyone together from such a wide area and sourcing the props was challenging.
To be able to use the smoke bombs I had to write up a risk assessment and go to the woods a few days earlier to plan how and where I was going to set them off. The smoke bombs really made an impact and I was delighted with the outcome! I used artificial lights when shooting with the blue and green smoke bomb to create a flare and to make the colours stand out. I was so lucky when I shot the orange and blue smoke bomb because the sun shone through at the perfect moment and created a sun beam right through the models and directly into the camera.
For the picnic shoot I sourced the candles while travelling in Amsterdam, the glasses, plates, gold candle holders online and the flowers, cake and props from the suppliers mentioned above.
Once I had gathered the models, suppliers, and props I made a scheduled start at 2pm running until 8pm. Fortunately the weather was kind to us and, despite a dull and damp morning, the sun came out at the vital moments, shining through the tall trees and right onto my bride and groom!
In conclusion I don’t think there is anything I would have changed, the shoot went so well, the weather was amazing and the colours and use of the props, jewellery, dress, models, flowers and cake worked perfectly together to create that image I had in mind. I would wholly recommend having a wedding in the woods to any bride and groom! Being surrounded by nature and having a little bit of a picnic and a walk on your big day is totally stress free and calming and that is exactly what your day should be.
Photographer: Freya Steele Photography
Dress: Alexandra King
Flowers: Lynnsey Kelly Flowers
Jewellery: Odesia May Jewellery
Cake: Sweet Temptations
Props: Wedding Hire South West
Straws: Bare Kind
Videographer: Off Grid Films
Models: Holly and Jamie