Shad does a Goth Wedding Shoot

The early morning mist hovered just above the wet mossy ground and I was grateful that I had insisted John carry me in my basket.  I did not want cold mud all over my soft silky paws!  We were heading towards Patrick’s Barn on a private estate in Chiddinglye village near Ardingly in West Sussex.  400 year old Californian Redwoods lined the long winding drive as we headed towards the barn accompanied by the owner Becky and 3 of her loyal canine pals who were far too enthusiastic about trekking along this damp stony trail.  I enjoyed sitting on my favourite blanket peering through the thick woodland for signs of deer or some interesting species of bird.  But the imposing presence of the giant Californian Redwood trees along with the ghoulish gothic paraphernalia contained in our bags was giving me the eeby-geebies!

See the rest at Shadow Photography

We finally reached the 17th century Patrick’s Barn as the gentle sunrise burned off the last of the foggy haze and began setting up the equipment.  Our lovely model Kaylie got herself into that black lace and embellished bodice wedding dress while John and I figured out how we would use the lighting to create the atmosphere we were aiming for.  We had two stunningly spooky bouquets of mysterious dark blossoms supplied to us by Steph Willoughby of Chirpee Flowers which finished off the look perfectly.  The black mesh veil shimmered in front of our model’s smoky eyes and we were all happy with the creepy but elegant look of the shoot.  John wanted to add a new style to the Shadow Photography wedding portfolio and this alternative to a white wedding is ideal for those who like to embrace the darker side of life.

CHIRPEE FLOWERS by Steph Willoughby

Advertisements

Shad shares a snippet about his work

You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.  That’s one of our mottos at Shadow Photography.  I’m speaking metaphorically of course.  I only ever use my real claws on wooden fences, sisal rope scratch posts and frequently the back of the sofa (don’t tell John!).  I believe that if we help others also making a living by selling their services, they’ll help us in return.  Just like karma!  For this reason John and I occasionally get together with other businesses such as Oops-a-daisy the florist who makes exquisite flower arrangements from the simplest bouquet of roses and leaves to a cascade of brightly coloured lilies and tulips.  These radiant blooms are a tribute to the breath-taking beauty of nature and they release delicate floral scents that make any room smell delightfully fragrant (although they waft up my nose and make me sneeze).

 

There are many tasks to be carried out at Shadow Photography from dealing with customer enquiries and providing quotes, to organising meetings and travelling to venues, imaginative decision making and hours of editing to put the finishing touches to many hundreds of images taken at one event.  I rely heavily on John to help me circumnavigate the plethora of rules and regulations involved in being Chief Executive Cat for a fine photographical establishment.  John deals with the paperwork because it requires a lot of form-filling, sums and the efficient holding of a pen, none of which are my strong points.  I prefer to work on the creative elements of the job so I can become the feline artiste I aspire to be.  One of my key creative responsibilities is to visit the venue chosen by soon-to-be newlyweds when we are hired as official photographers for a wedding.  John and I go ahead of time to check out the location and choose the finest spots with the best lighting and the most fitting backdrops so that we can take unforgettable pictures for the happy couple.

The photos here were taken at Wotton House, a picturesque country getaway in Surrey that comprises 13 acres of unbelievably well-maintained gardens and immaculately decorated rooms.  I’m not normally one for pomp and ceremony but I have to admit that this place was impeccably designed to accentuate style and grace without being too ostentatious.  A reflection of the true me I feel (without the rounded waistline and strangely attractive ability to sashay into any room).  And I found a soft velvet cushion on a chair draped in brushed white cotton and tucked under a table, the perfect position for a nap which I will no doubt need on the wedding day itself.  Being a photographer is such hard work!

Shadow Photography’s Autumn Campaign

Shadow Photography is the business John and I started almost 2 years ago and, at the risk of sounding self-indulgent, John and I have worked hard to develop it into a viable prospect.  Not many cats have the opportunity to learn new skills and meet interesting people from all walks of life so I feel quite proud to be part of the project.  I try to make sure John feels like he’s in charge and I have to admit I couldn’t do it without him – he can lift heavy loads and he has opposable thumbs!  Don’t worry, he’s used to my cheek!

The Sussex Bridal Planner – Shadow-Photography

 

The Sussex Bridal Planner   Issue 7

Check out Page 35

I thought you might like to see the Shadow Photography advertising campaign that has been designed this year.  Am I sounding executive enough yet?!  It may not be an international conglomerate, but its mine and John’s baby and as managing director I’ve decided to share with you a couple of the ideas we’ve had to promote the business.  Do you recognise the cat in the background on one of the ads?  Its a good-looking ginger-striped old mate of mine.

Shadow-Photography Pets

Ginger

 

Shad does a wedding at the Inglenook

The Inglenook Hotel in Nyetimber (near Chichester) is a family-run 16th century Grade II listed building and boasts good food, a welcoming atmosphere and a stunning patio and gardens.  The bride and groom had organised a beautiful wedding ceremony at the venue along with a reception and hired Shadow Photography to capture the occasion on camera.  John packed the gear into the boot and I bounded on to the front seat of the car, eager to start work on this warm sunny day.  Then John appeared with my travel basket which I’m supposed to stay in for safety reasons so I hopped in and we made our way to the Inglenook.

Shadow-Photography

The happy couple were so friendly and the mood throughout the day was relaxed and enjoyable, probably because the groom kept making faces and messing around making everyone laugh!  At one point, he stuck his tongue out just as I was about to take a shot, and he seemed to find shaking paws with me highly amusing.  For reasons of dignity and self-respect, I usually don’t perform tricks like lifting my paws or rolling-over, after all I am a professional.  But decorum goes out the window when there’s a prawn vol-au-vent involved and unfortunately the groom discovered my weakness.  By the end of the day I was completely shattered, having been a photographer, entertainer, food-taster and cat extraordinaire for the day!

Shad’s 100th blog

A whole year has gone by since I first started blogging about my escapades and I would like to thank you for your interest and support.  The dolphin sea adventure that I told you about last time was my 100th blog and I couldn’t let that go by without marking it with a few thoughts and a selection of photos that include some of my favourites as well as some of the most popular ones currently being viewed on John’s Flickr account.

www.shadow-photography.com

So that’s 100 blogs in 365 days.  Not bad for a cat who spends at least 2 hours a day licking and 14 hours a day sleeping, and who doesn’t even have opposable thumbs!  I am well looked after by John, I run my own photography business, and I get to spend time with nature and other animals, being part of something bigger than the stresses and strains of everyday life.

www.shadow-photography.com

There are still many things I would like to achieve and I suspect that I will accomplish some and not others.  But the point is, to keep trying, no matter how many obstacles hit your path.  Just like the motivational speaking cat on a certain mobile phone network’s latest advertising campaign, flip it and switch, all the negativity ditch it!  I’ve enjoyed sharing my experiences with you and I hope that I have made you smile along the way.  Here’s to 100 more!!

www.shadow-photography.com

Shad’s bridal photo-shoot – behind the scenes

The whole idea behind this shoot was to promote Shadow Photography and broaden our portfolio of work.  We recruited a fab team of helpers (family and friends) and plenty of effort went on behind the scenes in the preceding weeks to arrange for the car, dress, bouquet, model, hair, make-up, transport, venue and good weather.  The day before the shoot, John and I spent our time cleaning, re-charging and organising the various bits of equipment required to turn a pretty lady in a beautiful location into an impressive image that people want to look at and buy.  And it’s expensive gear that has taken lots of saving and bargaining to acquire, so it must all be kept safe and secure.

 

 

When we arrived at the venue and had taken a moment to soak up the stunning scenery, we got into position and started taking pictures.  It soon became apparent that there were too many creative directors in the group as we all gave Fiona (our model) instructions to adjust her posture and her expression.  “Chin up please”, “Turn your head please”, “No, tilt it to the right”, “Sorry I meant my right”, “Now, the other way please”, “Chin up”, “No, not literally”.  To avoid confusion, we decided to put all requests through John and we quickly got the hang of it.

Time flew by and soon our tummies were rumbling and brows glistening, so we decided to take a break and enjoy the blankets, refreshments and snacks we had brought with us to keep the workers happy.  I yelled “Take 5 people” and Nathan (the chauffeur) shouted “Bet you’ve always wanted to say that” and I have to admit, I did rather enjoy it.  Wishing that I had one of those Hollywood movie clapperboards, I trotted off with my tail up high, had a slurp of water, grabbed one of my meaty sticks, and sat in the shade of an oak tree, watching a colourful male pheasant sashaying along the driveway, feathers on display.  While I contemplated my potential new career as a movie director, tiredness washed over me and I drifted into a gentle slumber.  From a distance, I heard John calling me, keen to finish the job we had started, and no amount of throaty purrs or cute whiskers was going to get me off the hook!!

 

So I moseyed on over to our latest spot and we continued our task in earnest.  By this time we imagined we were working like an elite team in field ops, efficient and organised to the core, although I’m not convinced that a crack team of secret agents would have burst into laughter at Natasha ‘getting her groove thang’ which involved a silly face and a shimmy wiggle.  What a pro!  The atmosphere was relaxed and we had loads of fun, making amusing comments, laughing at each other’s funny poses, taking selfies and not taking ourselves too seriously.  If you’ve ever wondered what’s underneath a bride’s wedding gown, it’s a pair of black wellies!

 

Photos for this Blog supplied by John’s daughter Natasha

Shad’s bridal photo-shoot

My stomach had been churning all morning to the point where I couldn’t eat, and regular readers will know that it’s not like me to go off my food! But my nerves disappeared the moment John drove up the long winding driveway and my eyes came to rest on the emerald green and sunshine yellow fields of grass and daffodils spreading all around us. The meadows were framed with trees of all shapes and sizes and at the top of the drive stood the Rookesbury Park School, a former stately home hidden in the Hampshire countryside. A cat could live an excellent life in a place like this, far away from the hustle and bustle, the dangers of busy roads and angry humans who don’t have the time or the inclination to appreciate the complex behaviours of the feline species. Lucky for me, I’m surrounded by kind-hearted humans who understand my need to rub legs, scratch sofas, nip toes, lick plates, sniff floors and purr manically when my neck is caressed or my fur is fondled.

More Information at Shadow Photography

John pulled up outside the house and started emptying the car of all the camera equipment while I bounced over to the edge of the field and gazed contentedly across the landscape. I started to picture myself running in slow motion to the sound of Chariots of Fire, leaping majestically with my paws outstretched like Marty the Zebra and Alex the Lion running towards each other on the beach in the movie Madagascar. But I couldn’t spend all day dreaming of frolicking in the prairie, I had work to do! The model was dressed in her bridal gown and the hairdresser was providing a few finishing touches as the glorious spring sun smiled down upon us. The wedding car was in position and lenses, tripods, flashguns and quantum cables were set up and ready to go. The photographers were John, myself and John’s daughter Natasha who kept making me laugh. She knows full well that my belly wobbles when I chuckle and it’s hard to keep the camera still!!

More Information at Shadow Photography

We worked hard for over 3 hours, perspiring in the heat and getting stiff muscles and trigger finger (or trigger paw in my case) from holding awkward positions and the multiple button-clicking involved, but it was worth every moment. It was a great opportunity to support the model and the hair-stylist who are both at the beginning of their careers and appreciated having some pro shots for their portfolios so my thanks go to them for their skill and endurance. Thanks also to Brides of Sussex in Bognor Regis for the loan of the gown, and Nathan at BB Executive Travel in Bognor Regis for his posh car and ribbons and his upbeat style. Thanks also to Natasha for her patience, jokes and comical body movements that kept everyone amused. Well it kept me amused anyway, although as John knows, I’m easily pleased!

More Information at Shadow Photography